News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, giveaways on this and other blogs, and other cool stuff.
Books & Ebooks in the News:
|Giuseppe Leto Barone. Used under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-ND 2.0)
- “Why Amazon Supports an Online Sales-Tax Bill” (Jacob Goldstein, NPR’s Planet Money). For more on who’s for and against the bill, check out this Gigaom article by Jeff John Roberts.
- Penguin won’t get the jury trial it sought in the ebook price-fixing case. (Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly)
- “The Perils of Digital Textbooks — CourseSmart Crashes During Exam Week” (Nate Hoffelder, The Digital Reader)
- Amazon’s net sales are up for the first quarter, but net income is down. And the Kindle lending library boasts over 300,000 ebooks. (Jason Boog, GalleyCat)
- John Simpson is retiring as editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Audie Cornish interviewed him for NPR’s All Things Considered, and here’s the official announcement from the OED.
- The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes for 2013 have been awarded, nonoring the best books of 2012. Margaret Atwood received a special “Innovator’s Award.”
- Publishers Weekly explores “How Deep Has Digital Backlist Gone?” (Gabe Habash and Jim Milliot). Fiction understandably fares better than sometimes graphic-intensive nonfiction, with more past fiction bestsellers available as Kindle ebooks than their nonfiction brethren.
- “German Court Nixes Selling Used Ebooks” (Publishers Weekly)
|E. L. Konigsburg|
- Children’s author E. L. Konigsburg died last Friday, August 19. It’s worth reading both the New York Times obituary by Paul Vitello and “Postcript: E. L. Konigsburg (1930 – 2013)”, a lovely piece by Emily Greenhouse on Konigsburg’s best-known work, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, in The New Yorker.
- Historical romance author Courtney Milan has an interesting piece on publishers’ need for a digital strategy, based on the success of Avon’s historical romance ebooks in the past year or two.
- “Book Discovery: Give Me Blind Dates With Books” talks about how we do, and should, discover new books. (Suw Charman-Anderson, Forbes) I don’t agree with her on all points, particularly regarding the reliability of online reviews. Yes, there are a lot of fake reviews on Amazon, and probably on Goodreads as well. But most bloggers I read are real people, with real opinions. I learn over time which reviewers’ opinions most closely match mine; if those reviewers like a book and I like the description, it’s probably worth trying.
- Waterstone’s founder Tim Waterstone would not start a bookstore today, according to an interview with Neil Craven at This Is Money.co.uk .
- Amazon currently has Scrivener writing software on sale for $20, more than half off the list price. My daughter and a writer friend both use Scrivener, and think it is fantastic. It’s very versatile; you can use it for fiction or nonfiction, even for writing research papers. I plan to get my own copy.
- “Why You Should Back Up Your Writing Right Now” Ouch. (GalleyCat)
- In honor of Shakespeare’s birthday, Goodreads has a great infographic to help you pick which Shakespeare work to read next.
- List of Free Science Books compiled by Physics Database. (If that link doesn’t work, try this one.)
- Earlier this month, I reviewed Dorothy Sayers’ Whose Body?, the first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery. Publisher Open Road Media recently put it on sale for $0.99. Go to Open Road’s page for Whose Body? and click the link for “Buy the Ebook”, where you will find links to the five major ebook retailers.
Just for Fun:
- Stairs, endless dresses, and fences: Linnea of Cover Cafe checks out the hottest trends in romance novel covers
I’m always on the lookout for interesting articles, lists, and links for News & Notes, so please let me know if you see (or write!) anything that might be good for this feature. You can leave me a comment or send me an email — my address is on the About/Review Policy/Contact page.