A lost H.G. Wells story is now in print for the first time ever

5 December 2016

From NPR:

H.G. Wells’ eerie writing brought us time machines, aliens and a submarine, long before a real one was seen in the world. Still, one of his short stories spent decades unseen by his avid readers.

Until now, that is.

His long-unpublished story “The Haunted Ceiling” is making its way into print for the first time. In its new issue, The Strand Magazine is publishing the story — which features a man driven mad by the image of a dead woman, with her throat slit, appearing on his ceiling.

The magazine’s managing editor, Andrew Gulli, says he found the manuscript among the tens of thousands of pages of works by H.G. Wells at the University of Illinois.

“It’s been there for a very, very long time — yet for some reason, nobody knew anything about this story,” Gulli tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer.

. . . .

“I went myself independently and I looked at the manuscript of The Time Machine, and it had that similar type of writing that was a nightmare to transcribe,” Gulli laughs.

Link to the rest at NPR

I always write my first draft

5 December 2016

I always write my first draft in longhand, in lined notebooks. I move around the house, sitting where I like, and watch the words spool out in front of me, actually taking a lot of pleasure in the way they look in my strange handwriting on the page.

Sue Miller

Cursive handwriting is dying. But some politicians refuse to accept it.

5 December 2016


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Thanks to Matthew for the tip.

Silicon Valley’s Culture, Not Its Companies, Dominates in China

5 December 2016

From The New York Times:

The majesty of the Golden Gate, the windy chill of Alcatraz, the tourist hubbub of Pier 39 — Zhao Haoyu’s itinerary for San Francisco had it all.

Yet when Mr. Zhao, a Chinese tourist, arrived with his wife in September, they spent their first day wandering the humdrum suburban office parks that Facebook and Google call home.

Joining a guided bus tour with a dozen other Chinese visitors, the two became part of the steady flow of Chinese tourists to Silicon Valley that represents — despite pervasive censorship and outright hostility from the Chinese government — the tremendous influence Silicon Valley wields in China.

“You hear so much about these companies in China,” said Mr. Zhao, a native of the southern Chinese city of Kunming who is in his 30s. “We just wanted to experience it.”

. . . .

China in recent years has given rise to a vibrant and innovative tech industry that in some ways surpasses what Americans can do online. But it has done so despite a culture dictated by Confucian conformity and, more recently, the strict rules of the Chinese Communist Party.

Neither prizes rebellion or disruption, so China’s young entrepreneurs and investors have looked for guidance and inspiration in a place that does: Silicon Valley.

. . . .

Silicon Valley’s soft power in China is unlikely to help Facebook or Google get back into China. But it demonstrates the sort of influence China seeks for itself. Despite its innovations, China’s online renaissance has taken place largely within its own borders, and the country’s ambitions to create companies with global influence so far have been largely unsuccessful.

. . . .

“Silicon Valley has become a kind of beacon of cultural change in China,” said David Chao, a partner at the venture capital firm DCM. “Hollywood could impact what kind of handbag a lady buys in China, but it never impacted corporate culture like Silicon Valley has.”

Even so, most Chinese companies have not fully absorbed the culture. Many are still highly top-down and bureaucratic, and open office plans often mask more deeply conservative customs. In place of California’s sunny suburbs, China’s innovation hub sits in the traffic and smog-choked northwestern part of Beijing, crammed into office towers above malls that sell all manner of electronics.

The trend is nonetheless driving young people to take more risks and demand more from employers, even as it brings with it a problem familiar to Silicon Valley: hangers-on more interested in being a part of the scene than anything else.

“There are people choosing technology not because they love it or want to do a start-up,” said Jesse Lu, a Chinese entrepreneur who spent time at Y Combinator, a prominent start-up accelerator in the United States. “They just do it because they enjoy the lifestyle of a start-up. They enjoy choosing their hours, having small teams, not listening to anybody, doing what they think is right. It’s a new fashion.”

Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Jan for the tip.

Microsoft takes aim at Amazon’s Echo, Google Home

5 December 2016

From Seeking Alpha:

Sources say the recently-rumored Microsoft HomeHub is a Windows 10 feature designed to make the PC the center of your home, bringing the smart home to Windows.

The feature will allow Cortana to be summoned on any Windows 10 PC lock screen.

. . . .

According to Microsoft enthusiasts, the software-only feature could trump Amazon’s Echo and Google Home due to the obvious convenience of screen access.

Link to the rest at Seeking Alpha

Authors, Check Your Nook Sales

5 December 2016

From The Digital Reader:

If you are an indie author with ebooks in Nook Press then you might want to check your dashboard.

Numerous authors are reporting over on KBoards that sale records are appearing and then disappearing from the Nook Press dashboard. For example:

On the “Sales” dashboard page in the upper left it’s got a box for “Units Sold” and “Royalty” for This Month and Last Month. Below that is a “Recent Sales” summary that shows “Today” and “Yesterday”. When I looked at it yesterday, it showed 2 sales with the corresponding royalty under Yesterday – which would have been 12/1 (one each of the two books that follow on after my permafree). I wondered why the top of the page sales box still showed zero under “this month”, but figured it was a lag in reporting.

Today I checked it…and there are no sales reported…at all. Now I wish I’d captured a screen shot to show the sales that were listed yesterday. I’ve downloaded the sales spreadsheet to see if someone bought and returned both books…or something weird. But the spreadsheet is blank. There’s no trace anywhere of the two sales…

Another author concurred, writing “I had a bunch of sales on B&N on 1 December. On 2 December, they all disappeared.”

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

Golden Headsets: Audiobooks’ Growth Is Music to Publishers’ Ears

4 December 2016

From Publishing Perspectives:

[Michele] Cobb will tell the [Futurebook] assembly on Friday that the APA estimates that in 2015, audiobook sales totaled more than $1.77 billion (£1.42 billion) in the States—and that’s up 20.7 percent over the association’s 2014 figure. Unit sales, the association’s figures indicate, were up 24.1 percent in 2015.

In the UK, The Bookseller reports in its FutureBook conference material that audiobooks are the fastest growing segment of the digital content market for trade publishers, with the overall audio digital download market “said to be worth close to £100 million (US$125 million) per year.”

And according to Nicholas Jones of London producer Strathmore Publishing, downloaded audio sales in the UK were up 29 percent in 2015 over 2014. He writes that releases of audiobook editions of titles “is almost always simultaneous with the publication of the printed book, which means that the audiobook benefits from publicity at the time of print publication, but it also reduces the time available for audio production.”

In the States, the APA’s member-publishers who report their figures have seen 20-percent or better increases in audiobook sales for two years, 2014 and 2015, making it the kind of sector in publishing that many publishers, weary of the hobbled progress of recent ebook markets, understandably welcome.

In the perception of the organization, the recent magic behind audiobooks, of course, is digital downloads and streaming. “Sales of digital downloads continue to rise,” the organization’s press materials say, “showing an increase of more than 34 percent in both dollars and units sold from the previous year.”

Audiobooks aren’t new, after all, but no longer are tied to cassette tapes or CDs.

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

Don’t patronize the chain bookstores

4 December 2016

Don’t patronize the chain bookstores. Every time I see some author scheduled to read and sign his books at a chain bookstore, I feel like telling him he’s stabbing the independent bookstores in the back.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Bronx resident to open bookstore after B&N closes

4 December 2016

From Bronx Times:

The Bronx may be losing a major retail bookstore, but that isn’t deterring one Bronx resident from starting a bookstore of her own.

After last month’s announcement that the borough’s only Barnes & Noble would be replaced by a Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH at the end of the year, many are worried about the future without a bookstore in the Bronx.

. . . .

Noelle Santos, a lifelong Bronx resident, will feature her pop-up shop, The Lit. Bar, at the Bronx Museum Holiday Market on December 10 and 11, in to raise funds to open the soon-to-be only independent bookstore in the Bronx in the new year. She hopes a crowd funding in the near future will also push the process forward.

. . . .

Opening the bookstore would make for an interesting but bittersweet ending to a journey that began two years ago when Santos first envisioned placing a bookmark, her own bookstore, in the Bronx.

“I’m excited for this opportunity, but the thought of no Barnes & Noble in the Bronx is devastating,” said Santos, a longtime Barnes & Noble customer. “I’m sad to see it go, but its eventual departure has given me this great opportunity.”

Last year, Noelle was awarded with a $7,500 grant after winning second place out of 360 contestants in a New York Public Library competition, which she has saved for The Lit. Bar. She has also put most of her personal savings towards the opening of the bookstore.

. . . .

She also said that she coined the name ‘The Lit. Bar’ because the bookstore will combine ‘lit.erature’ and wine. She added that the word ‘lit’ is another term for feelings tipsy.

Link to the rest at Bronx Times

Three Percent

4 December 2016

From Three Percent:

Three Percent launched in the summer of 2007 with the lofty goal of becoming a destination for readers, editors, and translators interested in finding out about modern and contemporary international literature.

. . . .

Unfortunately, only about 3% of all books published in the United States are works in translation. That is why we have chosen the name Three Percent for this site. And that 3% figure includes all books in translation—in terms of literary fiction and poetry, the number is actually closer to 0.7%. While that figure obviously represents more books than any one person could read in a year, it’s hardly an impressive number.

An even greater shame is that only a fraction of the titles that do make their way into English are covered by the mainstream media. So despite the quality of these books, most translations go virtually unnoticed and never find their audience.

Link to the rest at Three Percent

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