Books in General

Bookstores in Movies – 7

15 June 2019

84 Charing Cross Road

From IMDB:

1949 marks the beginning of the nineteen year (1949 to 1968) unconventional and long distance love affair between Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft) and Frank P. Doel (Sir Anthony Hopkins). Straightforward Helene is an aspiring New York City-based writer who works as a script editor. She is a voracious reader, especially of non-fiction. Frank is the efficient and knowledgeable head clerk at Marks & Co., a second-hand bookstore located at 84 Charing Cross Road in London. Unable to find the out of print books she wants at New York City bookstores without having to pay an arm and a leg, which she can’t afford, she writes to Marks & Co. hoping they can fill her order at reasonable prices. Frank and the bookstore staff are able to provide Helene most of what she wants at more than reasonable prices including shipping. As such, she provides them with standing orders for more and more books. But as time goes on, their correspondence not only deals with Helene’s orders, but what is happening in their lives and in the world around them, Frank’s, which includes his loving marriage to his wife Nora (Dame Judi Dench) and their two children. Helene dreams one day of being able to travel to London to meet Frank and the other Marks & Co. staff, the people who have been able to fulfill a great need in her life.

Link to the rest at IMDB

An Author Lost Her Book Deal After Tweeting About a Metro Worker. She’s Suing for $13 Million.

9 June 2019

From The Washington Post:

Natasha Tynes, an award-winning Jordanian American author who lost a book deal following claims of online racism, is suing her publishing house for $13 million. The lawsuit, filed in California on Friday, alleges that Rare Bird Books breached its contract and defamed her, causing “extreme emotional distress” and destroying her reputation.

In 2018, Tynes contracted with Rare Bird to distribute her upcoming novel, “They Called Me Wyatt,” about a murdered Jordanian student whose “consciousness” inhabits a 3-year-old boy with speech delays. The book, written over four years, was set to be released this month.

That changed in May, when Tynes became the subject of a national and international news story.

On the morning of May 10, the World Bank communications officer and mother of three tweeted a photo of a black female Metro worker who was breaking the D.C. region transportation agency’s rules by eating breakfast on a train.

. . . .

“When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train,” Tynes tweeted. “I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds,” she wrote.

By 10 a.m., less than 30 minutes later, Tynes had deleted the post and apologized for the “short-lived expression of frustration,” according to court documents. But the fuse of public outrage and ostracism had already ignited.

Tynes took the additional step of contacting the agency to ensure the employee would not be disciplined (and the complaint notes that no action was ever taken against the transit worker). Then, she spoke to Rare Bird executive Robert Jason Peterson and explained that, “having not grown up in the United States, the issue of race had not even occurred to her when she made the tweet.”

. . . .

Peterson, the filings said, reassured the writer and told her he did not blame her. “You’ll get through this, we’ve got your back,” he allegedly said to Tynes just before noon.

Hours later, Rare Bird released a statement, calling Tynes’s tweet — which it described as the policing of a black woman‘s body — “something truly horrible.”

As The Washington Post previously reported, in response to the tweet, Rare Bird announced it had decided not to distribute her book. “We think this is unacceptable and have no desire to be involved with anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to jeopardize a person’s safety and employment in this way,” the company announced on Twitter.

. . . .

“What Rare Bird has done to Natasha Tynes is just beyond abhorrent,” said attorney William Moran, who is representing Tynes. “I’ve never seen a publisher throw an author under the bus like this before.”

Link to the rest at The Washington Post

Here’s what Rare Bird Books says about itself:

About Rare Bird

Rare Bird is the parent company of Rare Bird Books and Rare Bird Lit, two Los Angeles-based book industry firms founded by former Book Soup marketing and publicity director Tyson Cornell. Rare Bird Books, the publishing wing, is a PGW-distributed independent publisher of approximately fifty+ books each year in multiple formats, including print, ebook, audiobook, and limited edition. Rare Bird Lit, the services wing, is a boutique marketing, promotions, and design firm specializing in book industry services for major and independent publishers, authors big and small, and other organizations.


Since being founded as a home for authors and publishers seeking new ways of publishing and marketing books that deserve to be read, Rare Bird has made a commitment to dedicating itself to being a leader in: a) developing, designing, and publishing great works that exceed the overall expectations of what just words on a page can provide; b) working with authors and publishers as a cohesive unit rather than adversarial opponents; and c) expanding the limits of what books can offer the world.

. . . .

 Meet the Team

President and Publisher—Tyson Cornell oversees all aspects of publishing, acquisitions, and general business operations. He started Rare Bird after nine and a half years as marketing and publicity director at Book Soup bookstore in West Hollywood, California, working with thousands of legendary authors, and major political and cultural figures, including: Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Gore Vidal, Lauren Bacall, John Updike, Isabel Allende, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, Maya Angelou, Hunter S. Thompson, and over 15,000 others. He studied Ethnography at UCLA and Cal State University, Northridge, and is now approaching his eighteenth year in the book industry.

Sales and Marketing Director—Julia Callahan oversees all aspects of sales, distribution, marketing, and author relations. Prior to joining the Rare Bird team, she worked for four years as Tyson Cornell’s marketing and publicity assistant at Book Soup where she helped coordinate thousands of events each year, notably The Doors’ 40th Anniversary, Ralph Steadman, Tony Curtis, and many others. Before that, she worked as an associate at Paramount Studios on The Dr. Phil Show and Star Trek. She grew up in Santa Cruz and has a BA in English.

Editorial Director—Guy Intoci oversees all aspects of the editorial and production departments. Before joining Rare Bird in 2017, he was the editor in chief of Dzanc Books. He began his career as an editor at MacAdam/Cage Publishing after earning his degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, and also served as editor in chief of MP Publishing. Over the last decade he has worked with countless authors, ranging from some of the most promising and exciting debut writers to New York Times Bestselling authors and Pulitzer Prize winners, including Kirstin Allio, Rick Bragg, Robert Coover, William Gay, Jac Jemc, Charles Johnson, Lee Martin, Josip Novakovich, Jack Pendarvis, Nic Pizzolatto, and George Singleton.

Link to the rest at Rare Bird Books

Has anybody heard of these people before? Or any of their books?

Soldiers Are Citizens

6 June 2019

Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land, drawing no dividend from time’s tomorrows.

~ Siegfried Sassoon

Why I’m No Longer Reading Books by White Men

6 June 2019

From Book Riot:

Novels have been policed and banned since they first came onto the scene.  And yet the majority of people in the world today probably don’t think of reading as a political act. Whenever I see lists like “most banned books of 2018,” I am reminded that people still fear the power of words. It makes me grateful that I live somewhere where a “banned books” list doesn’t mean the books are truly out of reach. Books are just one of the many tools used to spread information and viewpoints, and that is a powerful thing.

. . . .

I know I was not alone in the wake of the 2016 election in feeling the desire to do something, anything to protest the results. Many people in the days, weeks, and months following the election made lists of organizations to boycott and began brainstorming various big and small ways to make their discontent known. Money talks in this country, as much as we maybe wish it didn’t, and if companies suddenly start to lose a lot of money, it is possible to make them listen.

. . . .

I am very careful about what books I buy, and I decided, as an experiment, to pay a bit more attention to whose books I was buying. Generally, I gravitate towards books written by women anyway, but I made a choice that for a year (at least) I wouldn’t buy any books written by white men, because, frankly, they probably didn’t need my money.

It also occurred to me that the majority of books that I was exposed to in school as the real “literary” works were by white men. Think about it. What are the major names that everyone is supposed to know by the time they graduate high school? Dickens, Shakespeare, Hemingway, Twain, Carver, Fitzgerald, Hawthorne, Thoreau (need I go on?) very few women make the list. Sure, there’s Mary Shelley, remarkable for her one major contribution, and mentioned in the context of her husband. And yes, we can argue that these authors mostly come from a different time when fewer women or people of color were allowed to publish. But even the ones who did, like Austen and the Brontë sisters, while acknowledged as important, didn’t make the curriculum. They were dismissed as more “feminine” works and not worthy of attention.

So, in 2016, I decided that I’d had enough. I had devoted most of my life to absorbing and reading the works of fiction by white men, and I was no longer going to give over my hard-earned money to help boost their book sales.

. . . .

Most of the major publishing houses publish less than 30% female authors. And yes, both men and women tend to prefer books by someone of their own gender, but women also tend to read male authors at a greater percentage than the other way around. (Maybe because there are simply more books by male authors out there and we’ve been conditioned to think that men are inherently more literary? Just a thought). And all of this is just the picture of men and women, which doesn’t even begin to address the differences in racial inequality.

. . . .

After about of year of this, I did finally pick up a book by a white dude again, and I found it oddly…disappointing.

Link to the rest at Book Riot

PG was interested to learn from the OP that white male authors all earn plenty of money from their writing. (“I wouldn’t buy any books written by white men, because, frankly, they probably didn’t need my money.”)

PG was also interested to learn that major publishing houses are biased against women.

Expecting a gaggle of white male publishing overlords, PG checked the website of Penguin Random House, the largest publisher in the United States, and discovered that nine of the fifteen members of its Global Executive Committee are women. These female executives include the CEOs of

  • Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand,
  • Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial,
  • Penguin Random House North Asia,
  • Penguin Random House Canada and
  • Penguin Random House U.S.

PG also checked the latest New York Times Bestseller list and found that six of the top ten fiction bestsellers (print and ebook combined) were women. The three top NYT bestseller spots were all occupied by women.

On Amazon’s current top ten Best Sellers in Literature & Fiction, seven authors are women. In the second ten Best Sellers in Literature & Fiction (ranks 11-20), 8 out of 10 authors were women.

On Amazon’s current top ten cumulative best sellers for all books (fiction, nonfiction, etc.) so far in 2019, the top six bestselling books were all written by women.

Michelle Obama’s book sold 1.4 million copies in its first week. After 15 days, the book became the best-selling book in the US for the year 2018. By March 26, 2019, the book had sold 10 million copies and was on track to become the largest-selling memoir in history.

The Pipe Roll Society

3 June 2019

While PG was researching a historical topic in connection with some of his reading, he stumbled across The Pipe Roll Society.

“What,” you may ask, “is The Pipe Roll Society?”

The Pipe Roll Society, founded at the Public Record Office (now The National Archives) in 1884, is dedicated to publishing editions of the pipe rolls of the Exchequer and of other related medieval documents.

If you are a semi-civilized American like PG, you might need to inquire, “What is a pipe roll and why does it merit a society?”

The pipe rolls are the annual accounts of debts and payments maintained by the Exchequer. The pipe rolls is the earliest series of public records: the earliest pipe roll dates from 1129-1130, and they run in an almost unbroken series from 1155 until 1832. They are now housed in The National Archives in Kew, under the record series E 372.

The early pipe rolls were based on the sheriffs’ accounts and are full of information about payments made by the Crown, payments made to the Crown, and debts owed. This can reveal a huge amount about the functioning and resources of medieval government, and how people in the localities interacted with it.

. . . .

The roll was called the great roll because of its size and significance; it was probably called the pipe roll because, when rolled up, it looked like a pipe.

If you have accompanied PG this far in his meandering, you might be interested in what a pipe roll looks like.

For those whose imaginations are on fire, you can join The Pipe Roll Society, even if you are an American or a resident of some other late-to-civilization country here (credit cards accepted).

Once you join The Pipe Roll Society, you will want to flaunt your support of British history by purchasing a Pipe Roll Society tie or pin.

And yes, the tie is hand-washable, so you will be able to continue wearing it into your old age when you might tend to dribble the odd bit of soup on it.

And, finally, your assignment for today is to use “pipe roll” in a sentence when you are speaking with an understanding friend.

The #1 Mistake New Self-Publishers Make That Leaves Them Vulnerable to Publishing Scams

2 June 2019

From Anne R. Allen’s Blog:

I hear about new publishing scams all the time. Sometimes scammers approach me personally, but more often I hear a sad tale of woe from some newbie who has fallen for the latest con.

This week I realized that almost all the victims of publishing scams have one thing in common: they don’t understand the most important part of the digital self-publishing revolution that started in 2009.

This is the thing you MUST understand in order to be a successful indie author:

Successful Self-Publishers Make Most of Their Money Selling Ebooks.

If you choose self-publishing, you have to give up the fantasy of seeing your book in the window of your favorite bookstore chain.

It might help to forget paper books altogether. I often see newbies obsessing about choosing a POD company and getting bookstore distribution. But they’re worrying needlessly.

That’s because 90% of the successful indie’s profits usually come from ebooks.

Which sell well because they can be priced lower than Big 5 ebooks.

POD “Print on Demand” paperbacks are usually priced higher than offset-printed Big 5 paperbacks. So they don’t have that competitive edge.

. . . .

Bookstores get their books from distributors—mostly Ingram these days—and the books must be returnable. The books you see in a brick-and-mortar bookstore are on consignment from big publishers. They can all be returned for full price if they don’t sell.

But POD books are generally not returnable.

It doesn’t matter if your print books are in Ingram’s catalogue and can be ordered by a bookstore for an individual customer.

They also can be ordered by an individual customer and shipped directly to the customer’s home no matter who your distributor is because…the Internet.

Most stores won’t carry POD books as their regular inventory unless you have a personal agreement with a store owner. (That usually means you’ll pick them up when they’re shopworn and unsold.) So that’s going to have to be in your neighborhood.

But you’re probably not going to make much money selling books only in your neighborhood. In today’s market, you need to sell to the world.

. . . .

The notorious Author Solutions and other publishing scams that fleece newbie authors make money not only from overpriced publishing packages, but from high-priced, old-fashioned marketing plans that only work for print books and ignore online marketing.

They work best if you can find a TARDIS to take you back to 1999.

I’m talking about things like press releases to print media, pricey reviews in print magazines, elaborate book signings, and book fairs.

Especially book fairs. They’re a huge expense with no return on your investment except a little schmoozing. The huge book fairs like BEA, Frankfurt, and London are industry events where the bigshots go to network. People go to find out about the latest technology, trends in global markets, and multimillion dollar Hollywood deals.

Nobody has time for an unknown indie author hawking a first book.

. . . .

Anybody who tries to talk you into spending thousands for a spot in a booth at a trade fair has no idea how self-publishers make money. So they’re not going to be able to help you make money.

The $4000 booth at the trade fair, plus some business cards and maybe some cute bookmarks, your travel and hotel expenses, and the price of shipping those paper books, probably will net 20-40 book sales.

. . . .

Compare that with an online blog tour, which might run you about $150 to get your book in front of 1000s of readers. With a buy button a click away.

. . . .

Recently I got an odd phone call from a woman wanting to talk to me about one of my books. Odd since I don’t give out that landline phone number anywhere in my book publicity.

She launched an extraordinary sales pitch, gushing about my 2002 novel—originally published in the UK by Babash-Ryan—Food of Love. She said it was “beautifully written” and said her “book scouts” wanted to “partner” with me in marketing it.

I admit I told her I kind of know a bit about marketing myownself and had a #1 bestseller on Amazon in March.

She faltered a moment, but soldiered on with her script. Her company, ReadersMagnet, wanted to market my book at an upcoming book expo in Los Angeles.

. . . .

The number one thing a new self-publisher needs to do is stay current with the latest in self-publishing news. Indie publishing has changed radically in the past five years, so don’t rely on outdated information from the early “Kindle Revolution.”

Follow current indie publishing blogs like The Creative Penn and The Book Designer.

You can get great book marketing advice from Penny Sansevieri,Frances CaballoBad RedheadMedia, and our own Barb Drozdowich of Bakersview Consulting.

I especially recommend you sign up to get newsletters from TheAlliance for Independent Authors (Alli) and always check with them as well as Writer Beware before you agree to anything.

To be safe, it’s also best to have a legal professional look over any contract before you sign it.

If you still long for an old fashioned paper book on a shelf in Barnes and Noble, look to traditional publishers. Contrary to a lot of old news, most are thriving. Yes, even small presses. (But investigate thoroughly and don’t sign any contracts without a lawyer’s approval.)

Link to the rest at Anne R. Allen’s Blog

PG endorses Anne’s suggestions and reiterates Physical Book Stores Don’t Matter to Indies.

Beyond that, the physical bookstore business is not looking like a very good long-term prospect.

Barnes & Noble can’t seem to get anyone who is very good to serve as its CEO. And at this time in its existence, it needs a genius CEO and a boatload of luck to survive.

Don’t forget that BN received a very important stay of execution when Borders suddenly went bankrupt eight years ago. At the time, Borders had 650 stores, including about 500 superstores, in the United States. That’s a huge reduction in competition in the bookselling business and BN gained the lion’s share of Borders customers at that time.

Now that bounty has been pretty much consumed.

From a Forbes article published in late 2018:

At a time when retailers across the board have reported positive sales and quarterly earnings, Barnes & Noble’s results fell short — but don’t blame Amazon.

The largest U.S. specialty bookseller said Thursday that sales fell 6.9% to $795 million in the quarter ending July 28, hurt by declines in both its retail and Nook e-reader business. Comparable-store sales dropped 6.1%, extending a five-and-a-half-year streak of declines. In fact, Barnes & Noble’s comparable sales have declined in 20 of the past 23 quarters, in sharp contrast to gains the retail industry has posted each quarter during the same period, according to Retail Metrics data.

Barnes & Noble’s loss last quarter widened to $17 million, from $10.8 million a year earlier. Results didn’t worsen in part because the company has been cutting expenses.

Link to the rest at Forbes (emphasis supplied)

Economist Herb Stein once said, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

Can declining sales at Barnes & Noble go on forever?


In almost six years, including a bunch of different outside CEO’s, nobody has been able to do anything about the decline.

PG suggests physical bookstores are not the special snowflakes the publishing industry wants them to be. “People will always want to go to real bookstores,” is a hope and a wish, not an accurate prediction.

From Wikipedia:

Sears had the largest domestic revenue of any retailer in the United States until October 1989, when Walmart surpassed it. In 2018, Sears was the 31st-largest retailer in the United States. After several years of declining sales, its parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 15, 2018.

Link to the rest at Wikipedia

PG says happy talk from large publishers can’t stop the continuing decline of physical stores.

Will physical bookstores ever disappear completely?

PG believes the number of retail bookstores will continue to decline. However, he expects some bookstores will continue to thrive in limited types of markets – upscale locations where price is no object, in university towns where physical books tend to be a means of social signaling, and perhaps elsewhere, but when Barnes & Noble closes its doors, the physical book business will drop out of the mass market category.

Instead of owning thousands of stores or even hundreds of stores, successful booksellers will own, at most a handful. The retail book business will become a collection of small businesses without any single group able to really move the merchandise in a big way.

The boost that book publishing marketers could expect from paying for a position in the front of every Barnes & Noble or Borders store won’t exist. The impact that first day, first week and first month sales can have on a book’s visibility and place in the public mind will substantially diminish.

If large publishers of physical books can’t continue to produce large print runs, their per-book costs will increase and they’ll further cut personnel costs and trim the amount they pay for advances.

PG says people like Michelle Obama, major celebrities with some reasonable claim to intelligent views, will become a larger and larger factor in the survival of traditional publishing and the financial difference between the top 1% and the remaining 99% of traditionally-published authors will gape wider and wider.

But PG could be wrong. Perhaps an invasion by space aliens will drive people back to their local bookstore.

On the Existential Fear of Losing Your Online Persona

31 May 2019

From The Literary Hub:

I keep a bulging plastic bin under my bed filled with diaries I’ve had since elementary school. They are an archive of my life, literal baggage I tote around from apartment to apartment as an adult. The notebooks are proper diaries covered in girlish stickers and locks, extra composition books from school, soft leather-bound books, and Moleskines.

Every year of my childhood, I spent the summers alone, feasting on library books and the occasional teen magazine I convinced my grandmother to buy me at the grocery store. I had my first panic attack at 13: a sweaty nighttime episode where I cried for hours, scared that I wouldn’t ever connect with another person again, terrified that I might not exist. I used my diaries to record those days as they passed, to prove to myself that I had lived through them.

When I was in seventh grade I discovered MySpace and began uploading my consciousness to the internet. My notebooks from that period remained blank; instead, the Internet was my scrapbook, my diary, my platform.  I eventually graduated from MySpace to Facebook, then to Twitter and Instagram. I kept a blog throughout my college years and used it to puzzle out my identity to a modest audience of friends and family. It was a record of myself, of my adolescence. It was proof that I existed.

For a long time, much of what I consider my legacy, my footprint on this world—photos, new job announcements, stupid observations about the world—existed only on the Internet. It wasn’t until recently that I thought that might be a problem. Because that archive of my life that I tote from apartment to apartment has a gap in it that starts in 2005 and ends in 2014—and my writing from those years is lost forever.

. . . .

Schwartz is the host and producer of Preserve this Podcast, an initiative from the Metropolitan New York Library Council to educate podcasters about the threats of digital decay. She told me that most people think digital files are protected forever simply because they’re online. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Digital is about access, it’s about sharing,” Schwartz said. “But once you digitize something, suddenly the object is not human-readable anymore—not readable like a stack of letters in your attic. With digital you have to preserve the letter, and you have to preserve the software, and the machine that can read it.”

That means that as technology evolves, the types of data it can read evolves as well. Think about the floppy discs you almost definitely have in a box somewhere—or DVDs, to pick a more recent example. My current laptop doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive at all. I couldn’t watch my Mona Lisa Smile DVD if I wanted to. So you can see how delicate that media is.

Last month, MySpace announced that it had lost twelve years’ worth of photos, videos, music, and blog posts due to a fluke in server migration. Suddenly, a significant chunk of my own diary, my personal archive from my tenderest high school years, was gone. The Internet Archive has since come to the rescue of the hordes of musicians who lost their work, preserving 450,000 songs originally posted to MySpace. But my own “insignificant” work wasn’t preserved.

Link to the rest at The Literary Hub

Ever since the dawn of time when humankind began to walk upright, PG started using a personal computer, and that computer ate a document he had spent a lot of time creating, he has been pretty OCD about preserving some sorts of documents, photos, etc.

Slightly after the dawn of time, PG worked for a large company named LexisNexis that made most its money by providing electronic information to a variety of corporate and legal professionals. At the time, LN had the largest electronic database of legal and business information in the world (PG just checked the corporate website and LN says it currently has “3 petabytes of legal and news data with 65 billion documents. That’s 150 times the size of Wikipedia and doubling every three years.”)

At the time, the company’s data center was built so a car bomb larger than any known to have previously existed could explode right outside the building without destroying what was inside. Among the many backup strategies LN employed, one of its practices was to make a daily digital backup of its entire collection of databases and send one copy north and another copy south for storage in distant secure storage facilities.

While paper documents described in the OP are not subject to computer crashes, here’s what The National Archives (of the US) suggests for preserving paper documents and photographs:

Store items at a low temperature and a low relative humidity

  • The lower the temperature the longer your items will last, because cooler tem
  • peratures slow the rate of chemical decay and reduce insect activity. Keep the temperature below 75 degrees Fahrenheit (F).
  • Keep the relative humidity (rH) below 65% to prevent mold growth and reduce insect activity.
  • Avoid very low relative humidity because relative humidity below 15% can cause brittleness.

Reduce the risk of damage from water, insects, and rodents

  • Store items out of damp basements, garages, and hot attics.
  • Keep items away from sources of leaks and floods, such as pipes, windows, or known roof leaks.
  • Store items on a shelf so they don’t get wet.
  • Store items away from food and water which are attractive to insects and rodents.

Packaging family papers and photographs for storage. Boxes, folders, rolls, sleeves, albums, and scrapbooks, oh my!

Use containers that:

  • Are big enough for the originals to lay flat or upright without folding or bending
  • Are the right sizes, so items don’t shift
  • Use a spacer board if there are not enough items to fill an upright box.
  • Don’t overstuff the box.
  • Are made of board or folder stock that is lignin-free and acid-free or buffered.
  • Have passed the PAT if storing photographs

Link to the rest at The National Archives

“What,” you may ask, “is the PAT?”

From The Image Permanence Institute:

The Photographic Activity Test, or PAT, is an international standard test (ISO18916) for evaluating photo-storage and display products. Developed by IPI, this test explores interactions between photographic images and the enclosures in which they are stored. The PAT is routinely used to test papers, adhesives, inks, glass and framing components, sleeving materials, labels, photo albums, scrapbooking supplies and embellishments, as well as other materials upon request.  This test can be performed on products in development as well as on materials already in use in collections.

. . . .

Materials to be tested are cut to size and stacked in contact with image interaction and stain detectors. The stacks are held together in a stainless-steel jig. A control stack is prepared using an inert material in place of the test sample. These stacks are then incubated in a temperature- and humidity-controlled chamber to simulate aging. Once incubation is complete, the jigs are disassembled and the samples’ image interaction and stain detectors are assessed for changes in density and compared to those of the control sample. Pass/Fail certificates are issued for each sample tested. The pass/fail limits have been derived from enclosures that are known to have caused fading or staining in real-life storage situations.

Link to the rest at The Image Permanence Institute

The Image Permanence Institute also provides a helpful illustration of the device and materials they use for the PAT test.

And, no, PG has no long-term storage strategy for the contents of TPV.

Sic transit gloria mundi

Speaking of upbeat Latin phrases, Wikipedia helpfully has an image titled, Finis Gloriae Mundi, which evidently hangs in the Hospital de la Caridad (Seville) to cheer up the patients.

More Malware

30 May 2019

PG has recently mentioned a brush with malware.

Mrs. PG’s author website had more than a brush. When PG checked it, some depraved soul had managed to corrupt the PHP file with over 100 nasty bits.

PG learned that a widely-appearing vulnerability in a prior version of PHP permitted malware scripts to embed all sorts of back entrances into a variety of different WordPress sites.

Fortunately, PG had backups, but restoring Mrs. PG’s website required pulling out backups that were several weeks old. Restoring those backups also restored earlier versions of the PHP file (a good thing) and of WordPress prior to a number of updates.

Some of the restorations knocked Mrs. PG’s site into a limbo that responded to visitors with a cryptic error message.

Some of the restorations screwed up other parts of WordPress. PG has a hard enough time keeping track of things that were fixed in the most recent version of WordPress, let alone what was fixed several weeks ago.

Restoring old versions of the website also generated a lot of notices that various and sundry apps needed to be updated from their former state. The final log file was seven pages long, single-spaced.

One example of a single line in the log file: “0020.832 () Cleaning up rubbish…”

PG’s sentiments exactly.



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