Buzz Worthy News
Hello, Cuddlebuggery readers! I’m Kate and I’ll be your new Buzz Worthy News correspondent. I offer a slightly different perspective to the news, in that I’m not a book blogger, but what you might not know is that I’ve been contributing stories to Buzz Worthy News for several months now—just behind the scenes. So without further ado, here’s the news!
In this week’s Buzz Worthy News: a horrendous travesty against innocent books occurs, Amazon comes one step closer to owning our souls, the SFWA wants self-published authors to be their new besties and Goodreads changes its reviewer policies. (Now with Update from Goodreads’ Admins)
Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly news post bringing you all the best information about the book and blogging world, particularly for the venn diagram of people who overlap between the two. For new releases and cover reveals of all the best Young Adult fiction, check out our Sunday post: Hot New Titles.
The Most Horrible Thing a Bibliophile has Ever Heard Of
You know, for a bibliophile like me, there are only a few things in the world that give me a heart attack. One of them is the sound of books screaming when they are viciously and maliciously killed. Okay, so books don’t scream. But when I read about what the citizens of Fairfax County, Virginia did to 250,000 of their books, I imagined I could hear them screaming.
You see, they’ve been making cutbacks in Fairfax County. To trim the fat, they closed down branches and slotted a bunch of books for donation. Sounds good so far.
In Fairfax, however, discarded books were sent directly to the library’s technical operations center in Chantilly, and volunteer groups had no influence over which were reused or thrown out. In the months since the program’s introduction, some 250,000 books — more than a few of them in decent condition — were destroyed. Only around 3,000 were sent back to the volunteer groups.
Tough times, I get that. What I most certainly do not get is why they decided to FREAKING DESTROY a bunch of books instead of, I don’t know…having a giant book sale? selling them on half.com? putting a big sign on the street corner that said, “Free books, come and get them!” I mean, there are three ideas that I thought of in like a second. Why, for the love of all that’s holy, did they have to destroy them?
Those books belonged to the taxpayers who bought them. Library patrons and county officials were understandably outraged. Thankfully, the library’s Board of Trustees listened to the hundreds of protesters who gathered in Annandale on Wednesday night: It suspended the program until more community outreach could take place.
Here’s an idea. Let’s not waste a bunch of paper and money and good literature by DESTROYING books. Okay? Source
NBF Releases YPL Longlist
So, some acronyms got together and decided to release some stuff and it was long. Or for those of you who are more educated on the subject than I am, the National Book Foundation released their longlist—which is the list before the finalists—of Young People’s Literature. Among the potentially honored books:
- Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
- A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
- The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
- The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
- The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata
- Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
- Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
- Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
- The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
- Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang
I was super excited to see The Summer Prince on the list. It’s been in my TBR list since my beloved Tamora Pierce gave it five stars on her Goodreads account.
Banned Book Week (Sept. 22nd-28th)
Speaking of book lists, I was curious as to the contents of this year’s Banned or Challenged Books and as usual had to shake my head over the choices on the short list. Let’s take a gander, shall we?
- John Green is probably ecstatic that his book, Looking for Alaska was banned from a Tennessee county’s schools.
- Copies of the novella Stone Dreams by Akram Aylisli were actually burned by citizens of Azerbaijan.
- E.L. James delectable novel Fifty Shades of Grey was acquired for one Florida county, but was quickly pulled from the shelves when its patrons protested.
- Totally Joe by James Howe, a book about the challenges of being a gay teenager, was pulled merely for the idea that parents might find it objectionable.
- In Utah, you had to have a special permission slip to read In Our Mother’s House by Patricia Polacco, after a group of parents raised objections.
Visit the ALA page to view the ENTIRE 2012-13 list and read them!
Amazon Takes Over the World (again)
In a move that will validate all the Amazon Conspiracy Theorists of the world, Amazon’s buyout of Goodreads pays off in a huge way, as Amazon announced that their brand spanking new Kindle Paperwhite will have a direct connection to the famous site for book readers everywhere.
Paperwhite users will be able to connect to Goodreads using an icon on their Kindle’s task bar and offers options like: browsing books that your friends are reading, add books to your “to-read” shelf, and even add books you’ve bought on Amazon to your Goodreads account.
In other news, Amazon announces a new book bundling program called Matchbook wherein those who have purchased the hardbound copy of a book will also be able to buy an ebook copy for their ereader at a greatly reduced price.
Now, I don’t know what the publishers were asked to charge for this, but here is the email I got:
For indie (self-published) authors, I don’t think this will be such a big deal. Most of them price their ebooks $2.99 or less. For traditionally published authors, especially those in the YA market, where a TON of readers read ebooks, this could mean a HUGE hit financially. Assuming their publishers opt in. Now, so far only HarperCollins seems to have done so, and I’d also like to throw out there that I don’t know if traditionally published authors can opt in or out for themselves—doubtful, but it would be nice if authors had that much control, wouldn’t it?
James Patterson Saves the World (from Amazon?)
I’m not sure if you could call this news related to Amazon’s plethora of announcements, but James Patterson has decided to give away ONE MILLION dollars of his own cash money to help keep certain big superstore booksellers (which shall remain nameless) from crushing independent books stores under the weight of their giant store success.
“We’re making this transition to e-books and that’s fine and good and terrific and wonderful, but we’re not doing it in an organized, sane and civilized way. So what’s happening right now is a lot of bookstores are disappearing, a lot of libraries are disappearing or they’re not being funded, school libraries aren’t being funded as well. This is not a good thing. It used to be you could find books everywhere.”
Um, okay, James, I have to tell you that first sentence was a hot mess. You’re a writer? For realz? Secondly, I just really want to hug you right now. That picture makes you look kind of intimidating, but I bet you’d like it. You seem like a guy who likes hugs. And independent bookstores. And books, too.
Beautiful Creatures Series Gets Its Own Spin-off
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl sent fans everywhere into whirling cartwheels, girlish shrieks of glee, and tittering giggles of delight by announcing that they are writing a new series in their well-established world of the YA series Beautiful Creatures.
Rather than focusing on Beautiful Creatures lead characters Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes, the Dangerous Creatures series will star fan favorites Link (Ethan’s best friend, a musician) and Ridley (Lena’s cousin, a siren) who are “witty and a little edgy,” said LBYR’s Kate Sullivan, who is co-editing the new series with editorial director Erin Stein. “We’re going to have new teen characters, new villains, new settings, and old settings,” said Garcia. “It’s really the best mix of the old and the new.”
Rumor Has It
If you thought news that the 2014 Rita Awards were now open to indie authors was astounding, then get a load of this little tidbit dropped by author (and self-publisher) M.C.A Hogarth:
Meanwhile, in other news, SFWA (Science Fiction Fantasy Writers of America) has asked me to serve on their new self-publishing committee, so I have my head together with a handful of other people. We’re working on revising the qualification criteria to permit self-publishers entrance into the organization and—more importantly—how to make the organization attractive to indie authors. That’s the big kicker, I think; right now I don’t think there’s any reason for indie authors to join SFWA.
Astonishing news, no? Still, Hogarth has a point. How do you convince those independently-minded indies to join your organization?
If he asked me, I could think of a few ideas, namely a reliable list of service providers. Nothing is more frustrating than hiring someone online to proofread your book, only to find out after it’s published that it’s still riddled with errors. It would be great if indie authors had access to quality/vetted cover artists, editors, formatters, etc. with real industry experience.
Goodreads, Goodreads, Goodreads
In a move that has garnered 2,212 comments on the Goodreads Feedback forum, as well as threats of mass exodus, book deletion and removal of Otis Chandler from the hallowed halls of the Bibliophile’s Association of America (yeah, I made that last one up, so?), Goodreads has changed their policy on reviews and shelving for reviewers.
Delete content focused on author behavior. We have had a policy of removing reviews that were created primarily to talk about author behavior from the community book page. Once removed, these reviews would remain on the member’s profile. Starting today, we will now delete these entirely from the site. We will also delete shelves and lists of books on Goodreads that are focused on author behavior. If you have questions about why a review was removed, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (And to answer the obvious question: of course, it’s appropriate to talk about an author within the context of a review as it relates to the book. If it’s an autobiography, then clearly you might end up talking about their lives. And often it’s relevant to understand an author’s background and how it influenced the story or the setting.)
Please flag reviews rather than responding directly to them. Should you respond to a negative review in a manner that is harassing, intimidating, or otherwise insulting to the reviewer, your account may come under review for deletion.
It was so great of Goodreads to let their users know of this new policy change before they started deleting shelves and book reviews. What’s that you say? They’ve already started doing it with no notice and no warning? You’re saying that people have received emails after the fact to let them know that their shelves and content have been deleted?
Well, these must be well-known trouble-makers, people who have been warned by Goodreads time and again to get their acts together. What’s that you say? These are people whose accounts have always been in good standing with the site? They’ve never had a single warning from the site admins? How odd.
According to their ‘About Us’ page, the site is supposedly for readers (boldness is mine for the sake of emphasis):
Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Our mission is to help people find and share books they love.
From Otis Chandler himself:
One afternoon while I was scanning a friend’s bookshelf for ideas, it struck me: when I want to know what books to read, I’d rather turn to a friend than any random person or bestseller list. So I decided to build a website – a place where I could see my friends’ bookshelves and learn about what they thought of all their books.
So why would a site that claims to be about readers alienate so many of its users by deleting their content without notice or some kind of warning system? Unfortunately, Goodreads’ comments on the matter take zero responsibility for all the content that has been deleted and don’t address the fact that reviewers were given no chance to edit their reviews before they were unceremoniously trashed:
To clarify, we haven’t deleted any book reviews in regard to this issue. The key word here is “book”. The reviews that have been deleted – and that we don’t think have a place on Goodreads – are reviews like “the author is an a**hole and you shouldn’t read this book because of that”. In other words, they are reviews of the author’s behavior and not relevant to the book. We believe books should stand on their own merit, and it seems to us that’s the best thing for readers.
Note that Goodreads is able to tell its users (each and every one) what is the “best thing” for them. Certainly, those users never would have known unless they’d been told. And again here:
Some people are perhaps interpreting this as you can’t discuss the author at all. This couldn’t be further from the case. The author is a part of the book and can certainly be discussed in relation to the book. But it has to be in a way that’s relevant to the book. Again, let’s judge books based on what’s inside them.
Well, yay! All of your users’ concerns have vanished. I’m sure they were especially gratified to read this little bit here:
By the way, to put things in context, every day we have more than 30,000 reviews written on Goodreads and, on average, only a handful are flagged as inappropriate. That means 99.99% of new reviews are happily within our guidelines.
If .01% of the reviews written are the ONLY problem, then why did you implement such a huge policy change with no notice or warning or grace period?
Goodreads has responded yet again to users concerns this morning:
Thank you for all the comments so far. One concern that has come up in this thread is that the content was deleted without those members first being told that our moderation policy had been revised.
In retrospect, we absolutely should have given users notice that our policies were changing before taking action on the items that were flagged. To the 21 members who were impacted: we’d like to sincerely apologize for jumping the gun on this. It was a mistake on our part, and it should not have happened.
Anyone else with reviews or shelves created prior to September 21, 2013 that will be deleted under the revised policy will be sent a notification first and given time to decide what to do.
Again, thank you for all your comments. We’ll continue to monitor this thread for your feedback.
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloane, Reviewed by Jude of Geeky Reading
This was a really, really good book. It’s lighthearted, whimsical, quirky, fun. It’s a light read, no matter its page number, has short chapters and short, insightful paragraphs and thoughts from the characters. I loved it. And Sloan has definitely been added to my to-watch list of authors.