Between The Covers: 14/08/2011

Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books

*Many thanks to Martha Stewart, whose "Craft of the Day" last week was "How to Waterproof Book Covers" for your holidays.

Using oilcloth or vinyl to repel water, sand and sun lotion, simply "place fabric, wrong side up, on work surface; lay opened book on top and"... well, you've all been to school and covered your textbooks in some 1970s wallpaper samples, right? What Martha doesn't tell us is whether this method is suitable for ebook readers or must we still avoid water, sand, oil, or hyperactive children?

*In further evidence that social media are the devil, 437,800 Facebook users are signed up to an "I Hate Reading" page, and a further 271,471 are registered on a page called "I Hate Books". It turns out that these people have not actually clicked on any links (probably couldn't read them) but that the pages automatically register anyone who writes such sacrilegious words on their profile under "favourite book". Nonetheless, it will surely be used soon by The People Who Blame Facebook For Everything – you read it here first.

*Speaking of people who hate reading, word has it that the only shop in Clapham Junction that wasn't looted for its stock last week was the Waterstone's bookshop on St John's Road. Some book lovers considered this unfortunate, as the looters might have learned something. Meanwhile, Pages of Hackney kept trading throughout the early stages of the riots, despite being surrounded by sirens and burnt out cars. The shop only closed when mounted police joined the riot police outside, and another shop on the same corner was looted. Meanwhile, the UK's first gay and lesbian bookshop, Gay's the Word, on Marchmont Street, London, had its front windows smashed and was pelted with eggs late on Sunday night. The shop opened as usual on Monday morning and has been filled with well-wishers bearing flowers and wine. The message from there is that if you want to support free speech over indiscriminate violence, buy a book – which is true in so many ways.

*In an ironic coincidence, one book that has been "a tremendous success" recently is Lord of the Flies, which sold 2,370 copies in the week ending 6 August. William Golding's 1954 novel is about a group of children who become violent and turn on each other when they find themselves in a situation where there is no adult discipline.

*Dan Franklin, the digital editor at Random House UK, tweets: "In a bad week to bury good news, Faber made back its Wasteland app expenditure in 6 wks ... braaaappp." The app, which costs £7.99, has interactive notes and images of original manuscript pages, as well as readings of the entire poem (synchronised to the text) by such luminaries as Alec Guinness, Ted Hughes, Fiona Shaw – and TS Eliot himself.

*www.theliterarygiftcompany.com is sorry to announce that its bookmark, priced £1.95 and bearing the slogan "Lifes truest happiness is found in the friendships we make along the way", has been "discontinued due to bad grammar". Err, shouldn't that be "discontinued owing to bad grammar"?

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