Technology * Innovation * Publishing Newsletter #265

Kathy Sandler
18 min readOct 3, 2023

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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

NH Teachers struggle to teach the Holocaust without running afoul of new ‘divisive concepts’ rules

RT @pronounced_ing Parents reporting teachers for mentioning Nazis. A monetary bounty offered by right-wing groups. Think this stuff is only happening somewhere else? It’s all over. Even in the northeast.

In Florida schools, parent permission now a must for many more activities

MT @FLFreedomRead “As state Republican leaders push to give parents more control over public schools, they’ve shifted the terms. Instead of having concerned parents opt out, they want all parents to opt in.”

Blue light exposure linked to premature puberty, reveals study

HT @Goodereader

Musk ditches X’s election integrity team ahead of key votes around world

MT @PENamerica Three days after the EU announced that X had the highest ratio of disinformation posts of all large social media platforms, owner Elon Musk has ditched X’s election integrity team.

We read X’s new privacy policy so you don’t have to

MT @PENamerica As of Sept 29, X will collect new user data including “employment and educational history, as well as biometric data. The company also plans to use that data in new ways, most importantly to train AI. Have this in mind before you hand over your data to X.”

SARS-CoV-2 infects coronary arteries, increases plaque inflammation

NIH-funded research sheds light on link between COVID-19 infection and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Place Your Order for Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests

POV: The influencer industry has a misogyny problem. Here’s what we need to fix it

MT @AlizaFreud The influencer industry has been built by women. If 84% of creators today are women why is there a 30% pay equity gap in the industry?

The Impact Of Female Leadership On Corporate Culture

HT @SStaaterman The impact of female leadership on corporate culture is profound. It fosters a more inclusive and diverse work environment, which has been shown to enhance creativity, productivity, and employee satisfaction. Women leaders also tend to prioritize corporate social responsibility, ethical practices, and work-life balance, which are increasingly important in attracting and retaining top talent.


Ray-Ban’s new Meta smart glasses will be able to translate text


Hollywood Writers Reached an AI Deal That Will Rewrite History

A faction of scribes is putting guardrails around AI’s encroachment on their work. The effects will echo in industries far beyond Hollywood.

These 183,000 Books Are Fuleing the Biggest Fight in Publishing and Tech

Use our new search tool to see which authors have been used to train the machines.

You Just Found Out Your Book Was Used to Train AI. Now What?

This week, many authors discovered that their books were used without permission to train AI systems. Here’s what you need to know if your books are in the Books3 dataset, as well as actions you can take now to speak out in defense of your rights.

Book Biz Fixtures Were Bullish on AI at PW’s Webinar

MT @PublishersWkly Our Artificial Intelligence web conference, held 9/27, found book publishing and technology experts taking a long look at new AI technologies and determining that, despite concerns, they ultimately augured positive change for the book biz.

20 Ways You Should be Using AI in Publishing. Right. Now.

How to use AI tools for fact-checking

Generative AI vs. Copyright

HT @BridgetMarmion

Publishing execs express concern over generative AI’s impact on traffic and IP protections

You Can Now Talk With ChatGPT and It Sounds Like a Human (Pretty Much)

Oh, and it can ‘see’ you now.

10 Wild Examples of ChatGPT Vision

This is my favorite — but there are a bunch of other cool examples.

Spotify is going to clone podcasters’ voices — and translate them to other languages

Spotify partners with OpenAI to launch an AI-powered voice translation feature that reproduces podcasts in other languages using the podcaster’s own voice.

Spotify Announces New Transcription Feature For Podcasts

The time-synced text transcripts will enable listeners to visually follow along as the podcast progresses

AI-narrated audiobooks are here — and they raise some serious ethical questions

Madison and Jackson are AI narrators or “digital voices” soon to be reading some of the audiobooks on Apple Books.

TikTok debuts new tools and technology to label AI content

MT @TheTiltNews Tilt Take: Be transparent with your audience. Attribution — whether it’s AI or human — is a must to earn credibility and trust.

Everyone is above average

AI elevates the skills of the lowest performers across a wide range of fields to, or even far above, what was previously average performance. Via @emollick

Generative AI, SEO, and what leaders should know: Google search in the future

Google is moving to zero-click search, which means that consumers don’t need to click on a link, which will affect publisher revenue.

Getty Images gets into the generative AI race with its own image platform

Getty Images has entered the AI race with its own AI image generator. The platform is trained on the company’s vast trove of images and developed in partnership with the AI computing powerhouse Nvidia. Along with letting customers create AI-generated images through its website, Getty Images is also offering the tools through an API. It’s also developing a way for brand clients to incorporate their own IP and custom-fit the AI model, which will begin testing later this year.

Newspaper runs robot-written op-ed opposing AI in journalism

The St Louis Post-Dispatch joined the artificial intelligence debate by allowing a robot to pen an op-ed against the use of AI in journalism.

Authors shocked to find AI ripoffs of their books being sold on Amazon

Book spamming, sometimes with multiple bogus titles going online in one day, has hit writers.

AI Detection Startups Say Amazon Could Flag AI Books. It Doesn’t

Amazon has taken some steps to stem the tide of books written with artificial intelligence, but another solution may already exist.

How Amazon is re-shaping itself in the ChatGPT era

Amazon faces landmark monopoly lawsuit by FTC

Amazon faces landmark monopoly lawsuit by FTC: The Federal Trade Commission has filed a long-awaited antitrust lawsuit against Amazon and asked the court to consider an asset sale.

Amazon Prime Video will soon come with ads, or a $2.99 monthly charge to dodge them

Amazon Prime Video will include advertising during shows and movies starting early next year, joining other streaming services that have added different tiers of subscriptions. Members of Amazon Prime can pay $2.99 per month in the U.S. to keep their service ad-free

The Best Thing About Amazon Was Never Going to Last

HT @Saahil_Desai “What happened to Amazon? The company no longer excels at the thing it’s supposed to be best at: shopping.”

Walmart returns to Roblox after its first games were attacked by consumer advocacy groups

Publishing & Media

Could KKR’s Ownership of OverDrive Raise Questions About Simon & Schuster Purchase?

Lit Agent Landscape Diversifies Some as Anxieties over Book Business Grow

The results of this year’s Association of American Literary Agents (AALA) biannual membership survey indicate that the agency sector of the book business is diversifying more rapidly than its counterpart in the publishing houses. Still, the sector remains predominantly white, and other issues — including anxiety over the state of the book business, burnout, and inequity in pay for agents of color — remain of concern for members.

Amazon’s Algorithms and Branding

HT @elizabethscraig Via @MorganHzlwood

Being seen: Braille books for children to appear in stores, classrooms

HT @LauraB7 A new series of children’s books, funded by Vision Australia, are the first children’s Braille books to be sold in Australian mainstream bookstores and taught in primary schools.

Book Tour: At home with Jennifer Egan

The author of “A Visit From the Goon Squad” and “The Candy House” guides us through her personal library.

Children who read books are happier and more active

HT @ebookfriendly

Teachers call for mandatory storytime in primary schools as HarperCollins study reveals benefits

“Given the impact that reading for pleasure has on children’s outcomes, and that storytime can help turn children into readers, this is a must-have debate.”

Amex to Shutter Travel Magazine Departures

American Express is discontinuing Departures, its nearly 40-year-old upscale travel lifestyle magazine for cardholders.

Banned in the USA: The Mounting Pressure to Censor

MT @michellemanafy Book bans in public K–12 schools intensify. In the 2022–23 school year, PEN America recorded 3,362 instances of books banned, an increase of 33 %from the 2021–22 school year. Over 40% of all book bans occurred in school districts in Florida.

Here is what parents think of books bans

HT @veronikellymars

Objection to sexual, LGBTQ content propels spike in book challenges

MT @pbromberg This is not parents movement, it’s a political operation: “Individuals who filed 10 or more complaints were responsible for two-thirds of all challenges…The majority of the 1,000-plus book challenges analyzed by The Post were filed by just 11 people.”

She challenges one school book a week. She says she’ll never stop.

What Makes a Book ‘Appropriate’ for School?

MT @nanmercado Powerful piece → “Story is poultice, is salve designed to mitigate pain and stimulate the healing of wounds, especially those festering beneath the surface unseen.” Via @nikkigrimes9.

Fifth Circuit Pauses Block on Texas Book Sex-Content Ratings Law

A Texas law that requires book sellers to assign sex-content ratings to all books they sell and have sold to public schools can be enforced after the Fifth Circuit temporarily suspended a trial court ruling that blocked it.

Floria Librarians Told to Remove Books with LGBTQ+ Characters, Even if Not Sexually Explicit

Charlotte County Superintendent Mark Vianello wrote “[t]hese characters and themes cannot exist.” MT @BookRiot “With this latest move, they are saying the (not so) quiet part out loud. It’s not about shielding children from inappropriate sexual content and it never has been. They simply want to erase the existence of people they wished didn’t exist. Period”

‘I didn’t just quit my job, I quit the state.’ Book ban row drove out Escambia (FL) library boss

RT @FLFreedomRead “After 12 years, White handed in a letter of resignation…Standard parting words. But it was about more than just a career shift — it was an escape from FL Legislature that was making YA literature the enemy…”

Clay County (FL) leads the nation in banned books. It may ban thousands more.

MT @FLFreedomRead There is a reason that Clay County leads the nation in book banning, and it’s more than just the one man filing hundreds of challenges. The district is complicit in promoting ignorance and compromising the freedom to read.

Heather Smithson: Book restrictions from Escambia County to South Florida should concern us all

RT @FLFreedomRead “I think most will agree: no parent should be making decisions about what books & subjects are off-limits for another’s child. By inserting their political views into libraries, the activists behind these restrictions have set a dangerous precedent.”

Huntsville (AL) library director orders mass relocation of LGBTQ books

MT @EveryLibrary They’re moving books if the author’s NAME is Gay The book’s author is Marie-Louise Gay so the call number of the book is “E GAY.” That’s all it takes to move this book — without examination — to the Adult Nonfiction section.

North Carolina bans ‘Banned Books Week’ but retracts after media backlash

Nationwide school librarian shortage costing New York City students valuable lessons, educators say

RT @LibraryL “Studies show students tend to perform better academically with a certified librarian in school.” -All students deserve access to a school with a school library staffed by a certified school librarian.

How We Fight Back

Library workers and advocates are turning to new policies, lawsuits, and legislation to stem the tide of book bans

On ‘Klanned Karenhood’: The outrage of Moms for Liberty cannot be the narrative

RT @sljournal “Confronting White Nationalism in Libraries: A Toolkit,” created by the Western States Center, cites steps libraries can take, from signage & collection displays that embrace difference to educating the community about the threat of white nationalism.

How Libraries Are Fighting Book Banning

“We know that stories are powerful, but unlike advocates of book banning, we believe that’s a good thing…free people have the right to choose for themselves.” — NYPL President Tony Marx

Boston Public Library expands access to digital collection amidst rising calls for book bans

The Banned Wagon: A Vehicle for Change

MT @Zorrah Penguin Random House, partnering with the Freedom to Read Foundation, PEN America, and Little Free Library, launches The Banned Wagon Tour of the South for communities affected by censorship. Books to the people who need and want them most. Atlanta, Nashville, Houston, NOLA. #teamPRH

Not Every Book Is For Everyone

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating books. Suffice it to say that not every book is for everyone. #teamPRH

Books are written to be read, not banned

We in Florida are Ground Zero in a new, cynical attempt to gain and maintain political power by weaponizing books.

CA’s Newsom to fine schools that ban books over race, sexual orientation

Free books liberate people

HT @mollyflatt “In a world where libraries and public spaces dedicated to literature are vanishing, the gap between those who have access to literature and those who do not is ever increasing.”

Resources & Opportunities

Celebrating Latina Storytellers

Come one, come all — and now you can come at the member price of $20 with discount code WMG-FRIEND 10/3 5:30–7:30pm ET at Penguin Random House offices. There will be time to network and wine & cheese before the program. Hope to see you there! Profit from this event supports the Women’s Media Group Educational Foundation.

Banned Books Week 2023: Programs, Day of Action, and Events Announced

Authors and Advocates on Fighting Book Bans

Hollywood Artists Join Writers for Banned Books Week Day of Action Oct. 7

Kevin Bacon, Blythe Danner, Edie Falco, Neil Gaiman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mandy Patinkin, Kyra Sedgwick, and B.D. Wong Among Headliners to Join Effort with Writers Guild, PEN America, and Unite Against Book Bans

El Festival del Libro/Festival of Books 2023

MT @marcelalandres Free event: El Festival de Libro, 215 East 99th Street, 10/4 and 10/7

13th GW Ethics in Publishing Conference

HT @john_w_warren Free hybrid conference.

Authors for Voices of Color Auction to Support WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS

This is one of >400 items! Auction closes 10/3. MT @diversebooks Jacqueline Woodson is not only one of the most lauded authors alive today, but an incredible host and generous supporter of WNDB. Why not get together with three friends and bid on an evening you won’t forget AND help WNDB fight book bans at the same time?

Atria BOOKS LIKE US First Novel Contest open for submissions

MT @sangeeta_editor “Writers are invited and encouraged to submit twenty-five pages of an original adult novel using the online form below…In March 2024, the author of the selected novel will be awarded the opportunity to enter into a $50,000 book deal with Atria Books.”

Free SCBWI Membership Giveaway for Latinx Kidlit Book Festival Attendees

MT @LatinxKidLitBF WRITERS Enter this giveaway by SCBWI! Unparalleled in their support for the kidlit illustrators & kidlit writingcommunity, SCBWI is a holy-grail hub of resources and community building for children’s book creators.

LKBF School Visits Fund Spring 2024 Semester

MT @LatinxKidLitBF Get your applications in now! Brought to you by Penguin Random House, the LKBF School Visit Fund connects Latinx authors and illustrators with students, bringing stories to life! The application for 2024 visits is now open! #teamPRH

Proposals are now being accepted to host Meg Medina, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, in 2024

HT @marcelalandres Deadline 10/5

The Publishing Triangle Awards: Submissions Now Open

The Publishing Triangle Awards: Submissions Now Open. Deadline 12/11/23. Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Trans/Gender-Variant, and Children’s/YA awards given for books published between 1/1/23–12/32/23. @pubtri

Banned Books Week at The New York Public Library

Join NYPL during this year’s Banned Books Week, October 1–7, for free programs, events, and more for all ages.

Spell-O-Rama for Banned Books Week

RT @FLFreedomRead In honor of Banned Books Week, Celeste Ng and the Blaze Writers Project will turn Belmont’s Trinktisch beer hall into a school auditorium of sorts for Spell-O-Rama, an adult spelling bee for local writers and bibliophiles.

Ada Lovelace Day 2023

HT @FindingAda Ada Lovelace Day is held every year on the second Tuesday of October. See events around the world here.

Juilliard’s Top-Tier Graduate Acting Program Is Going Tuition-Free

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Kathy Sandler

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