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Accessory Review: Case Studio customizable iPad case
February 25, 2015 | 10:25 am

case studio customizable ipad caseI've never been a big one for customizable swag, but when the folks at Case Studio offered me a coupon code to create my own iPad case, I admit I was intrigued. There's so many options that no two cases would ever look alike. From uploading a custom photo to selecting one of many designs and adding a short message or monogram, the options are endless. I spent close to half an hour on my case. While I was tempted by uploading a gorgeous piece of Dean Winchester fan art (completely safe for work, in case you were wondering), I finally decided...

Morning Links: Apple must pay troll $532M. Amazon to publish Kindle Scout books
February 25, 2015 | 9:00 am

kindle scoutAccounting for Authors, Publishing’s Forgotten Customers (Digital Book World) One issue I hear talked about a lot lately among publishers is the need to figure out who their customers are. *** Apple Must Pay Patent Troll $532M, Texas Jury Rules (GigaOM) Apple must pay a shell company $532.9 million because iTunes infringes upon three patents related to online patents, a jury in East Texas ruled on Tuesday. *** 7 TV Series That Take Place in Bookstores (Book Riot) Now it’s time for 7 TV series that take place in bookstores. *** Amazon to Publish eBooks Chosen by Kindle Scout, its Reader-Powered Publishing Platform (Ink, Bits & Pixels) It's been...

Grim and gritty Power Rangers fan film brings fanfic back into legal spotlight
February 25, 2015 | 7:27 am

power-rangers-video-124799A new legal battle over fanfic might be shaping up. In the last couple of days, music video director Joseph Kahn and producer Adi Shankar released a 15-minute short film reimagining Power Rangers as a grim and gritty dark future drama a la Pacific Rim. The film stars name actors, including James Van Der Beek, Katee Sackhoff, and Die Another Day’s Will Yun Lee. And it almost immediately ran into legal trouble. A “NSFW” version (violence, language, nudity) was up on Vimeo for a few hours before getting taken down by a DMCA infringement notice from Saban. A safe-for-work...

Bram Stoker Awards final ballot goes live
February 24, 2015 | 2:25 pm

The Final Ballot for Bram Stoker Awards® has been announced on the Horror Writers Association website. The nominees are in line for voting for "superior writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenplays and non-fiction. Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates and Neil Gaiman." There are some welcome inclusions in the ballot list, including Joe Mynhardt and Emma Audsley's Horror 101: The Way Forward for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction, and David Cronenberg's Consumed - a First Novel from anything but a debut talent. There are some equally surprising omissions,...

Warwick Report exposes systematic divides in UK culture
February 24, 2015 | 12:25 pm

Unsurprisingly from the country that gave the world the concept of philistinism, the 2015 Report by the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value, Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth - otherwise known as the Warwick Report - has found that "the government and the cultural and creative industries need to take a united and coherent approach that guarantees equal access for everyone to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life. There are barriers and inequalities in Britain today that prevent this from being a universal human right. This is bad for business and...

Bizarre gets kosher with Jews vs Zombies and Jews vs Aliens
February 24, 2015 | 10:25 am

The tradition that gave the world the dybbuk and the golem need yield to none when it comes  to the fantastic and the bizarre, but even so it's good to report two very unlikely, and superbly jacketed, anthologies forthcoming from Jurassic London: Jews vs Zombies and Jews vs Aliens. With a healthy dose of Jewish humor, these titles set out to chronicle the exploits of Judaism versus the undead - and the unearthly. "Jurassic London is proud to announce publication of a special pair of anthologies, edited by World Fantasy Award winning author Lavie Tidhar and acclaimed editor and writer Rebecca Levene,"...

Morning Links: Libraries concerned about lack of Kindle format. Protecting an open Internet
February 24, 2015 | 9:00 am

kindle formatLibraries Are Concerned About the Lack of New e-books in the Kindle Format (GoodeReader) Libraries all over the US have expressed concern to Good e-Reader that the vast majority of new e-book titles from Overdrive are not available in the Kindle format. *** Trade Agreements Should Protect an Open Internet, Not Kill It (Techdirt) For a few years now, we've been writing about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and how we're quite concerned by many aspects of it. *** In the Age of Niche Media, Everyone Still Really Wants to be Mass (GigaOM) In a nutshell, De Boer said that his problem with many of...

Play ball! Batter up!
February 23, 2015 | 2:25 pm

cardboard godsYes, it all begins to come together every year during spring training time in the baseball world. And the best part of spring training for teens and adults -- boys, mostly, of course, and their fathers -- is getting up close and personal with players and coaches and getting autographs and selfies, and watching them practice baseball basics. It's a boy thing. I recently read a very good book about collecting baseball cards, "Cardboard Gods," written by Chicago card fanatic writer Josh Wilker. I found the book in December when I was reading an obituary of the so-called "father of the modern...

Brandon Sanderson talks books in Taiwan
February 23, 2015 | 12:25 pm

brandon sandersonBrandon Sanderson has a special place in his heart for Taiwan. The American author of the popular “Mistborn” and “The Stormlight Archive” series flew to Taiwan earlier this month to attend the annual Taipei International Book Exhibition and meet his Taiwanese fans.  According to book agent Gray Tan of Grayhawk literary agency, Sanderson's novels are popular here in translation. Of special interest for Sanderson was his 2012 visit to the National Palace Museum in Taipei which apparently inspired him to write the fantasy story [easyazon-link asin="1616960922" locale="us"]The Emperor's Soul[/easyazon-link] which won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novella. In his recent visit, the 39...

Review: Steampunk LEGO by Guy Himber
February 23, 2015 | 10:25 am

steampunk legoI got a package in the mail this week---a gorgeous hardcover book from No Starch Press! When I wrote earlier about this publisher, I mentioned that one of the things which intrigued me about them was their print-plus-eBook bundles. They graciously agreed to let me try one out, and while I was able to download the PDF copy of [easyazon-link asin="1593275285" locale="us"]Steampunk LEGO[/easyazon-link] right away, I wanted to wait to write the review until I had the paper copy for comparison. Well...it's here! And is a beautiful book. Even the Beloved, who is not particularly a book fan in either format, remarked...

Morning Links: Free things for writers. Whose digital content is it anyway?
February 23, 2015 | 9:00 am

digital contentBrooklyn Bookstore Launches Kickstarter to Save Vintage Sci-Fi (Apartment Therapy) Brooklyn bookstore and publisher Singularity & Co. has launched a Kickstarter to save sci-fi. *** 8 Free Things for Writers (Media Shift) Everyone loves free stuff. Food samples, household products through the post –- even winning the odd competition –- things taste better when they are free. *** Questions to Ask for the Ideal Client-Freelancer 'Marriage' (An American Editor) The right questions asked at the right time can make the difference in a smooth, rewarding experience for both client and freelancer, whether the project is a writing, editing, proofreading, graphics, desktop publishing, or other assignment of some...

Weekend Links: Konrath on the Amazon debate. What do we want in a smartwatch?
February 22, 2015 | 10:40 am

smartwatchAcademy Awards 2015: Top 10 Works in WorldCat By Oscar Nominees in Five Categories (InfoDocket) More interesting (and fun) “WorldCat Mining” from the team at OCLC Research in a new “What in the WorldCat” post. *** Have We Figured Out What We Want in a Smartwatch Yet? (GigaOM) Next month will be the one-year anniversary of Google’s smartwatch platform introduction. And the month after that will see the Apple Watch ship to its first buyers. *** My Thoughts on Amazon Debate (Joe Konrath) According to those voting in the audience, my side (Amazon is for readers) lost 43% to 50%. According to the online poll, we...