The e-book is on the rise — but that does also mean that the bookshelf will disappear?
The Barack Obama administration has been moving aggressively to shift federal agencies closer to a paperless state by embracing new technology options. But this move has angered the companies that produce paper products, which are now fighting to stymie the administration’s plans.
Under the cover of a group calling itself Consumers for Paper Options, the paper industry has lobbied members of Congress to roll back some changes implemented in recent years.
For instance, the Social Security Administration (SSA) decided three years ago to cease mailing paper earnings statements to 150 million Americans. The move saved the agency $72 million a year.
But the SSA will have to go back to using paper statements after Rep. Susan Davis (D-California), to reverse the 2011 change, added language to the massive federal budget bill adopted in January.
Davis did so at the behest of the Consumers for Paper Options.
The group claims it is looking out for seniors and low-income Americans who haven’t kept up with the digital age.
“The glitzy new thing is to be pro-technology,” John Runyan, Consumers for Paper Options’ executive director, told The Washington Post. “But a lot of government agencies are saying, ‘We’re going electronic and the heck with it.’”
Runyan’s background is in paper, not helping consumers.
He previously served as head of federal government relations for International Paper, the largest pulp and paper company in the world, as well as treasurer of its PAC.
The Envelope Manufacturers Association actually launched Consumers for Paper Options, and the paper industry’s largest trade group, plus some of North America’s biggest paper manufacturers have provided funding for the group.
These interests have not enjoyed the era of switching to digital payments and records, which has resulted in businesses and government offices buying less paper.
But the federal government has saved substantial sums of tax dollars by embracing electronic alternatives to doing business.
The Department of the Treasury did away with most paper mailings, except for those going to the elderly and those with mental health problems, in an effort to save $1 billion over 10 years.
Agencies can slash the costs of paying individuals and vendors by utilizing electronic payments, which require only 9 cents to process, compared with $1.25 for a paper check, according to Treasury figures.
To Learn More:
Group Tries to Slow Federal Government’s Move Away from Paper to the Web (by Lisa Rein, Washington Post)
The Paper Industry Is Lobbying Against a Paperless Government — and It Has a Point (by Philip Bump, The Wire)
U.S. Government Wastes $440 Million a Year on Useless Printing (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Paper Industry Uses Loophole to Suck Billions from Taxpayers (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Wool author Hugh Howey has been beating the drum for self-publishing for a long time — but now he claims to have data to back it up. His new report on author earnings contains some startling figures, but none more so than the above chart showing indie authors beating traditional publishers on unit sales.
via http://ift.tt/eA8V8J In response to last week’s #museumselfie day, today the New York Public Library is calling on book fans everywhere to take photos of bookshelves (their own or a library’s) for #libraryshelfie day. The project was organized by Morgan Holzer and Billy Parrott of the New York Public Library. photos via New York Public Library via […]
via http://ift.tt/eA8V8J Artist Jodi Harvey-Brown transforms classic stories into sculptures using the very books in which the stories are found. Most of the sculptures are fairy tales and classic works of literature, but Harvey-Brown will accept commissions on her Etsy store. You can see more of her works on her deviantART gallery. We previously posted about her […]
via http://ift.tt/eA8V8J This 16th century German book opens in 6 different ways to reveal 6 books in one binding. It is a variation of a dos-à-dos (“back-to-back”) bookbinding, a rare method for attaching books back to back that was practiced primarily in the 16th and 17th centuries. The 6-way book is in the collection of the National […]
Dos-à-dos binding refers to a technique whereby two books are bound at their backs, allowing you to read one book, flip the conjoined pair over, and continue reading the other book. Pictured here is a beautiful example of a sixfold dos-à-dos binding, which, as you may have guessed, combines half a dozen separate books into one.
Ever get caught up in a book, to the point where it felt like you had left your everyday world and gotten caught up in the protagonist’s experiences? A new type of book could vastly increase that immersion, using temperature and vibration to reflect what’s happening in the book as you read.
The inside story of how the retail giant has managed to remain union-free across the United States.
After Amazon vanquished a rare U.S. union effort last week in a 21-to-6 vote, keeping the retail giant union-free across the United States, a union spokesperson blamed that result on a corporate campaign to make workers fear for their jobs — and told Salon a much larger union campaign could be ahead at Amazon.
“Everything Amazon did had the underlying tone of fear,” said International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers spokesperson John Carr.
Amazon did not respond to a Tuesday request for comment on the result and the allegations. Company spokesperson Mary Osako told CNN that the January 15 “vote against third-party representation” showed workers “prefer a direct connection with Amazon,” which she called “the most effective way to understand and respond to the wants and needs of our employees.”
Carr said that the IAM is still reviewing whether it had sufficient evidence to file charges alleging law-breaking by Amazon in the lead-up to the vote among a handful of mechanics at a Delaware warehouse. Under federal law, it’s generally illegal for companies to explicitly punish or threaten workers for supporting a union, but legal to hold mandatoryanti-union meetings and to make “predictions” about dire consequences that could result from unionization. With the help of the firm Morgan Lewis, contended Carr, the company used such “captive audience” meetings to “put an intense amount of pressure on these workers,” and thus “of course they feared for their jobs.”
“Every single day there was a new sort of rumor mill, or means of mis-portraying, misinformation – that we’ll have to ship this work somewhere else, you name it,” alleged Carr. In particular, he said, the Delaware facility had “plans to make lots and lots of expansion,” and “I think they made it pretty clear that that’s just not going to happen” with a union. “They beat around the bush in doing it,” he added, “and I think they were very careful not to cross the line, but you know they plant that seed, put that thought in those workers’ mind.” In order to discourage workers from opening the door to union organizers who visited them at home, said Carr, “Amazon put out a posting that we were going to come during the holidays, and that they had the right to call the police if we didn’t leave.”
While the number of signatures on the pro-union petition that triggered the vote was nearly as large as the total number that voted last week, said Carr, the only six who voted for the union come election day appear to be the same “core group that started this campaign.” Carr argued that if – as organized labor urged in Obama’s first term – Congress had required companies to recognize unions once a majority of workers sign their names in support, “these folks would have a union right now. But you know, the companies just hold all the cards going into these elections. They’ve got the workers – they’ve got them every day…There’s no better fear tactic than the threat of their job.”
Research by Cornell’s Kate Bronfenbrenner contends that companies hold “captive audience” meetings in 89% of National Labor Relations Board unionization election campaigns; threaten plant closing in 57%; and fire union activists in 34%. As I’ve reported, the specter of a shift in production has dramatically strengthened the hand of the aerospace giant Boeing in its dealings with the IAM, which this month agreed to a controversial pension freeze as the price of keeping a new line of aircraft in Washington State. In Germany, where workers at a third of Amazon’s nine distribution centers staged December work stoppages in hopes of bringing the company to the table, CNN reported that over 1,000 employees “have signed an anti-union petition amid community worries that jobs could be moved elsewhere.”
The night the Delaware results were announced, Carr told Salon, those who’d voted for the union “were a bit broken in spirit, in a way – you’re always that way when you lose.” But he said that by night’s end, the consensus among the activist mechanics was, “All right, one year” – the period until they’d be eligible, absent a government finding of wrongdoing by Amazon, to file for a new unionization election. “Let’s get ready.”
In addition, said Carr, “my phone was ringing off the hook the next day” with calls from the warehouse’s much larger population of packers and shippers, asking about a unionization effort of their own.
Asked if the IAM planned to mount such a campaign, Carr the union would meet with interested packers and shippers, and what happened next would depend on “the showing of interest” by employees. Given that “these campaigns aren’t cheap,” he said, “to make that commitment I think you’re going to have to have a real measure of what the support is.” He added that “if it gets bad enough, and folks keep getting fired, or people keep getting hurt,” agitation at Amazon could grow. In investigations by The Morning Call and The Seattle Times (published in 2011 and 2012, respectively), current or former Amazon warehouse workers alleged “brutal heat”; firings that “encouraged some workers to conceal pain and push through injury”; and “pressure to manage injuries so they would not have to be reported to OSHA.”
The IAM’s Carr said that organizing the small unit of Delaware mechanics “wasn’t…a strategic target where we put on a long, sustainable campaign,” but rather a response to a plea for assistance from the half dozen workers who’d “got together themselves” and reached out to the union. The initial “indication,” said Carr, was “that these guys were ready to go,” and “the early meetings for support were all positive,” and so the IAM moved quickly to submit the petition for the election to be held. “Things began to turn after we filed,” Carr told Salon. He acknowledged that the union “didn’t give itself a lot of time to, well, educate, I guess, the remainder of the group.” He added, “I almost feel as if a longer campaign would’ve been better. But you know, they were ready to go.”
“When we go back,” Carr told Salon, “I think you’re gonna have to measure the support all over again, and take the time hopefully to meet with more workers on a face-to-face basis.” He added, “it would’ve been nice, I believe, to make two or three attempts to get them to talk to you” through visits to workers’ homes. Amazon, he said, “played hardball. And you know, that’s kind of the way a campaign will go in the future as well. So we’ll have to be ready for that.”
In the meantime, Carr said the IAM would be on the lookout for signs of management cracking down on the workers who led the failed election effort. “We’ll make sure that they’re not retaliated against,” he told Salon. But, asked to elaborate, he said, “If they retaliate…there won’t be anything we can do other than file the charge [with the National Labor Relations Board] and offer the support that we can to that individual, or whoever, if they could take action…We’ll have to proceed accordingly. But there’s nothing we can do to prevent it…We’re staying in touch, I guess is what I should say.”
Over the past year, the number of people who read an e-book has jumped a lot, especially among twenty-somethings.
via http://ift.tt/eA8V8J Japanese artist and architect Yusuke Oono has created a series of books that recount famous tales like Snow White and The Jungle Book in cut paper illustrations. When fully opened, each “360°Book” forms a circular fan of pages in which every page is visible. Oono designs each book digitally and cuts the pages with a […]
As e-books gain in popularity — and as many of us download new e-books on our shiny, new tablets – two authors consider whether reading through technology affects the experience of reading.
Mohsin Hamid, the author of three novels, most recently, “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia,” extolls the convenience and portability of e-books. But he also says e-reading “opens the door to distraction” and “invites connectivity and clicking and purchasing.” The printed book, he says, “seems to offer greater serenity.”
Printed books “make possible a less intermediated, less fractured experience,” he writes, and concludes: “That is why I love them, and why I read printed books still.”
Anna Holmes, who has written for numerous publications and edited the books “Hell Hath No Fury: Women’s Letters From the End of the Affair” and “The Book of Jezebel,” based on the popular women’s website she created in 2007, also has harsh words for the e-book.
She says, “I have yet to feel as fully invested in the pixels on a Bezos-imagined screen as I do in the indelible glyphs found on good old-fashioned book paper.”
Her reasons? She says it is hard to become involved in an e-book because it is read on a device chock full of other distractions — games, shopping, movies. And she likes the look and feel of the printed book. Read more »
I highly doubt that reading this post will do too much to you, but new research shows that reading novels definitely does change your brain with lingering effects. Carol Clark-Emory reports for Futurity:
After reading a novel, actual changes linger in the brain, at least for a few days, report researchers.
Their findings, that reading a novel may cause changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain that persist, appear in the journal Brain Connectivity.
“Stories shape our lives and in some cases help define a person,” says neuroscientist Gregory Berns, lead author of the study and the director of Emory University’s Center for Neuropolicy. “We want to understand how stories get into your brain, and what they do to it.”
Neurobiological research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has begun to identify brain networks associated with reading stories. Most previous studies have focused on the cognitive processes involved in short stories, while subjects are actually reading them as they are in the fMRI scanner.
…Read the rest
via http://ift.tt/eA8V8J “Infinite Scrolling,” the latest comic by xkcd, imagines what it would be like if books worked like infinite-scrolling webpages. image via xkcd