Princeton University Press and RBmedia Announce Exclusive Audiobook Publishing Partnership

Princeton University Press and RBmedia today announced an exclusive licensing agreement to publish over 120 audiobooks in the next three years. The collaboration brings together Princeton University Press’ world-class content and RBmedia’s position as a market leader in scholarly, trade, and reference audiobook publishing.

Delivering popular Princeton University Press titles as audiobooks is an important step in meeting rising consumer demand for this format. According to the Audio Publishers Association, audiobook sales have demonstrated a seven-year trend of double-digit growth. The Association of American Publishers reports that digital audiobooks grew by 36 percent between the first halves of 2017 and 2018. Moreover, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital, in 2019 50% of Americans age 12 and up listened to an audiobook.

“As the world’s largest independent publisher of audiobooks and leader in the educational audio market, RBmedia is building on our established relationship with Princeton University Press to publish new titles in audiobook format, making the content accessible to more people,” said Troy Juliar, Chief Content Officer for RBmedia. “We are exploring additional opportunities with Princeton University Press, with a goal of publishing audio versions of their textbooks in the future.”

Under the agreement, RBmedia will publish select frontlist titles across an array of subject categories, including history, arts, business, economics, and science, as well as a number of backlist titles that have not previously been released in audio format. RBmedia will publish Princeton University Press titles across its family of imprints, including Recorded Books, HighBridge, and Tantor.

Notable recent and upcoming audiobook releases include:

• Becoming George Orwell: Life and Letters, Legend and Legacy by John Rodden
• This Land is Our Land: The Struggle for a New Commonwealth by Jedediah Purdy
• Chaucer: A European Life by Marion Turner
• Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake
• Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo
• Honeybee Democracy by Tomas Seeley

“We have a mission to animate conversations and learning the world over with our publications,” said Princeton University Press Director Christie Henry. “This evolving partnership with RBmedia excites us for the chance it offers for more Princeton University Press titles to be heard.”

Titles published under the agreement will be available on Audible, iTunes, Google Play, Audiobooks.com, public libraries via RBdigital, and many other sites that provide digital audio.

Book of the Week: Goodbye Homeboy (Steve Mariotti)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Steve Mariotti’s Goodbye Homeboy is the first-person account of a former financial whiz kid who chose to work for decades in the trenches of New York City’s roughest schools. What he learned there dramatically changed his life and those of his students.

After a gang of New York City teens robbed Mariotti in 1981, he was plagued by debilitating nightmares and flashbacks. Determined to understand what drove the kids who jumped him, he took his therapist’s advice to “face his fears” literally, closing his import-export business and volunteering to work in notoriously rough high schools in impoverished neighborhoods. His students were remedial learners, special ed kids and those with discipline problems…

Read full review here.

In 1982, Mariotti left a successful business career to become a public high-school teacher in tough New York City neighborhoods like East New York, Bed-Study, and Fort Apache in the South Bronx. Frustrated at first by his rowdy classrooms, Mariotti discovered he could motivate even his most challenging students by teaching them how to run a small business. This experience inspired him to create NFTE in 1987 to bring entrepreneurship education to low-income youth, and empower them to create pathways out of poverty. Today, NFTE is widely considered the leading provider of entrepreneurship education to low-income youth worldwide.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

This Week in Literature and Arts

October 7, 1849: Edgar Allan Poe dies at 40. The exact cause of death remains a mystery (how appropriate), but a life of heavy drinking, undoubtedly, was a leading factor.

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Happy 70th birthday to geek goddess Sigourney Weaver, born Susan Alexandra Weaver, October 8, 1949 in Manhattan (she changed her name to Sigourney after the character in The Great Gatsby). Her parents were actors and producers, and her uncle was comedian Doodles Weaver!

She kicks nine kinds of xenomorph butt in the ALIEN franchise, but a favorite of mine is the mostly forgotten 1995 serial killer thriller Copycat with Holly Hunter and a remarkably effective Harry Connick Jr. Tense film.

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Break on Through to the Open Side: Is Open Access prioritizing the needs of science and research?

In celebration of international Open Access Week librarians, publishers and scholars worldwide are invited to join an online panel discussion. A distinguished panel of publishers and librarians will provide their views on the impact of Open Access and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in the discussion.

The panelists will discuss the global impact of Open Access on research and consider if the promise of Open Access to equalize access for users and researchers worldwide is being achieved. Do researchers everywhere have access to freely available academic content? Do they know where to find it? Are the sources and platforms available to them delivering a quality user experience? And are scholars around the world able to take advantage of the new publishing opportunities?

Other issues include Open Access publishing models and their success in countries where Open Access is vibrant as well as in those where it is still emerging, including the Global South; the costs involved for researchers to publish their research Open Access; ways in which users in emerging markets benefit from Open Access content; and the role of academic libraries—large and small—in providing the necessary support to researchers.

Open Access affords many opportunities for all stakeholders and is very much an evolutionary process, not a disruptive one. This panel seeks to shed light on the progress the global scholarly community has made thus far in making Open Access work for everyone.

Panelists:
Peter Mitchell, IntechOpen (UK)
András Holl, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Hungary)
Vivian Rosa Storti, State University of São Paulo (Brazil)
Sven Fund, Knowledge Unlatched (Germany)

Moderator: Mirela Roncevic

When: Wednesday 23rd October 2019
4pm Central European Time
10am Eastern Time, North America
11am GMT-3, South America

The event should last for about one hour and will be recorded.

Register for the online event here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lZyvSpPRTWi9vJdqV57r3A

De Gruyter launches the University Press Library

Complete collections, DRM-free, unlimited use

The University Press Library is the result of a five-year pilot project initiated by De Gruyter, the three prestigious presses of Harvard, Columbia and Princeton with collaboration from LYRASIS and ten participating academic libraries. The pilot project sought to address the challenges of acquiring complete DRM-free frontlist eBook collections of university press content for both the press and the academic library. The data gathered from this successful pilot inspired the University Press Library, a sustainable model that meets the financial and academic needs of both university press partners and the library in a digital environment.

“The collaboration and cooperation of presses, libraries, consortium and partners over these many years has been remarkable. We were committed to identifying a sustainable and predictable solution for all parties and the University Press Library is the outcome of these efforts. Coupled with our recently announced expansion in the US, we will not only better serve our partner presses but have the capacity to work with more institutions,” said Steve Fallon, Vice President Americas and Strategic Partnerships.

De Gruyter is an independent international academic publisher with a focus on scholars and their research. Since launching its Partner Program in 2012, De Gruyter has shared the mission and values of its university press partners by bringing ideas to the world stage through their academic scholarship, advancing scholarly knowledge and promoting human conversation.

This Week in Literature and Arts

Happy 80th birthday to Larry Linville, born September 29, 1939 in Ojai, CA. M*A*S*H, of course, is his legacy, but Larry was a prolific TV actor before and after. He initially planned on working as an aeronautical engineer after attending college in Colorado, but snagged a scholarship to London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

For me, his interpretation of Frank Burns was the key ingredient in what made M*A*S*H work so well. He was the perfect foil for the others. Once he left, the show wasn’t as good. The snooty Boston rich-guy replacement was weak in comparison. Animal House‘s Doug Neidermeyer is a rehash of Burns, and I found that The Big Bang Theory‘s Sheldon character had a lot of Frank Burns in him as well.

Linville, unfortunately, developed terrible lung cancer and passed when only 60.

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Happy birthday to Angie Dickinson, born Angeline Brown in Kulm, ND, September 30, 1931. Angie as “Feathers” discussing a scene with director Howard Hawks in his sterling Rio Bravo. Considering she’s acting opposite Duke Wayne at the height of his fame, she handles herself well.

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Happy birthday to George McFarland, born October 2, 1928 in Dallas, TX. Honk if you grew up watching The Little Rascals.

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October 2, 1890: Above a butcher shop on Manhattan’s E 78th St. between Lex and 3rd, Simon and Miene Marx (aka Frenchie and Minnie) welcome the birth of their third son who will be named Julius but will be known forever as the one, the only, Groucho.

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Happy birthday to Charlton Heston, born John Charles Carter in Evanston, IL, October 4, 1923. He can be “big” and over the top, but I always find him fun to watch. In his later years, he appeared in several small, cameo roles in Tombstone, and other films, but my favorite is his brief turn in James Cameron’s fun spy outing, True Lies. The character’s name was Spencer Trilby, but when he revolves around in the chair with the crew cut and the eye patch, we know really who he is. How many comics geeks’ jaws dropped at that one!

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Big 50th anniversary wishes to Monty Python’s Flying Circus, premiering on the BBC October 5, 1969. Bravo Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, John Cleese, and Eric Idle. Still my favorite twits. Well done, lads.

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Happy birthday to Larry Fine, born Louis Feinberg in Philly October 5, 1902. He trained as a violinist and planned for a career as a musician, but in early 1928 while performing in a vaudeville show in Chicago, Larry met Shemp Howard. Our good fortune.

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October 6, 1969: After seven years of recording, George Harrison at last scores the A side of a Beatles’ single with the release of Something/Come Together on 45 rpm. You can understand why he wanted out.

Lastly, a Shakespeare Sunday salute to the 60th anniversary to Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, premiering on CBS October 2, 1959 with the episode, “Where is Everybody?”  

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Michael Rogers (mermsr@optimum.net) is a Jesse H. Neal Gold Award-winning freelance writer, editor, reviewer, and photographer. He is also former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal.

Book of the Week: The Baby Decision (Merle Bombardieri)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Since the 1984 debut of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, considered the go-to “bible” on pregnancy, there’s been a need for an equally authoritative guide on whether or not to have children. The Baby Decision: How to Make the Most Important Choice of Your Life is that book.

After publishing her first edition nearly 40 years ago, author, clinical social worker and psychotherapist Merle Bombardieri has delivered a fresh, nuanced look at the subject with a comprehensive, five-step process—defining the problem, overcoming obstacles, considering happiness, making the decision and acting on your decision—guiding readers each step of the way…

Read full review here.

Merle Bombardieri, MSW, LICSW, has been a private practice clinical social worker and psychotherapist for over 30 years. She specializes in parenthood decision-making, infertility, adoption, and making the most of a childfree life.

Although she enjoyed raising her daughters, Bombardieri has also been an advocate for childfree people since 1979. Another advocacy project was founding the support group Boston Single Mothers by Choice in the early 1980s.

Bombardieri’s writing has appeared in BridesGlamourSelf, the Boston Globe MagazineBoston Magazine, and Our Bodies, Ourselves.  She has lectured at Harvard Medical School, M.I.T., Wellesley College, and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. She has appeared on national radio and television news shows, talk shows and documentaries; and was quoted in TimeNewsweekThe New York TimesThe Boston Globe, and Huffington Post.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

The MIT Press receives a generous grant to develop and pilot a sustainable framework for open access monographs

The MIT Press has received a three-year $850,000 grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, to perform a broad-based monograph publishing cost analysis and to develop and openly disseminate a durable financial framework and business plan for open access (OA) monographs. The Press, a leader in OA publishing for almost 25 years, will also undertake a pilot program to implement the resulting framework for scholarly front and backlist titles.

Amy Brand, director of the MIT Press and principal investigator for the grant, sees it as an opportunity to explore alternatives to the traditional market-based business model for professional and scholarly monographs. “Until the mid-1990s, most U.S. university presses could count on sales of 1,300–1,700 units, but today monograph sales are typically in the range of 300–500 units,” says Brand “Many presses make up this difference with internal subsidies or subventions from institutional or philanthropic sources, but this is not sustainable and often unpredictable. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, this generous award from Arcadia will allow us to develop and test a flexible OA sustainability model that can then be adapted to the needs of our peers.”

Continue reading “The MIT Press receives a generous grant to develop and pilot a sustainable framework for open access monographs”

Indie Author Project (IAP) Expands Library eBook Distribution

Indie Author Project (IAP) Expands Library eBook Distribution; initial collection to include a public library exclusive on 2019 Indie Author of the Year Ran Walker’s upcoming eBook release

Portable Black Magic: Tales of the Afro Strange will be available as an eBook exclusively in public libraries for the first three months after its release and will be included as part of the initial Indie Author Project (IAP) Select eBook collection. The collection will be available to public libraries in early October.

IAP Select will feature several hundred top indie-published books across multiple genres. The books are curated by Library Journal and library editorial boards in 14 regions across North America and were chosen by editors and librarians from over 12,000 submissions. IAP Select features NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors, numerous award winners, as well as 2019 Indie Author of the Year Ran Walker’s award-winning Daykeeper in both eBook and audiobook. All eBooks and audiobooks are circulated sustainably in an unlimited, simultaneous use model to library patrons.

Continue reading “Indie Author Project (IAP) Expands Library eBook Distribution”

This Week in Literature and Arts

Bruce Springsteen: singer, songwriter, musician, Broadway sensation, and…geezer! Happy 70th to the Boss, born September 23, 1949 in Long Branch, NJ.

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September 24, 1896: Edward and Mary Fitzgerald welcome the birth of their first son, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald.

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Proudly presenting NSR’s new book: The New Era for E-Books and Digital Content

NSR is pleased to announce the publication of a new book in a series of books which NSR publishes in partnership with ALA: No Shelf Required 3: The New Era for E-Books and Digital Content. Thank you to the folks at ALA Editions for publishing this book and for their continued support of NSR’s mission.—MR


Many claim that the presence and importance of e-books have reached a saturation point, but the truth is that experimentation with new models, as well as refinement of existing ones, continues apace. Delving into the latest developments among the varied players in the e-book marketplace, including publishers, libraries, and vendors, the latest volume in the best-selling No Shelf Required series is written from a strong international perspective. Positive, uplifting, instructive, and goal-oriented, this volume’s coverage includes the DPLA national e-book platform; ReadersFirst, a movement to improve e-book access from libraries; the AudiobookSYNC project, a free summer audiobook program for teens; using e-books to teach poetry and publishing processes; the Multnomah County Library Library Writers project; e-books and the Internet Archive; NSR’s One Country, One Library initiative; Worldreader. and other international charitable projects promoting global literacy

Continue reading “Proudly presenting NSR’s new book: The New Era for E-Books and Digital Content”

This Week in Literature and Arts

September 17, 1820: John Keats leaves for Italy never to return. He’s buried in Rome. Drop in and see him next time you’re there.

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Happy 85th birthday to Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, born September 19, 1934 in Liverpool. He knew a good thing when he heard it. For that we must thank him.

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Book of the Week: Success Skills for High School, College, and Career (Cary J. Green, PhD)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Cary Green provides the ultimate crash course in college and career preparedness for high school and college students with this Christian-oriented self-help book.

The author advocates for leadership skills training for young people seeking to excel in college and careers. He encourages readers to improve their “soft skills,” such as critical thinking, problem solving, written and oral communication, teamwork, time management, ethics and resiliency—skills that “employers report…as lacking in new hires.”

To that end, the book provides resources, templates, exercises and tools to equip readers for success in any field by helping them become more self-aware…

Read full review here.

Dr. Cary Green equips students with skills for academic success and employability. Prior to founding CaryJGreen.com, Dr. Green spent twenty years teaching and advising university students. He has served as director of a college-level recruiting and career center, department chair, and associate dean for academic programs. Green recently received a Parent and Teacher Choice Award from HowToLearn.com. Parenting 2.0 recognized Green as a Global Presence Ambassador for his commitment to developing success skills in young people.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

This Week in Literature and Arts

Happy birthday to Robert Wise, born September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Indiana. He started his Hollywood career as a sound editor, then moved into image editing, working with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons before directing his own films ranging from horror and sci-fi fare like The Body Snatcher with Karloff and Lugosi to The Day the Earth Stood Still through top musicals The Sound of Music and West Side Story, war movies Run Silent, Run Deep with Clark Gable and The Sand Pebbles with Steve McQueen. Lots of A-list stuff, but you also have to blame him for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, one of the most convoluted stinkers imaginable. Still, far more good work than bad.

Wise with the crew directing Lock Martin as Gort in The Day the Earth Stood Still.

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Birthday greetings to Brian De Palma, born September 11, 1940 in Newark, NJ. I assume he’s best known for the crime thrillers Scarface and The Untouchables, but I prefer the scary stuff like Carrie, The Fury, and Dressed To Kill (the razor through Angie Dickinson’s hand in Dressed creeps me out every time!). Well done, Brian.

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Book of the week: Jerkwater (Jamie Zerndt)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Jamie Zerndt’s fourth novel, Jerkwater, is an emotionally intense, character-driven story about the intertwining lives of three likable protagonists in the throes of grief. Exploring friendship and enmity, rage and harmony, and retribution and liberation, the novel is by turns harrowing, comical, and heartwarming.

Set in the “jerkwater town” of Mercer, Wisconsin, hostilities simmer between the town’s whites and Native Americans. Shawna Reynolds, an Ojibwa, seethes. Her mother was murdered by her white stepfather, and someone just injured her beloved horse. Her stepfather’s friend, a beer-bellied bigot, becomes the object of Shawna’s white hatred.

Shawna’s ire doesn’t extend, however, to her white neighbors, Kay O’Brien and her son, Douglas. Shawna and Douglas graduated high school together “a few years back.“ They are companions when embroiled in acts of justice and destruction or when simply sharing a drink and conversation…

Read full review here.

Jamie Zerndt is the author of The Cloud Seeders, The Korean Word for Butterly, and The Roadrunner Cafe. His short story, “This Jerkwater Life”, was recently chosen as an Editor’s Pick in Amazon’s Kindle Singles store. He received an MFA in Writing from Pacific University and now lives in Portland, Oregon, with his son.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

This Week in Literature and Arts

September 2, 1969: The missions of the U.S.S. Enterprise come to an abrupt end as NBC cancels STAR TREK after three seasons (79 episodes). The network cited inadequate ratings (now disputed) after moving the show’s night and time slot several times. The Shat reacts with his usual understated elegance.

And 50 years later it’s bigger than ever.

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Happy 88th birthday to Mitzi Gaynor, born September 4, 1931 in Chicago. She was always top shelf in musicals, but my favorite of her films is The Joker Is Wild with Sinatra, Eddie Albert, and Jackie Coogan. It’s more of a dramatic role, and Mitzi is fabulous in the part—and very sexy.

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September 5, 1957: Viking Press publishes Jack Kerouac’s coming-of-age novel, On The Road.

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The role of videos in scholarly communications

Open Access (OA) research videos are becoming more popular in scholarly communications. A leader in this field, Latest Thinking is an OA video platform that provides summaries of research findings covering all academic fields, including the humanities, social sciences and STM, and featuring the original authors. All videos have Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY 4.0), which makes them freely available worldwide.

In this upcoming webinar, organized by Latest Thinking and Knowledge Unlatched, librarians interested in supporting OA missions involving research videos can gain valuable insight into this emerging OA format and learn how to get involved.

The webinar takes place on September 5th, 2019 at 12 p.m. Eastern. Registrations are now open: bit.ly/2Zvwp8E

This Week in Literature and Arts

Happy birthday to Thomas Sean Connery, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, August 25, 1930.

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August 26, 1930: Lon Chaney succumbs to cancer at 47. Although successful in a wide variety of roles, the horror movie genre, arguably, stems from his popularity.

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Remembering Neil Simon, gone a year (August 26, 2018).

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August 27, 1932: At Cleveland’s RKO Palace, brothers Moe and Curly Howard with Larry Fine perform together for the first time.

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August 28, 1917: Comics god Jack Kirby is born Jacob Kurtzberg to an Austrian-immigrant family on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Smoke a nickel stogie for the King.

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JAWS heads, let us remember actor and writer Robert Shaw, who passed August 28, 1978, three weeks after his 51st birthday (very heavy drinker).

Gone too soon. Farewell and adieu.

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August 31, 1973: John Ford dies of stomach cancer (or crabbiness) at 79. Shall we gather at the river.

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September 1, 1998: America meets Harry Potter with the release of HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone by publisher Scholastic in the U.S.

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Lastly, a Shakespeare Sunday salute to the mother of science fiction, Mary Shelley, born August 30, 1797 in London town.

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Michael Rogers (mermsr@optimum.net) is a Jesse H. Neal Gold Award-winning freelance writer, editor, reviewer, and photographer. He is also former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal.

Millions of public domain books are now free, owing to some work by the New York Public Library

“Prior to 1964, books had a 28-year copyright term. Extending it required authors or publishers to send in a separate form, and lots of people didn’t end up doing that. Thanks to the efforts of the New York Public Library, many of those public domain books are now free online. Through the 1970s, the Library of Congress published the Catalog of Copyright Entries, all the registration and renewals of America’s books. The Internet Archive has digital copies of these, but computers couldn’t read all the information and figuring out which books were public domain, and thus could be uploaded legally, was tedious. The actual, extremely convoluted specifics of why these books are in the public domain are detailed in a post by the New York Public Library, which recently paid to parse the information in the Catalog of Copyright Entries.”

Read the full article here.

This Week in Literature and Arts

Happy 80th anniversary to The Wizard of Oz, which premiered August 12, 1939 in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin (I have no idea why). The film was released nationwide August 25th.

Those of a certain age—ahem—before cable TV and VHS/DVD/Blu-ray/streaming will remember as a kid waiting for WOZ‘s annual showing with the same excitement and anticipation as the coming of Christmas and your birthday. And the witch and the flying monkeys were the stuff of the deepest, darkest nightmares. I still enjoy this film tremendously. Great fun.

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Happy birthday to Alfred Hitchcock, born August 13, 1899, in London. His films are still so much fun to watch. Very young here before putting on all the weight. Glad he lost that stache!

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Big publishers like Macmillan are imposing restrictions on ebook lending in libraries. What does it mean for the future of ebooks?

Macmillan has just announced a new e-book lending model for libraries, as reported in various media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. Macmillan’s CEO John Sargent’s confirmed this change in a memo addressed to Macmillan authors, agents and illustrators last week. “One thing is abundantly clear,” said Sargent. “The growth in ebook lends through libraries has been remarkable. For Macmillan, 45% of the ebook reads in the US are now being borrowed for free from libraries. And that number is still growing rapidly.”

As Sargent goes on to explain, e-book lending has become popular in US libraries for a number of reasons: ebooks are now seamlessly delivered to reading devices, various marketing activities have encouraged ‘borrowing’ rather than purchasing of ebooks, and fewer restrictions are placed on users, regardless of their residence, etc., making them more appealing than ever.

Starting November 1, 2019, Macmillan will impose an eight-week embargo on library ebooks across all of its imprints (for the past year the publisher has already been testing this approach with its science fiction imprint Tor). This means that libraries that want to lend Macmillan’s new ebooks to patrons (and this only applies to new titles) may buy perpetual access to a single ebook during the first eight weeks of publication at half price. After the eight-week period, additional ‘copies’ may be purchased at full library price (which is usually $60 for a new release). In other words, eight weeks after the release of a new title, libraries may be able to buy as many copies as they want, but not before. All other e-book lending terms remain the same: licensing will have a two-year limit, or 52 lends, whichever comes first (on a one copy/one user model) and libraries must renew the license after two years.

Continue reading “Big publishers like Macmillan are imposing restrictions on ebook lending in libraries. What does it mean for the future of ebooks?”

This Week in Literature and Arts

Happy birthday to Louis Armstrong, born August 4, 1901 in New Orleans. I believe he’s the first black man ever heard on American radio. Read that somewhere (Roddy Doyle’s Oh, Play That Thing maybe?).

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Happy birthday to Percy Bysshe Shelley, born in West Sussex, England, August 4, 1792. Arguably, the genius of the Romantic movement. I’ve never read any of his novels, but the poetry certainly is good stuff.

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Audiobook Review: First Ladies

Author: Betty Boyd Caroli; Read by Susan Ericksen

HighBridge, 2019 (20.5 hours)

Residing in the White House as the president’s spouse is an amalgam of glamour, boredom, and thankless responsibility. Each woman bearing that yoke did so in her own fashion—most were content simply to play hostess for official gatherings, some flatly declined any participation, but a shining few utilized the brief infusion of power to advance pet causes.

Historian Caroli here updates her long-standing profile of U.S. First Ladies (FLs) from Martha Washington to Melania Trump begun in several earlier volumes (this edition reportedly is the series’ finale). Individual portraits vary in length according to the subject’s accomplishments and the depth of available information—some FLs were fiercely private women who barely left a footprint in history. FLs often reflected the nation’s tone; some eras emphasized youth and beauty characterized by a slim figure, in other times age, experience, and a buxom silhouette was trendy.

The post of FL is a peculiar creature that is a cross between a housewife and Wonder Woman. While they neither are elected nor wield official power (or draw pay for surrendering years of their lives!), several FLs accomplished more than almost all vice-presidents, and Caroli contends that the public understands the FL’s role better than the VPs. Several of the women, arguably, were superior in their achievements—and vastly more interesting—than their husbands! No presidency was complete without an FL, and bachelor/widower presidents chose surrogates, e.g., Thomas Jefferson enlisted his friend Dolly Madison as his official hostess.

Continue reading “Audiobook Review: First Ladies”

This week in Literature and Arts

“I will take the ring…though I do not know the way”: Happy 65th anniversary to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, released July 29, 1954 by Allen and Unwin. Hello Sam, Frodo, Merry, and Pippin!

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Happy birthday to David Warner, born in Lancashire, England July 29, 1941. David probably is best known for Time Bandits and Titanic, but has excelled in a variety of roles on screen and stage from Peckinpah westerns to Star Trek. He makes a good villain—Time After Time is my favorite.

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Cambridge University Press announces new open content platform: Cambridge Open Engage

From Cambridge University Press:

Cambridge University Press is to expand their provision of open research services with the launch of its own early and open content platform Cambridge Open Engage.

Built in-house, Cambridge Open Engage will use the state-of-the-art technology behind Cambridge Core, the online home for the Press’s books and journals, to publish early and open research outputs including preprint papers, abstracts, conference proceedings, conference posters, grey literature, and open data. The content will be open and free to the reader, as well as free to the author to upload.

The first major partner to sign up to the new service is the American Political Science Association (APSA). APSA Preprints will launch on 29 August, with new partner sites and submission to the wider platform available in early 2020.

The platform will go beyond content dissemination to provide services that support and encourage researcher collaboration and better connect different parts of the research lifecycle. Hosting content from partners such as learned societies, research departments, and funders, as well as directly from researchers, its features and functionality will support an integrated, community-driven service.

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Introduction to No Shelf Required’s new book on innovation with e-books and digital content

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Below is the full introduction to the new No Shelf Required book, published by the American Library Association in Spring 2019. The book may be ordered via ALA Store or Amazon.

When discussing the focus of this book—the third in the series of No Shelf Required books published by the American Library Association—we agreed immediately that we needed to place practice (rather than theory) in the forefront of every chapter. And we agreed that the value of this book will depend greatly on our ability to highlight the projects of the many individuals inside and outside publishing and libraries who have pushed us to think and act outside the box.

These individuals have dared to experiment in order to help us better understand the possibilities afforded by the continuously evolving technologies of e-books and e-content. And despite the exaggerated statements about the demise of the e-book which permeate our panel discussions and published articles nowadays—which were preceded by equally exaggerated statements about the death of print books—these individuals have embarked on launching various cutting-edge initiatives and products that point to the ultimate power of e-books and digital content in general: to bring knowledge and the written word to people in ways we could not conceive of just ten years ago; and to equalize access to the book (in all its incarnations) in ways not possible before.

The goal of this collection of twenty essays is straightforward: to highlight what we consider some of the most interesting, innovative, transformative, thought-provoking, and courageous projects and missions involving e-books and e-content in the United States and around the world. This book’s mission is to inspire and encourage everyone in the library and broader publishing ecosystem—including librarians, publishers, distributors, and others—to continue exploring and to not settle on any conclusions about e-books just yet.

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Book of the week: The Winner Maker (Jeff Bond)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Deception plays a major role in Jeff Bond’s gripping thriller, a storypacked with kidnapping, murder, manhunts and conspiracy.

The captivating plot centers on five high school alumni who share the distinction of being named “Winners” by Bob Fiske, their revered teacher/coach. The Winners are an elite group selected each year by Fiske, based on vague criteria and potential.

Now long past their high school glory days as Winners, Stephanie and Doug are seemingly happily married, with two young daughters and well-established careers in the Chicago area. When Fiske goes missing, they and two other Winner classmates are contacted by Becky, a fifth Winner and counselor at their alma mater, who calls an emergency meeting. This is only the beginning of the intrigue, as Fiske isn’t the only one missing: so is one of his female students whose phone includes his texts to her regarding a rendezvous…

Read full review here.

As a student at Yale, I told friends I wanted to write a novel. I’d grown up racing through all the Clive Cussler and Margaret Truman in my suburban Kansas City grade-school library, and college was introducing me to War and Peace and The Corrections, characters so real I felt the author—from centuries ago, thousands of miles away—plucking thoughts straight from my own head. It’s taken a few detours, but I believe I’ve finally arrived at the stories I imagined writing in school. Most fall under the broad category of “character-based thriller” and feature unique premises that don’t fit neatly into a sub-genre like spy or detective.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

I [Still] Want My Wikipedia!

Over 12 years ago, I co-wrote and edited an article for Library Journal with three librarians (during my days as Senior Book Review Editor for the magazine), whom I asked to test Wikipedia as a bona fide research tool at a time most scholars were adamantly resisting it. This article was published some five years after Wikipedia first launched, which was in 2001. In the article, I Want My Wikipedia!, a younger version of me wondered, “But like any form of government, democracy faces a unique set of problems: once given the power (to edit), will people abuse it?”

To give the article more balance, I recruited three librarians and subject specialists whom I had worked with on other LJ-related endeavors—Barry X. Miller (pop culture), Karl Helicher (current affairs), and Teresa Berry (science)—and asked each to give their verdict on the source’s authenticity. After reading their lengthy reviews, I concluded that “while there are still reasons to proceed with caution when using a resource that takes pride in limited professional management, many encouraging signs suggest that (at least for now) Wikipedia may be granted the librarian’s seal of approval.” Continue reading “I [Still] Want My Wikipedia!”

Pearson announces it will replace its print textbook model with a digital-first strategy, encouraging students to rent e-versions rather than buy print ones

From Pearson:

London, UK (July, 2019)Pearson, the world’s learning company signaled a strategic commitment to the digital future of higher education, affordability and lifelong learning by announcing today it is breaking from the traditional education publishing model of lengthy and expensive print revisions, which has defined U.S. college publishing since the 1970’s.

Instead, all future releases of Pearson’s 1500 active U.S. titles will be “digital first” and updated on an ongoing basis driven by developments in the field of study, new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and Pearson’s own efficacy research. Pearson is the only education publishing company setting out to do this across all of its active titles. It’s a product as a service model and a generational business shift to be much more like apps, professional software or the gaming industry.

“Students are demanding easier to access and more affordable higher education materials, with nearly 90% of learners using some kind of digital education tool,” said John Fallon CEO, Pearson. “We’ve changed our business model to deliver affordable, convenient and personalized digital materials to students. Our digital-first model lowers prices for students and, over time, increases our revenues. By providing better value to students, they have less reason to turn to the secondary market. This will create a more predictable, visible revenue stream with a better quality of earnings that enables us to serve the needs of learners and customers more effectively.”

“Our digital courseware makes learning more active, engaging and immersive, improving outcomes for students and their teachers, and helping college leaders meet the growing demand for lifelong learning.”

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This week in Literature and Arts

Happy birthday to Linda Marie Ronstadt, born July 15, 1946 in Tucson, Arizona. How much did we love this raven goddess back in the day!

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July 16, 1951: Little Brown publishes J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

If Holden were around today would he be on Facebook, tweet selfies, or would he deem it all phony? No matter, he either jumped out a window or drank himself to death years ago.

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