Pixel Scroll 10/5/20 Clem Kapixelscroller

(1) LIBRARY EBOOKS. According to WIRED: “Publishers Worry as Ebooks Fly off Libraries’ Virtual Shelves”.

BEFORE SARAH ADLER moved to Maryland last week, she used library cards from her Washington, DC, home and neighboring counties in Virginia and Maryland to read books online. The Libby app, a slick and easy-to-use service from the company OverDrive, gave her access to millions of titles. When she moved, she picked up another card, and access to another library’s e-collection, as well as a larger consortium that the library belongs to. She does almost all of her reading on her phone, through the app, catching a page or two between working on her novels and caring for her 2-year-old. With her husband also at home, she’s been reading more books, mostly historical romance and literature, during the pandemic. In 2020, she estimates, she’s read 150 books.

Adler buys books “rarely,” she says, “which I feel bad about. As someone who hopes to be published one day, I feel bad not giving money to authors.”

Borrowers like Adler are driving publishers crazy. After the pandemic closed many libraries’ physical branches this spring, checkouts of ebooks are up 52 percent from the same period last year, according to OverDrive, which partners with 50,000 libraries worldwide. Hoopla, another service that connects libraries to publishers, says 439 library systems in the US and Canada have joined since March, boosting its membership by 20 percent….

… But the surging popularity of library ebooks also has heightened longstanding tensions between publishers, who fear that digital borrowing eats into their sales, and public librarians, who are trying to serve their communities during a once-in-a-generation crisis….

(2) HOLD THAT SANDWORM! Collider reports “Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ Movie Is Moving to Late 2021”.

It seems the spice won’t flow until next year, as Warner Bros. and Legendary are moving Denis Villeneueve‘s Dune off its December release date and will unveil the epic sci-fi movie on Oct. 1, 2021, Collider has exclusively learned.

(3) WORLD FANTASY CON PR#3 AVAILABLE. The virtual World Fantasy Convention (October 29-November 1) has released its third Progress Report [PDF file].

In it you will find…

– an update on the program and schedule
– a description of our online and mobile platform
– information about the convention time zone
– pre-convention sessions by some awesome instructors, available to all attendees 
– exciting news about the free books available to all participating members
– a beautiful piece of artwork by our Artist Guest of Honor, David A. Cherry

(4) FANS ARE WHERE YOU FIND THEM. [Item by Rich Lynch.] Nicki noticed, on the Good Morning America broadcast, that their medical advisor, Dr. James Phillips, appears to be a Star Wars trufan.  On his wall bookshelf behind him were Princess Leia and Han Solo bookends, between which were various Star Wars books and DVDs.  And to the left of the bookshelf was a framed photo of Chewbacca. “Walter Reed attending physician calls out Trump’s irresponsibility”

(5) NEW FREE GUY TRAILER. Meanwhile, Ryan Reynolds’ video game movie is still due to open December 11.

In Twentieth Century Studios’ epic adventure-comedy “Free Guy,” a bank teller who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game, decides to become the hero of his own story…one he rewrites himself. Now in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way…before it is too late.

(6) REINING IN MAGICAL REALISM. Fernando Sdrigotti explains “What We Talk About When We Talk About Magical Realism” at LA Review of Books.

… I do not expect everyone to be aware of the many differences between Latin American people, the contrasting cultures and literatures of each country. I do not bother trying to convince anyone that it would be highly unlikely for Argentines (like myself) to make much of the words “magical realism” when thinking about our own contribution to letters. But I have no qualms in declaring that this label isn’t in any way useful to explain all of the fiction produced south of Texas, as so many have tried to do, forcing the most disparate authors into this pigeonhole. And to raise the ante even more, I’d happily die on the hill which declares that magical realism doesn’t even say that much about the region’s fertile literary production, beyond what it might say about a handful of authors, mostly around the Boom of the ’60s, plus their disciples. [2] In other words, the Latin American titles that would be shelved under the category of magical realism — without resistance from producers, critics, or well-informed readers — would represent a rather limited sample, if we consider contemporary and historical examples, regardless of originality and literary quality. [3]

But we are talking about a very powerful Force (uppercase intended). The “magical realist imperative,” critic Sylvia Molloy calls it, understanding that this is a label but also a demand: the demand that Latin American literature fit the label. This sounds circular, like the Chicken or Egg Paradox, and paradoxes are confusing. To make it simpler, for simple it is, it all boils down to: “If it comes from Latin America, it has to be magical realism, in some way, even if it looks like something completely different.” Needless to say, this results in terrible reductions. It has “wreaked havoc,” as Jorge Volpi puts it without much exaggeration, for it has “erased, with a single [stroke], all of Latin America’s previous explorations […] and it became a choke-chain for those writers who didn’t show any interest in magic.”

(7) THE SKY’S THE LIMIT. The Constelación Magazine Kickstarter has reached 40% of its goal with 26 days to go.

The magazine will open for submissions on October 15.

The theme for our first issue is The Bonds That Unite Us:

Constellations are the product of human imagination, giving meaning to the patterns we see in the sky. From these scintillating dots lighting up the night, we’ve created stories about heroes, legends, and mythological creatures. We created those bonds, and we give them meaning.

Each culture that has looked up at the sky with wonder has its own interpretation of these connections, and now we want to hear yours. What are the bonds that unite our cultures and languages around the world? How are these bonds formed, and what upholds them? How can they be broken and forged again? What unites an alien civilization to humankind? What ties the dragon to the unicorn and prevents it from making a meal out of her?

Sometimes these bonds are ones of blood. (Vampire tastes may vary.) Sometimes they’re shaped by shows of courage and strength, and the common struggles we face. These bonds can topple walls and bring down civilizations, and sometimes they’re the foundation for something new.  

The theme is open to interpretation, as long as the stories fit under the speculative fiction umbrella. 

(8) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.

  • October 10, 1962 – The first James Bond movie premiered.
  • October 10, 2007 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising premiered. It’s based rather loosely  on the second book in Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series. (Cooper has a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.)  It was directed by David L. Cunningham and produced by Marc Platt from a screenplay by John Hodge. It starred Alexander Ludwig, Christopher Eccleston, Frances Conroy and Ian McShane. The Jim Henson Company owned the original film option on the series but never exercised it. Critics generally didn’t like it though they really loved Christopher Eccleston’s performance. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a thirty three percent rating. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born October 5, 1882 – Robert Goddard, Ph.D.  Built the first liquid-fueled rocket, a vital development.  Worked out the math himself.  Two hundred patents.  Had little public support; ridiculed.  Decades later NASA Goddard Space Flight Center named for him; Int’l Aerospace Hall of Fame; Int’l Space Hall of Fame.  (Died 1945) [JH]
  • Born October 5, 1889 – Robert Jones.  A hundred covers, almost as many interiors.  Here is the Oct 46 Amazing.  Here is the Apr 50 Fantastic.  Here is the Jul 53 Other Worlds.  Here is the May 54 Universe.  (Died 1969) [JH]
  • Born October 5, 1897 – George Salter.  Thirty covers for us, hundreds more outside our field; distinctive with us, pioneering with others.  Here is the Fall 50 F&SF.  Here is The Trial.  Here is Atlas Shrugged.  Here is Brighton Rock.  Here is Absalom, Absalom!  See this Website.  (Died 1967) [JH]
  • Born October 5, 1923 – Tetsu Yano.  First Japanese SF author to visit the U.S.  Three hundred fifty translations, Heinlein, Herbert, Pohl.  His own novella “Legend of the Paper Spaceship” often translated (English 1983), anthologized.  Big Heart, our highest service award.  (Died 2004) [JH]
  • Born October 5, 1949 Peter Ackroyd, 71. His best known genre work is likely Hawksmoor which tells the tale of a London architect building a church and a contemporary detective investigating horrific murderers involving that church. Highly recommended. The House of Doctor Dee is genre fiction as is The Limehouse Golem and The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein.  I thought Hawksmoor had been turned into a film — it has not but he has a credit for The Limehouse Golem which is his sole film work to date. (CE) 
  • Born October 5, 1950 Jeff Conaway. Babylon 5 has seen a lot of actors die young and he was one of them. He played Zack Allan, a security officer promoted to Chief of Security upon the resignation of Michael Garibaldi. Other genre roles including being in Pete’s Dragon as Willie Gogan, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark as Travis, Alien Intruder as Borman and the Wizards and Warriors series as Prince Erik Greystone. (Died 2011.) (CE) 
  • Born October 5, 1952 Clive Barker, 68. Horror writer, series include the Hellraiser and the Book of Art which is not to overlook The Abarat Quintet which is quite superb. Though not recent, The Essential Clive Barker: Selected Fiction published some twenty years ago contains more than seventy excerpts from novels and plays and four full-length short stories. His Imaginer series collects his decidedly strange and often disturbing art.  There has been a multitude of comic books, both by him and by others based on his his ideas.  My personal fav work by him is the Weaveworld novel. (CE) 
  • Born October 5, 1959 Rich Horton, 61. Editor of three anthology series — Fantasy: Best of The Year and Science Fiction: Best of The Year both no longer being published, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy which is ongoing since 2009. He has been a reviewer for Locus for over a decade. (CE)
  • Born October 5, 1967 Jenna Russell, 53. She appeared as the Floor Manager in the Ninth Doctor stories “Bad Wolf” and “The Parting of the Ways”. She sang the Red Dwarf theme song,the recording that has been used for all of the show’s series over the last thirty years. She also plays the Baker’s Wife in the film version of Into The Woods. In the 1998 London revival production of it, she played Cinderella. (CE) 
  • Born October 5, 1974 Colin Meloy, 46. He’s best known as the frontman of the The Decemberists, a band that makes use of folklore quite a bit,  but he has also written the neat and charmingly weird children’s  fantasy Wildwood trilogy which is illustrated by his wife, Carson Ellis. (CE)
  • Born October 5, 1971 – Paul Weimer, 49.  (Name rhymes with “dreamer”) Writer, roleplayer, podcaster, photographer, often seen here.  The Skiffy and Fanty Show since 2013.  Hundreds of reviews and articles for SF Signal 2011-2015.  Tor Website reviews.  DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) delegate; trip report What I Did on My Summer Vacation. [JH]
  • Born October 5, 1979 – Grace Krilanovich, 41.  The Orange Eats Creeps an Amazon Book of the Year.  MacDowell Colony Fellow.  In 2010 a Nat’l Book Fdn “5 Under 35” honoree.  An interview here. [JH]

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) MARVEL’S 616 TRAILER. Yahoo! News took a look at “Marvel’s 616 at PaleyFest Fall TV Previews 2020”. All episodes available for streaming November 20 on Disney+.

Topics include: exploring how Marvel and the outside world have influenced one another; the series’ eight episodes as discrete films with different styles and visions; the Marvel Spotlight program, which helps to craft plays for high school students, as seen in Brie’s episode; highlighting “Japanese Spider-Man,” the 1970s kids’ TV series that reinterpreted the webslinger for Japanese audiences; tracking down information and interviewees for the extremely niche show, never before seen in the West; the “616” title, which refers to the many realities within the Marvel multiverse; and creating space for comic book newcomers and veterans alike to see themselves reflected in the stories.

(12) THE HOLE EARTH CATALOG. Futurism thinks they know where this idea got started: “Strange Research Paper Claims There’s a Black Hole at the Center of the Earth”.

…When researchers dug the paper up this week — it was published about a year ago, but attracted little attention until now — they expressed consternation about both the contents of the paper and how it ended up in what appears to be a vaguely credible scientific journal. The bylines on the paper do appear to correspond to actual researchers at a variety of European universities. But its claims, about a black hole formed by something “like DNA,” are hilariously tabloid-esque.

… The most likely explanation, according to Cambridge University mathematician Sarah Rasmussen, is that the authors purposely submitted a ridiculous paper in order to expose “predatory journals” that purport to be normal, peer-reviewed publications, but in reality apply little scrutiny to material that they publish, often in order to collect publication fees.

(13) AIRLESS TRAFFIC CONTROL. “Satellite swarms as a service? IBM announces open-source projects to increase access to space”TechRepublic has the story.

Access to orbit around Earth was once limited to a handful of space agencies around the globe. With the proliferation of spacefaring technologies and cost-efficient craft, low-Earth orbit (LEO)—the sliver of space extending to 1,200 miles above our planet—is now an increasingly populous mix of private and public interests. Today, LEO is brimming with government craft, commercial programs, university undertakings, venture capital funding, and more.

On Thursday, IBM announced two open-source projects in an effort to “democratize access” to space technologies and help track the debris field orbiting overhead. We spoke with Naeem Altaf, IBM Distinguished Engineer and CTO of space tech, to learn more about these programs.

… To assist, IBM has created the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) project, operated in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin, which leverages two models to monitor space debris. The physics-based SSA model incorporates Cowell’s formulation to model “perturbation” space debris orbit “caused by the Earth.”

A second model uses machine learning to predict errors in orbit predictions using XGBoost gradient-boosted regression trees, per the IBM release. With USSTRATCOM data acting as “the ground truth,” the machine learning model is trained using the physical model’s orbit predictions to predict errors in the physics model.

(14) IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A… SYFY Wire knows its dino plumage: “After 159 Years, An Archaeopteryx Is Thought To Have Shed The First Fossil Feather Ever Found”.

How much can just one feather reveal—especially if that feather is a fossil that drifted to the ground sometime during the Jurassic era?

Archaeopteryx is the earliest known bird that is thought to have looked mostly birdlike with some dinosaurian features. When a fossilized feather was first unearthed near Berlin 159 years ago, it sparked a debate over whether it was really molted by the extinct Archaeopteryx or some yet-unknown feathered dinosaur species. Now that a team of paleontologists from the University of South Florida have analyzed the feather, its attributes have shown that it is more likely to have come from an Archaeopteryx than any other creature.

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” on ScreenRant, Ryan George explains that even though the Percy Jackson movie has scenes in a magic school called “Camp Halfblood,” the film has absolutely nothing to do with the Harry Potter series.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, N., Daniel Dern, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jeff Smith.]

57 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/5/20 Clem Kapixelscroller

  1. (8) I like Eccleston, but not enough to watch a nonfaithful rendition of The Dark is Rising (a book I adored as a kid).

  2. (1) mind you, I believe her estimate of 150 books read this year so far. What flabbergasts me is how anyone can do this. Doesn’t she have a job? And a social life? Does she read nothing but the shortest books? 150 comes out to a little more than a book every two days. Hats off to her; for me, it’s more like a book every two weeks.

  3. Miles Carter: Yeah, somebody could read 150 books up to now. I don’t have an exact count of how many I need to add to my Goodreads total of 77 (some Hugo packet downloads, and some paper books), but I might be around 90 myself. A much more relentless reader could hit 150.

  4. I’ve been reading around 120-140 books a year since I started tracking more than a dozen years ago; currently at 99 for 2020. I’m sure there are lots of people who read more than I do.

    9) I’ve read quite a bit of Peter Ackroyd’s work and enjoyed most of what I’ve read. Many of his novels have genre elements.

  5. 6) I took a course in magic realism back in undergrad and I never got the idea that everything Latin American belonged in that category. That’s terribly lazy thinking.

    9) Totes agree that Weaveworld is my favorite Barker, but then again I don’t do horror often.

  6. @Miles —

    (1) mind you, I believe her estimate of 150 books read this year so far. What flabbergasts me is how anyone can do this.

    I’ve read 88 since April 12 (I use a weird system — I start a new spreadsheet after each Hugo nomination deadline). That’s 6 months. So, right around 14 per month, give or take. Last month was slow, though — only 7, I think. Almost all of my “reading” is through audio, which does make a difference — I could never read nearly that much eyes-on-the-page.

    Also: Happy Birthday, Paul!

  7. Paul Weimer, 49. (Name rhymes with “dreamer”)

    I’ve never had someone remember my pronunciation that way before. I’m charmed by it too.
    (also WHY DIDN’T I EVER THINK OF THIS?!?!)

    And if that bio wasn’t enough:

    Hugo Finalist Best Fan Writer this year.
    Articles and reviews at Nerds of a Feather
    I also podcast at SFF Audio frequently.

    I…am a lot.

    And thank you Bonnie 🙂

  8. (12) I think “exposing the predatory journal” is a charitable take on what those authors were doing.

  9. @ Mike

    No no, you’ve never heard of Lot 49…..

    [Whispers in to the headset: Check the brainwipers dammit!]

  10. 189 books read so far this year but it and 2019 were off years for some reason.

    I used to read a lot more books 40 years ago but books were shorter then so the page count might be about the same.

    Speaking of reading material, there’s a lot of Girl Genius material in this week’s Bundle of Holding. Which is here, he said belatedly adding the link.

  11. I saw a version of Macbeth that originally aired on Great Performances in 2010 and was a BBC film directed by Rupert Goold based on a Chicester Theatre production that played off-Broadway in 2009. Patrick Stewart was Macbeth and he was great but Kate Fleetwood is also very good as Lady Macbeth. The premise is that this is some sort of Soviet state experiencing revolution. The premise mostly works. This is on the PBS website until the end of the year and is well worth 2 1/2 hours.

  12. Miles Carter: mind you, I believe her estimate of 150 books read this year so far. What flabbergasts me is how anyone can do this. Doesn’t she have a job? And a social life?

    It depends on what choices a person is able (and willing) to make for the way they spend their time.

    I work a full-time job. I’ve read around 125 novels and novellas this year, plus a scattering of short fiction. Plus reading File 770 every day and participating in the community here, keeping up with various favorite news sites and blogs, socializing (mostly online) with friends, and trying to exercise several nights a week. I’ve also spent a considerable amount of time writing up 2020 posts for File 770 including the Eligible Series, Novellapalooza, and the Short and Long Form Editor and Professional Artist lists, and contributing online volunteer work to 4 other organizations.

    I don’t currently have a partner or dependents, I made the deliberate choice not to let my time get sucked down the videogame hole, and I rarely watch TV. I strictly limit the amount of time I spend on Facebook and Twitter.

    I typically read more than 150 novels and novellas a year. (Before File 770, it was usually more than 200, but I’m okay with the reallocation of that time.)

    It’s all in what other non-optional obligations you have, and how you choose to spend your time.

  13. (9) According to both Wikipedia and the Japanese Science Fiction anthology I have, it’s Tetsu Yano, not Tetsuo.

  14. Counting audiobooks, I’ve read about 50 books so far in 2020. That’s lower than usual. Retiring at the end of March actually turned out to mean less time for reading. Working security, I was able to listen to audiobooks while doing door and building checks, usually 4-6 hours a night. Lunch and breaks (50 minutes per night) were when I read printed books or an occasional ebook. (The 2-hour stints I did in the guard shack most shifts were when I wrote my fiction in between logging radio calls from other guards.) (The security head knew about it and was OK with it, since he knew I was, for one, responsible, and two, the biggest problem with graveyard shift security was staying awake; the audiobooks did that for me.)

    Post-retirement, I’ve used lower-brainpower tasks like gardening work, some of the cooking, laundry, loading & unloading the dishwasher, etc., for audiobook time. Reading printed books and ebooks, and writing, are on a catch as catch can basis. Try for an hour per day for reading, don’t always manage it. The fiction writing especially has taken a hard hit. My retirement plan called for a daily hour or two using the coffee-shop/library thing for writing. Having a hard time managing any of that at home, where there are so many other things & tasks waiting/insisting to be worked on or done.

    One thing on my retirement goals has been something I’ve been doing pretty regularly: spending one or two hours most nights watching tv and/or movies. When I was working full-time, I only managed one or two hours viewing time per week, so I’m finally making some progress into the long, long list of tv & movies I haven’t watched for decades.

    One of the things I’ve watched was the HOLLYWOOD mini-series from Netflix, which veers into alternate-history territory as it progresses, but ends on more of a wish-fulfillment note that left me uneasy. I wrote a 1600-word piece about the series on my Undulant Fever blog, if anyone is interested: The “Hollywood” Ending, and a profound uneasiness. (MAJOR SPOILERS! LOTS AND LOTS OF BIG-ASS SPOILERS! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED)

  15. 9-j) I like The Decemberists a lot; their epic “The Crane Wife” is a favorite.

    A couple years ago, I drove up to Philadelphia to see them, a concert that almost killed me. We walked into the venue, showed our tickets to an usher, and he said, “Up these stairs.” So we went up those stairs, and the next set of stairs, and the next set of stairs, and the next set of stairs, and the next set of stairs. At this point I’m huffing and puffing, and I’m hoping my pacemaker is keeping up. After a brief break, up another set of stairs, to a door. At last! I open the door, and it’s another set of stairs! Two, actually. By this point, I can barely move, but I’ve reached my seat level and have collapsed on a folding chair that’s set up there for an usher. I am now in seriously bad shape, struggling to breathe, and I look next to my life-saving chair — and it’s right next to a fucking elevator! “Up these stairs,” he said.

    We’re in an old opera house, and the pitch of the seats is severe. (You might have guessed this.) At one point, Colin Meloy says, “It’s okay if you guys on the middle level want to get up and dance, but you up top, do NOT stand up! I’m afraid you’ll fall straight down onto the stage, and I don’t want you landing on top of me!”

    The funniest thing he said, though, was about the people sitting in the boxes on the stage. (Yes, there are boxes right on the stage.) “I’d like to thank you all for coming out tonight, and I’d like to especially thank the Duke of Philadelphia for taking the time to come sit in his swanky box. He’s a very busy man, so we’re especially honored that he and his staff wanted to see us. I know they’re all busy, because they haven’t been off their phones all night.”

  16. I’m currently at 161 books this year, according to my Goodreads count, which is generous if you’re at all rigorous about what constitutes a book. On the other hand it includes quite a few quite long works, as well as some very short ones.

    I am retired. I was never a very social person anyway, and now my social life consists of socially distanced visits to the dog park once or twice a week. I read and listen to audiobooks a lot, having grown up in an extended family where gathering in the den to all mostly-quietly read our books together was considered excellent family time, with popcorn and soft drinks. (See above, not very social anyway.)

  17. My reading pace is off for 2020. I never worked from home, always went in to the office. slightly less audiobooks than normal because of a lack of long trips (although I am set to finally take one next week) (also note, my trip to say goodbye to my late Mother gave me hours of audiobook listening)

  18. For light reading, I manage about two (paperback) pages a minute, which works out to about five hours for a 600 page novel in the modern padded style. That’s – say – a 45 minute train commute to work and back, plus half an hour at lunch, plus half an hour in the evening, twice, for a book every two days. Not that I manage anything like that in practice – most of the text I read is blogs, social media, and internet writing these days – but it looks like it’s possible. Even with a social life.

  19. A lot depends on the speed at which you read. I am not as fast I used to be, but do find the more I read the faster I get and can still get through a reasonable sized book in a day with ease at thirty seconds a page.
    I recall when I was at university the exams were held at the end of the year over a four week period. My subject had all its exams at the beginning of the period so I had three free weeks when everyone else was still in exam mode. I read a lot at that time. I was able to polish off five books a day for three weeks.
    More recently (about twenty years ago) I tried to read a Robert Silverberg novel in less than an hour. I failed, it took me eighty minutes.
    I also recall reading somewhere that William Gladstone (19th Century British Prime Minister) read 20,000 books in his lifetime and he can’t have had that much free time.

  20. I’m at 80 books this year so far. I normally read 150 books a year so this year is behind. Normally, I get 2+ hours on the bus to and from work plus lunch, it’s been hard to replace that. I’ve started listening to podcasts instead, those seem to work better at home. Plus I’m doing cross stitch again

  21. Shrug. I read about 150-200 books a year, but I’m also a fast reader. That said, this often does include research reading for the current writing project–sometimes more, sometimes less. Among other things, a big chunk of my reading happens at night before bed, when I’m decompressing from screens.

    I don’t watch a lot of TV and I don’t game.

  22. 1) As someone who also has cards at multiple libraries and usually has my ebook holds and checkouts maxed out, I can guarantee the publishers are making more money off of me this year than they have in the past. I am one of those people who read a lot — I don’t keep count, but a quick look at my last two weeks of ebooks returned in Libby shows 26 read and that is light for me as I’ve been spending excessive amounts of time online again. I’m just reading more ebooks instead of the print books I also checked out pre-pandemic, I suspect the publishers are making more on the licensing on those ebooks than they did on the print books as libraries have to buy titles again after a certain number of checkouts (and keep in mind they charge libraries a lot more for both formats).

    I’ve also continued to buy books by the authors I always buy books from, and have spent more on ebooks to get past long holds on some books in a series, as I’ve found a lot of authors I wasn’t aware of and have been binge-reading, thanks to maxing out my ebook holds and having to explore more. For example, I bought several titles of the The Chronicles of St Mary’s series to avoid having to wait or because they weren’t available through the library and had a couple lovely days of immersion reading that was well-worth it. I never would have heard of that series if it wasn’t available from 2 of the 3 libraries I have cards for.

    Library budgets are going to be seriously hurting for the next few years and I suspect that will hurt the publishers more than they think it will as they are book buyers too — maybe some users will buy a few titles they must have to read if libraries don’t have them and they can afford it, but a lot of households aren’t going to be able to fit as many/any books in their budgets. Those of us who read a lot exist, but we are anomalies and it bothers me how much publishers view libraries as adversaries rather than customers and marketing for new readers — probably half of the ebooks I’ve bought this year were authors I had not read before finding their work in Libby when browsing for more to read. I don’t buy books without prior knowledge that I will like the author, as there are only so many books I am going to buy and I don’t want to blow that money on something that doesn’t suit my tastes.

  23. It’s not so much people reading 150 books per year, but reading 150 books per year and still commenting in File770 every day that fills me with awe.

    For me it’s a very slow reading year for various readings and I’m not even commenting here much anymore. I hang my head in Shame.

    Early one morning
    With time to kill
    I Did not check file
    Or read on a hill
    I saw The lone rider
    Crossing the screen
    I drew Some sketches
    To practice my work
    Sometimes even my day job
    Went off in my hand
    So no comments. Went out
    Across the land
    The news keep running
    My comments were dead
    I hung my head
    I hung my head

    I set off running
    To wake from the dream
    My brother’s books
    Went into the sheen
    I kept on running
    Into the south lands
    That’s where they found me
    My head in my hands
    The sheriff he asked me
    What I haven’t done
    And then it come to me
    Just what I Could have done
    And all for no reason
    Just one piece I’ve red
    I hung my head
    I hung my head

    (Ok slightly melodramatic perhaps 🙂

  24. Meredith Moment: Walter Jon Williams’ An Accidental War (Praxis #1) is currently $2.99.

  25. (1) Publishers got taken over by the entertainment industry, and no longer understand why everything being pay-per-view is not the way to a flourishing book industry. It’s not that they don’t understand the libraries pay for every copy of every ebook they lend (more than once, often, under the New Rules). It’s that they regard the ability of libraries to lend print books as a missed opportunity, and hope ebooks are a chance to correct that “mistake.”

    That libraries play a large role in cultivating new readers who become book buyers when the reach the point of having disposable income does seem quite beyond the younger generation in publishing. Perhaps too many of them grew up after cable got pervasive, and don’t remember free-to-watch over the air tv?

  26. “Over the Woodward Wall” is now available (and indeed is on my phone right now)

  27. (2) and regarding film premier reshuffling in general – no matter how much they move dates around, there’s still going to be two years worth of films competing for one year of paying customers. Some of these films I’d be perfectly happy to view via some streaming service, but the vendors (with a few exceptions) seem loathe to try it. I gotta say, I can’t blame them.

    Which brings me to (5), a film I’d not heard word one about until that trailer hit – and yeah, I want to see it in a theatre with people all around laughing their heads off. I laughed out load at least three times on seeing the trailer, as did my wife. Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joseph Keery and Taika Waititi all playing off each other? Take our money now, please.

  28. Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps is an absolutely sui generis book that manages to be compellingly readable for nearly its entire length despite not giving so much as the time of day to anything resembling conventional narration or plot. This was the first book I encountered from the doggedly independent Two Dollar Radio press and has since been joined by many others.

  29. @1
    I still feel publishers are missing the point. Not only the lendable “copies” but the price of ebooks in general. I would buy far more ebooks if the prices were lower. Not all of us have Manhattan-sized salaries. For me, buying a newspaper is a splurge.

  30. @Brown Robin
    I buy most of mine when they’re on sale. I’ll pay full price for some, though, because I don’t want to have to wait years for that sale to happen.

  31. I spent three hours this afternoon reading “Machine”, by Bear, which dropped into my library last night.

  32. That libraries play a large role in cultivating new readers who become book buyers when the reach the point of having disposable income does seem quite beyond the younger generation in publishing. Perhaps too many of them grew up after cable got pervasive, and don’t remember free-to-watch over the air tv?

    I’m somewhat dubious that this really holds true nowdays. Younger people are, in general, reading less. And younger people have already decided that music should be free. The logical progression seems to head in that direction with books.

  33. P J Evans says I spent three hours this afternoon reading “Machine”, by Bear, which dropped into my library last night.

    I envy you getting to read it now as the audiobook isn’t out until for another two weeks. I’m using the time until it is here to listen the final two novels in Dave Hutchinson’s Fractured Europe series.

  34. Andrew (not Werdna): Now I need to see if the local library has a copy.

    I swear there was plot about ‘dropping’ a micro black hole into the Earth, then discovering another one already there, manipulating them using gravity waves and the creation of super conducting circuits by the passage of the black holes orbits.

    Plus, all sorts of other stuff…

  35. @BravoLimaPoppa: Yeah that stuff was in there. Just not any blackhole DNA… more like blackhole neurons, creating a Earthwide brain that can act as a Gaia-esque supermind.

  36. @rochrist–

    I’m somewhat dubious that this really holds true nowdays. Younger people are, in general, reading less. And younger people have already decided that music should be free. The logical progression seems to head in that direction with books.

    Well, let’s just see what data we can find on that:
    INFOGRAPHIC: The Surprising Reading Habits of Millennials

    The info is in both text and infographic form. The short version: Millennials read more than any other currently extant generation, they read books, and they read print books, or on their phones. It’s us old pharts that read ebooks. The publishing industry is very healthy, and it’s Those Kids Today who are driving th demand for new books.

    Don’t like that source? How about Pew Research?
    Younger Americans’ Reading Habits and Technology Use
    Fun fact from this one:

    Among those who read at least one book in the past year, a majority said they tend to purchase most of their books. Some 52% of all readers under age 30 said they purchase most of their books, while 39% of those under 30 say they tend to borrow most of their books—similar to the overall responses of older readers.

    Young people are reading. They are reading print books, but also ebooks. They prefer overall to buy, not borrow, what they read.

  37. I’d be interested to know what the average price is of what they’re reading. Because there absolute is a trend that’s devalued music. I’m not sure why that wouldn’t happen with books, and lord knows there is an endless stream of ‘stuff’ in the .99 to 2.99 range flying out of Amazon.

  38. @rochrist–

    I’d be interested to know what the average price is of what they’re reading. Because there absolute is a trend that’s devalued music. I’m not sure why that wouldn’t happen with books, and lord knows there is an endless stream of ‘stuff’ in the .99 to 2.99 range flying out of Amazon.

    Nice attempt at moving the goalposts, there.

    I’ve already demonstrated that your claim that

    Younger people are, in general, reading less

    is factually incorrect. Please provide some support for your claim that

    And younger people have already decided that music should be free.

    Young people are, despite your assertion, both reading quite a bit, and choosing to pay for what they read, rather than borrow it from those allegely publisher-destroying, evil libraries. Problem is, the publishing industry doesn’t appear to be in trouble. Linking to every relevant page would send my repy to moderation, several times over, but this is a good site for you to take look at: https://www.statista.com/topics/1177/book-market/

    There’s quite a bit there that you can access without having any account at all, not even the free one.

    More people are reading. Most of those people prefer to buy than borrow their books. The publishing industry is profitable, Americans are reading, young Americans are reading, and paying for books in preference to borrowing them.

    Yes, the book market, like the market for everything else, has changed in the last generation. Online shopping allows consumers to compare prices on everything they want, not just what’s available at their local stores. That does have a downward pressure on price.

    Let’s consider that shocking fact: Consumer choice puts a downward pressure on price. Which, as I understood it, is one of the selling points of capitalism, allegedly. The more information each side of a transaction has, the closer they’ll approach the optimum price.

    Except the rise of large corporationsn and international markets over the last two centuries has shifted the information power balance in favor of the corporations and away from the consumer.

    Then came the internet, and online price comparisons, and actual online shopping. The information power balance is now more equal than it previously was. This has affected the entire retail market, not just books. Or even just books and music.

    There’s a downward pressure on prices.

    That doesn’t mean that the price of everything automatically goes down, because other pressures still exist, too.

    Now, as you sit there reading this on a computer or iPad or smartphone that costs substantially less than a similar device of significantly less power would have cost you a decade ago, exactly why it’s a Bad Thing, and evidence that Those Darned Kids Don’t Value Books, or Reading, or Music Anymore, that it exists in these industries.

    And, of course, to go back to where we started, libraries aren’t a startling new factor in how people interact with books and publishing. They’ve been around, in something like their current form, for two centuries and before that there were lending libraries, small businesses where you could rent books–and no, the publishers and authors didn’t get a cut of the rental fees, either.

    Public libraries over the last two centuries have made books and reading more accessible to people who wouldn’t have had access previously. They have promoted literacy, and reading as a leisure activity, even as first gas and then electric lighting made reading in the evenings easier and more accessible, and industrialization followed by the labor movement gave people more time to read.

    Libraries make it quite easy for children and teenagers to acquire a taste for reading, by making it possible for them to get access to lots of books without having the disposable income that they won’t have for years. And having acquired that taste, they form more specific tastes, for fiction or nonfiction, for different subjects, different genres–and they won’t always find the specific books they want at their specific local libraries. Or they don’t want to wait, or they might succumb to the disease that affects so many of us in sf fandom, the need to own, rather than merely borrow. To have their own collections. Maybe to have their books signed, or to become serious collectors.

    Does the rise of ebooks affect this? Yes! Sure, we don’t yet have “collectible” ebooks, or an easy way to get your ebooks signed–but since memory is cheaper, lighter, and more portable than paper and whatever you want to bind that paper with, ebooks and audiobooks mean never having to say “but if I buy this book, I’ll have to get rid of something else.”

    I used to have a collection of more than four thousand books, and I lost all of it when I lost my house. I was homeless for a year. This prompted my transition to ebooks and audiobooks only, and now space is no longer an issue.

    And no, I don’t feel any obligation to Our Great Corporate Masters to pay more for any particular book than I need to.

    But now there is no upper limit on how many books I have space for, or can reasonably carry around with me. Going electronic means I always have a selection of books with me if I finish the one I was reading when I’m out someplace.

    And same goes for the publishers. Most of the costs of publishing a book don’t go away or go down, but with ebooks and audiobooks, physical storage in big warehouses is no longer an issue, either.

    Also, I’d love to see your evidence that young people think music should be free rather than simply shopping around for the best prices.

  39. @ Lis Carey

    Also, I’d love to see your evidence that young people think music should be free rather than simply shopping around for the best prices.

    What might be the issue at hand is the streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora, where you have an all-you-can-eat model for music. However, many musicians are turning to Bandcamp, a one-stop digital mall for bands. Releases are generally $7 – $10 for an album (which includes streaming in most cases) and evidently it can be profitable for musicians. I’m a huge fan of Bandcamp.

  40. @Rob Thornton–The streaming services are an example of the intermediary companies offering a service that’s profitable for them, and that works for many listeners, who basically want music radio with more control than even your most favorite station could give you.

    Bandcamp, on the other hand, is for those of us whose preferences tend more toward, “just gimmee the songs I want, right now, and don’t bother me with monthly fees.” I use Bandcamp, not Spotify or Pandora, and I’m not a weird outlier; Bandcamp is over a decade old now, and strong enough to begin “Bandcamp Fridays” in March to support artists affected by the pandemic, and to anounce recently they’re extending it through the end of the year.

    There does not appear to be much factual support for the idea that “younger people have already decided that music ought to be free” especially since the streaming services aren’t free, either.

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