Today in books and publishing: Chicago Public Library bestows amnesty; rediscovering Thomas Browne; Google accused of copyright infringement; the results from NPR's Y.A. poll.
Amnesty for library delinquents. Chicagoans who've been sitting on long-overdue library books won't have to worry about the library cop kicking down their door. For three weeks starting August 20th, the Chicago Public Library will offer amnesty to all patrons who have accrued expensive late fees, which come out to $1.4 million all told. This is the library's first amnesty program since 1992. The city's library system collects $2 million dollars every year from fines, but at this point, they're more concerned with getting the materials and patrons back than with fees. [WBEZ]
Google accused of unfair use. According to a complaint lodged by the Authors Guild, Google owes $2 billion in damages to authors and publishers whose work the search giant scanned from libraries without express permission. In 2004, Google entered an agreement with many university libraries, allowing the search company to scan and upload millions of titles from their collections. But the individual writers and publishers behind the scanned books weren't consulted. A spate of lawsuits followed, and a federal judge rejected the settlement Google and its opponents tentatively reached last year. Google claims that its scans constitute "fair use," but the Authors Guild claims that the practice was copyright infringement plain and simple. They're seeking the minimum $750 fine for each case of infringement. [Wired]
The results from NPR's Y.A. poll are in. Last month, Jen Doll noted NPR's quest to discover its listeners' favorite young adult fiction novels. Today, NPR announced the results. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, unsurprisingly, comes out on top, followed closely by Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games books and Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. Other familiar names such as J.R.R. Tolkien, S.E. Hinton, Louis Lowry, Douglas Adams, and Ray Bradbury also placed near the top. The No. 4 book, The Fault in Our Stars, might come as a surprise to some, but contemporary author John Green has a strong showing throughout the top 100, appearing no fewer than five times. Over 75,000 people cast a vote in the poll. [NPR]
Amazon gets into the textbook rental game: Instead of buying expensive textbooks, students can rent and return them after 130 days, saving up to 70% off sticker prices. This isn't exactly an innovative move, though. Sites like Chegg have been doing this for years. [Los Angeles Times]
Whatever happened to Thomas Browne? Anyone who has taken a college English course or two knows about Chaucer, Milton, Shakespeare and the sizable dents they left on the English language. But what about the man who wrote the first recorded uses of such words like “suicide” and “hallucination?” Seventeenth century doctor Thomas Browne is recognized as one of the most original English writers by those who've read him, and he was beloved by the likes of Herman Melville, Jorge Luis Borges, Virginia Woolf and, more recently, W.G. Sebald. Now, scholars are working to revive his place in the English literary cannon, reports The New York Times. This week, the New York Review Books Classics imprint publishes a new edition of Browne's unclassifiable book about death and decay, Urne-Buriall. [The New York Times]
Looking for new literary Tumblogs to follow? The Millions has you covered. [The Millions]