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1. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 18

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There are a few more than usual, as I was traveling late last week, and then had a big burst of catch-up links on Monday and Tuesday. Lots of links this week about diversity and about libraries. 

Book Lists and Awards

RT @tashrow James Patterson wins the 2014 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Award. http://buff.ly/1l1S0Yk #kidlit

Make 'Em Laugh: Gut-Busting Picture Books That'll Have 'Em Rolling in the Aisles | @FuseEight for @NYPL http://ow.ly/vUt6f #kidlit

Booklist for Easter from @cjfriess | Favourite picture book bunnies http://ow.ly/vPivI #kidlit

Chapter Books for the New Chapter Book Reader | @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/vPhZO

20 Books for Tween Boys Reading Up » Children's Book Reviews by @StorySnoops http://ow.ly/vPjw7 #kidlit

So You Want To Read Middle Grade: #Nonfiction for Middle Grade by Sarah Albee @greenbeanblog http://ow.ly/vPfr1 #kidlit

15 Adorable Children's Books For Your Little Architect from @buzzfeed via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/vPsvr #booklist

A fine list: 22 Great Non-fiction Books for Boys (& Girls) from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/vPgjr #nonfiction #kidlit

The top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2013, from @GuardianBooks + @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/vN1Bm #censorship

Great Books About Eggs and Chicks | @sljournal #booklist http://ow.ly/vMQAl #kidlit

Diversity + Gender

We Need Bigger Megaphones for #Diversity in #KidLit | "Why aren't more people" speaking up? @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/vPeKy

Becoming More Diverse – A #Library Journey by Crystal Brunelle @librarygrl2 @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/vVOsw #diversity

Shattering the Multicultural Myth of the Market. Let's go, urges @MitaliPerkins http://ow.ly/vUtir #yalit #diversity

Diversity in young adult literature: Where's the 'Mexican Katniss'? ask #yalit authors @cnn http://ow.ly/vMQMW via @PWKidsBookshelf

Stacked: TeenGirls Reading: What Are They Seeing (or Not Seeing)? asks @catagator http://ow.ly/vUsRL #yalit

Men: let us know about female characters you admire | @GuardianBooks campaign #LetBooksBeBooks http://ow.ly/vPgUg

Boys Read Girls (Let Books Be Books) @bookzone http://ow.ly/vPgIy via @charlotteslib #kidlit #gender

RT @ElisabethElling "Are Teen Girls Seeing Themselves Reflected in What They Read?" #yalitclass http://feedly.com/e/YKzivZyN

Sigh: "Being male still seems to present an advantage when it comes to recognition, prestige, and awards" in #kidlit http://ow.ly/vMRKY

eBooks / Online Reading

It’s an #Ebook World for Young Readers 13 and Under Says PlayCollective Report | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vVO9q via @tashrow

RT @tashrow Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say – Washington Post http://buff.ly/1qkngTN #reading

Author @MitaliPerkins is proposing once a week Device-Free Day. Are you in? http://ow.ly/vN1m3

Events (inc. National Poetry Month)

TBD2014BannerSupport @readergirlz Teen Literature Day & "Rock the Drop", @CynLeitichSmith @melissacwalker http://ow.ly/vUsyl

5 Great Poetry Collections for Kids #NationalPoetryMonth@jenndon @5M4B http://ow.ly/vVNQZ

10 Ways to Get Kids Excited About #Poetry by @smozer at @KirbyLarson blog http://ow.ly/vPjjb

Forgiving Buckner by John Hodgen, #poetry @missrumphius | "Can baseball be the true harbinger of spring?" http://ow.ly/vPiKz #redsox

NationalPoetryMonthPoetry Challenge for Kids {Week 3} from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/vPiro #NationalPoetryMonth

Kidlitosphere

This post made me happy + sad| Children’s Literature Online at a Glance: A Look Back at Friends Long Gone @fuseeight http://ow.ly/vN1Um

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Lovely! The Top 10 Reasons Why I Can’t Stop Reading Children’s & Young Adult Literature by @EsMteach @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/vPhG5

Growing Up As an Only Child, Fictional Characters Were My Siblings | @BookishHQ http://ow.ly/vMS12 via @PWKidsBookshelf

Dare to Disturb the Universe: Madeleine L’Engle on Creativity, Censorship, Writing + Duty of #kidlit | @brainpicker http://ow.ly/vMRsK

Schools and Libraries

This is interesting | (Much of) Parental Involvement (at school) is Overrated @NYTimes Opinionator http://ow.ly/vPqwg

Shanahan on #Literacy: How Much In-Class Reading? (On reading aloud and silently in the classroom) http://ow.ly/vPhhi

How VA Middle School Librarian + Book Club Raised Funds to Provide 15k Meals for Students in South Sudan | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vUhW5

Thanks to NBA Star LeBron James, Akron Public Schools Has One of the Largest E-Libraries in Country | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vUh45

12 ways to Save Money at Your Public #Library from @AboutKidsBooks - Borrow Kids Books eBooks Audiobooks DVDs http://ow.ly/vRqJ3

Betsy @FuseEight has set up a very cool #Literary Salon @NYPL on Podcasting Children’s Books w/ @KatieDavisBurps + more http://ow.ly/vRq7K

RT: AboutKidsBooks: 6 picture books about libraries and librarians and 1 article about how to save money at your public library. http://abt.cm/1hHgTtt

What you should do to help libraries in crisis (instead of holding a spontaneous book drive) — @lizb http://ow.ly/vN2ar

Think libraries are dying? Think again @cnn shares #library photos and reports on their enduring popularity http://ow.ly/vPb68

Reasons why you should be taking your child to the #library from @HuffPost + @tashrow http://ow.ly/vN1ru

In Arizona, After Girl Scouts’ #Library Project Set on Fire, Public Support Pours In | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vMQqc

© 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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2. Samsung & Amazon Team on New eBook Club

samsungkindleSamsung has partnered with Amazon on a new Kindle app for its line of Galaxy devices. Like other Kindle apps, Kindle for Samsung, allows users to purchase and read eBooks and periodicals from Amazon.

In addition, the two companies have launched a free book service called Samsung Book Deals, which is only accessible through the app.

Samsung customers that download the app can choose one free eBook a month from Amazon for a year with their Samsung account.

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3. Going Global



I received some great news from my publisher that all of my books are going to be available for sale in China and other Asian markets.  Guardian Angel Publishing has finished negotiating with an agent to distribute English language books.  This is coupled with a mandate in China that all school children should learn English.  So I’m really excited that my books will be open to such a huge market.  Also in the works is distribution to India and other emerging markets where my books are not available.  I’ll keep you posted on any further developments.  But I couldn’t wait to spread the word.  How cool is that?

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4. A bookish slideshow

From ancient times to the creation of eBooks, books have a long and vast history that spans the globe. Although a book may only seem like a collection of pages with words, they are also an art form that have survived for centuries. In honor of National Library Week, we couldn’t think of a more fitting book to share than The Book: A Global History. The slideshow below highlights the fascinating evolution of the book.



In celebration of National Library Week we’re giving away 10 copies of The Book: A Global History, edited by Michael F. Suarez, S.J. and H.R. Woudhuysen. Learn more and enter for a chance to win.

Michael F. Suarez, S.J. and H. R. Woudhuysen are the authors of The Book: A Global History. Michael F. Suarez S.J. is Professor and Director of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. H. R. Woudhuysen is Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford.

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5. Oxford University Press is Making Online Products Free During National Library Week

oxforduniversitypressOxford University Press is making its online products free next week in honor of National Library Week in the United States. The open access will run from  April 13th to April 19th.

Check it out: “OUP is freeing up all of our online products* for the week! Libraries are a vital part of many communities, whether it is a school, a town/city, the government, a corporation, or a hospital, and we have freed up this unprecedented amount of content to show our appreciation for these libraries.”

To access the content, readers aren’t required to sign up. Users can simply enter the username “libraryweek” and password “libraryweek” in order to check out the content.

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6. Would You Want a Netflix for Books?

I came across an interesting article today by Joseph Esposito, Everybody Wants a Netflix for Books. First there was Amazon Prime and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library that allows Prime customers to borrow one Kindle book each month. Next came Oyster where for just $9.95 a month you have access to as many ebooks as you can read. The catch is that you can only choose from the books in their library and they may or may not have the newest book you want to read like, for instance, The Luminaries.

Esposito’s article is the best explanation I have read so far on just what we mean when we say we want a Netflix for books and why that is not likely to happen. Using Netflix as the example, he clearly explains the difference between getting DVDs in the mail and streaming video and then translates that to books. It all comes down to copyright which these days is all about money. If there are some publishers that won’t even allow libraries to lend ebooks, there certainly isn’t going to be a comprehensive service for ebook rental.

My question is though, do we really want such a service anyway? I mean, I can understand it if you like to tear through short genre kinds of books like mysteries, romance, scifi and fantasy. But what about longer, more substantial books? You know every book you read in a month is not going to be an ebook even if you could get everything you wanted to read without waiting in line for it. So let’s say you read two books a month from the book service, and let’s say the monthly fee is $10-15. Would you sign up? Would it be worth it?

I can’t help but think it isn’t worth it especially when I can go to the library. Sure, I have to wait in line for popular books, but I have so many books to read anyway waiting a few weeks or even a few months is no big deal. Plus, I don’t have to pay a monthly fee. The money I don’t spend on fees I can use to buy those books I just can’t wait for.

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe if there was an online ebook rental service that was reasonably priced and had everything I wanted to read resistance would be futile. What do you think? Do you want such a service? Would you sign up if it existed? What would be the monthly fee you’d be willing to pay?


Filed under: Books, ebooks, Reading

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7. How to Publish an eBook on Screwpulp

screwpulpLooking for a way to find new readers for your self-published book? Check out Screwpulp, a new platform designed to help new writers find readers.

Any author can publish a book on Screwpulp. At first the book is available for free. The idea is that readers are more likely to take a risk and read a new author when the book is free. Readers can read the titles on their Kindle. The site encourages readers to review and share the books with their social networks.

Once a book has a number of reads and reviews, then the price will go up. “As a book gains it popularity and ratings it is reflected by the price moving up incrementally,” explains the site. Authors control the rights to their works and collect 75 percent of the profit. Authors are required to keep their book on Screwpulp for at least 90 days. (Via Mashable).

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8. Waterstones Founder Predicts the End of eBooks in the UK

waterstonesTim Waterstone, founder of the UK based bookstore chain Waterstones, has predicted the end of the eBook revolution in the UK.

In a panel on the future of publishing at the Oxford Literary Festival, Waterstone dismissed the emerging channel as overhyped.

The Telegraph has the story:

“I think you read and hear more garbage about the strength of the e-book revolution than anything else I’ve known,” Mr Waterstone told the audience in Oxford. “The e-books have developed a share of the market, of course they have, but every indication – certainly from America – shows the share is already in decline. The indications are that it will do exactly the same in the UK.”

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9. Social Reading Platform Readmill to Close

readmillDropbox  has acquired the social reading platform Readmill and is shutting down the site.

“Readmill’s story ends here,” writes Henrik Berggren, co-founder & CEO of Readmill on the company blog. “Many challenges in the world of ebooks remain unsolved, and we failed to create a sustainable platform for reading. For this, we’re deeply sorry. We considered every option before making the difficult decision to end the product that brought us together.”

Readers can no longer create a new account, and current users will have until July 1st to transition their account to another service. The Readmill team is will join Dropbox. “Millions of people use Dropbox to store and share their digital lives, and we believe it’s a strong foundation on which to build the future of reading,” continued Berggren in the post. “We’re delighted to work alongside this talented team and imagine new ways to read together.”

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10. Verso Books to Sell eBooks Direct to Consumers

versoVerso Books will begin selling eBooks directly to consumers worldwide beginning this April. The publisher expects the site to bring in £200,000 (approximately $333,000) in revenue during the first year.

The publisher will sell the books from its website. The eBook catalog will include both new titles and backlist titles. The site will offer eBook bundles that correspond with print purchases.

The eBooks will use Booxtream’s “social DRM” technology which works on most eReaders and apps. The eBooks will be watermarked with details about the license and who bought it. Readers can redownload books they have already purchased if they update devices.

“Verso has found a new, radical way of selling books—for the first time, our readers can choose which title to read regardless of format, print or digital,” stated Verso’s Managing Director Jacob Stevens. “We know that our core readership would like to support radical publishing directly, and we hope that this new approach will benefit our writers, readers, and colleagues across the industry.”

 

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11. Scribd Launches Travel Category With Lonely Planet Partnership

scribdScribd is expanding its eBook subscription service to include travel books. The company has partnered with guidebook publisher Lonely Planet and will make all of Lonely Planet’s guidebooks available through its monthly subscription service.

In addition to the partnership with Lonely Planet, Scribd has also added the travel books A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena de Blasi, Londoners by Craig Taylor and 1,000 Places to See Before You Die mini-series of guidebooks by Patricia Schultz to its collection. Scribd also revealed a new feature which gives readers the ability to bookmark pages within a book. The idea is to make things easier for travelers to find marked pages while they are on-the-go.

“Travel is the perfect category for e-books. Not only does having an e-book at one’s fingertips lighten a traveler’s load while on the go, Scribd offers a great value by enabling readers to access all of the Lonely Planet guides in one all-you-can-read subscription,” stated Trip Adler, CEO and co-founder of Scribd.  ”Lonely Planet publishes some of my favorite travel guides, and I know our readers will appreciate having such an inspiring and trusted source available across all of their devices—Apple, Android, and Kindle Fire.”

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12. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 21

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists and Awards

2014 Indies Choice, E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards Finalists Announced | via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/uNU2V #kidlit

10 New Picture Books that Will Challenge, Amuse and Teach, recommended by @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/uNT9e #kidlit

The 2014 Carnegie Medal shortlist has been released http://ow.ly/uLPFn #kidlit @bkshelvesofdoom

2014 Shortlist for The Hans Christian Andersen Award | @tashrow http://ow.ly/uLPhn #kidlit

Guest Post @abbylibrarian | Kelly Jensen @catagator for 2016 Printz http://ow.ly/uJc9B #yalit

Common Core

A Crash Course On #CommonCore @NPR http://ow.ly/uNUAy via @PWKidsBookshelf #literacy

Diversity

A Response to “Where Are The People of Color in Children’s Books” from @StaceyLoscalzo http://ow.ly/uGtNm #kidlit

“The Boundaries of Imagination”; or, the All-White World of Children’s Books, 2014 @PhilNel http://ow.ly/uGscv #kidlit

Gender (including Women's History Month)

The Independent on Sunday will no longer be reviewing books that are "marketed to exclude either sex http://ow.ly/uGsYh @bkshelvesofdoom

Campaign to end gender-specific children's books gathers high-profile support | @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/uJaUj @PWKidsBookshelf

Is it really true that "Gender specific books demean all children" asks @chasingray | Some counterexamples http://ow.ly/uNTq7 #kidlit

Responses to reactions to Independent on Sunday decision not to feature books aimed at boys OR girls http://ow.ly/uQ4Et @playbythebook

Stacked: Challenging the Expectation of #YAlit Characters as "Role Models" for Girls: Guest Post by @SarahOckler http://ow.ly/uQ3dS

Girls in #yalit have a right to be angry sometimes | Guest Post at Stacked by @EScottWrites http://ow.ly/uNTFL

Hey, Girlfriend — @lizb shares her picks for #yalit where positive girl friendships are front and center http://ow.ly/uJclU

Girls (in #kidlit + #yalit ) Kicking A** With Their Brains: Guest Post by @aquafortis at Stacked http://ow.ly/uJcxK

Women's History: Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell, by @TanyaLeeStone @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/uNSXy

Growing Bookworms

Michaels Read | A dad is happy to have his son "not follow directions" as long as reading in bed is the result http://ow.ly/uGsud

Lovely! To My Dear Little Duckie Quotes From Children's Books for When Things Are Not Going Your Way @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/uJcNG

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Maine publisher makes way for Robert McCloskey artwork in posters / note cards . Article mentions @FuseEight http://ow.ly/uNUY7

Young people aren’t buying e-readers. Only 5% expect to by one next year | @NYDailyNews via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/uJb4f

Promo Friday @gail_gauthier asks: Would You Buy A Book A Blogger Recommended? http://ow.ly/uGvE1 Well, yes, all the time for me

Programs, Events and Research

Celebrating the 3rd year of the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program @lochwouters library. So great! http://ow.ly/uNSaK

An Estimated Million—from Italy to North Carolina—Participated in World Read Aloud Day | @sljournal http://ow.ly/uJa7t @roccoa

I can see this | @PBSKIDS Survey Says School Readiness More Important to Parents than Letters + Numbers @sljournal http://ow.ly/uNWfP

Levels of key brain chemicals predict children's reading ability, @medical_xpress via @tashrow http://ow.ly/uGwqx

Schools and Libraries

Malorie Blackman: asks: Why are libraries mandatory in prisons but not schools? The Telegraph http://ow.ly/uGwdw via @tashrow

Miami library cuts are forcing tough decisions + huge cuts in purchases of children’s books i http://ow.ly/uNUo0 via @PWKidsBookshelf

This is nice to see | St. Paul to Create 15 New School Library Positions (more than double current amt) http://ow.ly/uJada @sljournal

Five Compliments for Reading Teachers by @JustinStygles @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uLQ12 #literacy

"Our aim should be to foster a love of reading" vs. focusing on tests, says @amyrass @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uGwT6

New Report: Pew Internet Releases a Typology of U.S. Public Library Engagement | LJ @INFOdocket http://ow.ly/uJan2

© 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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13. Love, The App -- winner of the BolognaRagazzi Digital Awards, 2014

Today, I'd like to share a guest review by Emily S., age 10, also known as my youngest daughter. This week, she read Love, The App, winner of the 2014 BolognaRagazzi Digital Award for fiction.

Love, The App
developed by Niño Studio
based on the book by Gian Berto Vanni
ages 6-12
review by Emily S., age 10
I just read the book app Love and I think that it is amazing. Why I think that because I love how the company that made the app have a lot of interactive features but not too much interactive items that the reader wouldn’t get distracted from the book.

This book app is about a girl who gets taken to an orphanage because her parents left and she has no relatives. And when she goes to the orphanage none of the other kids play with her just because she is ugly. But one day the manager of the orphanage almost kicks her out of the orphanage.
She didn't have any relatives.
I also really like the layout of this book app especially because of the transitions. Why I love the transitions of this book app is because you have to figure out how to turn the page, you don’t just swipe your finger and it turns the the page, you have to tap certain objects or you have to swipe the flaps in.

I think that the moral of the story is that even if someone looks different it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a kind heart or that they don’t deserve friends. And that you should always treat people the way you want to be treated.

In conclusion I think Love is a great book app because it is a great story,it has interactive features, and it has a great moral too. This book app is great for all ages (even grownups!). Why this book is for all ages is because it is heartfelt, interactive, and it has a great story structure.

Do you want to learn more? Watch this video trailer:

Thanks, Emily! I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this. It's especially interesting how much you enjoyed having to "figure out how to turn the page". I agree that the moral of the story really shines through in this story.

The review copy of the app came from our home library. We purchased it after reading about the BolognaRagazzi Digital Awards in the excellent journal Children's Technology Review.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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14. Scholastic’s “Worlds Collide” Initiative Brings 3 Multi-Platform Series Together

WC_LogoScholastic will launch a new initiative called “Worlds Collide” to bring together three popular multi-platform series: The 39 Clues, Infinity Ring, and Spirit Animal.

Here’s more from the press release: “As part of the ‘Worlds Collide’ initiative, Scholastic will release for the first time a digital ‘Powerpack’ ebook bundle—including three first-in-series books in one volume—featuring The 39 Clues #1: The Maze of Bones by , Infinity Ring #1: A Mutiny in Time by , and Spirit Animals #1: Wild Born by . Scholastic will support the ‘Worlds Collide’ initiative with an extensive marketing campaign to link together the global audiences of The 39 Clues, Infinity Ring and Spirit Animals through a dedicated ‘Worlds Collide’ online hub (www.scholastic.com/worldscollide).”

Through the Worlds Collide website, fans are encouraged to play around with the stories from all three series and create mash-ups. To extend beyond the internet community, the minds behind this initiative have also organized the “Worlds Collide #1s” live tour.  Fans will also get a chance to meet some of the authors who contributed books to these popular series including James Dashner, Brandon Mull, Gordon Korman, and Jude Watson. Rick Riordan will make a special appearance at one of the events. See below for the complete list of tour dates.

continued…

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15. The Harvard Classics Collection is Now Available Free Online

harvardreviewThe Harvard Classics, a 51 volume collection of text first compiled by Harvard’s president Charles W. Eliot in 1909, are now available for free online through Internet.org.

The works, which were originally referred to as Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, are a time capsule into the thinking of the time and include literature, philosophy, and the sciences.

The collection was originally published by P.F. Collier, who wanted to sell books to people that desired a good education. Open Culture has more: “Collier asked Eliot to ‘pick the titles’ and they would publish them as a series. The books appealed to the upwardly mobile and those hungry for knowledge and an education denied them, but the cost would still have been prohibitive to many.”

 

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16. Drastic Measures

My Kindle and I have been having an ongoing argument. I mentioned our disagreement back in November when it appeared that Kindle was developing an opinion about what I should and shouldn’t read. I thought we had come to an understanding after the incident since things went on in a friendly way for the next book or two. But January brought a few hiccups and February almost came to a melt down.

Now over the weekend I felt like Kindle and I were in the knife fight from Beat It except without the cool dance moves.

I finished reading David Copperfield and was queuing up my next book only Kindle refused to cooperate. It either kept trying to take me to the Amazon online store or would not let me page through my books to the one I wanted to read next. No amount of restarting helped. Amazon troubleshooting and forums all said restart and all will be well. Liars!

Finally I decided to take the nuclear option. I saved all my books onto my computer since most of the books on my Kindle are from Project Gutenberg and I didn’t want to have to download them all again nor did I want to lose my highlights and notes. Then I reset Kindle to its original factory settings. Zap!

But Kindle refused to bow down in submission. Resetting it also deregistered it from Amazon which means the few books I have bought were inaccessible and I couldn’t borrow an ebook from the library if I wanted to. When I tried to get to the settings menu to re-register Kindle, it refused to allow me to go to the page.

Kindle and I circled around each other, waving our knives. While Kindle was silent, I was not. Bookman became alarmed. Let me help you he pleaded. There is nothing you can do! I snapped. I was sorely tempted to break Kindle in half against the edge of the table and be done with it once and for all. But Bookman swooped in like Michael Jackson in the video, randomly pushed buttons, and suddenly Kindle decided to dance! I registered, plugged Kindle into my computer, copied all my books back to it and held my breath. Success!

Today I began reading Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin and Kindle continues to behave. We’ll see what Kindle will do when I am done with the book in a few weeks. Will it let me read another book without trouble? Time will tell. But for now we are getting along again.


Filed under: ebooks, Kindle

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17. 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Self-Publishing an eBook

ebook-advice-article

Writers today are faced with more publishing options than ever before. You could go the traditional route and try for a book deal at a large publishing house. Or you could go the opposite route and self-publish your work, either in print or in the form of an eBook.

If you’re thinking about self-publishing an eBook, there are a few key questions you should ask yourself before diving in. Are you an entrepreneur? Do you crave total control over your work? Can you hire a professional team? Is making money critical? Do you have the time and energy to take on a project like this? Finally, what are your true goals? And this may be the most important question of all:

David Gaugran, indie author and blogger, says, “Writers get so obsessed with finding an agent that representation becomes the goal. They forget that’s just the first hurdle.” After that, your book gets passed to editors, marketing teams, sales teams and booksellers — and there’s a good chance your book may fail at any of those crossroads. If you need an agent and a traditional publishing house, rather than readers (and yourself) to verify your awesomeness, are you writing for the right reasons? Gaugran urges writers to consider, “why don’t you pick yourself, instead of waiting to be picked?”

For more tips, including how to have an effective marketing strategy, read: Do Self-Published eBooks Help or Hurt Your Career?

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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18. Vook Releases New Author Dashboard For Tracking eBook Sales

VookDigital publishing platform Vook has introduced a new dashboard for authors and content owners to track eBook sales called Author Control. The tool pulls sales data from Amazon, Amazon KDP, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life, CreateSpace, Smashwords, Google, and Samsung, and puts it together in one dashboard.

The company is offering authors the ability to track up to ten books for free. Authors who have beta tested the platform include: CJ Lyons, Bruce Henderson, Elizabeth S. Craig, and Kate Pullinger. Literary agents

Content owners including: The New York Times, Fast Company, Forbes, Thought Catalog, and U.S. News & World Report, have already been beta testing the new analytics tool. In addition, Bowker, the Alliance of Independent Authors, Grub Street, Author Marketing Experts and the CUNY Publishing Certificate Program will be able giving access to their members.

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19. How We Read

Last night Bookman and I ventured out to Micawber’s Books in St. Paul. I have heard of the shop but had never been there. It turns out to be a nice little store with a carefully selected stock of the mostly literary sort. I say mostly literary because they did have George R.R. Martin but Dan Brown was nowhere to be seen. My kind of place.

The event we went to was a panel discussion on how we read sponsored by the Minnesota Book Awards (yes I did apply to be a poetry judge, no I never heard back from them which is their loss). Panel members included Hans Weyandt, co-owner for Micawber’s, Carolyn Casey from Coffee House Press, Patrick Thomas from Milkweed Editions, Katie and Guy Eggers, editors of Thirty Two Magazine, and Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune books editor (yes, my local newspaper still has a books editor!). The panel was moderated by Marianne Combs, Minnesota Public Radio arts reporter.

Combs started off by asking the packed crowd how many had smartphones. About half raised their hands. Then she asked how many had iPads, Kindles, Nooks or other ereaders and about half raised their hands. Then she asked how many read predominantly on an electronic device and no one raised a hand.

The question then went across the panel whether and/or how ebooks and digital were affecting the work they did and reading in general. Both publishers said they offer just about all of their books as ebooks too and pretty much see it as just another format. Patrick from Milkweed likened digital to the mass market paperback. When those first came into existence everyone thought the world was going to come to an end, that it was going to kill books and reading. That, of course, didn’t happen.

Hans, co-owner of Micawber’s, said he wasn’t sure that digital was affecting bookstore sales all that much. He said if he is losing sales it is to people over fifty who have the money to buy the gadgets. He, along with the others, didn’t believe digital piracy was an issue at all. He said we are being naive to think that books weren’t being pirated in other ways before digital came on the scene.

I must say I have to agree with him on that. When photocopiers were invented publishers got really worried and tried very hard to keep libraries from making them available to public use because they were sure people were going to use them to copy books. I know some people probably did this, but really, how many of us had the time to stand at a copier duplicating Naked Lunch? And even before that, before international copyright agreements were made, books published in one country were often pirated in another. In Emerson’s letters to Thomas Carlyle, Emerson frequently tells Carlyle to get him a clean print of his new book ASAP so Emerson can get it to the U.S. printer first and earn Carlyle some money before someone else copied it and printed it cheaper. Sure, copying is faster and easier than it has ever been, well easy if you know how to break an ebook’s DRM or have a super-fast book scanner, and distribution is global, but I don’t think it is ruining publishers or authors.

Sorry for stepping up onto the soapbox, I’ll get back to the panel now.

Laurie, the Strib books editor, said she doesn’t review ebooks not because she won’t but because readers aren’t asking her to.

Katie and Guy, the editors of Thirty Two Magazine said they made a decision from the start to not offer a digital version of the magazine. They said printing a single format on paper is not as expensive as having to create various versions of the magazine for all the different digital formats and devices. What they and Carolyn from Coffee House noted as a problem is what Carolyn called “the primacy of cheapness.” The internet created a belief that digital should be free or really cheap. Katie and Guy said that their goal as magazine editors is to create good content and engage the reader, to make the value of the content evident and worth paying for.

It was noted by several on the panel that in spite of the supposed popularity of digital, an author, unless you happen to be someone like Stephen King, still needs a print edition of a book in order to be considered legitimate. People also don’t trust a digital book to be around forever and will buy the books they want to keep in print.

Pretty much everyone on the panel agreed that the digital world has shortened their attention spans. Hans said that he thought edevices create a physical and spiritual exhaustion in people. Nonetheless, there is still a craving for long-form writing said Katie. Laurie added digital was not destroying long books at all and noted the length of Donna Tartt’s newest, which is close to 800 pages, did not seem to be affecting sales.

Carolyn suggested a short attention span seemed to be predicated on what one was reading. If you are reading a riveting book, you are engaged and will keep reading. If, on the other hand, you are reading something junky, you are more willing and more likely to be distracted. Patrick agreed, and said the goal at Milkweed was to create and publish books that were so compelling they created a distraction from all the distractions.

When asked to predict what the world of books and publishing might look like twenty years from now none of them could do it. They did agree that print will always be around because, as Carolyn remarked, print doesn’t go bad or become obsolete. Katie and Guy think there will be a movement toward quality content, that those who publish quality will be the ones who are still around in twenty years. Katie wished that the conversation would change from print versus digital to one about what we are reading and the ideas and issues we are reading about and the effect that has on people and culture.

There was a little time for questions at the end and Bookman boldly asked why print books don’t come bundled with the digital book. Patrick explained that it was mostly because of DRM and distribution issues. You can buy the print book at Micawber’s but where is the digital book going to come from? Bookman was not pleased that they made it out to be a huge insurmountable thing. And I wonder too because why, if I go to the bookstore and buy the print book, can’t I pay a few dollars extra for the digital and get a coupon-sized card with special password to use at the publisher’s website that would allow me to download the book? I wouldn’t have to go through Amazon or Barnes and Noble or anything. As for format, they could offer ePub, mobi and PDF. It can’t possibly be that hard. Oops, that darn soapbox.

Anyway, it was a fun evening. We are glad we had the chance to go.


Filed under: Books, ebooks, Technology

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20. Joan Didion & John Gregory Dunne eBooks Coming to Zola Books

didionJoan Didion’s classic essay collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem, is among four titles from the author that will be published as eBooks exclusively by indie eBookstore Zola Books this month. In addition, Zola will publish digital editions of works by John Gregory Dunne, Didion’s late husband.

Beginning on November 12th, Didion’s After Henry, Miami, Play It As It Lays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album will be available through Zola Books. Digital editions of Dunne’s Crooning, Dutch Shea, Jr., Harp, Quintana & Friends and The Red White and Blue will also come out that day.

Readers can purchase eBooks from Zola Books online and then read them through the Zola Books iOS app. Through partnerships with indie bookstores, Zola customers can “Indie Pledge” their favorite local bookstore, and that store will take in the majority of the profit from the purchase.

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21. Kindle Trouble

I’m a bit unnerved. My Kindle seems to be developing an opinion about how quickly I finish a book and move on to the next. About two weeks ago I finished reading Willa Cather’s Alexander’s Bridge at the end of my lunch break. Stilling have a few minutes of my break left I thought I’d start reading Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse. Kindle freaked out. It froze, then unfroze, then kept trying to get me to turn on my wi-fi to go to the Kindle store. Did it not want me to read Hesse? Was it trying to get me to pick a different book?

I turned it off and then back on. I got my list of books and Kindle would let me page through the list but when I came to the page with Steppenwolf on it Kindle would not let me move my cursor down the page to select the book. I must have restarted the thing three or four times with not luck before I had to go back to work. I was feeling a bit panicky because what was I going to read on my train ride home? I don’t carry a paper book with me. I sought help from Google. Google told me about a secret restart command accessible in the menu while on the settings page. This was supposed to fix the problem. So I tried it during a quiet moment in the afternoon and it didn’t work.

Going home at the end of the day I sat down on the train and pulled out my Kindle and thought, well, I’ll just try it and see. And it was working just fine. Like nothing happened. Weird.

So yesterday I told Bookman I was almost done with Steppenwolf, would be finishing it today and could he put one of his Discworld books on my Kindle? So he did. And then he made the mistake of clicking out of Steppenwolf to make sure he’d put Reaper Man in the right place. And Kindle freaked out again. I tried restarting and Bookman tried restarting and Kindle refused to cooperate. The files are still accessible from a computer when the Kindle is plugged in so Bookman, what a guy, said I could take his Kindle to read on today and we moved Hesse to it so I could finish it.

This morning I checked my Kindle just in case and it was still in a snit. Bookman tried to comfort me by saying I could get a new one, but that didn’t help me at the moment. Off to work I went. Reading on Bookman’s Kindle was weird. It’s the first version, white and the buttons are all in the wrong places. But I could read, so that was something.

Now, when I got home from work this evening and saw my Kindle sitting on my desk I thought I’d try it and see if it would work and it did! Just like nothing happened.

Kindle must have decided that when I finish a book, or get near to the end, I need to spend some time thinking about what I just read, letting it sink in a bit before moving on to the next book. That after three years — or has it been four already? — Kindle should decide to start asserting itself is annoying. If it were a paper book I could throw it on the floor or slam it down on a table like I had the urge to do. But of course, if I do any throwing or slamming with Kindle that really would be the end of it.

Now I feel like Kindle is tyrannizing me. Do what I want, but not too fast, when I want you to, or else, Kindle seems to be telling me. Suddenly it is in charge and I am tip-toeing around trying to keep it from freaking out again. Curse you technology!

Oh, yes, I can hear you asking why I don’t just carry a print book. I have reached the age when, in order to read comfortably, reading glasses are required. To fiddle with putting on and taking off glasses on the train (it’s only a 20 minute ride) is a nuisance and cuts into my reading time. So on my Kindle I have the font just big enough that I can read without glasses.

I thought my Kindle and I had such a beautiful relationship, but apparently not. What could have gone wrong?


Filed under: ebooks, Technology

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22. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: November 29

TwitterLinksHoping that you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Happy reading!

Book Lists

Just out: the @NYTimes Notable Children’s Books of 2013 http://ow.ly/rfA8d  #kidlit via @bkshelvesofdoom

Kirkus Best Children’s Books of 2013 list released http://ow.ly/rdokV via @tashrow #kidlit

A very nice list: SLJ Best Books 2013 Picture Books | @sljournal http://ow.ly/rdr2i #kidlit

Top Ten Old-School Girl Books by Lyn @FairchildHawks @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rajYV #kidlit

Best Picture Books of 2013, by category, according to @darshanakhiani http://ow.ly/rajsJ #kidlit

Events

TakeYourChildToABookstorePin1Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day Returns December 7th http://ow.ly/rdq6z via @PublishersWkly

Gender and Reading/Writing

Lots of thoughts on gender in picture books from author Jonathan Emmett @ScribbleStreet http://ow.ly/ramsT via @playbythebook

Women make picture books too… observes @LaurelSnyder after looking at male-dominated best of lists http://ow.ly/r8fRT

The gender bias in children's books by @sarahvmac in DailyLife http://ow.ly/r6gZd via @tashrow #kidlit

Thoughtful post by @anneursu On Gender and Boys Read Panels http://ow.ly/rai2L #kidlit #literacy

Growing Bookworms

RT @CStarrRose: Thanks Jen @JensBookPage for her post on the new edition of THE READ ALOUD HANDBOOK for the Spellbinders newsletter http://eepurl.com/HbcLD

At @KirbyLarson blog, school librarian @IPushBooks talks about how she is nurturing wild readers http://ow.ly/rdnuB @donalynbooks

Good ideas! How to Create a “Culture of Reading” | Suggestions from AASL 2013 | @sljournal http://ow.ly/rdrdd

Kidlitosphere

Flippy-Do Reads!: #KidLitCon13 - ARCS, Turkey Sandwiches and Twitter, oh my! reports Emilia P @flippydo http://ow.ly/rakJb

Don't miss @MotherReader 150 Ways to Give a Book, one of the best book-themed holiday gift guides around! http://ow.ly/ra1VC #kidlit

Lots of great links here: This Week’s Tweets and Pins | Waking Brain Cells by @tashrow http://ow.ly/r6hOR

MatildaOn Reading and Writing

Have to do any holiday shopping for a YA lover? @bkshelvesofdoom suggests Lizzie Skurnick subscription http://ow.ly/rdlOJ @Igpublishing

RT @tashrow Neville Longbottom is the Most Important Person in Harry Potter—And Here’s Why http://buff.ly/18PLZ9Z #kidlit

Programs and Research

Study from Booknet Canada finds parents, children, + teens prefer paper books for reading, reports @tashrow http://ow.ly/rdmgd

Young adult readers 'prefer printed to ebooks' | @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/rdqJy via @PWKidsBookshelf

Research shows TV can impede kids' intellectual development -- even when it's playing in the background http://ow.ly/rdqsH @salon

In Austin, @BookPeople + @RandomHouseKids Partner on Pen-Pal Literacy Initiative with Malawi, Africa http://ow.ly/rdqdT @PublishersWkly

Schools and Libraries

Common Core: What it Means for Fiction in Schools, asks a high school English teacher @bookriot http://ow.ly/rdqDy via @PWKidsBookshelf

Things @katsok loves about sharing The Lightning Thief by @CampHalfBlood w/ her students http://ow.ly/rfg5k #kidlit

The Totally Awesome Way Some Libraries Are Tackling Hunger (food donations in lieu of fines) http://ow.ly/rdryO @HuffPostImpact

Userful post: Ten Ways to Get Books for Your Classroom or Library by @GigiMcAreads @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/r8fXs

Thanksgiving

I'm grateful for this, too. "It's All Over Now!" - My Gratitude for the Power of Storytelling by @gregpincus http://ow.ly/rdosa

Thank God for Books, a collection of Thanksgiving book posts gathered by @semicolonblog http://ow.ly/rdoyZ

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a list of picture books about food from @bookblogmomma http://ow.ly/rdnAN #kidlit

More ideas for Thanksgiving travel | Top 5 activities for family roadtrips--without TV! from @rosemondcates http://ow.ly/rdmEu

Suggestions for #literacy-building car activities from @Scholastic http://ow.ly/rdm5I via @JGCanada

© 2013 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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23. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: January 17

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists

Anne Ursu’s OVER/UNDER of 2013: The Overlooked, Underappreciated Middle Grade Reader at BOOKYURT via @catagator http://ow.ly/svrMS

Top 13 YA Books for Talking to Teens About Tough Stuff, selected by @halseanderson http://ow.ly/sFhGu #yalit

A Tuesday Ten from Views From the Tesseract, science fiction stories in which a sister plays a key role as a sister http://ow.ly/sCuHq

And the 2014 Contenders for @SLJsBoB = SLJ's Battle of the Books are ... http://ow.ly/sCtGb via @bkshelvesofdoom

Stacked: Reality TV and Documentaries: A YA Book List http://ow.ly/sAu6L #yalit @catagator

2013 “Best of” Lists – The Numbers | The Hub @yalsa http://ow.ly/syfSB #yalit via @CBCBook

New #kidlit book list from @momandkiddo | Chinese Folktales for Kids http://ow.ly/sxI1J

Just wow | 2014 YA Fiction Preview: 60 #yalit Titles for Your January – June Radar | @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/svrXl

Cybils

Cybils2013SmallInteresting reading for anyone who judges books: A Few Thoughts on Being a #Cybils Judge from @aquafortis http://ow.ly/sFnDY

At Stacked: A Cybils Retrospective from SFF judge Kimberly http://ow.ly/sCutK #yalit

January Armchair #Cybils Round-Up from @alibrarymama http://ow.ly/sCtvz

Growing Bookworms

Using Music and Songs to Improve #Literacy from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/sAtXD

A Worthy Goal: 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten | First Steps | @sljournal http://ow.ly/sFicL #GrowingBookworms #literacy

Ten Ways to Raise Writers by @JulieFalatko @nerdybookclub http://ow.ly/svrcb #literacy

#Kidlit that promotes Fun with Words - Reading with Kids @readingtub http://ow.ly/svqgO #literacy

What it's really like: The Art of Reading with Exuberant Toddlers | For Poops and Giggles via Becky Levine http://ow.ly/stpQi

Saying Yes to letting kids read what they want to read by Jenny Rich @jdrich219 @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/ssZww

Tips for helping your child to become a successful reader from The Bottom Shelf blog http://ow.ly/sFiR0 via @librareanne #literacy

Kidlitosphere

Nice resource: There's a new Weekly Round-Up of #KidLit Reviews + Posts at @MDBookReviews http://ow.ly/svqB5 via @charlotteslib

Books and Authors

Local Bay Area author Tim Myers interviewed by Susan Davis on "The Better Part" about what makes #kidlit powerful http://ow.ly/sFlak

Book review + argument for why boys can + should read @haleshannon 's Princess Academy from @SproutsBkshelf http://ow.ly/sxJnf

I loved Children of Morrow, and enjoyed this look at science fiction by H.M. Hoover at Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/svsbH

Parenting

I am just speechless. Smart PJs that use iPhone to read bedtime stoires – A Dumb Idea | @tashrow Waking Brain Cells http://ow.ly/str0q

Programs and Research

Engaging with Ebooks Can Aid Children’s #Literacy, Study Finds, reports @ShiftTheDigital http://ow.ly/sFhXe @sljournal

Tablets Make It Nearly Impossible for Kids to Get Lost in a Story - Asi Sharabi - @TheAtlantic http://ow.ly/st1Cr via @LaurelSnyder

Schools and Libraries

Thoughts on egotism vs self worth, and why youth librarians should support one another, from @himissjulie http://ow.ly/sCuZd

ComicBookDaySome options for Libraries that want to hand out comics for Free Comic Book Day (May 3), shared @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/sFmk0

Makes sense to me: The Most Critical Skill for Being an Effective Educator is empathy | @ReadByExample http://ow.ly/st01U

"Would my students still read if I didn’t do this? Some, but not nearly as many" says Lisa Kanute, guest @KirbyLarson http://ow.ly/sFmtT

© 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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24. Three Ebooks to Spark Creativity and Grow Traffic

At WordPress.com our raison d’être is to do everything we can to help you make your blog the very best it can be. Over at The Daily Post we’ve got daily writing prompts to give your muse a friendly nudge, we publish articles on how to grow your traffic and community, as well as tips and advice on how to take great photos, no matter which gear you choose.

We’ve compiled a ton of great material into three new ebooks, made with love, for you. And, they’re free. They come in three fetching formats so we’ve got you covered no matter whether .pdf, .epub (iBooks), or .mobi (Kindle) is your jam.

365 Writing Prompts

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So you want to write but you have trouble getting started? Writers’ block a perpetual, unwelcome guest? With 365 Writing Prompts we’ve got a different writing prompt to jumpstart your muse each and every day of the year. Looking for more writing inspiration and practice? Be sure to check out our weekly writing challenges.

Photography 101

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Chock-full of inspiration, technical tips, and practical ideas you can apply right away, Photography 101: The basics of photography and the power of visual storytelling will help you take and make beautiful photographs and school you on post-processing so that your work can shine, no matter whether you’ve got a monster-sized DSLR or a trusty cameraphone in your pocket. If you’d like more practice with your camera, c’mon over to The Daily Post and participate in our weekly photo challenges. We provide the theme each week, you interpret it with your camera as you see fit.

Grow Your Traffic, Build Your Blog

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Most of us write, shoot, and blog for the love of it, though it’s always a great feeling to get a Like or a comment, or participate in a great conversation with someone who shares your interests. If you’d like to attract more traffic and nurture a community around your site, take Grow Your Traffic, Build Your Blog: Tips and Tricks for the Tenacious Blogger for a spin.


Filed under: Better Blogging, Community

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25. Promo Friday: How Do We Sell EBooks Without All That Time-Sucking Stuff?

This past week was IndieReCon. Yeah, I know. I should have mentioned it earlier. I think I did on Facebook. Or maybe Twitter. I'm not sure which. And that's sort of what this post on promotion is about.

On Day One Michael Alvear contributed a piece for the conference called How to Sell E-Books without Falling into The No-Value, Time-Sucking Vortex Of Blogging, Tweeting, And FaceBooking.
Alvear's extremely readable premise is that blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking are valueless time sucks for eBook writers. If he's correct, I'd argue that they're also valueless time sucks for any kind of writer. 

Alvear is talking specifically about Kindle eBooks here. He also suggests strategies that writers should concentrate on instead of social media to sell eBooks on Amazon. I wish he'd given more information on how, though.
 

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