Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ISIS burns Mosul library: Why terrorists target books - CSMonitor.com

From the destruction of the Library of Alexandria in 391 AD, to
the burning of Kabul libraries in 2002, to the the obliteration of the
Library of Baghdad in 2003, oppressive regimes have historically
targeted libraries.



In the latest example, on Sunday, in northern Iraq, Islamic State militants burned the Mosul public library, which housed more than 8,000 rare old books and manuscripts.



According
to reports, ISIS militants rigged the entire building with explosives
and carried out multiple detonations to raze the historical landmark and
its contents. Among its lost collections, according to the Fiscal Times,
were manuscripts from the 18th century, Syriac books printed in Iraq's
first printing house in the 19th century, books from the Ottoman era,
Iraqi newspapers from the early 20th century, and treasured antiques
like an astrolabe and sand glass used by ancient Arabs. Read more...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

ISIS Burns 8000 Rare Books and Manuscripts in Mosul - Yahoo Finance

ISIS Burns 8000 Rare Books and Manuscripts in Mosul


While
the world was watching the Academy Awards ceremony, the people of Mosul
were watching a different show. They were horrified to see ISIS members
burn the Mosul public library. Among the many thousands of books it
housed, more than 8,000 rare old books and manuscripts were burned.

“ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library.
They used improvised explosive devices,” said Ghanim al-Ta'an, the
director of the library. Notables in Mosul tried to persuade ISIS
members to spare the library, but they failed. Read more...

The future of the book | The Economist




In which something old and powerful is encountered in a vault
FINGERS stroke vellum; the calfskin pages are smooth, like paper,
but richer, almost oily. The black print is crisp, and every Latin
sentence starts with a lush red letter. One of the book’s early owners
has drawn a hand and index finger which points, like an arrow, to
passages worth remembering.


In 44BC Cicero, the Roman Republic’s great orator, wrote a book for his son Marcus called de Officiis
(“On Duties”). It told him how to live a moral life, how to balance
virtue with self-interest, how to have an impact. Not all his words were
new. De Officiis draws on the views of various Greek
philosophers whose works Cicero could consult in his library, most of
which have since been lost. Cicero’s, though, remain. De Officiis
was read and studied throughout the rise of the Roman Empire and
survived the subsequent fall. It shaped the thought of Renaissance
thinkers like Erasmus; centuries later still it inspired Voltaire. “No
one will ever write anything more wise,” he said.



Read more...

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. - The Washington Post

Although American University student Cooper
Nordquist, 21, uses his laptop most of the day, he still likes to read
from the printed word for enjoyment. Despite that fact that most college
students do a majority of their socializing and school work
electronically, many still like to read from actual hard copy printed
books. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
Frank Schembari loves books — printed books. He loves how
they smell. He loves scribbling in the margins, underlining interesting
sentences, folding a page corner to mark his place.



Schembari
is not a retiree who sips tea at Politics and Prose or some other
bookstore. He is 20, a junior at American University, and paging through
a thick history of Israel between classes, he is evidence of a peculiar
irony of the Internet age: Digital natives prefer reading in print.



“I like the feeling of it,” Schembari said, reading under natural light in
a campus atrium, his smartphone next to him. “I like holding it. It’s
not going off. It’s not making sounds.”



Textbook makers,
bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still
strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises
reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other
content digitally. A University of Washington pilot study of digital
textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions
of e-textbooks that they were given for free.

Read more...

Monday, February 16, 2015

For Books, Print Is Back


Unit sales of print books sold through outlets that
report to Nielsen BookScan rose 2.4% in 2014, with total units topping
635 million. The gain was driven by a 3.4% increase in unit sales
through the retail and club channel relative to 2013, which offset a
1.8% decline in sales through the mass merchandiser channel and others
during the same period. Units through retailers and clubs, which include
Amazon and all types of bookstores, rose to just under 519 million; in
2013, print units through the channel fell 2.5% compared to the previous
year.

BookScan estimates that it captures
approximately 80% of print-unit sales made in the U.S. The company added
Walmart to its mass merchandiser panel in 2013, but was not able to
include historical data, making it difficult to track precise long-term
unit trends. Still, the 2014 figures are further evidence that print
books are selling better than they have since sales of e-books exploded
in 2010 and Borders closed its doors in 2011. Total print-unit sales
bottomed out in 2012, falling to 590 million, but in the two years since
then, units have risen 7.6% (helped to some degree by the addition of
Walmart to BookScan). Read more...


Friday, February 13, 2015

The Public Library: A Photographic Love Letter to Humanity’s Greatest Sanctuary of Knowledge, Freedom, and Democracy | Brain Pickings

“When a library is open, no matter its size or shape, democracy is open, too.”
 

“A library is many things,” E.B. White once wrote in a letter to the children of a little town to inspire them to fall in love with their new library. “But
particularly it is a place where books live, and where you can get in
touch with other people, and other thoughts, through books… Books hold
most of the secrets of the world, most of the thoughts that men and
women have had.”





As the daughter of a formally trained librarian and an enormous lover of, collaborator with,
and supporter of public libraries (you may have noticed I always
include a public library link for books I write about; I also re-donate a
portion of Brain Pickings donations to the New York Public Library each year) I was instantly enamored with The Public Library: A Photographic Essay (public library | IndieBound) by photographer Robert Dawson
— at once a love letter and a lament eighteen years in the making, a
wistful yet hopeful reminder of just what’s at stake if we let the
greatest bastion of public knowledge humanity has ever known slip into
the neglected corner of cultural priorities. Alongside Dawson’s
beautiful photographs are short reflections on the subject by such
celebrated minds as Isaac Asimov, Anne Lamott, and E.B. White.
From architectural marvels to humble feats of human ingenuity, from the
august reading room of the New York Public Library to the
trailer-library at Death Valley National Park, braving the glaring sun
at one of the hottest places on earth, from the extraordinary vaulted
ceilings of LA’s Children’s Library to the small shack turned into a
book memorial in the country’s only one-person town, the remarkable
range reveals our elemental need for libraries — as sanctuaries of
learning, as epicenters of community, as living records of civic
identity, and above all as a timelier-than-ever testament that
information and human knowledge belong to everybody; not to corporate
monopolies or government agencies or ideological despots, but to the
people. Read more....