Modern Mechanix (December 1932); Baloon-wheeled bikes are the FUTURE!

This Week's Fish Wrap (№18)

What with the news of the past week including Japan, Libya’s revolutionary war, Wisconsin’s negation of Public Servants’ ability to negotiate contracts, and the UK Public Libraries having to almost literally jump up and down just in order to remind people they need to exist… Well, let’s just say it’s a bit tough to work up enough enthusiasm to bring to the world a list of a few of the things that concern the simple creation of ‘books’ for the purpose of ‘entertainment’.

“Modern Mechanix” (December 1932); Balloon-wheeled bikes are the FUTURE!
“Modern Mechanix” (December 1932); Balloon-​​wheeled bikes are the FUTURE!‘

Oddly, after last week’s screeching about the HarperCollins badly-​​considered decision to limit lending of e-​​books by libraries to only 26 times before requiring the purchase of a new license, this week was nearly free of that topic, although there’s a few notes about that below, including the possibility of HC bringing that policy to other nations. Additionally: Borders has re-​​appeared in the news, Kobo’s got more money in the kitty to make-​​up for the loss of the Australian REDgroup financing, and… [heavy sigh] the omnipotent iPad2.

BUT FIRST: a little self-​​promotion. Ponthe Oldenguine has received a delightful review by She Lever Slept! To read that in full, CLICK HERE.


HarperCollins v. the Libraries II: Read Harder

The long-​​lasting effect of this issue seems to be an ever-​​growing number of people shaking their heads in disbelief, muttering things akin to “what, if anything, were HarperCollins thinking?” Everyone I’ve discussed this with cannot understand how this could be considered a ‘logical decision’ in any way of thinking, other than simple avarice. No doubt the public reaction was anticipated by the management of the publisher, but this degree of it might have caught them by surprise.

  • The Bookseller, “HC UK not ruling out e-​​lending limit” | CLICK HERE
  • Publishers Weekly, Op/​Ed: “We’re for You, Not Against You: a Librarian’s Take on e-​​Book Lending” | CLICK HERE
  • Author Christopher Fowler’s blog, “Apparently Words Wear Out” | CLICK HERE (two succinct paragraphs of clear thinking)


Borders' and Other Retailers' Re-Organizations Begin to Get Organized

Things are starting to get calmer around a few sets of offices now that matters are moving through the stages of ‘denial’ on to ‘negotiation’. Borders USA isn’t the only one dealing with problems, what with retailers and distributors around the world dealing with the ‘new reality’; a reality that has yet to be either defined or explained in any meaningful way.

Borders had a telephone conference call with its creditors on Friday afternoon, and no word about that has yet reached these ears, but the chief concerns have to be “how much can be paid immediately, when would the next payment be available, and what about unsold stock shipped in the last year?”

  • Publishers Weekly, “Borders Meets with Publishers Over Terms; Conference Call Set” | CLICK HERE
  • Quill & Quire, “Borders Australia Updates Creditors and Unpaid Staff” | CLICK HERE
  • Kobo Books’ official blog, “Kobo Closes Series C Investment Round” | CLICK HERE
  • Quill & Quire, “Kobo celebrates e-​​book week with a round of financing” | CLICK HERE
  • Publishers Weekly, “Former Fenn Clients Find New Distribution in Canada” | CLICK HERE


Authors: Learn How Your Words Perform by Performing Yourself

While the task of a writer is a lonely and necessarily singular task, the surest sign of a story working is holding the attention of others. It’s impossible to monitor the thoughts of people reading – at least, as far as science currently permits – but a quietly restless audience at a reading certainly signals a less-​​than-​​stellar narrative passage. I know of one author who hands her material off to her romantic partner to read it aloud without any preparation; if he stumbles anywhere, she knows to smooth that section out; if his voice flattens-​​out through a section, she needs to shorten or re-​​vamp that portion. Not everyone has such a talented performer available, however.

Those of you who prefer to keep yourself to yourself would be well-​​served to at least read your own words aloud, if for no reason than for proofing. When reading aloud, typically the brain processes what’s in front of the eyes, so a typographical error will show up more freely than when passing across it silently.

If you have an opportunity to participate in a public reading, however, this is an excellent opportunity to try out something on a fresh set of ears, and to discover what needs to be re-​​worked and how. Robert McCrum explains below.

  • Guardian, Books “Road-​​Test Your Writing by Reading Aloud” | CLICK HERE


“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

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