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Book review: Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War, by Alexander Watson, Basic Books
September 27, 2014 | 11:07 am

The centenary of the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914 is naturally bringing out a lot of commemorative publications of varying kinds, as well as all the events and documentaries, etc., and Alexander Watson's Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War 1, is one of the more interesting and revisionist, and the most challenging to preconceptions and received wisdom among English-speaking readers. It dives deep into German and Austria-Hungarian social history in the war years, using a vast amount of documentary evidence from war leaders to teenage girls, delivering a whole herd of sacred cows to the...

Ellora’s Cave sues Dear Author over ‘defamatory’ blog post
September 26, 2014 | 9:59 pm

Ellora's Cave Well, that was unexpected. The saga of Ellora’s Cave has been chronicled over the last few months, and especially over the last few weeks, on various e-book blogs I read. For example, from The Passive Voice: Ellora’s Cave The mysterious case of the missing royalty checks from Ellora’s Cave More Ellora’s Cave troubles… Cat Grant Gives Away Her Unreverted Ellora’s Cave Titles And those are just from the last week or so. Authors...

Civilization began when humans invented fire – and storytelling
September 26, 2014 | 12:25 pm

For a writer, it's heartening to learn that the first invention to set the human race on its triumphal march towards global ecocide - fire - is intimately linked to the development of storytelling. According to a study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), and widely reported in Science Magazine and elsewhere, "comparison of 174 day and nighttime conversations among the Ju/’hoan (!Kung) Bushmen of southern Africa, supplemented by 68 translated texts," suggests a major dichotomy between daytime talk and nighttime banter around the campfire, with the latter given...

Follow the Scott trail through Scotland
September 26, 2014 | 10:25 am

With interest in Scotland and Scottish culture still riding high post the Scottish independence referendum, here's welcome information for anyone wishing to delve into the background and landmarks of one of Scotland's greatest writers, Sir Walter Scott. Visit Scotland, "Scotland's National Tourism Organization," has put together a Sir Walter Scott Itinerary to take visitors around the sites and settings most associated with Scott and his novels, starting with his slightly fantastic creation of Abbotsford, the house which dramatized the historical and Romantic themes in stone and in a huge collection of curios. Then there's Sir Walter Scott’s Courtroom, the Sheriff Court at Selkirk...

Morning Roundup: 3/4 of young people prefer print. When blogging is slogging
September 26, 2014 | 9:00 am

printNearly Three Quarters of Young People Prefer Print (Esquire) The 16-24 generation is still firmly in favour of print books, new research shows, with 73% saying they prefer print over digital or audio formats. *** When Blogging Becomes a Slog (NY Times) After absorbing the criticism, the couple responded in a post titled “Feeeeeelings,” in which they confessed to “feeling off for a while” and missing the days when “we did this for the love.” *** Study Ties College Success to a Student's Exposure to a High School Librarian (The Digital Shift) Attention, educators: training high school students early in digital research, partnering them with a...

Authors United to ask Department of Justice for Amazon antitrust inquiry
September 25, 2014 | 6:08 pm

So, Authors United’s latest publicity stunt is to declare they’re asking the Department of Justice to investigate Amazon for anti-trust issues in the wake of the continuing contract dispute with Hachette. (Publishers Weekly talks about it here, linking to a paywalled Financial Times article that you can read free by googling “Authors to call for Amazon antitrust inquiry” then clicking the FT article and answering a question.) They’re still in the process of drafting the letter; Douglas Preston says it was leaked “very prematurely.” The letter will ask the justice department’s antitrust division to “examine Amazon’s...

Morning Roundup: Why tablet magazines aren’t getting better. Culture vs. Copyright
September 25, 2014 | 9:00 am

tablet magazinesAmazon Expands Kindle Unlimited to UK (Digital Book World) UK readers today gain access to the subscription ebook program Amazon launched in the U.S. in July this year. *** Review: Culture vs Copyright (Indie Reader) CULTURE VS. COPYRIGHT is an intelligent, thoughtful and lively discussion of intellectual property rights and their purpose in the larger society. It is at very least a useful contribution to a vigorous public conversation about creativity and its rewards in a free society. *** Personality & Polish: In Love with Kitchen Libraries (Apartment Therapy) There's something so romantic about a library, especially now that we're cemented in the digital age where almost...

Photographer explains why piracy is driving him out of business
September 24, 2014 | 10:37 pm

We hear about Internet piracy and its deleterious effect on creators dozens or hundreds of times every year. In most cases, it’s about music, movies, games, or books that are circulating on peer-to-peer. The arguments rage on and on about whether this piracy is a good thing or a bad thing, whether it provides much-needed exposure to the artist and whether any, many, most, or all of the people who pirate the work would actually have paid for it under other circumstances. Odds are, most regular readers of TeleRead or any other media blog can recite most of the arguments...

Kindle Unlimited launches in the UK
September 24, 2014 | 12:25 pm

kindle unlimitedKindle-based subscription reading isn't limited to the US any longer. Amazon has launched Kindle Unlimited in the UK. For £7.99, UK readers can now enjoy all the benefits of Kindle Unlimited. Nate at the Digital Reader reported last month that KU will be launched in Germany at the Frankfurt Book Fair next month. If true, that will make three countries. If you're in the UK and trying to decide if you should sign up, check out my article on two months with Unlimited. I think it's an excellent service, even though it is lacking content from big publishers. There's still plenty there to...

Kindle Books for Rosh Hashanah
September 24, 2014 | 10:25 am

51FWP3UtcsL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Shana Tova to all of our Jewish readers! Like many, I will be travelling to in-laws tonight to celebrate the Jewish New Year. But uniquely for me, I will be celebrating minus the synagogue trip this time. I had a bad experience at my mother's synagogue which made me reluctant to return, and when I learned that the rabbi passed away last week (a week before the holidays!) I scrambled to make other plans. And I realized that a day spent reading, meditating and in true spiritual reflection might actually have the potential to be a deeper and more profound...

Morning Roundup: Using tech to get through your reading list. Agency pricing in Canada
September 24, 2014 | 8:29 am

reading listHow to Use Technology to Get Through Your Reading List (Lifehacker) The internet is full of brilliant articles you haven't read. So is your read-it-later app of choice, whether it's Pocket, Readability, Instapaper or any other. Here's how to finally tackle that reading list, with a little help from technology. *** Agency eBook Pricing Will be Alive and Well in Canada Until at Least May 2015 (The Digital Reader) The major US trade publishers may have relinquished control of their ebook prices here in the US and in Europe but Canada, well, that is a different story. *** 5 Tips For Getting Out of a Long-Term...

David Gaughran catches the stench wafting from the publishing industry
September 23, 2014 | 6:00 pm

David GaughranNo one could accuse David Gaughran of being afraid to take a stand, or of supine impartiality in his readiness to listen to every side. And the author of Let's Get Digital and Let's Get Visible doesn't leave much room for ambiguity in his latest title: "Publishing Is Rotten To The Core." Admittedly, this is a post as much about media bias as about the publishing industry itself - or rather, the partiality of mainstream media to anti-Amazon, pro-trad publishing stories - as it is about conditions where print meets paper. But there's plenty to go around nonetheless. Gaughran doesn't mince words...