In the digital age, your reading habits are an open book to companies like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. As TheWall Street Journal reports, ebook sellers can easily track reading data—data such as how long you spend reading, how far you get in a book, what text you search for, and what you read next. Not all companies are open about what they collect, but Barnes & Noble’s vice president of ebooks, Jim Hilt, confirmed to the Journal that the bookseller is “in the earliest stages of deep analytics,” and uses the data to determine which books to sell on its Nook ebook reader products.
There’s no evidence that booksellers use reading data for nefarious purposes, such as sharing your habits with marketers or government agencies. The bigger concern, for the moment, is that authors and publishers may tailor the content they create or publish to sync with the reading tastes of the mainstream, which would discourage creative risk-taking and diminish the variety of available content.
What You Can Do: If you’re uncomfortable having your reading habits collected, your only option is to shut off your device’s Internet connection whenever you’re about to open an ebook.
While there has been some grumbling in the industry about the ethics and logistics when literary agents start acting as publishers, many firms are now offering a suite of services in this area. Only a handful of agencies are actually publishing titles by their clients through in-house divisions, with more offering publishing services to clients who (usually) can’t land an offer from a traditional house. The one consistency: many of the agents working in this arena say what they’re doing is not “publishing.”
I just love this book. The ending is perfect, but I would enjoy reading the alternatives.
Those who admire Hemingway’s work now can get a look inside his creative process for writing those endings. This edition of A Farewell to Arms, from Hemingway’s longtime publisher Scribner (now a division of Simon & Schuster), boasts the same handsome art deco jacket design as the first edition. It includes an illuminating introduction Hemingway wrote for the 1948 edition of the book, as well as a new and rather oblique “personal foreword” by Hemingway’s only surviving son, Patrick, and a thoughtful new introduction by grandson Sean Hemingway, a curator of Greek and Roman art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This edition’s most notable aspect is those 39 — or 41, or 47, depending on who’s counting — alternative endings, as well as early drafts of other portions of the book, omitted passages, and more than 40 alternative titles.
The book includes photos of several of those manuscript pages, handwritten or typed, marked with Hemingway’s cross-outs, arrows, interpolations, all in a neat, small hand…
…One that Hemingway tried and abandoned after it was suggested by his frenemy F. Scott Fitzgerald has a marginal scribble: “Kiss my a—. E.H.”
"…It’s impossible to define bad writing because no one would agree on a definition. We all know it when we see it, and we all see it subjectively. I remember going almost mad with irritation at how many times Carolyn Chute used the phrase ‘fox-color eyes’ in her best-selling novel ‘The Beans of Egypt, Maine’—bad writing, I thought. On Amazon, other readers called it ‘brilliant.’"