Get inside Kathe Koja's Christopher Marlowe novel with a "bespoke edition" like no other

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Kathe Koja is one of literature's most versatile writers -- once the doyenne of "splatterpunk"; then the author a run of brilliant, touching YA novels; then the author of a darkly erotic war-trilogy -- and now she's doing something new and amazing. Read the rest

Shortly after her death, Harper Lee's heirs kill cheap paperback edition of To Kill a Mockingbird

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A court upheld the sealing away of Lee's will from public view, so it's impossible to say for sure what prompted the move, but this much is clear: schools that assign "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- one of the most commonly assigned books in US classrooms -- will have to pay a lot more for their books, and that money will not, and cannot, benefit the author. Read the rest

Campbell Award anthology: a million words of free fiction from tomorrow's SFF superstars

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The Campbell Award for best new writer is voted on and presented with the Hugo Awards -- to be eligible, you must have made your first professional sale in the previous two years. Read the rest

World Book Week RPG: let's play Frankfurt Book Fair!

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The Book Fair Game is a new open/free title from Matt Finch, a game designer with a residency at the State Library of Queensland, Australia. Read the rest

Kickstarting a pirate-themed programming book for kids, with accompanying app

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Simon writes, "With just 3 days to run, this Kickstarter to make 'Beep Beep Yarr!' a fantastic, pirate-themed programming book for kids needs your support to graduate." Read the rest

Kickstarting a guide to the Portland locations in Cleary's "Ramona" books

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Beverly Cleary's Ramona books delighted generations of young readers. Elly from Microcosm Press (previously) writes, "Walking with Ramona: Exploring Beverly Cleary's Portland is the first ever guidebook to the neighborhood and time when Mrs. Cleary grew up and set her Ramona books." Read the rest

Google launches Project Shield, to protect news sites from DDoS attacks

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Insecure desktop operating systems (and even server/CMS vulnerabilities) has led to the creation of enormous, powerful botnets comprised of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of machines -- and thanks to the law of supply and demand, it's remarkably cheap and easy to rent time on a botnet and blast any site of your choosing off the Internet. Read the rest

Crowdfunding an English translation of the story of activists who kept the Internet on during the Arab Spring

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Stephan Urbach is part of Telecomix (previously), activists who worked tirelessly to keep the Internet on during the Arab Spring, when endangered despots were killswitching net links in a bid to keep protest from spreading. Read the rest

Financial Times' response to ad-cutting threat from HP is great

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The Financial Times ran a column critical of Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman. The company's marketing chief, Henry Gomez, threatened to cut the advertising it ran in the newspaper. Lucy Kellaway's response is perfect.

My piece was not biased and I fear you misunderstand our business model. It is my editors’ steadfast refusal to consider the impact of stories on advertisers that makes us the decent newspaper we are. It is why I want to go on working here. It is why the FT goes on paying me.

Kellaway seems almost happy to have gotten such a direct threat in the first place, in an age of smarmy PR outreach and cold silence. But it's no surprise that HP is the one to break ranks. When did it get its reputation for this sort of "nice ads you have there" nastiness? Read the rest

Kickstarting a new, Gormenghastian comic from Paul Di Filippo

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The Black Mill is a New Weird comic from Paul Di Filippo, a treasure of science fiction, drawn by Orion Zangara and colored and lettered by Derek Chase. Read the rest

First Second Books: a look back at ten years of world-changing graphic publishing

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First Second Books celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2016. From its inception, First Second was known for high quality graphic novels – books that told great stories for every age of reader, from kids to adults. Throughout the years, First Second has published graphic novels as diverse as Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese, Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost, Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamai’s This One Summer, Lucy Knisley’s Relish, and Faith Erin Hicks’ Friends With Boys. And First Second has broken ground with its publishing, bringing unprecedented acceptance and awards to the graphic novel form for kids and parents, teachers and librarians. The graphic novel market looks much different today than it did ten years ago!

The Torist: a literary journal on the darknet

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The Torist is a newly launched literary journal, edited by University of Utah Communications associate professor Robert W Gehl and a person called GMH, collecting fiction, poetry and non-fiction. It is only available as a file on a Tor hidden service -- a "darkweb" site, protected by the same technology as was used by the likes of Silk Road. Read the rest

What publishers should do

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You can’t work at a book publisher for more than five minutes without someone telling you what publishers should do. You know, “to survive.” “Be relevant.” Something.

Even literary agents, who should know better, will get in on this action. One of the most prominent agents in New York, seated next to me at an event a few years back, took the opportunity to lecture me through the appetizer course on how book publishers should band together and “build their own Amazon” to sell books. Digital disruption = solved.

“Ma'am, you may have a point. You don’t, for All The Reasons, but let’s say you did. The book publishing industry is made of book people. Book people as a class pride themselves on knowing about everything—except computers, with a vengeance. They still edit 100,000-word manuscripts with pencils. I could count on one finger the number of people in this business who could program a coffee-maker. How in the world would the people in charge hire a single competent developer? If you’d seen the technological boondoggles, the 7-figure white-label ‘content management systems,’ these rubes have fallen for…”

If you really enjoy unsolicited opinions about what publishers should do, go work at Amazon to help build a New York book publishing imprint from the ground up. The book people who still talk to you afterward will be happy to tell you what you’re doing wrong. (Guys, I'm not working at Amazon anymore. Can we be friends again?)

All that said: I know what publishers should do. Read the rest

Her Universe will start publishing science fiction novels

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Her Universe makes amazing, nerdy women's fashion (for example, and also). Read the rest

Spanish-language broadcasting titan Univision buys controlling interest in The Onion

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<insert ¡Ay, caramba! joke here> Read the rest

Penthouse magazine no longer to be printed

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Penthouse, the long-running men's magazine founded by Bob Guccione in 1969, is to cease publication in print. The Wall Street Journal reports that it would be "reimagined" as an online-only affair.
“Reimagined for the preferred consumption of content today by consumers, the digital version of Penthouse Magazine will combine and convert everything readers know and love about the print magazine experience to the power of a digital experience,” publisher FriendFinder Network said in a statement.

It once sold 5m copies a month, went under in 2004, and was bought by online hookups 'n' porn network FriendFinder—which itself went under in 2013. Its circulation figures aren't known, but was shifting about 200k last time figures were released in the 2000s. Read the rest

Hong Kong's dissident publishing workers are disappearing, possibly kidnapped to mainland

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Five employees of the publisher Mighty Current and its retail arm, Causeway Bay Bookstore, have disappeared from Hong Kong, and pro-democracy leaders say that they were kidnapped to the mainland by PRC security forces in retaliation for publishing books critical of the Chinese government. Read the rest

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