Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Great Regulars: Publishers are calling on the government

to "urgently" reduce the 20% value added tax rate currently applied to ebooks in the UK, as the digital books market experiences "exponential" growth.

Ahead of this afternoon's budget statement, the Publishers Association has made representations to Chancellor George Osborne arguing that the rate of VAT on ebooks, which stands at 20%, should be reduced to the zero-rating of print books.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Ebooks VAT should be slashed to zero in 2012 budget, say publishers


The poem was written at a time of national debate around fair wages for labour as bread prices spiralled; Keats's mentor, Leigh Hunt, had railed against the practice of financial and leasehold consolidation. With this background in mind, the suggestion that Keats was looking at actual fields, rather than writing about an imagined idyll of autumnal perfection, also sheds new light on the labourer in the poem, "sitting careless on a granary floor", or "on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep".

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: John Keats--autumnal idealist or trenchant social commentator?


Voices, said the author "are being silenced. Publishers are more frightened to publish. Galleries are more afraid to display certain kind of art; certain kind of films would not be made that might have been made 15-20 years ago. The chilling effect of violence is very real and it is growing in this country."

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Salman Rushdie defends free speech in rousing address in Delhi


Drawing their material from Google's huge book-digitisation project, the international team of academics tracked the usage of every word recorded in English, Spanish and Hebrew over the 209-year period between 1800 and 2008. The scientists, who include Boston University's Joel Tenenbaum and IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies' Alexander Petersen, said their study shows that "words are competing actors in a system of finite resources", and just as financial firms battle for market share, so words compete to be used by writers or speakers, and to then grab the attention of readers or listeners.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Study reveals words' Darwinian struggle for survival


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