Critical Linking: September 11th, 2014

 

With hardcover sales in long-term decline, the biggest names in fiction are relying on e-books and entrepreneurial hustle to keep their earnings on the rise.

Good gravy. James Patterson makes more than 3 times as much as the #2 author on this list of the 13 highest paid authors.

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But the very characteristics that make the distributed Net so powerful overall also make it dicey in any given use. Links rot; sources evaporate. The anarchic Web loses some luster every time that something an author meant to share turns out to be a 404-not-found error.

The inertia of print books and libraries, sometimes decried, is actually crucial ballast for the swirling chaos of the internet.

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A group of book-boosting artists from Booklyn Artists Alliance — spelled with no “r” as a play on words — is suing the new mobile-library nonprofit Booklyn Shuttle for snatching its hip identity, according to a suit filed in Brooklyn federal court last Thursday.

Seriously, a lawsuit? By an artists’ collective against a library non-profit? A curse on both their houses.

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Amazon can both minimize the impact of thoughtless reviewing and simultaneously make the entire Amazon browsing experience better for all. You see, each reviewer has a rating. A “helpful” rating. And if someone is sufficiently helpless or useless — as many attackers tend to be — the “helpful” rating of their account can drop to 20% or lower. I propose Amazon begin to use this helpful data in calculating ratings. Giving more weight to the reviews of those most helpful. Allowing the opinion — and stars — of one helpful reviewer, for example, to cancel out five thoughtless trolls.

Hmmmm. I think I like it.

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