The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Amazon reported an unexpected second-quarter loss Thursday of about $7 million — though revenue rose 22 percent — as it continues to bet big on investments in digital content. The Bookseller summarized Amazon's strategy of "building new warehouses, growing services and ... [buying] a hoard of digital rights content for its film streaming service." It adds , "In the three months from April to June [Amazon] announced an expanded video licensing agreement with Viacom, as well as deals with NBC Universal Cable & New Media. The company also opened Kindle Worlds, which allows writers to write fan fiction around 'popular worlds.' " Amazon's stock took a hit on the earnings news. But Forbes points out that "a 3% loss in after-hours trading on a shorter-than-expected report on a single quarter doesn't mean that much to [CEO Jeff] Bezos, and it shouldn't mean that much to Amazon's investors, either." In other words, don't be thrown by the numbers: Amazon is thinking big.
Author Geoff Dyer writes about trying to teach himself how to smile, in spite of the fact that "the Dyer visage in repose, its default setting, is that of a man whose jam has regularly been stolen from his doughnut."
The literary website The Omnivore has started a dating service, to "fulfill your bodily needs as well as your intellectual ones." The Omnivore isn't the only place to look for a bookish love connection — The New York Review of Books is also famous for its cerebral personal ads.
The latest Barnes & Noble nostalgia piece comes from Michael Agger at The New Yorker: "Going to Barnes & Noble became a Saturday afternoon. It was as if a small liberal-arts college had been plunked down into a farm field." Remember when Barnes & Noble was the enemy?
Neil Gaiman made a video game called "Wayward Manor," which will come out this fall. Gaiman told Mashable that he's tried (and failed) to do it before: "Back in the late 1990s I spent a lot of time working with various gaming companies. What tended to happen is I put an incredible amount of work in these things and just as something was about to happen, the company was about to go bankrupt."
For The Telegraph, Horatia Harrod considers miniature books: "There is a certain madness to the world of miniature books. The smallest ones, which measure less than a quarter of an inch, cannot be opened; even if they could, their type could not be read without the aid of a microscope."
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