J.R.R. Tolkien

Dan Eldridge is a journalist and guidebook author based in Philadelphia's historic Old City district, where he and his partner own and operate Kaya Aerial Yoga, the city's only aerial yoga studio. A longtime cultural reporter, Eldridge also writes about small business and entrepreneurship, travel, and the publishing industry. Follow him on Twitter at @YoungPioneers.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3rd, 1892, and his long and richly productive life ended on September 2nd, 1973. That longevity, however, also means that enthusiasts are having to wait a very long time indeed for any of his great body of work to find its way into the public domain. As […]

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has started working on a new chapter in its long and storied history: The Boston publisher filed plans to sell stock to the public. HMH emerged nearly debt free from a bankruptcy about a year ago, and its revenue has been growing again this year. But the company, like all traditional media publishers, will face challenges as it tries to shift from a focus on the printed word to a world where content is increasingly delivered digitally to computers, tablets and phones. 

Tuesday marked the return of the king.

On May 21, a previously unknown poem by "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" author J.R.R. Tolkien reached eager readers at last. "The Fall of Arthur" was Tolkien's take on the final days of the legendry hero king.

The book's publisher, Harper Collins, said it was Tolkien's only work about the legends of King Arthur, but "may well be regarded as his finest and most skilful achievement in the use of the Old English alliterative metre" of the sort found in "Beowulf."

The holiday season was not a happy one for Barnes & Noble, judging by latest sales figures released by the company.
Sales of their Nook products, which Barnes & Noble has been pushing over the past several months, dropped 12.6 percent to $311 million over the shopping season and total sales of retail operations also experienced a steep decline, dropping 10.9 percent to $1.2 billion. The company did not release sales figures detailing the number of Nook e-readers sold.

We know that Barnes & Noble has the technology to process ebook transactions in its stores, and with a new holiday promotion the company announced Thursday, we’re seeing more ways that technology can work. Between December 20 and 24, customers who go to a Barnes & Noble physical store and buy an ebook from a list of 20 qualifying ebooks — including The Hobbit, Life of Pi and the entire Hunger Games trilogy – can “instant-gift” another ebook on that list for free.

Scores of our generation's most celebrated authors have famously waxed poetic about the joys of using the original 20-volume "Oxford English Dictionary." David Foster Wallace, for instance, had a well-documented obsession with the OED. Simon Winchester wrote not one, but two nonfiction books about the dictionary's history. Even J.R.R. Tolkien, who briefly worked on the OED (he was assigned to the letter "W"), spoke fondly of his time there.

But the simple fact is this: When I need to know the correct spelling of, say, "onomatopoeia," or "conscientious" or "hierarchy," there's a decent chance I'll be heading straight to Dictionary.com.

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