Manicule just means little hand in Latin. And it is just a little hand. The pointing forefinger ☛ (index* in Latin) was originally used as a way to annotate your book to point out bits you had thought important — “Just look at this!”

Here’s a little red one in the right hand margin:

Keith Houston’s Shady Characters shows and tells

A hyper-dextrous manuscript manicule. He even seems to be using his pinkie to scratch his wrist.

Whether scribes writing out old manuscripts copied the manicules added by readers because they understood their job as to follow the copy text out of the window, or whether in some cases they may have added them themselves as a sort of rough and ready textual commentary is impossible to know, but when we came to printing, manicules were well-established, and were carefully carried over into the world of hot-metal typesetting. The aim of the earliest printers was to make their wares as close to indistinguishable from there prestigious manuscript versions as the could. Until the eighteenth century manicules were very common in book work. I suspect their popularity waned as the craft turned more and more into a business. Manicules usually need to be set out in the margin, which means surrounding them with non-printing spaces, as well as requiring a bit more paper. Today they are vanishingly rare, though you can (inevitably) buy fonts which include manicules pointing in all directions.

Just look at all those shiny spaces. Someone has to fit them all.

I Love Typography has an illustrated piece outlining the history of the manicule’s early use in print.

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* The OED tells us, under its entry on Index “1727 W. Mather Young Man’s Compan. (ed. 13) 38   Index is a Note like a Hand, with the Forefinger pointing out at something that is remarkable, thus ☛.” So manicule does tie in with indexing — both aids to navigation.

Publishers Weekly has asked Thad McIlroy to do a round-up review of books about publishing. A fuller version is available at his own blog. Go straight there.

The books he selects and comments on are

  • Shatzkin & Riger: The Book Business: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2019)
  • Woll: Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers (5th edn, Chicago Review Press, 2014).
  • Biel: A People’s Guide to Publishing: Building a Successful, Sustainable, Meaningful Book Business from the Ground Up (Microcosm Publishing, 2018)
  • Clark & Phillips: Inside Book Publishing (6th edn, Routledge, 2019)
  • Greco, Milliot & Wharton: The Book Publishing Industry (3rd edn, Routledge, 2013)
  • Thompson: Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century (2nd edn., Polity, 2012)  
  • Thompson: Book Wars: The Digital Revolution in Publishing (Polity, May, 2021)
  • Thompson: Books in the Digital Age: The Transformation of Academic and Higher Education Publishing in Britain and the United States (Polity, 2005)
  • Phillips & Bhaskar: Oxford Handbook of Publishing (Oxford University Press, 2019)
  • Handy & Harrison: Metadata Essentials: Proven Techniques for Book Marketing and Discovery (Ingram, 2018)
  • McIlroy & Register: The Metadata Handbook (2nd edn., DataCurate 2015)
  • Baverstock & Bowen: How to Market Books (6th edn., Routledge, 2019)
  • Holzberg-Call: The Lost World of the Craft Printer (University of Illinois Press, 1992)
  • Dana: Against the Grain: Interviews with Maverick American Publishers (University of Iowa Press, 1986)
  • Hunt: The Family Business: How Ingram Transformed the World of Books (West Margin Press, 2021)
  • Cerf: At Random: The Reminiscences of Bennett Cerf (Penguin Random House, 1977, 2002)
  • Rosset: Rosset: My Life in Publishing and How I Fought Censorship (OR Books, 2017)
  • Rosenthal: Barney: Grove Press and Barney Rosset, America’s Maverick Publisher and His Battle against Censorship (Arcade, 2017)
  • Goodings: A Bite of the Apple: A Life with Books, Writers and Virago (Oxford University Press, 2020)
  • MacSkimming: The Perilous Trade: Book Publishing in Canada, 1946-2006 (McClelland & Stewart, 2007)
  • Dewar: The Handover: How Bigwigs and Bureaucrats Transferred Canada’s Best Publisher and the Best Part of Our Literary Heritage to a Foreign Multinational (Biblioasis, 2017)
  • Mount: Arrival: The Story of CanLit (Anansi, 2017) 
  • Harris: The Other Black Girl (Atria, 2021)
  • Gissing: New Grub Street (1891)
  • Gallenzi: Bestseller (Alma Books, 2011)
  • Waugh: Scoop (1938, Back Bay Books, 2012 edition)
  • Rachman: The Imperfectionists: A Novel (Dial Press, 2011)
  • Anderson: Scholarly Communication: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2018)
  • Greco: The Business of Scholarly Publishing: Managing in Turbulent Times (Oxford University Press, 2020)

He doesn’t include the seven-volume Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, comprehensive but of course localized, nor Raven: Oxford Illustrated History of the Book (2020), nor Suarez & Wouydhuysen: The Oxford Companion to the Book (2010)

When I was a lad we neophytes were set to reading Sir Stanley Unwin’s The Truth about Publishing, (George Allen & Unwin, 1926). Beth Luey’s Handbook for Academic Authors was an early entrant into the field of guides for authors when it was first published in 1987. It’s now available in its fifth edition — Cambridge University Press, 2010. And let us not ignore Peter Ginna’s What Do Editors Do? or Bill Germano’s Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books (University of Chicago Press, 3rd end., 2016).

Fiction may be more immediately impactful — Anthony Powell’s What’s Become of Waring? (1939) is one example not mentioned by McIlroy. And maybe Severance by Ling Ma counts — although it’s really about a pandemic, rather worse than the one we are going through — one hopes. Its protagonist is a production manager for bibles printed in China. She works for a book packaging operation, realistic in every way except perhaps in its obvious size and prosperity. The account of a plant tour rings true, with its final focus on an almost meaningless process which can be studied because simple and obsessively mechanical. We tend to get distracted when touring a plant, but each time it’ll be something different. That’s why it’s a good idea to go on plant tours as often as you can. I always found I learned something new every time I went, even up to the end of my career when “I’d seen it all”.

The ostensible reason for Isaac Azimov’s Foundation is the compilation of Encyclopedia Galactica, a complete record of humankind’s entire culture, compiled so that, when the inevitable chaos came to pass, survivors would have an instruction manual on how to get things going again quickly. In the course of the novel we are told of the writing process “It had been done. Five more years would see the publication of the first volume of the most monumental work the Galaxy had conceived. And then at ten year intervals — regularly — like clockwork — volume after volume. And with them there would be supplements; special articles on events of current interest, until —”

Mr Azimov published over 470 books in a 51-year writing career, so efficiency was clearly a strong suit, but anyone who could write those sentences obviously never worked in encyclopedia publishing! NOTHING in publishing works like clockwork, and collaborative volumes are among the least controllable (most chaotic, most off-schedule) projects. Getting one author to deliver a manuscript by the agreed date is rarely straightforward, and contributors to a collaborative work are no exception. The norm is that by the due date you may have half the manuscripts on hand, with another few arriving a few months late. But a few authors will (for perfectly reasonable and valid reasons) be unable to complete their contribution. For one or two this may turn out to be a permanent state, and you’ll need to start over with someone else. Others, perhaps the most tricky part of the whole, will be convinced, and will convince you, that they’ll be able to complete the work in a couple of months. Some may even manage this. Of course the Foundation has its writers on staff, and thus amenable to a bit more in the way of discipline, but surely even 12,000 years in the future it will still happen that writers fall ill, get writer’s block, get distracted, and discover bits of new fascinating information, and disappear down assorted rabbit holes. Whole new topics may be discovered which fundamentally alter something written decades ago for Volume 2, and that’ll require revisions to on-going projects.

One conceit in the Foundation series is the attribution given by the author (always quote your sources) when he quotes from the Encyclopedia: “All quotations from the Encyclopedia Galactica here reproduced are taken from the 116th Edition published in 1020 F.E. by the Encyclopedia Galactica Publishing Co., Terminus, with permission of the publishers.”

Perhaps one might say that the book/film readers in this series seem rather crude for 12,000 years of development. In 1951 they were of course ridiculously futuristic, but I have the impression that my iPhone can give me a rather similar experience today. I fully expect things to have evolved beyond the wildest dreams of Trantor if we manage to make it to the end of this century.

Publishing Perspectives reports that the Association of University Presses has signed up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Publishers Compact organized in collaboration with the International Publishers Association. In July, the IPA says, there were 100 signatories. Now at one swoop* another 150 publishers have been sort of signed up.

This is no trivial undertaking. The ten commitments you take on are:

  • Committing to the Sustainable Development Goals† (SDGs): Stating sustainability policies and targets on the signatory’s site, including adherence to this compact; incorporating SDGs and their targets as appropriate
  • Actively promoting and acquiring content that advocates for themes represented by the SDGs, such as equality, sustainability, justice, and safeguarding and strengthening the environment
  • Annually reporting on progress toward achieving SDGs, sharing data and contributing to benchmarking activities, helping to share best practices and identify gaps that still need to be addressed
  • Nominating a person [in the signatory company] who will promote SDG progress, acting as a point of contact and coordinating the SDG themes throughout the organization
  • Raising awareness and promoting the SDGs among staffers to increase awareness of SDG-related policies and goals and encouraging projects that will help achieve the SDGs by 2030
  • Raising awareness and promoting the SDGs among suppliers, to advocate for SDGs and to collaborate on areas that need innovative actions and solutions
  • Becoming an advocate to customers and stakeholders by promoting and actively communicating about the SDG agenda through marketing, sites online, promotions and projects
  • Collaborating across cities, countries, and continents with other signatories and organizations to develop, localize, and scale projects that will advance progress on the SDGs individually or through [the company’s]
  • Dedicating budget and other resources toward accelerating progress for SDG-dedicated projects and promoting SDG principles
  • Taking action on at least one SDG goal—either as an individual publisher or through your national publishing association—and sharing progress annually.

I suppose we’d expect those liberal publishers to do what they can for environmental conservation — this is especially true because the industry’s impact on the situation is pretty minor. We’re not a major source of any kind of gas — our hot air is usually locked in solid form— so the sacrifice isn’t immense. No doubt it is possible to buy paper from non-sustainable sources, but nowadays almost all books are printed on papers which are made by companies which plant more trees than they harvest, as well as containing significant amounts of recycled pulp. You’ll find the Forest Stewardship Council logo and the recycling logo on the imprints page of many books.

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* I’m a bit fed up with the cliché “at one fell swoop”. Macbeth‘s Macduff has a lot to answer for, though in his usage “All my pretty chickens and their dam at one fell swoop” he does have the virtue of living consistently in the hawking metaphor. The swoop is of course the hawk’s dive onto its prey, and “fell” just means deadly. But this must now be the only context in which we find “fell” used as an adjective, though The Oxford English Dictionary does give us a rather arch example from 2011 in The New York Review of Books.

† Information about the seventeen SDGs —sustainable development goals, labelled below — may be found here.

Maybe you saw the television series “Lupin”, about a slick burglar inspired by the fictitious cambrioleur Arsène Lupin. It’s quite fun. You can find it on Netflix. Slate, via Technology • Innovation • Publishing brings us this story of yet more Sherlock Holmes copyright troubles, these ones dating from 1907; troubles which lead to the French publisher’s cleverly changing their detective’s name to Herlock Sholmès. Instantly recognizable, but obviously different — and whatever your views as to whether characters are copyrightable or not, not an infringement.

The Arsène Lupin books were written by Maurice Leblanc (1864-1941). Naming problems seem to have dogged the series. The main character was originally called Arsène Lopin at his “birth” in 1905, but a local politician of that name objected to having a burglar named after him, however smart, so o became u. The short story “Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late” was published in Je sais tout magazine in June 1906 leading to Conan Doyle’s objection. When the story and its sequel were published in book form in 1908 the title had been changed to Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès. Leblanc wrote 25 Lupin books. There’s a whole tangled history of naming changes made by translators into English. The Holmes estate is rather prickly when it comes to interpretation of the copyright laws, and still seek to exercise control, as I wrote a few years ago in Holmes run. Plus ça change, plus c’est la mème chose.

On a different Holmesian tack, The Economist’s 1843 Magazine (link via Nate Hoffelder; probably behind a paywall I fear) tells us about the man who was employed for seven years to reply to letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes. Wikipedia tells us that by the 1990s there were already over 25,000 stage adaptations, films, television productions and publications featuring the detective, so correspondence was quite vigorous, particularly as lots of people believe Holmes was real.  Nearly 60% of respondents to a British poll in 2008 believed he was a living person. (Equally inspiringly, a quarter thought Winston Churchill was fictional).

In 1975 Chris Bazlinton was offered a job in PR for Abbey National. “’Oh, one more little thing,’ the general manager said. ‘You will also have to act as secretary to Sherlock Holmes, answering the mail that comes in for him.’” In the early years of Mr Holmes’ existence Baker Street didn’t extend beyond Number 85, so any letters to 221b were just abandoned by the Post Office. But when Abbey National opened their new headquarters in 1932, their building occupied numbers 219-229 — so they started getting the letters. Rather than throw them away they decided to treat them as a public relations windfall and to reply to as many as they could. Mr Bazlinton became the seventh secretary to Sherlock Holmes. He figures he must have dealt with about 6,000 fan letters. Abbey National moved out of its Baker Street building nearly twenty years ago. Today the Sherlock Holmes museum occupies a Georgian row house a bit further up Baker Street. They have been given the number 221b, a bit out of numerical sequence, so they now get the fan mail. 

Once upon a time I was visited in our apartment in the Village by the Fuller Brush Man. I bought a long-handled back brush for the shower, long lost, and a shaving brush, which, hard to believe, eventually fell apart. Of course things do fall apart. I never saw a Fuller door-to-door salesman again.

When I started in publishing it was considered a good thing to train your staff in all aspects of the publishing process. I was started in the warehouse for my first month just so I’d understand how it worked, and quite quickly I was sent on a year-long one-morning-a-week course on publishing in general. There was no immediate payback for Cambridge University Press in doing this for an assistant to the Home Sales Manager — the idea was that understanding the context of what you were doing would result in your doing your job better. Shortly afterwards the Press initiated a graduate trainee scheme, which involved hiring smart neophytes and putting them work in a variety of departments. After a while the trainees would “graduate” to a job in a department which suited their talents and interests. It always seemed sense to me that we would just hire smart people and trust them to get on with the job.

God — it was beautiful. We were young. We were together. We were idealists. We were engaged in important work — bringing knowledge to the world — and we were learning all the time. And we were getting paid! Everything we touched was urgently needed— today a treatise on noradrenaline, tomorrow a study of Jane Austen for students in Africa, next week a scholarly edition of Sons and Lovers, then a study of 16th century Spanish bindings in British libraries, next a reader for beginning Latin learners. It was all different and all vitally important. How could you not love it? Am I just describing the very heaven that is youth? Maybe — but surely oil, knitwear, agriculture, steel-making, cannot bring the same satisfactions. Ideas and ideals are never far apart. The euphoria never left me. I retired at seventy-one, the oldest teenager in the world.

When I was in charge of staff I’d always push for them to make their own decisions. The more responsibility you have for your work the more effective you’ll be, I believe. When I first worked as a production manager we were responsible for getting estimates from typesetters and printers but we never did the math resulting from the estimates. There was a guy with a big calculating machine sitting in the corner of our open-plan office churning out costings for all our books. Because we didn’t do the costing (working out the profit margin at various retail prices) we never considered whether the estimate was reasonable or not. If anyone ever questioned the costs, and this was rare, it would be the editor who had the responsibility for fixing the retail price. Rarely we’d be asked to go back and see if we could get a better price — but very rarely. This meant, unsurprisingly, that our regular suppliers had all figured out that they could get away with a padded estimate if they were dealing with one of us rather than a better organized publisher. Our higher costs were reflected in higher retail prices — bad for our customers — or in narrower margins — bad for our business. If the same person who asked for the estimate also did the costing it would be much more likely that they would push back on the suppliers, and also develop a more business-oriented attitude to their work. I’d never want one of my people coming to me and asking what they could do about this book which was showing a negative net profit. They shouldn’t need me to tell them to negotiate a better price, go to a cheaper printer, investigate squeezing the book to make fewer pages, or suss out whether there was any possibility of increasing the print run a bit — that’s what their job was meant to be.

When things were working well publishers would be hiring smart people and letting them make their own decisions, with the opportunity to ask a non-judgmental boss for advice in tricky cases. Nowadays this idea has fallen into disfavor in larger publishing houses. Now staff tend to be required to do narrowly-defined tasks, in a way prescribed for them by procedures written by bosses who no doubt grew up under the former dispensation. Makes you want to weep. A requirement to process x titles in y days does get in the way of familiarizing yourself with the project, which might just enable you to make a beneficial adjustment. The more you know about the book and what other departments’ needs are, the better job you’ll do. As Hari Seldon sagely put it in Prelude to Foundation “How harmful overspecialization is. It cuts knowledge at a million points and leaves it bleeding.” Clearly publishing management doesn’t stack up against The Galactic Empire. You’d be amazed at how little engagement with a manuscript will enable you to talk intelligently about its content, and understand perhaps how best to present it to the reading public.

Maybe the answer to the currently fashionable de-skilling of work is to work for a tiny publishing house. How about a one person operation? How many books could one person publish, without any help? I don’t mean Mensch and its 14 titles facilitated by freelance services: I mean one person doing everything, editing, copyediting, production and manufacturing, marketing, sales, packing and shipping, and collecting and accounting for the money, including sending out the royalties. Depends of course on the nature of the books — maybe two a year for books with any complexity. If you were just doing straight reprints of old public domain titles maybe you could get up to ten. I don’t know — maybe indie publishers would know better — and they get to write the books too! But it’s not a large number. Trouble with dream jobs like that is that there aren’t any: you have to be the source of capital too. Ah well, dream on.

Cabbie Blog brings us notice of a book of London cab prices from 1824. He runs a few calculations comparing 1824’s fares with today’s — pity the poor horses; they’re not that different. Before the taximeter was invented in 1891 (giving taxis their name: as a contraction of taximeter cab) London cab prices had either to be negotiated or looked up in The Hackney Coach Directory compiled by James Quaife. There’s a PDF at Google Books. The task of compilation was made more manageable than you’d imagine because cabs were only allowed to pick up passengers at 84 fixed locations. Extrapolations would be made for drop-off points not listed, and instructions on this are included in the introduction. Nonetheless the book contains 18,000 fares. 

Fares were calculated by distance travelled (though there are instructions on charges for waiting time) and the introduction helpfully tells us to “take the first coach or chariot on the stand; for the smallest extent of ground added to any fare mentioned in the book, will generally make it six-pence, and in some cases, a shilling more.” No mention is made of any kind of resentment by the guy at the head of the line if a cabbie at the back “stole” his fare, but the consequences might be expected to be serious. Still at a time when you could go from Bishopsgate to Herne Hill for 6/-, an extra 6d does seems significant. How did they measure distance before the taximeter? Not one assumes by the average length of the horses’s stride. Maybe they had one of those clicker things that counted the rotations of the wheel and multiplied by its circumference?

Hackney* doesn’t refer directly to the London Borough of Hackney — as far as anyone can be sure. The Oxford English Dictionary sort of waves its arms in despair, suggesting as etymology “Probably < the name of Hackney, formerly a village in Middlesex (now a borough in London; 1198 as Hakeneia , 1236 as Hakeneye ), probably with reference to supply of horses from the surrounding meadows.” which has all the marks of romantic fiction and wishful thinking about it. In my lifetime Middlesex was to the west of London, the borough, a horse of a different color, is in the east. However it does seem that Middlesex extended to the edges of Essex at one time (which is logical I guess), so perhaps Hackeneia is to be found in E8.

For readers affected by the romance of the taxi cab, Cabbie Blog also brings us a post reviewing a few novels featuring taxi cab drivers. He links to another one.

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* The earliest use of the word “hackney” (13th and 14th century) is in reference to a horse used for riding — a hack in today’s usage, though that shortening is in itself quite early. Thence it moved to a horse for hire, and eventually to the whole kit and caboodle. Samuel Pepys is the source of the OED‘s earliest quotation using the word to refer to a cab, which he did in 1664.

Attempts to derive “hackney” from Anglo-Norman or ultimately Latin seem doomed to failure, as all hackney-type words in other European languages appear to originate significantly later than the Middle English word.

The metaphorical adjectival usage as in e.g. “a hackneyed phrase” is surprisingly early. OED’s earliest quote dates from 1590.

The index in the original sense of the word is of course just the forefinger, used in pointing, and thus perhaps as an aid in locating things. The Oxford English Dictionary shows the earliest use of the word in this sense in 1398. It’s only a couple of hundred years later that we find it in the sense of “an alphabetical list at the end of a book”.

Unherd reviews Index, A History of the by Dennis Duncan. It’s also reviewed in The Economist and The Financial Times in rather similar tones.

Book indexes (sorry: I won’t say indices*) depend on two technologies which perhaps surprisingly were not available to the earliest writers: alphabetical order and page numbering. There was a time when it was considered heretical to list Eden before God — nothing, obviously could come before God who had created everything else. Messing with the word of God could be dangerous to your health — a sixteenth-century scholar working on a Biblical concordance only avoided execution for heresy by demonstrating that he was just reordering the words of the Bible rather than in any way adding, altering or retranslating them.

The earliest proto-indexes date from 1230. One was a Biblical concordance, and the other a list of concepts gleaned from a lifetime’s reading rather than an index to one volume. Early classificatory systems would tend to be hierarchical structures rather than any subversive value-free method. When you were dealing with a scroll the idea of page numbers would probably not occur to you, but after the invention of the codex it took a while for page numbering to appear. The earliest example Dr Duncan finds is a 1470 sermon printed in Cologne. Just like anything new everyone would regard the index as a dangerous weapon which it behooved us all to suppress.

The index should ideally be made by the book’s author. Nobody knows better what’s important in the book, and how it might be referenced in the index. This also will act to reduce the possibility of cheeky entries twitting the author for his failings — something which writers about indexing love to wallow in.

A letter to The Economist, referring to their September 4th review of Dr Duncan’s book, headed “Keys to all knowledge”, mentions this delightful index entry, “Sea water; see water, sea”.

See also Indexing.

Thanks to Nathan and Jeremy for links.

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* I’m happy to report that the OED supports me in this prejudice. “In current use the plural is indices in senses 8,  9, and usually in other senses except 5, in which indexes is usual.” Sense 5 is our bookish one.

The National Trust for Scotland alerts us to the sale of the contents of the Honresfield Library, which it had been assumed for over a century had been lost. The library was due to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in July, but the sale’s being delayed so that a group of national charities can get their ducks (and ducats) in line to “save” the library for the nation. The collection of books and manuscripts was formed at the end of the 19th century by William Law (1836-1901), a Rochdale mill-owner living at Honresfield, a few miles from Haworth in Yorkshire, and has been quietly maintained by his descendants. His brother Alfred seems also to have had a hand in forming the collection. Given the location of Honresfield (do you think it’s pronounced Honor’s field?) it’s unsurprising that there are Brontë manuscripts in the collection. Reporting on the Sotheby’s sale announcement which prompted all this action, Fine Books Magazine tells us “Treasures include an extremely rare handwritten copy of Emily’s poems, with revisions from Charlotte (est. £800,000-1,200,000) and the well-loved Brontë family copy of Bewick’s History of British Birds, the book made famous in the opening pages of Jane Eyre (est. £30,000-50,000), brimming with entertaining annotations from their father Patrick.” 

Also included are manuscripts of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns. Among the Burns manuscripts is collection of poems, notes and ideas put together by Burns when he was twenty-four. First Commonplace Book was last sold at Sotheby’s in 1879, for £10. (Presumably Mr Law was the buyer? Or maybe he got it from a dealer later on.)

Burns’ First Commonplace Book

The Pew Research Center has done the research, and Shelf Awareness sends us the news.

Frankly the news seems rather encouraging to me. 77% of respondents had read at least one book. Of course we’ve no idea what “book” might mean to them all, or indeed whether they actually did finish (or even start) their book. That 23% group of non-readers is apparently exactly the same size as was discovered in the Pew survey of 2014. Should we have hoped for a decrease in the non-reader percentage? Probably not: seven years isn’t too long. Long term it’d seem inevitable to me that reading percentages would rise as more and more people receive more and more education.

A different Pew story tells us “Several years of Pew Research Center survey data indicate there has been little change in the share of adults consuming e-books or audio books. The new survey shows that 27% of Americans read an e-book in the past 12 months – up from 17% in 2011. But that figure is statistically similar to the size of the e-book reader population captured in a Pew Research survey in 2014. Audio book consumption has remained stable, with 12% of Americans saying they listened to a book that way.”

How many books are we talking about?

If you don’t see a video here, please click on the title of this post in order to view it in your browser.

I also wrote about the Pew report in 2018.

but that’s Stephanie not John.

Stephen Colbert is determined to prevent the book selling any copies, so he attempts to reveal all its reveals.

This won’t work of course. There seems to be insatiable demand for tell-all (or tell-some-of-it) books from the White House. The book is entitled I’ll Take Your Questions Now which is a little ironic since as Press Secretary Ms Grisham apparently never once held a press briefing. Better late than never I guess. The Washington Post gives it a devastating review.

I wonder how much of an advance HarperCollins gave Ms Grisham.