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Interesting Things I’ve Read Recently

February 21, 2015

What Happened to the Harlequin Romance? in which The New Yorker takes a look at the economics of publishing romance novels and erotica in the digital age. Fascinating commentary on digital media, publishing and reading cultures.

for the past several years, Harlequin’s sales have declined as people have started getting their romance from erotic—and often self-published—e-books instead of grocery-store paperbacks. Last week, News Corporation announced it would acquire Harlequin from its parent company, Torstar Corporation, for about four hundred and fifteen million dollars—not much more than Harlequin’s revenue last year.

Not discussed: any demographic data on overlap between romance readers, consumers of genre fiction in e-book form, and readership of The New Yorker. I remain curious on this point.

The Decentered Library Network Presence  by  Lorcan Dempsey does an elegant job of bringing together recurring themes and thoughts I’ve pondered about the library as space, doing outreach in the digital sphere, meeting information needs. All said more beautifully than I could ever hope to do.

Think for example of how aspects of user engagement have been unbundled to various social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, …), or of how parts of the discovery experience has been unbundled to Google Scholar or PubMed or to a cloud-based discovery layer, or of how some library services are atomized and delivered as mobile apps, toolbar applications, or ‘widgets’ in learning management systems and other web environments external to the library’s. The library website is now a part, albeit an important part, of this evolving network presence. In this way, the library network presence has been decentered, subject to a centrifugal trend to multiple network locations potentially closer to user workflows.

And he nails it on describing some of the qualms and hesitations about embracing social media: the process is unquantified, strategies are still new, and collaborations between departments are essential, but still uneasy at making a go of the social, decentralized library.

How Professor Godzilla Learned to Roar is charming in so many ways.

“For a long time, I thought I had serious work, but I realize all the books that I wrote about Japanese history, most of the people who read them were my relatives,” he says. “Whereas I wrote about a giant rubber monster rampaging through toy cities in Japan, and tens of thousands of people read it. So I’m actually real proud to be known as the guy that studies Godzilla.”

And then there’s this. Oh, New York Post.image of New York Post front page Headline: Freezing His Nuts Off



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