The book on Wood-Frame House Construction (with diagrams) is brought to you by the USDA Forest Service. Here is the full online index of USDA Agriculture Handbooks. They're public domain. [more inside]
What Is the Business of Literature?
Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature.” Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we lose publishing, we lose good books. Yet what we have right now is a system that produces great literature in spite of itself. We have come to believe that the taste-making, genius-discerning editorial activity attached to the selection, packaging, printing, and distribution of books to retailers is central to the value of literature. We believe it protects us from the shameful indulgence of too many books by insisting on a rigorous, abstemious diet. Critiques of publishing often focus on its corporate or capitalist nature, arguing that the profit motive retards decisions that would otherwise be based on pure literary merit. But capitalism per se and the market forces that both animate and pre-suppose it aren’t the problem. They are, in fact, what brought literature and the author into being.[more inside]
The author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a popular MetaFilter topic, was born 177 years ago today (November 30th 1835) in Missouri. The printer, riverboat pilot, game designer, journalist, lecturer, technology investor, gold miner, publisher and patent holder wrote short stories, essays, novels and non-fiction under the pen name Mark Twain. This included The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (recently adapted into a musical), one of the top five challenged books of the 1990s, published in 1884-85 to a mixed reception and with an ending that still causes debate. [more inside]
My 6,128 Favorite Books - "Joe Queenan on how a harmless juvenile pastime turned into a lifelong personality disorder."
The American Library Association fires the latest response in its tussle with publishers over e-books in public libraries, while in England, a government review of e-books in public libraries is announced.
Elektrobiblioteka / Electric Book (video). Inspired by El Lissitzky's manifesto published in 1923. Background. Full-text (Polish).
Most of us know and love Dailylit. But, if you want to have more current book snippets emailed to you every day, you can upload your own ebooks to Dripread. [more inside]
A book store is in trouble. But you'll never guess which one. Barnes and Noble, under increased competition, especially in the ebook market, is thinking about putting itself on the market.
Noted literary agent Andrew Wylie has made a deal with several of his authors - including Saul Bellow, John Updike and Phillip Roth - to release their e-books exclusively on Amazon. Macmillan's John Sargent and Tyler Cowen react.
Confessions of A Long Distance Sailor - I had been sitting in dark rooms, punching computer keys, for years. I had always wanted to learn SCUBA diving, hike around in the tropics, so I booked a flight to Hawaii. But a month later I was in — are you ready? — a traffic jam on Maui. I understand now, from the moment I touched that sailboat's dock lines, I was doomed to sail.