Technology * Innovation * Publishing Newsletter #273

Kathy Sandler
12 min readNov 28, 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, which you might have missed, and try to include a bunch of resources & opportunities. I’d love to hear what you think of this newsletter.

Important Items

Confidential documents describe secret effort to elect lawmakers for school privatization

RT @DerekWBlack “Confidential docs reveal that a group of school privatization groups, each claiming to be separate entities w/ separate agendas, work together…to buy seats in TN legislature for candidates who are willing to vote against traditional public schools.”

https://www.newschannel5.com/news/newschannel-5-investigates/revealed/revealed-confidential-documents-describe-secret-effort-to-elect-lawmakers-for-school-privatization

The Topics Teachers Are Too Afraid to Teach

RT @PENamerica Surveys of educators in the 21 states with restrictive educational policies found many teachers too scared to teach. Analyzed together for the first time by PEN America, these studies paint a dark picture of America’s classrooms.

https://pen.org/the-topics-teachers-are-too-afraid-to-teach/

Florida bill seeks to place restrictions on use of pronouns

The bill also would restrict workplace training about issues involving sexual orientation and gender identity.

https://www.cbsnews.com/miami/news/florida-bill-seeks-to-place-restrictions-on-use-of-pronouns/

‘Freelance Isn’t Free’ Becomes Law in New York State

Some good news! The law is intended to protect freelance and contract workers — including authors, journalists, and other writers on contract — from wage theft, and to ensure that they are paid in a timely manner, with state support provided to help them recoup unpaid wages.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/93811-freelance-isn-t-free-becomes-law-in-new-york-state.html

The White House wants to close the gap on health care research for women

More good news! MT @GenderAvenger Fact check! The National Institutes of Health currently allocates just 10.8% of its funding on women’s health research! 👎🏾 The White House is now looking to change that. Learn more about the The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research here 👇🏽

https://19thnews.org/2023/11/white-house-health-care-research-women/

A mysterious illness is sickening dogs in several states. Some are dying.

“I would strongly recommend that people avoid boarding facilities, doggy day care, anything that’s going to be a high volume of dogs in a space.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/11/21/dogs-respiratory-illness-symptoms-states/

Improving Ventilation in Your Home

@CDCgov tweeted this out before Thanksgiving, but good to know all-year-round! Improving ventilation can help reduce the risk of COVID19 spreading at your holiday gatherings. You can keep windows open, use exhaust fans, and use air purifiers. A breath of fresh air for a safer celebration.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/Improving-Ventilation-Home.html

High risk of autoimmune diseases after COVID-19

You have a 42.6% increased risk of developing an autoimmune condition after any SARScoV2 infection in the following 12–18 months.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41584-023-00964-y

Inside long COVID’s war on the body: Researchers are trying to find out whether the virus has the potential to cause cancer

HT @Dakota_150

https://fortune.com/2023/11/23/inside-long-covids-war-body-researchers-trying-find-out-virus-potential-cancer-carolyn-barber/

Innovation

China launches world’s fastest internet with 1.2 terabit per second link, years ahead of forecasts

Network can send the equivalent of 150 films per second, three times faster than nearest rival in the US and two years earlier than industry forecasts 3,000km of optical fiber links Beijing-Wuhan-Guangzhou as decade-long infrastructure plan nears completion.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3241453/china-launches-worlds-fastest-internet-12-terabit-second-link-years-ahead-forecasts

Technology

‘Hallucinate’ chosen as Cambridge dictionary’s word of the year

“Striking” that rather than choosing a computer-specific term like “glitches” or “bugs,” people anthropomorphize these systems.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/nov/15/hallucinate-cambridge-dictionary-word-of-the-year

What Authors Should Know about President Biden’s Executive Order on AI Use

RT @AuthorsGuild Spanning 100+ pages, Biden’s executive order on AI addresses issues ranging from national security to safeguarding privacy, civil rights, and worker’s rights. Here’s what authors should know about the executive order.

https://authorsguild.org/news/what-authors-should-know-about-president-bidens-executive-order-on-ai-use/

“Using AI translations tools, all publishers could soon be competing globally”: FT Strategies lays out its thoughts on AI

HT @BoSacks

https://mediamakersmeet.com/using-ai-translations-tools-all-publishers-could-soon-be-competing-globally-ft-strategies-lays-out-its-thoughts-on-ai/

Google paying local publishers to test AI

HT @BoSacks The features are being tested by members of Local Independent Online News, a publishing group that represents small, hyper-local digital publishers. They are designed to help local publishers turn things like press releases into articles using different tones and styles and create newsletters. Google has also told potential publishing partners that it’s working to connect those AI publishing tools with Pinpoint, a Google-owned research tool that helps journalists filter through large files. While the tests have primarily focused on editorial functions, Google is also eyeing AI tools that can help publishers autogenerate emails and social posts that are designed to engage members or subscribers for contributions.

https://www.axios.com/newsletters/axios-media-trends-3d898732-4456-4bd5-8f4e-f6c87fed047c.html

From toy to tool: DALL-E 3 is a wake-up call for visual artists — and the rest of us

AI image synthesis is getting more capable at executing ideas, and it’s not slowing down.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/11/from-toy-to-tool-dall-e-3-is-a-wake-up-call-for-visual-artists-and-the-rest-of-us/

Meta teases new AI-powered editing tools coming to Facebook and Instagram

Users will be able to edit images and generate video clips using text descriptions, courtesy of Meta’s Emu AI model.

https://www.theverge.com/2023/11/16/23963999/meta-facebook-instagram-ai-image-video-editing-emu-announcement

Google DeepMind unveils Lyria, a powerful GenAI model for music creation

https://venturebeat.com/ai/google-deepmind-unveils-lyria-a-powerful-genai-model-for-music-creation/

Worried about AI hijacking your voice for a deepfake? This tool could help

https://www.npr.org/2023/11/13/1211679937/ai-deepfake

White faces generated by AI are more convincing than photos, finds survey

Photographs were seen as less realistic than computer images but there was no difference with pictures of people of color.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/nov/13/white-faces-generated-by-ai-are-more-convincing-than-photos-finds-survey

A Coder Considers the Waning Days of the Craft

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/11/20/a-coder-considers-the-waning-days-of-the-craft

China: The World’s Shopping Cart

A super deep dive into all things China and ecommerce.

https://restofworld.org/series/china-shopping-cart/

Social Media and News Fact Sheet

HT @benedictevans Check out the rise of TikTok!

https://www.pewresearch.org/journalism/fact-sheet/social-media-and-news-fact-sheet/

Amazon announces online car sales for the first time, starting with Hyundai

That’s going to need a big box!

https://www.theverge.com/2023/11/16/23964233/amazon-car-online-sale-hyundai-dealer-alexa

Publishing & Media

Taking a Closer Look at the FTC Lawsuit Against Amazon

HT @victoriastrauss The filing asserts that 98% of Amazon sales are made through its “buy box,” which the company only allows third-party sellers to access if they promise not to offer their products for less money on other sites. The greatest portion of the original filing that was redacted involves Project Nessie, a secret algorithm developed to identify products whose prices on other online stores will rise when Amazon increases their prices on its site. In 2018, Amazon estimated that Project Nessie increased Amazon’s yearly profits by $334 million, including nearly $57 million from books. Aware of the PR fallout it risks, Amazon has turned Project Nessie off during periods of heightened outside scrutiny and then back on when it thinks no one is watching.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/93662-taking-a-closer-look-at-the-ftc-lawsuit-against-amazon.html

Inclusive Children’s Book Publishers

Four editors at inclusive children’s book publishers — Lee & Low, Denene Millner, Kokila, and Joy Revolution — tell PW why they love their work and their imprints’ missions.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/93772-inclusive-children-s-book-publishers.html

Hot stuff: why readers fell in love with romance novels

https://www.ft.com/content/0001f781-4927-4780-b46c-3a9f15dffe78

APA: Audiobooks’ US Share Up 5 Percent, 2017 to 2022

The Audio Publishers Association’s Michele Cobb sees a steady gain by audiobooks in the United States’ publishing marketplace.

https://publishingperspectives.com/2023/11/apa-audiobooks-us-share-up-5-percent-2017-to-2022/

Books & Books is a Miami cultural force. New foundation aims to expand influence

Founder and owner Mitchell Kaplan is spinning off the popular events at Books & Books into an affiliated, tax-exempt nonprofit. The arrangement will allow the new Books & Books Literary Foundation to accept charitable donations and government and foundation grants to support and significantly expand the store’s public and community programs.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article281815618.html

UK Publishers Open a ‘Work in Publishing’ Campaign

The United Kingdom’s Publishers Association has opened its annual week of promotion for careers in the book publishing business.

https://publishingperspectives.com/2023/11/uk-publishers-association-opens-its-work-in-publishing-campaign/

Tapping into Ebooks: Ebook Use in Canada

MT @LauraB7 I am late to sharing this, but this report is full of pure gold. Give it a read if your work touches ebook publishing. It benchmarks ebook use in Canada and reveals the buying, borrowing, and reading habits of Canadian ebook consumers.

https://www.booknetcanada.ca/tapping-into-ebooks-ebook-use-in-canada-2022

The Best Books of 2023, According to NYPL

RT @BookRiot “NYPL has selected 70 adult books, 50 teen books, and 114 books for kids as their highlights of 2023. You can filter those results not just by genre, but also categories”

https://bookriot.com/the-best-books-of-2023-nypl/

Toronto library systems won’t be restored until 2024 after October cyberattack

HT @LauraB7

https://www.cp24.com/news/toronto-library-systems-won-t-be-restored-until-2024-after-october-cyberattack-1.6658904

Digital curator Giulia Carla Rossi: ‘There is a misconception that if something is on the internet it will last for ever’

MT @inkbitspixels The Guardian just published an article about the British Library’s effort to preserve web and other digital content.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2023/nov/18/giulia-carla-rossi-british-library-digital-curator-preserving-internet-publications

Ahead of Oral Arguments: Briefs Filed in Texas’ ‘Book Rating’ Law

The widely criticized ‘HB 900′ signed by Texas’ governor is challenged by amicus briefs.

https://publishingperspectives.com/2023/11/ahead-of-oral-arguments-briefs-filed-in-texas-book-rating-law/

Central Arkansas school district drops library’s digital learning tools, citing lack of ‘filter’

MT @veronikellymars “More than 11,000 Pulaski County students are unable to access online educational materials through their local public library”

https://arkansasadvocate.com/2023/11/17/central-arkansas-school-district-drops-librarys-digital-learning-tools-citing-lack-of-filter/

Violence erupts at Rockwell Falls Public Library (NY)

MT @veronikellymars Residents of Lake Luzerne, New York, have had no public library access for months.

https://cbs6albany.com/news/local/gallery/violence-erupts-at-lake-luzerne-library-following-contentious-meeting-over-librarys-closure-rockwell-falls-public-library-southern-adirondack-library-system-hadley-board-resignations-drag-?photo=1

School and Public Librarians Describe On-the-Job Harassment

HT @FReadomFighters

https://www.slj.com/story/School-and-Public-Librarians-describe-on-the-job-harassment-censorship

Over 80 books were banned in school and public libraries in the last week

HT @veronikellymars

https://bookriot.com/book-censorship-news-november-24-2023/

Mat-Su School District’s (AK) removal of books from school libraries prompts federal lawsuit

HT @sljournal The ACLU of Alaska, the Northern Justice Project, and parents of a district middle schooler have sued the Mat-Su School District for removing 56 books in April at the direction of the Mat-Su School Board. The plaintiffs’ lawyers noted that many protagonists in the challenged books are people of color or LGBTQ+ characters.

https://alaskapublic.org/2023/11/21/mat-su-school-districts-removal-of-books-from-school-libraries-prompts-federal-lawsuit/

New MTV documentary, “The ABCs of Book Banning,” sheds light on impact of book bans

HT @sljournal “The ABCs of Book Banning,” a new MTV documentary streaming on Paramount+, sheds light on the thousands of books that have been removed from schools and libraries across the country.

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/new-mtv-documentary-the-abcs-of-book-banning-sheds-light-on-impact-of-book-bans/

Resources & Opportunities

Transforming DEI: Moving from Numbers to Narratives

LAST CHANCE — Join WMG on November 30 in-person for this extraordinary fundraising event featuring author Janet Stovall, DEI expert Jodi Brockington, & Pride Global Director of DEI Kamela Forbes! Tickets are on sale now, including a signed copy of Janet’s new book and time for festive pre-holiday networking! Register ASAP!

https://www.womensmediagroup.org/event-5476947

Stefan Sagmeister in conversation with Debbie Millman [Design Matters Live]

I love Creative Mornings — always inspiring! I am off 12/14. Hope you can join me! Grab your free ticket quick — it will sell out. 8:30–1030am ET Free in-person at SVA NYC or livestream.

https://creativemornings.com/talks/stefan-sagmeister

Round Up and Support Word

https://twitter.com/wordisdiversity/status/1728488926749331811

World Read Aloud Day 2/7/24 — Call for Traditionally Published Author Volunteers

HT @KateMessner Please fill out this form if you’re a traditionally published author or illustrator who would like to volunteer to Zoom with classes to celebrate World Read Aloud Day on February 7, 2024.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe0AZjtJ_sEtlIpyNEiumK94eCwqrVll4OqgYogGq_Sf2ZApA/viewform

World Read Aloud Day 2024 — call for self-published volunteers

Self-published /non-traditionally published authors and illustrators sign up for World Read Aloud Day.

https://judycampbellsmith.com/2023/10/31/world-read-aloud-day-2024-call-for-self-published-volunteers/

Penguin Young Readers Emerging Voices & Visions Program

HT @Tweetpathi A resource for unpublished and early career writers! Please join four distinguished young adult novel editors from Penguin Young Readers for an interactive evening featuring break out sessions, a Q+A, and an opportunity to submit your young adult manuscript to an editor from the panel after the event. 11/30 7pm virtual free #teamPRH

https://sites.prh.com/pyremergingvoicesandvisions?trk=feed_main-feed-card_reshare_feed-article-content

2023 Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting

MT @theblcklst Do you know a screenwriter under 25 who could benefit from a $10,000 grant and professional mentorship? Encourage them to apply for the The Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting.

https://blcklst.com/programs/2023-michael-collyer-memorial-fellowship-in-screenwriting

Literary Pub Crawls in NYC & virtual

https://www.literarypubcrawl.com

4 more free COVID tests will be available to each household ahead of the holidays

HT @MeetJess The winter season is expected to bring a resurgence of the virus.

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/4-free-covid-tests-household-ahead-holidays/story?id=104989775

Books from Birth

MT @dcpl All children in D.C. have the incredible opportunity to receive a free book every month starting from birth until they turn five. Let’s build a love for reading together! 📚

https://www.dclibrary.org/using-the-library/books-birth

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Kathy Sandler

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