Tuesday News: Fake memoirist must pay back publisher; made-to-order libraries; preserving digital books; and 100-year old how-to manuals
Author of fake Holocaust memoir ordered to return $22.5m to publisher – In another chapter of the strange case of Misha Defonseca, the author of the fake Holocaust Memoir has been ordered by a judge to return $22.5 million that she won in another suit against her US publisher. Defonseca’s bestselling book was even made into a film, and the story of a little Jewish girl who was raised by wolves after losing her parents captivated readers all over the world. When Defonseca’s claims were found to be false — including her insistence that she was Jewish — she defended herself by asserting that “it’s not the true reality, but it is my reality”, and “there are times when I find it difficult to differentiate between reality and my inner world.”
Before the fabrications were exposed, the author and her ghostwriter Vera Lee had won $32.4 million from her US publisher Mt Ivy and its founder Jane Daniel after bringing a copyright case against them. Daniel went on to appeal the ruling, and to conduct her own research into the story, discovering documents revealing Defonseca’s date and place of birth, and that rather than “running with the wolf pack”, she was actually “enrolled in a Brussels school in 1943”, reported Courthouse News. –The Guardian
‘Your collection of books says a lot about you’: meet the creators of the bespoke library – Speaking of false fronts, here’s an article on a company that will build a library for you — for a mere few hundred thousand dollars, of course. Referring to the well-stocked library as “intelligent luxury,” Ultimate Library works with a lot of hotels to create beautiful library spaces that are meant to convey an upscale appeal. On the one hand, these folks create some stunning private libraries, but I find it sad that in some ways these are more about creating the appearance of something than actually building that thing as an authentic collection of hand selected books.
Next, the team analyses the kinds of people who are likely to stay at the hotel, their interests, how long they will spend there, where they come from and their language. Finally, Ultimate Library looks at the décor and how the books will complement the interior design brief of the hotel.
“We understand and can advise on library set up and layout, and much more importantly we understand where to go and buy fabulous books that will give that layer of intelligent luxury. We build a library that doesn’t look like it was bought off a shelf in April 2014 – it looks like it has been built up over time and has a sort of depth and longevity to it.” –Spear’s
The fight to save endangered ebooks – While some still view physical libraries as symbolic of being “civilized,” actual research libraries are working on the preservation of digital books, a process that may sound counter-intuitive, but one that is essential to the perpetuation of this rapidly growing segment of the book market. Of course, DRM and other legal obstacles problematize this essential undertaking, and, in the process, endanger the long-term survival of our digital resources. A really fascinating article, and one anyone who appreciates books in any format should read.
“You’re speaking to an institution that is in its birth pangs,” says Library of Congress project manager Carl Fleischhauer of digital preservation. He and Lynch are both preoccupied with technical questions as well as legal ones. The Library of Congress works with publishers to get DRM-free files that can be migrated to different formats over time, a luxury that rules against breaking copy protection can make dicey. It also works on developing tools to prevent content from being degraded or corrupted, including a piece of software called BagIt, which wraps content into self-contained, folder-like digital “bags” complete with a manifest listing everything that should be preserved.
As troublesome as preserving text-only files can be, it’s relatively straightforward compared to what ebooks could one day become: interactive pieces of media that blur the line between website, game, and database. Even mathematical symbols have turned out to be hard to format correctly. “Culturally, we still seem to have this sort of dichotomy in our heads,” says Lynch, between ebooks and other digital artifacts like websites and games. “We’re having a terrible time intellectually, as well as technically, understanding what preservation means for this latter menagerie of things in the digital world.” –The Verge
8 How-To Books From 100 Years Ago That Are Still (Sort of) Useful – And if you have any lingering questions about why we need to be preserving today’s books for many tomorrows, maybe some of these century-old books will convince you otherwise. Or maybe not. Personally, I think the one on how to make a shoe could be a bestseller today, and I’m especially curious to read the 1901 how-to on how to write a novel.–Mental Floss