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Looking for a Restroom? Try Amazon.

Conversations with Booksellers Extensive conversations with booksellers representing nine great American bookstores. From tiny Faulkner House Books in New Orleans to goliath Powell's City of Books in Portland, discussing issues relating to bookselling in these modern times.
posted by Toekneesan on Sep 5, 2013 - 19 comments

Libraries, Google, and the Transformation of Fair Use

The Hathi Trust, a partnership between 66 universities and 3 higher education consortia, is breathing a little easier now that Judge Harold Baer, Jr. of New York's Southern District has found that the Trust was within its fair use rights to allow Google to scan member library holdings, and then making the resulting files available for the reading impaired, and for use in search indexing and data mining. While this is excellent news for the educational institutions involved, it doesn't completely exonerate Google's role in the scanning project. It's notable that just last week Google abandoned it's own fair use claim in settling a different case involving the same book scanning project. Of the four factors used when considering fair use cases, Judge Baer ruled on the side of the Hathi Trust on all four.
posted by Toekneesan on Oct 11, 2012 - 6 comments

Epilogue: The Future of Print

This documentary is a humble exploration of the world of print, as it scratches the surface of its future. It is built upon interviews with individuals who are active in the Toronto print community and question whether or not they expect to see the disappearance of the physical book within our lifetime. The act of reading a “tangible tome” has devolved from being a popular and common pastime to one that no longer is. I hope for the film to stir thought and elicit discussion about the immersive reading experience and the lost craft of the book arts, from the people who are still passionate about reading on paper.” — Hannah Ryu Chung, the filmaker [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Jun 26, 2012 - 20 comments

Bookseller/Zine Publisher/Free Speech Hero

"Born Shigeyoshi Murao in 1926, he was universally known as Shig. His playful demeanor—not to mention his signature beard, Pendleton shirts, Royal Air Force exercise vest, horn-rimmed glasses, and bowler—rendered him unforgettable. But that did not make him easy to know. Shig, who died in 1999, is largely remembered for an event that occurred on June 3, 1957, when two undercover agents from the San Francisco Police Juvenile Squad showed up at City Lights to buy a seventy-five-cent book of poetry." [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Oct 5, 2011 - 10 comments

Make Picard human again

The Star Trek Quiet Book, by the author of The Jedi Quiet Book
posted by Toekneesan on Sep 30, 2011 - 35 comments

The Gift to Humanity That Keeps on Giving to Lawyers

The Authors Guild, the Australian Society of Authors, the Union Des Écrivaines et des Écrivains Québécois (UNEQ) along with 8 individual authors (including Fay Weldon) has sued the university consortium HathiTrust over its plans to allow internal institutional access to book scans that HathiTrust members received from Google which HathiTrust believes to be orphaned works. As usual, MeFi's own James Grimmelmann has the best analysis of the suit.
posted by Toekneesan on Sep 13, 2011 - 10 comments

Opting out rejected, Opting in suggested

Only weeks after Judge Denny Chin extended the filing deadline, and presumably a final decision, and reflecting the Department of Justice’s own opinion, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the landmark class-action lawsuit settlement between the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and Google. And offers some advice for a revised resubmission.
posted by Toekneesan on Mar 22, 2011 - 22 comments

We live in the city of dreams, We drive on the highway of fire

David Byrne has just published a new book about bicycles called Bicycle Diaries. A long time rider, Byrne muses on how the world looks and works from the vantage point of a cyclist. It's getting pretty good reviews. To launch the book, Byrne is touring the US and arranging public forums. Each event features a civic leader, an urban theorist, a bicycle advocate, and Byrne himself speaking about bikes in cities. Here’s a schedule of the upcoming events. He’s also designed some bike racks for his hometown of New York City. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Sep 27, 2009 - 28 comments

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

"Then there are the classification errors, which taken together can make for a kind of absurdist poetry. H.L. Mencken's The American Language is classified as Family & Relationships. A French edition of Hamlet and a Japanese edition of Madame Bovary are both classified as Antiques and Collectibles (a 1930 English edition of Flaubert's novel is classified under Physicians, which I suppose makes a bit more sense.) An edition of Moby Dick is labeled Computers; The Cat Lover's Book of Fascinating Facts falls under Technology & Engineering. And a catalog of copyright entries from the Library of Congress is listed under Drama (for a moment I wondered if maybe that one was just Google's little joke)." —Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg on Google's little metadata problem.
posted by Toekneesan on Sep 1, 2009 - 29 comments

Keeping us safe from racist literature

The Brooklyn Public Library reshelves a children's book—behind locked steel doors
posted by Toekneesan on Aug 20, 2009 - 78 comments

"Essentially, it is all about money and power."

"It would be naïve to identify the Internet with the Enlightenment. It has the potential to diffuse knowledge beyond anything imagined by Jefferson; but while it was being constructed, link by hyperlink, commercial interests did not sit idly on the sidelines. They want to control the game, to take it over, to own it. They compete among themselves, of course, but so ferociously that they kill each other off. Their struggle for survival is leading toward an oligopoly; and whoever may win, the victory could mean a defeat for the public good. ...We could have created a National Digital Library—the twenty-first-century equivalent of the Library of Alexandria. It is too late now. Not only have we failed to realize that possibility, but, even worse, we are allowing a question of public policy—the control of access to information—to be determined by private lawsuit."—Robert Darnton on what the proposed Google Book Settlement could mean for the pursuit of knowledge—Google and the Future of Books
posted by Toekneesan on Jan 23, 2009 - 44 comments

The Standard Oil of Books

Amazon.com dropped a bombshell on the publishing industry with the announcement on Friday that they will no longer allow print on demand books printed by vendors other than Amazon, to be sold directly by Amazon. In other words, use our print services or lose your listing on our site. This decision effects over half a million books listed on their site and could be a defining moment for both publishing and the future of online retailing. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Apr 3, 2008 - 43 comments

Hot off the presses, books printed, while you wait.

Would you like a latte while I print that up for you? The Espresso Book Machine (previously) that was in the New York Public Library has just moved to the Northshire Bookstore in Vermont. The beta versions of this portable book-making machine are pumping out paperbacks around a book a minute at the Open Content Alliance, The Library of Alexandria, The New Orleans Public Library, and the University of Alberta. The mass produced commercial version of the machine is scheduled to roll off the assembly line within the year and will be priced between $50,000 and $20,000. Combined with one of these, publishing as we know it may never be the same. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Mar 7, 2008 - 36 comments

Your favorite book sucks, and is un-American

So, whatcha readin? The John Ashcroft Alberto Gonzales Michael Mukasey Book Club wants to discuss your latest reads. Amazon thinks it's none of their business. So does your librarian. While it may seem that your reading list is safe, fact is you're actually just one National Security Letter or subpoena away from full disclosure. Want to change that? One step in the right direction would be to contact your Senator about getting S.2088 out of Committee and on to the floor. Oh, and tell them to vote for it. And then to override the veto.
posted by Toekneesan on Nov 28, 2007 - 19 comments

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