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Recently I found myself explaining to a group of surprised friends from Protestant and secular backgrounds that, despite being educated in the Catholic faith up to the sacrament of confirmation at age 14, I didn't read the Old Testament until I was assigned it in a college literature course. Traditionally, the Catholic Church did not encourage its congregation to read the Bible; we had the priests to explain it to us. In fact, the church once took such a dim view of the idea that, in 1536, the English reformer William Tyndale was tried for heresy, strangled and burned at the stake, largely for translating the Bible into English for a lay readership. Tyndale House, a major American Christian publisher, is named after him. -- Read More
I wasn’t planning to write a post this past weekend for Monday morning publication. But then Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler contacted me on Saturday to tell me what Barry is up to. I’ve read their lengthy conversation about Barry’s decision to turn down a $500,000 contract (apparently for two books) and join Joe (and many others, but none who have turned down half-a-million bucks) as a self-published author.
To use a metaphor that connects with the current news: this is a very major earthquake. This one won’t cause a tsunami and a nuclear meltdown, but you better believe it will lead everybody living near a reactor — everybody working in a major publishing house — to do a whole new round of risk-assessment. Because, in its way, this is more threatening than the earthquake that just hit Japan. This self-publishing author will much more assuredly and directly spawn followers.
As news of Eisler’s decision spreads, phones will be ringing in literary agencies all over town with authors asking agents, “shouldn’t I be doing this?”
Newly single Renée Zellweger spent some time shopping at a local book store on the Upper East Side where she bought an interesting choice: The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks. Looks like her break from Bradley Cooper has her searching for some guidance!
Libraries would own ebooks and offer purchase through catalog.
Review in the NYT Sunday Review of Books
Book on Amazon: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
This book trailer got a good write up at Publisher's Weekly.
Richard Curtis, veteran literary agent and president of Ereads.com, shared a few publishing predictions for 2011.
Here is a talk by Curtis in 1999 called Content Spoken Here
Intellectual property law has long been justified on the belief that external incentives are necessary to get people to produce artistic works and technological innovations that are easily copied. This Essay argues that this foundational premise of the economic theory of intellectual property is wrong. Using recent advances in behavioral economics, psychology, and business-management studies, it is now possible to show that there are natural and intrinsic motivations that will cause technology and the arts to flourish even in the absence of externally supplied rewards, such as copyrights and patents.
As the popularity of smartphones continues to grow, the challenge, on a global scale, may only get greater.
The defunct satirical publication that launched a thousand magazine careers and dodged a thousand lawsuits is now available digitally — thanks to Google.
Graffiti and unsanctioned art—from local origins to global phenomenon
In recent years street art has grown bolder, more ornate, more sophisticated and—in many cases—more acceptable. Yet unsanctioned public art remains the problem child of cultural expression, the last outlaw of visual disciplines. It has also become a global phenomenon of the 21st century.
Made in collaboration with featured artists, Trespass examines the rise and global reach of graffiti and urban art, tracing key figures, events and movements of self-expression in the city's social space, and the history of urban reclamation, protest, and illicit performance. The first book to present the full historical sweep, global reach and technical developments of the street art movement, Trespass features key works by 150 artists, and connects four generations of visionary outlaws including Jean Tinguely, Spencer Tunick, Keith Haring, Os Gemeos, Jenny Holzer, Barry McGee, Gordon Matta-Clark, Shepard Fairey, Blu, Billboard Liberation Front, Guerrilla Girls and Banksy, among others. It also includes dozens of previously unpublished photographs of long-lost works and legendary, ephemeral urban artworks.
As people stop telling the time using their wristwatches and use their mobile phones instead, a new genre of device takes up the vacant real estate on their wrists.
Article mentions the wrist watch being used as a "third screen" to present information.
$467 book that made it into the Amazon top 100 books.
The kids I celebrated in my early books as “digital natives,” capable of seeing through all efforts of big media and marketing, have actually proven less able to discern the integrity of the sources they read and the intentions of the programs they use than we struggling adults are. If they don’t know what the programs they’re using are even for, they don’t stand a chance at using them effectively. They’re less likely to become power users than the used. It is our job as educators to change all this. We’re our students’ best chance of becoming media—or new media—literate. Yet our digital practices betray our own unconscious approach toward these media. We employ technologies in our lives and our curriculums by force of habit or fear of being left behind.
I regularly visit one-to-one laptop schools where neither the students nor the educators have any real sense of purpose about the highly technologized program they’ve implemented. They bring a very powerful new medium into the classroom and make it central without having reckoned with the medium’s biases.
Full article at School Library Journal
Interesting blog post at "An American Editor" blog.
It has been an ongoing frustration of mine, dealing with bibliographic information that cites the Internet and ebooks.
In the olden days, way back when I was a student, the rule was that citing a source meant it really existed and was verifiable; one couldn’t cite and have accepted “James, J. (2010, August 10). Private conversation.” But today, I guess, anything goes — at least if you are in the role of author but not in the role of paper grader; that is, I find these types of cites in academic papers knowing full well that if a student of the author submitted such a cite, it would be unacceptable.
More important, however, is that cites to web pages that no longer exist — if they ever really existed — seem to be de rigueur, and no one complains. It used to be that it was not enough to cite a source, but the source had to be reputable and accepted in the field. It was pretty hard to cite Portnoy’s Complaint as an authority on sexual mores, yet I suspect that would not be true today.
Article at Library Journal
I was just at a small informal gathering of academic library directors who were discussing a variety of things, including who was doing what about discovery layers, whether we need to revisit shared collection development, and what was going on at our libraries in the areas of information literacy and faculty development. In the course of our discussion, someone said "what's the best way to get librarians out of the library?"
What, they bring their pillows and bed down for the night? Are they staging a sit-in? No, apparently directors worried that librarians who do most of their work in the library building might not be aware of what's going on in academic departments and that, in turn, faculty whose research needs are often answered by electronic resources might have little idea what librarians do for a living—or what we could be doing to help them.
New courier system saves money compared to postal service and other carriers. It also affects lending patterns and may give a nudge toward collaborative collection development.
New books in the Amazon Top 100 Bestselling books.
The anniversary will probably be observed in silence.
A week from Tuesday, when the Supreme Court returns from its midwinter break and hears arguments in two criminal cases, it will have been five years since Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken during a court argument.
Interesting article in the NYT about this.
When I last wrote about the quest to get free phone calls forever, a number of readers wrote to point out a very sneaky trick that lets you achieve that frugal heaven — even from your cellphone. Yes, it’s a way to get free cellphone calls, without listening to an ad, without being in Wi-Fi, without using any minutes.
Full article: Pogue's Post in the NYT