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Well, all right, that’s not a literal quote, but it might as well be. Salon has never made any pretense of its anti-Amazon leanings (as we saw recently with Laura Miller’s piece claiming she was swearing off Amazon), but lately it seems to have gone a little round the bend. Over the last couple of days, it’s started coming up with whatever Amazon hit pieces it possibly could. I’m talking serious scraping of the bottom of the barrel here.
Full article at Teleread
From Shelf-Awareness a report on author James Patterson's address to conference participants:
"Amazon seems out to control shopping in this country. This ultimately will have an effect on every grocery and department store chain and every big box store and ultimately put thousands of mom and pop stores out of business. It sounds like a monopoly to me. Amazon also wants to control bookselling, the book business and book publishing. That's a national tragedy. If this is the new American way, it has to be changed by law if necessary."
The Passive Voice linked the other day to yet another Amazon-punisher: Jack Shafer, posting at Reuters, writes about the many ways Amazon has enmeshed their hooks into his life—Prime membership, Kindle ownership, magazine subscriptions and so on, all of which he used and enjoyed quite happily. And then! Amazon is Evil Overlording Hachette! You can’t get Malcolm Gladwell anymore! He’s quitting Amazon forever!
There is no emoticon big enough to properly convey my eye roll here. I have read dozens of articles on this Hachette and Amazon feud, including several by my fellow Teleread contributors. And I don’t get it. Articles like Shafer’s rant are presupposing a lot of things which I don’t feel we can accept as given and true:
Full blog post at Teleread
Growing up moving from farm to farm, Storm Reyes had to pack light. That meant no books. She felt hopeless about the future, until a bookmobile appeared in the fields and changed her life.
storycorps piece at NPR
Publishing consulatant Mike Shatzkin discusses ebook subscription services.
Excerpt: My long-held conviction that broad-based subscriptions for ebooks were not likely to work is partly based on facts that are now changing. It is still by no means a slam dunk that ebooks must go where Spotify has taken digital music and Netflix has taken the digital distribution of TV and movies, but it looks more likely today than it did six months ago. Still, looks could be deceiving.
The core of subscription economics is to pay less to the content supplier than they earn other ways to give you some headroom to create a value proposition for consumers. That’s how Spotify and Netflix work. That’s how Book-of-the-Month Club works.
Staffers at the Library of Congress have been looking for 250 books that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. He gave these books and several thousand more to start the library more than 200 years ago.
— Hank Green (@hankgreen) May 29, 2014
Cites & Insights 14:6 (June 2014) is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ14i6.pdf
American author and poet Maya Angelou, who is best known for her groundbreaking autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," has died at age 86 in North Carolina, her publisher confirmed on Wednesday.
The prolific African-American writer penned more than 30 books, won numerous awards, and was honored last year by the National Book Awards for her service to the literary community.
...and from NPR:
Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86. Born in St. Louis in 1928, Angelou grew up in a segregated society that she worked to change during the civil rights era. Angelou, who refused to speak for much of her childhood, revealed the scars of her past in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of a series of memoirs.
For the study, researchers identified the "10 costliest conditions in terms of public and private expenditure" -- which included diabetes, back pain, lung cancer and major depressive disorder -- and compared the content of Wikipedia articles about those conditions to peer-reviewed medical literature. Two randomly assigned investigators found that 90 percent of the articles contained false information, which could affect the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Now for those of you who are saying that it's not the doctors themselves checking Wikipedia, you'd be wrong. According to a pair of studies from 2009 and 2010, "70% of junior physicians use Wikipedia in a given week, while nearly 50% to 70% of practicing physicians use it as an information source in providing medical care."
Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin discusses the public battle over trading terms taking place between Hachette Book Group and Amazon.
Via Reuters: A Russian court demanded on Thursday that the U.S. Library of Congress hand back seven precious Jewish texts to Moscow - and, in a tit-for-tat ruling, said it should pay a massive fine for every day it delays.
The so-called Schneerson collection, claimed by both Russia and the New York-based Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch group, has become a bone of contention in Russia-U.S. ties, at their lowest for decades due to the Ukraine crisis.
The Library of Congress has seven books of the collection, Interfax reported. Russia has 4,425 texts, including editions of the Torah and the Talmud, some of them dating back to to the 16th century. A Moscow arbitration court ruled that the Library of Congress should pay $50,000 in fines for every day the seven books are not handed over.
Sam Greenlee, a novelist and poet who was one of the first black Americans go to abroad with the Foreign Service, died Monday, according to The Associated Press. He was 83. In his most famous book, 1969's The Spook Who Sat by the Door, a disillusioned black CIA officer quits his job and begins training street gangs as "Freedom Fighters" to overthrow the government.
Nancy K. Humphries gets to the heart of the matter in this Huffington Post piece.
"Google often fails to serve people who search it or the people trying to get their sites noticed. All too often Google's results completely miss the mark....
Google will never equal the library in precision and accuracy because this company is too arrogant to even listen to a librarian. Google employees are young, so young they still believe that only they know how to do things.
I personally witnessed a speaker from Google tell members of The American Society of Indexers at a San Francisco conference that Google had gotten rid of the one librarian on staff in Palo Alto. She was a former cataloger; she was too "nitpicky.""
Chicago-based Inventables says it plans to give away 3D carving machines to libraries and other public maker spaces in all 50 states.
CEO Zach Kaplan says the inspiration comes from the success of the Chicago Public Library’s Maker Lab, winner of the Social Innovator Award at the 2013 Chicago Innovation Awards. His company says it also wants to build the market for its 3D carving machines.
Kaplan, who often refers to what he calls the coming “third industrial revolution” of small manufacturers, plans to announce the giveaway Wednesday at San Francisco’s MakerCon, Inventables said in a statement. MakerCon is an annual conference and workshop for the growing maker community.
This spring, universities across the United States have fielded requests from students for “trigger warnings” to accompany certain books, films, lectures and works of art that they deem troubling. And more recently, several colleges have found themselves dealing with protests from students outraged by their institutions’ choice of graduation speaker, and thus recipients of honorary degrees.
The books On the Road, Atlas Shrugged, and The Cat in the Hat, the films The Bridge on the River Kwai, Funny Face, and The Prince and the Showgirl, the play Endgame (“Fin de Partie”), and more. . .
Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years – an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1957 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2014, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” (Mouse over any of the links below to see gorgeous cover art from 1957.) Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2053.1 And no published works will enter our public domain until 2019. The laws in Canada and the EU are different – thousands of works are entering their public domains on January 1.
Some of those things may be true today, but none of them will be true in 10 years.
Blake wrote this line roughly 8 and 1/2 years ago in a piece titled: Libraries and Librarians In A Digital Future: Where Do We Fit?
Since we are nearing the 10 year mark I thought it would be interesting to see where we are today compared to the ideas that Blake purported. We can also look at some of the comments that were made about the piece at the time.
Here is a piece written in 2005 at Cites and Insights commenting on Blake's piece.
My idea of posting these two pieces is to reflect on them with the knowledge we now have because the time has passed. My idea is not to criticize but to see what we can learn by looking at what thoughts were put into predictions and what the outcome actually was.
Constructive comments and criticism welcome.
Are Libraries Obsolete? An Argument for Relevance in the Digital Age
The digital age has transformed information access in ways that few ever dreamed. But the afterclap of our digital wonders has left libraries reeling as they are no longer the chief contender in information delivery. The author gives both sides--the web aficionados, some of them unhinged, and the traditional librarians, some blinkered--a fair hearing but misconceptions abound. Internet be-all and end-all enthusiasts are no more useful than librarians who urge fellow professionals to be all things to all people. The American Library Association, wildly democratic at its best and worst, appears schizophrenic on the issue, unhelpfully. "My effort here," says the author, "is to talk about the elephant in the room." Are libraries obsolete? No! concludes the author (also). The book explores how libraries and librarians must and certainly can continue to be relevant, vibrant and enduring.