Monday, 6 February 2012

News: Franzen, Coelho And An Endangered Publishing Ecosystem

It's been three hours since I returned from a gym. That's my resolution for this year: spend some time working out - and tackling that problem I've had for years.

Some big news includes Jonathan Franzen's rant about e-books damaging society and endangering democracy. Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan blows off the latter, calling it "Wieseltierian piffle" (whatever that is). Sullivan's readers put in their two cents on the issue.

But Franzen isn't the only author who seems to hate e-books, and e-books aren't the only things he hates. That being said, "Things Jonathan Franzen Says Are Bad for Society" would make a great e-booklet.

Paulo Coelho, however, loves e-books. So much so, that he's spreading that love - by asking people to pirate his e-books. It's understandable when you know that he claims to owe his big break to his decision to make The Alchemist free for download on his web site. But Coelho's no struggling author, and I don't think he's sending out the right kind of message with his "Pirate Me!" plea.

  • The Amazon vs Other Publishing Houses battle heats up with Barnes & Noble announcing that they won't stock books published by Amazon. Also joining the boycott is Canada's Indigo Books and Music. This guy says that move won't work.

    Someone even went so far as to say that Barnes & Noble is the last hope for traditional publishers. I hope B&N won't take that too seriously because, well, look at Borders. The Authors Guild, part of the Authors League of America, blogged its take on a "publishing ecosystem on the brink".

    Amazon, meanwhile, gets achy breaky with a publishing deal for Billy Ray Cyrus's memoir. Because who can resist the urge to insert "achy breaky" in a sentence like that?
  • In response to the ban on Mexican American studies in Tucson, Arizona, which entails an alleged ban on books about Latino history and culture, the Librotraficante movement is planning to smuggle books that would be banned back into the state. Elsewhere in the US, some schools are adopting Mexican American studies.
  • Some "big" and familiar reasons why indie authors are not taken seriously.
  • Flavorwire's list of the most dangerous books of all time.
  • An interesting piece on marriage and bookshelves. We've all heard of joint bank accounts - joint home libraries, anyone? I didn't know having different reading preferences could be a problem for married couples.
  • Ewan Morrison says we're at the start of an e-publishing bubble. A dissenting voice speaks out. Also, there may be problems in pushing e-textbooks at one university.
  • An author's guest post about the first month in Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select programme. In short: you won't get rich quick.
  • Some things learned from opening a bookstore: tips for buying bookshelves, recommending books and stocking free stuff baskets. Because lists like these can come in handy.
  • Why do we insist on learning lessons from the books we read? ...Yeah, why do we?
  • Someone asks: Should "Mein Kampf", with its "hundreds of pages of turgid, often incoherent prose," remain banned? I say no. The ban hasn't worked at all in stopping the hate. And the "Never" in "Never again" is happening to other people.
  • Another thing we share with Indonesians: not reading a lot of good books. No simple explanations here, however.
  • It's not just budding millionaire YA authors. Serious photojournalists also have trouble publishing books. Here's one photojourno's rocky road towards publishing his book on the illegal trade of endangered species.
  • Weighed down by serious reads? Take a book break and sit down with something lighter. Don't think anyone should be judged for that.
  • Moon People is probably the worst book ever (for 2012) - just look at the excerpts. Makes me excited about what "the worst book ever" will be for 2013.

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