America’s unhealthy obsession with productivity is driving its biggest new reading trend

“I probably started reading ultra hardcore about seven or eight years ago,” says Tom Bilyeu, an entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. “Ultra hardcore” means that Bilyeu reads everywhere: While he brushes his teeth, while he gets dressed, in the 30 seconds it takes to cross rooms in his house, he’s reading.

“My big secret is,” says Bilyeu, “I read in all those little transitional moments.” Plus, for the last eight years, he’s optimized his intellectual consumption by listening to audiobooks at three times the normal speed.

Audiobooks are the latest trend in book publishing. They’re part of the podcast boom, and they’re helping US publishers keep losses down as ebook sales from big-name companies continue to slump. What’s been around since the 1980s has a sleek new face, and today who’s listening, where, and why, offers a glimpse into a new reading trend sweeping the US.

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3D printing is tackling what may be its biggest challenge yet: the humble book

Thirty-four years ago, Chuck Hull developed stereolithography, the grandfather of additive manufacturing systems that rests under the now broad umbrella of 3D printing. In the intervening years, thousands of people have poured their creativity and ingenuity into 3D-printed body parts, bridges, and even a car.

But Ron Arad, a London based Israeli Industrial designer, is taking on a seemingly more banal challenge. He’s 3D printing a book.

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What we can learn about the future through reading science fiction books


What I Learned About the Future by Reading 100 Science Fiction Books

By Tiago Forte:

Over the past two years I’ve read 100 sci-fi novels, averaging about one per week. See the full list here, with my favorites. I started reading sci-fi to pass the time. I had good memories of readingJurassic Park as a kid. I continued because I noticed that it gave me something: a stronger imagination, a disrespect for the merely possible. Continue reading… “What we can learn about the future through reading science fiction books”

Calgary’s Snøhetta-designed public library will be the Apple Store of libraries

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Library designed by architectural firm Snøhetta.

Shaunacy Ferro:  Hanging out at the library might just become cool as Calgary, Canada has plans to build a new lending library. The library will be designed by Snøhetta, an architecture firm. The library will have a  240,000-square-foot center and will be more than just a repository for plastic-protected books. Twice as large as Calgary’s existing public library, it’s designed to be both a circulating public library and a community gathering space, a combination bookstore/computer lab/cafe/event space/social hub that provides a pathway between two disconnected neighborhoods. (Photos)



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Pew report finds Millennials are avid readers and library users

millennials reading

Forty-three percent of Millennials say that they read a book in some format (print, audiobook, or ebook) every day.

Lisa Peet:  In September, the Pew Research Center Internet Project issued a new report on the library habits of Americans under 30. “Younger Americans and Public Libraries” examines the ways Millennials engage with libraries, and how they see libraries’ roles in their lives and communities. The good news is that young people are reading as much as older adults, and are even more likely to have read a book in the past 12 months. Also, their library use is holding steady. Nonetheless, the report warns, their levels of engagement vary in a number of ways.



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Introducing the Library Vending Machine

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Library vending machine in China.

By Zach Hyman: There seems to be sufficient demand and interest in China for enabling people to check out books 24 hours a day. The not-so-cheap library vending machines have taken root across both urban and rural areas, each with a very different set of needs and each bearing vastly different reputations for serving their citizens. (Pics)


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People absorb less on e-readers than print book readers


Kindle readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measures.

Readers that used a Kindle to read were “significantly” worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story. This new study is part of major new Europe-wide research looking at the impact of digitization on the reading experience.



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The decline of reading in America

books library

The American bookworm is a rarer species than two or three decades ago.

Nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year, according to to a report from the Pew Research Center last week. As in, they hadn’t cracked a paperback, fired up a Kindle, or even hit play on an audiobook while in the car. The number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978.



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Amazon vs. Indie self-publishing sales platforms

With an indie, as soon as you upload the file, you can sell it. With KDP, you’ve got to wait until it appears on Amazon.

Web designer and writer, Paul Jarvis has self-published three books and has sold close to a total of 10,000 copies. With two of the books he used Gumroad and Sellfy which are indie sales platforms (digital goods e-commerce services). His latest book was on Amazon’s KDP Select platform.



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Why are science fiction writers so pessimistic?

Neal Stephenson launched the Hieroglyph project to rally writers to infuse science fiction with optimism.

When you think of recent films such as The Road and TV series like “The Walking Dead,” today’s science fiction, Neal Stephenson argues, is a fixated on nihilism and apocalyptic scenarios. Gone are the hopeful visions prevalent in the mid-20th century. According to Stephenson, author of modern sci-fi classics such as Snow Crash, that’s a problem. He fears that no one will be inspired to build the next great space vessel or find a way to completely end dependence on fossil fuels when our stories about the future promise a shattered world.



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