Monday, November 18, 2013

"The Rise of the E-Book Jerk"

I read about this via Dear Author initially, so credit to them for the story.

The basic gist is that there was an article in Paste Magazine about people returning e-books on Amazon, who has a 7 day return policy. Some authors only have a few returns while others have quite a bit- 10% of their sales. The article lists a bunch of people who believe that many of these returners are reading the book and then asking for their money back.

DA brought up a good point: many people aren't able to immediately read the books for whatever reason, so a return could happen days after the initial purchase. I have to add this tidbit: some people return e-books because the title was so awful that they didn't want to finish it or keep it on their reader. Sometimes people do it because a book is filled with so many visible errors that they can't bring themselves to read it and return it more to prove a point that someone shouldn't have to pay for a book where the author couldn't or wouldn't edit out the grammatical and spelling errors.

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of returning books (print or e-book) if you've read them. I don't think I've returned a book for any reason other than already owning it or getting the wrong one as a gift. I do think that there's a bit of an issue with the idea of getting a book and returning it later just so you could purchase another book down the road. Reducing or eliminating the amount of time one can get a refund would help, but I think that many authors would see reduced sales in general. Many of the people who do this purely as a way to get "freebies" aren't usually the type that want to spend money in general.

Further reading:
*Dear Author
*Paste Magazine

Friday, November 15, 2013

One butterbeer frappuccino, please

As many of you are already aware, recently it was "announced" that Starbucks was offering Butterbeer lattes and frappuccinos. Sorta. It's part of their "secret menu" that isn't really secret as much as it's one of many drinks that you can order as long as you remember the recipe for it when you go up to order.

(My reaction upon reading about this.)

I haven't had the ability to try this yet, but next time I wander into a Starbucks I'll have to give this a try. I'll probably go for the cold version, as the hot one sounds a little too sweet for my tastes. I'll never get to try the "official" version since I'm allergic to milk and can't have anything with a very heavy cream base, but I'll try the soy milk equivalent thereof.

(Still an accurate depiction.)

If you want to try this out, make sure to do it during the holiday season, as not every Starbucks offers toffee nut syrup year-round.

So without much more ado, on with the recipes!

(Why yes I have been watching Adventure Time lately!)

 Cold recipe:

  • Creme frappuccino base with whole milk (this is supposedly for the consistency more than flavor)
  • 3 pumps caramel syrup
  • 3 pumps toffee nut syrup
  • Top with caramel syrup and whipped cream
Hot recipe:

  • Whole milk steamer
  • Add caramel syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti)
  • Add toffee nut syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti)
  • Add cinnamon dolce syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti)
  • Whipped cream and salted caramel bits on top
  • Optional: Add a shot of espresso (2 for a grande or venti)

So there you have it. According to a Syracuse reporter, this was overly sweet and didn't taste like what she was expecting it to.

(Not really related, but figured why not? Although it's probably pronounced "Te-AH-tAH-may" in some circles.)

Further reading:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fifty Shades of Herpes

So recently two Belgian professors decided that they would run tests on the ten most popular books at their local library. What type of tests? Bacteriology and toxicology, essentially meaning that they looked at whether or not one or more of the people handling the books were on something or had a disease or issue that could be picked up with testing.

Why do it? Because science.

(Quite possibly my favorite picture ever of Herbert West, you should check out the original artist here)

Of course one of the most popular books was Fifty Shades of Grey because hey- sex is popular, especially when you can get it in a format that's socially acceptable.

What did they find? All of the books tested positive for enough cocaine to potentially have someone test positive on a drug test. However FSoG had that little something extra:


Yep. These books had herpes on them. Not enough to where you could actually contract it, but enough to where it showed up. It's entirely possible that the herpes on them were of the cold sore variety. Not every person with herpes has it below the waist, after all, and it's entirely reasonable to think that someone could have been touching their face and passing herpes on.

(Like this, actually)

Of course it's far more funny to think that it's the result of someone trying to do the kitkat shuffle while reading their library rented erotica. Gross, but funny. Next time I check a book out from the library, it might go through this process:

Further reading:

*Professors Test Fifty Shades of Grey Library Book, Find It Has Traces of Herpes

Saturday, November 9, 2013

This exists: Awful library books

Most of you probably already know this site. I recently came across it in my search for something funny to laugh at inbetween studying bouts. The website is called "Awful Library Books" and it's awesome. Here are some of my personal favorites:

Seriously, where is the market out there for satanic ritual abuse themed books? This is so weirdly specific that I can't help but laugh. What's funnier is that the School Library Journal actually reviewed this one. If you're curious about what the plot is, it's about a kid that goes to a daycare where she and other kids are abused in various different ways because their daycare workers are Satan worshippers. I'm waiting for the sequel: Let's Do Something Else: A child's book about getting abused by Elvis fanatics. I mean, the sky's the limit for how many very specific "abused by _____" books we can churn out. 

This one tickled my funny bone because of some of the claims: dogs eating food that humans could be eating? Tons of poop in the streets? I like to think that Iris wrote this while watching Lassie and clutching her pearls close to her chest. 

There is a market for animal autopsy books. After all, veterinary students have to start somewhere. I remember being interested in the field when I was about 7-8, an interest that stopped right about the time that one of my pets got hit by a car and almost all of the skin was ripped off its hindquarters. That was the moment I realized that it wasn't all giving cats medicine in droppers and telling its owner how cute their dog was. In any case, this book tries to make autopsy approachable for 10 year olds. How do they do that? By dissecting a teddy bear on the cover. The images within are a little more tame and actually pretty informative, but the horror of its cover will probably still cause someone's kid to get a nightmare or two. 

"Oh the lights still on, we're dancing/Yeah the floor is shaking/ In this disco heaven" For some reason I see Lady Gaga owning this book. This is actually pretty cool for the time period. It's kind of the equivalent of somebody's kid getting to have well, Lady Gaga played at their Bar/Bat Mitzvah rather than a more somber "punch and pie in the rec room with Auntie Bea" affair. 

Somewhere out there, there's likely nun porn with this title. It doesn't matter what the book is about, odds are that most of you looked at this title with today's mentality and snickered.

I actually remember when this one came out. The idea of putting out a children's book that deals with weight loss for kids is actually a fairly good idea. When you see kids walking around that are already clinically obese, that's an issue that goes beyond baby fat. There is a need for books that delicately approach the subject matter and point out healthy ways for kids to change their lifestyles in a way that's on their level. This isn't that book. No, from what I've seen of this book out there the book approaches this pretty poorly. Where it fails the most is that it treats weight loss as a magical cure for every problem out there. Maggie is teased pretty badly, but magically all of the bullying stops once she starts losing all the weight.  Not only that, but once the weight is gone Maggie becomes a star athlete and cures cancer. Basically, kids will be given this unrealistic expectation that everything gets better afterwards. It tries really hard, it ultimately falls short.