May 2009

Getting Paid: With Harlan Ellison

When it comes to science fiction, Harlan Ellison is a living legend who wrote, and fought, his way to the top. He’s known for being abrasive, cantankerous, and he’s just as well known for being proud of that assessment. This is a man who not only sued AOL and the guy who posted his stories on AOL without authorization, his lawsuit was successful.

So Maria Langer, the author of over 70 books on using technology, posted this video on her blog. It’s Mr. Ellison talking about the importance of paying writers. As you’d expect, he’s vocal about getting paid for his work, and why not? It’s his work and don’t you get paid for yours? Be prepared for colourful language, invective, and righteous indignation.

In other words, be prepared for Harlan Ellison being himself and telling you exactly how he feels.

Ann Hodgman’s All-Purpose Book Club Discussion Questions (“Shouts & Murmurs”)

Though Hodgman introduces her Book Club Discussion Questions in this week’s New Yorker as “discussion points for members who have not read this month’s book,” I believe they’ll stimulate lively discussion even among prepared book club members. They also make the most hilarious book-related piece of writing I’ve seen since John Crace’s digested read of Jodi Picoult’s Handle with Care.

Omaha’s Loss is Sacramento’s Gain

The new Director of the Sacramento Library is Rivkah K. Sass. Sass, 56, was selected yesterday afternoon by the Sacramento Public Library Authority, which approved a five-year contract that will pay her $160,000 annually.

“I am so excited I can hardly stand it,” Sass said by phone from Omaha, where she was preparing to inform her library board she is leaving. She has served in her current position for six years, and was also a candidate for the directorship in Seattle. But she’s a California native, and happily announces…”I’m coming home.”

New: Shelf Check Gifts for your FaceySpaces

What better way to say “Hi, library coworker! Though I’m too awkward to say so in person, I appreciate you!” than to send them a loving gift of a “Patron with GIFTED child”? Now you can, with the Shelf Check gift app for Facebook. A variety of Shelf Check gifts are available. Who knows? One might even be an MLS from an ALA-accredited institution!

Also, for those that don’t know, Shelf Check is a library webcomic and can be read at

‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’ Is Required Reading Once Again at Washington State

Among the things that Bill Marler feels passionately about are Washington State University (his alma mater), food safety and negotiation. So after he heard about a dustup on campus over the cancellation of a program requiring all freshmen to read the same book — Michael Pollan’s double-fisted examination of agribusiness, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” — he stepped in to resolve it.

Full story in the New York Times

Free Audiobook Software Expands iPod Compatibility at Libraries and Retailers

OverDrive announced that digital audiobook catalogs from leading publishers will be compatible with iPod and other Apple devices after a simple upgrade of OverDrive’s free, easy-to-use audiobook software. Starting in mid-June, millions of new and existing users with Windows PCs will be able to install OverDrive Media Console version 3.2 with enhanced transfer functionality for iPod, iPhoneTM, iPod touch, and iPod nano, as well as Zune and thousands of other portable devices. Participating publishers include Random House Audio, Hachette Audio, Penguin Audio, BBC Audiobooks America, Brilliance Audio, Tantor Media, and many more.

Two Google Book stories

Story one: New Web site to amplify debate on Google book deal

Caroline Vanderlip believes the escalating debate over Google Inc.’s plans for a vast Internet library of copyright-protected literature will yield enough compelling material to fill a book.

That’s one reason why SharedBook Inc., a 5-year-old company run by Vanderlip, has set up a Web site so the supporters and opponents of Google’s digital book project can more easily post their opinions about a legal settlement that will help fulfill or possibly derail the Internet search leader’s ambitions.
The site,, is set to debut Thursday. Full article here.

Story two: EU to study how Google Books impact authors