Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Family Book - Banned Books

7 Books You Won’t Believe Were Banned or Challenged in 2013

books you won't believe were banned

In honour of banned books week taking place from september 22nd to the 28th we are taking a look at a number of books you won’t believe were banned or challenged in 2013.

“And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and Illustrated by Henry Cole. This book tells the true story of two males penguins from New York’s Central Parks Zoo that met in captivity and formed a couple. The two penguins were then given an egg from a penguin couple who could not raise it themselves and proceeded to take turns sitting on the egg until it hatched, and a female chick, Tango, was born. This book has been repeatedly challenged and banned not only because of its mere depiction of homosexuality, but claims that it actively promotes a political agenda to children.

The Family Book - Banned BooksThe Family Book by Todd Parr. This book was challenged and subsequently outright banned from an elementary school for one single line. The line read “Some families have two mums or two dads”.

“Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk. While this might not necessarily surprise you that the book was banned due to some of the explicit content contained in, it certainly surprised me that even today almost 15 years after its release the book is still courting controversy despite its huge cultural impact.

The Kite Runner - Banned Books“The Kite Runner” by Khalid Husseini. This critically acclaimed book, first published in 2003 spent over two years at number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and takes an uncompromising look the recent history of Afghanistan. While it comes as no surprise to learn that the book and movie are banned in Afghanistan because of its negative portrayal of the country, it might surprise you to learn that the book has been challenged several times in the United States, mainly due to its graphic sexual scenes and profanity.

“Looking for Alaska” by John Green. This 2005 novel won a Printz Award in 2006 for young adult literature, but has been challenged and banned for its inappropriate content and language ever since. Famously the book was included in an 11th grade curriculum only to be challenged by parents who labelled it disgusting and pornographic. One of the parents who challenged the books place in the curriculum outright refused to read the book himself and was quoted as saying “One does not need to have cancer to diagnose cancer”.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. This 1999 coming-of-age novel has been published in over 30 languages and spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list, but that hasn’t stopped perks of being a wallflower becoming one of the 10 most frequently challenged books in the last decade, primarily due to its depictions of teenage drug use and exploration of sexuality.

captain underpants - banned books“Captain Underpants” by Dav Pikey. Captain underpants takes the number one spot as the most challenged book of the last year.Parents claim it has offensive language and is entirely unsuitable for its age group. The captain underpants series tells the story of two elementary school children as they battle against their child hating principle.

In order The top 10 most challenged books of last year are:

  1. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  4.  Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
  5. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  7. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  8. Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz
  9. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
  10. Beloved by Toni Morrison

 

banned books week

Banned Books Week

This week the world celebratebanned books weeks banned books week, which runs from September 22 to 28th and seeks to celebrate the freedom for people to be able to read whatever they like, and to draw attention to the problems associated with censorship.

Banned books week first started in 1982 as an awareness campaign to draw attention to the banning and challenging of literature and books. One of the key elements that the organisers wish to draw attention to is promoting intellectual freedom in schools and libraries as well as “to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society”. Amnesty International also gets on board with banned book weeks by taking the opportunity to draw attention to people that are persecuted because of their writings, or the books that they choose to circulate or read.

The number of books that are challenged each and every year in the United States is a whole lot more than most people realise. In 2012 there were at least 464 formal complaints lodged by people seeking to remove books from the local libraries or schools. The number one most challenged book in 2012 was Dav Pikeys “Captain underpants” series, which was repeatedly challenged because of its offensive language and perceived unsuitability to its target age group. Other books that were frequently challenged last year include “50 shades of Grey” and “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.

Over the years the literature that is targeted for banning has changed, but the reasons for them being challenged remain somewhat the same. The most common reason that people give when challenging books is because they contain sexually explicit content or strong language, with an estimated around 50% of these challenges started by a parent. Since 1982 there is been an estimated 11 a half thousand books that have been challenged for various reasons, though not just for sexual exploits and explicit language. For four years running the single most frequently challenged book in America was the Harry Potter series.

My personal favorite example of the absurdity of censorship is quite easily the novel 1984 by George Orwell. The famous dystopian science-fiction book was banned in the Soviet Union because of its perceived anti- Soviet themes, but many people don’t realise that it has also been challenged several times in the United States, famously in 1981 in Jackson County Florida where there was a move to ban the book for its pro-Communist themes.

Ebook Price Fixing

ebook price fixingThe recent decision by US federal judge ordering Apple to change its current contracts with e-book publishers to remove the current ebook price fixing conditions was move welcomed by people all over the globe as a victory for fair book  price competition. But up north of the border in Québec there is a hearing going on into whether fixed prices are good or a bad thing in the first place.

Proponents for fixed book prices and fixed e-book prices say that fixing prices and a high cost is the only way to ensure that publishers and authors both get a fair share of the selling price. The argument is that if a book is sold for a dollar, than the author is lucky to get $.20 but if a book is sold for $10 than the author receive 200% more. Across the country independent retailers are also largely in favour of fixing book prices as it is one of the only ways that they will be able to compete with the larger corporations whose purchasing power is vastly greater.

Recent trends suggest that in the next couple of years consumers will be buying over 50% of their products over the Internet, and the other 50% will most likely be coming from the larger businesses who are in a position to be able to cut prices far more effectively than the independents will ever be able to.

The hearings in Québec have stirred up many a debate about not only fixing book and e-book prices, but the current economic problems that traditional book publishers are currently facing. The instant gratification that the Internet provides is changing the way the world works, as book publishers, and newspaper printers and traditional music labels are finding out. Many people suggest that these companies simply must learn to move on with the times and change their current business models as the market demands, and what made you money 10 years ago minor making money this year.

So while the larger publishing companies want to protect their bottom line, the Independent companies simply want to be able to continue to exist, authors seem to be somewhat split down the middle. On one hand struggling new authors are now given a chance to be able to simply have their work read, whereas 10 years ago anyone self publishing was simply laughed at. New authors can now go to Amazon and offer their books for $.99 and be happy to be read at all. While established authors are simply more concerned about their bottom dollar, as they are the ones that have to make their living from this industry.

Fixed prices for books in a books exist in companies such as France and Germany and do a wonderful job of protecting small publishers from predacious deep discounting from large companies in today’s market.

The Many Benefits of Buying e-books Online.

buying ebooks online

There are many great things about modern culture, but in my opinion none more so than the incredible rise in popularity of the e-book and the ability for buying e-books online. The fact that almost every person in the country has an iPhone and android device or tablet, not to mention Amazons fantastic Kindle e-readers has provided and massive rise in the buying and consumption of e-books. All of a sudden every American has the ability to carry around an entire library’s worth of books and textbooks right there in their pocket. Suddenly being a reader no longer means that you have to carry around a book with you everywhere you go, now all you have to do is pick up your phone before you leave the house in the morning and you will never be without a book again.

While there are many people who still prefer the feel and physicality of reading a physical book, the many benefits of buying e-book’s online, in my opinion, far outweigh the mere desire to hold your reading medium.

While there has been some debate that the price of e-book’s is far too high for what you receive, the fact remains that buying e-book’s is almost always cheaper than buying their physical equivalence. The lesson manufacturing costs of e-book’s means that they simply can be sold cheaper, because they can be made cheaper. While many people are of the opinion that lessening the price of books also cheapens them, figuratively and literally, the simple truth is that if books are cheaper than more people will be able to purchase more of them more often. The reduction in price of single book is more than made up for by the widening of your potential market.

Something else that cannot be ignored for very long when it comes to e-book’s is the amazing availability that they provide. You can go from searching online for the best e-book prices from around the world to reading your e-book within a matter of seconds. As soon as you hit the buy button your book is available few to download right into your pocket, or straight onto your e-reader device whatever it may be. And no matter what happens to your phone or e-reader, in many cases the books that you buy are tied to your account rather than to your device so that even if you lose your phone you don’t necessarily lose the book. All you have to do is read downloaded onto your next device and away you go. Obviously this is not the case everywhere, famously Apple refuses to let you to read download your media. This might not necessarily be the case any more but it would not hurt to check before you buy all your books from the Apple Store, especially considering their recent form when it comes to purchasing your ebooks over the internet.

Netflix for e-book’s arrives

Love BooksA new way for voracious readers to quench their thirst for an unending stream of new literature has arrived by the way oysterbooks.com. Touted as the new Netflix for books, oyster offers unlimited books for just $9.95 a month. It has currently well over 100,000 books in its library and promises to evolve the way that people read. It is currently only available on the iPhone and iPod touch by invitation only, so don’t get too excited just yet.

But this raises an interesting question on where the e-book market is headed. There is been a recent if not downward trend, then certainly a levelling off of e-book and e-reader sales, despite hundreds or and the world famously proclaiming the death of print media.

But what people seem to forget is that different people read and consume books in very different ways. Some will only consume the biggest of big blockbusters, the Dan Brown’s and the Tom Clancy’s, while others will avoid these titles to the very fibre of their beings. Other, more sensible readers will read anything and everything they can, which if done in a physical form can get very expensive, so services like oyster offer the perfect reason to try something new as often as you like.

Currently all the with 100,000 claimed books are back listed books so you will not be getting the newest releases on the market, but the $9.99 prescription fee per month will give you access to as many of these books as you can possibly consume, so you shouldn’t be left wanting for something to read. So in this regards it is very much like Netflix in that the convenience and economy factor feel in for the times when you cannot get the media that you exactly what.

If oyster can manage to get a good and wide assortment of title then I can see it very quickly becoming or wildly popular with both genre fiction lovers who wish to nothing more than a finely crafted murder mystery, heroic fantasy or science fiction novel to get them through today’s train ride to work. The current interface is more than gorgeous, but its current availability being restricted to mobile phones of the apple variety, not even extending to the oversized iPhone is known as iPads is certainly a drawback for those of us who prefer to read our literature on a larger screen, but it is still valid to say that it is early on in the development cycle of this and things looking up.

In other news, the original version of the Netflix for physical books is still available in the form of your current library.

Textbook Price Comparisons: Why textbook prices have risen 812% since 1978

it has long been thought by most students throughout America that textbook prices never seem to do anything but rise astronomically year after year, and a recent historical textbook price comparison study by the American enterprise Institute has found this to be resoundingly true. Now while no one may be immediately surprised by this news this scale of which the prices has risen would astound even the most staunch supporter of current textbook prices.

historical textbook price comparison

Mark Perry from the American Enterprise Institute performed a study that showed since 1978 College textbooks have risen a massive 812%, which far outweighs the rise in medical services (575% rise since 1978), new home prices (325%) and the consumer price index which has grown 250% in that same time period. In other words University and College textbook prices have grown more than three times than the average increase in prices of all goods and services.

Textbook publishers are adamant that this price rise is more than justified as the process that goes into creating modern textbook is a highly labour-intensive one that requires an inordinately high level of education simply to get started in, and the editing process is far more robust than it would be for normal books and literature.

All of this is of very little comfort to the average College student who pays around $655 for textbooks and supplies every year, as well as the ever-increasing cost of the tuition in itself.

But potential students should take note that many people consider this textbook Price bubble entirely unsustainable in the long run, largely due to the growing number of alternatives being made more and more available to new and existing College students. The growing textbook rental market as well as an increasing number of free alternatives and the ease at which these can be distributed via the web through to students smart phones and e-readers for example, ensure that textbook publishers are going to have to address this problem sooner rather than later.

As the population continues to be more computer literate the ease of which new students will be able to obtain illegally pirated copies continues to rise, and a 6% rise in textbook prices every year will ensure that students will continue to seek out the cheapest way to get the College reading material even if it means illegally downloading from the Internet.

The bottom line is that the traditional model of textbook publishing needs to change and it needs to change quickly if it does not want to be rendered irrelevant in the face of new mediums and media.

 

 

Textbook Price Comparisons.

textbook price comparisons20 years ago when I went to university there was no such thing as textbook price comparisons. Buying my textbooks was as simple as going to the local campus bookstore, telling them exactly what I needed, and then shelling out a few hundred dollars every semester for the privilege. I recall once asking my professor if I could buy second hand textbooks and not miss out on any important information. His reply was that unfortunately textbook publishers do their best to ensure that each new generation of students every single year has to do by their books new by including new piece of information or changing up questionnaires.

Today, textbook publishers are no different. They make no money from used textbook sales so they do their best to ensure that all students by their textbooks brand-new. Unfortunately for these publishers, but fortunately for students today it there are a wide array of options when it comes to purchasing your College and University textbooks. In fact there are so many different ways for students to purchase or rent their textbooks, that it can be a daunting task for new students to choose which the best option for them is.

comparing textbook prices onlinePurchasing your College Textbooks Online.

Naturally we are going to suggest using our very own textbook price comparison agent to purchase your university textbooks, but there are plenty of options out there for discerning students. The convenience of being able to buy your textbooks online is hard to beat, as you are under variably able to get the cheapest textbook available by comparing textbook prices with our agent, but the one downside is the shipping time. It can take days will sometimes even weeks to get your books are delivered via the mail, and sometimes that is unacceptable so you will be forced to shell out as much as 50% more for the privilege of buying it from your local campus bookstore.

Purchasing Used Textbooks.

Again we are going to suggest using our very own used book price comparison agent, but you should also be aware of the potential downsides of purchasing used textbooks. As we mentioned before the publishers make zero dollars off every used textbooks, so it just makes sense for them to try and ensure that as many students as possible are buying new. This is why they are implemented things such as the yearly pass system that comes with textbooks that allow students to access online information with a special code that comes with their textbook that is only valid for a year. This way even if you are buying second hand books, you have to book send money directly to the publisher if you want the ability to go online and use the publishers online resources.

The best course of action is to always go to your teacher or Professor and talk to them to see if you will really need to buy the textbooks at all in the first place, and or if a secondhand textbook will suffice for the duration of the class.

As well is the online pass system, many modern textbooks come with CD-ROMs or USB drives that contain information on the subject matter that might not always get passed on with the sale of the textbook.

E-Textbooks.

The availability of digital textbooks is something that has slowly taken off in the last couple years with the wide availability of smartphones and e-readers. The ability to be able to take your textbook with you wherever you go right in your pocket is something that is undeniably attractive to many modern students, but unfortunately this practicality also comes with a price. As it stands now digital textbooks are rarely cheaper than their physical equivalence, so you have to ask yourself whether the convenience factor is enough to justify the associated costs.

Love Books

Print vs. ebooks, Physical or Digital?

comparing book pricesSince their introduction a few years ago ebook’s have taken the world by storm. The absolute ease that the books can be acquired with, swept up a large portion of modern consumers that demand instant satisfaction and gratification. In standard spending many long hours browsing the local library or bookstore you can have the newest release in your hands in a matter of seconds with a few clicks of a button. What is not like about that?

Although there are signs suggesting that ebook sales are tapering off, you have to take into consideration the fact that the massive growth that they experienced from 2009 to 2012 almost entirely captured their target market.

Another consideration that has to be taken into account is the perception that digital book costs of parsley unfair to the consumer. Many people question the decisions that take place that make a physical book and a digital book cost the same amount of money to the end consumer when the manufacturing costs of the two I’m nowhere near on parity. Once a book has been digitised, the upkeep and publishing costs of this book are an absolute minimum so why should a digital book cost as much as a physical book?

Love BooksMany consumers feel that the large publishing houses an gouging them with their digital book prices, while the publishers claim that on their area and they see little financial difference whether the book is physically printed or is electronic. So to them the claim that the books should be cheaper than their digital equivalents is a nonstarter.

What the publishers need to realise is that structuring their digital book publishing deals the same way as they would a physical book is not the way of the future. In the end there are always going to be costs associated with one or the other, that are unique to each side but are completely invisible to the end consumer. While publishers may be old to justify this for a while you can only enjoyed disgruntled consumers for a certain amount of time before it starts with that your bottom dollar. Digital publishers need to catch up with the modern way of doing things and not constrain themselves to doing things the way that they are always been done just because that is how they have always been done. Look at Netflix and Spotify and see how they have embraced traditional mediums in a whole new way and made quite a lot of money off them.

There will always be a place for physical books in the world as many people, myself included, prefer the feel of a real book to a digital one when settling down for a nice long reading session, but people need to realise that there will also be a place for the digital equivalents to sit in beside them, each capturing their own unique share of the market. Digital books don’t mean the end of the physical book publishing world, they open up a whole new array of opportunities for people who are open and willing enough to see them.

Things to Consider When Deciding where to Purchase your Books.

book price comparisonsIf you are like me, a voracious consumer of books, you would probably also be very passionate about where and how you purchase your books. Most of us have spent hours upon hours in our favourite bookstore just browsing the shelves looking for world literature by a favourite author, or trying to find an next new favourite author. One of my favourite places in the world used to be my local used bookstore or I could sit in a comfy well worn chair surrounded by stacks and stacks of old literature. Sadly they close down a few years back and for me buying books has not been same sense.

My favourite bookstores are always the ones that have the biggest variety of literature. It is a sad truth fact that the bookstores that carry the largest array of books are always the largest corporate ones that have little soul but a big selection. It is a great place to get all your books in one go, but at the same time you have to be aware that you are punishing the smaller local sellers to them not being able to compete with convenience and money the giant corporations.

It is also a sad but true fact that when it comes down to it price is almost always the biggest factor that determines when and where consumers by their books from. Again it is the larger corporations with the greater purchasing power that have the ability to charge less for their books than the smaller independent shops are ever able to. If you wish to go right now to your local bookstore be it an independent or a corporate chain odds are that the price of the book will be somewhat higher than if you were to use our search engine to compare book prices. This comes down to a couple of factors. One of them being that it is always going to cost more to buy goods from a physical store than it is to order them from a warehouse online. The transport and shipping costs will blessed, as well as the cost of hiring staff is less are required.

All this is to say that there are any number of factors to consider when you are choosing where to buy your books from. Do you buy from the local independent bookstore, in an effort to keep him in his store alive the betterment of your community? Do you go to the local Barnes and noble because they have a Starbucks right there in the store so that you can have a cappuccino while browsing the newest books? All you shop online because the price is always cheaper? The choice is a personal one and is always up to you.

Renting or Buying Textbooks

Renting textbooks is taking off in a big way, in fact it is up 500% since 2009, but it can still be hard to know when it is appropriate to rent vs. when when to buy your college textbooks.

This infographic from our friends at Campusbooks.com takes us through a list of the pros and cons of renting an buying textbooks so that even the most discerning shopper can make the right decision.

Renting vs Buying Textbooks

Created by Campus Books.