All tagged Libraries

Episode #31: Chatting Books & Libraries with Molly Wetta

Awesome librarian, Tumblr rockstar, YALSA's The Hub editor and all around awesome human being Molly Wetta was on our "hit list" of dream podcast guests and we're so, so, so thrilled she was finally about to join us for a chat!

This is a pretty freewheeling discussion, with topics ranging from what it's like to work with books professionally (buying books with someone else's money seems like a dream job, but it's also really hard!), library school, how to make book recommendations and some of the more interesting questions she's gotten on Find Your Next Book. It was a whole lot of fun!

Storify + Some Tips: Library & Bookstore Access Isn't Universal

Last week, as a response to an author's tweet (guys, this upset me so much that I can't remember who it was--I blocked it out, I suspect) insinuating that people who didn't shop their local independent bookstore were, basically, cheap and lazy, I had a bit of a mini-rant I had to get out on Twitter. 

I've been chewing on whether to post it here, because I know that this is a sensitive issue. Honestly, it's a sticky one for me, since I work primarily with small, independent business and try to support them as much as I can. 

With that said, there are some loaded assumptions that come with the sorts of flip comments like the one I saw. It assumes the people live in an area with bookstores, with libraries and have transportation access to get to those places. Those are pretty big assumptions. 

Links + Things: Justin Timberlake! The Calming Manatee! Plagiarism (Ugh)! Sexism (Double Ugh)! Libraries! General Interestingness!

You guys, it's been slow around these parts because I kind of lost the plot with my reading and nearly every book I've read in March isn't out until May or June. Obviously, I would be a jerk if I started reviewing things that weren't out for months--on a number of levels. 

However! I have many links of interestingness, including a Very Special Section devoted to the one and only Justin Timberlake. I have had The 20/20 Experience on repeat since Tuesday and I am in love--especially with Pusher Love Girl, which is Swoon City, USA.  ​

This Week's Video of Awesome

This is a ​fantastic speculative ad for Durex--it's brilliant and actually tells you want you need to know about the product.


Jane Goodall, the primatologist celebrated for her meticulous studies of chimps in the wild, is releasing a book next month on the plant world that contains at least a dozen passages borrowed without attribution, or footnotes, from a variety of Web sites.

The borrowings in “Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder From the World of Plants” range from phrases to an entire paragraph from Web sites such as Wikipedia and others that focus on astrology, tobacco, beer, nature and organic tea.

​Well, this is disappointing news to say the least. I'm getting so weary of one plagiarism story after another. I realize there are so many pressures to publish, publish, publish, but it's at the point I'm no longer all that surprised by each week's plagiarism story. What worries me the most is the desensitizing--I have had a number of students in their 20s who have been surprised by my anti-plagiarism spiel because it's the first time they've had someone explicitly address the issue of plagiarism and what it precisely means. 

Links + Things: NPR examines publishing, all digital libraries, book clubs take over a casino and more!

Traditional publishing versus self publishing! A book club extravaganza! All digital libraries! Amazon coins! (Huh?)

All that plus cheap brain candy and some other bargain book goodness in this installment of Links + Things.

"What has changed in a really exciting way is the ways you can get people's attention. It used to be one book review at a time, a daily review, maybe you get into Time magazine. Now there's, with the Internet, this giant echo chamber. Anything good that happens, any genuine excitement that a book elicits can be amplified and repeated and streamed and forwarded and linked in a way that excitement spreads more quickly and universally than ever before. And what I'm seeing is that really wonderful books — the books that people get genuinely excited about because they change their lives, they give them new ideas — those books can travel faster, go further, sell more copies sooner than ever before. It's just energized the whole business in a thrilling way."

...traditional publishers are in the business of not publishing books but of selling books. And there's a big difference there. So they seek to acquire books and authors who they think have the greatest commercial potential. But the challenge here is they really don't know which books are going to go on to become bestsellers. Only readers know that.

Laura pointed me to this two-part series on NPR this week about self-publishing versus traditional publishing. The traditional publishing side is representing by the incoming CEO of Hachette while the Smashwords CEO makes the case for the supremacy of self-publishing. Both have an agenda, but it's interesting that both are so enthusiastic about the future of publishing and its potential. It's a nice contrast to the doom and gloom stories we hear so often.

E-reading Aggravations

Last week I went into detail about why e-reading works for me. However, not every aspect of e-reading works for me. There are a number of inherent problems with digital reading that frustrate me to no end, and I don’t think I’m alone. 

A book mark would be better! (LOC)

Platform Lock-in/DRM

This is probably the most frustrating thing for a many readers. That committing to an e-reader means that you’re likely committing to a specific vendor for your book purchases. Now, there are ways around this (which usually violate your terms of service), and people who own some of the devices that use epub format can buy from alternate vendors. However, in large part, people are locked in. We have several Kindles in our house, for example. Because I would have to violate my terms of service to move my ebook library to another platform, I’m essentially locked into the Amazon environment. Nook users face the same problem—if they wanted to move to Kindle, they couldn’t take their libraries with them. Functionally, this doesn’t really impact me, because I rarely re-read, but the principle of it really aggravates me. I still haven’t seen data that makes the case that DRM actually prevents piracy, so all it’s doing now is keeping consumers from being able to choose from a multitude of ebook vendors. (Part of me also wonders if DRM prevents specialty ebook vendors from cropping up, but that’s simply speculation on my part, because I haven’t seen data on that issue.)

You Don’t Own Your Ebooks

Yep, you just own a license to view content (and on some platforms, the license restricts you even further to a specific device). I get the why behind this thinking: if consumer own their ebooks, that means they can resell them, but because electronic files are easily duplicated, someone could buy a book for $10 and resell the same file over and over again. But, again, there’s something about it that doesn’t sit with me. 

A Multitude of Formatting Problems

Now, this isn’t the exclusive domain of ebooks—I’ve had loads of print books with weird formatting issues. However, I have experienced some of the strangest formatting problems with ebooks, particularly non-fiction. My “favorite” was one that had the center third of the book centered and italicized. A tip: if you encounter any formatting weirdness, and you’re an Amazon customer, they will refund your money. (I have been told BN does not offer this same courtesy for Nook books.) I’ve also encounter overly large indents, odd page breaks and random hard returns between paragraphs. If this bothers you, and you like all of your books to be formatted consistently, there are some tools out there that will allow you to re-format your ebooks. Again, though, this is a violation of your terms of service.

If you’re a sports fan, and you’ve ever made a comment on a sports blog or Twitter, you’ve been trolled.

As a female sports fan, and Asian to boot—before the Jeremy Lin phenomenon, thank you very much—well, you just have to learn to roll with the punches or punch back even harder. It can be ugly and unpleasant.

Then I found Goodreads.

Goodreads quickly became my happy place. More than that, it felt like a safe little corner of the internet where book lovers discussed what they were reading and what they wanted to read. And then things turned ugly in a very familiar way earlier this year with authors attacking reviewers and vice versa. But that’s not what this post is about. You can find posts about all that other bullshit elsewhere.

This is about how Goodreads reviewers and my local library led me to Tom Mackee and one of my favorite authors.