Between The Covers: 22/05/2011

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

*At the recent World e-Reading Congress in London, the big topic was piracy, which looks set to do for publishing what it did for the music industry back when illegal downloading was first invented and people who called themselves music lovers started believing that all their favourite artists ought to start working for free.

(A survey last week showed an alarming increase in illegal downloading of books – aka stealing – among women over 35, one in eight of whom has stolen literature.) Pan Macmillan's digital director Sara Lloyd suggested: "If we can get across the human aspect, actually talk about the author as the human face who has put this piece of work together, that's the way forward." So, put it this way: yes, free books are nice, but do you really want to be responsible for making Alan Bennett or Margaret Drabble cry?

*They can download all the stolen books they want, but users of Kindles and tablets and the like won't necessarily get the best book experience. I'm told by Persephone Books, which beautifully reprints neglected classics from 20th-century (mostly women) writers, that the end papers in the new collection of Diana Athill's stories, Midsummer Night in the Workhouse, are a reproduction of Athill's curtains. "All our end papers are based on fabrics," I'm told, "usually from the same date as the book. But Diana told us that she really loved these curtains from 1970, so we're stretching a point." The first person to write to the Literary Editor at the IoS's address and promise never to download a book illegally will win a copy of the book and discover what a great writer's tastes in soft furnishings once were.

*Left your revision till the last minute again? You're not alone. Thanks to Philip Stone, the charts editor at The Bookseller's information service, First Edition, for pointing out that the title with the fastest rising sales in its "Accelerators" chart a week ago was John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (inset). The book receives an even bigger boost each September, he says, at the start of the academic year, but May always sees a spike as students and parents "snap up copies of the GCSE English Literature set text for some last-minute exam cramming".

*Readers who had doubts about the pre-royal wedding timing of Monica Ali's latest novel Untold Story, which imagines that Princess Diana faked her death in 1997 and tells the story of her life as an anonymous woman in middle America, stop reading now before we really upset you. Former tabloid picture editor Ron Morgans has just rushed out a thriller called Murder at the Royal Wedding (inset), which ... well, you can figure it out. "Since the books [sic] launch I've received emails from people saying that it's in bad taste and poorly timed", writes a frantic PR on his behalf. "Having covered high profile events for a number of papers for so many years I knew that the royal wedding would be a dramatic occasion and decided it would make the ideal location for a modern thriller ..." And people wonder why journalists and flacks have a bad name.

*Thanks to http://centeredlibrarian.blogspot.com/ for its list of "40 literary terms you should know", from aphorism to verisimilitude. Our favourite is the "literary agent hypothesis", which posits that "authors of fiction serve as 'literary agents' to real events, changing around the reality to make for a more compelling narrative." A bit like tabloid picture editors, then, only with better PR.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn