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Posts tagged The Guardian

The early history of e-books
March 13, 2014 | 11:05 am

Host-by-Peter-James-002The Guardian has taken a look back at early e-books, trying to determine when they began. One example the article points out is a novel called Host, published as a publicity stunt on two floppy disks in 1993. Since the book was about a scientist who downloads his mind into a computer, I imagine it seemed like a natural way to drum up some publicity. The Bookseller reports that London’s Science Museum has accepted the book for display as “the world’s first electronic novel,” but there seems to be some question as to whether that’s really true. As the...

UK publishing and those poor struggling writer people
March 5, 2014 | 8:38 pm

Robert McCrum has posted a very interesting - and inadvertently revealing - article in the UK Observer, Sunday sister of The Guardian, on the financial difficulties of that poor struggling species, the writer. And as longstanding literary editor of The Observer and a writer himself, he should know. And his piece paints a very interesting picture of the publishing industry and a writer's prospects within it, pre and post the great financial crisis of 2008. Just to be clear: I'm not belittling the plight of struggling writers who are trying desperately hard to get a foothold on both the literary and...

Banned books on the rise in the U.S.
December 26, 2013 | 6:31 pm

banned booksThere were several news stories that popped up about banned books in 2013. While I felt there more than usual, it could just have been the extra attention paid to these stories. Sometimes media coverage can skew how often events are actually happening. However, in this case, book banning seems to be on the rise in the United States, according to Kids’ Right to Read Project in a story in The Guardian. The KRRP is an anti-censorship group that is part of the National Coalition Against Censorship. According to the group, it investigated 49 incidents of book banning or removals from shelves in...

Guardian braves death of the bookshelf, trials “Shelf Improvement”
December 17, 2013 | 2:22 pm

Unfazed by articles proclaiming the "death of the bookshelf," Britain's The Guardian newspaper is launching a trial of Shelf Improvement, its new book subscription service "that aims to improve the literary lives of book lovers in 2014." Without a single ebook or Kindle in sight. Shelf Improvement, it seems, is "all about sharing the experience and expertise of our trusted editors, critics and writers in order to expand your reading horizons. Each month, they'll name their top pick and we'll pop it in the post. The exact book remains a mystery until it lands on the doorstep." [caption id="attachment_103498" align="aligncenter" width="455"] In...

Big Publishing hype machine full on for Hallberg
November 26, 2013 | 6:29 pm

publishingThe race to be the next Jonathan Franzen thunders on, with Garth Risk Hallberg a shoo-in for that coveted Time Magazine front cover "Great American Novelist" position. Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen. Because Knopf and Jonathan Cape already have, paying respectively $2 million and a "a substantial six-figure deal" for his first full novel, the 900-page City on Fire. Oh, I do hope they're not taking too much of a ... you know ... risk? Some choice quotes from the NYT and Guardian coverage on Hallberg and his debut novel:  “Off the charts in its ambition, its powers of observation, its...

UK young adults prefer printed books – really, honestly
November 26, 2013 | 10:30 am

young adultsA new report from UK market research organization Voxburner, which claims to be "giving you the edge on young consumers," and cited by The Guardian, claims that "62 percent of 16-24s prefer books as physical products." Which it does - as far as that goes. But as it happens, it doesn't go that far. And much of how far it does go doesn't actually get from the Voxburner survey to the Guardian article. "There is less affection towards electronic versions of books. Whereas age is shown in the spine of each book – and commitment by the size of one’s bookshelf...

Guardian scapegoats ebooks for UK publisher massacre
November 5, 2013 | 2:54 pm

It's hard to improve on  Nate Hoffelder's indignation over on The Digital Reader at The Guardian's ludicrously alarmist piece, headlined "Ebooks and discounts drive 98 publishers out of business," but I'll at least second that emotion. First, to briefly go over the facts: The article claims that 98 UK publishers closed their doors in the 12-month period ending August 31st, 2013, a 42 percent increase. The statistics quoted in the article are drawn from a report by accounting firm Wilkins Kennedy, quoted initially in a piece by Sally Davies in the UK Financial Times, with a far less hysterical headline: "Number...

Eyeball-licking trend in Japan debunked by sharp-eyed reporter
August 31, 2013 | 9:38 pm

JapanWhen the Guardian posted a "news article" earlier this year headlined "Eyeball-licking: the fetish that is making Japanese teenagers sick," all hell broke loose. That's because the "story" was a hoax, and the Guardian, along with a number of news-gathering outlets, did not do the proper fact-checking that such stories warrant. But thanks to the Tokyo-based American journalist Mark Schreiber—he's been writing, reporting and translating in Japan since 1965—the fake story has been debunked, and the Guardian has since apologized and taken the article down. Case closed? Not really, because this kind of thing happens a lot in the digital age, where fact-checkers...

Is The Main Street Trading Company Scotland’s best bookshop?
August 24, 2013 | 3:02 pm

bookshopDeep in the heart of Walter Scott country, between his own-built architectural fantasy at Abbotsford House, his favorite vantage point at Scott’s View, and his last resting place at Dryburgh Abbey, I chanced across The Main Street Trading Company—voted Independent Bookseller of the Year 2012 in The Bookseller’s 2012 Industry Awards; it was also winner of the Best Bookshop category in The Daily Telegraph's Best Small Shops Awards 2012. With accolades like that, and even against some very stiff competition, The Main Street Trading Company deserves its tag as Scotland’s best bookshop. Nestling in the lee of Eildon Hill, where King Arthur and...

In the changing marketplace, authors have so many more choices
August 9, 2013 | 8:49 am

Several days ago, author Aubrey Rose wrote a blog post about Amazon Publishing. She was offered a publishing deal through its romance imprint for her book Me, Cinderella? This sounds great for any author, and even Rose was excited about the opportunity. “Naturally, I was thrilled. A real publisher wanted my work!,” Rose wrote on her blog. However, she turned it down. In Rose’s own words: It was hard for me to say no. Ever since I was a little girl I’d dreamed about being a ‘published author‘. However, I needed to make the best decision for my book and for my fans. I...

The Guardian’s success in growing digital revenue without paywalls continues apace
July 18, 2013 | 11:09 am

The GuardianThe latest set of annual results from the owner of the UK's The Guardian newspaper show positive trends for online media operations and newspapers as a whole, with figures to substantiate increased digital revenues that have helped offset falling print sales. This is all the more interesting as The Guardian is one of the few major British newspapers that forgoes paywalls, concentrating instead on growing its readership internationally. Reporting in its own newspaper, Guardian News & Media cited an annual loss of £30.9  million ($46.65 million) in the year to the end of March 2013, which had fallen by 30 percent from last...

Guardian interactive e-book video game writing critique misfires
July 13, 2013 | 4:38 pm

Britain's The Guardian has just run another generic anti-tech critique of modern technophilia and the push for interactive storytelling, this time from columnist Damien Walter. He takes issue with the predictions that "traditional fiction will be superannuated by new technology," proclaiming: "Novels remain the best interactive media." Walter feels that some generic "we" has been led sadly astray by tech hype to desert "those fusty old book things and their tiresome words" in favor of "interactive multimedia experiences." This slightly skips over the fact that the quintessential tech product which really transformed publishing, writing, and the world of books, was not...

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