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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

organizing without organizations

Clay Shirky, professor at ITP - NYU, often linked to at MeFi, presents at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society on the ideas in his new book on organizing without organizations. [more inside]
posted by gen on Mar 25, 2008 - 5 comments

Things Vital to the Honor of Human Life

The editor of the New York Times Book Review asks "do others have favorite signature passages in books they love — a sentence or two that seem to convey the essence of a complex, beautiful work?" after giving his own example from To The Finland Station. Hundreds respond, often with some wonderful passages (as well as some not so wonderful ones). Any examples from the hive mind?
posted by blahblahblah on Mar 9, 2008 - 159 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

Swimming upstream.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism is a book released last month by Tim Keller. Its faired reasonably well (NYT, login req'd), which is interesting, considering the wide success of books preaching the opposite message, as of late (Dawkins, et. al.). [more inside]
posted by allkindsoftime on Mar 5, 2008 - 155 comments

Adieu Howard

Comic Book creator Steve Gerber has died. [more inside]
posted by wittgenstein on Feb 11, 2008 - 28 comments

The jolliest indoor games. . .demand a floor.

Floor Games. H.G. Wells and miniature gaming.
posted by EarBucket on Feb 10, 2008 - 11 comments

The new It-boy?

Who's the new darling of the literary world? Charles Bock. Although, some are asking, how the hell did a guy like him get all this high-profile coverage? [Bock previously on MeFi]
posted by mattbucher on Feb 5, 2008 - 80 comments

Wyclif's Bible

Just ended on eBay: Auction for the Wycliffite New Testament ca. 1400. Closing bid; US $399,100.00. The seller supposedly is The Bible Museum, Inc. (according to The Little professor). More about Wycliffite editions and some choice bookbinding samples at Bridwell Library [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Feb 2, 2008 - 15 comments

Lights on in the Darkroom

Darkroom book images, You may have had to of spent 100's of hours in a darkroom to appreciate this project. "Images articulated around the decline of silver-gelatin photography" Book from Nazraeli Press by Michel Campeau. {via darius himes blog}
posted by doug3505 on Jan 28, 2008 - 17 comments

Detroit Public Schools Book Depository

"This is a building where our deeply-troubled public school system once stored its supplies, and then one day apparently walked away from it all, allowing everything to go to waste...All that's left is an overwhelming sense of knowledge unlearned and untapped potential." (Via Making Light.)
posted by ottereroticist on Jan 22, 2008 - 57 comments

Book Scavenging in Manhatten

Book Scavenging. Hundreds of homeless people eke out a living scavenging books from dumpsters and sidewalk trash in Manhattan. Sidewalk is a book about the subculture of sidewalk book scavengers and vendors.
posted by stbalbach on Jan 20, 2008 - 52 comments

Better World Books

Better World Books - Recently recognized by Fast Company as one of the best for-profit social enterprises of 2008, they offer a wide selection of new and used books with free shipping in the US and less than $3 shipping elsewhere. A portion of the profits go to fund literacy organizations such as Room to Read and WorldFund, and their shipping is carbon-neutral. The only thing missing is the ability to import Amazon wishlists.
posted by divabat on Jan 16, 2008 - 18 comments

And as she was a little girl, of course she was... pink

The Story of Blossom the Brave Balloon.
posted by dersins on Jan 15, 2008 - 12 comments

Echo

The finished work of a favorite author annoys, resonants a certain word. Puissant at first, it puissantly overpowers sentences and paragraphs amazingly. Anyways.
posted by Mblue on Jan 10, 2008 - 24 comments

Science, Evolution, and Creationism

The National Academies release their new book Science, Evolution, and Creationism, targeted at the public, which summarizes the "scientific understanding of evolution and its importance in the science classroom." Download the 89-page book free in PDF format (you will be asked for your e-mail address, location, and employment sector first). Other resources on evolution from the National Academies, including other free online books (previously on MetaFilter). There's a brief NYT story about it as well.
posted by grouse on Jan 4, 2008 - 66 comments

True Films

"This is the third version of a guide I have been developing for the past 5 years. It takes the 200 best documentaries I have reviewed on my website True Films and puts them into one handy book." Free as a PDF download, Kevin Kelly's book True Films.
posted by Armitage Shanks on Dec 29, 2007 - 12 comments

Lay out!

Ultimate: The Greatest Sport Ever Invented By Man is coming soon to a bookstore near you.
posted by silby on Dec 13, 2007 - 63 comments

"My humble efforts to assist in the elucidation of the social condition of a distant and comparatively unknown race."

Sketches of Japanese Manners and Customs (1867).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Dec 5, 2007 - 11 comments

Propacrayonda

Coloring is fun! Engage kids and get your message across with soothing, simple style!

Print these .pdfs for the little ones in your life to color. Together, learn a little grown-up wisdom about Being a Witness in Federal Court, Disaster Preparedness, Food Safety with Thermy™, Why Elephants Cry, Biomedical Research with the Lucky Puppy, or how the United Nations is a very bad organization made up of foreign countries who do not want you to be free, with Brasco!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Dec 3, 2007 - 43 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

Cooking the Books

Multinational food and pharmaceutical company Podrovka is cooking its books -- literally. Its latest annual report includes a section that must be baked in the oven before it can be read.
posted by brain_drain on Nov 21, 2007 - 20 comments

There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There is just stuff people do.

John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath [more inside]
posted by miss lynnster on Nov 13, 2007 - 30 comments

The human whose name is written in this note shall die.

The manga series "Death Note." The first volume. The adapted anime series, newly arrived on Adult Swim. The Japanese movie trailer. Spoilers: Possible origins. The early press. Interviews with writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata. The controversy. The collectibles. The online Death Note. The last volume, finally released in the US and reviewed.
posted by Soup on Nov 12, 2007 - 13 comments

The Floating Neutrinos

"An extended family of nonconformists travels the world on rafts, teaches its own brand of philosophy, joins the circus, starts a popular jazz band, and sets a new world record along the way." And now, the movie (previously)
posted by janetplanet on Nov 5, 2007 - 7 comments

Illustrated classics by scratchboard artist Scott McKowen

Scratchboard artist Scott McKowen was a successful designer of theater posters when Marvel Comics hired him to create the covers for Neil Gaiman's 1602. He recently completed new covers and illustrations for old classics like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Surprisingly, he has no entry at Wikipedia.
posted by jstruan on Sep 26, 2007 - 14 comments

They send you a book, you review it.

Blog a Penguin Classic.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 21, 2007 - 58 comments

Home Beautiful

101 Things I Hate About Your House Advice on how to choose safe cleaning products for the home, create chocolate dessert recipes and book reviews. No, it's not Martha Stewart, but rather, helpful tips from interior designer James Swan.
posted by CameraObscura on Sep 17, 2007 - 20 comments

Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi

Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi was born on 1926 in Hamburg and grew up in Nazi-Germany. He dreamed of joining the Hitler youth but besides best efforts was always rejected. But you can see him here wearing a swastika. [more inside]
posted by yoyo_nyc on Sep 9, 2007 - 26 comments

Cyberspace, the Singularity, Belief Circles, oh my!

Vernor Vinge: Mathematician, computer scientist and science fiction visionary worthy of Arthur C Clarke's mantle, Vinge is most famous for popularising the idea of the singularity, where technology advances so quickly that humans cannot participate, but he's also credited with writing one of the first stories about cyberspace, True Names, back in 1981. More recently, he's been exploring how augmented reality and belief circles will change the way we live in his latest novel Rainbows End - which he put online, completely for free.
posted by adrianhon on Aug 24, 2007 - 43 comments

Pop-up Puppetry

Pop-Up Puppetry
posted by carsonb on Aug 18, 2007 - 18 comments

Digitized Book of the Week

Digitized Book of the Week. An eclectic collection of works digitized from the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They include books and serials from its collections that focus on Illinois history, literature, and natural resources; rural life and agriculture; railroad history and engineering; and works in translation. A project of MsMolly.
posted by Mitheral on Aug 8, 2007 - 5 comments

The Italian Futurist Book

The book is an account of the battle of Adrianopolis (Turkey) in 1912 in which the author volunteered as a Futurist-soldier.
Futurism (1909-1944) was perhaps the first movement in the history of art to be engineered and managed like a business.
posted by Meatbomb on Aug 2, 2007 - 14 comments

Hide your pot, porn, money, spare keys and jewellery.

How to make a secret hollow book.
posted by Sully on Jul 30, 2007 - 37 comments

The revolution will be hard-bound and highlighted

"The [textbook] industry charges outrageous prices for new textbooks while simultaneously doing everything it can to make older versions unusable or obsolete. There is simply no reason that a new calulus textbook should cost $157. The study of calculus, at least the type of calculus that most of us need to study in high school or undergraduate programs, has not changed significantly in decades." - Textbook Revolution.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 24, 2007 - 77 comments

Franky

Mary Shelly's (awful/wonderful) Frankenstein rap. They read the book, eh?
posted by Mblue on Jun 28, 2007 - 12 comments

hot library smut

Sure, reading is great, but books are fun to look at, too
posted by nuclear_soup on Jun 21, 2007 - 37 comments

Confessions of A Long Distance Sailor

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.
posted by phrontist on Jun 17, 2007 - 12 comments

First public library in nation to drop Dewy Decimal

The Prelinger Library is a small privately owned "public library" in San Francisco with the unique philosophy that browsing library stacks can reveal new knowledge, if the books are arranged for browsing. This is counter to most public libraries who rely on computer terminal searching, databases and the Dewey Decimal system to atomize books and subjects, with stack browsing a sort of random after effect, and in some places--like the Library of Congress--normally not even allowed. Now a (real) public library in Arizona has joined the revolution and claims to be the first public library in the nation to drop the Dewey Decimal system. Instead, books will be shelved by topic, similar to the way bookstores arrange books. The demise of the century-old Dewey Decimal system is overdue, county librarians say: "People think of books by subject. Very few people say, 'Oh, I know Dewey by heart.' "
posted by stbalbach on Jun 10, 2007 - 84 comments

Bookstore burns books

It's a sad old story but the reading of literature continues to decline. Prospero's Books - a Kansas-city used bookstore - is so desperate to thin out its collection it has started to burn books. Co-owner Tom Wayne says he is unable to sell many of his thousands of books, or even to give them away to libraries and thrift stores, so he started a pyre in protest.
posted by stbalbach on May 29, 2007 - 66 comments

Assault on Reason

Book Excerpt: The Assault on Reason Time Magazine publishes an excerpt to further whet appetites. Releases on the 22nd.
posted by allkindsoftime on May 18, 2007 - 93 comments

Let's play a smoking game and a drinking game.

Horses are not always good role models. Just in case you thought the craziness was limited to this one book, the authors proudly present a "true crime" glimpse into a shadowy world of... okay, I actually have no idea what they're talking about. Ah, the joys of vanity publishing.
posted by OverlappingElvis on May 16, 2007 - 51 comments

Russian Book Jackets, 1917-1942

Russian Book Jackets, 1917-1942, courtesy of the NYPLDG. [Via Growabrain]
posted by Alvy Ampersand on May 16, 2007 - 6 comments

Dean Koontz, Discreetly Delivered To Your Home

Netflix of Books? BookSwim aims to be 'Netflix' of books with a monthly subscription, 3 book-at-a-time with free postage. They are not the first, BooksFree offers a wide selection of 'beach books' and JiggerBug rents a wide audio book selection. Google tried it in 2005, and nearly got burned to the ground. Could libraries and local used book stores be marginalized (though never destroyed) as the local video rental store? Will Border's become the same struggling dinosaur Blockbuster has turned out to be?
posted by MiltonRandKalman on May 15, 2007 - 71 comments

George Saunders liked it

OK, Here I go, I'm going to make this whole website right now on this dry-erase board.
posted by 31d1 on Apr 6, 2007 - 94 comments

Napsterizing the Baggy Old Book Business

The Caravan Project: "Imagine you're a customer looking for a book you don't find on the shelf. As you would now, you'll likely ask a bookseller to check the store computer for it. As is not yet possible, the bookseller will say: "We can order you a print copy or we can sell it to you in other formats, some of which could be ready for downloading by the time you get home. How would you like it?"
posted by mattbucher on Mar 19, 2007 - 60 comments

The Best of Technology Writing 2006

The Best of Technology Writing 2006. 24 articles from Salon, New Yorker, NYT, Discover, etc..free book from digitalculturebooks and UofMichigan Press, also on Amazon.
posted by stbalbach on Mar 2, 2007 - 4 comments

Best openings of essays/academic works

Best opening (or closing) paragraphs of academic works, a discussion at Crooked Timber. (This is of course different from first lines of novels, as discussed here, there, and elsewhere.
posted by LobsterMitten on Feb 23, 2007 - 39 comments

Agent ZigZag

James Bond eat your heart out - the name's Chapman, Eddie Chapman. A German spy who was awarded the Iron Cross and a yacht. A British spy who probably saved vast chunks of London from bombs. But above all, a conman with a penchant for "prostitutes, cognac, gambling, Savile Row tailoring and fast cars" according to his spymasters (warning - PDF). Read the book. Or the other book. Or see the biopic he reportedly didn't like. He died aged 83, in case you're wondering.
posted by MuffinMan on Feb 15, 2007 - 12 comments

"The Uncontainable Kurds"

"The Uncontainable Kurds" (NYRB). Nice summary of recent Kurdish politics in Iraq, Iran and Turkey.
posted by stbalbach on Feb 11, 2007 - 21 comments

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