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:
- J. K. Rowling plans more than seven Galbraith mysteries, says she enjoys writing an open-ended series. (The Bookseller)
- Students invent a solar-powered book drop that kills bedbugs. (Bethany Barnes, Las Vegas Review-Journal)
- Book bundling startup BitLit signs HarperCollins to a pilot program. HC will offer 6 ebook titles to BitLit customers at between $1.99 and $2.99. Additional titles will be added (or substituted?) each month. BitLit lets consumers who already own a physical copy of a book download an ebook copy free or heavily discounted. Customers prove they own the book by writing their name on the copyright page, taking a photo, and uploading it using BitLit’s app. HC is the first of the Big Five to sign with BitLit.
- Amazon-Hachette crisis panel debates “danger level” posed by Amazon. The panel was heavily weighted on the side of publishers and authors; Amazon sent only one representative.
- And Amazon is losing customers over its fight with Hachette, according to a Codex survey reported by Forbes.
- Judge Cote “troubled” by Apple’s $450 million settlement deal. (Reuters)
- “ALA Files Comments Supporting Net Neutrality” (GalleyCat)
- The 2014 Man Booker Prize longlist is out!
Worth Reading/Listening to:
- “How the Public Library Turned Me Into a Reader” (Claire Fallon, Huffington Post Books)
- “10 Things Publisher Have Been Doing (That We Should Celebrate)” (Futurebook, a blog of The Bookseller)
- “Do We Demand More From Our Books Than Reality?” (Kimba on the Caffeinated Book Reviewer blog)
- this brilliant review of Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series (James A. Moore, on Tor.com)
- Why Are Books Getting Longer? (BookRiot) The comments are worth reading, too, including several that challenge the author’s study methods (admittedly imprecise). Nonetheless, my personal opinion as someone who worked in a bookstore 25 years ago is that he’s right – books are getting longer, on average.
For Writers & Bloggers:
- “The Best WordPress Plugins for Freelance Writers” — or bloggers. (Kirsty Stuart, Freelance Writers Online blog)
- Thomas Berger, best known for Little Big Man, died last week in Nyack, New York. He was 89. (Obituaries: Washington Post; Huffington Post)
- Australian Liam Davison, author of Soundings, The Velodrome and several other books, was on the Malaysian Airlines plane that was shot down over Ukraine. (GalleyCat. The Sydney Morning Herald also has a tribute to Davison’s work.)
- Free online course: Laura Ingalls Wilder: Exploring Her Work and Writing Life. The 8-week MOOC is offered through MSU. It’s free, though you’ll have to purchase several books.
- “Competing J.R.R. Tolkien Biopics Present Different Takes on the Lord of the Rings Author” (Stubby the Rocket, on Tor.com)
Free & Bargain books:
- SYNC 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)
- Week of 7/31 – 8/06/14: Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy (narrated by Andrew Eiden; Scholastic Audio) and The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (narrated by Frank Muller; Recorded Books)
|Matilda by Charlotte Olympia (unfortunately, no longer available)|
- Twinkletoes: Bookish Shoes for Literary Feet (BookRiot)
- There and Back Again: Our Favorite Forms of [SFF] Fictional Transport (Tor.com)
- 12 Books That Capture What It’s Like to Be an Introvert (Huffington Post Books)
- Kid Lit Stamps from Around the World (BookRiot)
- 49 Signs You’re Addicted to Reading (Thought Catalog)
- Want to make your own Dr. Who/TARDIS shoes? (Doodle Craft)
- The Book Thing of Baltimore, Inc. is a free bookstore. Yes, you read that right: free.
Just for fun:
|Stainless steel wire fairies, by UK artist Robin Wight (via BoredPanda)|
- Check out these gorgeous wire fairy sculptures by UK artist Robin Wight. There are more sculptures and photos if you click the link.
That’s it for this week! Happy reading!
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.
Lark, you have outdone yourself again! I just read through most of your articles while having 2 cups of coffee (it’s morning here). It’s like having a literary newspaper for me to read on Saturdays 🙂
I read and posted on Kimba’s book discussion this week (good one), liked the article about borrowing library books, loved the beautiful fairy sculptures etc.
I read with trepidation about Amazon keeping up this nonsense. We are an e-reader family, altogether we have: a basic kindle (son), paperwhite (me), hd fire (me) newer hd fire (hubby), daughter who doesn’t live with us (fire) and an old color nook (not used, not
working reliably). We even subscribe to Prime each yr. for the quick, free shipping service– especially for mailing gifts, the free movies and tv shows, and the free book a month.
After I have said all this…I am ashamed to still be attached to Amazon with how they are behaving lately, playing games and trying to take over the online book world and punishing authors. Don’t get me wrong– I realize that some publishers played games where they charged customers too much for e-books to try to keep print books relevant– hence the recent rebates which many of us benefited from. I don’t know what I will do in the future, but for now I am sticking with them.
Enjoy your day!
Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard
Rita, I love you! You know how to put a glow over my whole day! It makes me so happy when people enjoy these posts.
I have qualms about my involvement with Amazon, too. For a long time, I refused to have a Kindle, and went with a Sony ePub reader. But, well, everyone else on my side of the extended family had Kindles, and there were so many more deals and lower prices on the books I wanted to read. When my Sony Reader was dying, I gave in and asked for a Kindle Paperwhite, and I’ve really been enjoying it. And we’ve had Prime for years, for the shipping and sometimes the video streaming.
They do have a reputation for pushing publishers on price, sometimes beyond what small publishers, who have very tight margins, can afford. On the other hand, Hachette isn’t exactly guiltless either, as you point out. I’m leery of Amazon’s megalith status but I’ve benefited as a customer.
I don’t see Kindle Unlimited as another example of Amazon being avaricious, because there are two other companies out there doing exactly the same thing: Oyster and Scribd. It was only a matter of time before Amazon jumped in. As some folks point out, you can get the same service from a library, for free. (True, and I have made use of my library’s ebook lending programs.) Some will go with Kindle Unlimited for the convenience, and some will stick to Oyster or Scribd, and some will go with the library. Oyster & Scribd don’t (or didn’t) work on Kindle or Kindle Paperwhite, though they might on Fire. Incidentally, the public library is the only one of those services that includes any titles by the Big Five publishers, so for now, I’ll stick to the library. (Besides, I already pay to use my library, since my little local one is, well, LITTLE. So I pay to use the big four-county system headquartered in our nearest small city. Can’t quite see paying for KU, too.)
Oh, look at those shoe photos, lovely!
And I have no doubt about books getting longer, the proof is sitting on my bookshelves. All anyone has to do is look at a book shelf in a store or scan the book lengths of books at an online vendor.
Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard
I’ve got some pretty big “older” books on my shelves, but most of them are multi-book volumes. There are exceptions, but I think the “books getting longer” thesis is true.
Great links Lark! The BitLit thing sounds interesting, though I’d kinda like to go in reverse and show them that I own an ebook and get a discount on the physical book LOL.
I wonder if Amazon is really losing customers over this whole thing – I mean, I don’t know anyone who has stopped buying books because of it. I’ll have to check that one out.
And gah! those shoes! Can I have them, please? LOL!