Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘books’

Hillary’s memoir needs a name

Posted by Richard on June 3, 2017

Hillary Clinton hasn’t decided on a name for her memoir yet. Lots of helpful suggestions have been posted on Twitter, and Twitchy has collected some of them.

My favorite:

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Apostrophe dropping condemned

Posted by Richard on January 16, 2012

British bookstore Waterstone’s is now Waterstones, and some people are upset:

James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, said in a statement, “Waterstones without an apostrophe is, in a digital world of URLs and email addresses, a more versatile and practical spelling. It also reflects an altogether truer picture of our business today which, while created by one, is now built on the continued contribution of thousands of individual booksellers.”

The BBC reports that the move has been condemned by the Apostrophe Protection Society. John Richards, the chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society, told the Telegraph, “It’s just plain wrong. It’s grammatically incorrect. If Sainsbury’s and McDonald’s can get it right, then why can’t Waterstones. You would really hope that a bookshop is the last place to be so slapdash with English.”

Those wacky Brits! Who knew that there was an Apostrophe Protection Society? I bet some of its members are also in the Village Green Preservation Society.

Β As for why Waterstone’s would thumb their noses at the Queen’s English like that, here’s the real explanation (emphasis added):

Waterstones also has a new logo, which is a capital W in a Baskerville serif font. Waterstones was acquired by Russian banker Alexander Mamut last May.

It’s the Russkies! Damn their Slavic souls! πŸ™‚

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Orwellian behavior by Amazon

Posted by Richard on July 17, 2009

Although I’m reasonably geeky and tech-savvy, I’m still an old fuddy-duddy in some ways. To wit, I prefer to buy and own content, rather than subscribe to it, and I like having it in my possession in physical form β€” books, CDs, DVDs, etc. β€” rather than just having access to electrons under someone else’s control. Stories like this just reinforce my anachronistic attitude:

If you’re into keeping tabs on irony, check this out. Amazon apparently sent out its robotic droogs last night, deleting copies of the George Orwell novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four from Kindles without explanation, then refunding the purchase price. As you can imagine, a lot of people caught in the thick of Winston and Julia’s love story aren’t very happy — and rightfully so — the idea that we “own” the things we buy is pretty fundamental to… ownership.

It seems that the publisher changed its mind about selling the books!

I have both books in my library. They’re printed on paper pages bound together between covers. If the publisher changed its mind about selling them to me and sent someone to come into my house and remove them β€” well, let me point out that I’m a strong supporter of gun ownership and the right to defend one’s person and property. I suspect that, should this person survive, the local authorities would gladly charge him with burglary. I don’t think saying “But I’m refunding the purchase price!” would make it all right.

So, no, I won’t be buying a Kindle any time soon. If I’m going to buy a book, I want the physical book, not an all-too-revocable “license” to read it β€” until the seller changes its mind, or the technology fails, or the government determines it’s contrary to the public interest, or …

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