Category Archives: Book History

Book Sales up

Total sales of print and digital books and journals climbed 7% to £4.8bn last year, the largest growth since 2007 when digital sales were first included.

Looking purely at the book market total sales rose 6% to £3.5bn, as an 8% rise in print sales outweighed the 3% decline in ebook sales.

Overall digital sales grew 6% to £1.7bn, with academic, professional and educational journals outstripping the fall in ebooks, to account for 35% of total revenues.

Link to The Guardian for full story

Thanks to Brian for pointing this out.

Washington DC: A black woman becomes a world leader

from The Library of Congress

In September, one of the world’s most important library positions was assumed by Dr Carla Hayden who became the 14th Librarian of Congress. In an interview with Time she identified the significance of her appointment as ‘Being the first female and the first African American means that the legacy of the 14 Librarians of Congress will include diversity–and also a female in a female-dominated profession.’ She is a former president of the American Library Association who has not been shy of conflict: she kept her library open during the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore in 2015 and opposed the government’s collection of readers’ records.

Article in The Guardian.

Robert Darnton discusses the challenges that Hayden faces as well as the future of libraries in The New York Review of Books.

 

Martin Luther: 500 Years

2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of the celebrated Ninety-five Theses that Luther affixed to the church doors in Wittenberg. It’s only with a broad brush-stroke that one could claim that this will be the 500th anniversary of The Reformation, but 2017 is as good a date as any to mark one of the great turning points in European (and subsequently world) history.

As is to be expected, there will be a rush of associated publications. We have already had Brand Luther on Luther and the printing press and now there is a biography from the distinguished historian Lyndal Roper: Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet
(the review is positive about the book but somewhat negative about Luther).

The anniversary is also responsible for the Playmobil (it’s like Lego) Luther that is now in my office and that’s become a best-selling toy. I purchased it along with a Luther comic book on a recent trip to Germany. Actually I purchased two copies of the comic and my nephew who is studying Renaissance and Reformation history at school will have to pretend to be happy to get it.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200
The doors of the church in Wittenberg

RUG Conference: The Politics of Paper in the Early Modern World

Groningen, 9-10 June 2016

This two-day conference seeks to bring together scholars and paper experts working across a range of disciplines and geographic areas who are interested in the ways in which paper supported, shaped, or otherwise influenced practices of politics and political communications in the period ca.1350-ca.1800. It aims to sketch a more integral picture of the ways in which paper permitted early modern politics and political communications to unfold.

Keynote speakers include: Prof. Lothar Muller, Prof. Andrew Pettegree, Prof. Jonathan Bloom, and Prof. Jacob Soll.

See http://politicsofpaper.wix.com/politicsofpaper

Marking Books, Mutilating Books: Censorship, Reading, & the Formation of Religious Identities in Sixteenth- Century England

Public Lecture – all welcome

February 8th, 16:00 in Academy Building A3

Speaker: Gabriele Müller-Oberhäuser is professor of book studies at the University of Münster. She recently published Book Gifts and Cultural Networks from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century (2015) with co-editor Kerstin Meyer-Bialk.
Marking Books

Literary Censorship in Schools

School literature syllabuses are particular sites of contention. The best-known cases in the anglophone world derive from the US where parents’ associations, school boards and state legislatures have significant input into the syllabus and where the supporters and opponents of particular censorship decisions have the freedom to publish their views. The amount of information on the internet about censorship decisions in the US can obscure the debates around similiar issues elsewhere.

Americal Library Association (ALA) on school censorship.

British Library site on censorship in schools.

More fuss over Harry Potter.

Israel’s education ministry has disqualified an acclaimed book depicting a love story between an Israeli and a Palestinian from being taught in schools because of perceptions that mixed relationships are a “threat to a separate identity”.

See article in The Telegraph.

No gay penguins for the students in Venice’s schools. See the article in The Telegraph.

Photo credit: es0teric/Creative Commons