Sunday, 5 March 2017

Book Marks: Textbooks, Libraries, And Reading

"Nai Sarak, Delhi's oldest bookselling and publishing hub, is struggling for survival. And the shopkeepers blame a number of factors — the advent of online bookstores selling second-hand books, rise in book piracy, a flourishing photocopy culture and an increase in number of foreign publishers setting up shop in India, making textbooks available at cheaper prices. ... sales have dipped by 60 to 70 percent in the last few years."

At a university in the US, a student paper also opined that the prices of textbooks are too damned high. "In fact, the average cost of a college textbook has increased by 73 percent since 2006, according to a study by Student Public Interest Research Groups. Nearly one-third of students in the study reported that they used financial aid to help pay for their textbooks."

A short story collection from an alleged North Korean writer is under a renewed spotlight. ... The Accusation by Bandi was first published in South Korea in May of 2014, but received little attention as a literary work. This was partly because no one was certain who Bandi was, or if the book was really written by a North Korean.

But the fate of the book encountered a change of tide late last year." Odd phrasing aside (what does "a change of tide" in a book's fate mean?), I think we'd all like to hear more stories from North Korea other than the fables spun by its government.


  • "I love books. I can't leave a bookstore without at least one. But I also have a tendency to buy books and not actually read them. Somewhere along the way reading fell by the wayside in favor of other forms of entertainment. To get back on track, I made some simple changes that have helped me with my reading habits thus far—no speed reading necessary."
  • "I was pulled out of line in the immigration queue at Los Angeles airport as I came in to the USA. Not because I was Mem Fox the writer – nobody knew that – I was just a normal person like anybody else. They thought I was working in the States and that I had come in on the wrong visa." Deny all you want, but it's increasingly clear that Trump's White House is encouraging the ghastly behaviours of ghastly people.
  • "Education publisher Pearson reports biggest loss in its history ... after a slump at its US education operation." In January, the world's largest education publisher announced that it was letting go of its stake in Penguin Random House.
  • "The Cologne Public Library is serving as a social and educational space for the city's refugees, as counterparts across Germany increasingly become places for community engagement. Could the UK learn from this?" Why not? What is going to happen to all that space once the books and shelves are gone?
  • "For Céline Leterme and Jon Dowling, they started talking about Counter-Print – an online book shop and publisher – at their own local [pub] nine years ago, after realising there were others who shared their love of vintage design books. Fast-forward to today, and the ambitious designers are now also selling new books on design from a variety of publishers they admire, as well as children's books..."
  • "When is a Trojan horse not a Trojan horse? When it is a branch of Waterstones. So says managing director James Daunt, eager to reassure retailers and readers after the chain came under fire for opening three unbranded branches in the past three years – Southwold Books in Suffolk, Harpenden Books in Hertfordshire and The Rye Bookshop in East Sussex." Maybe local bookstore chains should look into this.
  • "Let's be honest, it's been a rough couple of months [in the US], and the headlines over the past few weeks have been jarring and unsettling. Yet even the most die-hard political activist has to recharge and reboot every now and then. It's no surprise that small pleasures can provide a little well-needed escape in times such as these." Okay, but should you plug your own book in articles like this? Is it fine to do that now?


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