Get LISNews via email! Enter Your Email Address:
We have lost something in our reading of the Declaration of Independence. This is the argument of Danielle Allen's new book, "Our Declaration," where she explores the document through a careful look at the words themselves. Jeffrey Brown talks to Allen about her findings, and why the Declaration is actually a coherent argument of equality.
America’s beloved and distinguished historian presents, in a book of breathtaking excitement, drama, and narrative force, the stirring story of the year of our nation’s birth, 1776, interweaving, on both sides of the Atlantic, the actions and decisions that led Great Britain to undertake a war against her rebellious colonial subjects and that placed America’s survival in the hands of George Washington.
In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence—when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.
Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King’s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known. -- Read More
The E-Reader Death Watch Begins
Tech writers have begun rolling out their eulogies for the humble e-reader, which Mashable has deemed “the next iPod.” As in, it’s the next revolutionary, single-purpose device that's on the verge of being replaced by smartphones and tablet computers. Barnes & Noble is spinning off its Nook division. Amazon just debuted its own smartphone, which some are taking as a tacit admission that more people are reading books on their phone these days, to the detriment of the Kindle. The analysts at Forrester, meanwhile, expect that U.S. e-reader sales will tumble to 7 million per year by 2017, down from 25 million in 2012.
From the New York Times a fascinating look at how invaluable historical documents and artifacts are secured while in transit.
What we know as the World Wide Web — the main way by which most of us access the Internet — just turned 25 this year. Its existence has allowed for all kinds of learning and free expression, coding and making, rule-breaking and platform-making. One American researcher even links the Internet to a decline in religious affiliation.
An estimated 5 billion of us are expected to have Internet access in the next decade, but what will the Internet look like then? How easily will we be able to get, share and create with it?
An Amazon executive finally spoke out on the ongoing Hachette contract negotiations, saying that they are in the customer’s long-term interest.
Full piece at gigaoam
From The New York Times:
Mr. Chris Mr. Grayling is Britain’s secretary of state for justice, and last November, his department tightened the rules on privileges granted to inmates. One of the changes was to restrict the flow of books into prisons, with a ban on packages of books brought or sent by friends and relatives. Mr. MacShane’s case suggests that some guards have interpreted the policy as a broader ban, though the Ministry of Justice says books should be confiscated only on admission for logistical reasons or if the books are considered inappropriate.
Either way, the effect is to move toward a system under which prisoners must borrow books from prison libraries or earn the right to buy them through good behavior. The debate over access to literature in prison has put Mr. Grayling at the center of an acrimonious dispute over crime and punishment, rehabilitation and whether receiving books is a right or a privilege for a prisoner.
It has also made him some very creative enemies. Novelists, including Kathy Lette and Margaret Drabble, are threatening to name some of their most villainous and unfortunate fictional characters after Mr. Grayling. Ms. Lette said her coming novel, “Courting Trouble,” will feature a corrupt lawyer named Chris Grayling who ends up in a prison where he is deprived of reading matter and goes insane.
“For Britain to be punishing people by starving them of literature is cruel and unusual punishment,” Ms. Lette said as she took part in a protest last month outside the prime minister’s office. “We are going to impale him on the end of our pens. Poetic justice is true justice.”
Book published in 1985. Very interesting read because it was looking ahead to the problems high tech could cause. When you read the warnings you know how good they are because the time has passed and you can judge the quality of the prediction/warning. Book warns that computers could monitor our phones. Glad that did not happen.
Find the book at a library.
Used copies of the book - The high cost of high tech: The dark side of the chip
Talk at NYPL
In April 2014, Amazon and Hachette locked horns in what has become a very public, and still ongoing, battle over contract negotiations. After the online retailer removed the pre-order option, imposed shipping delays, and slashed discounts on the book publisher's titles, the reaction against Amazon was swift and fierce. But the story of the Amazon-Hachette dispute is anything but simple, and raises critical questions about the future of the book publishing industry. What is really at stake for the companies, authors and readers? What larger issues of free-market capitalism and free speech are at play? And what does the Amazon-Hachette dispute reveal about the future of the publishing industry in the age of e-books? Authors, agents, and publishers take to the LIVE from the NYPL stage to tackle these urgent questions in a conversation moderated by Tina Bennett, literary agent at WME. Guests include: best-selling author James Patterson; Morgan Entrekin, publisher and president of Grove Atlantic; Bob Kohn, attorney and founder of EMusic.com; Tim Wu, law professor and theorist of “net neutrality;” and Danielle Allen, political theorist, author of a new book on the Declaration of Independence and elected chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board.
A suburban Detroit library system will keep copies of a free weekly newspaper behind the counter following complaints that it carries sexually explicit advertisements. The Grosse Pointe Library Board voted 7-0 on Thursday to stack the Metro Times out of sight, the Detroit Free Press reported. Some complained that the advertisements promoted human trafficking.
Corey Doctorow argues that the overuse of DRM is harming Hachette in their negotiations/fight with Amazon. Full piece here.
The Pew Research Center’s studies about libraries and where they fit in the lives of their communities and patrons have uncovered some surprising facts about what Americans think of libraries and the way they use them. As librarians around the world are gathered in Las Vegas for the American Library Association’s annual conference, here are findings that stand out from our research, our typology of public library engagement and the quiz we just released that people can take to see where they compare with our national survey findings: What kind of library user are you?
Infringing company is pointing to a 2012 ruling by Europe’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, in the case of UsedSoft v Oracle. That case was about reselling licenses for downloadable software, and the court ruled that – even when the software license explicitly forbids resale – the buyer should have the right to resell that licence, just as they would be allowed to resell a boxed software copy.
Story at Boston.com about program to increase ebook lending in the state and discussion about the problems relating to ebook lending and libraries.
The competition is heating up for the Literary World Cup at the LA Public Library on twitter @LAPublicLibrary.
If you're on twitter, follow along at #LiteraryWorldCup.
The Shatzkin Files
For most of my lifetime, the principal challenge a publisher faced to get a book noticed by a consumer and sold was to get it on the shelves in bookstores. Data was always scarce (I combed for it for years) but everything I ever saw reported confirmed that customers generally chose from what was made available through their retailers. Special orders — when a store ordered a particular book for a particular customer on demand, which meant the customer had to endure a gap between the visit when they ordered the book and one to pick it up — were a feature of the best stores and the subject of mechanisms (one called STOP in the 1970s and 1980s) that made it easier. But they constituted a very small percentage of any store’s sales, even when the wholesalers Ingram and Baker & Taylor made a vast number of books available to most stores within a day or two.
Full post here.
The NYPL’s “Check Out the Internet” project will lend WiFi hotspots for up to one year at a time and plans to distribute the service through various educational initiatives already running across its neighborhood library branches—for example, Out of School Time programs, technology training classes, and courses in English for speakers of other languages.
The NYPL actually launched a mini version of the program last month, distributing 100 devices across four library branches. According to NYPL president Tony Marx, it’s still too early to draw any conclusions from the 100-household pilot, but they’ve already begun collecting data like how much time participants are spending online and whether they’re using the devices at home or elsewhere. This information will guide the larger roll-out aimed at 10,000 households with an anticipated cost of $1 million. The Knight Foundation grant will get the NYPL half of the way there, and the library is currently trying to fundraise for the rest.
More on the Chicago program and future endeavors in the article.
Aereo's TV Streaming Service Is Illegal, Supreme Court Says
Aereo, the company that lets subscribers watch TV stations' video that it routes onto the Internet, violates U.S. copyright law, the Supreme Court has ruled. The court's 6-3 decision reverses a lower court on what has been a hotly contested issue.
'Unlike video-on-demand services, Aereo does not provide a prearranged assortment of movies and television shows," Scalia wrote. "Rather, it assigns each subscriber an antenna that — like a library card — can be used to obtain whatever broadcasts are freely available."
Full story here.
In a three-way deal that would continue a wave of consolidation in the publishing industry, Hachette Book Group has purchased the publishing division of the Perseus Book Group, while selling Perseus' client-service business to leading distributor Ingram Content Group.
Hachette, where authors include James Patterson, J.K. Rowling and Malcolm Gladwell, jointly announced the transaction Tuesday with Perseus and Ingram. The news comes at a time when Hachette is in contentious negotiations with Amazon.com, which has slowed shipments, reduced discounts and removed pre-order buttons for numerous Hachette releases.