Friday, July 22, 2011

Around the Word

Latest stats on the e-volution: The latest sales numbers from the Association of American Publishers, out yesterday, show that e-books are flying off the e-shelves. For the first half of 2011, e-book sales are up 160 percent over the same period last year. Print sales, though, have continued to take a hit. Paperbacks are still the best-selling format for books, but their numbers dipped nearly 18 percent over last year and hardcovers fell 23 percent. Begs the question: will hard cover be a viable format five years from now?

Iran's book-banning binge: Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, gave a stark reminder this week of just how repressive his regime is. Khamenei has put in place one of the world's strictest censorship policies, which has triggered a backlash from the country's intellectual elite, including a former culture minister. Appearing before a group of librarians and publishing industry leaders on Wednesday, Khamenei defended his literary crackdown by likening "harmful books" to "poisonous" drugs. The Guardian reports that words such as "kiss," "beloved," "wine" and "meditation" are often censored out during the lengthy approval process for books published in Iran.

Running with the big blog dogs: One question we hear often from our writers who are starting blogs is how do you attract readers? Pro blogger Jennifer Brown Banks suggests that one of the best things you can do is get some pickup and residual shine from one of the "big dog" blogs. Writing on Men with Pens, Banks gives some compelling reasons for why you should give guest blogging a shot and also provides some handy tips for scoring that top spot. Shameless plug: We're always looking for guest bloggers here on the BloGG, so leave a comment if you're interested in doing a guest spot. 

Ugly Americanisms: The BBC recently ran a piece about Americanisms that have made their way into language in the UK. The reaction to the article was so strong that the BBC compiled and posted 50 of the most common -- and often revolting -- examples of Americanisms they received from readers. While some of the commenters seem to have their noses in the air -- one wrote, "I caught myself saying 'shopping cart' instead of 'shopping trolley' today and was thoroughly disgusted with myself"-- the list of hated Americanisms is pretty amusing to the language-loving Yank. "Can I get a..." "leverage" and "normalcy" all made the list. Our favorite: the outraged Brit who despised the American use of "bi-weekly" instead of "fortnightly."

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