From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Paperspine is trying to do for books what Netflix did for DVDs. In fact, Dustin Hubbard — the Microsoft Corp. program manager who co-founded the Issaquah startup on a leave of absence this summer — said he was inspired by the online movie rental company when he came up with the idea.
It happened one night while putting a book into a crowded nightstand. Hubbard, who has spent 10 years at Microsoft, started wondering why he simply couldn’t return the book for another, a la Netflix.
Maybe they do things differently on the West Coast, but last time I checked, there was a place called a library where you could check out a book, return it when you were finished, and get another—all for free!
Sure there’s the potential for late fees at libraries, and sometimes you have to wait to get the hot new book, but with depressing stories about American reading habits coming out every other week (thanks NEA!), I have a hard time imagining anyone paying $120-$300 a year to get the 4-6 books they’ll probably read that year shipped directly to their home.
But what do I know? If it works, if it takes paying for something like this to get people to read, then great. I’m just not going to hold my breath. (Besides, why don’t you just set up a rental service for the Kindle? That would be cheaper, more efficient, and more likely to create a cache of cool.)
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .