Rise of the Plagiarist in the Digital Age
March 24, 2014

Thanks to the internet, it has never been easier to steal other people's work. There's also a high risk you'll be found out. So why do it? Rhodri Marsden goes in search of a little originality.

It's not that hard to think of something totally original. If you don't worry about it being any good, it's easy. "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously," was Noam Chomsky's spirited attempt in his ground-breaking 1957 book on linguistics, Syntactic Structures.

B&N’s Nook Division Loses Its 4th Senior Manager in Less Than a Month
January 21, 2014

There's an old saying about a new year and a new beginning,  and Barnes & Noble is taking it to an extreme. Over the past few weeks no fewer than 4 members of the senior management at Nook Media, B&N's ebook sub, have either left the company, been promoted, or announced that they have one foot out the door.

The first to go was Michael Huseby. Barnes & Noble announced on 8 January that Huseby was leaving his position as head of Nook Media to take the CEO position at Barnes & Noble.

How Tumblr Turned a Book Into a Bestseller
December 16, 2013

In early 2013 Yahoo purchased social media website Tumblr, and many people thought it was a bold move. The a community of millions add 75 million daily posts about everything from politics to pets. Few people saw Tumblr as a promotional and marketing tool, but the online service turned Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes by Cory O'Brien into a viral sensation and overnight bestseller.

Is Yahoo Burning Tumblr's Books?
August 8, 2013

When Yahoo acquired Tumblr in May for more than $1 billion, there was more than sufficient outcry: Some users fled, others criticized the deal, likening Yahoo to a "mom trying to be hip." The message from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was that she wouldn't "screw it up." But based on what's happened since, it seems like she's done just that--and the folks in the print-book publishing industry who, for the last six years, have relied on Tumblr blogs to produce a steady stream of readily marketable content, could feel the effect.

Our Surveillance Society: What Orwell And Kafka Might Say
June 8, 2013

For many commentators, revelations this week that the federal government is sweeping up records of communications and transactions between millions of Americans sounds uncomfortably like the vision of the British novelist and journalist George Orwell.

His novel Nineteen Eighty-Four portrayed a society in which the state constantly tracks the movements and thoughts of individuals. Its slogan is "Big Brother Is Watching You."

"Throwing out such a broad net of surveillance is exactly the kind of threat Orwell feared," says Michael Shelden, author of Orwell: The Authorized Biography.

Deanna Brown Joins Byliner as President
May 2, 2013

May 2, 2013—San Francisco—Byliner, the digital publisher and subscription reading service, today announced that Deanna Brown, former CEO of Federated Media, has joined Byliner as President. Brown brings her deep experience in digital media and publishing to the startup, which is the leading publisher in the fastest-growing segment of digital publishing.

Brown is an accomplished media executive with more than 20 years of experience, ranging from entrepreneur to Fortune 500 executive. As CEO of Federated Media, she doubled the company’s revenues and was responsible for building a network that reached 180 million unique visitors a month—outranking Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft. Prior to Federated, Brown was President of Scripps Networks Interactive, and held Vice President and General Manager titles at Yahoo and AOL. She was CEO and cofounder of Powerful Media/, which was acquired by Primedia, and CEO and founder of Gaming Industry News, which was acquired by Ziff Davis. In 1995, Brown cofounded CondéNet, the digital division of publisher Condé Nast.

Building an atlas for books with Small Demons
March 1, 2013

The internet changed reading. It was always possible, with enough work, to track down the names and places in a piece of text or to understand the cultural references being made. But easy access to information has lowered the bar dramatically. In a 2008 interview, author William Gibson referred to the "Google novel aura," in which authors expect their work to be looked up online: "It's sort of like there's this nebulous extended text. Everything is hyperlinked now. Some of it you actually have to type it in to get it, but…"

The Case Against Working at Home
February 27, 2013

We could use more separation between work and life. Are you sure working from home is such a good idea?

I completely get the utopian fantasy of working from home: the baby napping in his crib in the next room, the gold light filtering in through the window, a tagine made with vegetables from the farmers market simmering on the stove, while you are answering emails and brainstorming ideas, the dream of modern connected life. But is that the way it really works out?

Handset makers scurry to join Year of the Phablet
January 7, 2013

Call it phablet, phonelet, tweener or super smartphone, but the clunky mobile phone - closer in size to a tablet than the smartphone of a couple of years back - is here to stay.

A surprise hit of 2012, it is drawing in more users, more handset makers and is shaping the way we consume content.

"We expect 2013 to be the Year of the Phablet," said Neil Mawston, UK-based executive director of Strategy Analytics' global wireless practice.

A decade of digital media flops and predictions
July 25, 2012

Microsoft rolls out the Zune to go up against the iPod in 2006. And then, three years later, a new Zune HD to vie with the iPod Touch.  The Zune gets more traction with late-night talk-show comedians than with consumers. Both the player and the brand are now dead. Burger King gives away a free AOL Music download with every Original Whopper. The download code is on the burger wrapper — try not to get grease on your screen! McDonald’s begins renting DVDs. Actually, this one wasn’t a total flop: Turns out people don’t want DVDs with their fries, but Redbox, which now has