On the Books: Barnes & Noble and Google team up for same-day shipping

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Barnes & Noble is teaming up with Google Shopping Express, a service that will let the bookstore provide same-day delivery to Manhattan, West Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The service will help the two compete with Amazon, which already provides same-day shipping in 10 cities in the United States. From Amazon, same-day delivery costs $5.99 for Amazon Prime members and around $10 for other customers. Users who have subscribed to Google Shopping express do not have to pay any additional fees for same-day delivery, and the service costs $4.99 for other customers. [The New York Times]

Nine hundred writers have signed an open letter to Amazon—to be published in this Sunday’s New York Times—asking them to stop singling out authors for “selective retaliation.” Amazon is delaying shipments of books published by Hachette, which they are negotiating contracts with.

The letter further argues that authors have helped make Amazon make millions of dollars over the years by allowing their books to be sold on the website. The authors also say they’ve helped Amazon through other contributions like promotions, reviews, and blog posts. “Many of us have supported Amazon since it was a struggling start-up,” the letter reads. “Our books launched Amazon on the road to selling everything and becoming one of the world’s largest corporations … This is no way to treat a business partner. Nor is it the right way to treat your friends.”

However, the letter explicitly resists picking a side. in the contractual dispute between Amazon and Hachette. “We encourage Amazon in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business,” the letter reads. “None of us, neither readers nor authors, benefit when books are taken hostage.” [Authors United]

Goldfinch author Donna Tartt made Vanity Fair‘s international best-dressed list. Her favorite accessory? “Vintage kidskin gloves in buttercup yellow.” [Vanity Fair]

Margaret Sarlej, a researcher in Wales, has devised an artificial intelligence system capable of telling fables. “When you consider all the different things that could happen in a story … it’s an extremely complex space which needs to be very precisely defined. On top of that lies plot: how to structure a story so that it actually means something or has a desired effect on readers,” Sarlej said. “Computers need everything to be defined logically, but it is very difficult to specify hard and fast rules for plot.” Two of the stories are at the bottom of the article. [The Guardian]

USA Today has an excerpt from the new Frozen book series. [USA Today]

The Guardian lists the worst book covers ever. [The Guardian]


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