What can publishers learn from indie rock?

Michael Clarke talks about the resurgence of vinyl and what it could mean for book publishers:

What indie rock bands have figured out is that the purchase of music does not have to be an either/or proposition. They don’t make their customers choose between analog or digital. Whenever you buy a record from just about any indie band, it comes with either a CD or with a card that contains a URL and a download code so you can get a digital copy at no additional cost.


You may know 16 simply as the number after 15 and before 17.

You’ll probably also recognise it as the square of 4.

Apparently, 16 is also the smallest number with exactly five divisors.

You may not know that:

  • As a power of 2 it has an aliquot sum one less than itself; 15, and is the fifth composite member of the 3-aliquot tree having the 7 member aliquot sequence (16, 15, 9, 4, 3, 1, 0).
  • Sixteen is the first number to be the aliquot sum of a lesser number; 12, it is also the aliquot sum of the greater number; the discrete semiprime, 26. It is the fourth power of two.
  • Sixteen is the only integer that equals mn and nm, for some unequal integers m and n (m = 4, n = 2, or vice versa). It has this property because 22 = 2 × 2. It is also equal to 32 (see tetration).
  • 15 and 16 form a Ruth–Aaron pair under the second definition in which repeated prime factors are counted as often as they occur.
  • Since it is possible to find sequences of 16 consecutive integers such that each inner member shares a factor with either the first or the last member, 16 is an Erd?s–Woods number. The smallest such range of 16 consecutive integers is from 2184 to 2200.
  • In bases 20, 24 and 30, sixteen is a 1-automorphic number (displayed as the numeral ‘G’).
  • 16 is a centered pentagonal number.
  • 16 is the base of the hexadecimal number system, which is used extensively in computer science.
  • 16 appears in the Padovan sequence, preceded by the terms 7, 9, 12 (it is the sum of the first two of these).

(isn’t wikipedia wonderful)

There was a time I used to know a bit about maths. But aliquot sums, composite numbers, discrete semiprimes, tetration, Ruth-Aaron pairs, consecutive integers, and the Padovan sequence mean nothing to me.

There was a time I didn’t know what it meant to be in love. But all that changed 16 years ago today. So that’s what 16 means to me. 16 years of being in love with, and being loved by the most beautiful girl I’ve ever known.

And I’ll take that over all the consecutive integers in the world.

Happy anniversary J. I love you and can’t think of anyone I’d rather spend an automorphic number of years with.


We require secondary sources

Philip Roth tries to correct an inaccuracy in the Wikipedia article about his own book:

Yet when, through an official interlocutor, I recently petitioned Wikipedia to delete this misstatement, along with two others, my interlocutor was told by the “English Wikipedia Administrator”—in a letter dated August 25th and addressed to my interlocutor—that I, Roth, was not a credible source: “I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on their own work,” writes the Wikipedia Administrator—“but we require secondary sources.”

Easy going librarians

Chester Public Library:

What fines do I have to pay if I return an item late?

We are easy going people. We do not have late fees/fines. A conscience box is located on the counter for you to make a donation for late items. Privileges may be temporarily suspended if items are a few months overdue. Please be courteous to fellow library users and bring your items back in a timely fashion.

I'm sure there are all sorts of complicated problems with doing away with late fines, but I do like the idea of fine-free libraries. One of those problems might be about how auditors would respond to the idea of a “conscience box” of cash on the counter. Of course what works for one particular library might not be a good fit for another. Needless to say, this post contains my personal views only.

NPR’s best-ever teen fiction poll

NPR polled just over 75,000 people asking their favourite teen novels of all time.

And now, the final results are in. While it’s no surprise to see Harry Potter and the Hunger Games trilogy on top, this year’s list also highlights some writers we weren’t as familiar with. For example, John Green, author of the 2012 hit The Fault in Our Stars, appears five times in the top 100.

In fact, John Green has 4 books in the top 22. Yes, he deserves it. People like John Green, Scott Westerfeld, David Levithan might be household names within YA circles, but I think there are a whole lot of people who have never heard of them but would love their work.

Choose your Highsmith

Très bien. Now, please forgive us, but we must ask: would you rather read about a shooting, a bludgeoning, or a drowning?

Just like it says, Choose your Highsmith will ask a series of questions to help you decide which Patricia Highsmith book to read next. For what it's worth, I was asked the above question after choosing France as a setting. Mr Ripley anyone?


The book that can’t wait

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read this book in two months or it will self destruct:

Argentinean independent publishers Eterna Cadencia are publishing an anthology of new Latin authors using special ink that disappears once it comes in contact with sun and air, completely disappearing within 2 months time after opening the book. This makes for an interesting approach to motivate book buyers to read books more promptly, giving first-time authors the attention they need to survive:

Which also means people who enjoyed these struggling new authors cannot pass the book on to friends or come back and read them again. Not to mention the negative pressure of being forced to read it in a certain time.

I predict this gimmick will fade away inside two months.

via Read This Book In Two Months Or The Words Will Disappear From The Page – PSFK.

Copyright slumlords.

Hugh Rundle has produced another thought provoking article, suggesting the current copyright system is doomed.

Librarians should not play along with this. Eli Neiberger told us earlier this year that our mission should be to ‘fight for the user’. Fighting for the user doesn’t mean signing petitions pleading with publishers to sell us their ebooks. It means looking for alternatives and spending your money with companies that do serve your communities needs properly. Show your community how to publish their own ebooks and bypass the publishers. Show your community how to curate their own newsfeeds using Twitter or Flipboard and cancel your subscriptions to crappy news aggregation databases. Refuse to subscribe to any service that requires your members to create a new account with the provider or an associated DRM software product. Question whether ALIA should really enshrine support for Copyright in its policy documents. Demand to know why IFLA opposes one of the few systems that could support the creation of cultural works without locking them down.

Winter is coming for the copyright slumlords. Make sure you rug up, and remember whose side you are on.

As Hugh knows, I’m closely involved with our library subscribing to a service that requires our members to create an account with a DRM product. That’s how we’re getting at least some popular ebooks into the library. I’ve read other arguments that we should boycott such providers so the publishers are forced to do it our way. I wouldn’t be surprised if the publishers preferred this – then they could just stop selling ebooks to libraries. The fact is, if we want some new release popular ebooks in the library (we can’t get them all), we’re currently forced to make some big compromises.

I’m going to try to guess what is in Hugh’s head and predict his response: that’s fine, let people buy ebooks at the cheap prices that will result when the copyright revolution hits. Libraries will need to reposition themselves as something other than popular fiction lending institutions if they are to survive.