Links of Awesome, Bummer, and Awesome Bummer

This is SO cool: Ancestry.com has an article about the preservation of the marriage records of Gretna Green:

Many self-appointed “priests” ran wedding shops in Gretna for those who wanted a quickie wedding, but one of the most famous was Graitney Hall. It was run first by David Lang, then his son Simon, and later by a family friend.
The marriage registers kept by Lang and his successors between 1750 and 1834 contain the names of nearly 25,000 individuals—about 50% of the marriages approximated to have occurred in Gretna during those years.

For some time the Lang Registers have been held at the Institute of Genealogical and Heraldic Studies, one of our partners in preserving and making genealogical records available to the public.
When we learned about the Lang papers, we felt it was too great a collection not to help preserve and make available to the public. We offered to do the necessary conservation work and to get the registers to a place where they could be digitized and put online.

Now how is that for a possible romance: the couple doing the preservation of a few thousand marriages between people who ran for the border…for luuuuuurve™ (and not Taco Bell).

Thanks to Jean for the link.

In much less awesome news, shoplifting books from bookstores is an ever-abiding crime, especially now. I am especially curious about the provenance of this statistic:

Only 40 percent of books that are read are paid for, and only 28 percent are purchased new, said Peter Hildick-Smith of the Codex Group, a consultant to the publishing industry. The rest are shared, borrowed, given away — or stolen.

Thanks to Darlynne for the link.

If that leaves you bummed out (pun intended), have a look at MelJean Brook’s brilliant visual essay on BookPorn.

Thanks to Sylvia for the link.

Stay tuned for a most excellent Caption That Cover contest tomorrow. It’ll make you look at tightie whities in a whole new way!

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The Link-O-Lator

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  1. 1
    Ros says:

    I wondered what that statistic meant, as well.  Where do library books fit, for instance?  They are paid for (by the library) but not by each individual reader.  And how on earth does anyone keep track of how many books are borrowed from friends?

  2. 2
    Abby says:

    Same issue here- and beyond that, how do they account for books purchased from used book stores?  Or books privately sold between individuals?  Are they including all of those free bibles that are routinely given away?  Be specific, and don’t imply that by lending a book to someone, I’m attempting to scam Random House or Avon or whatever.

  3. 3
    teshara says:

    I’d be really interested in knowing how they came up with that statistic.

    I would also like to know why, in the late 90’s, paperbacks went from $3.99-$4.99 to $7.99 practically overnight.

    And while we’re at it, I’d also like to know statistically how much overhead publishers and ebook sellers are saving on overhead (Fraction of employees, no store to maintain, no warehouse to store things in, no union workers to pay, no shipments to make) and why ebooks are so much.

    It seems to be they’re making far more than their usual 40% markup and now they’re whining about it.

    Blaming the consumer for lending out books, indeed.

    I have a hard time not saying ‘suck it.’

  4. 4

    The book pr0n was amazing! I think “hardcore” was my favorite. I was only a little unnerved that none of the books were wearing dust jackets. Don’t they know the risks of “paperbacking” are still alive and well in 2009?

  5. 5
    closetcrafter says:

    The BDSM dreams was HILARIOUS. And the 439 pages……clever. Those pics were so funny. That was just what I needed to get me going this AM. Maybe she can do another series with typical porn plots, like the pizza delivery guy, maybe some pizza grease on the pages,etc.

  6. 6
    SB Sarah says:

    I have a feeling that that stat is going to be repeated over and over as fact with no supporting evidence – like “four out of five dentists agree.”

  7. 7
    Tina C. says:

    Many publishers and authors fear that piracy, and the general transition from print to digital media, will cause irreparable harm to the book industry, as it has in the music world.

    The writer Sherman Alexie, who has refused to make his fiction available in digital form, agrees.

    “The open source culture is coming for us,” he told me, “and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if a book isn’t available in digital format legally, then doesn’t it stand to reason that it will be more likely to be scanned and shared around than if there were a legal digital copy to be had? 

    Also, I know that this article and it’s unsupported statistics (because 57% of the people I asked agree that statistics make anything you opine sound that much more authoritive) are meant to make the case that theft is up, but it doesn’t sound like that is the case when you actually read the quotes.  It sounds like certain books are always and have always been catnip to shoplifters.  I also don’t like that sharing and borrowing (isn’t that the same thing?) and giving away are lumped into the same category as “stealing” and all are equally responsible for the *cue ominous music* EMINENT DEMISE OF BOOKSTORES—NAY!!! THE ENTIRE BOOK PUBLISHING INDUSTRY….

  8. 8
    Nadia says:

    Dying over the book porn.  Binder clips for the win!

  9. 9
    joykenn says:

    What a strange combination—Gretna Green, stolen books and the book p0rn!  I totally agree with some of the responses to MelJean’s posting that a calendar is definitely in order.  Hey, maybe it will surplant quirky cat pictures like LOL Cats.  My imagination is going wild…I mean if they have books like Pride and Prejuidice and Zombies, then anything goes!

  10. 10
    The Duchess says:

    I did NOT think it was possible to laugh this hard at copulating paperback.

    The stolen books article is… intriguing. I honestly only ever thought about shoplifting in terms of lipgloss, cookies or undergarments. Am torn between being impressed at how well read shoplifters have become and being appalled by how many readers don’t pay for books anymore.

  11. 11

    I honestly only ever thought about shoplifting in terms of lipgloss, cookies or undergarments.

    Ha! I love both the femininity and sheer specificity of the Duchess’s theftworthy items.

  12. 12

    Seriously wondering how many of the books read are simply checked out of a library or borrowed from friends.  To me, that’s not stolen, that’s the inexpensive and egalitarian way to read.  Of course I’d love readers to buy my books, but I am happy if they’re read…

  13. 13
    Scrin says:

    Well, I’m guilty of hurting the bookselling industry big-time.

    How do I stick it to the Man?

    I loan out books, and even borrow(!) them myself!

    That’s right. I share books with friends and family not because I like my friends and my family, but because I want to crash the bookselling industry by cutting their sales.

    When I buy most of a series new, I taunt the bookstore like that French guy in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “AH, say good-bye to zees books, for zey shall be read by me, and by evraywon zat I know! By buying zees books, I have denied you further sales, because, as I said before, zey shall be read by many people ozzar zan me!”

    Not even the video game industry is immune to my predations. Right now, I have four video games loaned out to friends and family (and I’m borrowing one myself), because I’m a super mastermind thief who wants to hurt the industry.

    Hey, Peter Hildrick-Smith! I’ve got more books than I can conveniently remember loaned out right now. Some of them are even collections of books, so I didn’t even pay for each individual title, further hurting the sales you COULD have had! How about them apples, huh? That’ll learn you to try to get my money away from me.

  14. 14
    ghn says:

    I just LOVED MelJean’s reaction to her Dad’s comment :-D

    (Loved the pictures, too, of course…)

  15. 15

    A quick run of the numbers shows that 32% of the books I read this year were ones I bought new. 34% came from the library. 4% were bought used and 30% were acquired free, from promotional giveaways, contributor copies of anthologies or public domain (Mark Twain).  This was a heavy book buying year for me, too.

    Lol @ “bookending”

    Interesting subject combination.
    study94. Should there be 94 studies on how people acquire books?

  16. 16
    Elspeth says:

    Like all the other commentors, I’m wondering how they gathered these statistics, and if books checked out of libraries are included in the total (and why “sharing” and “borrowing,” appear to be two different things – maybe “sharing” is getting/loaning a book from/to a friend and “borrowing” is checking books out of the library?).  Because I definately get far more than 40% of my reading material via the public library.

    Either way, my MLS degree and I resent the implication that checking books out of libraries (where those books have already been legally bought and paid for by the library system) rather than buying them is similar to/the same thing as shoplifting or digital piracy.

    Actually, I resent the idea that sharing a book with my spouse or giving it away to a friend is equivalent to piracy, too.  Once purchased, that specific physical copy of a book belongs to the purchaser to do whatever they want with it, as long as they don’t scan/photocopy/transcibe it to create new copies. 

    I also question the statement that music downloads have killed the music industry.  It seems to have managed to survive the past decade since Napster came along without completely going out of business, and iTunes has made millions proving that people are willing to buy reasonably priced downloads legally if the option is there.

  17. 17
    orangehands says:

    That’s nothing. Not only am I taking down the book industry, but I’m taking down the movie industry too. That’s right, my supervillainy is working on two corporations…my evilness rocks.

  18. 18
    orangehands says:

    Ok, MelJean is awesome wrapped up in awesome with a little more awesome in there. Best is the BDSM one.

  19. 19
    Mary Beth says:

    I see. So every time I take my daughter’s clothes to Goodwill, or hand them down to friends/family, the children’s books that she’s outgrown to younger cousins, every time I give make-up samples or colors I didn’t like to my friends, shoes I wore once and then never again, kitchen appliances I was gifted with but had no use for, DVDs or CDs I no longer liked or needed, older or cheaper furniture I was replacing with something nicer moved along to someone who had a need for the damned thing- things that belonged to _ME_ that I shared or passed (hello- recycle, repurpose, reuse anyone?) on to others makes me some sort of thief destroying the entire goods production/retail kingdom? WTF? Once it’s mine I can do with it as I please.

  20. 20
    Mantelli says:

    Chiming in here on the second-hand book issue—what the hell is wrong with passing on a read book?  If it wasn’t for places like Paperback Book Swap, I wouldn’t own anywhere near as many books as I do.  Periodically, I purge my collection and pass on books I’m tired of.  Books circulate around my family like blood.  Libraries have been a religion to all of my family for generations.  I’m proud to have three library cards and to be able to walk into any public library between the Mississippi and the Missouri and check out a book.

    Do they just want the poor to stop reading?

  21. 21
    Estelle Chauvelin says:

    I was at an intellectual freedom program at the American Library Association annual convention last summer featuring Dr. Marty Klein, who was talking about how people will restrict freedom of sexual expression by creating false categories, combining two things that don’t really go together, e.g. “pornography and child pornography.”  Thing B is something that results in somebody being harmed, but Thing A is a matter of taste and individual morality, but combining the two makes you sound like you’re in favor of Thing B if you defend the rights of those who like Thing A.

    shared, borrowed, given away — or stolen.

    Wow, is that a perfect example of false categories or what?

  22. 22
    Kalen Hughes says:

    I was only a little unnerved that none of the books were wearing dust jackets. Don’t they know the risks of “paperbacking” are still alive and well in 2009?

    My monitor would like to thank you for its daily shot of caffeine. When will I learn to set the tea aside before reading this site?

  23. 23
    Kalen Hughes says:

    I have never read MelJean Brook. I am now off to buy EVERYTHING she has published and she’s jumped to the head of my “to be stalked” list at the next RWA conference. Seriously, MelJean, you pick your poison, I’m buying!

  24. 24
    SheaLuna says:

    What I’m wondering is why they care about “forty percent of books read”.  As long as the publisher is selling all the copies they print, what do they care if I borrow half the books I read from the library or a friend?  (Frankly, I have my doubts that there’s a crime spree of booklifting going on.)  It doesn’t effect their bottom line in any way whatsoever.  Even if I didn’t have the option of “borrowing” or “sharing” (or purchasing second hand), I wouldn’t buy any more new books than I do now simply because my finances wouldn’t allow it.  I’d simply have to read less (Perish the thought!).

    As for MelJean… the guy on guy action got me all hot and bothered. LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. 25
    Kris says:

    I concur wholeheartedly with Kalen Hughes on the new biggest fan thing.  I want an author with a wicked sense of humor, and that is about as “funnaughty” as one can get.  Jesus, that was some funny shit right there!  Thanks for posting that link!  You made my Christmas a little more fun!

  26. 26
    Beau says:

    Young men are the majority of the thieves (according to the article) and yet the woman of indeterminate years is still not the coveted demographic…

  27. 27
    SheaLuna says:

    I am gutted.  After reading MelJean’s book porn I headed to my local Waterstones to find her books.  Not a single one in sight.  ARRRRGH!  Amazon, here I come… (Yet another convert.)

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