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.
I had to skip News & Notes last week because I was out of town with very limited Internet, so this is a compilation of two weeks’ worth of (hopefully) interesting stuff.
Books & Ebooks in the News:
- Sherlock Holmes & Watson characters are in the public domain, says the appeals judge in the case of Leslie S. Kinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, LTD. The ruling is worth reading, and it’s not full of legal jargon, so it’s easy to understand the background and the judge’s decision.
- Apple settles in class-action ebook price fixing case. (Daisuke Wakabayashi, The Wall Street Journal)
- B&N will separate Nook from brick-and-mortar business, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. The Nook division has been losing money, while the physical stores (and, presumably, online sales of physical books) are showing a profit.
- Hachette will buy Perseus Group. The purchase would give Hachette additional leverage in its dispute with Amazon. (Lesley Kaufman, New York Times)
- “Open Road Fires Back at HarperCollins in Copyright Case” over OR’s publication of Jean Craighead George’s Julie of The Wolves. George refused to grant HC the right to publish an ebook due to a disagreement over royalty rates, and chose OR instead. (Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly)
- ‘Wimpy Kid’ author Jeff Kinney to open a bookstore. (Interview by Sona Charaipotra for The Atlantic)
- “Industry Sales Flat in 2013; Trade Dropped 2.3%”. Ebook sales were also down, particularly in YA. (Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly)
- Simon & Schuster expands its library ebook lending program nationwide (press release) and the ALA responds. The news means that libraries will be able to offer S&S ebooks to their patrons.
- Amazon launched the Fire smartphone. It will be available on the the AT&T network, or you can purchase it unlocked for a whopping $649.
- The NY Public Library is exhibiting a rare Declaration of Independence in Jefferson’s own hand. The exhibit ends July 3, and it’s free. (GalleyCat)
Worth Reading/Listening to:
- “This is Your Brain on Writing” looks at a recent study of writer’s brains while they were engaged in creative writing. (Carl Zimmer, New York Times)
- What Makes a Word Real?: A TED Talk by English professor Anne Curzan, on slang, language change, and what dictionaries are and aren’t. Fascinating and fun, if you love words.
- “Amazon-Hachette Battle: Another Turning Point?” looks at two historical industry turning points: Barnes & Noble’s attempt to purchase powerhouse book distributor Ingram in 1998, and Waldenbooks’ domination of mass-market genre fiction sales in the 1980s. (For the record, I worked as a bookseller, assistant manager, and manager for WB in the ’80s.) (Jack W. Perry, Digital Book World)
- “5 New Bookish Words for the Age of Angst“ (Rachel Cordasco, BookRiot.) Humor with an edge. Read the comments, too.
- 5 alternative Penguin Random House logos, and the readers’ favorite, from Digital Book World. (Alas, these are just fantasy, and the boring new logo remains.)
- Daniel Keyes, Hugo and Nebula award-winning author of Flowers For Algernon and other works, died June 15, 2014. I remember reading Flowers for Algernon for a middle-school English class, and being devastated by it. I badly wanted a happy ending for Charlie, but the book would have had far less impact if it had ended well. Tor.com probably says it best: “Flowers for Algernon was an key example of science fiction that tackled problems of depth and emotional consequence; Keyes made a giant contribution to the discussion of science fiction as a serious art form. He will be greatly missed.” (Obituary: Tor.com)
For Writers & Bloggers:
- 25 Secrets of Publishing, Revealed! (Or, Inside the Bookish Shatterdome) is a well-written piece on what writers should know about publishing, both traditional and self/author. (Guest post by author and Angry Robot sales director Mike R. Underwood, for Chuck Wendig’s blog, TerribleMinds.)
- What you need to know about copyright and copyright protection (Allison Schiff, Publishers Weekly)
- “Plot, Originality, and the Value of Ideas” (blog post by writer Jennifer Lynn Barnes, on Tumblr)
- Thrillwriting: Helping Writers Write It Right is a blog by thriller writer Fiona Quinn, aimed at helping writers get the details right. She has covered topics such as guns (choosing, using, and problems you wouldn’t think of), human trafficking, and survival techniques.
- Cover design for self-published authors (Paige Crutcher, Publishers Weekly)
Free & Bargain books:
- SYNC audiobooks for 6/26-7/02:
- Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, by Matthew Quick (narrated by Noah Galvin. Hachette Audio)
- October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, by Leslea Newman (read by Emily Beresford, Luke Daniels, Tom Parks, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd & Christina Traister. Brilliance Audio.)
- SYNC audiobooks for 7/03-7/09:
- 13 Things an Adult Should Actually Be Embarrassed to Read (BookRiot)
- Book Your Trip: Because Reading Is About The Journey. NPR Books has compiled lists of books involving travel, broken into the following 12 categories: “train, plane, car, bike, boat, foot, city transit, horse, balloon, rocket ship, time, and a miscellaneous category that includes drugs, dragons, and giant peaches.” The lists are fun and eclectic — ‘trains’ includes both Anna Karenina and The Little Engine That Could — and the comments on each list are full of readers’ suggestions.
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.