Wednesday News: Slow ebook growth, Amazon’s streaming media device, phone book libraries, and how to write Latin@ characters

Wednesday News: Slow ebook growth, Amazon’s streaming media device, phone book...

Ebook Growth Slows to Single Digits in U.S. in 2013 – In 2012, digital books comprised 23% of adult trade sales, and in 2013, that percentage only grew by a few points, to 27%. Children’s books decreased in digital, even though sales are up since 2011. What segment of the market is growing? Religious books (not a surprise if you’ve been following sales trends):

Sales of religious ebooks, while still small, increased nearly 10% to $63.6 million and now account for 11% of all religious book sales. That’s up from 10% last year. –Digital Book World

What to expect from Amazon’s TV streaming device – So apparently the new Amazon streaming media device is pretty much ready to roll (had har). By tomorrow evening, there should be plenty of images in the press of this new device, with lots of speculation. Apparently Amazon is also developing a wireless game controller that could be paired with the box, but no one really knows. The bigger questions people are asking is why, given the presence of Roku, for example, Amazon wants to enter this market.

The answer is simple: With its own hardware, Amazon would be able to promote its services more aggressively. On a Roku, Amazon Prime Instant is one app among roughly 1,200, but on an Amazon device, the service could be front and center every time consumers turn it on. In addition, Amazon might be able to sell services like billing to TV app operators down the road, allowing them to charge consumers for programming through a credit card that Amazon already has on file.

And finally, one could of course also expect closer ties between Amazom’s e-commerce and the content it shows on screen. Amazon has already rolled out tagging within Prime content on its mobile apps, making it possible to read up on actors as they appear on screen. The same may be possible for products shown in a video, or even advertised in a third-party app. –Gigaom

Old telephone phone booths get new life as libraries – You may be familiar with this design trend. Although there are no photos in this story about two friends who have recently installed a phone book library in a hospital in Prague, you can see the concept in action in this story about the same design concept when it was first introduced in New York CIty. I don’t even remember the last time I saw a physical phone booth and have no idea if they’re hard to locate for a project like this. In any case, it’s a pretty cool preservation and transformation project, one that emphasizes communication on multiple levels. –

Writing Latin@ Characters Well, Part 1. What are you? – Lisa Bradley, of Cafe Nowhere, has written a pretty nice series on writing Latin@ characters, which is not only informative for authors, but for readers, as well. Although the series is US-centric, it touches on a lot of the complexities around cultural, ethnic, and racial identities, not only in terms of how people are identified by institutions (the US Census, for example), but also in how they identify themselves. I think there are 9 parts to the series, which, because it’s on LiveJournal, is not immediately evident when you click on Part 1.

When writing, consider what label your character would self-select, not the term you, personally, feel most comfortable using. Whether the character uses Hispanic, Latin@, Xican@, Cubano or some other label will depend on a constellation of factors including but not limited to: age, country of origin, context, immigration/citizenship status, Census labels, common knowledge, class, and education. –Cafe Nowhere