Friday, June 11, 2010

Round It Up, Little Doggies

This week around the web, with Laura from Combreviations:

In life, sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, and you get helped in either direction by two things: scams and hacks. When the world finds a way to get ahead of you, you've been scammed, and when you find a way to get ahead of the world, you've found a hack. This week had a lot of especially pronounced scams and hacks. A big scam was Bloomberg's [thanks Timothy for the correction! -ed.] attempt to sweep massive royalty changes for Wiley authors under the rug. The Kindle is still tracking your highlighted passages and aggregating that data, which seems like a privacy scam—but hey, Dan Brown is beating out the Bible (although the most highlighted passages in the Bible are choice). And I know we've all looked at the New Yorker's list of 20 best young writers, but is 40 really the cut off for youth? The Guardian's book contest is scamming small publishers out of cash, and big publishing houses are scamming authors out of cash for author copies. Book prices keep rising, even as quality suffers. Is there no justice?

On the other hand, sometimes we can hack the system and make life easier for ourselves. The Daily Beast put together a list of summer literary festivals, so you can plan your vacations around them, and eBookNewser wants to help you turn your phone into an e-reader. Golden boy John Grisham can get his book for kiddies to sell as well as his adult books (although this might be black magic more than a hack), and Google can help you find long-lost documents that the Americans stole from France. I'm sure it was deserved. Paper industries are using genetically modified trees, it turns out book piracy might not affect revenues, and Seth Godin might convince the universe to put out a cheaper, "paperback" e-reader.

Sometimes the world gives you a little push in the happy direction after you've put in your time. Barbara Kingsolver just won the Orange Prize (and $30k!), which happened after she did the hard parts of writing and publishing. Nelson Mandela scored a forward to his next book from Obama, and all he had to do was go to prison for his beliefs and run a country. Both of these should be on your reading lists. If you need help fleshing out your summer reading, never fear: in addition to the reading list links I compiled at Combreviations, you can check out the LA Times' list of 60 titles for summer, or NPR's best historical fiction. You can even get these books to read in the bathroom. Sure, book recommendations can be troublesome, and you have to be careful about being a title misogynist, but you have to read something.

Have a good weekend, I'm off!


  1. I've seen the Dan Brown/Bible thing a lot this week. It's an amusing shock piece. Dan Brown? Really? But when you stop and look at the listing, you see that Dan Brown is outselling the highest selling version of the Bible. When you take into account how many different versions of the Bible there are and add all their sales together, Dan Brown continues to come up short. (Not that it matters to me, I'm just saying...)

  2. Was it Bloomberg Press and not Bloomsbury?

  3. Very interesting stuff! You continue to post the most relevant publishing news and insights in the blogosphere. <--(Google Chrome tells me this is not a word.)

    Thank you!

  4. Timothy--you're right, fixed now, and thanks for the catch!

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