What makes great kids picture books quite so great?

I own all these books, read them to my kids, and had them read to me as a child. They are utterly charming as products and book reading experiences. But it’s only recently I’ve noticed the incredibly clever product design.
In this post I’m going to geek out a bit and consider them as products and explain why they are so clever as a portfolio.

From The Janet and Alan Ahlberg product portfolio teardown — Medium


Earliest Known Draft of King James Bible Is Found, Scholar Says

The King James Bible is the most widely read work in English literature, a masterpiece of translation whose stately cadences and transcendent phrases have long been seen, even by secular readers, as having emerged from a kind of collective divine inspiration.

But now, in an unassuming notebook held in an archive at the University of Cambridge, an American scholar has found what he says is an important new clue to the earthly processes behind that masterpiece: the earliest known draft, and the only one definitively written in the hand of one of the roughly four dozen translators who worked on it.

From Earliest Known Draft of King James Bible Is Found, Scholar Says - The New York Times


Metadata that kills

Descriptive metadata is never neutral. It reflects our understanding of our society, and our interpretation of how we think the world should be. It is unavoidably evocative of not just a book, film, or song, but rather the whole society which gave it genesis. When developed, particularly Western, countries wind up determining codes and classifications, a very specific illustration of the world is drawn which is a slim sliver of human understanding of the world.

From Metadata that kills — Medium

Print versions of 'Fifty Shades' still unavailable at Harford libraries but movie DVD is

Three years after the director of the Harford County Public Library declined to purchase print copies of the best-selling "Fifty Shades of Grey" erotic book series, the book is still not available on Harford shelves, but customers can borrow electronic versions and DVDs of the 2015 film based on the first volume in the trilogy.

From Print versions of 'Fifty Shades' still unavailable at Harford libraries but movie DVD is - Baltimore Sun


See the Sketches J.R.R. Tolkien Used to Build Middle-Earth

WIRED asks, "How did J.R.R. Tolkien create The Lord of the Rings?"

"The simple answer is that he wrote it...The more complicated answer is that in addition to writing the story, he drew it. The many maps and sketches he made while drafting The Lord of the Rings informed his storytelling, allowing him to test narrative ideas and illustrate scenes he needed to capture in words. For Tolkien, the art of writing and the art of drawing were inextricably intertwined.

In the book The Art of The Lord of the Rings, we see how, and why."


Where Do Books from Closed Libraries Go?

Philly Voice answers the {infrequently asked} question:

Q) What happens to the books at closed libraries like the South Philadelphia one at Broad and Morris streets?

Question answered by Jennifer Maguire-Wright, chief manager of materials for the Free Library of Philadelphia:

A) The materials in the South Philadelphia collection were mostly sent to other neighborhood libraries in the library system. Items that were in poor condition or outdated were withdrawn from the collection -- we call it “weeding,” in library lingo. Those items are typically offered to other city agencies for a period of time and then sold in book sales.

How do you determine which ones get the boot?

We have a collection development policy that includes details on how we keep our collections fresh and current. Typically, items are removed from the collection due to condition. Our books can be well-loved to the point that they are falling apart. For non-fiction, we have guides based on the content. A good example is health-related materials. Anything older than five years is looked at critically to see if there are newer titles on the topic ...

The Incredible Expandable Book

Like most objects, books are confined to the space they occupy, obedient as they are to the laws of nature. That is to say, unlike the Incredible Hulk, they do not normally expand beyond the limits of their own physicality. This post will challenge your beliefs if you agree with this statement. It draws attention to types of medieval books that do expand beyond their physical limits: with a flick of the finger or a gesture of the hand the dimensions of these special objects increased dramatically, up to ten times their original size. As if defying the laws of nature, this miraculous expansion increased the available writing space in objects that were principally designed to be small and portable. The examples in this post suggest that this given of “doing more with less” was an important drive behind the clever design of expandable books.

From The Incredible Expandable Book | medievalbooks


History As Big Data: 500 Years Of Book Images And Mapping Millions Of Books

What would it look like to reimagine the book not as pages of text, but as a global distributed gallery of illustrations, drawings, charts, maps, and photographs that together comprise one of the world’s greatest art collections? In Fall 2013 I approached the Internet Archive with the idea of using computer algorithms to extract every image found on all 600 million pages of their digitized book collection, along with the text surrounding each image and the basic metadata about the book. In just over a month I did precisely that, creating a massive gallery that is slowly being uploaded to Flickr.

From History As Big Data: 500 Years Of Book Images And Mapping Millions Of Books - Forbes


Buffalo and The Future of The Book

Speculation on the future of the book changes by the hour (the one that I’m working toward is a blended portfolio of digital, public libraries, and independent bookstores), but there is great opportunity in the midst of all of this chaos. Because of the digital disruption that continues to democratize the publishing industry, it is now entirely possible for independent authors, publishers, and readers to (quite literally) choose their own adventures without any involvement from an agent, a NYC publisher, or a big-box retailer (like Barnes & Noble).

From Buffalo and The Future of The Book | Buffalo Rising


The National Book Awards Longlist: Nonfiction

Half of the titles on this year’s National Book Awards longlist for Nonfiction can be classified as memoirs. But within that flexible category is immense variety: there’s Ta-Nehisi Coates’s open letter to his son, about how to “live free in this black body”; Sally Mann’s photo-filled account of her familial and artistic life in the American South; Carla Power’s story of friendship with Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi and their joint study of the Koran; Tracy K. Smith’s chronicle of “growing up in a bookish family and the dawning of her poetic vocation”; and Michael White’s record of travelling through Europe and the U.S. to see the paintings of Vermeer while going through a painful divorce.

From The National Book Awards Longlist: Nonfiction - The New Yorker



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