Charles Dickens

A new year means a new batch of copyrights expire, and works like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Bell Jar become as free to use as Charles Dickens or Shakespeare. Unless you happen to live in the United States, that is.

As Duke University notes in its mournful annual report, no books will enter the public domain this year, or next year, or the year after that.  This situation is the result of Congress's decision to add another 20 years of protection for long dead authors, which means that no new works will become public until 2019.

For book lovers, turning the final page of a thrilling read can be a bittersweet experience. Now bookshops are capitalising on readers' appetite for extra pages to boost their fight back against the online retailers threatening their future, by signing up big name authors to pen bonus material exclusively for their customers. Fans of Chocolat author Joanne Harris who buy her follow-up novel, Peaches For Monsieur Le Curé, from Waterstone's will find it includes an extra chapter not available to those who snap up their copy at a reduced rate …

It seems clear some people will grasp at whatever straws they can find to make whatever Google does fit with their preconception that anything it does must be evil nasty commercialism:

Some blogs are making a big deal out of how the recent 200th-birthday Charles Dickens Google Doodle linked, not to a general Google search for its subject as other such doodles have in the past, but rather to the Google Books search for Charles Dickens. CNet’s Chris Matyszczyk (rather smarmily) calls it a “pure, straight-up piece of commercial communication.”


That’s the title of an article in The Literary Platform.  Here’s a snippet:   2012 marks the bicentenary year of the birth of Charles Dickens, one of the greatest writers of the Victorian age. Thanks to a recent flurry of apps and ebooks, Dickens’ life and work has been thoroughly brought into the digital age; [...]

FutureBook has a post looking at the relevance of Charles Dickens to present-day publishing. Dickens, Martyn Daniels writes, wrote and published many stories in installments in pamphlets prior to publishing them in completed form. The ad revenue from the installments helped to support him while he published the final version, and fueled interest in the [...]

Penguin Group (USA) announced today the release of its Holiday eSampler featuring excerpts from over 40 frontlist, backlist, and upcoming titles. Available for free wherever eBooks are sold, this collection provides readers with the opportunity to browse sample chapters of a variety of adult and young adult books across genres: from bestselling thrillers and critically-acclaimed

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