Let's have a look what's been going on in books and reading.
- The New Republic takes a look at Amazon and the growing business of audiobooks. While other areas of book publishing seem to be stagnant or even shrinking, audiobooks is one area seeing some small growth. Personally, I do read in audio when I can, mainly through my public library's Overdrive system. It's limited but I manage to find something interesting now and then.
- One place that still does OK is indie bookstores, and Publisher's Weekly has a look at some of them.
- However, big chain bookstores are not giving up yet. Story via The Millions.
- The Observer Dispatch (Utica, NY) advocates for preserving real bookstores (as in the physical locations). They write, "Whatever it takes for bookstores to survive, it’s worth the effort. That means those who appreciate what real bookstores have to offer need to support them."
- Willamette Week offers a profile of Title Wave, the bookstore set up by Multnomah County Library to sell off books they retire from the library collection. People often ask libraries to add this or that book to the collections, but they rarely if ever wonders what happens when space runs out. Well, libraries do weed collections and remove books that are old, no longer in use, bad condition, or for a few other reasons. One way libraries dispose of books no longer needed is by selling them. Multnomah does it with their own store. In your local community, you may find your local public library has a "Friends of the Library" group, and they often have used book sales that include books the library is letting go. "Friends" groups are local library supporters, and their sales are often a way to raise funds for the library so the library can keep getting new and better things. In addition, when a big bestseller or overly hyped book comes out, say the latest Harry Potter back in its prime, you'd see the library had anywhere from 10 to 20 extra copies to accommodate demand. Once demand died out, the library kept one or two copies and would sell off the rest. (Although for certain really high demand items, libraries often lease those books, but that is a topic for another time.)
- This is more of a general culture piece. Places Journal offers a piece on hardware stores as community places.
- Another general culture piece. Via Aeon magazine, a look at Tarot not so much as divination tool but as a tool for self development and even therapy. Given my growing interest and study of Tarot, this caught my eye.
- The Atlantic takes a look at microfilm, which can last a very long time and has been used to preserve many things. It may seem outdated, and even many libraries are rushing to get rid of it (often without backing it up or other alternatives). Still, microfilm (and microfiche) remains an essential form of information preservation.
- Via Boing Boing, a small look at the ancient art of fore-edge paintings in books.
- Via The Outline, I had no idea but I learn that there are secret Marxist alien hunters. Hat tip to Boing Boing. From the article: "The Marxist Ufologists viewed UFO investigation as part of the scientific and intellectual tradition of humans attempting to overcome their alienation so that they might understand themselves and their place within in nature, with the aim of creating a truly free and equal society. In searching for aliens, they believed, we are forced to confront the alien logic of capital that controls the world. In this struggle, the Marxist Ufologists saw a potential ally in our interstellar neighbors. The prospect of such an encounter might be terrifying, but it’s hard to imagine our new alien overlords could be any more inhumane than the humans who currently dominate the planet."
- Via The New Yorker, an article on the curious collection of authors' artifacts held by New York Public Library. Items include a lock of Walt Whitman's hair and Virginia Woolf's cane.
- Have a kid reluctant to read? The Los Angeles Times offers some tips to inspire your kid to read.
- And while we are handing out advice about how to read, Inc magazine offers what they call an unconventional way to read. I would not go as far as call it unconventional. Some of the advice here has been around for a long time. For example, you do not have to finish a book if you do not like it or are not connecting to it. And yes, unlike the author of the article, that does include tossing aside The Da Vinci Code halfway through when you realize it's a piece of tripe. (Yea, I said it.) Now, the message of reading actively and keeping track of what you read is good. That is part of why I keep notes in my journal of things I read; it is also a reason I do book reviews.
- Over at The Guardian, there is concern over the proliferation of skim reading. From the article: "Research surfacing in many parts of the world now cautions that each of these essential 'deep reading' processes may be under threat as we move into digital-based modes of reading."
- Sean Spicer, the disgraced former
liar for the Pendejo In Chiefpress secretary, has a book out. Apparently it is consistent with what he used to do, namely lie for the president. A review from Salon notes it is full of inaccuracies and, because that is not bad enough, it is also dull.
- Former The Apprentice reality show "star" Omarosa, who worked in the White House in who knows what capacity, has her own tell all book as well. That book is not much better, and Salon points out in their review the book was losing sales bigly in its second week out. As I predicted, it's headed for the remainders bin.
- Finally this week, for your amusement. I will warn you this can be NSFW. Someone has gone and created a Tijuana Bible comic about The Pendejo In Chief. Details, including link if you wish to purchase a copy, via Boing Boing.