Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chamblin’s - An Infinite Bookstore

Sigh...Any bibliophile would love to get lost in a bookstore like this. From books on birdhouses to books on running and walking (and even books on eggs and cheese), you will find a variety of books to keep your mind occupied in this bookstore.

Via BoingBoing
Jeff Vandermeer sez, "My video narrated by a visitor supposedly lost for days, showing just how ridiculously large and multi-faceted the Chamblin Bookmine is. Using stop-gap photos I recreated my path through the bookstore in Borgesian fashion. With incidental music by The Church. In a day and age when most bookstores are dying, this organic behemoth, which changes every day due to the volume of incoming and outgoing books, is still going strong..."
Via Ecstatic Days
The thing about Chamblin Bookmine is that they take everything–I mean, everything–of any possible value. With the result that you can even find, in addition to truly precious first editions and limiteds, you get such specificity of subject it’s insane.

You can also take a look at the photos on Flickr.

Who Did Archie Choose to Get Married To?

There was news of Archie getting married. And the news of who he has chosen to marry is out...

Via Yahoo News
Already in mid-May, the publisher sent speculation swirling when it announced a special marital-themed storyline for release in August, but didn't reveal the lucky lady.

The wedding will take place after the gang graduate from college, and venture out into the working world.

While many fans are questioning whether Archie should marry at all, because it could mean a possible end to the enduring comic-book soap opera.
Read the entire article here. And oh yes, find out who he has chosen in the same article. You could also visit the chosen lady's blog here.

Image Source

Toilet Paper Novel

A Japanese company is all set to print a horror novel on .... errr, toilet paper.

Via Today
Each roll carries several copies of a new nine-chapter novella written by Koji Suzuki, the Japanese author of the horror story "Ring," which has been made into movies in both Japan and Hollywood.
"Drop," set in a public restroom, takes up about three feet of a roll and can be read in just a few minutes, according to the manufacturer, Hayashi Paper.
Toilets in Japan were traditionally tucked away in a dark corner of the house due to religious beliefs. Parents would tease children that a hairy hand might pull them down into the dark pool below.
Read the entire story here.

Image Source: Caro's Lines

Twittering Thursday

Tweet Tweet. Its time to share some of our favourite tweets from last Thursday.

It was great to see many of our friends on Twitter spread the word about the job vacancies at Pratham Books. Thank you all! We also revisited our blog archives to read about the Adivasi Academy in Gujarat trying to preserve local languages and the Tinkering School. Also, a reminder to apply for the TEDIndia Fellows program and that the Magic Bus needs volunteers for day-trips on 6th and 8th June 2009.

We were reading about how Oprah's love for Kindle had fueled an e-book interest and how new e-readers will end the black and white era. Another article we were reading was about the 'Green School' in Mysore.

And now for interesting links our Twitter friends were posting..

@indianfolklore shared a link to the Google transliterator of Indian languages and @gkjohn's tweet was about Wikipedia voting to move to a CC license.

@thecreativepenn's tweets were about Scribd almost getting it right with “Independent Publishers” concept, the British Library inviting patrons to try ebook readers and how to make your book downloadable directly from a tweet.

Did you know that 'Harry Potter' was rejected by eight publishers? @namenick linked to an article on 5 rejected best-sellers. @indianfolklore's tweet about the heroic monomyth made for good reading. Also known as the Hero's Journey, it describes the common stages of a hero's journey found in many stories. @mitaliperkins's tweet was linked to an article about the futile search for nice, normal Dads in children's books.

@FYSE linked to the Free ideas project with a social change twist to it.

The last tweet is from @weheartbooks. Take a look at a mother and son collaborating to make a stunning mural in the son's room.

Image Source: Matt Joyce

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ShapeMaker Wooden Block Toy Animation

We were led to this animated video through @kidshaus's tweet.

ShapeMaker is a set of 25 colourful, geometric design, hand printed, environmentally friendly, rubber wood blocks that can be excitingly arranged to create a menagerie of thousands of surprising creatures and tons of sparkling, imaginative, engaging images that guarantee to delight children from 4 yrs and upwards. (Via YouTube)

Matte Stephens's Illustrations

Our 'illustration love' post for last week was reserved for Matte Stephens's work. But in the midst of Ubuntu-fying our systems (yes, our office has now been officially Ubuntu-fied.. except for the computer which our graphic designer needs) and then the Etsy site being down, we didn't create the post.

So, here goes...

*Ta da*... presenting Matt Stephens's work. His site and blog are full of humourous and quirky images. Personally, I love the flatness of these images. And please please take a look at this wonderful paper sculpture. In Matt's case, its the simplicity of his images that makes them a winner.

Take a look at more images here.

Image Source: Matte Stephens

The Bicycle Project

We found a link to 'The Bicycle Project' from the ThinkChange India website. The bicycle project collects old bicycles and provides them to children who have to walk to school to receive an education.

Via The Bicycle Project
In villages located a couple of hours outside Mumbai, there are several children aged 6-16 years, walking an average of 2-7 kms a day, one way, to get an education. This is the generation that will bring about a change for the better – for their families, their villages, and who knows, maybe even their country and some day, the world!

Going to school is the most important thing for these kids – and they know that. Which is why no distance is too long – and walking for hours is normal because missing school is not an option. Whether rain or shine, blistering heat or freezing cold, these children do their best to get to school on time, every day. We’re asking you to help these children by being part of The Bicycle Project.

Other ways in which you can help:

1) Sponsoring the repairs of the bikes (on an average, each bike costs Rs 400 to fix up)
2) Transporting (or sponsoring it) the bikes from the donors’ homes to the repair shop and then to the village
3) Sharing a space where all the bikes donated in your area can be collected, before they are picked up in a single trip, which will save a lot of time, money and energy.
Read more about this project here.

Image Source: Leo Tikhonov

1Kg More - 'Voluntourism' in China

1Kg More is an education-related charity which connects the concept of travelling with charity. Andrew Yu, founder of 1kg more, came up with this idea after he heard a his friend's travelling experience where teachers from one village wanted him to deliver a message of encouragement to a teacher in the other village. The project encourages travellers to bring 1kg of old books, stationery and other education related material to donate to schools and children along their journey.

Via FYSE Blog
We thought we should do something so that we started a volunteerism program called carry a little bit more on back. But soon I found there was something wrong with it. “A little” is not a precise figure, it’s not specific so that people will be confused and we changed it into “1KG”. Indeed, 1kg is just a symbol. We hope to convey that this is not a burden but an easy and relaxed thing, and it won’t bring you any moral pressure. That’s why people regard 1kg as happy charity.

We thought we should do something so that we started a volunteerism program called carry a little bit more on back. But soon I found there was something wrong with it. “A little” is not a precise figure, it’s not specific so that people will be confused and we changed it into “1KG”. Indeed, 1kg is just a symbol. We hope to convey that this is not a burden but an easy and relaxed thing, and it won’t bring you any moral pressure. That’s why people regard 1kg as happy charity.

However, our volunteers are organized by themselves, we just provide a platform for them to get and share information and experience.
Read the entire article here. You can also visit their website here.

Image Source: Poorfish

Janastu - ICT Solutions for NGOs

Via Janastu (Via NGO Post)

Janastu takes ICT solutions and services to organisations involved in the social development sector.

The mission of Janastu is to enablethe social development sector to pro-actively manage their community-based knowledge.

Janastu has been providing free and open source (FOSS) solutions and support to small not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations (NPOs/NGOs). This includes one-on-one consulting regarding the information management needs of the NPOs/NGOs, building their online and offline knowledge bases, providing support to their projects, designing web-sites, configuring news-filters, helping them migrate to open source solutions, localization and Indian language support issues, geographic information collection, and comprehensive or modular software development.

The core activites of Janastu are:
  • Enable people and organizations to access ICT towards improved and sustainable socio-economic status.
  • Network and support NGOs in using ICT to build and strengthen linkages between grassroots and other stakeholder institutions.
  • Support governance with need-based data/information required to enhance service levels to communities.
  • To create a participatory platform for governance or NGOs, which will bring forth transparency and accountability.
Visit their website for more details.

Image Source: Kevin Zollman

Bhatta-Shalas - Schools for Children of Kiln Workers

The Doorstep School initiative in Pune is helping children of migrant labourers and construction workers get free education. Today's post is about the kiln schools of Haryana.

Against the backdrop of a smoke-billowing chimney of a brick kiln and under a tin-roofed shed stuffed with rows of freshly-molded bricks, a class is in session.

Nearly 50 children sit cross-legged attentively practising numerals on their slates. It is an unusual setting but nine-year-old Ashida isn’t complaining as this is the only school she knows of.

In fact, this daughter of an Assamese migrant beams with pride as she displays her neatly-written Hindi alphabets which she picked up in a month. Until last year, she would have spent the first half of the year working in brickkilns and the rest assisting her family in chores back home. “I learn something new in school everyday,” she says coyly.

She speaks for about five thousand students who attend 100-odd brick kiln schools across Jhajjar district, Haryana. Known as bhatta-shalas, these schools are a boon for the wards of kiln workers, who miss primary education due to their families’ constant inter-state migration.

In May 2007, 70 per cent students did well in the final evaluation and received certificates allowing them admission in regular schools. An ILO-funded tracking system for the bhatta-shala project saw the enrollment of 800 students in their native districts in seven states.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source: Artiii

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Opening Up Access to Norwegian Books

Via Open Access News
More than 10,000 Norwegian books will soon be digitized, move online, and be freely accessible at least to Norwegians.

On the World Book and Copyright Day, Kopinor and the National Library of Norway signed a contract regarding a pilot project for digital books on the Internet.

Through the project, called (’Bookshelf’), the library will make all Norwegian books from the 1790s, 1890s and 1990s available on the Internet.

All titles from the 1990s and some titles from the 1890s – together approx. 50.000 books – are under copyright. These books will not be prepared for print or download, but will be made available to Norwegian IP-addresses. The licensing agreement will be supported by the Extended Collective License.

The Bookshelf project will be launched in May, with 10.000 books under copyright. More books will be introduced in 2009–10, and the project will continue until the end of 2011.

Read the entire article here.

The Failure of E-book Devices

A librarian shares her views about the current failure of e-books (especially in a library scenario)

The failure is how the e-book reader companies do not consider libraries as a viable customer.

If you read the FAQs or Terms of Service for Amazon, Sony, Mobipocket, and Ebooks, there is a clear indication that you cannot lend an e-book to anyone. Ok, that’s not entirely true, since Sony indicates that you can lend an eBook to a friend (gasp!) so long as they are an authorized user of your account (Awww!). Sure, you can authorize a friend, but if you are someone who passes around books to all your friends and family, this becomes an onerous exercise in authorizing and de-authorizing just to share a reading gem. Also, it makes the lending of a Sony Reader with eBooks a circulation nightmare for a library under those ‘guidelines’.

Mobipocket stakes dangerous territory by saying that you cannot lend an eBook but you can lend the device.

The current Amazon stance is the equivalent of a wink and a nod that you could lend one, but it’s against the terms of service. While my first reaction was admiration of shrewdness, it has since evolved into insult. Did Amazon really think that a libraries would not be interested in offering this device to their patrons? Either they are terribly short sighted as to their market or just plain inconsiderate that the well established institution of the library would love to offer a new medium for people to borrow materials.

So, all you e-book reader industry people out there, here’s a couple of ideas for you from this librarian.

(2) With your army of lawyers (Amazon, Sony, etc.), write a service contract in which you provide us with devices and materials which we can then lend to patrons. (Leave it to us as to how we make them financially responsible to borrowing the readers; we are better in the lost or damage item debt collection field than you are.)

We are in the intellectual enhancement business, no matter the medium. Libraries are the allies of the e-book reader devices. Start treating us like it.
Read the entire article and all the valid points that this librarian makes.

Image Source: maury.mccown

Crowdsourcing for Your Blog and Landing a Book Deal

Frank Warren's PostSecret project started off as an art project where he asked people to send in postcards of their secrets. Frank sifts through the numerous postcards he gets and uploads some of them on his blog every Sunday. But the overwhelming response to this project has resulted in Frank publishing several books with the postcards he is unable to post on the blog. The New York Times takes a look at other projects where bloggers have been able to get themselves a book deal.

Via The New York Times
After Duncan Birmingham, a comedy screenwriter in Los Angeles, got one too many holiday cards featuring miserable-looking pets wearing fake reindeer antlers, he realized the photos were great material for a blog.

Mr. Birmingham started Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves in early January, uploaded the first entry and asked readers to contribute. Within days, visitors were supplying him with snapshots of bulldogs in bunny costumes and cats wearing wigs. The blogosphere noticed — and so did the publishing world. Within a week, he was contacted by editors and literary agents. By the second month, he said, he had sold a book based on the photos to Three Rivers Press, an imprint at Crown Publishing Group, for “enough money to buy a Lincoln Town Car” — with change left over.

But the latest frenzy is over books that take the lazy, Tom Sawyer approach to authorship. The creators come up with a goofy or witty idea, put it up on a simple platform like Twitter and Tumblr, and wait for contributors to provide all of the content. The authors put their energy into publicizing the sites and compiling the best material.

Publishers are hoping that millions of page views on a blog will translate into booming sales on the bookstand, he said. “I Can Has Cheezburger?” is based on a blog of the same name. It sold more than 100,000 copies and hovered on The New York Times best-seller list for 13 weeks.
Read the entire article here.

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'Book: The Sequel' Project

"Book: The Sequel" is a project where you cook up a line for an imaginary sequel of a published book.

Ever wonder what happens to Harry Potter after twenty years of marriage and a steady government gig?

Or what Karl Marx would say about today’s financial crisis?

If the Bible had a sequel, what would its first sentence be?

Write that sentence and you could be published! It’s easy!

  1. Pick a book.
  2. Imagine its sequel.
  3. Write the first sentence.
  4. Give it a great title.
  5. Click Submit Sequel Now! to enter.

Follow the countdown to publication on Twitter, spread the word on Facebook, and find out on May 30th whether you are a Published Author!

For example: HappyMeals are all alike; each unhappy meal is unhappy in its own way. —From Anna McKarenina (sequel to Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy)
Visit "Book: The Sequel" to submit your first line.

Image Source: Violets and Handshakes

Cool-er e-reader than the Kindle?

Via Financial Times

A new e-reader entrant is pitching itself as cheaper, lighter and more open than Amazon’s Kindle or Sony’s Reader, and with a larger selection of titles. The Cool-er is the brainchild of Neil Jones, an avid reader and entrepreneur, whose company is based, appropriately, in Reading, in the UK.

The Cool-er’s price of $249 in the US will undercut the Kindle by $110. At 5.65 ounces it is 40 per cent lighter than the Kindle and, having compared the two devices side-by-side, the Cool-er looks about half-an-inch shorter in length and width.

Coolerbooks will sell titles in the open EPub standard, compared to Amazon’s proprietary .azw format, with prices expected to be comparable.

There are eight different colours and eight different languages available for the device, giving the Cool-er more international appeal. The screen uses the same E Ink technology as the Kindle and looks slightly larger. There is a rechargeable, removable battery, a memory card slot and a gigabyte of onboard memory. A headphone socket allows music and audio books to be enjoyed, just like the Kindle.

Read the entire article here.

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Joi Ito's FreeSouls

BoingBoing has an articles on Joi Ito's book 'FreeSouls' which has photos of people he knows through the free culture/copyfight movement.

For years, Joi has travelled the world, photographing the activists, creators, inventors, hackers and entrepreneurs he's met. Noticing that many of these people had very poor portraits in their Wikipedia entries and learning that this was because professional portraits almost always have some licensing restrictions, Joi assembled his remarkable photos into a book and online repository, licensing the whole thing Creative Commons Attribution. Although the photos can be had for free, Joi's publisher has assembled an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous book (in a limited edition of 1024 copies!) that includes a stirring intro by Larry Lessig and essays from Yochai Benkler, Isaac Mao, Howard Rheingold, me and Marko Ahtisaari.

Read the entire article here. Visit the FreeSouls website.

Image Source: FreeSouls

Monday, May 25, 2009

How the @DNA Newspaper Account Functions on Twitter


The Daily News and Analysis (DNA) is a fairly popular daily English newspaper published in India. They were also one of the first newspapers to actively interact with users on Twitter.
  • I know you started the @DNA account after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. How did you convince the decision making authorities to go in favour?
At the time, the DNA blogs were 'under construction', so I thought of starting a Twitter account as well. I initially created an account with the name @DNAIndia, as @DNA was not available, and started posting news updates. I informed the Resident Editor only when the account had 200 followers.
  • You have been very progressive, interacting with fellow tweeters, even retweeting the competition! Do you have any guidelines in place to run the account? If yes, what are those?
Unlike the competition, we use Twitter like a normal person would. Regarding retweeting the competition, does it make such a big difference? We are on Twitter to disseminate news, not to sell it. So if let's say @IBNLive or @HeadlinesIndia post a breaking news story, we think there is nothing wrong in retweeting them. Plus DNA - the newspaper is more about analysis, than just breaking news.
  • Since you don't use automated services like TwitterFeed to feed data into the account, how do you decide what needs to go out and what doesn't?
That's a tricky one. I keep scanning the wires and if I find something interesting, I post it. We have noticed that metro-specific news and political news are more popular in terms of replies, retweets, and clicks. Even really quirky stories get lots of responses. It's like Digg in that way.
Read the entire interview here.

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Mobile Camel Cart Astronomy Exhibition

When we stumbled across Meena Kadri's photographs on Flickr, we fell in love with them immediately. We have used some of her photographs to go along with our blog posts too. A few days ago we came across a post on her blog where she shared a details of a mobile camel cart exhibition on Astronomy which was travelling across villages in Gujarat.

Via random specific
A former student of mine from the National Institute of Design in India, Kathan Kothari, was involved in a brilliant local initiative last month for the 100 Hours of Astronomy project which was observed simultaneously by countries across the globe.

He co-developed a mobile camel cart exhibition on Astronomy which visited villages, slums and local neighbourhoods in and around Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He was happy to report the enthusiastic reception by locals, especially children, for many of whom it was their first exposure to topics such the solar system, eclipses and celebrated Indian astronomers.

The cart and crew stayed overnight in villages during the 100 hours and held telescopic star-gazing sessions with enthralled locals. The initiative was accompanied by a radio broadcast which included activities that guided listeners to make basic astronomical instruments like a pinhole camera and a simple telescope. The project was later extended to further Gujarati locations and included quiz sessions and drawing competitions.
Read more about this initiative here. View pictures of the mobile camel cart exhibition here.

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Free Music Archive


The website brings a curatorial vision alongside a new business model that hopes to benefit the musicians involved, extending both their reach and revenues. From dedicated artist pages, visitors are given the option to purchase albums from an artist’s preferred vendor, as well as “tip” the artists directly through PayPal. The scope of the project is already impressive with its intuitive site design and eclectic mix of artists, genres and live tracks and we suspect it will only get better with time.

Every mp3 you discover on The Free Music Archive is pre-cleared for certain types of uses that would otherwise be prohibited by outdated copyright law. Are you a podcaster looking for pod-safe audio? A radio or video producer searching for instrumental bed music that won’t put your audience to sleep? A remix artist looking for pre-cleared samples? Or are you simply looking for some new sounds to add to your next playlist? The Free Music Archive is a resource for all that and more, and unlike other websites, all of the audio has been hand-picked by established audio curators.
Read the entire article here and visit the Free Music Archive.

Image Source: Taras Kalapun

New India Foundation Fellowships

Our friend @arunpatre on Twitter tweeted about the New India Foundation Fellowships for scholars and writers.
The core activity of the New India Foundation are the New India Fellowships, awarded to scholars and writers working on different aspects of the history of independent India. The duration of the fellowships is twelve months. Fellows are paid Rs. 50, 000 a month.

The New India Fellowships are open only to Indian nationals, including those currently living abroad. Fellowship holders are expected to write original books. Their proposals should be oriented towards final publication, and outline a road map towards that destination. The Foundation is ecumenical as regards genre, theme, and ideology: the only requirement is that the proposed works contribute to the fuller understanding of independent India.

The books that result from the New India Fellowship will convey original research in an accessible manner to different constituencies. To that end, each book will be published by a prestigious publishing house.

Criteria for submissions:
  • CV with contact details (email ID mandatory)
  • Book proposal
  • Writing sample of at least 5000 words (published or unpublished)
The last date for entries is 31 July, 2009. Find more details about the fellowship here.

A Handmade Pop-Up Book

Pop-up books are so much fun. Many of them have been featured on this blog. Did you watch the making of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: A Pop-Up Book? What about this video of Marion Bataille's ABC3D? Check our EcoZoo, an online pop-up book, and a cool pop-up computer book from the 1980's. Today's pop-up book discovery is a handmade book featured in Lisa Hannigan's music video 'Lille'. We came across this lovely video through our twitter friend @weheartbooks. Unfortunately, the video cannot be embedded. So, jump over to the video on YouTube to see the beautiful handmade books that feature in the video (and don't forget to turn on your speakers).

PictureBox's Patronage-based Publishing Model

PictureBox is using a publishing model where they are asking consumers to pay before they publish two graphic novels.


Powr Mastrs 3 and If ‘n Oof will only be printed if enough money is raised ahead of time by pre-orders for the comics. When someone does pre-order either of the books, their name will be listed inside the book, along with their level of support. Picturebox is offering four different price tiers that come with an increasing number of bonuses, such as limited edition prints, as the dollar amount rises. Only 400 people per book are needed to get them published.

With the uncertainty and cost associated with producing a physical item, this kind of patronage model works well to gauge interest, secure money, and create a special community (only accessible by purchase) around the product.

Read the article on PSFK. Read more about this publishing model on Comics Comics.

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Rewind. Recap.

The week that was...

We are hiring for multiple jobs at Bangalore, Delhi and Chandigarh. We are looking for a graphic design and layout executive, multi state coordinators, a production manager and customer care executives. Check out the job profiles and send in your resume if you match the profile.

Residents of north-eastern India can apply for Sir Dorabji Tata Fellowships For North Eastern India.

We found out about the newly launched - an online library for the visually impaired. Other inspiring stories were the Doorstep School Initiative, a Children's Parliament in India, an educational TV channel for Iraqi children and education provided at the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh. Take some time out to read The Big Book which has stories in support of education.

Cory Doctorow asks a few questions on how DRM-free Kindle Books work and The New York Times has an article on how much an e-book must cost. Meanwhile, Scribd has launched an online store for authors, a twitter book club has been started and an application called Book Clubs is becoming popular on Facebook. The facsimile edition of The Wall Street Journal Asia is now available in India. Read about the interactive Twitter haiku poetry competition in London and find out why Danger Mouse's new album is a blank cd-r. You can also read about Masterpiece 2.0 : a canvas being made with a web 2.0 approach. Check out the poctures that many museums are adding to Flickr Commons. Find more interesting links from our Twitter update post.

We leave you with a cute book promo and Monette Enriquez's lovely paper collages.

Image Source: jasohill

Friday, May 22, 2009

'Book Clubs' on Facebook : Getting More Kids to Read

We have spotted quite a few kids becoming our fans on the Pratham Books facebook page. This surely is an indication of the online lives of children as well as their love for books. Many people on Facebook also have bookshelves which show all their friends the books they like, the books they have and the books they want to read. Now there is also an application called Book Clubs which gives booklovers a place to chat about their favourite books on Facebook.

Via The Joy of Children's Literature
Book Clubs is a new application on the hugely popular social networking site, offering students a free and convenient place to share ideas about books, authors, and related interests. Facebook members can instantly create or join a reading group devoted to any category, region, interest, or author.

"If you want to connect with people who share your passion for books, this is the place to be," says Rusty Weston, cofounder of Book Clubs. “Online book clubs aren't intended to replace face-to-face meetings, but many book lovers can't make monthly gatherings or don't want to wait that long to discuss what they're reading."

Users can post comments about a book or author, rate or review books, build or search a library of titles, entirely at their convenience. They can arrange meetings in person and use book clubs as a place to chat or post club news between meetings. It’s also a place where you can build a personal library drawn from a vast, searchable database of book titles.

Weston, a journalist with a deep passion for literature and a social media maven, came up with the idea because he realized that other book applications on Facebook “were all about building bookshelves rather than putting together readers who share a common interest,” he explains. “It also occurred to me that the friends with whom I share similar taste in literature don’t live in my community.”
Read the entire article here. You can also join Book Clubs on Facebook.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tweeting Update

A quick update from our Twitter account..

@TheBookseller started a Twitter experiment asking people from the book industry on Twitter to send them a tweet about themselves. In return they retweeted (shared) the replies to their followers. This experiment of theirs helped us meet many interesting people on Twitter. If you belong to the book industry, send them a message and meet other like minded people. And if you are on Twitter, come say hi to us too.

Send in a picture of your child's bookshelf to the "Around the World in 100 Bookshelves" project and win a set of multicultural books.

@thecreativepenn shared a lovely quote with her followers:

"What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers ~ Logan Pearsall Smith"

She also led us to this article: Amazon's Physical vs. Digital Dissonance

We giggled when we clicked on @storybird's link to Onno Knuvers illustration. He created a sweet and funny illustration to show off his dad's awesome hair styles over the last six decades and gifted it on his sixtieth birthday.

Kids may want to participate in the 'Power of Poetry' for students in grades nine through twelve. They can also take part in the 'Students Taking Charge Video Contest' and tell the world how their high school makes it easy for students to be healthy! You could also send in your entry for John Siddique's workshop on night poems. @Livejournal_ind informed us about an online magazine called Kinaara calling for submissions.

We revisited our blog archives to look at "Meet the Marks" - an e-book on punctuation and typography. We also blogged about a 'Catcher in the Rye' sequel. @TheBookseller had news on Salinger's lawyers looking into Rye sequel.

We are hiring! Do send us our resume if your profile fits any of the positions.

Image Source: Paris Hair

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We are Hiring : Production Manager

POSITION: Production Manager

LOCATION: Bangalore

JOB PURPOSE: To deliver all pre print and post print jobs including entire coordination


• In depth knowledge of offset , Laser, screen printing and other information such as GSM, Paper
• Should manage all kinds of production from books to catalogues and other stationery material
• Ensure smooth coordination between editorial/design/layout/production departments
• Maintaining the printing timelines with respect to specified jobs
• Would be responsible for P&L for the production
• Should be able to do in house estimations and costing for print orders
• Follow for all jobs related to pre press/post press and up to dispatch work
• Ensures for quality printing at best price


Interpersonal Skills:

• Excellent interpersonal and communications skills
• Ability to work well on own initiative, innovative and entrepreneurial
• Excellent problem solving skills
• Highly organized

General Knowledge and Technical Skills:

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills
• PC literate, particularly all MS Office packages

Required Education and Experience:

• Post Graduate degree preferably with publishing and 5 years experience is desirable
• Applicants must be able to demonstrate an extensive understanding of the publishing industry

Visit us at Email your resume to and

Pratham Books ( is a not for profit enterprise that publishes affordable children’s books in Indian languages. It was set up as an alternative low cost model in children’s book publishing that proves that children’s literature can be attractive and affordable and therefore more accessible. The aim of Pratham Books is embedded in its mission statement “A book in every child’s hand”. Since its inception in 2004, it has published over 150 original titles in up to 11 Indian languages and has printed and supplied over 6 million copies to children across India.

How Much Should an E-Book Cost?

In February, we had a blog post on the cost of e-books. Today we came across another article which talks about the how much e-books cost and the result of people's perceptions of the cost on the publishing industry. When David Baldacci's novel "First Family" went up for sale on Amazon last month, the e-book was priced a little over $15. But this price was not acceptable to the readers.

Several posted reviews objecting that the electronic edition of the book wasn’t selling for $9.99, the price Amazon has promoted as its target for the majority of e-books in the Kindle store. Hundreds more have joined an informal boycott of digital books priced at more than $9.99.

“I love Baldacci’s writing,” wrote one reader, who decided not to buy. “Sorry Mr. B — price comes down or you lose a lot or readers. I’ll skip your books and move on!”

It was a chilling sentiment for authors and publishers, who have grown used to an average cover price of $26 for a new hardcover. Now, in the evolving Kindle world, $9.99 is becoming the familiar price. But is that justified just because paper has been removed from the equation?

Publishers are caught between authors who want to be paid high advances and consumers who believe they should pay less for a digital edition, largely because the publishers save on printing and shipping costs. But publishers argue that those costs, which generally run about 12.5 percent of the average hardcover retail list price, do not entirely disappear with e-books. What’s more, the costs of writing, editing and marketing remain the same.

“What a consumer is buying is the content, not necessarily the format.”

The doomsday scenario for publishing is that the e-book versions cannibalize higher-price print sales. Publishing houses, already suffering from the recession, could be forced to cut author advances or lay off more editors.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source: Thomas Hawk

Learning in Ladakh

Sonam Wangchuk founded the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (secmol), at Phey (near Leh) in 1988. The school was set up after he noted the high failure rate of Ladakhi students which was leading to high rates of unemployment.

Via Tehelka
Eversince Ladakh was merged into Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, the official language of Ladakh, like the rest of the state, has been Urdu. Languages of instruction in primary schools are Hindi and Urdu, neither of which are spoken by children here in their daily lives. Children in Ladakh also begin to learn English very late, only five years before their school exams in English. Consequently, the students have difficulty expressing themselves in exams and the failure rate is high. Since independence, the graduation rate in Ladakh has varied from 0 to 5 percent.

Elementary school curricula were built on mainstream Indian motifs and contexts the children did not understand. Teachers were neither trained nor supervised, and this led to corruption of the system.

Responding to what he sees as a critical need to involve local communities in educating their children according to their own language and way of life, Sonam has organised citizens across the region to monitor and participate in school activities.

Building on that foundation, secmol then launched Village Education Committees. The villages that want teacher training are asked to pay for it. Each villager contributes a little towards the total amount. These contributions ensure the villagers’ enthusiasm in the process of change and secure their future roles as monitors of the schools. secmol works with the committees and with new teachers to introduce curricula with local motifs and contexts, including new methods in teaching science and math.

According to secmol’s strategy, the training of teachers is accompanied by an emphasis on the inherent flaw in the education system — the foreignness and poor quality of the curriculum. Through Sonam and his team’s advocacy efforts, the government introduced English at the primary level in 1992, a move especially important because there is still no universally accepted version of written Ladakhi.

A milestone in secmol’s work came with the building of a central government residential school at Durbuk village. Everyone in the community put in at least one day’s labour to build the school. Because the buildings were insulated for winter use, they were able to implement a path-breaking change in the educational cycles. While children in Durbuk used to spend their school break in idleness during winters, they now are able to study through this season.
Read the entire story here. You can visit their website here.

Image Source: PIXistenz

Book Promo for '1000 Times No'

Found this cute book promo for Tom Warburton's book "1000 Times No".
It's time to leave says Noah's mother, but Noah doesn't want to. "No!" he shouts. But he doesn't stop there. He tells her no in Latin, Dutch, Japanese, Tagalog, even in Robot!

The exaggeration and laugh-out-loud humor escalates as various gestures (headshake, back turn) are attempted, and a multitude of languages (Hindi, Etruscan and Russian, to name just a few, with matching costume changes) are utilized.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Scribd's Online Store for Authors

Scribd is known as the "YouTube of documents". But it has now gone one step further and launched a store for authors to upload and sell their work.

Via The New York Times

The Scribd Web site is the most popular of several document-sharing sites that take a YouTube-like approach to text, letting people upload sample chapters of books, research reports, homework, recipes and the like. Users can read documents on the site, embed them in other sites and share links over social networks and e-mail.

In the new Scribd store, authors or publishers will be able to set their own price for their work and keep 80 percent of the revenue. They can also decide whether to encode their documents with security software that will prevent their texts from being downloaded or freely copied.

“One reason publishers are excited to work with us is that they worry that publishing channels are contracting as Amazon and Google are gaining control over the e-book space,” said Jared Friedman, chief technology officer and a founder of Scribd.
Via Los Angeles Times
Another is the pricing model. Paperbacks have largely been priced at around $10 to $15. Hardcovers are $25 to $30. With digital books, that price could be any amount. Scribd just takes 20% of whatever price publishers and authors set for their works. The rest goes to the writer or publisher. Some authors, for example, are releasing their books on Scribd for $2.

One of them is Kemble Scott, a 46-year-old San Francisco writer whose first book, "SoMa," was published as a trade paperback in 2007. For his second book, "The Sower," Scott eschewed print and decided to debut his novel on Scribd as a $2 digital book.

"Publishing a book the traditional way can take a year to 18 months from the time you find a publisher to the time it ends up on store shelves," Scott said. "Now I can publish a book instantly that makes the most contemporary pop culture references of the day."
Read the articles here and here.

Image Source

Sir Dorabji Tata Fellowships For North Eastern India 2009


National Folklore Support Centre’s Tata Fellowships are meant for the residents of North Eastern India. This program facilitates an experienced scholar belonging to one community from the region to work collaboratively with another community’s elder or an artist to document the community elder/ artist’s tradition for a year long period. Each fellowship will carry an award of Rs.8000/‐ per month for the scholar and another Rs.8000/‐ per month for the community elder or artist. In addition to the monthly award each fellowship carries a contingency of Rs.50,000/‐ per annum to cover travel and documentation expenses. National Folklore Support Centre will coordinate with the University departments in the region of North Eastern India to select and eventually archive the audio visual documentation resulting out of this program. The documentation will also be used by National Folklore Support Centre for its teaching programs. The application must be sent by the scholar along with the consent letter of the community elder/artist.
Entries should reach NFSC by 31 May, 2009. Click here to see how to apply for this scholarship.

Image Source: शंतनू

Safari Africa : Cute Paper Collages

Monette Enriquez's Flickr set "Safari Africa" has cute collages made from magazine cut-outs. Take a safari through the set to catch a glimpse at the lion, rhino, alligator and other animals.

Masterpiece 2.0 : A Canvas Being Made with a Web 2.0 Approach

Masterpiece 2.0, a social media art project by Baschz and Selfcontrolfreak.

Masterpiece 2.0 is a social media project by Baschz and Selfcontrolfreak. The painting is being created with a web 2.0 approach

Via Masterpiece 2.0
Through actions like Introduce Object, Shirt 'Em and Cameo Appearance you can interact with Selfcontrolfreak, right on the canvas! Layer-by-layer these actions will be drawn into the growing animating canvas by Baschz. Every step is photographed seperately and will, together with the other photographed frames, form the growing time-lapse animation with Selfcontrolfreak in the leading role. Prices of the various actions vary from €10 to €50.

This will add new animation to the time-lapse movie and get you a one-off hi-res image of one of your animation's frames, created and signed by Baschz.The final multilayered canvas and documentation of the project are being auctioned, so you can become the owner of this unique painting!
Read more about the project here.

Click on the image above to see the video.

Flickr Commons

Many of the lovely pictures that feature are on our blog are thanks to the several Flickr users whp publish there work under Creative Commons licenses. Now, museums are also adding many of their pictures to the Flickr Commons.

Just last week, Chicago’s venerable Field Museum joined the Commons, adding over 480 images from their collection to the open-use, copyright-less area of Flickr. The Field Museum now joins other Commons partners like The Brooklyn Museum, The Smithsonian, National Galleries of Scotland, and Quebec’s Musée McCord.

The move of some of these museum photography collections to the Internet marks the development of a new sort of museum travel, whereby prospective visitors, the homebound, and those who are already fans of the collections may explore beyond visiting hours and guided tours. Even the avid photographers on Flickr are taking it upon themselves to capture a museum’s content for posterity; The MoMA Project group on Flickr boasts a staggering 30,200+ photos taken within the confines of the New York City museum alone.

Flickrization is also another step to preservation of urban history in the virtual realm, as Chicago’s Field Museum has added a gallery of their 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition images and vintage photos of attractions like the Lincoln Park Zoo. With open and free access to these archives, staying in on a rainy day to indulge in a little armchair traveling has never seemed so enlightening.

Read the entire article here.

Image Source: The Field Museum Library

Danger Mouse's New Album is a Blank Cd-R

Dark Night of the Soul, the hotly anticipated new album by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, will be "released" as a blank recordable CD with a note encouraging fans to download it from an illegal filesharing network. Although the album can be heard through an authorised internet stream, it will not receive an official physical or digital release, the group have announced, due to an unspecified legal dispute with EMI.

Unable to purchase the music, fans are encouraged to buy the project's accompanying book, with photographs by filmmaker David Lynch, which comes with a blank recordable CD-R. "All [CD-Rs] will be clearly labelled: 'For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will,'" the website states. The limited-edition book and CD-R cost $50 (£33), or fans can buy a poster and CD-R for just $10 (£6.60).

The reason for the unconventional release is unclear. "Due to an ongoing dispute with EMI, Danger Mouse is unable to release the music for Dark Night of the Soul without fear of being sued by EMI," the website reads.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source: the trial

Twitter Haiku in London: An Interactive Poetry Competition

London commuters who pass through King's Cross and St Pancras are being invited to participate in the world's first interactive Twitter poetry competition.

The poetic heritage of London railway station St Pancras is in no doubt. As the beady eyes of the late poet laureate John Betjeman gaze up from his statue at the magnificent neo-Gothic arch of the station he helped to save in the 1960s, lines of his work adorn the bronze tribute's base. Now, the scurrying hordes of commuters and Eurostar daytrippers who pass beneath him have the opportunity to see their own poetry on display in the station, via Twitter.

London commuters who pass through King's Cross and St Pancras are being invited to submit haiku-style poems on the subject of "the great British summer" from their phones using the social micro-blogging tool. The poems are displayed, within minutes of submission, on a board in the stations, from today until Friday. The best will then be selected by judges including the poet Jackie Kay and artist Yoko Ono.

"From The Ladykillers to Harry Potter, the station has been recorded in film and literature but the thousands of people it brings into London each day are rarely acknowledged," said Peter Millican, the head of Kings Place.

Commuters simply have to "tweet" their haiku from their phones using their existing Twitter accounts, placing the prefix @kingsplace before their poem in order for it to be picked up by the Kings Place Twitter account.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source: Stephan Geyer