640px-3G_ipod_in_dock (1)Keeping Your Classic Tech Devices Running (New York Times)
There are mechanics who can keep your gear going. Solutions include experts who will pay a visit to fix devices like iPods, as well as mail-in repair services. Plus there are a host of how-to sites so you can solve problems yourself.

The TeleRead take: What (potentially) useful services! Do any TeleRead community members have stories to share—about those sites and services to help you rescue old tech gizmos? Tips? Including pointers to good rescuers? Any sites or services to avoid?

Crime novel by relative of Jane Austen is back in print (Guardian)
The scene is set in Wellende Old Hall, the “magnificent stately old pile” that has been the family seat of the Temples for centuries. But the crime novel by the granddaughter of Jane Austen’s nephew—supposedly written on the very desk used by her illustrious ancestor—has been shrouded in mystery since it fell out of print…

Kirsten Saxton, a professor of English at Mills College in Oakland, and a visiting fellow at Lucy Cavendish College in Cambridge, is editing and introducing the new edition. She called The Incredible Crime “breezy fun, with some excellent and generally good-natured sendups of university life: a cigarette-smoking brash young woman who can curse like a sailor, a Darcy-esque, as in rude and eventually adoring, academic love interest (which slightly raises my feminist hackles), smuggling, some Downton Abbey-worthy country-house life, and some really lovely Suffolk scenery”.

The TeleRead take: This one was published in 1931, which means that here in the U.S. it’s probably still not in the public domain, at least if someone attended to the copyright issues. More money for living writers and their spouses or children is good. But Lois Austen-Leigh, author of The Incredible Crime, has presumably been dead for years. Is a spouse or child be alive? I don’t know. If nothing else, however, I’m curious who’ll get the money from British Library, the publisher.

Meanwhile the new appreciation of the book illustrates the perils of denying the public access to orphaned works. Think of all the other works of merits, especially by authors without famous last names, that will be forever lost if the worlds’ copyright systems are not made more sane.

As an aside, let me see that the headline is a bit misleading. According to the Guardian, “The novel is due to appear in early 2017 as part of the library’s Crime Classics series…” Ok—almost back in print.

Finally—the inevitable question. Will this be an e-book from the start, when the 2017 version finally appears?

BEA: Ten Tools for Authors (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
…I can see that there are a bunch of exhibitors who offer services and tools that authors might want to use.

The TeleRead take: Nate features Piracy Trace (sender of DMCA notices), Bublish (marketing platform), Dropcards (digital download book service), Slicebooks (book parts sliced and diced for sale to readers), Momentum (crowd-sourcing and social media service for writers; no direct link, just pointer to PW writeup), BookGrabbr (also social marketing), BooksILove (Goodreads rival), BookHive (focus groups for rent) and FindMyAudience (find where to go online to push your book). That’s nine highlighted, and ten if we include another product Nate mentions, Enthrill.

Canadian Writers Working Harder while Earning Less (Writers Union of Canada)
For 81% of respondents, income from writing would not allow them to live above the poverty line, and the average writer’s income ($12,879) is a full $36,000 below the national average. This despite the fact that writers have invested in post-graduate education in large numbers.

The TeleRead take: The very best nonfiction and fiction alike can take years to write—consider The Power Broker and other works of Robert Caro. Not every work is a potboiler whipped off in a few weeks. The industry needs business models that can take this into consideration. While as many books as possible should be free to library patrons, this is not the same as asking professionals to write epic-length books for nothing—given the costs of not only time but also research.

Needless to say, Canada is hardly the only country where writers have gotten the short end of the stick. Not all publishers are generous. More importantly, the average U.S. household spends only around $125 a year on nontextbook content. National digital library endowment should serve society as a whole, but it would be wonderful if along the way this additional pot of money helped writers, among others, in a serious way. Ideally national digital library systems could favor publishers that treated writers fairly.

Image credit: iPod photo from Luki.r. Creative Commons.


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