Sunday, 1 May 2016

Book Marks: Cassava, Google, And Barcelona Bookstores

Sarah Ladipo Manyika, an author with Cassava Republic Press, explains her decision to work with an African publisher.

Some people are sceptical about my decision to work with an African publisher, especially given the fact that I live in America and have access to American and European agents. They ask: does my decision make economic sense? Will an African publisher do as well as a western publisher? Behind these polite enquiries, the real question that I feel is being asked is whether an African publisher can be as good as a European or an American. The assumption is that the west does things better than Africa.

The US Authors Guild's appeal to stop Google from scanning millions of books has been rejected by the US Supreme Court. Which means that "the books, both in and out of copyright, are included in Google Books, which enables users to read extracts from books and search their texts."

This verdict sounds pretty far-reaching.

Barcelona's bookstores are reinventing themselves to survive. One apparently added a cafeteria and offered cooking classes, and hosts events in its premises.

"We had to change. Either we reinvented ourselves or it was really impossible to stay open," said Montserrat Serrano, owner of said bookstore, +Bernat.

I said a little more about the future of bookstores - especially indies - a while back, and I'd like to see how this develops.

  • More books have recently been banned, including Grey, a.k.a. (Fifty Shades of Grey As Told By Christian) and Orang Ngomong Anjing Gonggong by DuBook Press. So now, you have more items on your shelf that will get you fined, jailed or both. Another book by another indie publisher, Merpati Jingga, was forbidden to sell the book, Kriminalisasi Ganja, at the 2016 KL International Book Festival.
  • For those who can't get enough of Zen Cho, here's "The Four Generations of Chang E", a short sci-fi story loosely based on the myth of the moon fairy. As Washington Post books section editor Ron Charles would say, "So. Poignant." WARNING: May shrivel the egos of aspiring writers of fiction.
  • History was made as Dr Zurinah Hassan, better known by her pen name, "Haniruz", recently became Malaysia's first-ever female recipient of the National Laureate Award.
  • "In one spasm of violence, they burned just about everything they could find". Salon speaks with Joshua Hammer about his book, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu. Among the "bad-ass" librarians highlighted in the book is Abdel Kader Haidara, whose story, on National Geographic, I'd bookmarked several years ago.


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