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Monday News: FutureBookHack UK Hackathon, Tribune spinning off newspapers, bookstore literally dumps books, and women writing crime fiction

Monday News: FutureBookHack UK Hackathon, Tribune spinning off newspapers, bookstore literally...

FutureBookHack Category Winners revealed – Almost 100 hackers gathered at the University College London for the first FutureBookHack. Organized by The Bookseller and intended to address challenges set by publishers, the event spanned this past weekend and yielded a number of projects for both print and digital publishing. An overall prize of £5,000 will be awarded on Thursday, June 19th.

In the category of best use of print assets, the winner was “Black Book”, described as an adult pop-up book which puts the digital into the physical world.

Highly commended were projects “6 Degrees”, which traces the books the authors you like choose to read, and the links between them; “Tinder for Books”, which offers snippets of text to tempt you before showing you the book jacket, so you judge it on its inside merits rather than its superficial good looks; “Mood Nights”, which enables children’s stories to be read in different ways according to whether they want to be amused or frightened; and “Book Signal”, which enables people to read books together or to one another online. –The Bookseller

Tribune Publishing to borrow $350 million – Although the focus of this story is on the Tribune’s plans to borrow $350 million $25 million more than anticipated, the underlying transactions may be most significant, namely the plan to spin off the Tribune’s newspapers to current shareholders (forming Tribune Publishing) following a failed sale attempt last year. Apparently $275 million of the loan will be used for a dividend to the parent company as part of the deal. One of the company’s primary owners is currently attempting to get out of its investment in the Tribune Co. None of this strikes me as good news for the newspapers.

Tribune last year attempted to sell the newspaper group, which includes the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Baltimore Sun, but abandoned those efforts and opted instead to spin off the publishing entity to its existing shareholders and list shares of the new company on the New York Stock Exchange. Tribune is keeping the broadcast operations, where prospects for profit increases are better than in the declining newspaper industry, and some of the other more lucrative assets, such as the real estate holdings. –Crain’s Chicago Business

Derry bookshop’s huge bankrupt stock left in skip – The Bookworm bookshop in Derry (aka Londonberry) declared bankruptcy in 2012, but its stock was just recently unloaded — literally unloaded into a dumpster in front of the shop, 100,000 books in total. In many ways a very sad situation, although the fact that people were so anxious to pick up books did at least indicate that print books still hold significance for people, if not sufficient value.

The news comes after figures in February from the BooksellersAssociation revealed that the number of independent bookshops in the UK had fallen below 1,000, and that there are now 987 on the country’s high streets, down from 1,028 in February 2013. In 2005, there were 1,535 independent bookshops in the UK, according to the Bookseller. –The Guardian

Sometimes the Toughest Guy in the Room Is a Dame . . . (Part One) – Part one of a two-part article on women in noir and hardboiled crime writing — a very interesting look at how women compare to their male counterparts, how their books have been received and characterized, and how so many stereotypes about how women write crumble when you examine what women are actually writing. Definitely worth reading.

Contemporary women working in the noir and hardboiled tradition use many of the same literary techniques as their male counterparts — adopting the central character’s point of view, often in the form of a first person narrative, and often writing the story as if dictated by the protagonist; they can be as brutal as the boys but generally approach their material from the perspective of a female protagonist, substituting psychological menace for the physical brutality used by their male counterparts. –Pulp Hack Confessions

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