Monthly Archives: June 2017

Concerns over Forest Hill Library plans to rent desk space

29 June 2017

From The Bookseller:

Forest Hill Library in Lewisham has started renting out desk space at the cost of £200 a month.

The library has 12 desks to rent and said the “dedicated co-working space” will be for the exclusive use of creatives, freelancers, entrepreneurs, social enterprises and charities. The space comes equipped with lockable storage and wifi.

. . . .

Dawn Finch, library campaigner and former president of CILIP, told The Bookseller that she had “great concerns” over who will be profiting from the enterprise. “Whilst I fully understand that in times of austerity, a public library may well need to explore creative methods of income generation, I have great concerns over the type of companies that are circling community libraries in search of a profit. I feel that as some library groups are desperately in need of an urgent solution to funding problems, they will be forced to make decisions that are, in themselves, unethical.

“The provision of a library service is a legal and statutory requirement for every local authority. As they wash their hands of the problem by handing libraries over to small groups, they force community groups to desperately try to hang on alone. This will inevitably lead to some groups making decisions that are not inclusive, and do not serve all in the wider community.”

Author Catherine Johnson said: “I couldn’t believe this. It makes me incredibly sad and angry. What a crass attempt at squeezing cash for locals. The whole ethos of libraries as free to their communities is broken by this initiative. Libraries were set up to be the universities of the working class: a place to study, to do job applications. These opportunities are now denied to all but those to pay. A sign that volunteer run spaces do not work.”

. . . .

However, the library has defended the move, stressing that the space was previously unused and that all revenue will be reinvested into the running of the library.

Tara Cranswick, founder and director of V22, said: “The desk space we’re renting out was previously unused and all funds received will go back into the library. It’s a large space that used to house the teen section and film clubs and events, but now the teen section has been moved into the main library and the clubs and events in the community space next door. All the desks in the main library are still there to use free of charge.”

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

An 18th-Century Botanical Coloring Book for Adults

29 June 2017

From Hyperallergic:

Amy Pool was perusing a book on the history of botanical illustration when a citation for an 18th-century title caught her eye. A plant taxonomist at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Pool searched for the entry, Robert Sayer’s The Florist, in the garden’s library catalogue, curious to see if it had a copy. It did, and the book she found turned out to be a coloring book for adults — a centuries-old precedent of the ones being published today in a seemingly unstoppable trend. As it title suggests, The Florist contains engraved illustrations of flowers — 60 plates of them, from a demure-looking peony to a dancing iris.

Printed in London around 1760 by the publisher Robert Sayer, The Florist represents one of the earliest examples of coloring books found yet. It predates what some consider the first children’s coloring book, Kate Greenaway’s The Little Folks’ Painting Book, which the McLoughlin Brothers published in 1879. But it arrived over a century after the 1612 and 1622 two-part release of Albion’s Glorious Ile, a series of maps by engraver William Hole that nobles apparently loved to hand-color.

Link to the rest at Hyperallergic

Gustave Flaubert and George Sand

29 June 2017

From Paper and Salt:

When asked “What famous writer would you invite to a dinner party?” famous wits like Oscar Wilde or Mark Twain definitely come to mind. But even the fictional dinner cast of my dreams pales in comparison to a real-life guest list: George Sand’s house parties in Nohant, France, in the 1860s and 70s. Balzac, Dumas, Delacroix and Chopin were a few of the mouths at Sand’s table. But one of her favorite guests was not only another giant of the arts, but her de facto gym buddy: Gustave Flaubert.

Although Sand loved to cook, she found herself with regular digestive problems, and kept trying different eating regimens in an attempt to find what would make her feel her best—an “elimination diet,” before they were cool. This included cutting out red meat, and occasionally trying vegetarianism. “In giving up trying to eat REAL MEAT, I have found again a strong stomach,” she wrote Flaubert. Her approach to cutting out alcohol was more moderate: “I drink cider with enthusiasm, no more champagne! … I live on sour wine and galette.”

Flaubert followed his friend’s lead; after all, a diet’s always easier when someone else is suffering with you. Guy de Maupassant, Flaubert’s protege, observed, “Almost never did he eat meat; only eggs, vegetables, a piece of cheese, fruit and a cup of cold chocolate … finding that too much nourishment made him heavy and unfit for work.” Flaubert and Sand would collaborate on their meal planning through their correspondence, sharing tips with each other. “I lunch on two eggs made into an omelet or shirred, and a cup of coffee,” Sand wrote.

Not only did the two writers share diet strategies, they also encouraged each others’ fitness habits. “I have followed your counsel, dear master, I have EXERCISED!!! Am I not splendid; eh?” Flaubert bragged in a letter to Sand—the 19th-century equivalent of posting your daily step count on Fitbit.

Despite living 300 kilometers apart, Flaubert and Sand would visit each others’ cities specifically to eat together. “I shall make a great effort and shall leave at eight o’clock Sunday, so as to lunch with you,” Sand would write. “When you arrive in Paris, give me a rendezvous. And at that we shall make another to dine informally tete-a-tete,” Flaubert encouraged.

Link to the rest at Paper and Salt

Amazon has author pages for George Sand and Gustave Flaubert plus The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

Dear iPhone, Happy 10th Birthday! Love, Digital Marketing

29 June 2017

From Udacity:

Social Media and Content Marketing, and all the other components of modern Digital Marketing strategy, have grown up a great deal since the days of Friendster and LinkedIn (launched in 2002), MySpace (2003), and Flickr (2004). Facebook of course launched in 2004 as well, but suffice to say that was a very different Facebook back then.

Yes, the early aughts were a different world when it came to Digital Marketing.

Things start to percolate a bit in the latter part of the decade. Facebook launched the News Feed in 2006, the same year that Google acquired YouTube; the same year that Twitter launched. Then in 2007, we got Tumblr.

But it wasn’t until we left that first decade of the millennium behind that things really started to heat up. Suddenly, all in a row, we got Instagram, Pinterest, and Quora (2010), Snapchat and Google+ (2011), and new video streaming options like Twitch.tv and Vine (2011 and 2013, respectively).

What changed?

Cue the iPhone timeline.

. . . .

Ten years ago today, the first iPhone was released. No 3rd party apps, no video. Still, amazing. The launch of the App Store came the following year, and the seeds of a revolution were sown; a revolution that would reach its first full flower with the launch of the iPhone 4 in 2010. Is it any coincidence that 2010 was the same year that Instagram, Pinterest, and Quora all launched?

. . . .

Those were Wild West days for Digital Marketing. Something new was launching every minute, and more and more products and platforms were talking to one another. As an “embedded” digital journalist, you could go to an event with an iPhone, and cover all the bases. Shoot video, record audio, take pictures, type out a macro- and micro-blog post, and share it all on social via TweetDeck which, back then, was really, really cool. It was heady times!

Link to the rest at Udacity

New Tax On eBooks and Audiobooks in Australia

28 June 2017

From Amazon Publishing:

Due to new legislation in Australia, a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10% will be levied on all eBooks and audiobooks sold to customers residing in Australia beginning July 1, 2017. The royalty rates in your contract with Amazon Publishing are unchanged (as royalties are paid exclusive of GST).Amazon Publishing will not be changing its prices in connection with GST at this time.

Link to the rest at Amazon Publishing

How Nike Capitulated to Amazon After Years of Resistance

28 June 2017

From The Wall Street Journal:

For years, Nike Inc. was one of the biggest holdouts against Amazon.com Inc. refusing to provide its sneakers and athletic clothing for sale on the hulking e-commerce site. Its products were so cool, the company reasoned, it didn’t need or want the help.

Recently, Nike reversed course. Behind that decision lies a dramatic shift in the balance of power between brands and Amazon.

For decades, big consumer brands carefully controlled which retailers could sell their wares and at what prices. And for years, Amazon left the brands alone.

Lately, the explosion of third-party sellers on the site has led to authentic goods from companies such as Nike, Chanel, The North Face, Patagonia and Urban Decay being sold on Amazon even though they don’t authorize the sales, undercutting their grip on pricing and distribution.

Even though Nike didn’t send Amazon its products either directly or through approved wholesalers, Nike is the most purchased apparel brand on the site, according to a Morgan Stanley survey. A recent search for Nike products on Amazon turned up roughly 73,000 items.

These days, there are so many third-party resellers, who generally are allowed to resell goods they have lawfully acquired at whatever price they want, that companies see few ways to stop them.

. . . .

As traditional stores close and shopping moves online, Amazon’s dominance in retailing has grown, leaving even the most powerful brands unable to ignore it. Some companies disdain Amazon’s site design, which doesn’t conform to the tailored image they want to project, according to lawyers and consultants who work with them. They consider it a site that sells items, not one that builds brands.

One reason for their capitulation is the collapse of a retail distribution network they could better control, as malls flounder and chains like Sports Authority Holdings Inc. shutter.

A company’s power to dictate who could sell its products and how, penalizing retailers that step out of line by withholding inventory or other measures, has been a critical tool to preventing unwanted discounting, which damages the ability to sell at full price.

. . . .

Amazon, on the other hand, often gives third parties wide leeway on products sold on its site. Its goal is to offer the widest possible assortment of goods and bring down prices.

That has made it the first stop for e-commerce searches. Amazon pulled even with Foot Locker Inc. as the preferred U.S. retailer for buying sneakers in a spring consumer survey, according to retail analysts at Cowen & Co.

. . . .

Amazon is where the U.S. consumer is, said Adidas Chief Executive Kasper Rorsted, who estimates that nearly a fifth of the sporting-goods market is now online. “Amazon is the best, without any comparison, transaction platform in the world,” he said. “It might not be the best brand-building platform in the world, but that’s why we…separate crudely between transaction and brand-building.”

. . . .

Meanwhile, more and more of the sales of Nike and other goods on Amazon’s site were by third parties. The growth in the third-party segment had been fueled by rapid adoption by sellers and an offering in which Amazon warehouses and fulfills orders.

These days, analysts estimate third-party sales in total have surpassed Amazon’s own sales on the site, and the number of sellers has swelled to over two million. Amazon doesn’t report the value of sales by third-party sellers, but it confirms that about half of units sold on its site are from third-party sellers.

Third-party sales are generally more profitable to Amazon than its own, because it collects fees from the sellers without having to take on inventory risks. Amazon said its revenue from such sellers jumped 34% in the latest quarter from the previous year to $6.44 billion, nearly a fifth of total revenue.

The third-party sellers typically buy legitimate merchandise from distributors, big box stores such as Wal-Mart, or discount retailers such as T.J. Maxx, circumventing the retail networks companies have built up. The sellers then offer the items on Amazon at a slightly higher price than they bought them for, but typically lower than the suggested retail price, undermining companies’ control over pricing.

Two years ago, Mike “Reezy” Rezendes II started selling footwear on Amazon. Already a seasoned book reseller, the 33-year-old heard shoes were easy to get and profitable. So he and three full-time employees started scouring Marshall’s, Ross, Nike Outlets and even Nike.com.

“Nike is a large focus for us. We just keep sending them in and they keep selling,” he said. Nike makes up more than half of his current 2,500 pairs in stock. He said he makes an average of $20 per pair of shoes.

Nike has added controls to try to keep resellers away, limiting the amount a consumer could spend in one go, according to several resellers. Mr. Rezendes found ways around the restrictions. He pays other mall customers $20 apiece to make his transactions, and he places small online orders of about 10 pairs of shoes during sales on Nike.com to get around detection, since large orders are flagged.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

Paddington Creator Michael Bond Dies at 91

28 June 2017

From BookRiot:

Children of all ages have something to sniffle about today. Michael Bond, the creator of the much-beloved Paddington Bear, has died at age 91. HarperCollins reports that he died at home after a short illness.

Bond leaves behind an illustrious career, including children’s book characters such as Olga de Polga and A Mouse Called Thursday, as well as an adult series featuring the detective Monsieur Pamplemousse. Despite these accomplishments, his most famous contribution to literature will forever remain the marmalade-toting, Wellington-wearing teddy bear named Paddington, who has spawned over 20 books, TV shows, toys, and two feature films, the second of which is due out this year. Bond’s most recent Paddington novel, Paddington’s Finest Hour, was published in April of 2017, keeping Paddington in our modern thoughts as much as he exists in our nostalgic memories.

Link to the rest at BookRiot

Where

28 June 2017

Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?

Henry Ward Beecher

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