Links + Things: NPR examines publishing, all digital libraries, book clubs take over a casino and more!

Links + Things: NPR examines publishing, all digital libraries, book clubs take over a casino and more!

Traditional publishing versus self publishing! A book club extravaganza! All digital libraries! Amazon coins! (Huh?)

All that plus cheap brain candy and some other bargain book goodness in this installment of Links + Things.

Links + Things on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves
"What has changed in a really exciting way is the ways you can get people's attention. It used to be one book review at a time, a daily review, maybe you get into Time magazine. Now there's, with the Internet, this giant echo chamber. Anything good that happens, any genuine excitement that a book elicits can be amplified and repeated and streamed and forwarded and linked in a way that excitement spreads more quickly and universally than ever before. And what I'm seeing is that really wonderful books — the books that people get genuinely excited about because they change their lives, they give them new ideas — those books can travel faster, go further, sell more copies sooner than ever before. It's just energized the whole business in a thrilling way."
...traditional publishers are in the business of not publishing books but of selling books. And there's a big difference there. So they seek to acquire books and authors who they think have the greatest commercial potential. But the challenge here is they really don't know which books are going to go on to become bestsellers. Only readers know that.

Laura pointed me to this two-part series on NPR this week about self-publishing versus traditional publishing. The traditional publishing side is representing by the incoming CEO of Hachette while the Smashwords CEO makes the case for the supremacy of self-publishing. Both have an agenda, but it's interesting that both are so enthusiastic about the future of publishing and its potential. It's a nice contrast to the doom and gloom stories we hear so often.

Sue McCann’s Essex Books in Ivoryton, Ct., may be small—since a flood last summer she relocated to a nook in the Gather general store—but she has big aspirations when it comes to reading and is producing one of the area’s largest book club gatherings. Over the past year she and Colleen LaFrancois and her husband, Roger LaFrancois (former Red Sox player turned St. Louis Cardinals coach), have worked to create the Big Book Club Getaway at Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Ct. The two-day event, which starts Friday evening and runs through Saturday, brings together more than 45 authors and panels on topics ranging from sports writing to, yes, sexuality and Fifty Shades of Grey.

I'm going to be honest, I hate gambling, but this is a brilliant idea on the part of this bookseller and the Mohegan Sun. I'm in a book club and I can guarantee that if there was a big event for book clubs like this in my area, we'd be all over it.

Instead of shelves lined with hard bound editions, patrons will be able to check out e-books and e-readers for two and three weeks at a time. There will be a number of computers available for use and special e-readers for children's books.

I do prefer ebooks much of the time and am a big advocate to digital literacy. However, as an educator I have big issues with the stories I've read lately of libraries going all digital. Sure, digital spaces are a key community resources (my public library's lab is always packed with folks from the neighborhood), but lots of learners need the tactile response of physical books. There's space for both--and they can be used in tandem. Digital versus print should not be an either-or decision.

Three things: loyalty, an easy way to reward customers without simply giving away free money, and flexibility on their balance sheets. So in the future, will every company have its own branded currency? Varoufakis said that’s doubtful, because creating a currency is hard, contains hidden costs, and is rarely worth it for a company to bother with the intricacies of designing their own.

I am completely baffled by virtual currencies like the one Amazon is rolling out. But, apparently it's a thing and Amazon is embracing it. It really worth clicking through and reading this article because it also touches the issue of tax evasion that's associated with this sort of virtual transaction.

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