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Wednesday Midday Links: Google Gives the Finger to China

There were a couple of very interesting tidbits of information from Publishers Lunch today (registration required). The first is that Liz Sheier is moving to Barnes and Noble to be its “editorial director” and it appears that BN will be pursuing exclusive digital publishing agreements like Amazon has for the Kindle.

The second is that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is on the verge of collapse. It’s Irish investors were funded largely by the Anglo Irish Bank which is now owned by the Irish taxpayers. It sounds like a horrible ugly mess.

Booksneeze is a Thomas Nelson company that is oriented in creating grassroots buzz for books by offering free copies to bloggers in exchange for “an honest review”. According to the guidelines for reviews, Thomas Nelson wants to hear from bloggers even if the book doesn’t work for them:

If you didn’t enjoy a certain novel, well that’s great as well! Of course we want every title to be a home run with readers, but when they aren’t we want to know why. The only way we can continue to bring our readers consistent and quality fiction is to receive honest and unbiased feedback from them. We’re not asking for positive reviews in return for free review materials. We’re simply asking for complete objectivity.

I’ve heard there are some authors are demanding that positive reviews be republished around the web at various social media sites or   authors requiring that no 3 star review or below be posted until after the publication of a book. I hope bloggers know that there are plenty of books to review out there not to be strapped down by these ridiculous requests from authors or publishers.

Google has announced that it will stop filtering search results in China and may withdraw from the China market altogether. Part of the reason was because Google has been the target of very sophisticated hacking from the Chinese and second, filtering apparently doesn’t fit in with Google’s philosophy:

We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about these attacks with a broad audience not just because of the security and human rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also because this information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate about freedom of speech.

Google has launched a file storage system that allows files up to 250 MB in size to be uploaded and stored in Google’s cloud. The idea is to eliminate the need for peripheral storage devices. I love dropbox because of its synching capabilities but third party applications (referenced in the link to TechCrunch) have already been released that address those deficits.