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Morning Roundup: Is Amazon rigging prices? Cozy reading nooks for kids and more
April 22, 2014 | 9:07 am

amazon rigging pricesLawsuit Alleges Amazon is Rigging Prices to Cover Shipping Costs (The Digital Reader) A group of consumers in Washington state are suing because sometimes the “free shipping” price Amazon offers to Prime members is more expensive than prices offered by 3rd-party sellers. *** 10 Cozy Reading Nooks for Kids (Apartment Therapy) So while I know that a kid doesn't need a special spot dedicated to reading in order to be a bookworm, it certainly doesn't hurt to gussy up a corner or a closet with a pile of soft pillows and a few favorite books within arm's reach. *** The Library eBook Situation is Appalling...

Hugo voter e-book bundle to include entire Wheel of Time series
April 21, 2014 | 4:15 pm

hugo_wheel-of-timeThe Hugo nominations have been announced. One of the more interesting things to come out of the nominations this time around has been the inclusion of the entire Wheel of Time series for “Best Novel.” This is something of a first for the Hugos, and would probably be at least mildly controversial in other years. (This year, what with the Jonathan Ross thing and another more recent kerfuffle that I might discuss in another post, it seems to rate as relatively minor on the outrage scale.) But one side-effect of that nomination is to make Supporting Membership in this...

Book Review: Mercy and Other Stories, Rebecca Lloyd, Tartarus Press
April 21, 2014 | 2:25 pm

rebecca lloydTartarus Press should need no introduction by now, given the number of times they've now appeared on Tele Read as purveyors of fine independent fiction. Their blurb describes their recent production, Mercy and Other Stories by Rebecca Lloyd, as "tales of unease with a sprinkling of the ghostly, menacing and fantastical. The stories inhabit the fragile space between fantasy and reality, where the landscape is in constant flux and things are not quite as they seem." Rebecca Lloyd, born in New Zealand but now based in Bristol, began writing while working in Africa as a medical parasitologist and has already published one novel, Halfling,...

UK language learning hits rock bottom
April 21, 2014 | 12:25 pm

With the UK just a few miles away from la belle patrie in places, you'd think that second language acquisition would be a matter of course. A whole second literature, with the heritage of Proust and Baudelaire and a host of other luminaries, let alone the great wine and cuisine, right there on your doorstep, just waiting for you. Should be a no-brainer, right? Well, according to one highly disgruntled language teacher in England writing on Cafe Babel, it's more a matter of no brains. As much among those setting the curricula and overseeing language learning as among the students. And...

Testosterone makes you stupid – if you’re English
April 21, 2014 | 10:25 am

I never thought of stupidity as particularly macho. But then, maybe I've lived outside the UK for too long. Because apparently a lot of British men fit that mold. And I'm rather ashamed to link my own gender to this, but the statistics seem to speak for themselves. Or should I have softened it a bit? Saying, well, if you're male and British there is a greater tendency towards not taking a serious interest in books, rather than making such an emphatic statement? And let British society off the hook? And sidestep that disgraceful conclusion? Because here we have some hard...

Morning Roundup: Being an awesome Little Free Library patron. More on book discovery
April 21, 2014 | 9:00 am

Little Free LibraryHow Three Independent News Sites Survived Their First Five Years (Media Shift) Maness moderated a panel recently in which the editors told their stories at the International Symposium on Online Journalism at the Knight Center for Digital Journalism in the Americas in Austin, Texas. *** 5 Tips for Being an Awesome Little Free Library Patron (Book Riot) While I’ve discussed how much fun it is to be the keeper of a Little Free Library, I haven’t really talked much about my ideal Little Free Library Patron. *** Will Proposed Rules Leave Behind a Population of Researchers? (The Scholarly Kitchen) Humanities and social science researchers have expressed concerns...

Book Review: Lovecraft’s Monsters, edited by Ellen Datlow, Tachyon Publications
April 20, 2014 | 1:26 pm

Ellen Datlow is a significant presence in American and international horror and dark fiction. That's about as bathetic an understatement as they come. Any new anthology owned by her is guaranteed its share of interest. Her "Also Edited" list at the start of this collection is vast. And her new volume Lovecraft's Monsters, from Tachyon Publications, finds a new theme in the creatures and creations of H.P. Lovecraft, which have inspired everything from brilliant pastiches to plush toys. (Oh, and she gave an Honorable Mention to one of my pastiches, and why ever miss an opportunity for gratuitous self-promotion? ;) ) For...

Weekend Roundup: The business of being an author. A hype-free article on Aereo and more
April 20, 2014 | 11:22 am

business of being an authorNow that Amazon Owns Comixology , What Will Happen To Submit? (The Digital Reader) It’s been a week since Amazon announced that they were acquiring Comixology , and the surprise deal has left many questions unanswered, including what Amazon plans to do with Submit. *** Books, Toys Still Work for Specialty Outlets (Publishers Weekly) Since the demise of Noodle Kidoodle and Zany Brainy in the early 2000s, specialty “book-and-toy” stores have maintained a low profile. Yet a number of retailers, from the 130-unit Learning Express chain to mom-and-pop stores, are still serving their communities with a mix of toys and books. *** Authorpreneurship and the Business...

Suing e-book reviewers and being a public jerk: Two bad ideas in one
April 19, 2014 | 3:10 pm

withoutruleoflawA friend pointed out to me a slightly older blog post that is rather interesting. In fact, it’s interesting not just for the article, but for the comments. It’s kind of a gift that keeps on giving. The blog post, by writer Greg Strandberg, quotes (and screencaps) a post by self-publishing writer Joe Nobody on KBoards, a semi-private forum for people who self-publish through Amazon. Nobody is a highly-successful pseudonymous self-publishing author, who Strandberg estimates has made over a million dollars from his e-book sales. Nobody writes in the post-apocalyptic SF genre, in the footsteps of mens-adventure writers like...

Maine library declines Rick Hautala archive, citing resources
April 18, 2014 | 6:05 pm

You'd think that birthing American horror's favorite son would give a U.S. state a broad institutional commitment to supporting the horror genre and honoring its local exponents. Well, apparently not. Because a library in Maine has declined the bequest of the archive of local horror writer Rick Hautala, citing lack of resources to properly support and maintain it. As reported in the Portland Press Herald, Stephen King's home town journal, Hautala's widow is upset that his gift of his archive has been turned down by the Walker Memorial Library in Westbrook, Maine. "Holly Newstein-Hautala offered Rick’s archives—manuscripts, letters, etc.—to the Walker Memorial...

R.I.P. Gabriel García Márquez: You’ll believe in magic … realism
April 18, 2014 | 4:04 pm

The internet has been alive with tributes to Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014), the Colombian Nobel Prize-winning master of magic realism who has just died in Mexico aged 87. The 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature citation cited him as "a rare storyteller, richly endowed with a material from imagination and experience which seems inexhaustible ... who combines the copious, almost overwhelming narrative talent with the mastery of the conscious, disciplined and widely read artist of language." Magic realism, with its imaginative heightening of experience through the fusion of history and fantasy, erudition and caprice, surrealism and reportage, is often credited to Jorge...

How do we know our eBooks aren’t being altered?
April 18, 2014 | 2:32 pm

ebookI read a very interesting post this week at GoodeReader, which asked this question: how do we know our eBooks aren't being altered? When I first read the headline, I thought this would be about post-publication correction, which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing. I don't want my books to be re-written whole cloth after they have been bought and read, but I welcome revisions which involve correcting typos or improving poor formatting. But our friends at GoodeReader are asking about something else. From the article: In a recent thread at the e-reading website MobileRead one user explained their reasons of...