Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

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A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

BATTLE OF THE BIG BROS

I normally avoid commenting on the whole e-book world, because it is just so dang boring and so widely covered elsewhere, but this week one item is worth mentioning because it is, oh, quite possibly the single most important lawsuit in the history of publishing. Big Brother Google is now officially under antitrust investigation by Big Brother the US Department of Justice for their proposed e-book search thingy, which intends to make millions of books available online through Google. "The Google settlement", as it is being called, was reached last October after a few scribblers and bookbinders launched a couple of class action suits against Google in opposition to their plans to digitize every book in the universe, or close to it. The DoJ now wants to have a little chat with the parties involved in the settlement to see if this deal doesn't put a tad too much power into the hands of one corporation. Ya think? Reports abound on the web: NYTs, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Digital Daily (where you can read the actual correspondence between the DoJ and the court).

LURCHING TOWARD OBLIVION

Boston.com (the website of The Boston Globe) offers a report about the first indy bookstore (The Northshire Bookstore, in Manchester Center, Vt.) to install an Espresso print-on-demand machine for books, which the store's staff have lovingly nicknamed Lurch. There's that video of the thing that's been making the rounds, and some obliviously lite newspapery analysis. One statement in particular caught my eye: "If Northshire can make money printing books downloaded from massive online catalogs, it will show how small brick-and-mortar bookshops might be able to match the overwhelming variety of products offered by a giant online retailer like Amazon.com." Yeah, heavy, heavy emphasis on that "might", please. Good luck to Northshire, but does anyone really think this machine would even exist if it weren't for Amazonian demand? Shops like Northshire only gain an edge if Amazon doesn't use the same technology, and I wouldn't advise taking that bet.

POTTED PLOTS

If everything does all go digital, Boing Boing informs us that the Japanese (as usual) are way ahead of the rest of us on what to do with all those worthless old books.

LESS THAN ZERO

Worthless books, you say? According to this entertaining little screed on bookride.com about the antiquarian trade, many old books are now in fact valued at less than worthless. My favourite line: "Who are these guys with absurdly high prices? Generally they have had unhappy childhoods, uncles who drank, boorish parents or have been educated at unpleasant and expensive schools."

ZEROS AND ONES

I had to chuckle at self-confessed programming nerd Sasha Barber's rather nasty encoded note, posted to his blog, in response to a publisher who wanted him to write a book in what was apparently an impossibly short amount of time. (For us non-nerds *ahem!* Baron thankfully provides a decoder link in the post.)

I WANT TO GO TO THERE

Alison Morris of Publishers Weekly offers up a great photo blog of her visit to The Center For Cartoon Studies. Yeah, you read that right: Cartoon Studies. Sounds sort of like Donut Eating Studies, doesn't it? (And I mean that with utmost respect.)

AND THERE

Chris Butcher, manager of Toronto's best comics shop, The Beguiling, has apparently found himself a little slice of Manga heaven. Chris is holidaying in Japan and reports on his blog (with copious photos) on visiting Kyoto Station to view an installation of work by manga master Osamu Tezuka. Even if you don't follow manga, the sheer breadth of work (and merch!) here is astonishing, to say nothing of fun.

AND EVEN THERE

If it is all just too much to take, why not head to Mars?

BUT NOT THERE

Seen the first page of The Moon People yet? For all those who ask, "Why not self publish?", here's your answer.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith is a novelist and journalist living in Toronto. His young adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in January 2009 by the Dundurn Group.

Go to Shaun Smith ’s Author Page