Words

Why Do We Use Four-Letter Words?

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“The use of offensive, obscene or taboo language is a linguistic feature in most human cultures, from the English “f**k off” to the French merde (sh**), and from the Indian sala (brother-in-law) to the Arabic yil’an abu ommak (curse your grandfather). While people tend to think of the “four-letter words” as modern phenomena, the reality is that the earliest recorded uses of these words date from 1,000 years ago (“f**k” is one of the most recent, from 1503).”

Amazon’s New Pay-Per-Page Scheme Offers Shockingly Tiny Share To Authors

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“In other words, for an author to make $1.30 on an ebook rental, he or she would have to write at least 220 pages, and the reader would have to flip through every page. As a literary editor told The Guardian, this could hit nonfiction writers and children’s book authors particularly hard, since their books tend to fall on the shorter side.”

Book Subscription Service Stops Offering Romance And Erotica Titles Because Its Readers Read Them Too Much

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“Scribd appears to have slightly underestimated just how much can be consumed at their all-you-can-eat literary buffet – especially by fans of romance. Because Scribd has to pay the authors of the books they make available on their site, it is now shelling out more money than it can make back in subscriptions, thanks to the voracious appetites of romance and erotica readers.”

The World’s First “Metaphor Map”

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“Over the past 30 years, it has become clear that metaphor is not simply a literary phenomenon; metaphorical thinking underlies the way we make sense of the world conceptually. It governs how we think and how we talk about our day-to-day lives.”

Authors React To Amazon’s Plan To Pay By The Numbers

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“A look at the numbers, though, recalls the joke that the difference between a writer and a pizza is that a pizza can feed a family. The average payout barely cracks $1 a book. Only the first reading of a page counts. Books that are reread, on this scheme, are of no greater value. And the unread novel, which has been an important part of the publishing industry if not literature, will be worthless.”

How Did The New York Public Library Lose Its Way?

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“What went wrong at one of the world’s eminent research libraries? NYPL, as it is often known, has been under intermittent financial pressure for most of its history, but in the last few years it has been enveloped by a controversy that has exposed the institution to unprecedented public scrutiny. What stands revealed is a library that is abandoning its core mission of research and is losing its way in the digital age.”

Book Publishers Are Finally Starting To Invest In Real Fact-Checking

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“By tradition and by default, books aren’t verified to anything near the standard of a magazine piece. Publishers don’t even consider verification their business. … In fact, the practice of checking books is fairly common, though it’s also expensive. This fall, for the first time, one publisher is even promising to pay for it. Which is a pretty radical departure.”

Panned By Critics, “50 Shades Of Grey” Sequel Sells Million Copies In UK In First Week, Breaks Sales Records

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“Released last Thursday, Grey tells the story of the S&M-focused relationship between businessman Christian Grey and shy student Anastasia Steele from the perspective of Christian – something its British author James writes in her dedication that fans had “asked … and asked … and asked … and asked” for.”

Claim: Is UK’s Creative Writing Program Actually Making Students’ Writing Worse?

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The authors, a growing group that already numbers 35, say that national curriculum assessment criteria have become a “prescription for how to teach children to write (to pass the tests), with quite adverse effects on their writing skills”. This means, they say, that children are taught “not to use simple words such as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘small’ or ‘big’ but to always find other more ‘interesting’ words to replace them – such as ‘wonderful’, ‘terrible’, ‘minuscule’ or ‘enormous’”.

Wikipedia Is Dying. Can It Be Saved?

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“In 2005, during Wikipedia’s peak years, there were months when more than 60 editors were made administrator — a position with special privileges in editing the English-language edition. For the past year, it has sometimes struggled to promote even one per month. The pool of potential Wikipedia editors could dry up as the number of mobile users keeps growing; it’s simply too hard to manipulate complex code on a tiny screen.”

Amazon Will Pay Writers Based On How Many Pages Readers Read. Is This Fair?

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The move has dismayed some authors, who believe it sets a dangerous precedent and could spread across the industry. It has also raised concerns about the amount of data Amazon is able to mine from its customers. “We’re making this switch in response to great feedback we received from authors who asked us to better align payout with the length of books and how much customers read,” the company said.

Memoir Of A Teenage Serial Killer (A Real One) Has Japan In An Uproar

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“Brushing aside mounting criticism, a Tokyo publisher has defended its decision to release a controversial autobiography penned by a former teenage serial killer, billing it as helpful to elucidate – and even deter – heinous juvenile crimes in society. Since the release of the autobiography last week, Ota Publishing Co. has faced a ‘massive’ backlash from the public, the company admitted in a statement.”

Amazon Decides To Pay Some Authors When Readers Turn Pages

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“For the many authors who publish directly through Amazon, the new model could warp the priorities of writing: A system with per-page payouts is a system that rewards cliffhangers and mysteries across all genres. It rewards anything that keeps people hooked, even if that means putting less of an emphasis on nuance and complexity.”

If You’re Ignorant About History, Start Reading Romances

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“Regency historicals are filled with heroes disabled both physically and psychologically by the horrors of that battle, of heroines who lost brothers, husbands, fathers, and cousins, coping with a very different landscape than the one they were taught to navigate in.”