E-books with advertising?
Yahoo has signalled it is investigating e-book advertisements as a way to stimulate its earnings, says BBC News. The company states in two U.S. patent applications that users could be offered titles at a variety of prices depending on the ads' prominence. "Greater levels of advertising, which may be more valuable to an advertiser and potentially more distracting to an e-book reader, may warrant higher discounts," the company says. Ads could be offered as hyperlinks, as "dynamic content" such as video, and as boxes at the bottom of a page or chapter saying "brought to you by company A."
Police rescue manuscript
In Britain, a blind woman who did not realize the novel she was writing was blank after her pen ran out has been saved after a police force used forensic techniques to recover the words, reports The Daily Telegraph. "Forensics experts agreed to use a special scientific process to recover what Trish Vickers had written by examining the dents she had made in the pages. Mrs. Vickers, 59, was left devastated when she learned that her pen had run out and there was nothing on the first 26 pages of the book. She lost her sight seven years ago through diabetes and decided to write a novel to pass the time and keep her mind active. … She waited for her son Simon to visit so he could read it back to her. But when he arrived he had to tell her that the pages were blank. Incredibly, however, the manuscript was recovered after the family took it to their local police HQ and asked for help. Forensics experts worked in their spare time to read the indentations left on the A4 pages using a system of lights. It took five months of painstaking work but the forensic team was able to recover the whole text – and they said how much they had enjoyed it and couldn't wait for the rest."
Good times, more deaths
"Economists have puzzled for years over why the mortality rate rises when the economy improves," says a Washington Post blog. "Perhaps there's more job-related stress when employment goes up, resulting in less healthy behaviour and less time for exercise. Or maybe more folks are dying in auto accidents as they drive to work. But researchers at Boston College's Center for Retirement Research believe there's another explanation. In a new paper, researchers argue that economic boom times create a scarcity of caregivers in nursing homes, raising the mortality rate through a disproportionately high number of deaths among the elderly."
Libraries' role today
"Most public libraries around the world are transforming from institutions focused on archives and research to centres for information and entertainment," writes Lawrence Baines of the University of Oklahoma, in The Futurist. "The old conception of the library, with its mammoth, unabridged dictionary, ordered sets of reference books, and collection of bound materials, has become a relic. Now most libraries feature large open spaces with Wi-Fi access, plenty of computer terminals, and as many film DVDs and audio CDs as can be purchased on a dwindling budget. Most libraries today spend more on non-print media than on books and magazines. In my local, college-town library, the computer stations always have a line of patrons waiting to log on, and the DVD aisles are packed with browsers, while the book stacks are relatively deserted."
"Lauren Myracle, a New York Times bestselling author, knows how to make parents mad," writes Abigail Pesta of The Daily Beast. "A series of her young-adult novels has topped this year's annual list of Most Challenged Books, released by the American Library Association. In other words, these are the books that receive the most complaints at libraries and schools – the books people want to ban. The Hunger Games is on the list (No.3), as is To Kill a Mockingbird (No.10). … Myracle, who has been called a modern-day Judy Blume, is at No.1 with her Internet Girls series – three books written entirely in 'instant messaging' language. The books' titles: ttyl, ttfn, and l8r g8r. (Translation: Talk to Ya Later, Ta Ta for Now, and Later, Gator.) Critics say the books, which focus on a trio of high-school friends, are sexually explicit and offensive. It's not the first time Myracle (yes, that's her real name, she says) has received top billing. … Says Myracle, 'If you're gonna be on a list, you might as well be No.1.'"
THOUGHT DU JOUR
"Why do writers write? Because it isn't there."
– Thomas Berger (1924- ), American novelist