Publishers Weekly: "What MTV did for music videos and record sales, BookReels wants to do for book trailers and book sales." No, but they have collected about 3000 book trailers and interviews. New Yorker: The Awkward Art of Book Trailers: "Then there is the leading book-trailer auteur of our time, Gary Shteyngart." TheRumpus: Fantastic Book Trailers and the Reasons They’re So Good: "There tends to exist a general skepticism toward book trailers."
The Internet is cat; books are dog. "We're reading dogs and clicking cats."
"..it is refreshing to see Jason Merkoski, a leader of the team that built Amazon's first Kindle, dispense with the usual techo-utopianism and say, “I think we’ve made a proverbial pact with the devil in digitizing our words.” [more inside]
The book publishing world is merging into behemoths in order to better negotiate with Amazon. Rupert Murdoch (HarperCollins) has made an offer to buy Penguin for $1.6 billion. This just hours after Penguin said it was in talks to merge with Random House to create a 'Random Penguin' with nearly 25% of all English-language book sales. Either way the reputation of Penguin could soon be in tatters. As one agent said, "Authors have told me they are frightened by a Random House takeover, but terrified by a HarperCollins one."
"rip lnu". So ends 13 months of the greatest pirate ebook site the world has ever known. [more inside]
The Library of Congress (1:30m), a tour documentary by C-SPAN.
Borders is liquidating as soon as this Friday, closing all 399 stores, ending 40 years of business, and 11,000 jobs. Brought down by e-books and Amazon. Scenes From A Borders Liquidation Sale. Map of (soon to be vacant) Borders stores.
A common refrain is "a library is not (just) a warehouse of books." Except, when it is. Internet Archive, best known as the worlds largest collection of digital books in the public domain, has started collecting "one [physical] copy of every book ever published" for long-term warehousing in shipping containers.
A new kind of book has been created in Holland, where its sold over 1m copies since it came out in 2009. Now finding its way to England, called the "flipback", the pages are super thin Bible paper with a special lay-flat spine and small format, making it suitable for reading with one hand, thumb page-flips, and shirt pocket storage.
Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning, announcing it would close about 200 of its 650 or so remaining stores.
Take a stand for permanent paper. "Eight years ago we started to notice the shift in buying patterns from free-sheet Permanent Paper to groundwood paper for hardcover books. Groundwood is the type of paper used in newspapers and mass market paperbacks, and its production is such that it is much lower-quality and degrades more quickly than traditional book publishing paper." What makes a book permanent? [more inside]
In early 1934, about a dozen of America's leading writers and critics - William Faulkner, John Dos Passos, Sinclair Lewis, Edmund Wilson, Thorton Wilder, etc. - answered the question: What are some “Good Books That Almost Nobody Has Read”? [Via the always interesting Neglected Books Page]
Harvard University finished in 1986 construction of the Harvard Depository, a mysterious storage facility in a publicly undisclosed location 30 miles from campus where large tracts of land are less expensive than in Cambridge. While the facility was originally intended to store Harvard's least-used volumes, it is now home to 45 percent of Harvard's collections. David Lamberth, chair of the Library Implementation Work Group, calls it a "precise warehouse" for which the term "library" would prove inaccurate.
Open Library has a new collaborative open source website that aims to catalog every book ever published. About the project. The vision is one Wiki page for every edition of every work with description details.
"Steal These Books" is a NYT essay about the most commonly shoplifted books from bookstores. tl;dr? #1=The Virgin Suicides. [more inside]
The Worlds Best Books (1909), One Hundred Best Books (1916), One Thousand Books for a Village Library (1895), The Book Lover, a Guide to the Best Reading (1889), The Choice of Books (1905), A Thousand of the Best Novels (1919), Comfort Found in Good Old Books (1911), A Guide to the Best Historical Novels (1911), A Guide to Historical Fiction (1914), and lots more..
Salman Rushdie is now officially the Booker Prize's best-author. Rushdie's 1981 novel Midnight's Children was named Thursday as the greatest-ever winner of Britain's most prestigious literary award, in celebration of the prizes 40th anniversary. The only other time this award was given, on the 25th anniversary in 1993, Midnight's Children also won.
"For U.S. books published between 1923 and 1963, the rights holder needed to submit a form to the U.S. Copyright Office renewing the copyright 28 years after publication. In most cases, books that were never renewed are now in the public domain. Estimates of how many books were renewed vary, but everyone agrees that most books weren't renewed. If true, that means that the majority of U.S. books published between 1923 and 1963 are freely usable." How do you know? The renewal copyright records have traditionally been scattered and hard to access, but Google - with the help of Project Gutenberg and the Distributed Proofreaders painstakingly typed in every word - has just released a single database as a freely downloadable XML file.
You're an Author? Me too! The trend of increasing authorship and decreasing readership.
Bookmarks Magazine has long been one of my favorite book review periodicals because it aggregates and summarizes reviews from many sources, for example: The Children of Húrin. Recently they have opened up the back-issue archive to non-subscribers. [more inside]
I See Dead People's Books (wiki) is an impromptu project by LibraryThing members to catalog the libraries of famous dead people, from Tupac Shakur to Ernest Hemingway to John Adams. Many more in the works, anyone is able to create a dead library with all the attendant features of LT.
Borders and Lulu.com have teamed up to create Border's Lifestyle, a new service allowing anyone to design and publish their own book and have it distributed through Borders stores, even including your own book tour and in-store readings. Is it, according to Ben Vershbow of if:book, "bringing vanity publishing to a whole new level of fantasy role-playing,"1 or a real innovation in book distribution, bypassing the professional gatekeepers? [more inside]
Philip M. Parker has written and published over 85,000 books on Amazon in the past few years, although by his own count the total published is over 200,000. He is like a writing machine - in fact, he has created a machine that churns out an original book about every 20 minutes. A few sample titles: [more inside]
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.
Chicago Center for Literature and Photography has some excellent book and film reviews, written by author and artist Jason Pettus. He mostly reviews contemporary fiction but has a few classics like The House of the Seven Gables, which is part of a two-year project to read 100 "classics" to see if they are really classic or not.
An obscure 1911 British law requires a copy of every published book, journal, newspaper, patent, sound recording, magazine etc.. to be permanently archived in at least one of five libraries around the country. The British Library has the most complete collection and is currently adding about 12.5km of new shelf space a year of mostly unheard of and unwanted stuff. A new state-of-the-art warehouse is being constructed with 262 linear kilometers of high-density, fully automated storage in a low-oxygen temperature controlled environment. It is not a library, it is a warehouse for "things that no one wants." BLDG Blog ponders on what it all means.
Google Books has an interesting new feature called "Popular Passages" which shows how many future books have quoted passages from the present book - it's billed as a way to follow literary memes but would be equally helpful in sleuthing for old literary crimes. They've also added "Share and Enjoy" for clipping quotes from public domain books into a blog or notebook.
BookTV.org is one the smartest shows on television. Scraping free content from author interviews at local bookstores and book fairs, its new re-designed website is long overdue, and now all content stays available in a permanent archive in case you miss the 48hr C-SPAN2 weekend marathons. Sample programs: The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science, In Depth: Ray Kurzweil,"Blackwater: The Rise Of The World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army"
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.
Stanford's new Copyright Renewal Database makes searchable the copyright renewal records of books published from 1923-1963, previously very difficult to do. Between those dates, a renewal registration was required to prevent the expiration of copyright, so books not renewed are now in the public domain. Publishing scanned books on Internet Archive.
Dead Plagiarists Society. Using Google Books to uncover old (and recent) literary crimes. "Given the popularity of plagiarism-seeking software services for academics, it may be only a matter of time before some enterprising scholar yokes Google Book Search and plagiarism-detection software together into a massive literary dragnet, scooping out hundreds of years' worth of plagiarists—giants and forgotten hacks alike—who have all escaped detection until now."
The Iraq Study Group Report, annotated, an experimental project by The Institute for the Future of the Book.
Microsoft releases Microsoft Live Search Books (beta), a third major project to scan public domain books behind Google books and the pioneering Archive.org. Content is pre-1927 editions of public domain works. Live Search blog has (slightly) more info and lots of general reactions pro and con.
Kevin Kelly on the latest in personal book publishing advice.
Conventional wisdom says that new media -- Internet, cable television, satellite radio, videogames -- is competing with books, putting them at long-term risk if not decline. "The conventional wisdom is wrong". Special report from Forbes.
The Espresso Book Machine. A photocopier-size machine that can print and bind a paperback in a few minutes. This is the first fully-automatic book printer designed for retail locations, it is envisioned to be a kiosk. Current beta tests in DC and New York Public Library, also in talks with the Internet Archive and others to support the growing world of online scanned books. Further out, Kinkos, Starbucks, etc.. could become major book sellers and the practice of overstocking (and discounted books) could be reduced. Machine will probably be about $100,000.
101 "Crackerjacks". The best sea books.
What is the world reading? The UNESCO Index Translationum database has over 1.6 million bibliographical entries of translated works. Interesting stats such as: The worlds Top 50 translated authors. The Top 10 translated Norwegian authors (or other languages). Number of translations for any given book. Some surprising results, lots to explore, and an interesting lesson on what sells.
What to read. A list of lists for book recommendations, includes a compiled "Great Books" Lists with a World Literature list and lots more.
50 Books for Thinking About the Future Human Condition, a list by the RAND corporation.