Friday News: banning books, Diesel Digital, Bill Gates – book blogger, and paper roses
The Case of the Missing Hong Kong Book Publishers – As the world’s second-biggest publishing market, China is also struggling to keep banned books out of the marketplace, despite their immense popularity. As the disappearance of five publishing employees gains more international attention, some of the underlying tensions between mainland China and Hong Kong regarding “tabloid” stories published by companies like Mighty Current, are also under the microscope. Many of these issues were soft-pedaled when BEA invited the Chinese government to participate in the Expo as “guest of honor,” but this article by Jiayang Fan revisits them in the wake of the current mystery:
It’s no surprise that Hong Kong publishing is in the crosshairs of mainland authorities. For years, Hong Kong has served as a lively and expedient port of banned books, peddling everything from political thrillers to critical commentary on the sitting Chinese government. For nearly two decades, since Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty, in 1997, Gui and his publishing company made a good living pushing tabloid-style pulp purporting to expose the lascivious and lavish life styles of the red élite. (It’s estimated that his books comprised eighty per cent of the banned-books market.) Moreover, the success of these page-turners—high in sensationalist scandal and thin on sources—depended on the mainland market. Increasingly, tourists from Beijing and Shanghai, including officials themselves, have been ravenously consuming and stocking up on titles such as “Overseas Mistresses of the Chinese Communist Party” and “The Collapse of Xi Jinping,” thereby bringing into circulation the sort of sacrilege that threatens the Party’s very legitimacy. – The New Yorker
Diesel eBooks Returns as Diesel Digital – So here’s a bit of good news. Diesel Books, which closed its doors almost two years ago, is re-opening as “a new service offering potential clients a turnkey e-book retail operation.” L. Scott Redford founded both versions of the business and is running the new service, as well:
Diesel Digital offers to supply an easy-to-setup branded e-book retail site complete with hosting, e-commerce, fulfillment from Ingram, analytics, mobile optimization and more. – Publishers Weekly
Bill Gates on Books and Blogging – Like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates has become very engaged in reading and recommending books, and despite my personal feelings about both Facebook and Microsoft, I can’t help but think that encouraging more people to read (especially young boys, a demographic that really needs more inspiration) is just a plain old good thing. Gates even has a book blog, where he reviews books, and one of his favorite reads is The Rosie Project, which got some good press among Romance readers, as well (he also reviewed Hyperbole and a Half and xkcd, among others):
I don’t read a lot of fiction but was surprised by how much I loved the novel “The Rosie Project,” by Graeme Simsion. Melinda read it first and kept stopping to recite parts of it out loud to me. Eventually, I decided to take a look.
I started it one night at 11 p.m. and stayed up with it until 3 a.m. It is very funny, while also showing a lot of empathy for people who struggle in social situations.
After I sent it and the sequel (“The Rosie Effect”) to dozens of friends and wrote about it on my blog, I heard from a lot of people who were touched by it. There is talk of turning it into a movie, which I hope happens. Rosie and Don Tillman would make a great on-screen couple. – New York Times
How to make paper flower bouquet from a French novel – In the spirit of the book art from yesterday’s news, apparently it is a thing to make a wedding bouquet of flowers made from book pages. You can use sheet music, as well, and can also simply make the flowers for display in a vase, even though a number of the online tutorials reside on bridal sites. What a great idea for a bookish Romance heroine to carry at her wedding. – Offbeat Bride and Capitol Romance