By Mika Rekai - Monday, November 26, 2012 - 0 Comments
It tracks when you read and when you don’t. Will it soon determine what you read?
For Catherine Henderson, curling up with a good book has always been an escape from reality. What the retired teacher doesn’t know, however, is that while she is lost in her Kindle, someone is reading over her shoulder.
Before ebook readers became popular in 2010—when e-reader sales quadrupled within months—publishers had only one way of measuring a book’s success: sales. Back then, it was almost impossible to do detailed market research that didn’t involve direct feedback, either through letters to the publishers or reader surveys. But the information didn’t tell the whole story about what readers wanted to read, and they said nothing about how they read. Did they read the whole book, or lose interest after a few pages? Did they skip certain chapters? Did they highlight and revisit favourite passages? Now the makers of the Kobo, Kindle and Nook are collecting hard data about exactly how their customers read.
By Adam Gopnik - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 2 Comments
And how a good mind can turn the game upside down
John Kenneth Galbraith, Martin Luther King Jr., Claude Lévi-Strauss, Margaret Atwood: the luminaries who have delivered the annual CBC Massey Lectures since 1961 are luminous indeed. They are an integral “part of the intellectual life of the nation,” in the words of CBC executive producer Bernie Lucht. This year’s speaker—“deeply honoured and deeply terrified” at being selected for the 50th anniversary—is Adam Gopnik, New Yorker staff writer, author and honorary Canadian. Born in Philadelphia, Gopnik lived in Montreal from the ages of 10 to 25, when he “experienced every significant thing that can happen to a human in those years, from falling in love to being rejected in love,” not to mention becoming a diehard Canadiens fan.
Gopnik’s topic is winter: “I wanted something Canadian but not narrowly Canadian, something that would bring in art, music and sport from across the world.” He offers an engaging account of the artists, composers, writers and intellectuals who invented the modern idea of winter, but the real passion lies in his sports lecture, especially when Gopnik discusses the only game that really matters in this country. His take on hockey describes how, in Montreal over a century ago, the French-Canadian demand for style and skill and the English-Canadian interest in playing rugby on ice saw the fusion of brutality and grace into a game of beauty.
This year’s lectures are scheduled for Montreal (Oct. 12), Halifax (Oct. 14), Edmonton (Oct. 21), Vancouver (Oct. 23) and Toronto (Oct. 26), and will be broadcast on CBC Radio’s Ideas Nov. 7 to 11. A book of Gopnik’s lectures will be published by House of Anansi Press. BRIAN BETHUNE
By Nicholas Köhler - Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 3:42 PM - 3 Comments
‘I’m just digesting my food. That’s a lot I ate.’
In publishing parlance, the acronym CIP stands for “cataloguing in publication,” and refers to the numbered items printed on a book’s copyright page outlining subject matter and used by librarians for—what else?—cataloguing. As it happens, the CIP data in The Little Book of Rob Ford, a House of Anansi Press title due for release late this month, makes for a handy synopsis of last year’s Toronto mayoralty race and its victor: “1. Ford, Rob, 1969—Humour. 2. Ford, Rob, 1969—Quotations. 3. Toronto (Ont.)—Politics and Government—21st century—Humour.” A little later: “5. Malapropisms.”
The book, which runs to 160 pages (including bibliography), is a compendium of Ford bon mots gathered into categories by an anonymous editor whose nom de plume is The Unknown Torontonian. Under “On City Hall”: “It’s time to stop the gravy train.” Under “Ford on Ford”: “I’m just digesting my food. That’s a lot I ate.” Under “On Drugs and Alcohol”: “They pulled me over. I was with my wife. They found one joint in my back pocket.”
This isn’t the first time Toronto-based Anansi, known for publishing some of the best fiction and poetry produced in Canada in the last 45 years, has ventured into the political. In 1970, it published both a Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada and Law, law, law: A down-to-earth citizen’s manual on the laws you most frequently encounter—driving, apartment living, drinking, drugs (the latter by Clayton Ruby and Paul Copeland). The small-format Little Book will retail for $8.99 and will be available on bookstore counters—”an impulse item,” says Anansi publisher Sarah MacLachlan. A concept surely familiar to Toronto voters.