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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Free Stories by the Brothers Grimm

Google has created an interactive Google Doodle to honor the 200th anniversary of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Click on the image embedded above for a visual exploration of the “Little Red Riding Hood” story.

To celebrate the milestone, we’ve rounded up free eBooks by the Brothers Grimm you can download download right now for your eReader, smartphone or tablet. Follow the links below to read.

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Mediabistro Course

Novel Writing: Editing Your Draft

Novel Writing: Editing Your DraftStarting July 16, workshop your novel in-progress with a published author! Erika Mailman's course will function as a workshop, with the emphasis on sharing your work for review and providing critiques for your peers. By the end of this class you'll have up to 75 pages of you novel workshopped and developed patterns to improve your writing. Register now! 

How To Connect Your Google+ Account to Your Online Writings

Perfect Market chief revenue officer Tim Ruder has helped writers at media companies around the country create a stronger online footprint. At the AllFacebook Marketing Conference this week, he shared a crucial piece of intelligence for writers: your Google+ profile can help your online writings get noticed.

Google can connect stories you have published online with your Google+ profile, attaching your name, profile and picture to search results for your writing. Ruder explained: “Social brings a level of trust to results that is really powerful … Trust is shifting from publisher to little face–the picture of someone beside an article. That is a pretty indelible stamp of trust.”

With the new system, readers can click on your picture and see other articles you have written–straight from Google search results. Below, we’ve outlined the steps you need to take to connect your Google+ profile with your Google search results.

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Oscar Wilde & Ahmad Shawqi Honored by Google Doodle


The Google Doodle team honored two writers in select countries last Friday. Oscar Wilde received a mysterious Dorian Gray-style doodle in honor of his 156th birthday. The Google team incorporated Arabic script into the logo to honor the birthday of poet Ahmad Shawqi (both embedded above, via).

Wilde’s most notable works include The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray. To this day, he is widely considered to be iconic in the gay community. He passed away at age 40 in 1900 from cerebral meningitis.

Shawqi was known primarily as a poet. He was particularly known in the Arabic literature community for being the first to write poetic plays. The play which gave him the most fame and recognition was the tragedy, The Death of Cleopatra.

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The Next, Still Pessimistic Chapter for E-Books

The New York Times’ Brad Stone doesn’t really add much more about the next generation e-book readers like Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader, but since people reading the NYT aren’t necessarily reading GalleyCat (or tech-related websites and blogs, for that matter) the piece, which also looks at Google‘s plans for e-bookdom, at least gets the basics down – and the skepticism in place.

“Books represent a pretty good value for consumers. They can display them and pass them to friends, and they understand the business model,” said Michael Gartenberg, research director at Jupiter Research, who is skeptical that a profitable e-book market will emerge anytime soon. “We have had dedicated e-book devices on the market for more than a decade, and the payoff always seems to be just a few years away,” he said. But with the Reader getting attention (if not sales) and Amazon’s imminent e-book device on their radar, most major publishers have accelerated the conversion of their titles into electronic formats. “There has been an awful lot of energy around e-books in the last six to 12 months, and we are now making a lot more titles available,” said Matt Shatz, vice president for digital at Random House, which plans to have around 6,500 e-books available by 2008. It has had about 3,500 available for the last few years.

Still, some retailers remain wary – especially Barnes & Noble, famously invested in e-books until they got out in 2003. “If an affordable device can come to the market, sure we’d love to bring it to our customers, and we will,” said B&N CEO Steve Riggio. “But right now we don’t see an affordable device in the immediate future.”

Amazon Offers Early Galleys, Online Payments

Though Amazon tried this idea once before without much success, the company has decided that sending out ARCs to hand-picked customer reviewers is a good thing, Ergo, Amazon Vine, which will “help our vendors generate awareness for new and pre-release products by connecting them with the voice of the Amazon community: our reviewers. Vine members, called Voices, may request free copies of items enrolled in the program and have the ability to share their opinions before these products become generally available.” The folks at LibraryThing note similarities to its own early release program.

Also, Marketwatch reports that Amazon will offer an online payments service that could compete with similar services from eBay and Google. Web services evangelist Jeff Barr said in a blog post that the company is formally introducing Amazon Flexible Payments Service, or FPS, which is intended to let developers build secure payment systems for their Internet sales. “As of this post FPS is now in a limited beta,” Barr said, adding however that “the entire payment system is fully functional.”

Authors At the Workplace to Read, Not Work

The SF Chronicle’s Tamara Straus looks at the recent trend of publishers sending authors not to the bookstores, but to the workplace to tour. Since the fall of 2005, for example, Google has joined several large West Coast companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks and Yahoo in hosting authors for weekly, sometimes daily, book-selling events that were once the sacred realm of bookstores. Although writers have long given lectures at universities and community centers, growing demand for them at the office is forcing publishers to rethink the traditional author tour and inducing booksellers to create ties with the corporate campus next door.

“There are so many distractions out there,” said Yelena Gitlin, publicity manager for Bloomsbury Books, who started bringing authors to Microsoft and Starbucks in 2003. “It’s hard to get people into bookstores these days, so book publishers and sellers have to come to readers — and they are often at work.” And the approach is working, according to Kim Ricketts, who runs her own company organizing non-bookstore events in Seattle and San Francisco. “At public bookstore events, 10 to 20 percent of the people buy books. At corporate events, 50 to 80 percent buy books and attendance tends to be higher,” she said. Plus, some companies, like Google, buy the books on behalf of their employees, often in orders of a hundred copies or more.

Which may make some bookstores shake in their boots, but not Bay Area stores. “I don’t see it as a threatening thing. I think it’s a good thing,” said Karen West, events director of Book Passage in Corte Madera, which holds about 100 in-store author events a month and has been steadily developing corporate partners. “But if publishers become booksellers, that’s a whole other phenomenon. … Nobody wants to see that happen, and I think publishers are aware of that.”

Giving Google a Taste of its Medicine

The UK publishing world is abuzz with Macmillan CEO Richard Charkin‘s actions at BEA last weekend. Charkin and a colleague went to Google‘s booth, took a couple of its laptops and waited in close proximity until someone at the company noticed – something that took over an hour. Though Charkin felt “rather shabby” for playing this trick on Google he had a point to make:

Our justification for this appalling piece of criminal behaviour? The owner of the computer had not specifically told us not to steal it. If s/he had, we would not have done so. When s/he asked for its return, we did so. It is exactly what Google expects publishers to expect and accept in respect to intellectual property. ‘If you don’t tell us we may not digitise something, we shall do so. But we do no evil. So if you tell us to desist we shall.’

The Guardian’s Richard Lea says Charkin “deserves a pat on the back” while the commenters at the Register debate the merits of Google’s project. But Techdirt slams Charkin and his justification as “one publisher doesn’t seem to understand the difference between helping more people find your books and theft.” (Ron adds: Seriously—if Charkin wanted an accurate metaphor, he should have let anybody who walked up to him use the laptop after he swiped it, for free, instead of hoarding all the information it contained to himself.)

Google Gets Attacked on Several Fronts

With the Association of American Publishers‘ annual meeting in full swing today, the prevailing theme is what to do about Google‘s plan to digitize all books ASAP. Which is why, as the Financial Times’ John Gapper reports, Microsoft plans to launch a fierce attack on Google over its “cavalier” approach to copyright, accusing the internet company of exploiting books, music, films and television programs without permission. Tom Rubin, associate general counsel for Microsoft, will say in a speech in New York that while authors and publishers find it hard to cover costs, “companies that create no content of their own, and make money solely on the back of other people’s content, are raking in billions through advertising and initial public offerings.”

Further, according to the speech published in today’s WSJ, Rubin will say that Google’s plan “systematically violates copyright, deprives authors and publishers of an important avenue for monetizing their works and, in doing so, undermines incentives to create”. It a sentiment that the University of California, Berkeley now seems to agree with, according to Peter Brantley‘s blog. “Can we say it was a mistake?/For it was a mistake/The goal is undeniably grand, and good/The means have left much to be desired” Brantley states, poetic-style, in rather blunt fashion. And in case the message wasn’t clear, he later adds “Can we say it? The deals are not fair. We were taken advantage of. We are asked to be grateful for something wondrous where we could have achieved more for ourselves and demanded more from others. We let this happen and we should not have. Now we must count on the beneficence of others. We need speak of the bitterness, laugh at our own stupidity, and move forward.”

Publishing Unbound, Google-Style

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A crowd more than 300-strong gathered at the New York Public Library‘s Celeste Bartos Room for Google‘s all-day Unbound conference to be told, in no uncertain terms by an array of speakers, that if you’re not moving with the digital times, you’re just not a 21st century publisher. I paraphrase, of course, but that was certainly the vibe in the air what with Seth Godin comparing publishers to outlying planets, Cory Doctorow (on the fiction side) and Daniel Weiss (on the educational side) explaining why giving content away is a good thing, and Tim O’Reilly advocating for Google Book Search as a way of capturing the almost 75% of books that aren’t accounted for by not being in print or in the public domain.

Aside from Godin and Doctorow, Chris Anderson was on hand to give an abbreviated spiel of his bestselling THE LONG TAIL, Stephen Dubner (of Freakonomics fame) talked about how the related website – now a blog with additional content features – brings in over 2 million page views a month, and J.A. Konrath stressed the importance of having “things to offer” instead of “things to sell” on an author website. But the big hit of the afternoon – at least, judging by applause – was Josh Kilmer-Purcell, who used Powerpoint in hilarious fashion to describe how MySpace hooked him up with fellow members of the Memoirist Collective. And for those who need help interpreting the slide, Kilmer-Purcell illustrated how his book, I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS, was published by HarperPerennial, which is part of HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who owns “half the world” – and when the Judith Regan graphic cued up, the room erupted in laughter…

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AMS To Sell Off PGW?

So says PW Daily, reporting that it appears increasingly likely that Publishers Group West will be sold off in a deal that could close relatively quickly. Sources said that “well funded” companies have been in discussions about acquiring the company in a transaction separate from any AMS deal.

But before anyone starts rejoicing, my antennae reads this as more of a plea for such “well-funded companies” – because unfortunately, the pickings are slim, unless some left-field candidate like Google or an unknown private equity company swoops in – to start negotiations in earnest. But when we know, you’ll know…