Caught My Eye 6/17/14

  • Frustrated Scholar Creates New Way to Fund and Publish Academic Work  recounts the experience of Tim viewpoint-99199_150Petersen, a postdoctoral fellow in biology at Harvard University. He became disillusioned with the publishing process even though he landed a paper in the journal Cell. And then he decided to do something about it. Mr. Petersen created  a website he calls Onarbor that “is intended as a publishing and funding platform for academics, kind of like a Kickstarter for scholarly work. Among its features is that it allows donors to support projects with either Bitcoin or Dogecoin, two popular cryptocurrencies…”
  • Amazon vs. Hachette: Colbert, Rowling, Connelly & More  This piece in Shelf Awareness discusses a recent segment of the Colbert Report that you may have seen. Colbert skewered Amazon “which he said he used to like because “it’s the only place you can get all your shopping done in your underwear–at least since they closed Circuit City.” Colbert went on to observe “Amazon has taken the preorder buttons off [J.K. Rowling’s] new Hachette book, The Silkworm. A vicious tactic by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Or should I say Lord Bezomort?”
  • Book finds its way back home after 66 years  is a really heartwarming story from Australia about a book given to an Melbourne girl by her Dad that “found its way back to her – after 66 years and a journey around the world…  Betty Fowkes, now 80, was given the book, entitled Magic Australia, by her dad George Wardley, when she was just 11.”  The combination of a little luck and the diligent efforts of Mrs. Fowkes’ daughter, Liz Crooks led to the book making it back to a very grateful Mrs. Fowkes.  And as an extra treat, it’s accompanied by a great video!
  • With eBooks Still Pricey, Illinois Libraries Flex Their Marketing Muscle reports on the The Illinois Author Project which grew out of frustration with the continued high prices publishers are charging libraries for ebooks.  The project shows the marketing value of libraries in promoting new authors and their books aiming to change the balance of power with publishers.  “The Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author Project, co-sponsored by RAILS and the Illinois Library Association had a simple goal – use a contest to find a great self-published author from the state and then use the power of the state’s libraries to promote that author.” All before the publishers do.
  • What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades questions modern educators and their dismissal of handwriting as a necessary skill noting that “new evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep. Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how…”

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