Ah, the internet. Filled with interesting words, and pictures of cats. First, in news, Macmillan has announced they're going to begin digital book lending through American libraries:
Using the agency model and working with a number of distributors, Macmillan will offer libraries over 1,200 backlist e-books from its Minotaur Books imprint. At launch, Baker & Taylor, OverDrive and 3M will be selling the Macmillan titles to library systems. Once purchased by a library, the titles will be available to them to lend for two years or 52 lends, whichever comes first. All of the books in the program will have the same digital list price.
Macmillan refered pricing questions to its distributors and OverDrive said each title will be $25.
Oh, my goodness gravy. 1200 titles! I'm floored by the largesse, really. “Hey, big spender” is now stuck permanently on repeat in my brain.
I throw up my hands in “I can't even.” So does Neil DeGrasse Tyson:
From the same PW article:
The announcement, leaves Simon & Schuster as the only “big six” publisher without any library e-book offerings. Among the major publishers, Random House offers its full list to libraries for perpetual access, although at increaed price points. HarperCollins offers its titles to libraries for 26 lends before the licenses must be renewed. Hachette offers a portion of its backlist at increased prices, and Penguin recently expanded its pilot project offering windowed access to a portion of its catalog for one-year licenses.
Moving on! This article is older – from October of last year- but it blew my mind. Sweden recycles so hard that they've run out of burnable trash, and are thus appealing to Norway for some of their garbage:
Sweden is hungry for trash and has turned to Norway for an offer it would find hard to refuse, no pun intended. Sweden is asking its neighbor for trash. Sweden's success is Sweden's problem. Sweden is a model recycler. Thanks to a highly efficient waste management system in Sweden, the vast majority of this household waste can be recovered or reused. As a result, Sweden has run short of garbage. Since it does not produce enough burnable waste for its energy needs, Sweden is suffering a downside to being such an enviable model of recycling. The average in Europe of trash that ends up as waste is 38 percent. Sweden's is 1 percent.
Now, I realize this has very little to do with romance novels, but right after reading this, I had the following thoughts. 1: That is so badass I want to go look at Sweden's recycling program, because ours is a crapgasm in comparison. 2: Am I wrong in wanting a recycling-expert scientist as a hero or heroine? The separation of paper and plastic will echo the tension between them! Yeah, ok, I'm alone in that one. Moving on.
Jane Litte tweeted a link to this article, saying it made her tear up. According to the laws of physics, that which makes Jane tear up will reduce me to a sniveling pile of snuffledrip, and lo, it was true: The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap made me cry:
Sam and I dated for two years. Then, when I turned 70 and he 80, we had a joint 150th birthday party and announced our engagement. We married a year later.
We came from very different backgrounds. Sam, a Japanese-American who had been interned in the camps during World War II, worked his way through college and was happily married to his Japanese-American wife for more than 40 years until her death. I grew up as a fox-hunting debutante whose colonial New York ancestors were lords of the manor of Pelham. Typical of my much-married family, I had been divorced twice.
We belonged to the same San Francisco-area running club. He was a rarity — a charming, fit, single man of 77. I wanted to get to know him better.
So I'm sharing the bittersweet beauty with you. Come sniffle with me.
Via Aislinn, an article from the Boston Globe examining why fiction is powerful:
As the psychologist Raymond Mar writes, “Researchers have repeatedly found that reader attitudes shift to become more congruent with the ideas expressed in a [fictional] narrative.” For example, studies reliably show that when we watch a TV show that treats gay families nonjudgmentally (say, “Modern Family”), our own views on homosexuality are likely to move in the same nonjudgmental direction. History, too, reveals fiction’s ability to change our values at the societal level, for better and worse. For example, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” helped bring about the Civil War by convincing huge numbers of Americans that blacks are people, and that enslaving them is a mortal sin. On the other hand, the 1915 film “The Birth of a Nation” inflamed racist sentiments and helped resurrect an all but defunct KKK.
So those who are concerned about the messages in fiction — whether they are conservative or progressive — have a point. Fiction is dangerous because it has the power to modify the principles of individuals and whole societies.
But fiction is doing something that all political factions should be able to get behind. Beyond the local battles of the culture wars, virtually all storytelling, regardless of genre, increases society’s fund of empathy and reinforces an ethic of decency that is deeper than politics.
None of this is news to me, as I often notice differences in myself after reading a good book. The more I read, the more I want to understand the motivation behind people's viewpoints when they are completely opposite mine. But it's interesting to see different studies and examinations of the effects of reading lined up in one article.
Graceful curtsey to Aislinn for the link!