paper trail

Congress grills Big Five publishers on e-book prices for libraries; A Brooklyn Institute for Social Research class on Edward Said

Edward Said, 1983. Photo: Jean Mohr

Following Daniel A. Gross’s story for the New Yorker and a Library Futures campaign effort, two members of Congress are requesting transparency from Big Five publishers regarding the prices they charge libraries for e-books. As Gross reported, the way e-books are licensed with expiration dates, like a lease, makes them much more expensive for libraries to provide than physical books. “E-books play a critical role in ensuring that libraries can fulfill their mission of providing broad and equitable access to information for all Americans, and it is imperative that libraries can continue their traditional lending functions as technology advances,” representatives Ron Wyden and Anna G. Ishoo wrote in their request.

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is offering a four week course on Edward Said. “Edward Said: Culture and Empire” begins on October 19 and will be taught online by Suzanne Schneider. For more on Said, read Jane Hu’s review of a new biography.

The Verso Books UK Union reports that seven months after management acknowledged the union effort there has still been no official recognition. According to the union, management will only negotiate about pay: “They’ve removed from bargaining: Hours, holiday, disciplinary/grievance procedures, health & safety, sexual harassment policies, sick leave/pay, parental leave/pay, child & healthcare provisions, gendered pay gaps, temporary & contracts use & transparency over expansion/new hires.”

For Dalkey Archive’s Substack, Chad W. Post writes about Context magazine (you can download back issues for free here) and Viktor Shklovsky’s On the Theory of Prose. Of the magazine, Post writes: “The main vibe (or mood?) was that these pieces should be accessible to any and all smart readers. (No footnotes!) You didn’t need a PhD to understand how to read Ann Quin. This wasn’t esoteric knowledge. These pieces were meant to turn you on as a reader.” Revisiting Shklovsky, Post writes that Theory of Prose encapsulates all he learned “about how to read, how to approach texts” from being involved with Context.

At LitHub, authors Andrew Martin and Benjamin Nugent celebrate F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday by discussing “whether there is such a thing as effective anti-rich-person fiction.”