Thursday, 23 February 2017

Book Marks: Indies, Sensitivity Readers, And A Dictator's Son

Tokyo-based journalist Yoji Gomi, author of My Father, Kim Jong Il, and Me said that:

...Kim Jong Nam, the son of late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and the half brother of current leader Kim Jong Un, represented a small hope for change in the isolated communist country.

"I thought he was someone who has something meaningful to say, and perhaps bring change to North Korea."

Is that why he was dealt with?

For an island nation of 23.5 million people, Taiwan churns out about 40,000 new titles annually. But things aren't going great:

Between 2012 and 2015, Taiwan’s total book sales dropped 46%, from $1.14 billion to $617.9 million, although sales seems to have stabilized in the past year. Much of the decline is due to bookstore closures and had little to do with e-books, which account for less than 4% of the market.

The number of registered bookstores went from 2,603 in 2007 to 2,192 in 2015. Last year, only 1,492 were still in business.

So Taiwan's indie booksellers and publishers are scrambling to reverse that trend.

Need a sensitivity reader for your new book on, says, crazy-rich Asians? Well, it's now a thing. Though some are for it ("A blind misrepresentation of a minority culture is a failing of craft as much as an underdeveloped protagonist or poor pacing."), others are not, especially if authors feel forced to have their work scrutinised for blind spots ("Censorship doesn't start with government dictates. It begins with popular pressure.").


  • Despite concerns regarding U.S.-Cuban relations, the U.S. Publishing Mission to Cuba (organised by Publishers Weekly and US book promotion and book marketing company Combined Book Exhibit) "ended this year's visit on an optimistic note, with both Cuban and American publishers vowing to continue to work to somehow bring the two industries closer together."
  • "It's a wonderful time to be a reader," says Ron Charles, editor of The Washington Post's Book World, in this Q&A with
  • Malaysia's George Town Literary Festival was shortlisted for the Literary Festival Award under the London Book Fair (LBF) International Excellence Awards.
  • "With a mixture of tough love and an unshakeable belief in the power of the physical book, which seemed quixotic in the era of e-readers and online discounting, [bookseller James] Daunt began to turn things around." How Waterstones came back from the dead.
  • "Many business owners now recognise what a powerful tool a book can be to help them build credibility for their brand and raise the profile and visibility of their business. However, there are several ways that a book can do exactly the opposite of what is required." BusinessZone lays them out.
  • "For decades, booksellers peddling their wares along Pansodan Street have formed an important part of the city's fabric, but last year authorities forced them to move as part of plans to clear the increasingly cluttered pavements. On January 7, a new home was found for them at the 'Yangon Book Street', located on the corner of Thein Phyu and Anawrahta streets, next to the historic Secretariat and Central Press buildings."
  • The claims in this book, Masculinity and Science, about how science became a manly pursuit are kind of interesting.
  • Now that Amazon is streamlining the way self-published paperbacks are printed with its Kindle Direct Publishing program, "it's even easier to force your friends to read your novel," according to Engadget.


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