Sometimes, instead of one long blog post, I find myself with lots of smaller things I want to share. Today is one of those days.
– Earlier this week, I read an interesting piece in Forbes comparing Harlequin with Harvard Business Publishing. What could they have in common? Well, according to Nick Morgan, both have put lots of time and effort into community building. There are folks that just buy the occasional book here and there, but the most dedicated readers I know love to talk about books, so I’m all for having communities where we can do that. Reader-oriented sites and publisher sites obviously offer different things, but I know I’ve visited both and I suspect many readers have as well. Personally, I first discovered the online book world just as I was emerging from the free time-less fog known as law school and I’ve so enjoyed the people and ideas I’ve encountered there. Things have evolved a lot, particularly in the past few years, and I’ll be curious to see where publishers go in their community building. I think Harlequin has a headstart on most, but I see others getting into it as well, with blogs, Facebook pages and sites such as Heroes and Heartbreakers.

– And speaking of Harlequin, right now they are having their end of summer clearance sale. You can find all the sale books here.

– On the issue of community, I’ve enjoyed using Goodreads to keep track of my own reading, but it’s impossible not to be aware of some of the site’s shortcomings as well. Anyone spending time on book sites has probably heard at least a bit about dramas old and new as well as the existence of different sets of guidelines for readers as opposed to authors. And then there’s Goodreads’ policy with regard to “hiding” certain reviews. If you haven’t seen them, VacuousMinx has a couple of posts dedicated to some of the percolating issues at Goodreads, and they’re very helpful. You can find them here and here. Personally, I continue to use my Goodreads account because I find the organization aspect of it helpful (and because Librarything is blocked on my work computer for some unknown reason), but I do find the evolving issues over there relevant to watch.

– As a reader, I tend to focus more on books that actually make it shelves rather than analyzing the minutiae of deals and keeping track of which ones never make it to print. However, if you’ve ever wondered what can happen to authors who receive an advance and don’t deliver a book, check out The Smoking Gun to see what Penguin is up to. As a fairly basic proposition, the idea of suing someone for breach of contract after you pay them for work and then never receive the work for which you contracted makes sense. From what I understand, the court filings include copies of the contracts at issue, so I’d certainly be curious to see them.

– Guess what’s going on next week? It’s Banned Books Week! Have you ever been touched by a book censorship challenge? I’ve loved reading for almost as long as I can remember, so book censorship issues tend to pop on my radar. When I was a senior in high school, there were book banning challenges going on in our county. The week before some bans were to take effect, my English teacher gave us a list of the books to be yanked, told us to pick the book of our choice, read it and write about it. That was probably the most fun I had writing a report. Check here for more ideas about “celebrating the freedom to read.”

– Much has been said about the Wild West that is self-publishing among readers of romance, and now the Literary Review of Canada weighs in, wondering what the blurring of the lines between mainstream publishing and self-publishing will mean for the future. I’m glad to see the author recognizing that self-publishing is different now, and not to be dismissed, even if I’m not sure I see the death of literature looming on the horizon.

– This has actually been out there for a while, but I haven’t had an excuse to put it on the blog. But hey, today’s Friday and I want a good laugh to start the weekend! Books such as Fifty Shades of Grey and The Siren have made more people curious about BDSM. In this hilarious piece, the folks at Jezebel unpacked Cosmo’s BDSM guide. This is probably not worksafe for all offices, but we just about died reading it in mine.

– Lynn Spencer