Sad Book Returned to NYPL After 54 Years

From Melville House:

Every so often, a book is returned to the library so late, it makes headlines. The due date of the sad book in this particular headline was August 17, 1959.

The New York Public Library recently received a copy of Ideal Marriage by Th.H. Van de Velde, M.D. The librarian reports it’s a “very wordy” and scientific guide to sex from 1926. (It’s “certainly more juicy than The Tropic of Cancer,” writes Billy Parrott of the Mid-Manhattan Library.)

It was such a source of shame, it wasn’t returned by the patron, but by his in-laws after the patron’s death:

We found this book amongst my late brother-in-law’s things. Funny thing is the book didn’t support his efforts with his first (and only) marriage… it failed! No wonder he hid the book! So sorry!!

A shocked in-law

Free David Lankes book

You can now download a free copy of the book Expect More for free from David Lankes' website

Book is $9.99 on Amazon - Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today's Complex World

David Lankes comments on Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt: Perhaps, you may think, I am an ivory tower academic blind to the coming disruptive change…like when the Internet was going to put libraries out of business… then Google…then Netflix…then Yahoo! Answers. Here’s the plain truth: there is a HUGE disruptive change happening in libraries, and it is facilitated by things like Google and Kindle Unlimited. Libraries are shifting from collection-focused buildings to centers of innovation focused on communities. If you think of libraries as places filled with books, you are in for a bit of a shock. Any library that can be replaced by a $10 a month subscription to stuff SHOULD be replaced.

Full post here.

Librarian and Romance Writer Enthusiast

Special to USA Today: Librarian of the year, man of RWA, aspiring cover model … these were just some of the names Sean Gilmartin was called while attending this year's Romance Writers of America conference in San Antonio.

"I (Gilmartin) was very close to adding car thief" to the list but luckily I can leave that out. Apparently, when a driver is holding a sign that clearly states Barbara Samuel, who just happens to be a seven-time RITA winner and RWA Hall of Famer, that vehicle is not for you. Needless to say, I didn't steal her ride from the airport but ironically was only a few hotel rooms down from her. Barbara, if you're reading this, I promise I wasn't stalking you at the conference; we really just kept running into each other. By coincidence. A lot.

That was the start of my RWA and the launch into my hashtag on Twitter: #SeanDoesRWA. I intended for it to be a way for family and friends to easily follow my escapades, but it actually turned into my best communication tool. People all over the conference were saying hello and despite not having met in person, we were chatting daily. I would then run into someone, standing in line for a book signing or whatnot, and we would actually meet. It was a surreal and incredible experience that lessened the fear deep inside of me that fueled my preconceived notion that as a librarian I would not fit in. It didn't matter that RWA has a special award for librarians — no, I was certain that I would feel isolated in the midst of 2,000 romance authors. I could not have been more wrong, and people could not have been more friendly, kind, and gracious to me every single day of RWA.

Librarians, Media React to Launch of Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt: “I’m enough of a realist to assume that consumers will gravitate to the cheapest, most convenient source of content, whether that’s Amazon or the public library,” said Jimmy Thomas, executive director of Colorado’s Marmot Library Network. “Amazon continues to set a high standard of convenience libraries should attend to. And every time this huge corporation does something on a massive scale, libraries should be reminded to approach services differently. Competing with Amazon on its own terms is not a good direction for libraries. But thinking about how to complement Amazon is worthwhile.”Full piece

Turning Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ into a work of art


In an old industrial building in San Francisco, the lines of American poet Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” are being printed exactly as they were when the first edition was published in 1855. Jeffrey Brown visits Arion Press, one of the country’s last fine book printers that handcrafts works from start to finish.

Subscriptions are in the news this week

Subscriptions for ebooks are certainly in the news this week. Amazon just announced their Kindle Unlimited offering, taking its place beside Oyster and Scribd as a “one price for all you can eat” Netflix- or Spotify-for-ebooks program. And the Book Industry Study Group has released a lengthy and fact-filled report from Ted Hill and Kate Lara covering subscriptions across publishing segments.

It is hard to quarrel with the report’s contention that “subscriptions are here to stay”. The report makes clear, and documents extensively, that there are a great variety of ways subscriptions can be offered and that tools making it easier to manage them are becoming cheaper, better, and more ubiquitous. The report suggests that subscriptions could occur for as narrow an offering as one author’s works. As technology enables subscription offers to be economically viable with less and less revenue, the tendency for more and more publishers to want to “own” their customers, combined with the tendency for publishers to build up their intellectual property inventory in an audience-centric (vertical) way, either organically or by acquisition, it is easy to see how they could proliferate.

Full piece

Self-Published Authors Make A Living — And Sometimes A Fortune

Five years ago, printing your own book was stigmatized and was seen as a mark of failure.

"But now," says Dana Beth Weinberg, a sociologist at Queens College who is studying the industry, "the self-published authors walk into the room, and they say, oh, well, 'I made a quarter million dollars last year, or $100,000, or made $10,000.' And it is still more than what some of these authors are making with their very prestigious contracts."

Weinberg says there is still a strong financial case to be made for publishing books the old-fashioned way, but there are now many well-known independent authors who have made a fortune self-publishing online.

Full piece

Observations on The New Millenium and How Technology has Changed Our Habits

A piece called DIARY from the London Review of Books from Rebecca Solnit. It begins:

"In or around June 1995 human character changed again. Or rather, it began to undergo a metamorphosis that is still not complete, but is profound – and troubling, not least because it is hardly noted. When I think about, say, 1995, or whenever the last moment was before most of us were on the internet and had mobile phones, it seems like a hundred years ago. Letters came once a day, predictably, in the hands of the postal carrier. News came in three flavours – radio, television, print – and at appointed hours. Some of us even had a newspaper delivered every morning."

How Much Will Elvis Presley's Library Card Bring This Time?

From the New York Times Arts Beat:

Elvis Presley’s earliest known signature – on a library card he signed as a 13-year-old student in Tupelo, Miss. – is one of the main draws in an auction of Elvis memorabilia to be held at Graceland, the singer’s palatial headquarters, in Memphis on Aug. 14.

In 2012, the card was sold for $7500 – a bargain, you would think .

Very Cool Book Posters by Gunter Rambow

remarkable book posters by German designer Gunter Rambow for S. Fischer Verlag from the 1970s while compiling images for the post, and I thought I would share them now while you wait.
http://www.casualoptimist.com/blog/2014/07/15/book-posters-by-gunter-rambow/

Biggest Ever Library Book Donation to Sacramento Area Friends Group

A Sacramento man has donated 13,000 books to the Friends of the Arden-Dimick Library, the largest donation the organization has ever received and one that includes works spanning topics from the Civil War to women’s studies.

Frank Rose, 85, spent decades amassing the collection, which he stored in two apartments in the building he manages. Library volunteers this week began packing the books – 500 boxes worth – to move to a storage space provided by Hines, a real estate firm, in preparation for sale. Rose also threw in steel bookcases.

“We take daily donations, but nothing on the scale of Mr. Rose’s,” said Margaret Clausen, a board member who oversees book sales for the Friends of the Arden-Dimick Library.

Read more here.

Unwitting AddThis Experiment With Tracking Technology That Is Difficult To Block

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140721/14523127960/tons-sites-including-whitehousegov-ex...
ProPublica has a new story about the rise of "canvas fingerprinting," a new method of tracking users without using cookies. It's a method that is apparently quite difficult to block if you're using anything other than Tor Browser. In short, canvas fingerprinting works by sending some instructions to your browser to draw a hidden image -- but does so in a manner making use of some of the unique features of your computer, such that each resulting image is likely to be unique (or nearly unique). The key issue here is that the popular "social sharing" company AddThis, which many sites (note: not ours) use to add "social" buttons to their website, had been experimenting with canvas fingerprinting to identify users even if they don't use cookies. As ProPublica's Julia Angwin notes, it's very difficult to block this kind of thing -- and tons of sites make use of AddThis -- including WhiteHouse.gov (whose privacy policy does not seem to reveal this, saying it only uses Google Analytics as a third party provider).

A Philandering President's Love Letters To Go on Display

From the New York Times a preview of the collection of love letters between President Warren G. Harding and his mistress, Carrie Fulton Phillips. The letters are going on display next week at the Library of Congress.

A Love Letter to Public Libraries

From Huffington Post Books.

First printed book in English sold for over £1m

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-28344300
A 540-year-old book, known as the first to be printed in the English language, has sold at auction for more than £1m.

The Recuyell of the Histories of Troye is a version of a French book written around 1463.

It was translated over a three-year period by William Caxton, who pioneered the printing press in England.

The story of WebP: How Google wants to speed up the web, one image at a time

Google wants WebP to become the internet’s next dominant image file format. That’s not likely going to happen anytime soon — but WebP could still have a huge impact.

http://gigaom.com/2014/07/19/the-story-of-webp-how-google-wants-to-speed-up-the-web-one-imag...

Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

"Driving the prices lower isn't likely to expand the market of readers, since book prices don't seem to be the deciding factor on whether someone reads a book (time is). But those lower prices directly shrink the incomes of authors, who lack any other means of translating their sales into additional revenue. "

http://news.slashdot.org/story/14/07/19/139219/amazon-isnt-killing-writing-the-market-is

UNLV Students creat solar-powered book drop to roast bed bugs

http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/07/18/4014220/libraries-battle-bed-bugs-in-books.html
UNLV undergraduate engineering students Jack Cheney, Nicole Ramos and Vachara Maneeraj created a solar-powered book drop that roasts bed bugs to death. The project was part of UNLV's engineering senior design competition in May. All engineering students must collaborate for a year to produce a product using their engineering skills.

Close The Libraries And Buy Everyone An Amazon Kindle Unlimited Subscription

It's Simple Math!

"I’ll use the numbers from my native UK here simply because I have a better grasp of them. As a country we spend some £1 billion a year (currently around $1.7 billion) on supporting the library system. There’s some 60 million citizens meaning that we can, from that sum, afford to pay perhaps £20 (as with most numbers I use, there’s a lot of rounding here, the numbers are not meant to be accurate, just informative as to magnitude and so on) for each subscription. That’s a lot less than Amazon is currently demanding but I would bet a very large sum of money that an adequate bulk discount could be arranged for such a slug of customers."

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