Friday, June 24, 2011

Around the Word

Gender studies: George Eliot (or rather, Mary Evans) would have been out of luck using her gender-bending nom de plum if she had been writing in the digital age. Turns out scientists have developed new software that can determine the gender of a writer by using written cues. According to a report in this month's New Scientist, women are more likely to use "emotionally intensive adverbs and affective adjectives, such as really, charming or lovely." Men are more likely to use "I." The scientists think that the software had been used, it could have caught the fake "Gay Girl in Damascus" blogger sooner -- the software predicted that the writer was 62.3 percent likely to be male.

The dark side of the e-book: The e-book revolution has opened up the publishing marketplace to all kinds of new authors. But sadly it has also paved the way for e-scammers to sell fake books to unsuspecting customers. These dastardly deviants repackage public content like Wikipedia or plagiarize someone else's work, sell it as an e-book and rake in the profits, reports the Guardian. While digital distributors like Amazon and Smashwords are trying to eliminate the illegitimate from their e-shelves, it's up to readers and writers to report any fake work they find. A tip for authors: do a Google search of phrases from your book to make sure their isn't an impostor out there selling your hard-written words. 

Reading social: With new social media networks for lit lovers popping up all over the place, your book club is no longer limited to your living room. We took a writer-oriented tour around Penguin's Book Country recently, the closest thing to a goliath in this digital domain. But there are plenty of up and coming sites worth checking out too. eBook Newser put together a list of ten social networks for readers, from the newly launched InReads to Scribd ("the largest book club on the planet") to Shelfari ("a community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers"). Which of these networks do you use?

No comments: