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‘Find my family’ posts use Facebook to spread the word
August 10, 2013 | 2:27 pm

cassandradoptedPublishing and publicizing are related words. They both mean “to make public,” in their way. They intersect in the self-published e-book world, but they can intersect in other ways as well. There are some Facebook photos making the rounds lately of people who are trying to find missing loved ones. They post a photo of themselves holding a whiteboard with their message. This young solder writes: My name is Casandra Skaife. I am currently serving overseas and today is my 21st birthday! I’m not looking for a drink, I’m just looking for my birth parents....

How to Roll Out Laptops in Schools
July 29, 2013 | 4:45 pm

laptopsMediaShift has an interesting write-up about a school district in Massachusetts that's grappling with how to best roll out laptops in its schools. The article talks about the program in Natick, Mass., which involved issuing Macbooks to all students in grades eight through 12. The results have been great for students—they've spent their time "doing everything from conversing with peers in Costa Rica through Twitter in a history class, to designing and producing their own online magazines." But it hasn't been so great for the IT department employees, who've spent their time trying to reinstall content filters after students worked very...

YouVersion puts the Bible on your smartphone or tablet
July 28, 2013 | 10:43 am

you-Version-BiblesSunday morning seems like an appropriate time to mention this story. The New York Times has taken notice of YouVersion, a free social-networking-enabled e-Bible application for mobile devices. Built by evangelical megachurch, the application is a non-denominational electronic Bible with access to hundreds of translations in hundreds of languages, including the NIV. The article covers a lot of themes we’ve talked about in relation to other e-book initiatives. For example, the value of free: “We have a generation of people that can’t fathom paying 99 cents for a song that they love,” [YouVersion...

Weekend Roundup: Digital rights protection and the future of writing
June 30, 2013 | 10:52 am

Weekend Roundup3 Reasons Why Facebook Can't Replace Your Author Website (Jane Friedman) I’ve occasionally been asked by authors at conferences: Why not just use Facebook? Isn’t that where everyone is spending their time already? Why would people visit my site? Why bother with all the effort of establishing a site, which, if it becomes dusty or out-of-date, could be more damaging than no website at all? * * * Digital rights protection and the future of writing (The Guardian) SiDiM, an ingenious new rights protections system, may point the way to the experimental literature of the future. Germany's FraunhoferInstitute recently revealed that it is working on a new digital...

Weekend Roundup: Quick-to-market e-books are now the norm, not the exception
June 29, 2013 | 10:46 am

Weekend RoundupQuick-To-Market Ebooks Now Norm, Not Exception (Forbes) What made ["Linsanity"] by sportswriter Alan Goldsher from digital publishing house and platform Vook so shocking was that it took less than six days to write (72 hours), produce (36 hours) and publish (less than 24 hours). * * * Richard Russo Gives E-Publishing A Try (NPR) Richard Russo, the writer who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for his book Empire Falls, published a new novel six months ago. If you're wondering how you missed it, it might be because Russo chose not to publish with a traditional publisher. * * * Mother of teen jailed for Facebook post speaks to WSWS...

Does Sir Martin Sorrell’s pipes argument hold water?
June 21, 2013 | 11:00 am

Sir Martin SorrellSir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive of WPP, "the world's largest communications services group," was quoted a short time ago in a video interview in The Guardian filmed at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, castigating—by implication—Google, Yahoo! and Facebook, for not owning up to their position as media rather than technology companies. "I can remember the first  Cannes debate that I did here about five years ago, we had someone from Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and AOL ... The first question I asked them ... was: Are you a technology company, or a media company? To which they all answered, and...

Amazon is Making it Easier to Give Facebook Friends a Birthday Gift
June 20, 2013 | 1:00 pm

AmazonStarting today, you can show your Facebook friends how much you love them, by giving them an Amazon gift card, and you can show them how well you can rally your friends by getting more people to contribute to the gift. The basic idea is that you can select a gift amount for a friend’s upcoming birthday and then invite friends to “pitch in” to add to the amount. The entire amount will post to the friend’s timeline on their birthday. Voila! All right. Neat idea, but I’ve got concerns. I wasn’t a fan of Facebook’s introduction of a gifting feature. It...

Morning Roundup: 19 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read Forever
June 17, 2013 | 9:03 am

Morning Roundup19 Books You've Been Meaning to Read Forever (Book Riot) A little while ago, we asked you to confess the books you’ve always wanted to read but just never seem to get around to. You know, the ones that stare at you from atop your TBR pile and cause you endless readerly guilt. 358 readers answered the call, listing 383 unique titles. A handful of books came up A LOT, and a lot of books came up only once. Here are the top 19 books Riot readers have been meaning to read forever. --- Oxford English Dictionary Adds 'Tweet' and 'Crowdsourcing' (GalleyCat) The Oxford English...

UPDATED: Facebook Gets Into the Witch Hunt Game
May 29, 2013 | 3:34 pm

FacebookSelf-publishers and independent publishing houses who use Facebook and other social media to showcase and promote their publications may be more wary in future after a surprising instance of apparent censorship, or at least overzealousness. It seems the Facebook page for the Bram Stoker Award-nominated graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times was taken down shortly before the Awards, over an anonymous and apparently unsubstantiated accusation of online bullying. Facebook did not respond when asked to comment. “The first we heard of this was a notice that our page was suspended because of an accusation of bullying,”...

Diminishing returns dawn for self-publishing?
May 21, 2013 | 4:36 pm

self-publishing This is as much a thought piece and a kickoff for discussion as a fully fleshed-out article, but it goes like this: Is the end of the golden age of self-publishing already in sight? Part of the reasoning behind this comes from the dawn of the dot-com era just over a decade ago, when Internet companies were racing to build their public profile prior to going public. I used to do a lot of this stuff in Hong Kong, back in the day when page views rather than "friends" or retweets were the key metric; and with the prospect of high-rolling...

Google Play is Giving Away Top Apps for Communicating
April 4, 2013 | 11:31 am

Google PlayHow do you stay connected with friends and loved ones in distant places? We all know how convenient our mobile devices are when it comes to that, though sometimes it’s hard to know which avenue is best. Google Play announced on Thursday that every top communication app is available for free download. What’s crazy is that we’re talking almost 500 apps to chose from—twenty pages worth! Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Voice, Skype ... and the list goes on. The selection also includes various different types of Web browsers, Wi-Fi boosters, SMS text apps, e-mail and talk services, group chat and contact organizers, among...

Storylane Will Join Forces with Facebook
March 12, 2013 | 10:19 pm

Storylane By Christina Jones Storylane, the personal blogging platform and social space, just announced it’s joining forces with Facebook. The latest News Feed update wasn’t enough to show how much the social networking giant understands the value of visual content. “This is an exciting opportunity,” said Jonathan Gheller, Storylane’s CEO. “Facebook’s mission of connecting the world has always been at the center of our work, and like our friends at Facebook, meaningful connections are what our team is most passionate about.” Storylane’s mission was to give users a platform where they could share more meaningful stories, making it a good fit for Facebook. You felt a...