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1. Liberio Lets You Make an eBook From Google Drive

Want to make an eBook based on files in your Google Drive? A new eBook conversion tool called Liberio has hit the market that lets you do just that.

The platform, which is free with a Google account, allows you to turn any text-based document into an ePUB file directly from Google Drive.  The tool will keep your text format, fonts and images as they are in the Google file. There is even a tool to design your own cover or use a template cover.

Check it out: “We want to make the publishing of eBooks easy for everyone.No matter if you are a teacher, student, designer, artist,engineer or tinkerer, creating and publishing your own booksis now only a push of a button away.”

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2. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 25

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. This week's topics include book lists, diverse books, ebooks, growing bookworms, events, KidLitCon, literacy programs, literacy research, schools, libraries, and summer reading.

Book Lists and Awards

Fun new #BookList from Stacked: Teenage Criminals http://ow.ly/zydPR #yalit

A Tuesday Ten: Magical Time Travel in #kidlit | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/zvU6C

A Tuesday Ten: Speculative #kidlit in which MAPS play a major role | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/zpXU3

2014 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Finalists Announced | @sljournal http://ow.ly/zt0Oq #yalit

In honor of Apollo XI moon landing anniversary, @FirstBook shares favorite space-inspired books http://ow.ly/zsTGS

Our Top Ten Favorite Picture Book Friendships by @heisereads + @fins025 @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/zpXKp #kidlit

Nice list of 10 family-tested "Great Audiobooks" from @Book_Nut http://ow.ly/zpSN7

First Day of School Books, old and new, recommended @growingbbb http://ow.ly/zpPOa #kidlit

Diverse Books

The 10 LGBT YA Books You Need to Read This Year | Kelly Gallucci @BookishHQ http://ow.ly/zvMAz

An big, categorized LGBTQ TBR List For Any Occasion by Alison Peters @bookriot http://ow.ly/zpTkZ via @catagator

eBooks and Apps

A look at Amazon's new Kindle Unlimited from All Sides — @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/zvTi3 #eBooks

Forbes Says Close The Libraries And Buy Everyone An Amazon Kindle Unlimited Subscription http://buff.ly/1mrHHvf #libraries #ebooks

What Young Adult Publishers and Authors Can Do to Fight E-Book Piracy | Karen Springen @PublishersWkly http://ow.ly/zyG5I

Are Today’s Kids All Thumbs? Touch Matters. Researchers Bring Tactile Learning into Digital Realm @ShiftTheDigital http://ow.ly/zt0I3

Events, Programs, and Research

FirstBookSummer_ReadingNo Kid Hungry: Summer Feeding and Summer Fun @FirstBook blog http://ow.ly/zkiSg #literacy

Press Release Fun @FuseEight | Announcing the Ninth Annual Carle Honors on Sept. 18th http://ow.ly/zydAj

Hillary Clinton launches campaign that recommends reading aloud to children from birth @MercuryNews http://ow.ly/zyeel #literacy

Study finds children who have strong reading skills 'are more intelligent by their mid-teens' | http://ow.ly/zyd10 via @librareanne

Growing Bookworms

Important post! You’ve got them reading–now, how do you keep them that way? | Kathy Higgs-Coulthard @wendy_lawrence http://ow.ly/zpUJU

Grownups: You Can Read YA, and Why Not Read It With Your Kids? | @lori_day @HuffingtonPost via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/zsWPw

Teaching My Daughters to Read -- Part IV, Success by @ReadingShahahan http://ow.ly/zpSZN #literacy

"Wimpy Kid" Author's 6 Tips to Hook Reluctant Readers | @CommonSense via @librareanne http://ow.ly/zpDXV

Kidlitosphere

Fusenews: Full of ever-interesting tidbits from @FuseEight, like The Snow Queen – There Can Be Only One http://ow.ly/zpYrR

KidlitCon2014_cubeDon't miss: A Note for Authors and Publishers About #KidLitCon14 from @Book_Nut + @StackingBks http://ow.ly/zpZCU

Still more from Tanita Davis at Finding Wonderland on why you should attend #KidLitCon14 (even/especially introverts) http://ow.ly/zpYNa

"One of the best ways to deepen commitment to #kidlit is meeting other people who share that passion" @MitaliPerkins http://ow.ly/zkiZ8

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Why YA needs heroines beyond Katniss Everdeen http://ow.ly/zsWnj @TelegraphBooks via @PWKidsBookshelf #yalit

Thanks for the laugh, @SevenImp + @FuseEight | Celebrity Picture Books: The Gift That Keeps On Giving (laughter) http://ow.ly/zsUi8

The Precocious Ones, overachievers who kick-started their career at eye-poppingly young ages? @SevenImp @FuseEight http://ow.ly/zpR6A

Stacked: A Short Update on a YALSA Policy Change from @catagator http://ow.ly/zpX4g

Things that cause readers to "hit pause" on some books, by @donalynbooks @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/zpTRe

Lovely Infographic: (Canadian) Readers Save the World, shared @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/zkke7 #literacy @CBCBooks

Schools and Libraries

Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing (costly textbooks) - Meredith Broussard @TheAtlantic http://ow.ly/zsVR1

Why Do Americans Stink at Math?: NYT article recommended by Jeff Barger http://ow.ly/zyFTZ

Great tips for Supporting Readers During Workshops: The First Few Weeks, by Katie DiCesare @ChoiceLiteracy http://ow.ly/zpE8m

How I Addressed Gender Bias in My Book Club by NC teacher librarian @sedley1 @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/zkjJu

How The Public Library Turned Me Into A Reader by Claire Fallon @HuffPostBooks http://ow.ly/zyGiDvia @PWKidsBookshelf

Summer Reading

#SummerReading Tip31 @aliposner | Make some time for playing board games this summer — they can promote #literacy http://ow.ly/zvUo7

#SummerReading Tip27 @aliposner | Encourage summer writing by authoring books (journals) this summer http://ow.ly/zkk2A

#SummerReading Tip29 @aliposner | Use summer as an opportunity to build your child’s vocabulary! http://ow.ly/zpWFG

I'm tempted by #SummerReading Tip30 @aliposner | have “ice cream only day” with your kids (+ tie in #literacy )! http://ow.ly/zsUGe

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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3. Oyster Now Available on Web & Mobile Browsers

eBook subscription service Oyster has expanded beyond apps and is now also available on the web and mobile browsers.

The news comes a week after Amazon revealed that it was getting into the eBook subscription business, steep competition for Oyster who so far has been leading the way in the Netflix-for-books business. According to Oyster, June was the company’s biggest month during which its total subscriber base grew by 35 percent. The company also revealed that there are more than 3 million pages read on Oyster a day.

The new platform will help make it more accessible to readers that do not have smartphones or tablets to read on.
“Knowing that about a third of ebook readers regularly read on the web, we’ve had our sights set on this launch for some time,” explained Eric Stromberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Oyster, in a statement. “This marks an important next step on our mission to provide the best product on as many devices as possible.”

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4. Ben Cameron: Publishers Need to Match the Book to the Medium

Book publicist Ben Cameron believes that publishers have a long way to go before they get eBooks right. In a piece penned for The Huffington Post, Cameron recounts his experience of reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on his Kindle.

The book itself is an eBook, according to the storyline, yet Cameron points out that the publisher didn’t go anything to take advantage of this fact when creating the eBook. Instead of making it interactive, they simply took the print files and digitized them.

Here is more from his piece: “At the moment publishers are quickly churning out ebook versions of the mainstays of their print backlists. But more often than not they are doing so without giving a moment’s thought to making even the simplest of changes to the printed book. So we end up with an introduction to an ebook that sings the praises of paperbacks or ebook cover images taken straight from printed books that boast of illustrations – when the illustrations have been stripped from the ebook editions.”

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5. Oyster Responds to Amazon’s Entry Into eBook Subscription Market

Oyster, a leader in the Netflix-for-eBooks business, has responded to news that Amazon has entered the burgeoning new marketplace.

“We’re not surprised,” explained Eric Stromberg, CEO and Co-Founder at Oyster, in a statement. “They have pivoted from transactional to subscription-based in other media, and have had limited success. They really paved the way in ebooks, and it’s exciting to see them embrace the market we created as the future of books.”

Amazon’s new service, Kindle Unlimited, will compete directly with Oyster’s eBook subscription service. Both companies charge about $10 a month in subscription fees for unlimited access to their entire library. Oyster’s collection consists of more than 500,000 titles and Amazon’s boasts more than 600,000.

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6. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 18

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include authors, book lists, the Cybils, common core, aging, ebooks, apps, growing bookworms, kidlitcon, reading, writing, play, schools, libraries, and summer reading.

Books and Authors

Stories from authors about school visits "gone terribly wrong" at Wild Things blog http://ow.ly/zcwJO  @SevenImp @FuseEight

75 Years Old, Still Showing off her Scar, fun details about Madeline from @SevenImp + @FuseEight at Wild Things blog http://ow.ly/z94Jk 

Book Lists and Awards

Amazon-backed Booktrust Best Book Awards‘ Lifetime Achievement Award turned down by Allan Ahlberg | @TheBookseller http://ow.ly/z3OLT 

The Wildest (bold + unique) Children’s Books of 2014 as picked by @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/zcxat  #kidlit

Teen blogger Summer from @miss_fictional looks back on Favorite Books from her Childhood http://ow.ly/z5flg  #kidlit

Who knew that there could be a list of Top 5 Picture Books about Ninjas? @rosemondcates could! http://ow.ly/z3KJl  #kidlit

Thanks! RT @145lewis: #CYBILS are an amazing resource Looking for summer reading ideas? http://dadtalk.typepad.com/cybils/finalists/ … #kidlit #edchat #elemed

Common Core and STEM

#CommonCore Becomes Touchy Subject for Governors Group, reports @WSJ, as both parties are internally split on CC http://ow.ly/z5fA0 

Tap the STEM Resources in Your Community! | ALSC Blog post for librarians by @amyeileenk http://ow.ly/z3KzZ 

Diversity

RT @tashrow 5 Stereotypes Positive Aging Picture Books Avoid | Lindsey McDivitt http://buff.ly/1zmZLk9  #kidlit

eBooks and Apps

RT @TWhitford: Great Apps To Introduce Coding to Young Kids http://goo.gl/uUdGX0  via @mattBgomez

Malorie Blackman: ‘I love gadgets, but e-reading has to be carefully handled’ | @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/z3P8z  via @PWKidsBookshelf

Growing Bookworms

What Do Phonics, Phonemic Awareness and Decoding Mean? @CoffeeandCrayon has the scoop http://ow.ly/zeLEb  #literacy

How #Comics Create Life-Long Readers -- @MaryAnnScheuer interview with @jenniholm http://ow.ly/zeLPW  #kidlit #literacy

Teaching My Daughters to Read -- Part III, Phonics from @ReadingShahahan http://ow.ly/zcvyn  #literacy

RT @LiteracySpeaks: 5 Simple Ways to Improve Reading Comprehension from This Reading Mama! http://fb.me/6BtWnEOln 

Fun times @everead | How I Stopped My Children's Whining with Story Club http://ow.ly/z5eUD  #literacy

KidLitCon

KidlitCon2014_cubeBOOM: And we are LIVE! Why you should attend this year's KidLitCon, from co-organizer Tanita Davis, FindingWonderland http://ow.ly/zcvbM 

The registration form for #KidLitCon14 Oct. 10-11 in Sacramento is now live: http://ow.ly/zc0lr  A great way to see friends + talk books

October will be here soon, soon, soon — @bkshelvesofdoom is coming to #KidLitCon14 Are you? http://ow.ly/z3GYs 

RT @CBethM: The 8th Annual @KidLitCon - Spending Time Face-to-Face with Kindred Spirits by @JensBookPage #nerdybookclub http://wp.me/p21t9O-1zS 

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

On having (and integrating) multiple Reading Lives by Kristin McIlhagga @TeachChildLit @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/z94kV 

Cultivating Curiosity, on love of stories vs. love of words at So Obsessed With blog http://ow.ly/z94SO  via @catagator

Food for thought at Stacked: Growing Up, Leaving Some Books (Narnia) Behind by @kimberlymarief http://ow.ly/zi3Ac  #kidlit

Why Book Reviewers Would Make Awesome Authors, by @Miss_Fictional http://ow.ly/zcvDd 

A proposal from @100scopenotes | All Middle Grade Novels Should Be 192 Pages. No Exceptions. Thoughts? http://ow.ly/zcvYJ 

Here's what @medinger thinks about @100scopenotes idea for Putting a Stop to Middle Grade Novel’s Increasing Girth http://ow.ly/zcwej 

Confessions Of A Binge Reader (Or, How I Read So Much) | Ryan Holiday at Thought Catalog http://ow.ly/z3LKY  via @tashrow

Why Readers, Scientifically, Are The Best People To Fall In Love With @EliteDaily http://ow.ly/z3NZQ  via @librareanne

On Kids

How Much Activity Do Our Students Need? asks @katsok How do you help kids who can't sit still, in era of less recess? http://ow.ly/z92pA 

Did What You Played as a Kid Influence Who You Became as an Adult? asks @FreeRangeKids http://ow.ly/z933H 

Powerful post @KirbyLarson by Michelle Houts on adults looking back and regretting childhood acts of bullying http://ow.ly/z3K36 

Schools and Libraries

Bridging the Gap: Making #Libraries More Accessible for a Diverse Autistic Population | @sljournal http://ow.ly/z3Omk 

Corporal Punishment in Schools: Can it be Justified? @TrevorHCairney thinks it's not the right approach http://ow.ly/zi3el 

Top 10 Ways to Turn Classroom into a Hotbed of Enthusiastic Readers by @megangreads + @muellerholly @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/z5eFi 

Summer Reading

This could keep us busy for the rest of the summer! 50 Fabulous Movies based on Children's Books from @rosemondcates http://ow.ly/zcvGP 

#SummerReading Tip20 @aliposner Set up your vacation accommodations in ways that make literacy more likely to occur http://ow.ly/z3LbF 

#SummerReading Tip21 @aliposner Encourage your kids to author “vacation books” when you are traveling this summer http://ow.ly/z5eOF 

#SummerReading Tip25 @aliposner | Read the SAME BOOK that your child is reading independently + discuss it together http://ow.ly/zeM9u 

#SummerReading Tip26 @aliposner | Try to connect reading to your kids’ summer activities http://ow.ly/zi3mT #literacy

Reading Is Fundamental Study Says Summer Reading Is Not Priority | reports Lauren Barack @sljournal http://ow.ly/z3OeW  @RIFWEB

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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7. Are Ebooks a Threat to the Humanities

You all probably know by now that I am fascinated by the print versus digital book debate. I don’t know why. Most of the time I would really like to stop reading yet one more article about how ebooks and the internet are ruining our ability to read. But I can’t help myself. It’s like when someone tells you “don’t look” and you immediately turn around to look. So when I saw an email news update from The Chronicle of Higher Education today with a headline: How E-Reading Threatens the Humanities, I absolutely had to click through.

The piece, written by a professor of linguistics who has a book coming out later this year on reading in a digital world, is gloomy and bemoans the loss of concentration that ebooks have inflicted upon us, particularly college students. There is nothing new to glean from her essay or, from the sound of it, the large survey she did of U.S., German and Japanese university students.

Students are distracted and reading on a screen encourages distraction. Students themselves said they prefer reading print books because they concentrate better. The author worries about ereading and the humanities because the humanities is built around sustained, deep reading of often lengthy work. But with professors and libraries foisting digital texts on students and students themselves spending so much time in front of a screen anyway, their ability to read deeply is eroding fast.

Imagine wrestling with Finnegan’s Wake while simultaneously juggling Facebook and booking a vacation flight.

Now I had to laugh at that. Considering the reputation Finnegan’s Wake has for being a nearly impossible book to read, I thought, well hey, maybe trying to read it while multitasking could actually work. A distracted brain might be able to make more sense of it than one directing all its focused attention at it. It would be like those posters where in order to see the picture you have to unfocus your eyes, turn around in circles, clap you hands three times and stand on one foot. I’ve never been able to see the picture, in fact I am almost convinced there is no picture to see and those who claim to see one are only saying do because they don’t want to be that person. Kind of like the Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome.

But what really made me laugh in a “it’s not supposed to be funny but it is” kind of way is the response from one of the students surveyed to the questions “What is the one thing you like least about reading in print?” Of course it had to be an American student who wrote:

It takes me longer because I read more carefully.

Towards the beginning of the essay the author mentions that a 2011 study of college freshmen found that 86% say their top reason for attending college is so they can get a better job.

Now, couldn’t it be true that the student who doesn’t like to read print because it takes longer is frustrated because s/he does not see how reading Paradise Lost will help with getting a good job? Perhaps that student thinks it is more important to spend time concentrating on the reading for a class in business or working on the coding assignment for a computer science class? Isn’t it possible that fewer students are pursuing degrees in the humanities not because ereading has ruined their ability for deep reading but because those who work in the humanities aren’t very good at making a case for how a degree in English literature will get you a good paying job?

I’m not saying that the internet and ebooks has had no effect on how we read. What I’m suggesting is that there is probably more going on; that the threat to the humanities is not ebooks but a bunch of things with ebooks being at the bottom of the list of what to worry about. What do you think?


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8. Scholastic to Go Multi-Platform With Upcoming TombQuest Series

Scholastic is bringing a new title to its online gaming/multi-platform book community called TombQuest.

Joining the likes of The 39 CluesInfinity Ring and Spirit Animals, TombQuest is an action adventure story set in ancient Egypt written by author Michael Northrop. The story will include a series of five books, as well as an online interactive game.

The first book in the series, Book of the Dead, is slated for release in February 2015. The second will come out the following May. The books will include hidden puzzles and coded messages on the covers which readers can use in the online game. A beta edition of the game will launch this December. The game allows players to design their own ancient Egyptian maze. There is also a place in the game where readers can write their own fan fiction and share it with their friends.

The series will be available in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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9. New bookish comic, with thanks to @Catelli_NQU for the caption!

0 Comments on New bookish comic, with thanks to @Catelli_NQU for the caption! as of 7/15/2014 12:03:00 PM
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10. Comic: Another Advantage Of Print Books

0 Comments on Comic: Another Advantage Of Print Books as of 7/13/2014 10:55:00 AM
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11. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 11

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include authors, awards, book lists, diversity, growing bookworms, kidlitcon, blogging, ebooks, teaching, and summer reading.

Authors and Books

The Rise Of Young Adult Authors On The Celebrity 100 List by @natrobe @forbes http://ow.ly/yVSB6 via @PWKidsBookshelf

Nice tidbits about author James Marshall, “Wicked Angel”, on the Wild Things blog http://ow.ly/yXQ4M @SevenImp @FuseEight

Thank You, @NerdyBookClub says @StudioJJK on dedication of new anthology w/ @jenni @mattholm + others http://ow.ly/yVA3v

Read J.K. Rowling's new short story about grown-up Harry Potter + friends @today http://ow.ly/yVyWK via @bkshelvesofdoom

Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeline Celebrates a Milestone (happy 75th!) @NYTimes http://ow.ly/yVSGt  via @PWKidsBookshelf

Author Interview: Five questions for @varianjohnson from @HornBook http://ow.ly/yYlDd 

Book Lists and Awards

2014 South Asia Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature via @MitaliPerkins http://ow.ly/yIP71

Loved Ed DeCaria's answer to What are the best poems for kids? on Quora. He recommends the #Cybils lists http://ow.ly/yVSnQ @edecaria

Get On Board: SLJ Selects A Bevy of Board Books | @sljournal #kidlit http://ow.ly/yVxfQ

Top Ten Schneider Award Favorites of the 2014 Schneider Award Jury by Peg Glisson @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/yS3cf #kidlit

A Top Ten List: Book that Heal by @MsLReads @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/yOoR3 #kidlit #yalit

Read Me a Bedtime Story, recommended bedtime books from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/yRWgb #kidlit

A Tuesday Ten: Diverse Stories in Speculative Fiction | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/yN8qy #Diversity

UK Booktrust Best Book Awards announced, @tashrow has the list http://ow.ly/yKP72

3 family-tested read-aloud chapter books @SunlitPages | Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Magic, Runaway Ralph, Ramona the Pest http://ow.ly/yKQvF

Great selections! 18 Picture Books Guaranteed To Make You Laugh Out Loud Or At Least Smile @Loveofxena @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/z0xjS 

Diversity

How to Build a Bestseller with Non-White Characters | @chavelaque @sljournal on @varianjohnson + #diveristy http://ow.ly/yKNXn

Sure #WeNeedDiverseBooks but don’t forget #WeNeedMoreWalterDeanMyerses too, suggests @fuseeight http://ow.ly/yKRID

"diversity in fiction is about presenting the world through different viewpoints" Tanita Davis quotes @diversityinya http://ow.ly/yXRq9

Diversity Movement Gains Visibility at ALA Annual, wirtes Wendy Stephens | @sljournal #WeNeedDiverseBooks http://ow.ly/yVx2Z

Growing Bookworms

What do I get if I read this? A call against the use of external prizes in reading programs for kids from @HornBook http://ow.ly/yVxTr

Shanahan on #Literacy: Teaching My Daughters to Read: Part 2, Print Awareness (point at the words at least sometimes) http://ow.ly/yS0uv

How to Read Stories to a Very Active Child, tips from @Booksforchildrn http://ow.ly/yN8KO

Born Reading: An Interview with Jason Boog — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/z0y0Z  #GrowingBookworms #literacy

I liked this post on The #Literacy Benefits of Family Dinners @growingbbb | Some excellent points http://ow.ly/z0wQm 

Kidlitosphere

KidlitCon2014_cube#KidLitCon14 in Sacramento, California, why @semicolonblog wants to hitch a ride i your suitcase to go http://ow.ly/yN8uT

#KidLitCon14 Update: Call for Session Proposals is Up! reports @aquafortis (co-organizer) http://ow.ly/yKPbP

#KidlitCon14 | Call for Session Proposals @book_nut http://ow.ly/yKJPN | Blogging #diversity in YA and children's lit

Wild Things!: Website and Book Launch from @SevenImp + @FuseEight | #kidlit fans will want to check this out! http://ow.ly/yRV91

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

Why digital vs. print reading should not be an either/or conversation, by @frankisibberson http://ow.ly/yS3Zo #eBooks

Insights from @catagator at Stacked: The Three C's of the Changing Book Blogging World, credits, comments, + crit http://ow.ly/yRYJa

Stacked: Reader Advocacy, Speaking Up + Ducking Out: On @catagator Quitting 2015 Printz committee. Go Kelly, I say! http://ow.ly/yKSXG

Schools and Libraries

Why Should Educators Blog? | @ReadByExample shares several reasons: http://ow.ly/yXQom

Should We Be Quantifying Our Students’ Reading Abilities? asks @ReadByExample @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/yKRlX

Too Soon for Technology?: The latest on digital use by preschoolers | @sljournal http://ow.ly/yVwRi #libraries

Summer Reading

Better than the title suggests: How to Trick Your Kids Into Reading All Summer Long @TheAtlantic via @librareanne http://ow.ly/yXOCj

Some experiences w/ #SummerReading programs from @SunlitPages + request for feedback from blog readers http://ow.ly/yVARq

Raising Summer Readers Tip #12: Schedule a few social gatherings that celebrate books and #SummerReading | @aliposner http://ow.ly/yKS38

This one very important! #SummerReading Tip #13: Read aloud to your kids, even if they are great readers! @aliposner http://ow.ly/yN8fr

Raising Summer Readers Tip #14: Remember to make reading aloud interactive! | @aliposner #SummerReading http://ow.ly/yOoM1

This sounds like fun! Tip #15 from @aliposner | Pair books with movies to add some fun into #SummerReading | http://ow.ly/yRXGU

#SummerReading Tip #16 @aliposner : TALK about your plans for reading while on vacation BEFORE your travel begins http://ow.ly/yRY0a

#SummerReading Tip #17 from @aliposner | Raise kids who view packing books as a traveling necessity http://ow.ly/yVAxa

#SummerReading Tip#18 @aliposner | For reluctant vacation readers, wrap a book to read aloud for each day of vacation http://ow.ly/yXPKy 

#SummerReading Tip #19 @aliposner | When en route to your vacation destination, take advantage of captive audience! http://ow.ly/z0yzc 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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12. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Hits eBook Stores

To Kill a Mockingbird is finally available in eBook form. After years of holding out, author Harper Lee agreed to the book’s digital publication back in April.

“I’m still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries. I am amazed and humbled that Mockingbird has survived this long. This is Mockingbird for a new generation,” she explained in a statement at the time, released through her publisher Harper Collins.

The book hit digital bookstores on Tuesday. Amazon is selling the title for $3.99 in the Kindle Store. Barnes & Noble has it for $8.99 in the Nook Store. Apple has the iBook available for $4.99.

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13. Open Road Integrated Media Offers Sci-Fi eBook Humble Bundle Deal

Open Road Integrated Media has formed a partnership with Humble Bundle. The two have crafted a special eBook package tailored for science fiction readers.

According to the press release, this deal “offers eleven science-fiction titles by authors such as Greg Bear, Timothy Zahn, and William Dietz, which are available in multiple formats including PDF, mobi, and epub.” Buyers who pay $12.00 or more will have access to all eleven books.

This Humble Bundle deal will be made available from July 9th to July 23rd. The proceeds will be donated to two nonprofit organizations, the Science Fiction Writers of America Medical Fund and First Book. What do you think?

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14. The Effectiveness of Free eBooks is Declining: Smashwords

Offering up a free copy of your eBook has been a good way for self-published and first-time authors to promote their books to new readers. However, according to a new report from self-publishing site Smashwords, that tool may soon be played out.

Here is more from the Smashwords blog: “Free ebooks, according to our data derived from iBooks downloads, generated 39 times more downloads on average during our survey period than books at any price. Yet the effectiveness of free is down dramatically compared to our 2013 (91X) and 2012 (100X) survey results. While there is still much untapped greenfield opportunity for indies to leverage free, I expect the effectiveness of free will continue to decline as more authors learn to take advantage of it.”

The report, which includes 12 months of sales data for 250,000 titles across eBook retailers, also revealed that $2.99 and $3.99 were a popular price point for strong sales.

We’ve embedded the entire report for you to explore after the jump. (more…)

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15. Content Marketing with Article Directories and Ghostwriters (two strategies to save you time)

With everyone so busy these days, most marketers are looking for strategies to help get more done in less time. Well, there are a few ways to do this – two of them are using article directories and ghostwriters. Using Article Directories Taking advantage of article directories is a great way to add relevant content to your site. You can visit the vast number of directories out there in

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16. Wattpad Reveals Winners of First Prize

Digital literary community Wattpad revealed the winners of the inaugural Wattpad Prize, its first contest to celebrate readers and writers in the community.

There were more than 3,500stories submitted to the contest in both original fiction and original non-fiction. Here is more about the award from the Wattpad blog:

The Wattpad Prize represents the true spirit of expression by recognizing works of original fiction and original non-fiction, by Wattpadders from all over the world. This contest is Wattpad’s new, juried prize that celebrates both writers and readers from the community. To judge the Wattpad Prize, a panel of experts was chosen, comprised of the most dedicated and active Wattpad readers.

We’ve embedded Wattpad’s list of winners after the jump. (more…)

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17. Scribd Expands eBook Subscription Library With Conny Partnership

Scribd has partnered with literary app Connu, to make stories from the international digital literary publication available to Scribd eBook subscribers. Connu was founded by editors Susannah Luthi and Niree Noel, who had previously collaborated on the Southern California Review. The idea was to create a place where readers could find curated stories and discover new writers. Writers in the publication include: David Sedaris, Joyce Carol Oates, Ron Carlson, Janet Fitch and Lydia Davis. Under the terms of the partnership, thirty of the publication’s most popular stories are now available with a Scribd subscription. A new story will be featured every week in Scribd Selects. Readers can access Scribd’s entire eBook library for a subscription fee of $8.99 a month.

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18. Shebooks: A fantastic kickstarter project for women readers and writers

Did you know that 3/4 of the stories published in traditional magazines are written by men? And yet women read SO much. Yep, there’s gender bias even in publishing.

This is where digital publisher Shebooks steps in. Shebooks publishers short ebooks written by women for women readers and designed to be read in under two hours–and they need your help to publisher even more! They only have 9 days left to their campaign.

One hundred percent of the donations made through their kickstarter project: 2014 Equal Writes Campaign will be used to pay women writers.

At every pledge level, Shebooks offers rewards, including a Shebooks subscription, a chance to get your own original work published in an upcoming Girl Power anthology, an “EQUAL WRITES” T-shirt, a night out with Shebooks authors, author visits to your book club, the opportunity to have a protagonist named after you in an upcoming book, and more.

Shebooks has already published over 40 original books by top authors and journalists. Shebooks authors include international bestselling author Hope Edelman, New York Times-bestselling author Caroline
Leavitt, former Deputy Editor of Essence Teresa Wiltz, founder of Ms. Magazine Suzanne Braun Levine, and National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart.

Shebooks can be purchased individually for $2.99 or by subscription.

I hope you’ll consider donating to them. Women need to have a voice, and publishing is a great way to have our voices be heard.



I also found this post by co-founder Laura Fraser inspiring and informative:

Not enough women are able to get their work published today—even the best women writers. Almost three-quarters of the bylines in leading print and digital publications belong to men. At Shebooks.net, we’ve decided to do something about this problem: Publish more stories by women. We’ve launched the Equal Writes Campaign to raise money to publish great reads by as many women writers as possible in 2014.

I’m the Editorial Director and co-founder of Shebooks.net, which publishes short e-books by and for women. I’ve been a journalist and author for 30 years, and while I’ve been relatively successful—one of my books was a NYT bestseller—I’ve experienced how increasingly difficult it is to be published. One of my cofounders, Peggy Northrop, has been the editor-in-chief of four magazines, and a senior editor at many more, and she’s seen the space for women’s writing shrink and shrink. Getting published is difficult for everyone, of course, as content has been considered free on the Internet, and publishers are putting all their money into their top earners and basically ignoring the rest. But it’s particularly hard for women.

Why is that? It’s a complicated question, having to do with both socialization and sexism. On the one hand, we have what people call the “confidence gap,” where women are reluctant to pitch to magazines–they don’t have the sense that their work is worthy. And there has been some research that shows that if women do pitch, if they are turned down, they tend to personalize that, and think, “the magazine doesn’t want me,” whereas men might think, “they answered my email; I’ll nail it next time.”

But the other factor is plain old sexism. It’s still very much a boys’ club, where male editors tend to trust male writers because they’re part of the tribe. I’ve been in the writers’ collective called the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto for 15 years, for instance, and I’ve seen equally talented men and women approach male editors at top-shelf magazines, and guys get the upper hand. I’ve had many personal instances of sexism in my career. One recent one was when an editor on a panel was describing a story in Italy he was considering. I approached him and said I’d like to pitch him on it–I speak fluent Italian and know Italy well. His immediate response was, “Oh, I was kind of looking for a science guy.” He automatically assumed I don’t write about science–which I have done, quite a bit–which is not what he might have assumed about a guy. And, well, a guy would have had the “guy” part of his remark down. Now, if you asked that editor if he was sexist and if he felt women should be equally published, he’s a nice liberal guy who would have said “of course,” and would have had no inkling of his deeper prejudices. Now, maybe it had to do with me and my writing. That’s certainly a possibility. But his answer seemed automatic. (I did persist and check out the story, calling Italian journalist friends to get the scoop, and it turned out to not be the story the editor thought it was.)

Shebooks wants to change inequities in publishing by giving great women writers a platform. We want to raise their visibility not only to our own readers but to other publications.
My partners and I—the third is Rachel Greenfield, who was the EVP of Martha Stewart Publishing–have been excited by the explosion of digital media, which is giving readers new ways to find compelling stories. And we’re pleased to see writers find fresh ways to work and make money outside the usual channels.

But even on these new media platforms, the problem has persisted that female authors, journalists, editors—and ultimately female readers—are being shut out of the revolution. Innovative digital publishing companies led by men and publishing mostly male writers are getting lots of investment and attention. But we know that women are voracious readers in every format—buying the majority of books and magazines and reading (and writing) the majority of blogs.

So we decided not to wait for our invitation to the party. Shebooks.net was the result: a new media format, real money for writers (our writers all share in our profits), and engaging stories that women can’t wait to read, that fit the corners of their busy lives. We’ve been amazed at the quality of writing we’ve been able to publish.

We hope lots of readers and writers will join our Equal Writes Campaign. We publish mainly seasoned writers, but if you’re an aspiring writer, you can pledge at our $35 level and one of our editors will take a look at your manuscript—for possible inclusion in a Shebooks anthology.

Please spread the word—and thanks so much!

Laura Fraser
co-founder, Shebooks

Please pledge to join our Equal Writes campaign! http://kck.st/1kbVVz7

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19. Penguin Releases Previously Unpublished Dorothy Parker Stories

Penguin Classics has put out two eBook specials of previously unpublished works by famed author Dorothy Parker and her biographer Marion Meade. The first is called Alpine Giggle Week: How Dorothy Parker Set Out to Write the Great American Novel and Ended Up in a TB Colony Atop an Alpine Peak. The piece is a letter that Parker wrote to her publishers in 1930 from the top of a mountain. The Last Days of Dorothy Parker: The Extraordinary Lives of Dorothy Parker and Lillian Hellman and How Death Can Be Hell on Friendship by Meade tells the story of Dorothy Parker’s final days.

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20. Anne Valente on Merrill Joan Gerber's Anna in Chains

Throughout June we'll be posting about the career of Merrill Joan Gerber. I've asked some writers to take a look at her work from the 60's through last year and will most likely write a post or three myself during the month.

Merrill Joan Gerber is exactly the type of author we had in mind when we created the Dzanc Books rEprint Series. One of our goals with the series is to bring back great works of literature in eBook format and find a new readership and discussion for these works and authors.   Merrill Joan Gerber's outstanding body of work deserves the attention that the eBook format will offer her.

Gerber has published over a dozen critically acclaimed books. She's frequently had her writing compared to greats such as Bellow and Roth. She's had stories selected for both the Best American Short Story series and the O.Henry Prize anthology series. She's had a novel win a Pushcart Editors' Book Award and had another receive the Ribalow Award from Hadassah Magazine for the "best English-language book on a Jewish theme." The L.A. Times listed her Anna in the Afterlife as a Best Novel of 2002. Cynthia Ozick has called Gerber "one of the masters."

Today, Anne Valente writes about Gerber's story collection, Anna in Chains.

Gerber - Anna in Chains - Final CoverAcross the eleven stories featured in Anna in Chains, Merrill Joan Gerber offers readers varying glimpses into elderly life and the world of a nursing home. A linked collection, Anna in Chains invites the reader into the perspective of cantankerous and spunky Anna Goldman, a former piano player and widow who progresses from the independence of her mid-70s into the decreased mobility and nursing-home confinement of her late-80s. What is truly remarkable about the collection is that it manages to make the reader feel confined along with Anna, and also ruminate on the lack of elderly protagonists in American fiction and what it means to grow old in our society.

Early in the collection, Anna is mobile: she still visits her two daughters and their children, she still complains about her Armenian neighbors, and she still notices with shock the bared midriffs and open sexuality of those around her in the changing world of Los Angeles, a world still turning away from the mass fear of AIDS in 1998 when the collection was originally published. As the collection progresses, the wide-open and liberal landscape of Los Angeles serves as a counterpoint to the realm of the nursing home. Anna falls; she loses the independence of her own home. She loses the ability to freely visit her family, to walk Santa Monica Boulevard, to notice the diversity of the city around her, to be part of the live-studio audience of The Phil Donahue Show with her sister. Her world instead becomes one of “Wheel of Fortune, Meals on Wheels, poker, little tiny portions of milk frozen in margarine containers to last the week.”

As Anna’s world narrows her mind expands, growing more and more active within the nursing home. She finds herself underestimated, assumed to be shell of her once-self. She also finds herself frustrated, confined not only by her surroundings but by her own body too, in decline while her mind remains active and alert. This disconnect is hauntingly expressed: “The skin of her face was an accordion of the days of her life, folded one upon the other. This was what was left of her. What counted was inside, invisible.” Anna recognizes her own dismissal by nurses, orderlies, and even by her own children. Gerber captures masterfully the ways in which the elderly are neglected and ignored, and how both the body and the hospital become cages for a woman who knows her own character as unbound by age. Anna resists her evolution into obscurity, a backward march of time: “She was becoming an infant without teeth, a baby who peed in bed, who couldn’t walk, who couldn’t turn over herself, a baby who was going backward into the sea of time till soon she’d sink under, her head disappearing, and be gone.”

Upon finishing Anna in Chains, the reader may view his or her surroundings in a new light. He or she may also reflect with surprise on how little the end of life features in American fiction. The nursing home is a rarely addressed reality of old age, a landscape most readers and writers would rather ignore. Merrill Joan Gerber evokes this landscape with pain and precision, and through Anna’s compelling voice. Anna in Chains is a brave collection, one not easily set aside when finished. Gerber pulls back the veil on what it means to age, and what it means to be immobile and at the mercy of being forgotten.

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21. Judge Allows Retailer to Sue Apple & Publishers in Price-Fixing Lawsuit

Australian eBook retailer DNAML will be able to proceed in a lawsuit against Apple and the five agency publishers which alleges that DNAML's business was hurt due to the 2010 eBook price fixing scandal led by the tech company and the publishing houses. Judge Denise Cote has allowed the case to proceed despite challenges from Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Penguin. Publishers Weekly has the scoop: "Although Cote in her opinion said proving damages was going to be difficult 'in the extreme' for the DNAML, she held that the plaintiff’s case met the standard to proceed. But while Cote suggested that proving damages might be difficult, she added that DNAML’s 'lost investment,' in its business 'may be reasonably quantifiable.'"

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22. MeeGenius Author Challenge

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by Ashley Fedor, Editor and Director of Content at MeeGenius

alisonfedorIn the next few weeks MeeGenius, the #1 app with over 700 e-books, will be kicking off our Author Challenge—an open challenge for aspiring authors. I wanted to let you know about it in advance and invite all aspiring authors to participate. I exchanged some emails with Tara prior to writing this post and we thought it would be a great opportunity to share some aspects of our publishing process.

At MeeGenius, the publishing process begins—where else?—in the slush pile! As the editor, I read through hundreds of submissions, looking for stories that I know will resonate with our readers. This could mean unique characters, an engaging voice, a topic that will be particularly powerful to parents, or simply great writing.

Once I decide to acquire a manuscript and the contract is signed, then the fun part begins! I work with the author on 1-3 editorial passes. We collaborate to take the manuscript from something good to something great. This can take anywhere from one week to several, depending on our timelines.

Once we have a finished manuscript, I assign it to an illustrator and provide art direction. The illustrator sends a round of sketches, which I review with an eye for editorial accuracy (if a character is supposed to be wearing a dress but she’s wearing snow pants, we need to fix it!) as well as layout (if it’s a landscape picture, will the text fit on the page?).

At the same time, the manuscript is sent out for narration and cues (word highlighting). Once all assets are completed, it’s time to build the book! Our production team works tirelessly to create beautiful e-books, QA them across platforms to catch any issues, and finally, to send the book out into the world.

Previous Winner: The Secret Police Dog

Previous Winner: The Secret Police Dog

Thank you so much Tara for giving us the stage here to share this exciting opportunity with your audience.

Here’s a post by our CEO Wandy Hoh that shares what we’re looking for in “MeeGenius authors”.

All other challenge details can be found here.

The challenge kicks off next Monday, June 16th!

Good luck!


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23. Rachel Swearingen on Merrill Joan Gerber's Short Story Collections

Another in a series of posts from other authors on the work of Merrill Joan Gerber--an author you should seriously track down and read. Today we have Rachel Swearingen writing about two story collections that Gerber published 20 years apart from each other.

 

Gerber - Stop Here, My Friend - Final CoverOne of the pleasures of reading Merrill Joan Gerber’s short story collections, Stop Here, My Friend (1963) and Honeymoon (1983), is tracing the development of the writer and her recurring characters. Gerber is masterful in turning the reader into confidante. In Stop Here, My Friend, written when the author was still in her twenties, she writes about women of various ages in New York City, Arizona, and Florida—mothers and daughters in the snare of family duty. She has been compared to Bellow, Roth, and Updike, but Gerber’s characters are unlikely to ever abandon their obligations for other adventures, and this simple fact is at the crux of many of these stories. Instead, Gerber’s women grow older and take care of children, husbands, siblings, and aging parents, all the while silently storing their own hard-earned wisdoms and their families’ complicated histories.

These tensions persist in Honeymoon, though social mores and expectations have relaxed somewhat, and California replaces New York as a prominent setting. The submerged dramas rarely erupt, but in this later collection, they boil and grow more complex, and the language loosens and in places turns richly, if briefly, lyrical.

Gerber, now in her seventies, has written over Gerber - Honeymoon - Final Coverthirty books, sixteen of which have been released as eBooks by Dzanc Books as part of their rEprint Series. Her stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, Sewanee Review, Redbook, and Atlantic Monthly. She studied with William Stegner at Stanford and has a style reminiscent of Grace Paley, Ray Carver, and Ann Beattie.

In the title story of Stop Here, My Friend, Kate fixates on a mother and daughter sharing an intimate lunch in a Chinese restaurant, telling us “she had always supposed there were mothers and daughters like this pair.” Kate is thirty-one and living with her parents, injecting insulin in her mother’s thigh every night with “a silver syringe,” and coming home each evening to a “neat glass of tomato juice arranged on a saucer between two Ritz crackers.” She wants her own apartment, but her parents are entirely dependent on her. She resists in small ways, throwing out the sandwiches her mother makes her and instead spending her money in restaurants—and daring to view a closet-sized walkup that is for rent. In a moment of boldness, Kate decides to take the apartment, but a few sentences later she reaches into her purse and discovers the fortune cookie from her lunch, “and grimly, grimly, she cracked it open.” The fortune is never revealed, and the “grimly, grimly” makes it implicit that Kate will return to her parents.

This grimness marks most of these early stories. Kate, like other young women in the book, grew up changing out of school dresses into “dungarees,” taking piano lessons, and being expected to marry good, “barmitzvahed” boys. This is a middle-class, post WWII, pre-Steinem world, where references to the “colored maid” appear, where women wear gloves, and there are just two kinds of girls, “good” and “fast.”

My favorite stories features smart, adolescent girls that ferret out discrepancies in adult stories and performances. In “Miss Mosh,” Marilyn, who hates playing the piano, has to endure endless lessons taught by incompetent neighborhood teachers. Marilyn meets her match in Miss Moss, a charlatan of a teacher who wears “some sort of terrible-smelling pomade on her wiry red hair, so that now she looked like a well-groomed porcupine.”

When her teacher’s behaviors grow too strange and cruel, Marilyn revolts and locks herself in the bathroom where she opens her teacher’s hidden suitcase and discovers a pink nightgown. “The feather stuffing in the garment was not distributed equally. In the front, or bosom of the slip, were two large shapeless mounds of feathers sticking out, giving the empty piece of underclothing a strange, living air. In the back, over the hips, was the same kind of stuffed feather mound, making the slip thrust out as if it had a bustle.”

Misfit, most likely transgendered, Miss Mosh veers dangerously close to the stereotypical eccentric, unmarried piano teacher, but Gerber reveals her in all her vulnerability and humanity. This turn appears in many of the early stories, and more subtly in later pieces that deal realistically with such difficult subjects as mental illness and domestic violence.

One of Gerber’s gifts is her dialogue. In Honeymoon, especially, she captures rich rhythms, pathos and wit. Take Janet’s Aunt Gertie, for example, bemoaning Janet’s widowed mother’s refusal to re-engage with the world: “But when I told her the program is going to be a paramedic teaching the methods of how do you call it, cardio-heart-massage, which is such a valuable thing to know at our age, what did your mother say? … she said ‘What do I need it for? To do it to myself, alone, someday in my apartment, when I have my heart attack?’”

Gerber explores several unreliable narrators and incorporates vibrant, barbed argument between family members and even neighbors. In “Straight from the Deathbed,” we revisit Edna, Martha’s mother-in-law from Stop Here, My Friend. Edna’s late-husband has made her promise to apologize to Martha for their initial terrible treatment of her. Edna can’t bring herself to grant this dying wish, though she is fond of Martha now and grateful for the grandchildren. She would “give her eyes” to see her husband spoil the children’s appetite with candy, a habit that used to annoy her. Instead she argues with and badgers her son until he threatens to take the family and leave. The anger mounts to near cataclysm, everyone sits down to eat, and overcome with guilt and anxiety, Edna breaks out her husband’s gumdrops, warning the children not eat too many.

In both books, Gerber’s characters give generously and often reluctantly. They sneak gefilte fish into nursing homes for their mothers. They feed entire packages of hotdogs to barking, distressed dogs they earlier fantasized about poisoning. They hide instructions for their burials in their pianos, so as not to burden their daughters. They spill bits of tragic family legend, while hiding crucial information.

Gerber's structures are linear and deceptively simple, but this combined withholding and generosity creates an undertow. Strikingly, her characters rarely succumb to despair. They love fiercely and faithfully, even when the people they care for are failing or incapable of change. I read these books quickly, and weeks later the characters linger. It's entirely plausible that somewhere, in Brooklyn or Los Angeles perhaps, Martha, Janet, and all the rest are still trying like the rest of us to live the best they can.

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24. 5 Facts About E-Book Publishing Every Author Should Know

There was good news this month for e-book publishers wi […]

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25. Harper Voyager to Launch ‘Impulse’ Digital Publishing Program

HarperCollins has expanded the Harper Voyager science-fiction and fantasy imprint with the "Impulse" digital publishing program. According to the press release, "the vast majority of titles for the digital publishing push were acquired from an open 'call' for submissions hosted globally by Harper Voyager in 2012. The editors received more than 4,500 submissions." 31 "Impulse" eBook titles have been scheduled for publication starting in the Summer of 2014 up until the Winter of 2015. This inaugural list features a variety of genres including urban fantasy, military science fiction, epic tales, fairy tale remakes, and horror stories. One of the first releases, Thorn Jack by Katherine Harbour, will come out as both a hardcover print book and an eBook in July 2014.

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