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What is the role and value of crafts today? With Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman opening in two months, the British Museum has asked contributors from the craft world to share their thoughts on the importance of craft today.

What is the role and value of crafts today?

First up is Teleri Lloyd-Jones, Assistant Editor of Crafts Magazine. There will also be a rescheduled live Twitter Q&A at 13.00 BST on Thursday 18 August 2011 – join the conversation using #craftdebate £1 billion a year. That’s the simple answer, the total annual turnover of contemporary craftspeople in this country. Now that’s a big number, but of course craft is a lot more valuable than that. Understanding how something is made, why it’s made that way, is more vital to modern life than ever. As soon as we widen our gaze beyond the shop or the gallery, we see craft appearing in the most unanticipated places.

So perhaps part of craft’s value is locked up in its confusion, the discussions to be had at its fuzzy edges. What a country makes is part of its fabric, its identity. Like this: Neat visualization of download ratios for ebook formats offered by O'Reilly. At O’Reilly we offer multiple (DRM-free) formats to choose among for customers who buy our ebooks.

Neat visualization of download ratios for ebook formats offered by O'Reilly

Since starting the program with PDF, EPUB, and Kindle-compatible Mobipocket formats, we’ve added an Android application file (.apk) and more recently the accessible DAISY format. We track which of the formats customers actually download, and from the start PDF has been the dominant choice, though as the chart below shows, there’s been a steady shift toward other formats, especially the open EPUB format (which can be read on nearly every ereader device, and is the format used by Apple’s iBooks reader).

In some cases, customers download multiple formats, but this data just includes total downloads by week for each format, and goes all the way back to June of 2008. Update: In response to the comment thread, I’ve added a second version of the graph, overlaid with the running average total downloads. A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. Mutating books, evolving authors. The Wall Street Journal ran a lengthy and sobering piece this week about how the rise of the e-book is altering the landscape of the publishing industry.

Mutating books, evolving authors

It was not, on the surface, a happy picture for authors: The digital revolution that is disrupting the economic model of the book industry is having an outsize impact on the careers of literary writers. Priced much lower than hardcovers, many e-books generate less income for publishers. And big retailers are buying fewer titles. As a result, the publishers who nurtured generations of America’s top literary-fiction writers are approving fewer book deals and signing fewer new writers. The Journal piece focused on fiction writers, but the implications are similar for nonfiction authors like me.

I also know this: when you do creative work, you are not owed a living. I don’t see the point in hand-wringing. To that end, I’m beginning a self-education program in the world of electronic book publishing. So help me out. The natural history of the county of ... BBC/OU - Journeys In Thought - Rousseau in Staffordshire. Literary connections with Ellastone, Staffordshire.

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Finding Melville’s Whale. 404 words • 2~3 min read It’s hard to believe that 365 Days of Darwin is three quarters over.

Finding Melville’s Whale

For nine months, Charlie and Charlie 2.0 have joined us on our adventures around the world. I love the challenge of coming up with something new and interesting every day. Hosting a regularly scheduled event keeps me focused on the blog. 365 Days of Darwin is challenging, rewarding, and gives our readers something new to look forward to every time they visit. But everything ends, eventually, and 365 Days of Darwin is entering it’s final 3 months. In the vast literature of the sea, one book stands out above the others as universally recognized as a maritime classic. I’m reading from the Oxford World’s Classic edition, but any version will do. Chapters are generally only 6 to 8 pages, so this should be a calm leisurely pace and keeping up will not overwhelm anyone who wants to participate.


Glass. Practical earth.