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Updated: 2 hours 41 min ago

Todd Bol, founder of the Little Free Library dies aged 62

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 13:07
Todd Bol, founder and executive director of the Little Free Library who "spent much of the last decade working towards his vision of a world where neighbors know each other by name, and everyone has access to books," died October 18. He was 62. LFL noted that he "was heartened by the network of more than 75,000 Little Free Library stewards around the world dedicated to literacy and community." LFLs now exist in 88 countries.

In 2009, Bol "hammered together the first Little Free Library. Then he built a movement around it," the Star Tribune wrote, adding that he "believed the now-ubiquitous little boxes of books--and the neighbors who cared for them--could change a block, a city, the world. So he brought them to front yards all over, often installing them himself."

Eleven San Francisco bookstores get cash assistance from city

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 13:17
Nearly a dozen San Francisco bookstores received a special gift from the city this week — $103,000 in total grant money to help them through a time when books can be delivered to one's door at the click of a mouse.

And that's exactly why the funding is so important, says Joaquin Torres, the director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. "There's nothing online that can recreate the experience of walking into a bookstore — the art you see on the walls, the performances that take place, the cultural conversations," he said...

The money is part of the Bookstore SF Program, a pet project of the late Mayor Ed Lee, aimed at funding bookstore "revitalizations" that emphasize their roles as social hubs rather than simply places to purchase reading material...

Random House and Crown Publishing Groups Merge

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 13:05
The Crown Publishing Group has joined the Random House Publishing Group in a newly-combined division reporting to current Random House president and publisher Gina Centrello, who has been named president and publisher of the new supergroup, Penguin Random House US CEO Madeline McIntosh wrote today in a letter to staff. As a result of the merger, Maya Mavjee, president and publisher of Crown, will leave the company at the end of the year. The imprints will retain their distinct editorial identities, McIntosh continued in the memo, and the change is effective immediately.

At least for the moment, the two groups will retain their existing names: the Crown Publishing Group and the Random House Publishing Group. The change has no impact on PRH's other adult publishing groups, the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group and the Penguin Publishing Group, or its two children's divisions.

Milkman,? by Anna Burns, wins 2018 Man Booker Prize

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 05:00
Anna Burns won the 2018 Man Booker Prize for her third novel, Milkman. Burns, 56, is the first writer from Northern Ireland to win the Booker. She accepted the prize tonight at a lavish ceremony in London.

Burns's dark, experimental novel is about a bookish 18-year-old girl caught up in the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Originally set to be published in the United States next fall, Graywolf Press announced tonight that Milkman will be released on Dec. 11.

Alternative Nobel Prize awarded to Guadeloupean author Maryse Condé

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 05:00
The New Academy Prize in Literature 2018 has been awarded to Guadeloupean author Maryse Condé. She is the author of about 20 novels, including I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem; Tales from the Heart: True Stories from My Childhood; Windward Heights; Victoire: My Mother's Mother; and Who Slashed Celanire's Throat?

The New Academy Prize in Literature was created earlier this year by more than 100 Swedish writers, actors, journalists and other cultural figures in response to the Swedish Academy's decision not to award a 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature in the wake of a highly-publicized scandal. The New Academy will be dissolved in December.

Cyber criminals attempt to steal manuscripts from major publishers

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 06:52
A spate of global phishing scams attempting to access agencies' and publishers' manuscripts and other sensitive information prompted Penguin Random House North America to issue an urgent warning to all staff.

The PRH email was circulated with the subject line "Important: New Phishing Alert" and reads: "We have recently seen an increase in attempts to steal our manuscripts. This has occurred in multiple locations across the globe. The individuals attempting to access these manuscripts have a sophisticated understanding of our business. We need to protect ourselves from these threats."

The Bookseller understands PRH UK has been similarly targeted, with fraudsters posing as literary agents and foreign-rights staff from seemingly legitimate email addresses. Other houses have also been affected. Pan Macmillan revealed it had also been targeted by scammers trying to access manuscripts, and has issued an internal briefing to staff. The head of another global publisher said that while there have long been scams targeting confidential information such as contracts, seeking manuscripts is a new development.

Great American Read Top 10 announced

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 05:00
The deadline is approaching to cast votes for the USA's best-loved novel. To date, more than 3.8 million votes have been cast.

Organizers of The Great American Read have released a Top 10 list of the leading candidates. The winning book will be revealed in the "Grand Finale" episode on October 23 on PBS stations nationwide.

Viewers can vote for their favorite titles each day through October 18 via Facebook, Twitter, text and phone. Click the link below for full details.

The Top Ten are:
• Charlotte's Web
• Chronicles of Narnia series
• Gone with the Wind
• Harry Potter series
• Jane Eyre
• Little Women
• Lord of the Rings series
• Outlander series
• Pride and Prejudice
• To Kill a Mockingbird

The number of self-published titles topped 1 million in 2017

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 05:00
The number of self-published books topped the 1 million mark for the first time in 2017, according to Bowker's annual report on the number of ISBNs that were issued to self-published authors. The total number of ISBNs issued last year rose 28% over 2016, to 1,009,188.

The gain was due entirely to the increase in the number of print ISBNs issued by Bowker last year. The number of ISBNs issued for e-books released by self-published authors fell 13% from 2016, to 129,601.

While Bowker noted that the 2017 decline is the third consecutive year the number of ISBNs issued for e-books fell, the drop is more likely due to authors moving to Amazon's KDP self-publishing platform than an overall decline in the number e-books that were self-published last year. Because KDP uses Amazon's own ASIN identifiers rather than the industry standard ISBNs, KDP's titles do not appear in the Bowker data. Amazon does not disclose the number of KDP titles that it releases annually.

The 2018 National Book Award finalists are in, including a new category for translated literatures

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 12:04
The finalists for the National Book Award are in, and this year, there's more of them than ever before.

For 2018, the National Book Foundation has added a new category for translated literature, in what seems to be an attempt to push back against the idea that Americans don't read books from other countries. It doesn't spotlight only unfamiliar names, though: The finalists in this category include Trick, translated by Namesake author Jhumpa Lahiri, who has written extensively about her decision to begin reading and writing in Italian after years of being celebrated for her beautiful English sentences.

Need a handbag or a tie to land your first job? Borrow one with a library card

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 05:00
Handbags, briefcases and ties can be checked out for up to three weeks at a time at the Riverside branch of the New York Public Library, as part of a pilot program dreamed up by Michelle Lee, a young adult librarian...

John Hopkins name new research building after Henrietta Lacks

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 05:00
Johns Hopkins University just announced that the school will name a new research building after Henrietta Lacks, the "mother of modern medicine" whose cancer cells revolutionized medical research--and whose story came to the public's attention through Rebecca Skloot's 2010 nonfiction work, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

"Through her life and her immortal cells, Henrietta Lacks made an immeasurable impact on science and medicine that has touched countless lives around the world," Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels said during the university's 9th annual Henrietta Lacks Memorial Lecture on Saturday.

Amazon's hourly workers lose monthly bonuses and stock awards as minimum wage increases

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:01
Amazon's minimum-wage increase for its hourly workers comes with a trade-off: no more monthly bonuses and stock awards.

Amazon confirmed in an email to CNBC that the company is getting rid of incentive pay and stock option awards as it increases the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The company, however, stressed that the wage increase "more than compensates" for the loss in other benefits.

B&N Sets Up Process to Evaluate Purchase Offers

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 10:56
Barnes & Noble is setting up "a formal review process to evaluate strategic alternatives for the company," it announced yesterday. This follows what management says are "expressions of interest from multiple parties" about buying B&N, including from chairman Len Riggio, who owns about 19% of the company. In response to the news, B&N stock jumped more than 20% in after-market trading after closing yesterday at $5.46 a share.

Six of this year's 25 MacArthur "genius grant" winners are writers or storytellers

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 05:00
Among the 25 winners of the 2018 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships (widely referred to as the "genius grants," which come with a no-strings-attached award of $625,000) are at least six people who are writers or story-tellers:

  • Natalie Diaz, 40, a poet who teaches at Arizona State University.
  • John Keene, 53, a writer in the Department of African American and African Studies at Rutgers University.
  • Kelly Link, 49, a fiction writer in Northampton, Mass.
  • Dominique Morisseau, 40, a playwright at Signature Theatre in New York City.
  • Ken Ward Jr., 50, an investigative journalist with the Charleston Gazette-Mail.M
  • Raj Jayadev, 43, a community organizer and co-founder of Silicon Valley De-Bug, a story-telling, community organizing, and advocacy organization.

Amazon boosts minimum wage to $15 for all workers following criticism

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 11:48
Amazon.com announced Tuesday that it will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all employees, a move that comes after the tech giant faced harsh criticism for how much it pays its workers.

The pay increase will affect 250,000 Amazon employees and 100,000 seasonal employees hired at Amazon sites during the holiday season. It will affect full-time and part-time workers, as well as Whole Foods Market employees, and will take effect Nov. 1...

Last month, Bernie Sanders introduced a bill calling on Amazon to pay a living wage to its employees, following reports that thousands of Amazon workers rely on federal assistance for food, housing and health care. The median Amazon worker was paid $28,446 last year, according to company filings, which translates to about $13.68 an hour.

Amazon said on Tuesday that all employees, including those who already make $15 an hour, will receive pay increases as a result of its new policy.

Guilty verdict for man at center of Nobel Prize in Literature scandal

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 10:16
Jean-Claude Arnault, the man at the center of a scandal that led to the cancellation of this year's Nobel Prize in Literature, has been found guilty of rape and sentenced to two years in prison by a Swedish court, the New York Times reported. The Swedish Academy declined to comment on the verdict, which came just as the 2019 Nobel season was beginning with the announcement of this year's physiology or medicine recipients.

7 characters that didn't make it into the Harry Potter books

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 09:36
Harry Potter fans will enjoy Mental Floss' "7 Characters That Didn't Make It Into the Harry Potter Books" including a Weasley cousin in Slytherin, a younger sister for Hermione and an eccentric witch, Mopsy who takes in Padfoot--all characters that were included in J.K. Rowling's early drafts but got cut in the writing/editing process.

Do we still need Banned Books Week?

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 10:35
Writing in The Washington Post, Ron Charles asks if we still need Banned Books Week? He concludes:

Far from it being dated, James LaRue (from the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association) believes that Banned Books Week may be more relevant now than it's been in a long time. "It's not just about these quaint old books," he says. "It's about speakers. It's about displays and exhibits. It's about libraries as a center for civic debate." ...

"The censoriousness of our time is growing," LaRue warns. "It's not just that we say we want to remove books; we don't want people to voice in public opinions that someone else in the community might dislike."

Which is why, despite the imprecision of the terms "banned" and "challenged," I suppose I'm glad we have Banned Books Week. As LaRue argues, it encourages us to reflect on what we're not discussing.

5 Under 35 honorees announced

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 21:53
5 Under 35 is an annual prize that honors five young and promising fiction writers, each selected by a National Book Award Winner or Finalist. This year's honorees are:

Hannah Lillith Assadi, Sonora Akwaeke Emezi, Freshwater Lydia Kiesling, The Golden State Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Friday Black Moriel Rothman-Zecher, Sadness Is a White Bird

Crazy Rich Asians trilogy dominates charts. Doubleday goes back to press 54 times since January

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 15:52
The recent movie adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians has driven sales of all three books in the trilogy which also includesChina Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems. Doubleday have gone back to press 54 times since January and the "Crazy" trilogy now has over 3 million copies in all formats in North America. A boxed set of the three books will be available on Oct. 23.

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