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Wednesday News: Smashwords contracts with OverDrive, menstruation’s non-effect on women, Jennifer Weiner on “blurb inflation,” and complaints about Crescent Moon Press

Wednesday News: Smashwords contracts with OverDrive, menstruation’s non-effect on women, Jennifer...

OverDrive and Smashwords Ink Deal to Distribute Indie Author Ebooks to Libraries – Good news for self-published authors and their readers: OverDrive has made a deal with Smashwords to allow 200,000 books to be distributed to public libraries through the OverDrive network. Smashwords will, apparently, be “curating” the titles, giving libraries different options for bulk purchases, including lists by genre and by bestsellers.

Under this agreement, readers may borrow each eBook an unlimited number of times on a one copy/one user model on a perpetual basis. Alternately, patrons can purchase the eBook from the library website and support their local libraries through OverDrive’s “Buy It Now” feature. Readers are also able to recommend titles to their library from the Smashwords catalog. Smashwords’ full Premium Catalog of non-erotica titles is eligible for the program, including new releases. –Digital Book World

Study Finds That Women Aren’t Run by Their Periods. Scientists Everywhere Are Confused. – I tried to find a different source for this story, but could not (except for the actual study, which is also linked to in this article). Anyway, score one for socialization here, as the study’s authors found that some studies actually estimated the monthly fertility window at 12 days, which resulted in more errors. Earlier studies were also not really duplicable in later studies (those after 2003), and the researchers theorize that the cultural desire to view behavior in an evolutionary context is largely responsible for the long-term misapprehension about the effect (zero) of menstruation on certain female preferences and behaviors.

Last month, psychologists at the University of Southern California published a meta-analysis of 58 research experiments that tested whether a woman’s preferences for masculinity, dominance, symmetry, health, kindness, and testosterone levels in her male romantic partners actually fluctuate across her menstrual cycle. The answer: They do not. –Slate

All Blurbed Out – I’m sort of amused at the irony of Jennifer Weiner appearing in the Sunday Opinion section of the NYT in the wake of the Abramson scandal. I have many thoughts on this, but will refrain from expressing them (you’re welcome). Anyway, Weiner has a pretty interesting piece about the way in which book blurbs have become so hyperbolic and promiscuously provided that they seem to have little value. She offers a couple of good theories for why this is, including the idea that writers tend to blurb other writers out of empathy for the difficulty of the book writing and publishing process. Further, she argues,

Buy a book on an e-reader, or listen to it on your smartphone, and you’ll see only the front cover in miniature. It takes sharp eyes to make out more than the title at that size.

Maybe that’s why blurbs have gotten so over-the-top. With fewer eyes to see them, an endorsement must be big to gain any traction. Thus, a trip to the New Releases section of a bookstore offers more “gripping” than a glue factory, enough “absorbing” for the feminine-protection aisle, and enough “transcendence” for a hundred ashrams. “Stunning” is mundane, “gorgeous” is commonplace, “brilliance” and “genius” are positively de rigueur. –New York Times

Complaints about Crescent Moon Press – So we have become aware of some complaints about Crescent Moon Press. What follows is a sample of those allegations. Just a heads up for anyone with a financial or professional interest in CMP.

1. Royalties not paid within timeframe stated in contract.

2. Attempted to change royalty payment schedule by announcing it in a Yahoo group without rewriting the actual contract or providing a contract addendum.

3. Failure to send royalty statements even when a check isn’t issued as the contract states. –Anonymous

Monday News: Home pages, cheap smartphones, Roxane Gay on Zadie Smith, and public libraries

Monday News: Home pages, cheap smartphones, Roxane Gay on Zadie Smith,...

I would put it this way: the fewer people use RSS, the better content providers can allow RSS to be. There is less fear of cannibalization, and more hope that easy RSS access will help a post go viral through Facebook and other social media. –Marginal Revolution

Clearly great features are trickling down. But what’s more interesting is how these cheap phones are going to trickle up. Put Internet-connected, app-capable smartphones running the same major operating systems the rest of us use and there will be all sorts of unforeseen ripple effects on us that we can’t even anticipate.

         We tend to think of the ways our technology will affect them. That’s arrogant. We’re the minority. It’s incredibly likely that they’re going to have just as big an effect on us. –Wired

I grappled with being black in America and being Haitian in black America and being black American in Haiti and being middle class when that was rarely considered a possibility for someone who looked like me. I was also trying to make sense of desire and sexuality and wanting so much for myself that felt forbidden. I was trying to figure out who I was and what might be possible for me. I was trying to write toward a space where I could reveal my most authentic self to the people who knew me but did not. –The Atlantic