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
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
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
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
<insert ¡Ay, caramba! joke here> Read the rest
“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
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
Peter from Shelfie writes, "Shelfie has announced a partnership with Findaway to add 20,000 audiobooks to its print to digital bundling service. This news comes on top of the recent announcement that it will be adding nearly 100,000 titles for DRM-free bundling from Springer." Read the rest
Peter from Shelfie writes, "In a press release on Digital Book World, Springer Nature has announced a partnership with Vancouver start-up Shelfie (BitLit) to offer digital bundles on over 100,000 titles from their catalog." Read the rest
The latest Humble Ebook Bundle features 15 DRM-free ebooks, with works by Fritz Leiber, Kelly Link, Mary Robinette Kowal, Neil Gaiman, Peter Beagle, Madeline L'Engle and many others -- name your price and how much you'd like to divert to charities, including the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the Science Fiction Writers of America's Givers Fund, and Patrick Rothfuss's Worldbuilders. Read the rest
This week, the scholarly publishing giant Elsevier filed suit against Sci-Hub and Library Genesis, two sites where academics and researchers practiced civil disobedience by sharing the academic papers that Elsevier claims -- despite having acquired the papers for free from researchers, and despite having had them refereed and overseen by editorial boards staffed by more volunteering academics. Read the rest
Walk into a bookstore, and chances are you’ll see books divided into sections by genre. Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Mystery, and so on. It’s the most common system of categorizing books, conversationally and from the data-management perspective of the book world. Genre is also incredibly limiting at times.
There are dozens upon dozens of subgenres across the genres of popular fiction (Romance, Crime, and Science Fiction/Fantasy, plus some others). Science Fiction gets sliced up into Space Opera, Mundane SF, Hard SF, Cyberpunk, Dieselpunk, etc. These subgenres can get hard to keep track of, especially since their boundaries are often porous, and even life-long fans often disagree on the borders between sub-genres, policing them inefficiently but with gusto. At times it’s fun to argue classifications, try to find exactly the right place to frame a piece so that its cultural and narrative context is most clear. And narrow sub-genres can be useful for putting works into clusters for conversation, but it’s also really easy to slice so thin that the discussion becomes obscure or self-serving rather than practical.
The people behind Brooklyn's brilliant science fiction bookstore Singularity & Co are looking to raise $60,000 to launch a new science fiction quarterly magazine called the Tycho Journal. Read the rest