Friday Five: 5 Songs My Gym Made Me Love
The Moonlit Way by Robert W Chambers

Weirdness Rodeo: Links and Numbers and DOOM and Things


Pelagic red crabs have returned to Monterey Bay!

I don't know what this means, but there are worse things to get excited about. Plus, they're kind of cute. For crabs.

William Gibson, on writing Neuromancer:

My fantasy of success, then, was that my book, once it had been met with the hostile or indifferent stares I expected, would go out of print. Then, yellowing fragrantly on the SF shelves of secondhand book shops, it might voyage forward, up the time-stream, into some vaguely distant era in which a tiny coterie of esoterics, in London perhaps, or Paris, would seize upon it, however languidly.

Pew found that 28% of adult Americans didn't read a book last year. The good news - that's about as awful as usual. DOOM. Print reading fell more than ebook reading. But hey, print is back! Right? (DOOM.)

Why 'What was fake on the Internet this week', the Washington Post's de-hoaxing column, is calling it quits:

Since early 2014, a series of Internet entrepreneurs have realized that not much drives traffic as effectively as stories that vindicate and/or inflame the biases of their readers. Where many once wrote celebrity death hoaxes or “satires,” they now run entire, successful websites that do nothing but troll convenient minorities or exploit gross stereotypes.


A short history of Star Wars publishing:

First off, you need to know that the word ‘canon’ in the world of Star Wars literature, is the term used to define one story’s importance in relation to another story. There used to be numerous levels – of which more anon – until April 2014 when the Lucasfilm Story Group (LSG), the body tasked with maintaining the canon across all newly published Star Wars stories, abolished the previous canonical hierarchy system and created a single canon level.

A bit glib, as it is trying to talk to MUNDANES, but still a handy overview. (Not DOOMish at all.)

Simon & Schuster experiment with serial fiction for romance readers:

Crave is a subscription service which offers users access to serialized fiction from their favorite romance authors. Users choose the author they want to subscribe to and receive daily installments of her latest work before that novel is sold to the public. The subscription also comes with extra content that enhances the story, like video featuring the main characters and messages from the author.

As an author-led model (and one with exclusive content as the carrot), it is definitely speaking to an audience of, as they say, 'superfans', rather than trying to recruit new readers. Still, with romance tearing up the digital charts and having the most digitally-savvy readers, feels like a good tactic for retaining readers within the S&S space and not letting them run off to sift through Amazon. We'll see if it works... (UN-DOOM?)

And, in the same breath - another subscription service, Playster, is having a go of it:

Playster announced its official launch in the U.S., a market that has faced some major shifts in ebook subscription over the past year. Oyster closed in September amid reports that ebook subscription services actually lose money the more users read. And despite predictions of massive adoption of services like Kindle Unlimited and Scribd, ebook subscription remains a relatively niche market for U.S. publishers.

Playster's hook? They're multi-media, and books sit alongside music and movies and TV. Which puts them in a slightly different category, fighting more with Amazon Prime, iTunes and even Spotify. And at a loftier price tag of $24.95/month. One suspects that ebooks are the least of their interests, but power to them. (DOOM?)

Finally - this Guardian piece looks at the ways that apps could help physical bookstores, basically by helping them get discovered. It does contain a few harsh truths, including:

“The bookshops we have seen thriving and doing the best are the ones that aren’t just selling books, they are the ones going above and beyond,” says Brackenbury. “They are opening little cafes in the shops or providing evening events where an author may do a reading or host a book club.”


Projects such as Hive appeal to a very different demographic to those who typically shop with the industry’s biggest players. Their customers are motivated by social concerns rather than looking for the cheapest deal.


Shops need to join together to take collective action and come up with an online business model that will give them the control they need to compete.


Actually, the apps seem rather nifty, even if they aren't tote bags.

And finally...

Why Hawaiians are so obsessed with spam.


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