ssmith's blog

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

Introducing, the iKindle?

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

Schlachthof Fünf
Did you know that, during WWII, Kurt Vonnegut was a POW in the horrid Slaughterhouse Five that he immortalized in his novel of the same name? Although it is one of my all-time favourite novels, I didn't know this fact until I was introduced last week to a remarkable letter written by Vonnegut to his family upon release from that camp in 1945, published on lettersofnote.com.

Your "Cease and Desist" is in the mail

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

The secret world of pronouns
A new study indicates that how a person uses pronouns says much about his or her psychology. (For example, the previous sentence would indicate that I feel I am in a dominant position over my readers, because it lacks the first-person singular "I", whereas this sentence shows that I am submissive to my reader.)

The secret history of Times New Roman

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

Work faster
Want to write faster? So do I. So does everyone. Michael Agger, on Slate, tells us why that's probably not going to happen.

Work cheaper
Should you work for free? To answer that question, Jessica Hische has created a flow chart targeted at graphic designers, which applies equally well to writers.

Shusssshh! yourself

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

Content's cost
It seems that the argument over the cost of e-books vs p-books is a beast that just won't die. On The Guardian's site, William Skidelsky provides a fairly concise survey of the key issues in this spat, inspired by a chapter about publishing in author Robert Levine's forthcoming book Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and how the Culture Business Can Fight Back. It seems there are people who still think that when they buy a paper book, the bulk of the price tag pays for the object, for the book itself, the stack of paper, glue & ink. Skidelsky explains (c/o Levine), however, that it costs only about $3.50 US to print and distribute a hardcover. The rest of the money is split between the retailer, publisher and author. No kidding, right? But apparently it is still necessary to explain to some willfully ignorant people that what they are paying for is not just a stack of paper, and that if you remove the stack of paper to make an e-book, the book should not become almost free. To these people I say: If you went into an art gallery and offered to buy a painting for the cost of the canvas, wood and paint that was used to create the picture, what do you think the response would be? Of course, a book is not a painting, it is a mass-produced object, which is why it costs ONLY $20 to $30 (or thereabouts) and not $20,000 to $30,000 (or more) which is what any respectable painting can cost. (And for those who are going to drag out the iTunes comparison, please know that it takes a hell of a lot more work to write a novel than it does to write a 3-min pop song.) Behind just about any book there is a squad of people who created the thing. That's right, it didn't spontaneously self-generate on the shelf in the bookstore, nor on the server of your e-book retailer. If people insist on denying that books are created by people who deserve to be paid well for their work, then what incentive remains for anyone to write and/or publish books? Figure it out already.

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

Towelling off
The Paris Review challenges readers to photoshop pictures of authors onto their spiffy new beach towel. The winner gets...yup!...a spiffy new beach towel (and hey, maybe also a copyright infringement suit).

Oddball bookstores
Last week I wrote about Michael Seidenberg's secret used bookstore in his Manhattan apartment. This week, Seidenberg's shop is included in a neat-o round up on Flavorwire of 10 unconventional bookstores.

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

The Secret Bookstore
"It's not legal, so that's why it has to be hidden." Are second-hand books becoming a black market commodity? Visit Michael Seldenberg's secret bookshop in his New York apartment.

I can has wizard?
Pottermania is finally over. Flavourwire takes a look back at the best Potter parodies.

It's like looking into a mirror

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

Poetry bomb
From the Miami New Times, a video about a woman who vandalizes thrift-shop clothing with poetry, but in a good way.

Romance is sickening
In a surprisingly entertaining piece, The Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care wonders: Are romance novels messing with readers' heads?

Good books, bad video

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

, and
The Oxford comma is dead (says Galleycat).
Oops, the Oxford comma is not dead (retracts Galleycat).
What is an Oxford comma? (Guardian explains)

"what's time to a pig?"

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

Writers on writers
Insults, barbs & jabs between writers.

The illustrated Interview
Austrailian kids book illustrator Shaun Tan was interviewed by Der Spiegel and provided answers in a unique form: illustrations.

Books are for the birds.

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