Tuesday News: Harlequin closing 5 lines, ransomware, endowing libraries, E.E. Cummings
Harlequin to End Publication of Five Series – Although Harlequin has not made the announcement publicly yet, RWA is reporting that Harlequin is killing FIVE of its series lines between June and December of next year: Western, Superromance, Love Inspired Historical, Nocturne, and Kimani. While some may see this as yet another indication that traditional publishing is on the decline, especially as compared to indie publishing, I see it as more fallout from the sad, sad (I will never get over it) sale of Harlequin to Harper Collins, combined with an overall contraction of the Romance market. – RWA Blog
How to protect yourself from the global ransomware attack – There has been a good deal of publicity about the ransomeware attack of WannaCry, including the suspicion that it originated in North Korea, is still rolling out with fake ads on Facebook, and has affected systems in 150 countries, despite a patch issued by Microsoft in March. The attack has also drawn attention to the fact that some of the hardest hit countries are also those where outdated or bootleg software is more common (e.g. China). While anti-piracy activists might see this as digital karma or a new call to arms, it is also evidence of a the global breadth of the digital divide, and of the tangible dangers of digital inequality:
Security experts say the attack could have been prevented if many businesses had simply kept their machines up to date with the latest software. In reality, doing that may be more difficult than it sounds, either because of corporate cultures that don’t prioritize security or because of a lack of funding to upgrade to the latest and greatest.
That raises questions about inequality in technology, said Stewart Baker, a former general counsel at the National Security Agency. Many people, he said, run pirated versions of Microsoft operating systems because they feel they cannot afford the real thing. Those people “are at risk — they’re probably not getting updates,” he said.
Other organizations, he said, may have stuck with legacy software because it worked and paying to upgrade to new versions of Windows didn’t seem necessary. – Washington Post
Why libraries could soon need a national endowment – An interesting article on the efforts of David Rothman to establish a national endowment for U.S. public libraries that would be privately funded by the wealthiest philanthropists, who, according to Rothman, “have a combined net worth of $2.4 trillion,” only a “speck of a speck of which” could make a positive difference. There are numerous issues to consider, of course, including the possibility of disincentivizing public investment and the question of influence and/or conditions attached to private funding. But libraries do, indeed, fundraise, so a more concerted, centralized effort may not be such a bad idea.
Some libraries, like the [Boston Public Library], enjoy large municipal budgets to support their operations. But in struggling urban neighborhoods and small rural towns, the costs of just keeping the lights on or fixing a leaky roof can shutter a library. The Trump administration’s proposals to eliminate government funding for the IMLS, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts could force many of these institutions to make hard choices in coming years.
To solve this problem, David Rothman is asking the super-rich to create a national endowment for libraries.
Mr. Rothman, cofounder of LibraryEndowment.org, and Corilee Christou, a library advocate and retired librarian, recently laid out their vision for an endowment funded by wealthy philanthropists like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, to provide a steady cash stream to libraries around the country. – Christian Science Monitor
E.E. Cummings’s Long-Forgotten Artist’s Book – While E.E. Cummings is now known primarily for his poetry, he considered himself to be both a poet and a visual artist, which is obvious even in his poems, which have such a distinctive and significant visual style. As Richard Kostelanetz argues in his coverage of Cummings’s “artist’s book,” though, as Cummings’s poetry became more and more unique, his drawings and paintings became less so. Still, the book offers an additional, and, at times, stunning, dimension for those who are not familiar with this other facet of Cummings’s artistic self-expression.
Early in 1931, in his 37th year, Edward Estlin Cummings published an extraordinary book. No writer of note had ever done anything like it before (and few have since). Titled CIOPW, it collected between a single set of hardcovers 99 examples of his visual art in charcoal, ink, oil, pencil, and watercolor — thus accounting for the acronymic title. Nine inches wide and 12 inches high, CIOPW was printed on thick opaque paper in an edition limited to 391 copies, each of which he signed “Cgs,” not with a pen but with a brush, in green paint in my copy. The book’s cover bears a replica of this stylish signature. Meriden Gravure did the reproductions only in black and white, though some of the originals had additional colors. . . .
CIOPW epitomizes the genre now known as an artist’s book, or book-art, in which the author selects images, sequences them optimally, and then finds a printer. The subjects here are mostly people important to Cummings — stars such as Charlie Chaplin, as well as his personal friends James Sibley Watson, Scofield Thayer, S.A. Jacobs, Gilbert Seldes, Joe Gould — and also landscapes, nudes (only female), Coney Island, still-lifes, etc. Few of the individual pieces survive as great; but as with any major artist’s book, the whole realizes more than the sum of its parts. – Hyperallergic