News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff
- AllRomance.com’s sudden closure hits authors hard. (The Guardian) The genre ebook distributor and publisher closed with only 4 days’ warning, and authors’ royalties on the last quarters’ sales will be slashed to the bone.
- National Book Foundation, HUD launch nationwide effort to turn “book deserts” into literary oases (LATimes)
- Virginia teachers may have to warn parents of any “sexually explicit” reading (The Guardian)
- Backlist publisher Open Road Media performs “tremendously” in 2016 (Publishers Weekly) (Full disclosure: I buy a fair number of Open Road books via their Early Bird discount newsletter, and I am auto-approved for their titles on NetGalley. Personal experience aside, though, Open Road offers a unique service to both authors and readers: they republish backlist titles whose rights have reverted to the author, giving established authors an alternative to self-publishing and readers the opportunity to read or reread some terrific titles that have gone out of print. If you enjoy older or backlist titles, and you like ebook bargains, sign up for their Early Bird newsletter.)
- Free Speech Groups Defend S&S Yiannopoulis Deal. (Publishers Weekly) I’m all for intellectual freedom and freedom of speech, but readers likewise have the right to boycott a title, individually or collectively. I’m not sure that in the case of books, that should extend to boycotting the entire publishing house, though.
- Curiouser and Curiouser: Books that Trigger Curiosity is really as much about curiosity — why we need it, how to feed it — as it is about books that trigger it. (Kristen McQuinn, BookRiot)
- Automated book-culling software drives librarians to create fake patrons to “check out” endangered titles (Cory Doctorow, for BoingBoing)
- A Fine, Fine Line… talks about 3 troubling issues in romance novels: race, class, and consent. (Free-For-All, the blog of the Peabody Institute Library in Peabody, MA)
- In Praise of the Backlist: On (Maybe) Reading More Not-Brand-New Books in 2017 (Claire Handscome, BookRiot) Claire writes, in part, “I read a substantial number of good books in 2016 — four-star books, books that were a perfectly pleasant way to pass the time, but books, nonetheless, that I’d expected to be blown away by, based on what I’d heard about them. Instead, I could have been making my way through the list of books that I really do want to read one day, if only I could stop being distracted.” YES. And that’s precisely why I came up with The Backlist Reader Challenge.
- Romance Trope Subversion Requests (Dana Rosette Pangan, BookRiot) All three. PLEASE.
For Writers & Bloggers
- 4 Things Every Writer Thinks While Working on a Book (Jon Acuff, for Signature)
- 5 Great Places to Donate Your Old Books (Read Brightly)
- Top 10 Unreliable Narrators (Sarah Pinborough, The Guardian)
- 10 Essential Books for Parents of Transgender Children (or friends, teachers, etc.) (Publishers Weekly)
- Read Harder Recommendations: A Character of Color Goes on a Spiritual Journey (BookRiot)
- This year’s biggest book adaptations – and which ones are worth reading first (The Guardian)
Really Cool / Just for Fun
- Mindwebs was a radio show in the ’70s which offered “semi-dramatized” readings of great science fiction stories. 153 of those episodes are available on the Internet Archive; they include stories by SF writers like Harlan Ellison, Theodore Sturgeon, Ursula LeGuin, Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, but also some by writers we don’t usually associate with SF, like John D. McDonald and John Cheever. They’re free to listen to online or to download.
That’s it for this week!