Publishing

TextBook Torrents Turns The Final Page and Closes Down

From relative obscurity, Textbook Torrents, the world’s largest BitTorrent index of textbooks, found itself in the world spotlight during July 2008 and was forced to close down by its host. The site returned weeks later, growing massively in the process, but now, just a couple of months on, the site has closed for good.

Full article here

Wal-Mart's DRM Nightmare Just Won't End

Wal-Mart has decided to keep the music that it sold wrapped in a layer of copyright protection playable, following a flurry of customer complaints about legally purchased music becoming unplayable. The probably wishes it had never tangled with digital rights management, because it's going to keep paying for it long after its switch to selling DRM-free MP3s.

An e-mail sent to Wal-Mart digital music store customers said the company will continue to support the DRM-ed song files sold on walmart.com starting in 2003. The e-mail reversed last month's announcement that Wal-Mart would shut down the servers that authenticate the copyright protected music it no longer sells. Unfortunately, doing so would render all protected music purchased from the store in the past five years unplayable.

Full story at Wired.com

This story is something to think about for libraries that collect materials that have DRM.

Publish and be wrong

One group of researchers thinks headline-grabbing scientific reports are the most likely to turn out to be wrong

See: http://nonstopbooks.blogspot.com/2008/10/publish-and-be-wrong.html

US Publisher Moves Forward With Jewel of Medina

Publishers Weekly reports: Plans for the American publication of The Jewel of Medina remain in place and retailer support remains firm, Eric Kampmann, president of Beaufort Books, Medina’s publisher, said yesterday. Over the weekend, the headquarters/residence of Martin Rynja, publisher of Medina’s U.K. house, Gibson Square, suffered some minor damage (see our earlier stories here and here).

Kampmann said the situation in the U.S. and U.K. are different, with the U.K. faced with more radical groups. Kampmann said when he first took on the book following its cancellation by Random House, he did not believe its publication would result in violence in the U.S. He still downplays the possibility of any sort of attack, but given the events in the U.K., said he is now being “super cautious.” He has been in touch with the FBI and New York City police and is considering hiring a security firm to protect Beaufort and Midpoint’s New York offices.

London Publisher's Home Firebombed, As Police Had Warned

From Guardian UK:The London home of the UK publisher of a controversial new novel "The Jewel of Medina" that gives a fictionalised account of the Prophet Muhammad's relationship with his child bride, Aisha, was firebombed yesterday, hours after police had warned the man that he could be a target for fanatics. A petrol bomb is believed to have been thrown through the door of Martin Rynja's £2.5m town house in Islington's Lonsdale Square, which also doubles as the headquarters of his publishing company, Gibson Square. Three men were arrested.

The book was originally to be published in the US by Random House, who later withdrew it's offer to author Sherry Jones. It will be published next month in the US by Beaufort Books, a small press that also published "If I Did It".

Rynja commented, :"I was completely bowled over by the novel and the moving love story it portrays,' he said earlier this month. 'I was struck by the careful research of Sherry Jones, who is a journalist with almost 30 years of experience, and her passion for the novel's characters. I immediately felt that it was imperative to publish it. In an open society there has to be open access to literary works, regardless of fear."

Law school profs ponder printed books (Amazon.com no show)

Law professors from around the country gathered in Seattle on Saturday to put the printed textbook on trial.

And because those professors and their universities influence the buying decisions of thousand of law students each year, traditional book publishers as well as representatives from Adobe, Sony and Microsoft participated. A representative from Amazon.com did not attend as expected.

The daylong discussion educed topics ranging from cerebral musings – could information proliferation make lawyers obsolete? – to technical nuance – what's the difference between open source and open access?

At least one conclusion became clear – the fact that about 40 people gathered at Sullivan Hall at Seattle University Law School on a sunny Saturday to ponder life beyond print shows that times are changing in publishing.

Blog entry at seattlepi.com

Grove Press Publisher to Receive National Book Foundation Award

In its heyday during the 1960s, Grove Press was famous for publishing books nobody else would touch. The Grove list included writers like Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, William S. Burroughs, Che Guevara and Malcolm X, and the books, with their distinctive black-and-white covers, were reliably ahead of their time and often fascinated by sex.

The same was, and is, true of Grove’s maverick publisher, Barney Rosset, who loved highbrow literature but also brought out a very profitable line of Victorian spanking porn.

On Nov. 19 Mr. Rosset will receive a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation in honor of his many contributions to American publishing, especially his groundbreaking legal battles to print uncensored versions of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer.” New York Times reports.

Have You Found A 'Flint'? 'Harry Potter' Editor On How Fans Shaped The Series

I'm not sure I've had the opportunity to point to MTV for a post before today. So Here It Is, News from MTV that, sadly, doesn't involve Music, or TV: Klein is what is known as a "continuity editor." It's her job to keep track of everything that happens in the series, to make sure things are consistent and the details are right. But the letters she gets from the fans sometimes help.

"It's like having 6 million copy editors checking your work," Klein said. "We really handle everything on a case-by-case basis, and we ask, for every letter, 'Have we dealt with this before? Is this a valid concern?' And some we fix ourselves, and others we talk to our British colleagues and J.K. Rowling."

Have We Reached the End of Book Publishing As We Know It?

The book business as we know it will not be living happily ever after. With sales stagnating, CEO heads rolling, big-name authors playing musical chairs, and Amazon looming as the new boogeyman, publishing might have to look for its future outside the corporate world.

The Library Cat Who Touched the World

Get your order in for the Dewey bio, ""Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World"...out next week.

The Spencer IA orange long-haired tabby became a national media celebrity and, when he died at age 19, earned the mark of that distinction - an obituary in the New York Times.

Librarian and author Vicki Myron, 60, who had never written a book, soon landed an astounding $1.25 million advance from major New York publisher Grand Central to tell the cat's story. "CBS Sunday Morning" recently filmed a spot for a feature segment on Myron, who is retired from her job as library director and off and running on an extensive book tour. .

"It's one of our lead titles for the fall," said Melissa Bullock, publicist at Grand Central, formerly Warner Books. "We're expecting it to be on the best-seller list."

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