Thursday News: Trolls, reading & life expectancy, scandal slams book sales, and Cursed is selling (out) fast
Study: Trolls Are Even Worse When Using Real Names – A new study published in PLOS ONE claims a counterintuitive conclusion: trolls outside the cloak of anonymity can actually be more aggressive. According to the abstract, this “effect is reinforced if selective incentives are present and if aggressors are intrinsically motivated.” The researchers characterize such motivation as “altruistic punishment,” or what I would call wielding the hammer of enlightenment. The study is based on German social media, and the write-up at Techdirt leaves a lot of relevant details out, but if you want to read the study in full, it’s available online here.
Results show that in the context of online firestorms, non-anonymous individuals are more aggressive compared to anonymous individuals. This effect is reinforced if selective incentives are present and if aggressors are intrinsically motivated. – Techdirt
Read Books, Live Longer? – This study, while seemingly quite interesting, is not available online, unless you want to fork over $36 bucks for it. Before I get sidetracked into a rant about academic publishing and open access, I’ll only say that I have not had time to acquire and read the study yet, so if anyone has, please offer your take.
The study, in Social Science & Medicine, found that book readers tended to be female, college-educated and in higher income groups. So researchers controlled for those factors as well as age, race, self-reported health, depression, employment and marital status.
Compared with those who did not read books, those who read for up to three and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die over 12 years of follow-up, and those who read more than that were 23 percent less likely to die. Book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all. – New York Times
From James Frey To Jonah Lehrer, How Scandal Impacts Book Sales – This pretty brief article in Forbes claims that scandal negatively impacts book sales, citing sales numbers from James Frey and Jonah Lehrer. Given that in both cases the scandal was connected to honesty, and the books nonfiction (or in Frey’s case, marketed as such), I think the assessment may need to be significantly qualified. The piece really seems aimed at Gay Talese, whose wife, Nan, was Frey’s publisher for A Million Little Pieces, and who has a new book, The Voyeur’s Motel, facing some authenticity questions and not-so-great reviews.
Lehrer’s total U.S. sales tallied 25,000 in the month before accusations aired; in the month after, sales dipped to 15,000. Two of his books, How We Decide(2009) and Imagine: How Creativity Works, were subsequently withdrawn by their publishers. He had moved an estimated 314,000 copies domestically prior to the allegations; since then, he has sold just 37,000 according to Nielsen BookScan numbers. – Forbes
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is fastest-selling UK book this decade – After yesterday’s story on the disappointment around Cursed, this amused me:
It has sold more than 680,000 copies in its first three days alone, beating Fifty Shades of Grey which sold 664,478 in a single week in 2012.
At its current rate, it is on track to become the second biggest single-week sales for a book since records began. – BBC News