Book of the Week: A Curious Host by Nanette L. Avery

No Shelf Required is an ardent supporter of independent authors around the world producing their work on their own terms and with their own resources. In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews of a wide variety of titles published on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s pick, a novel by a Nashville-based writer, educator, and researcher.

A Curious Host

 

About Author

Nnanette-averyanette L. Avery lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is a writer, educator, and researcher. Her first novel, Orphans in America, was named a “Best Indie Book” by Kirkus and “A Reviewer’s Choice Indie Book” by Foreword Reviews.

 

 

 


About BlueInk Review

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 & Arts

We are pleased to introduce a  new column on No Shelf Required: This Week in Literature and Arts. The idea is simple: each week, writer Michael Rogers (with a long history of book reviewing and reporting) highlights what happened in the world of literature, publishing, and the arts that week. It’s a trip down memory lane of sorts, and it’s meant to both inform and entertain.

Since NSR is the portal that celebrates all things related to human creativity in digital format (and this includes books and various media) and since it’s also become an advocate for free access to all forms of human expression online, it is only fitting that we embrace a column which celebrates literary and cultural accomplishments through the ages. It’s a great way for us all to refresh our memory and learn something new. And when Michael is writing, we are sure to learn. Enjoy this week’s compilation (and do follow Michael’s phenomenal ‘it happened today’ daily updates on Facebook). Ed.


October 30, 1938

Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre’s presentation of Howard Koch’s radio dramatization of H.W. Wells’s “The War of the Worlds” sends the nation—already on edge with the European war—into a panic with countless armed citizens coast-to-coast barricading themselves in their homes or taking to the roads in hopes of outrunning the invading Martian machines. Simply amazing, and more than 75 years later the original broadcast holds up marvelously. Wonderfully entertaining and effective still.

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A young doctor’s meager practice providing the time to scratch a creative itch leads to the world’s first consulting detective and his friend and Boswell whose singular exploits are collected in “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” published this day in 1892. The significance of the Baker Street ménage cannot be overestimated. Bravo, Arthur.

sherlock-holmes


November 1, 1940

Bud Abbot and Lou Costello jump from radio to the big screen with the release of “A Night in the Tropics,” a romantic-comedy-musical starring Allan Jones, Robert Cummings, and Nancy Kelly. Bud and Lou sported minor roles but generated enough laughs to convince Universal to spotlight them in their own films; three months later “Buck Privates” hit theaters.

one-night-in-the-tropics


Happy birthday to poet, novelist, journalist, and Jersey boy Stephen Crane, born in Newark this day in 1871. If you haven’t read him in awhile, treat yourself to “The Open Boat” or one of his other fine stories. It always shocks that he wrote “The Red Badge of Courage,” which catapulted his career, without ever having served in the army much less fought in combat. A good bullshiter!

stephen-crane


Bad breath and worse manners climbed to new heights this day in 1954 with the release of “Godzilla.” While the film was screened in certain Japanese-heavy areas of the U.S., additional footage starring Raymond Burr was shot for a broader American release two years later. Happy anniversary, big guy!

godzilla


Michael Rogers 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.

 

A time to (finally) incorporate indie eBooks into library catalogs

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By Emilie Hancock


It’s no secret that technology has impacted reading. As eReading has become more prevalent, readers demand publications in both print and digital formats. Not only has that thirst for varied formats allowed greater freedom for how and when we read — devouring short serials on the bus or listening to audiobooks while running, for instance — it has also allowed more freedom in what, or who, we read. In addition to books available from big publishers, digital publishing has seemingly conjured scores of indie and self-published books out of the shadows. And judging by the success of Hugh Howey and CJ Lyons, among others, readers are happy to include indie books along with those from big-name presses.

However, while most libraries around the country meet patrons’ digital demands by lending eBooks, many have historically been  less than enthusiastic about the idea of adopting indie eBooks. That has been changing in major urban libraries and in the thought leadership of the library world, with good reason. By examining evidence around the consumer demand and affordability of indie eBooks versus eBooks from traditional publishers, we can demonstrate how incorporating indie eBooks into libraries’ catalogs can be good for both patrons and libraries.

The Rise of eReading in Libraries

Libraries have come a long way since the early days of limited archives etched into tablets — made of clay, not pixels and paper — shared with a select group of elite society. 18th-century France ushered in the truly democratized library as we know it today, with the Bibliothèque Nationale offering hundreds of thousands of printed books and manuscripts to the general public, regardless of financial means or education. Since then, libraries have strived to keep up with and serve public interests, including one of the more recent developments spawned by the digital age: eReading.

In addition to print books, patrons also read digitally. Not surprisingly, a rise in the number of devices that Americans own has corresponded to a rise in eReading. What’s more, while the number of people who use dedicated eReaders has stabilized, the number who read eBooks on multipurpose devices like tablets and cellphones has increased substantially, signaling greater diversity in people who read eBooks.

In response to the rising popularity of eReading, 90% of public libraries offer eBook lending services, a statistic that would make the folks behind the American Library Association’s Libraries Transform campaign smile proudly. Additionally, the outlook for eBook presence in libraries is positive. eBook circulation increased 12% from 2013 to 2014, and libraries expect circulation to continue to rise at a similar rate. Plus, readers of all ages are continuing to turn to libraries for eBooks, a fact demonstrated by the vast majority of libraries that are experiencing increased demand for adult, young adult and children’s eBooks in libraries.

Incorporating the Indie Book Movement

Despite libraries’ adoption of eReading, the gap between the number they circulate versus the number of eBooks that are procured via direct purchase is profound. U.S. eBook sales for Amazon alone are at over 1,000,000 units a day and growing, while a 2015 Library Journal (LJ) report shows that the average annual number of eBooks that all of the libraries in the United States lended in 2014 was only 75,600 per day. If librarians turn to patron demand to guide which materials to add and keep in circulation, it would come as no surprise that, historically, the eBooks that libraries choose to lend have often overlapped with those sold by big publishers. After all, purchases reflect readers’ demands.

However, eBook purchases also reflect big publishers’ agendas, which entail aggressive pushes to meet a bottom line that, ironically, conflicts with libraries’ missions to lend books at no cost to the public. On top of that, eBooks by big publishers often cost just as much as or more than their print counterparts and come with usage-based price inflations and restrictions — more irony, considering eBooks don’t experience physical wear and tear.

Luckily, eBooks don’t just facilitate reading. They also make publishing and author discovery easier, a truth to which scores of indie and self-published authors who use library-oriented programs like Pressbooks Public and SELF-e can attest. In fact, so many indie eBooks have now permeated the market that readers are no longer forced to rely on Big Five publishers to find books. Just as libraries democratized who could take advantage of their book lending services, indie and self-publishing have democratized the book market by expanding the selection of books available to consumers beyond big publishers.

Understandably, some readers have been skeptical about the quality of writing that comes with the ease of self-publishing. Less understandably, the same readers sometimes fail to apply that same cautious approach to traditionally published books — many of which are subpar in the eyes of librarians — based on the argument that indie books don’t have esteemed third-party approval. But what indie authors lack in publisher support, they often make up for in sheer reader support. The success of authors who started by self-publishing, like Hugh Howey, CJ Lyons and others, more than proves their worth for readers, and now their books are part of library catalogues across the nation.

Truth be told, readers have been eagerly devouring indie eBooks with increasing enthusiasm, while traditionally published eBook sales are declining. The most recent Author Earnings report, which measures the health of the book market based on profits made by authors rather than publishers, shows that the number of indie eBooks sold has increased by about 15 percentage points in just over two years. During the same time period, the number of eBooks sold that was published by the Big Five has plummeted about 20 percentage points. It’s no mystery why libraries would want to purchase bestsellers for their patrons, but adding indie eBooks to their virtual shelves would please both their patrons and their purses. Not only are they growing in popularity among readers, but they also come at a fraction of the cost of traditionally-published books and are typically free of baggage like restricted usage policies and outrageous price inflations.

The call for libraries to offer more indie eBooks by no means signals an either/or stance on whether to offer traditionally published or self-published eBooks. Just as libraries have adapted to patrons’ desires to read digitally by lending both eBooks and print books, they can respond to patrons’ demands for eBooks by indie authors by adding them to their circulation mix. Considering that readers are the ones to dictate an indie author’s success, libraries have much to gain by challenging themselves to base more acquisitions on a perspective that considers an author’s success among readers.


Emilie Hancock is Content and Media Editor at BiblioLabs, the creators of BiblioBoard. She is the founder of Books Unbound, a literacy program for incarcerated teens in South Carolina. She lives with her husband and their two bossy dogs, and is a patron of the Charleston County Public Library.

Open Access Week: Knowledge Unlatched launches institutional usage reports and will partner with Language Science Press

Great news during this Open Access Week – Knowledge Unlatched will partner with Language Science Press .  The full press release is below.  Additionally, KU announced today the launch of its institutional usage reports.  More on this feature can be found on the KU press release.  From the PR:  “The reports are based on institutional IP addresses using COUNTER-compliant data provided by one of KU’s official hosting platforms, OAPEN. Until now, KU has been publishing aggregated reports for the Pilot Collection only.” Continue reading Open Access Week: Knowledge Unlatched launches institutional usage reports and will partner with Language Science Press

News Roundup [October 7]

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Watching Pirate Streams Isn’t Illegal, EU Commission Argues (Torrent Freak)

Google experiments with book discovery…and fails (The Average Joe)

Amazon Removes Titles from Kindle Unlimited in Japan, and No One Knows Why (The Digital Reader)

New Research Article: “Is the Digital Talking Book Program Meeting Librarian and Patron Expectations?” (Infodocket)

More Than 500,000 Books From Benson Latin American Collection (U. of Texas Libraries) Now Available via HathiTrust (Infodocket)

Comixology Is Starting Its Own Line of Exclusive Comics (io9)

First Book Partners with Reading Rainbow to Offer Acclaimed Skybrary to Educators Serving Kids in Need (PR Newswire)

‘Spoken Editions’ Section Makes Official Debut on iTunes (Macstories)

Amazon is Now Collecting 15% Tax on eBooks Sold in New Zealand (The Digital Reader)

TeleRead, the world’s oldest ebook news and views site, makes the Library of Congress Web archives (Teleread)

Kindle Unlimited a Victim of Its own Success in Japan? (The Digital Reader)

Hachette Audio Partners with Booktrack on YA Audiobooks (Digital Book World)

Bowker Now Cites at Least 625,327 US Indie Books Published in 2015  (Publishing Perspectives)

Amazon introduces Prime Reading…and hits a sweet spot for many consumers (I Love My Kindle)

Smashwords Enhances Coupon Manager Tool (Digital Book World)

Introducing Prime Reading – The Newest Benefit for Prime Members (Amazon)

New York Public Library Digitizes 137 Years of New York City Directories (Library Stuff)

E-Book Retail Platform Offers Choice of Watermarking or DRM (Copyright and Technology)

ProQuest Makes English Book Archive Available for Japanese Researchers (InfoToday)

News Roundup [September 30]

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eBooks Die While Used Print Book Sales Live On (It Didn’t Have to be That Way (Digital Reader)

Explore 5,300 Rare Manuscripts Digitized by the Vatican: From The Iliad & Aeneid, to Japanese & Aztec Illustrations (Open Culture)

New Data on Use of Public Libraries, Reading Habits, and Bookstores in U.S. (Infodocket)

Stop Kidding Yourself: The ABA Does Not Represent Indie Booksellers (The Digital Reader)

Mozilla trolls the EU’s nonsensical copyright laws with classic memes (The Next Web)

U.S. Copyright Office Seeks Additional Comments For Section 1201 Study (Infodocket)

Reading by Ear (Why audiobook listening expands, rather than derails, our access to literature) (No Shelf Required)

Revealed: How one Amazon Kindle scam made millions of dollars (Zdnet)

Academic Ebook Sales Flat, Preference for E-Reference Up (Library Journal)

Smashwords Coupons Enhanced to Enable More Flexible Book Promotions (Smashwords Blog)

Institutions as a market for digital magazines (Talking New Media)

Materials From Negro Leagues Added to New Baseball Hall of Fame Digital Archive (Infodocket)

Bestseller analysis: Amazon doesn’t need tradpubs…much (I Love My Kindle)

Edition Digital to offer NGOs free use of its Smart Digital Publishing System (Talking New Media)

For many legacy news organizations in Europe, digital disruption comes with new ideas but few answers (Nieman Lab)

Kobo Expands Into Taiwan (The Digital Reader)

Research: Movie Piracy Hurts Sales, But Not Always (Torrent Freak)

AAP: eBook Sales, Publisher Revenues Down in First Third of 2016 (The Digital Reader)

Book of the Week: Didn’t Get Frazzled by David Z. Hirsch

No Shelf Required is an ardent supporter of independent authors around the world producing their work on their own terms and with their own resources. In an effort to draw attention to quality independent literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews of a wide variety of titles published on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s pick, a debut novel by a Maryland physician.

Didn’t Get Frazzled

About Author

frazzledDavid Z. Hirsch is a practicing physician in Maryland who uses a pen name; he notes that he prefers to keep his professional work and writing life separate and feels that there is  more freedom with writing anonymously. Didn’t Get Frazzled is his first novel.

 

 


About BlueInk Review

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.

Reading by Ear (Why audiobook listening expands, rather than derails, our access to literature)

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This post introduces an ongoing series discussing audiobooks as a medium through which contemporary readers are invited to explore literary culture, performance arts, and multimodal literacy capacity building. We begin with addressing why audiobook listening expands, rather than derails, our access to literature.

Part 1 of 3: Who’s the Model Reader?

We seem to be in the throes of a season of debate about whether audiobook listening can be equated with reading print. Several readers who enjoy listening couple that statement with another that notes they feel “ashamed” or “guilty” for taking pleasure in such literary participation. Print readers who advertise how they are “against” audiobooks note that they themselves read print books with no other accompanying activity while only listen when otherwise engaged; that they don’t attend to detailed passages when they are “only” hearing them. There are even the overly self-confident naysayers who forthrightly declare that those other people who suggest listening to books is participating in literary culture are either pranking themselves or spreading a vile cancer upon the literary landscape. Continue reading Reading by Ear (Why audiobook listening expands, rather than derails, our access to literature)

News Roundup [September 23, 2016]

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How a café in Croatia became an open virtual library (and what it teaches us about the future of books) (No Shelf Required)

Kindle Unlimited Funding Increases Slightly in August 2016 (The Digital Reader)

Research Tools: USDA Releases New Database with Nutrition Info For Over 80,000 Brand Name Food Products (Infodocket)

Kobo Aura 2016 vs. Kobo Glo HD vs. Kindle Paperwhite (comparison) (Password Incorrect)

The Kindle Reading Fund will make books more accessible around the world (Ebook Friendly)

Creative Commons licenses under scrutiny—what does “noncommercial” mean? (Ars Technica)

Download our new #Frankfurt @Book_Fair preview magazine free (Publishing Perspectives)

2016 Trend Report: What publishers need to know (The Average Joe)

Copyright Is Not an Inevitable or Divine Right, Court Rules (Torrent Freak)

e-Book Cover Design Awards, August 2016 (The Book Designer)

Comic Book Readers Still Prefer Print Over Digital (InfoDocket)

Facebook begins using artificial intelligence to describe photos to blind users (The Verge)

NSR Post: A time to soar above the level plain of tradition (No Shelf Required)

New Partnership between EBSCO and Mackin Makes Accessing eBooks Easier for Schools (Library Stuff)

Google Books will now make better suggestions on what to read next (Techcrunch)

Former Disney Digital Boss Says He “Loves Piracy” (Torrent Freak)

Keio University Offers “Introduction to Japanese Subcultures Post-1970” Online Course For Free (Crunchyroll)

Stop Piracy? Legal Alternatives Beat Legal Threats, Research Shows (Torrent Freak)

Students and universities set to reap the benefits of market-leading e-book pilot (JISC)

Aberystwyth University share their digital storytelling experiences (JISC)

How a café in Europe became an open virtual library (and what it teaches us about the future of books)

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No Shelf Required announced on Thursday that Café Velvet in Zagreb, Croatia, opened its doors on September 22 with a new mission: to not only serve first-rate coffee and cake but to allow its guests to access a Virtual Library of 100,000 (and counting) titles in several languages and to read to their hearts’ desire (using an access code) without paying for any of it. In other words, Café Velvet is the world’s first Café turned into a Free Reading Zone.

How do I know it’s the first? Because I run this initiative, and this was the first time we turned a café into a Free Reading ZoneSM —the kind your local library simply wouldn’t be able to pull off without the right technology. Allow me to share the story behind how it all came together and why I think the Velvet story serves to remind us that books are asking (begging, in fact) to be read freely online, just like we enjoy all other creative mediums in digital format for free (music, articles, news stories, etc.). And that the whole world, it seems, is waiting for us—the book industry—to get our act together so that books in digital format can realize their full potential.

In the beginning

As fate would have it, I met Yoav Lorch, CEO and Founder of Total Boox, in 2013. At the time, Total Boox was a new entrant into the ebook market and a company from Israel on a mission to change the world of reading. How, I asked him. Simple, he said. “We will make all of the world’s books available for reading upfront (by asking publishers to give us their entire catalogs; no buying in advance), we will expose them for reading, and we will pay publishers for what was actually read. We will charge readers (or whoever pays for the reading) only for what was read (not downloaded).” In other words, books and knowledge will flow in all directions, and readers will be in charge of what they want to read (not publishers or libraries).

I remember our meeting like it was yesterday. We set in a café right across the street from the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and he offered me the job of helping Total Boox build a collection of titles that would be always available for reading. No restrictions. No barriers. No expirations. Little did we know then that a few years later, we’d be turning cafes around the world (like the one we were siting in that day) into Free Reading Zones and open virtual libraries using the brilliant ebook model he came up with. And little did we know that neither of us would be in New York to do it. Continue reading How a café in Europe became an open virtual library (and what it teaches us about the future of books)

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