More News From the Front

One of the things I do each morning as I try to get enough caffeine in me to function is read certain blogs and scan the headlines.  This morning’s trip through the interwebs proved interesting.

Nora Roberts has become the third author to sell a million e-books for the kindle.  She joins James Patterson and Stieg Larsson in that exclusive club.  Bufo Calvin poses an interesting question in his I Love My Kindle Blog post.  Noting that Roberts and Patterson reached this milestone with 74 titles each on the kindle, he wondered if Larsson — with only three titles — benefited by being a new author?

Another story that caught my attention — and hit a topic very close to my heart — is this one about the cut in funding for California public libraries.  Several years ago, the city I live in closed our library due to budget issues.  What happened is the citizenry quickly realized just how important the library is to our community.  A grass roots effort arose to find the additional funds needed to reopen the library.  Once that was done, well, let’s just say most of those who voted to close the library were not on the city council when re-elections rolled around.

I understand the issue with needing to find money to run the state.  But libraries around the country are being hit, and hit hard, financially.  We hear about businesses that fail and banks that are being bailed out by the government after they’ve made investments and loans they never should have.  Yet — and this is as close to politics as I’ll get — we tend to turn a blind eye when our libraries have to cut their hours or close altogether.  When this happens, not only does a community lose a place to borrow books, they lose an integral part of their community.  Libraries are so much more than just book depositories.  Many offer tutoring to students.  There are adult education opportunities.  Children’s programs that promote reading and study habits.  I guess the point of all this is to ask each of you to become educated about what your library does for your community and do all you can to make sure it is not the first thing to be cut when your hometown starts looking at where the budget can be trimmed.

Then there’s this bit of news about Borders.  The Wall Street Journal reports that there is a split among publishers over whether to support Borders’ decision to delay paying for books it has received.  It isn’t hard to imagine that Borders will have no alternative but to file for bankruptcy protection if they can’t get the publishers on board with their plan simply because I don’t see Borders’ lenders agreeing to restructure their debt without an agreement in place with the publishers.  The flip side of that is, if they do get an agreement with the publishers, can you imagine how B&N and the other retailers will react?  This is simply one more confirmation of the downward spiral much of publishing finds itself in these days.

But to show that all is not doom and gloom in the industry, go check out Sarah A. Hoyt’s blog on the situation.  She brings a new spin to the discussion, one I happen to agree with.  Even though traditional publishing is in trouble, electronic publishing brings with it new opportunities AND jobs for all sorts of folks.

Any way, check back later for Darwin Garrison’s latest installment of  Animanga Viewpoint.

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