Friday, November 4, 2011

Around the Word

Ghost busting: MSNBC's Chris Matthews is not known for pulling his punditary punches, and this week he threw a couple haymakers that got a few ghostwriters' hackles up. In an interview with Forbes this week about his latest book on JFK, Matthews took umbrage at a question about whether he had any outside writing help -- with a more strongly-worded version of "Forget you." Matthews treated the insinuation as an attack on his character; "It’s amazing to me that you think I’m some lightweight, glib bulls**t artist that has somebody do his work for him," he said. Though we can appreciate that Matthews takes pride in his writing, attitudes like this perpetuate the stigma against ghostwriters and keep other experts from admitting when they've needed some professional help. What did you think?

Keeping up with the Kindles: Amazon announced its new Kindle Owners' Lending Library this morning, a service available to Kindle-owning Amazon Prime members. Members can download and "borrow" one e-book per month, keep it for as long as they want and then replace it with a new borrowed book when they're finished. The impact of this move is being hotly debated in the publishing world, and some speculate failure since none of the six largest publishers have signed on, according to the Wall Street Journal. But others see it as an opportunity to hook readers with a free book and then sell them other works by the same author or publisher. Is this what libraries will look like in the digital age?

Show your books some love: While spring may be the traditional time to clean house, fall is a great time to care for your books. New York Public Library conservationist Shelly Smith recently shared some easy tips for keeping your home library in top shape. Stable temperatures, regular dusting and avoidance of too much moisture and light are all necessary to make sure your books last a lifetime.

Publishing's manifest destiny? The Books in Browsers conference in San Francisco last week provided a valuable window into where technology and publishing are headed, according to a review by Publishing Perspectives. BIB11 was more focused on the high-tech UX (that's "user experience") than the traditional publishing elements -- "the words author, editor, agent, story and narrative were sparsely used." But the overall outlook for the future of books (or rather, e-books) was sunny, and perhaps showing the conference's geographic tilt, moving westward. Check out the postmortem and let us know what you think. Is the balance of publishing power shifting to Silicon Valley?

E-wards: Have you written an e-book that you think is award-worthy? The Global Ebook Awards -- the brainchild of e-book advocate Dan Poynter -- are now accepting entries in fiction and non-fiction. All entries get a sticker for the cover of their book, and winners get a free listing in Publishers Marketplace as well as other exposure for their e-book. Will you be entering?

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