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#Amazonageddon Halts US Online Book Purchase For… Several Hours

At some stage last week while I was asleep, buy buttons were removed from Big 6 (5?) publishers Hachette, Penguin, Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. What followed was a brief turd storm of concern, blame and speculation about what these publishers had done to bring forth the wrath of Bezos, followed by a ‘statement’ from Amazon a while later saying it was a technical glitch (ie: they sent out an email with ‘technical glitch’ as the subject line and blank body text, probs).

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Macmillan Dictionary moves definitively from print to digital

Macmillan Education has announced that, as of 2013, its dictionaries will now only be released in digital formats, thus forever depriving future generations of schoolchildren of the opportunity to discover which pages have the naughty words by their folded down corners. The last print editions of its English language dictionaries were printed this week. In lieu of physical copies focus will shift instead to Macmillan Dictionary Online, which combines the content of the company’s dictionary and thesaurus and presents it alongside a regularly updated language blog, a weekly ‘Buzzword’ column and, most tellingly, the Open Dictionary, a crowd-sourced resource that appears to operate in a manner similar to Urban Dictionary only presumably with fewer descriptions of nauseating sex acts. Presumably.

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Can Publishers Succeed at Social Media?

This is an artists rendering of what shit social media looks like.

This is an artists rendering of what bad social media looks like.

Last week, I went to a workshop on social media at Main Headquarters called a Social Media Social, which unfortunately isn’t a social where you dress up as different icons from social media but more like a bit of a talk, a bit of mingling, and a bit of casual Twitter use.  We got some great tips from the mother of Futurebook and Twitter Queen Sam Missingham, including:

  • Pick your platforms – do research into where your target audience is, or decide what you feel most comfortable doing, and stick to those channels. No one can be everywhere, and you don’t need to be.
  • Consider going off-message – social media advocates from within your company don’t need to be pushing the same agenda as the corporate accounts. Having rogues (eg. Waterstones Oxford St. on Twitter) can be great for your brand.
  • Make it fun – people want to interact with things that involve them in some way. It’s pretty hard to interact with a sales pitch.

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Philip Roth retired last month and no one noticed till now

In what may or may not be a hissy fit reaction to yet another Nobel snub (legal note: it isn’t), Philip Roth kind of sort of announced his retirement from writing last month in an interview with French publication Les Inrocks, a revelation which seemingly went unreported in the English language press until Salon picked it up on Friday, because French, amirite? (legal note: I am wrong)

By the by, if you were willing to give anglophone journos the benefit of the doubt and assume that they took the time to have such a monumental announcement dilligently translated, well, Salon would like you to know ‘The interview is published in French; we used an Internet program to translate his quotes into English.’

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5 questions for Caroline Moore on mobile language learning [INTERVIEW]

Increasingly, Publishers and content creators are getting their material onto mobile devices. It makes perfect sense to be doing so, putting learning tools directly into the hands of learners, but it’s not as easy as just creating a great product. I met up with Caroline Moore, Director and Co-Founder of LearnAhead to find out more about mobile language learning and how their company is on a mission to get better language acquisition apps into the market.

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Fourth Estate publishing Lena Dunham in the UK

In a piece of fortuitous timing on this election Tuesday, Fourth Estate has acquired the UK rights to the first book by American writer, actress and director Lena Dunham, who is trailed wherever she goes by a string of fretful internet thinkpieces and whose recent cute, mildly suggestive Obama endorsement had at least one Republican politician wondering aloud about whether or not she might take advice from the same source as Obama and Putin, namely the great Satan hisself.

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Spotlight on 3 speakers: SYP Conference 2012 [REPORT]

The SYP committee did a great job this weekend of bringing together speakers from all areas of the publishing industry to share tips and learn from each other. The talks ranged from focussing on traditional publishing to digital demos; with topics covering social reading (fiction) to ELT publishing trends. It made for a fascinating and varied day. Here’s a brief overview of talks from 3 of the great speakers at the conference.

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