Friday News: RIP Nook(?), Syracuse schools equip students with summer reading, the losers in Hachette v. Amazon, and a random reading project
So This Is How The Nook Ends – In his inimitable style, Mike Cane sounds the death knell for Nook, noting that the announcement by Barnes and Noble and Samsung to build “co-branded tablets” says more about how B&N has abandoned Nook than it does about the prospect of one more freaking tablet on the market.
What I notice missing in the above is any link to the Nook App Store. Using “regular” Android, they won’t need that store now. I guess they’re monitoring legacy users and will know when it’s best to finally pull the plug on that money drain. –Mike Cane’s blog
Syracuse district to give 10 books to every elementary student for summer reading – With a donation of books and backpacks from Scholastic totaling over $100,000 the Syracuse School District added more than $275,000 to give every student from K-5 10 books for summer reading. This will amount to a distribution of almost 93,000 books, all intended to encourage students to read during the summer without having to put any effort into acquiring books, which can be a deterrent, especially during months when kids can become easily distracted by other activities, leisure or otherwise. I hope they chronicle the results of their experiment, because it seems like a very reasonable approach to cultivating young readers.
Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras told the students the books were intended to stop “summer learning slide.” The district cited research showing that as much as 85 percent of the achievement gap between students from low-income and high-income families can be attributed to the loss of reading skills during the summer. –Syracuse.com
“You Root for the Authors!” Hachette Author Stephen Colbert vs. Amazon – Although I’m sure many authors are cheering on Stephen Colbert in his war on Amazon, I was disappointed that in the end, he refused to see how much shared blame and responsibility there is between the massive publisher and the massive bookseller. Does nobody remember (non) agency pricing and the collusion settlement????
Still, it’s very true that authors and readers lose when neither publishers or booksellers have robust competition. So, if a bookstore like Powell’s benefits from this situation, and if other independent bookstores can take good advantage of the current vacuum, I think that will be good for everyone, including, in the end, Hachette and Amazon.
So on last night’s The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert did a mitzvah for a young debut author, Edan Lepucki, whose apocalyptic novel,California, is “currently unavailable” on Amazon, ramping up to a July 8 release. As fellow Hachette author Sherman Alexie explained, bookstores order copies of books based on presales, pre-publicity, and pre-orders coming, most often, from Amazon. Lepucki’s book falls in that category. But Colbert is coming to the rescue, determined to try to “sell more books than Amazon.” When you go to his site, there’s a link to pre-order California through Colbert and the excellent Portland bookstore Powell’s. –Flavorwire
GHOSTS IN THE STACKS: Finding the forgotten books. – This is such an interesting article about an idiosyncratic reading project by retired English professor Phyllis Rose. Rose decided to read a random assortment of books, specifically a shelf in the library. Has anyone read these particular books in this particular order? Will the specific assortment of books shape how they’re read and what the reader gets out of them? Are there specific ways in which they should be read? A fascinating meditation on not only what we read, but how our own reading patterns may have an element of randomness to them we haven’t really contemplated.
Her shelf, she decides, must have a combination of new and older works by several authors, both men and women, and one book has to be a classic that she has always wanted to read. The shelf cannot contain any work by a person she knows. She surveys some two hundred shelves, and eventually settles on LEQ-LES. It holds twenty-three books by eleven authors, including “A Hero of Our Time,” by Mikhail Lermontov; Gaston Leroux’s “The Phantom of the Opera”; novels by Rhoda Lerman, Margaret Leroy, and Lisa Lerner; and Alain-René Lesage’s “Gil Blas.” (There are only three female authors in her sample, a fact that she analyzes at length, though she does not comment on its racial monotony.) She has never before read any of these titles, and she will read them in whatever order fancy suggests. “The Shelf” reviews facts about each author’s life and summarizes the plots of the novels, but, always, the real focus is on Rose herself: what she likes and dislikes, how she feels while reading, whether it is easy or difficult to escape into the story. She’s on the lookout for “spontaneity, inclusiveness, and uniqueness”—three things that she prizes in fiction, and three of the elements driving her project, too. –The New Yorker