Wednesday News: Berkley Books, Newberry Medal, Amazon’s data centers, and book acknowledgements
Penguin Merges Berkley Into Putnam/Dutton – Attributed to “declining mass market sales,” the Berkley imprint will now be part of the Putnam and Dutton group. This news is especially noteworthy, since Berkeley publishes a good deal of PRH’s Romance fiction.
According to Madeline McIntosh, president of the Penguin Publishing Group, the three imprints will maintain their distinct “publishing direction and identity,” each with its own dedicated editorial, marketing and publicity departments. At the same time, she said, Berkley’s managing editorial, production editorial and production departments will be “more closely integrated with the rest of the publishing group.” – Publishers Weekly
Latino Children’s Book Authors Achieve Unprecedented Recognition – Last Stop on Market Street, which won this year’s Newberry Medal, is the very first book by a Latin@ author to win the award. That’s almost a hundred years, as the award was instituted in 1922. Latin@ authors have been historically confined to the Pura Belpré award, which makes this award even more significant (and long overdue!):
Monday’s announcements are being celebrated by Latino authors and illustrators across the country, and it has left some very emotional. Author Meg Medina says, “It felt as though we had broken through a glass ceiling. Latino children’s book authors have enjoyed 20 years of the Pura Belpré award, but have not much presence outside of that. Yesterday it became clear that our stories and perspectives are now celebrated and included in the larger canon of children’s literature.”
She goes on to say that while it is vital for Latino children to see their lives in the pages of the books they read and to connect with books as an expression of who they are, it is also important not to silo Latino authors or readers. “Empathy and a sense of the universal human story are a powerful glue in a country such as ours. We can’t continue to think of Latino authors – or authors of any diverse group – as ‘other.’ We are a vibrant and diverse nation, and Latinos are part of it.” – NBC News
Why Amazon’s Data Centers Are Hidden in Spy Country – Beyond the paranoid this article will likely incite among those who already consider Amazon the evil overlord of the Internet (I’m looking at you, Authors United), it’s a pretty interesting discussion of how northern Virginia became home to myriad data centers, melding commercial interests like Amazon’s with the military-industrial complex (the author refers to the area as “spook country”):
The particular alignments of highways that eventually connected Dulles International Airport in Virginia to the Capitol Beltway basically made this pocket of northern Virginia the first and last place for any commercial activities between the airport and D.C. This led to an outcropping of office parks that housed not only defense contractors, but also government IT and time-sharing services and, later, companies like MCI, AOL, and UUNet. Thanks to that concentration of network companies and a whole lot of support from the National Science Foundation, Tysons Corner became home to MAE-East, one of the earliest Internet exchanges and home to the foundation of what would become that Internet backbone. Networks build atop networks, and the presence of this backbone in Tysons Corner led to more backbone, more tech companies, and more data centers. Today, up to 70 percent of Internet traffic worldwide travels through this region, as the Loudon county economic-development board cheerfully notes in its marketing materials.
An unfathomable amount of that traffic is from AWS. Amazon doesn’t release exact numbers at to just how much of the global Internet currently sits atop its infrastructure. In 2012, a now-lost blog post by network-intelligence startup DeepField estimated that on average, one-third of all daily Internet usage accesses a site running on AWS. Over the last three years, that percentage has most likely only increased. Finding more recent numbers is tricky, although it seems agreed upon that Amazon is the largest hosting company operating today, projected to exceed $8 billion this year alone. While this exact calculation of how much of the Internet sits within Amazon’s cloud is uncertain, the calculation of how much revenue Amazon generates from that cloud is crystal clear—and massive. – The Atlantic
Is this the best book acknowledgement ever? – I don’t know how many commercial authors could get away with an acknowledgement like this, but for religious studies professor Brendan Pietsch, who teaches at Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University, it has apparently helped draw attention to his recently published book, Dispensational Modernism:
“I blame all of you. Writing this book has been an exercise in sustained suffering. The casual reader may, perhaps, exempt herself from excessive guilt, but for those of you who have played the larger role in prolonging my agonies with your encouragement and support, well…you know who you are, and you owe me.” – Times Higher Education Supplement