The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

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“A new, lavish coffee-table book, Libraries, pays homage to 44 of these vaults of wisdom around the world. In these photos, spines of shelved books appear like ornate mosaics; labyrinthine stacks seem like architectural gestures.”

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Can High-Tech Speed-Reading Work? Should It?

Can High-Tech Speed-Reading Work

The creators of the app Spritz argue that “only around 20% of your time is spent processing content. The remaining 80% is spent physically moving your eyes from word to word.” They mean to reverse those percentages. If they’re right, what does that mean for how we experience the written word?

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What Makes Iraq Stories Different From Most War Literature

Anbar Province Iraq

George Packer: “The essential scene of First World War writing is the mass slaughter of the trenches. In the archetypal Vietnam story, a grunt who can never find the enemy walks into physical and moral peril. In much of the writing about Iraq, the moment of truth is a reunion scene at an airport or […]

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Where Are Today’s Compelling Novels About Poverty And Inequality?

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“Despite our recession-era reckoning with economics and inequality, fiction that examines both the macro and micro experience of poverty is all too rare. Of the writers who do venture forth in the tradition of John Steinbeck, many are finding new and riveting approaches to an age-old subject. But there are crucial gaps, still. And as […]

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If You Printed All Of Wikipedia It Would Look Like…

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“Nowadays you just use Wikipedia every day without even thinking how large that might be … the English Wikipedia has 4.5 million articles. Nobody can imagine this number. It’s only when you see this in print or in a physical form that you realize how large it really is.”

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Needed: Better Definitions For Slang

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“Super-geeks (from geek, meaning fool) to a man, slang’s lexicographers tend to be self-appointed guardians who, while cheerfully plagiarising each other in their project to demonstrate the importance and scope of slang, have yet to agree on a definition of what, precisely, slang is, or was – or even its origin.”

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Yes, Book Editors Edit Books (They’re Not Just Business People)

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HarperCollins editor Barry Harbaugh: “The editorial staffs of New York houses are not the faceless lemmings that a certain retail giant with a vested stake in self-publishing would have us be. And though it would appear to outsiders that the health of our careers depends solely on measurements of quantity (of the books that we […]

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China’s Dan Brown (Only He’s Really Good)

China's Dan Brown)

“The literary writer who attains commercial success is a rare breed. One who mixes genres, merges history with fable, and mines the constrictive reality of his repressive state – while boasting of sales in the millions – may only exist in one person. And, surprisingly enough, that person is Chinese.”

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The Paper Versus EBooks Debate Is A Waste Of Time (Isn’t It?)

Ebook in Waterstones

“Until a digital book is a magical object which physically transforms from 50 Shades into the new James Smythe novel according to your whim; until you can walk through a digital library and open books at random; until the technology becomes as satisfying to the physical senses as the text is to the cognitive self, […]

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The Book Barge Was Sinking. Would Amazon Step In To Help?

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“An experiment like this, I thought, could also be a useful corrective to the easy acceptance that value for money has just one currency. Consumers have come to expect discounts. In fact, most feel positively cheated if a price tag hasn’t been visibly slashed. By offering goods without any money at all exchanging hands, The […]

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Book Editors Say Life’s Too Short To Read Bad Books

Editing

“There’s no set way to approach a manuscript. Nobody tells you, ‘This is how to edit. Follow these steps.’ Everyone comes to a manuscript with a different perspective, and you quickly learn that each editor has his or her own personal preferences — conventions they love (and maybe even overuse) and things that are huge […]

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Want That Ebook? You’d Best Be Able To Travel To It

Ebook Loans

“Books that traveled around the world via interlibrary loan in the 20th century paper era are safeguarded locally in the Internet age. Indeed, it is the sheer ease with which electronic publications can be sent around the world that is now resulting in their being locked up behind digital bars. The book doesn’t go to […]

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The Amazon Books Problem

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“There’s a fundamental problem with bookselling as a business: put bluntly, it’s that people aren’t really into buying books. Bezos discovered this via a 1998 survey that found most shoppers didn’t use Amazon.com and probably never would, because—well—Americans buy very few books.”

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The Decline and Fall of the Conservative Book Publishing Juggernaut

why conservative publishing is in decline

“Ten years ago, the genre was a major source of intellectual energy on the right, and the site of a publishing boom, with conservative imprints popping up at industry giants like Random House and Penguin. But after a decade of disruption, uneven sales, and fierce competition, many leading figures in the conservative literati fear the […]

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Why Would You Ban Books For Prisoners?

The Baileys Women?s Prize for Fiction announces the 2014 longlist, London, Britain - 06 Mar 2014

“The general consensus seems that this move is designed to punish prisoners purely to show potential voters that the government is tough on crime. But if you look into the science and psychology behind such things, it actually makes little sense.”

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The German Publishing Company That Sells Wikipedia As Books

The joy of seeing your work in print.

“Thousands are listed for sale on Amazon, all with the same cover design (albeit with different stock photos swapped in) and the same three names (Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, and John McBrewster) listed as the ‘authors.’ Some go for as much as $100.”

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