This Week’s Articles (8/12 — 8/18/2012)

August 18, 2012 self-publishing, serial comma 0

I missed posting this feature last week, so I’m including a few articles that appeared during that week as well as the past week.
Publishing and self-publishing: 
 
Top of my list this week is David Vinjamuri’s terrific piece over at Forbes, “Publishing Is Broken; We’re Drowning in Indie Books — And That’s a Good Thing.”  It’s an in-depth and well-reasoned look at the current situation vis-a-vis traditional and independent (self-) publishing, and where things might be headed.  The comments are also well worth reading.
Then at MediaShift, self-publishing author and blogger Carla King explains “Why Authors Should Care That Penguin Bought Author Solutions.”
While we’re on the topic of indie books, author Robert Kroese wrote a blog post about being “Almost Famous” — in other words, being an indie author who is making almost enough to support himself by his writing, but who doesn’t have the name recognition of a midlist traditionally-published author.
The ebook market continues to grow; Amazon now sells more ebooks than print books in the UK, according to an article in The Telegraph.
Andrew Shafter outlines the history of mass-market paperbacks in “How Paperbacks Transformed the Way Americans Read.” (Mental Floss)  When PocketBooks first debuted, traditional hardcover-only publishers initially pooh-poohed the idea, but eventually had to jump on the bandwagon.  Hmm… see any parallels with the current revolution in reading/publishing?
Cloud computing:
It appears that other people share my worries about the push toward cloud computing.  On LibraryCity, David Rothman discusses “The risks of cloud-based e-books — and the related need for a robust, well-secured infrastructure.”   And Rich Adin (An American Editor blog) wonders “The Business of Editing: What Happens When the Cloud Isn’t Available?”
Reviews: 
Rebecca Allen writes “In Praise of Negative Reviews” to defend the usefulness to potential buyers of negative reviews — even those where the reviewer did not finish the book.
Miscellaneous: 
“Oxford Comma Dropped By a University of Oxford Style Guide.”  (GalleyCat) All right, editors and style guides have been going back and forth over this one for years, and one style guide isn’t going to end the debate.  The truth is, there are times when the serial comma isn’t necessary:  Davy likes apples, oranges and bananas.  The meaning of that sentence is perfectly clear without a comma after oranges.  But there are times when the serial comma can make a big difference in understanding: The bakery offers several types of scones: blueberry, apple and walnut and cranberry.    Do they have two scones, one being apple-walnut cranberry?  Or three scones?  If the latter, blueberry is obviously one, but are the other two apple-walnut (and) cranberry, or apple (and) walnut-cranberry?  Or did the writer go hog-wild with the “ands”, and there are actually four scones, one for each flavor?  Here, the serial comma is important: The bakery offers several types of scones: blueberry, apple and walnut, and cranberry.  The second comma here makes the meaning abundantly clear.   My personal preference is to use the serial comma; since I’m likely to need it for clarification at times, I’d rather be consistent and use it all the time. 

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