Technology * Innovation * Publishing Newsletter #262

Kathy Sandler
16 min readSep 14, 2023

Reminder: I optimized this newsletter for subscription. If you’re reading this on my blog or Medium (via website or email), please subscribe at https://www.sandlertechworks.com/ for the best user experience.

While I focus on Technology, Innovation, and Publishing, because I have a platform, I also flag items that I think are important and try to include a bunch of resources & opportunities. I’d love to hear what you think of this newsletter.

Important Items

Presidential centers from Hoover to Bush and Obama unite to warn of fragile state of US democracy

For the first time, 13 presidential libraries have joined to make a public declaration over their concern for U.S. democracy. It emphasizes the need for compassion, tolerance and pluralism while urging Americans to respect democratic institutions.

https://apnews.com/article/united-states-democracy-presidents-threats-joint-statement-5530a89df2c41d58a22961f63fb0e6ff

Is public school as we know it ending?

MT @veronikellymars Voucher proposals might be losing in state legislature, but public schools are still losing. The right might lose some battles, but they are winning the war they themselves created.

https://www.vox.com/policy/23847728/public-school-vouchers-choice-cara-fitzpatrick-book

Adult Anti-Trans Risk Assessment Map

Via @ErinInTheMorn

https://twitter.com/ErinInTheMorn/status/1699461548824015242

Lake Worth Beach, FL becomes state’s first LGBTQ sanctuary

A bright spot.

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/4192348-south-florida-city-becomes-states-first-lgbtq-sanctuary/

All signs point to a rise in Covid

HT @MeetJess Covid hospitalizations, deaths and wastewater data — among other indicators — are all increasing as the U.S. heads into fall.

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/signs-point-rise-covid-rcna103439

Alarming COVID Surge

MT @DrEricDing Deaths doubled, hospital tripled, emergency room visits quadrupled.

https://twitter.com/DrEricDing/status/1699859004854255857

Recovery from long COVID is extremely rare

At least 5–10% of COVID-19 survivors develop a post-viral syndrome known as long COVID. This includes a variety of long-lasting, debilitating symptoms and medical conditions, which often lead to physical, social and psychological disability, and have a severe impact on patients’ quality of life. The small chances of recovering from long COVID during the first 2 years underscore that, as long as SARS-CoV-2 transmissions continue, subjects with long COVID will continue to accumulate.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanepe/article/PIIS2666-7762(23)00143-6/fulltext

Women Star in Majority of the Most Popular TV Shows, Study Finds

Some good news! The ReFrame Report on Gender & Hiring in TV found gender-balanced employment in 94 of the top 200 series of the 2022–23 season.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/reframe-report-tv-1235567191/

Technology

Global Publishing and Journalism Organizations Unite to Release Comprehensive Global Principles for Artificial Intelligence

RT @DCNorg These comprehensive Global Principles for Artificial Intelligence address critical dimensions relating to intellectual property, transparency, accountability, quality and integrity, fairness, safety, design, and sustainable development

https://digitalcontentnext.org/blog/press/global-publishing-and-journalism-organizations-unite-to-release-comprehensive-global-principles-for-artificial-intelligence-ai/

The Battle Over Books3 Could Change AI Forever

Critics say Books3 isn’t a boon to society — instead, it’s emblematic of everything wrong with generative AI, a glaring example of how both the rights and preferences of artists are disregarded and disrespected by the AI industry’s main players.

https://www.wired.com/story/battle-over-books3/

What OpenAI Really Wants

The young company sent shock waves around the world when it released ChatGPT. But that was just the start. The ultimate goal: Change everything. Yes. Everything.

https://www.wired.com/story/what-openai-really-wants/

Most Americans haven’t used ChatGPT; few think it will have a major impact on their job

Only 18 percent of US adults have ever used ChatGPT and few think it will have a major impact on their job

https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/08/28/most-americans-havent-used-chatgpt-few-think-it-will-have-a-major-impact-on-their-job/

“AI took my job, literally” — Gizmodo fires Spanish staff amid switch to AI translator

Meanwhile, readers say that some AI-penned articles switch languages halfway through.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/09/ai-took-my-job-literally-gizmodo-fires-spanish-staff-amid-switch-to-ai-translator/

Over A Fourth Of Marketers Fear For Their Job Security

Of the professionals surveyed, 45% believe marketers do a better job of creating marketing campaigns. But 35% say AI performs better. And 19% feel they’re about the same.

https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/388892/eerie-ai-over-a-fourth-of-marketers-fear-for-thei.html

Jason Allen’s AI art won the Colorado fair — but now the feds say it can’t get a copyright

The controversial image that won a Colorado State Fair contest last year may soon become the latest front in the legal fight over artificial intelligence. Jason M. Allen, a Colorado-based artist, used generative AI software in the creation of the image, “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial.” “I’m the guy that opened Pandora’s Box and ended up becoming the center of the zeitgeist revolving around this issue of AI art,” he said. The image was striking enough to win part of the Colorado State Fair’s art contest last year. But the U.S. Copyright Office on Tuesday issued a final decision that it can not be copyrighted, meaning Allen can’t get legal protections to stop others from reproducing and using the image themselves.

https://www.cpr.org/2023/09/06/jason-allens-ai-art-won-colorado-fair-feds-deny-copyright-protection/

Roblox’s new AI chatbot will help you build virtual worlds

Roblox unveils Roblox Assistant, a conversational AI assistant that lets creators enter prompts to generate virtual environments, get help with coding, and more

https://www.theverge.com/2023/9/8/23863943/roblox-ai-chatbot-assistant-ai-rdc-2023

Generative AI’s Biggest Security Flaw Is Not Easy to Fix

Chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard are vulnerable to indirect prompt injection attacks. Security researchers say the holes can be plugged — sort of.

https://www.wired.com/story/generative-ai-prompt-injection-hacking/

Do Not Fear the Robot Uprising. Join It

We shouldn’t fear the synthesis of humans and machines; we should fear its misdirection by the meanest pecuniary interests.

https://www.wired.com/story/ai-civil-rights-narratives-robots/

Is the AI boom already over?

https://www.vox.com/technology/2023/8/19/23837705/openai-chatgpt-microsoft-bing-google-generating-less-interest

Amazon Issues New AI Guidelines for Its KDP Platform

Amazon will now require users to “inform us of AI-generated content (text, images, or translations) when you publish a new book or make edits to and republish an existing book through KDP.” The post goes on to say that even if a user made substantial edits after initially creating the content using AI, that would be considered AI-generated.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/content-and-e-books/article/93122-amazon-issues-new-ai-guidelines-for-its-kdp-platform.html

Shopify says merchants can use Amazon’s ‘Buy with Prime’ option

https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/shopify-says-merchants-can-use-amazons-buy-with-prime-option-2023-08-30/

The End of the Anti-Amazon Alliance

Three takeaways from the surprising Amazon-Shopify deal last week

https://medium.com/ipg-media-lab/the-end-of-the-anti-amazon-alliance-the-future-of-ecommerce-7dd409995d86

FTC’s Amazon Antitrust Suit Likely to Be Filed in September

The FTC is likely to sue Amazon later this month, capping a four-year antitrust investigation into the company.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-09-05/amazon-s-ftc-antitrust-suit-likely-to-be-filed-in-september

Google to Require ‘Prominent’ Disclosures for AI-Generated Election Ads

Election advertisers on Google will need to disclose if they’re using AI-generated audio, video or photos.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-09-06/google-to-require-prominent-disclosures-for-ai-generated-election-ads

Google gets its way, bakes a user-tracking ad platform directly into Chrome

RT @Pogue Oh wow. After Apple blocked cookies in its Safari browser, Google has now built, RIGHT INTO CHROME, a tracker that “track[s] the web pages you visit and generate[s]a list of advertising topics that it will share with web pages whenever they ask.”

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/09/googles-widely-opposed-ad-platform-the-privacy-sandbox-launches-in-chrome/

Musk’s X to collect biometric information and employment data

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/01/musks-x-to-collect-biometric-information-and-employment-data.html

Walmart Dives Deeper Into Drones and Roblox

MT @BISG Walmart is rolling out initiatives emphasizing engagement and expanding consumer offerings, including drone delivery and developing experiences within Roblox’s virtual gaming platform.

https://risnews.com/walmart-dives-deeper-drones-and-roblox

The New Era of Immersive Entertainment

MT @FoSTorg Consumers under 35 spend half of their media time with “lean-in” platforms, and the gaming sector has seen more than $200B in M&A deal value in the last three years.

https://www.bain.com/insights/new-era-of-immersive-entertainment/

Publishing & Media

‘A Plague on the Industry’: Book Publishing’s Broken Blurb System

Via @svershbow Do authors actually like the books they endorse — or even read them? Writers, literary agents, and publishing workers take Esquire inside the story of a problematic “favor economy.”

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/books/a44948120/book-publishing-broken-blurbs-system/

Spotify appears to be planning free audiobook trials for subscribers

The pilot program will reportedly give subscribers up to 20 free hours of audiobooks per month.

https://www.theverge.com/2023/9/8/23864377/spotify-free-audiobook-streaming-trial

Where do fonts come from? This one business, mostly

Monotype owns most major fonts, although boutique foundries still exist and do work for big companies. Main competitors are Adobe Fonts & Google Fonts (which is free). Thousands of designers try to sell their typefaces,but most have to go through Monotype

https://thehustle.co/where-do-fonts-come-from/

How to Tell Internet Archive to Remove Your Books

RT @AuthorsGuild If you have a book that remains available for reading on Open Library and wish to have it taken down, we’ve outlined how to remedy this.

https://authorsguild.org/news/how-to-tell-internet-archive-to-remove-your-books/

More than half of UK children do not read in their spare time, survey reveals

National Literacy Trust says families and schools need resources to help disadvantaged children develop vital literacy skills

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/sep/04/half-of-uk-children-do-not-read-in-spare-time

The Connection Between Mormons and YA Literature

A tight-knit community of young-adult writers who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has yielded smashes like “Twilight.” But religious doctrine can clash with creative freedoms.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/03/style/ya-authors-utah-mormon.html?smid=tw-share

Tanna: A New Book-Auction App for Book Lovers

To sell your used books to readers.

https://goodereader.com/blog/bookselling/tanna-a-new-book-auction-app-for-book-lovers

Amazon has ended its periodicals program, and independent magazine/digital publishers are panicking

Amazon dropped all of its print and Kindle magazine and newspaper subscriptions. Readers could not be contacted directly and redirected to other subscription methods because “none of us know who these subscribers are.”

https://www.theverge.com/23861370/amazon-kindle-periodicals-unlimited-ended

The Arena Group launches a creator network

Sports Illustrated publisher Arena Group is launching a creator network of 100+ social media influencers, vowing it won’t replace journalists.

https://www.axios.com/2023/09/07/arena-group-creator-network

Podcasts: audiophiles are still tuned in to the radio

Over 80% of Americans listen to AM/FM radio at least once a week, even 18–34 year olds. Podcasts “are years away from replacing radio.”

https://www.ft.com/content/be23a245-313d-4ae3-a0ba-7f343c00c931

Universal Music Group and Deezer’s New Agreement Could Have Unintended Consequences

Artists who don’t meet certain audience thresholds will be treated as “noise” under a new model aiming to fix the streaming music biz

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2023-09-07/universal-music-group-and-deezer-aim-to-fix-the-broken-economics-of-streaming

The Press Forward Multiplier Effect

A nonpartisan group of 22 foundations today announced the launch of Press Forward, a nationwide coalition committing more than $500 million over five years to help reinvigorate local news in America

https://niemanreports.org/articles/press-forward-local-news-funding/

The New York Times finds a match with the word game Connections

Connections is already the second-most popular @nytimes game (after Wordle)

https://www.niemanlab.org/2023/09/the-new-york-times-finds-a-match-with-the-word-game-connections/

Book Banners May Force Closure of a Virginia Public Library October 1

RT @EveryLibrary It has never been about the books. It has always been about denying Americans’ access to libraries.

https://bookriot.com/samuels-public-library-may-close/

Ron DeSantis just put the co-founder of a book ban advocacy group on Florida’s state ethics commission

HT @LWShanley Ron DeSantis appointed the co-founder of right-wing parental rights group to the state’s ethics committee. The group, Moms for Liberty, says its mission is to “stoke the fires of liberty.” The group has proposed book bans and fought against mask mandates and teachings about racism and gender issues.

https://www.businessinsider.com/ron-desantis-appoints-co-founder-book-ban-group-ethics-committee-2023-9

< 1% of the population in Duval Schools caused the entire library to be reviewed

MT @FLFreedomRead The entire library collection is under review in Duval Schools to appease l% of the population in public schools. These laws are written to address a manufactured problem, but their financial, time, & emotional costs have had massive impacts on students, educators, & districts.

https://twitter.com/FLFreedomRead/status/1699843397798756482

I Made the Most Banned Book in America

https://thenib.com/i-made-the-most-banned-book-in-america/

Senate Judiciary hearing on book bans & censorship

MT @LibraryPolicy Tue. (9/12) join us here as we live tweet the Senate Judiciary hearing on book bans & censorship. Join for:

✅ Testimony from library & intellectual freedom experts

✅ Analysis on the far-reaching impacts of book bans

✅ Insights on a path forward at the federal level

https://twitter.com/LibraryPolicy/status/1700239984031142002

Create a Book Resume to Help Respond to a Challenge

Book resumes include multiple reviews from different sources, awards won, booklists including the work, and news stories from when the book has been challenged but retained on the shelves.

https://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/story/Create-a-Book-Resume-to-Help-Respond-to-a-Challenge

PEN America Exhibition to Spotlight Literary Censorship in Prisons

A new exhibition presented by PEN America will spotlight literary censorship in U.S. prisons, where tens of thousands of books are currently banned.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/newsbrief/index.html?record=4318&oly_enc_id=1350E8919723C6V

California passes anti-book ban bill for schools: ‘The true freedom state’

https://www.thepinknews.com/2023/09/09/california-book-bans-lgbtq-race-inclusive-schools/

Hoboken, NJ just became a ‘book sanctuary’ following rise in book bans across U.S.

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/this-city-in-nj-is-set-to-become-a-book-sanctuary-following-rise-in-book-bans-across-u-s/4655145/

Resources & Opportunities

Celebrating Latina Storytellers

I’m SO EXCITED about this IRL power panel I’m putting together! 10/3 5:30pm-7:30pm ET at PRH offices incl. wine/cheese & networking. $20 for Women’s Media Group members, $25 for non-members. More speakers to be announced v soon.

https://www.womensmediagroup.org/event-5413577

Gail Papp and Rose Styron Talking Memoirs

Tuesday, September 26, 6:00–7:00 p.m. ET Free for WMG members; $15.00 for non-members Join this special event with Gail Papp and Rose Styron, two of the most accomplished women in American culture, for a peek into their memoir writing process, the challenge of writing about lives lived in public, and tips for aspiring memoir writers.

https://www.womensmediagroup.org/event-5392534

Books That Shaped America

MT @LibnOfCongress The Library of Congress and CSPAN are launching a new series, Books That Shaped America. It’s a ten part series that starts airing on CSPAN on Sept 18.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?530186-1/books-shaped-america-series-preview

Apply for the PRH Audio Narrator Mentorship Program!

The Penguin Random House Audio Narrator Mentorship Program is an initiative for actors new to audiobooks, offering them the opportunity to work with our team of producers to strengthen their craft and gain industry knowledge. #TeamPRH

https://global.penguinrandomhouse.com/announcements/apply-for-the-prh-audio-narrator-mentorship-program/

Latinx Pitch

#LatinxPitch September 15th 2023 from 8am to 8pm EST

https://latinxpitch.com

Going to Grad School for Creative Writing: a (free) Periplus panel

RT @PeriplusCollect We’re holding a free panel on graduate creative-writing programs for writers of color! Attendance is limited to 95, so be sure to get a ticket on Eventbrite in advance.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/going-to-grad-school-for-creative-writing-a-free-periplus-panel-tickets-712203799737

2024 Periplus Fellowship

The application for the 2024 Periplus Fellowship — offering mentorship and community to writers of color — is now open! Learn more and apply by 10/27 at http://bit.ly/periplusfaq. There’s no fee to apply.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-0SRWxJqx4oNbWVmbq4j9JE5INhisz76--U63UbtncM/edit

The Adina Talve-Goodman Fellowship

MT @onestorymag Applications are now open for the Adina Talve-Goodman Fellowship! Each year, One Story and the Talve-Goodman Family award one writer a year-long mentorship on the craft of fiction writing with One Story magazine.

https://one-story.com/learn/fellowship/

Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists

MT @BincFoundation Applications are open for the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists, which provides a bookseller with a year-long scholarship for professional development and community outreach. Apply by 9/15/23 5pm ET.

https://www.bincfoundation.org/carla-gray/

Para la Cultura: A Generative Open Genre Workshop

https://www.abodepress.com/events-1/para-la-cultura-a-generative-open-genre-workshop

Photoshop Town Hall

HT @NewYork_CM Join Adobe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for a first-hand look at new features in Photoshop, including peeks at what’s coming in Illustrator, Express, generative AI and more.

https://event.adobe.com/photoshoptownhall

Call for Papers on Critical Approaches to Disability in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Media

https://twitter.com/IRSCL_News/status/1700503758889738711

ALA urges libraries to participate in National Voter Registration Day

MT @LibraryPolicy ALA is proud to once again join @NatlVoterRegDay as a Premier Partner! We encourage libraries across the country to sign up to participate (9/19) & support civic engagement across your community. Learn more below or sign up as a partner: http://bit.ly/ALANVRD23

https://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2023/08/ala-urges-libraries-participate-national-voter-registration-day

Round Table Mentors

MT @RT_Mentor We are expanding our mentors :) Please share! Specifically, we are seeking:

- Native American, Pacific Islander, and MENA mentors of any age group/genre.

- PoC mentors of picture books, middle grade, novels in verse, and/or graphic novels.

Email us at roundtablementor@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/RT_Mentor/status/1700214415780417798

Get Ready, Stay Ready: Community Action Toolkit Mini Grant Application

MT @veronikellymars You do not need to be a librarian or educator to apply. GRSR is a community-focused tool kit, so if you’re doing anti-censorship work on the ground or have a community project that could use a little $$, this is a great opportunity. GRSR is offering mini-grants of up to $2500 to help communities be prepared for book challenges and to promote the Get Ready, Stay Ready Community Action Toolkit. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more, share, and apply!

https://www.getreadystayready.info/mini-grant

W3C Accessibility Specialist job posting

MT @w3c_wai Open position! W3C Web Accessibility Initiative is seeking an Accessibility Specialist to work on digital accessibility standards and supporting materials. This is a unique opportunity to contribute to the vision of an accessible digital future.

https://www.w3.org/careers/2023-accessibility-specialist/

National First Amendment Summit

MT @nyu_journalism September 13th Join NYU Journalism’s First Amendment Watch & National Constitution Center for the first-ever National First Amendment Summit, sponsored by PEN America, Reporters Committee for Freedom, Freedom Forum, and Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. Online & in-person. Free.

https://constitutioncenter.org/calendar/national-first-amendment-summit

NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre

THE PROGRAM PROVIDES:

  • Finishing grants* for film and digital projects
  • Funds for the creation of music recordings or videos
  • Production funds for live or online theatre

In addition to being made by, for, or about all who identify as women, projects are eligible if they feature a prominent woman perspective; and/or include a woman-identified director and/or producer and/or writer/songwriter and/or engineer (for recordings) and/or woman-indentified protagonist(s) or lead musical role.

*To be eligible, projects need to have completed principal photography.

GRANTS WILL BE GIVEN IN THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:

  • Fiction Feature (running time of 60 minutes or more) — up to $50,000
  • Fiction Short (running time of 59 minutes or less) — up to $25,000
  • Fiction Webisode/Webseries (all forms) — up to $20,000
  • Documentary Feature (running time of 60 minutes or more) — up to $50,000
  • Documentary Short (running time of 59 minutes or less) — up to $25,000
  • Documentary Webisodes/Webseries (all lengths and forms) — up to $20,000
  • Music (all categories) — up to $20,000
  • Theatre Production — up to $50,000

https://www.nyfa.org/awards-grants/nyc-womens-fund-for-media-music-and-theatre/

Brooklyn Book Bodega looking for book donations for ages 0–18

https://twitter.com/weischoice/status/1700612679801381277

Want to read my old newsletters or subscribe? Go to my blog here.

--

--

Kathy Sandler

Sr Mgr, Content Applications, Penguin Random House * Innovation * Technology * Publishing * Opinions expressed are my own