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:
- Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited, a subscription ebook service similar to Oyster and Scribd. They’re offering around 600,000 Kindle books and a fair number of Audible books as well. You can borrow up to 10 at a time and read them on up to 6 devices. (Nice for my family, since we have 3 Kindles.) You can use (almost) any device, but can only browse from Kindle devices, Kindle for Android, and Kindle for Samsung. Title selection varies; it includes things like the Hunger Games and Harry Potter books, and The Lord of the Rings. However, almost all the new releases I checked, and many of my favorite volume current and backlist authors like Mercedes Lackey, Agatha Christie, Dick Francis, and Robyn Carr are conspicuously absent. I’m holding off for now. Publishers Weekly covered the launch; the comments, pro and con, make for interesting reading.
- “Apple Could Pay Consumers $40 Million, Or Nothing” in the ebook price-fixing case. Here’s why. (Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly)
- Conan Doyle estate appeals Sherlock Holmes copyright ruling to Supreme Court (Publishers Weekly)
- The 2014 Carnegie Medals for Excellence in fiction and nonfiction went to Donna Tartt for The Goldfinch and Doris Kearns Goodwin for The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. (ALA website) Publishers Weekly covered the award ceremony.
- HarperCollins is now aggressively selling direct. Publishers Weekly‘s Calvin Reid asks “Is Selling Direct Worth It?”
- “France Bans Free Shipping on Discounted Books” in an effort to protect brick-and-mortar bookstores from online retailers like Amazon. (Diana Dilworth, GalleyCat)
Worth Reading/Listening to:
- “Is Fan Fiction Really So Wrong?” Catherynne M. Valente doesn’t think so. (i09)
- An insightful Q&A with author Deborah Harkness on Candice’s Book Blog
- “Counterfeit Kindle Books” Did you know that there are counterfeit Kindle books? Essentially, pirated copies of copyrighted books, on sale for much less than the authorized editions. This post teaches you how (and why) to spot them and not get burned. (The Digital Media Mom)
- “Libraries Are Not a ‘Netflix’ for Books”. A strong defense of libraries by librarian Kelly Jensen (BookRiot)
- “Amy McCulloch: why children’s literary heroes need to be less white” (The Guardian)
For Writers & Bloggers:
- Google+ has eased its name restrictions as of this week. If you, like me, were holding off on Google+ because they wouldn’t let you use or include your blog name, it may be easier now. (GoodEReader)
Novelist Nadine Gordimer died Sunday, July 13, 2014, at the age of 90. A Nobel Prize winner, the South African writer revealed the nature and effects of apartheid in her works. (Obituary: The New York Times)
Contests and giveaways:
- Ann Aguirre is running an awesome scavenger hunt contest for the release of her new YA series debut, Mortal Danger. This is a contest where the harder you work at, the more chance you have of winning. The grand prize is a trip to meet and hang out with Aguirre at one of her tour locations (or a laptop, if you don’t want to do that.) There are other cool prizes, too.
Free & Bargain books:
- SYNC Audiobooks
- Week of 7/17 – 7/23/14: The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer (narrated by Katherine Kellgren; Recorded Books) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes II by Arthur Conan Doyle (narrated by David Timson; Naxos AudioBooks)
- Week of 7/24 – 7/30/14: Headstrong by Patrick Link (performed by Deidrie Henry, Ernie Hudson, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine and Scott Wolf; L.A. Theatre Works) and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (narrated by Scott Brick; Tantor Audio)
|Book Bench – Samuel Pepys’ Diary. Photo by ElenaxElena, via The Guardian.|
- More London book benches — at least 3 pages of photos sent in by readers of The Guardian.
- SFF’s best fictional librarians (Tor.com)
- 2014 YA Fiction Preview, Part 2: 66 Titles for Your July — September Radar (BookRiot)
- Dragon art. Lots and lots and lots of incredible dragon art, curated by Irene Gallo for Tor.com.
- “The Other Middle-Aged Harry Potter Books J. K. Rowling Has Planned”. No, not really. But these spoof covers are kind of funny in a depressing sort of way. (Someecards.com)
Just for fun:
- “Weird Al” Yankovic has a new music video out: “Word Crimes”. It’s a parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” that emphasizes good grammar, syntax, and spelling (something of a pet peeve for Yankovic.) NPR recently interviewed Yankovic about his music, his life, and his upcoming new album.
|by Michael Lipsey, aphorist and artist (via his stoicmike Tumblr)|
That’s it for this week!
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.