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Will America’s following battle be stated by Congress or the head of state?

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it was an act of

self-defence, in reaction to assaults on American employees in Iraq, as well as likewise an initiative to prevent future assaults. Though Republicans were typically encouraging, some significant Democrats did deny the debate. Legislator Tim Kaine of Virginia, a leader of legislative initiatives to constrict governmental warmaking, proclaimed that” offending army activity without legislative authorization is not constitutional missing remarkable conditions. “The management did not pull back from its lawful case.

Yet Wendy Sherman, the replacement assistant of state, informed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Mr Biden intends to collaborate with Congress to change”out-of-date authorisations”for making use of pressure with”slim as well as details structures “. That may assist recover some equilibrium in between Congress and also the head of state when it concerns beginning battles. However after America stumbled out of Afghanistan, 20 years after attacking it, one difficult lesson is that, despite which branch of federal government begins a battle, America would certainly profit most from relentless legislative oversight of just how that battle is performed. ■ This post showed up in the United States area of the print version under the heading “Wauthorisation “

‘Mogul Mowgli’ Review: Rapping for Dear Life

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We initially fulfill Zaheen, whose rap tag is Zed, onstage at a club in New York. Wiry as well as wired, with a whispery strength as well as a fast funny bone– as well as played by Riz Ahmed with whatever he has– Zed gets on the brink of a profession development after years of almost-stardom. He’s additionally ready to damage up with his sweetheart, Bina (Aiysha Hart), as well as encounter an ailment that will certainly speed up a wrenching identification crisis.But prior to all that, if you pay attention to the knowledgeables he spews, it’s clear that the challenges and also mysteries of identification are the roots of his art. A London-bred kid of immigrants from Pakistan, he composes seething, amusing rhymes regarding the challenging background of the skin he stays in. He’s a British person came down from early american topics; a Muslim that is unconvinced of holiness as well as practice; a male of the 21st century strained by an earlier period’s tradition of dividing, variation as well as war.Nothing concerning Zed is basic, as well as he revels

in his very own intricacy.”Mogul Mowgli,”Bassam Tariq’s sharp, small imaginary attribute launching, is a picture of the musician as a kid, sibling and also individual. Not that he’s summarized by such duties, or any kind of others.”Only a couple of fit those words, so I’m repping for the remainder people, “he raps.Ahmed, that created those verses (as well as teamed up with

Tariq on the movie script) representatives the personality consistently. Zed’s health problem makes”Mogul Mowgli”a buddy of types to “Sound of Metal, “in which Ahmed played a drummer dealing with the existential dilemma of hearing loss. An autoimmune illness, showing up midway with this motion picture, swiftly provides Zed incapable to stroll or stand without help. Stuck in a medical facility bed, he is tossed back right into a challenging partnership with his dad(the excellent Alyy Khan )and also right into a collection of reveries.These scary episodes– existing someplace in between desire and also memory, dream as well as hallucination– stimulate minutes

from Zed’s childhood years as well as likewise a few of the injuries of South Asian background. One recurring number is an extremely dancing guy, his face covered by garlands of blossoms. He is recognized as Toba Tek Singh, a Punjabi name that is additionally the title of a narrative( by Saadat Hasan Manto)regarding the absurdity as well as misfortune of the 1947 dividing of British India right into India and also Pakistan. Instead of clarify the referral, Tariq and also Ahmed allowed Toba Tek Singh stand as a sort of character as well as caution for Zed, that does what he can to grasp the chaos of his circumstances.The movie relocates quickly though the stages of his situation. He tiffs with his supervisor(Anjana Vasan), takes care of a ridiculous follower, as well as sustains the adoration of a more youthful rap acolyte referred to as RPG(Nabhaan Rizwan), a fool with face tattoos as well as knowledge that would certainly make Ali G proud. (“There’s no Drake without Whoopi Goldberg. No Nelson Mandela without racism.

“)With the supervisor of digital photography (Annika Summerson) as well as the audio developer(Paul Davies ), Tariq stitches residential dramatization, witticism and also wonderful realistic look right into a cells of state of minds and also definitions, held with each other by the smashing reputation of Ahmed’s efficiency. In his job, Zed attempts to bring comprehensibility to the complicated anarchy of experience.”Mogul Mowgli”achieves simply that.Mogul Mowgli Not ranked. Running time: 1 hr 29 mins. In

movie theaters.

Gravity

This is the ninth story in this summer’s online Flash Fiction series. You can read the entire series, and our Flash Fiction stories from previous years, here.

Three days after they moved into their new apartment, the woman who lived above them, on the eighth floor, jumped out of her window. Romi was just coming back from the coffee shop, carrying two lattes, when the neighbor hit the sidewalk. Romi dropped the tray, spilling coffee all over herself, and her eyes locked in on the stains on her sweatpants so she wouldn’t have to see anything else. She heard running, panting, and voices shouting. Within seconds, a crowd had gathered, and the sweaty guy who cleaned the lobby was calling an ambulance. Someone said that the woman’s name was Rinat or Ronit, and someone else said that she’d seen her crying in the elevator a few days earlier. “It’s because of COVID,” the cleaner said. “Everyone’s committing suicide these days. They were just talking about it on the news.”

The distant sirens mingled with the vibration of Romi’s cell. It was Daniel, but she didn’t want to tell him anything over the phone. She touched her cheeks to make sure she wasn’t crying, took a deep breath, and walked into the building. “Hey!” she heard the cleaner calling after her, and, when she turned around, he yelled, “Lady, where d’you think you’re going? You’re a witness.” “A witness to what?” Romi asked. “I didn’t see anything.” But the cleaner wouldn’t back down. “You were the closest one!” he shouted. “Look—her blood’s all over your clothes!” “It’s not blood. It’s coffee. I dropped my coffee,” Romi said. “Well, it looks like blood to me,” the cleaner proclaimed. “The police should have a look at it.” Romi froze for a moment, but, when her phone started vibrating again, she kept walking. “Hey!” the cleaner yelled again, but then a different male voice said, “Poor girl. Leave her alone.”

Daniel opened the door irritably. “Why aren’t you answering my calls?” he asked, but, before she could explain, he saw the stains on her sweats and said, “What’s going on? Are you O.K.?” Romi wanted to tell him about the neighbor who’d jumped and about the bossy cleaner and about how the stains on her pants would probably never come out, but all she could manage was a strange whimper. Daniel gave her one of his feeble hugs in which he barely touched her. “Come on, baby, what’s the matter?”

She told him everything. She wanted to feel sorry for the neighbor and say how horrible it was and how she must have really been suffering, but all that came out was anger. They’d plunked down 3.4 million shekels for this apartment. Daniel’s mother had given them almost a million and a half, and they’d taken out a twenty-three-year mortgage for the rest. Twenty-three years! If Daniel got her pregnant now, having post-traumatic sex, she thought, the kid would grow up, finish school, join the army, fight a war, and be discharged—and she and Daniel would still be paying for the apartment every month. And every time he came home from kindergarten—this kid who didn’t even exist yet—or from high school, or on leave from the army, he would step over the spot where that Rinat or Ronit woman’s body now lay.

The sales pitch for their apartment building had been that it was for “upwardly mobile young professionals.” People who bought homes here wanted to improve their lives: they took out loans, they poured in blood, sweat, and tears, and for what? So that some Rinat or Ronit would jump out her window and crush the life out of them? Even if the woman was depressed, she could at least have acknowledged that she wasn’t the only person in this world and had the decency to kill herself in her bed or in the bathroom. If she simply had to jump out a window, then why not do it at a hotel instead of onto her neighbor’s head? “I don’t want this,” Romi told Daniel. “I don’t want to live here anymore. I can’t live in a building where people jump.” “Calm down, babe,” Daniel said, lightly stroking her back. “It’s not the building. It’s one woman who jumped. Poor thing. It has nothing to do with us at all.” “She’s not a poor thing,” Romi fumed. “I’m the poor thing! Me and you and your mom. For this she dipped into her pension? So some neighbor whose name we don’t even know could commit suicide right on our heads?”

The woman’s name turned out to be Sarit, and the next day Daniel insisted that they go to the funeral. He said that they needed closure, and that, as far as he was concerned, it was either a funeral or couples therapy. Romi had no desire to go to the funeral, but therapy sounded even worse, like a cross between mud wrestling and divorce court. Daniel typed the cemetery’s address into Waze, and they hardly spoke the whole way there. When they arrived, he insisted on buying flowers from some religious guy who was selling half-wilted bunches out of black buckets. There were maybe ten other people there, and the only one she recognized was the cleaner from the lobby, who hurried over and said that it was totally unacceptable that she’d left before the police got there yesterday. Instead of standing by her and telling the cleaner to leave her alone, Daniel nodded and said, “You’re right, you’re right,” and the cleaner walked away and came back a minute later with an elderly couple whose eyes were puffy. “You see?” he said, gesturing at Romi. “This is the neighbor I told you about, who saw your daughter fall.” The elderly man nodded and held out his hand, and, even though Romi and Daniel were very strict about social distancing, they both shook his hand. “I’m Isaac,” he said, “and this is Shoshana.” After a moment, perhaps because no one else said anything, he added, “We’re Sarit’s parents,” and, as soon as he said that, Shoshana started crying. “When she fell,” Isaac asked Romi, “could you see her? Her face?” Romi didn’t answer. She didn’t know what to say, and she hoped that, if she waited long enough, Daniel would say something to get her out of it. But Daniel was quiet, and they all stood in silence, except for the mother, who kept weeping.

That night, Daniel fell asleep instantly and started snoring. Romi lay awake in bed for almost an hour, and then she got up, rolled a joint, and went out onto the balcony. A friend of Daniel’s had sold them the pot; it smelled like cookies and was really potent. Romi looked down over the railing and tried to find the spot where the Sarit woman had hit the ground. At the funeral, the cleaner had talked about how the gray sidewalk had been covered with blood, but now, from seven floors up, everything looked clean and fresh, and a young couple were standing there making out.

When Romi had told Daniel that she was angry at the woman for deciding to kill herself right as she was walking up, Daniel said that she was self-centered and it was time for her to grasp that not everything in the world had to do with her. But now, as she watched the couple practically fucking on the neatly trimmed hedge in front of her building, she couldn’t help thinking that it definitely did have something to do with her. And that maybe Sarit had once believed that the new smell coming from the walls and the gleaming white marble in the lobby would restart her life, and then, when she’d looked out and seen Romi coming back from the coffee shop in her sweats, she’d had the impression, from that high-up vantage point, that Romi was happy and living in a perfect marriage, that she and Daniel were as close as the two paper cups in her coffee carrier. And maybe Sarit couldn’t take it anymore, so she’d jumped out the window in order to ruin everything for Romi. Just as Romi was dying to plummet onto those moaning lovers and knock the lust out of them.

(Translated, from the Hebrew, by Jessica Cohen.)

The Surprisingly Big Business of Library E-books

Steve Potash, the bearded and bespectacled president and C.E.O. of OverDrive, spent the second week of March, 2020, on a business trip to New York City. OverDrive distributes e-books and audiobooks—i.e., “digital content.” In New York, Potash met with two clients: the New York Public Library and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. By then, Potash had already heard what he described to me recently as “heart-wrenching stories” from colleagues in China, about neighborhoods that were shut down owing to the coronavirus. He had an inkling that his business might be in for big changes when, toward the end of the week, on March 13th, the N.Y.P.L. closed down and issued a statement: “The responsible thing to do—and the best way to serve our patrons right now—is to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.” The library added, “We will continue to offer access to e-books.”

The sudden shift to e-books had enormous practical and financial implications, not only for OverDrive but for public libraries across the country. Libraries can buy print books in bulk from any seller that they choose, and, thanks to a legal principle called the first-sale doctrine, they have the right to lend those books to any number of readers free of charge. But the first-sale doctrine does not apply to digital content. For the most part, publishers do not sell their e-books or audiobooks to libraries—they sell digital distribution rights to third-party venders, such as OverDrive, and people like Steve Potash sell lending rights to libraries. These rights often have an expiration date, and they make library e-books “a lot more expensive, in general, than print books,” Michelle Jeske, who oversees Denver’s public-library system, told me. Digital content gives publishers more power over prices, because it allows them to treat libraries differently than they treat other kinds of buyers. Last year, the Denver Public Library increased its digital checkouts by more than sixty per cent, to 2.3 million, and spent about a third of its collections budget on digital content, up from twenty per cent the year before.

There are a handful of popular e-book venders, including Bibliotheca, Hoopla, Axis 360, and the nonprofit Digital Public Library of America. But OverDrive is the largest. It is the company behind the popular app Libby, which, as the Apple App Store puts it, “lets you log in to your local library to access ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines, all for the reasonable price of free.” The vast majority of OverDrive’s earnings come from markups on the digital content that it licenses to libraries and schools, which is to say that these earnings come largely from American taxes. As libraries and schools have transitioned to e-books, the company has skyrocketed in value. Rakuten, the maker of the Kobo e-reader, bought OverDrive for more than four hundred million dollars, in 2015. Last year, it sold the company to K.K.R., the private-equity firm made famous by the 1989 book “Barbarians at the Gate.” The details of the sale were not made public, but Rakuten reported a profit of “about $365.6 million.”

In the first days of the lockdown, the N.Y.P.L. experienced a spike in downloads, which lengthened the wait times for popular books. In response, it limited readers to three checkouts and three waitlist requests at a time, and it shifted almost all of its multimillion-dollar acquisitions budget to digital content. By the end of March, seventy-four per cent of U.S. libraries were reporting that they had expanded their digital offerings in response to coronavirus-related library closures. During a recent interview over Zoom (another digital service that proliferated during the pandemic), Potash recalled that OverDrive quickly redirected about a hundred employees, who would normally have been at trade shows, “to help support and fortify the increase in demand in digital.” He recalled a fellow-executive telling him, “E-books aren’t just ‘a thing’ now—they’re our only thing.”

Before the pandemic, I had never read an e-book, and didn’t particularly want to. But, during the lockdown, I spent nearly every day wandering my neighborhood in a mask and headphones, listening to audiobooks. I wanted to hear a human voice and feel the passing of time; Libby became a lifeline. As a dual citizen of the Brooklyn Public Library and the N.Y.P.L., I toggled between library cards, in search of the shortest waiting list. I did what previously had been unthinkable and spent a hundred and eighty dollars on a Kobo. I read more books in 2020 than I had in years. I was not the only one; last year, more than a hundred library systems checked out a million or more books each from OverDrive’s catalogue, and the company reported a staggering four hundred and thirty million checkouts, up a third from the year before. (Barnes & Noble, which has more retail locations than any other bookseller in the U.S., has said that it sells about a hundred and fifty-five million print books a year.) The burst in digital borrowing has helped many readers, but it has also accelerated an unsettling trend. Books, like music and movies and TV shows, are increasingly something that libraries and readers do not own but, rather, access temporarily, from corporations that do.

The company that became OverDrive began, in the mid-eighties, as a document-digitizing firm, in a suburb of Cleveland. Potash and his wife, Loree, an academic librarian, had both gone to law school at night, and their early clients were law firms that needed help digitizing large volumes of paperwork. Eventually, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (a precursor to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) hired the young company to digitize reference books, and other publishers followed. “It was probably about a ten-year struggle to get the e-book concept to grab hold,” Jon Nigbor, an early colleague and investor who left OverDrive around 1990 and sold his stake in 2010, told me. “It was the twenty-five-year overnight-success story.” (Nigbor describes himself as a co-founder of the company; Potash denies this.)

In the two-thousands, OverDrive helped publishers set up online stores and sold e-books directly to consumers through its own marketplace. The company also persuaded a few presses to license their e-books to libraries. At the time, the six largest publishers tended to sell their goods through online retailers, such as Amazon, which released its e-reader, the Kindle, in 2007. But, gradually, the Big Six began to sell digital rights to libraries under a “one copy, one user” model. As soon as one reader returned an e-book, a second reader could check it out, and so on, with no expiration date. “At the beginning, we were really trying to replicate what happens on the print-book side,” a publishing executive told me. Digital books, which could in theory be duplicated for free by any librarian with a computer, would still have waiting lists.

“We then saw the first wrinkle in one copy, one user,” Potash said. In 2011, HarperCollins introduced a new lending model that was capped at twenty-six checkouts, after which a library would need to purchase the book again. Publishers soon introduced other variations, from two-year licenses to copies that multiple readers could use at one time, which boosted their revenue and allowed libraries to buy different kinds of books in different ways. For a classic work, which readers were likely to check out steadily for years to come, a library might purchase a handful of expensive perpetual licenses. With a flashy best-seller, which could be expected to lose steam over time, the library might buy a large number of cheaper licenses that would expire relatively quickly. During nationwide racial-justice protests in the summer of 2020, the N.Y.P.L. licensed books about Black liberation under a pay-per-use model, which gave all library users access to the books without any waiting list; such licenses are too expensive to be used for an entire collection, but they can accommodate surges in demand. “At the time of its launch, the twenty-six-circulation model was a lightning rod,” Josh Marwell, the president of sales at HarperCollins, told me. “But, over time, the feedback we have gotten from librarians is that our model is fair and works well with their mission to provide library patrons with the books they want to read.”

During the past decade, publishers and booksellers have consolidated at a rapid pace, leaving a smaller number of companies with a greater degree of influence over what and how we read. In the early days of the Kindle, Amazon undercut many of its competitors, including brick-and-mortar bookstores, by selling consumer e-books for just $9.99. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice accused Apple of conspiring with publishers to increase the prices of consumer e-books, and Apple later agreed to pay four hundred and fifty million dollars in settlement. In 2013, the six largest publishers became five when Penguin merged with Random House. (Now, the Big Five is poised to become the Big Four, if Penguin Random House’s purchase of Simon & Schuster is approved.) Earlier this year, a consumer class-action lawsuit accused Amazon of signing anti-competitive contracts with the five largest publishers in a “conspiracy to fix the retail price of trade eBooks.” (An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment for this story.)

Libraries now pay OverDrive and its peers for a wide range of digital services, from negotiating prices with publishers to managing an increasingly complex system of digital rights. During our video call, Potash showed me OverDrive’s e-book marketplace for librarians, which can sort titles by price, popularity, release date, language, topic, license type, and more. About fifty librarians work for OverDrive, Potash said, and “each week they curate the best ways each community can maximize their taxpayers’ dollar.” The company offers rotating discounts and generates statistics that public libraries can use to project their future budgets. When I noted that OverDrive’s portal looked a bit like Amazon.com, Potash didn’t respond. Later, he said, with a touch of pride, “This is like coming into the front door of Costco.”

Alan Inouye, the senior public-policy director at the American Library Association, told me that consolidation could reduce competition and potentially drive the cost of library e-books even higher. “OverDrive is already a very large presence in the market,” he said. The company’s private-equity owner, K.K.R., also owns a major audiobook producer, RBMedia, which sold its digital library assets to OverDrive last year. But, Inouye added, OverDrive’s influence is an important counterweight to the largest publishers and to Amazon, which dominates the consumer e-book market and operates as a publisher in its own right. (Amazon did not make its own e-books available to libraries until May, when it announced a deal with the Digital Public Library of America.) When I asked Potash about the concern that consolidation could also give OverDrive too much influence over the market, he called that “a far-fetched conspiracy theory.” He cited the company’s track record of advocating for libraries, adding, “I’m a big fan of free-market capitalism.”

To illustrate the economics of e-book lending, the N.Y.P.L. sent me its January, 2021, figures for “A Promised Land,” the memoir by Barack Obama that had been published a few months earlier by Penguin Random House. At that point, the library system had purchased three hundred and ten perpetual audiobook licenses at ninety-five dollars each, for a total of $29,450, and had bought six hundred and thirty-nine one- and two-year licenses for the e-book, for a total of $22,512. Taken together, these digital rights cost about as much as three thousand copies of the consumer e-book, which sells for about eighteen dollars per copy. As of August, 2021, the library has spent less than ten thousand dollars on two hundred and twenty-six copies of the hardcover edition, which has a list price of forty-five dollars but sells for $23.23 on Amazon. A few thousand people had checked out digital copies in the book’s first three months, and thousands more were on the waiting list. (Several librarians told me that they monitor hold requests, including for books that have not yet been released, to decide how many licenses to acquire.)

The high prices of e-book rights could become untenable for libraries in the long run, according to several librarians and advocates I spoke to—libraries, venders, and publishers will probably need to negotiate a new way forward. “It’s not a good system,” Inouye said. “There needs to be some kind of change in the law, to reinstate public rights that we have for analog materials.” Maria Bustillos, a founding editor of the publishing coöperative Brick House, argued recently in The Nation that libraries should pay just once for each copy of an e-book. “The point of a library is to preserve, and in order to preserve, a library must own,” Bustillos wrote. When I asked Potash about libraries and their growing digital budgets, he argued that “digital will always be better value,” but he acknowledged that, if current trends continue, “Yes, there is a challenge.”

Readers of the future are likely to want even more digital content, but it may not look the same as it does now. Audible, which is owned by Amazon, has already made listening to books more like streaming, with subscribers gaining access to a shifting catalogue of audiobooks that they do not need to buy separately. “We have moved away from owning, to accessing,” Mirela Roncevic, a longtime publishing and library consultant, told me. Maybe readers will expect books to feel more like Web sites, and an infinite scroll will replace the turn of the page, as it has in the digital magazine you are reading now. Perhaps readers will want images and videos to be woven seamlessly into the text, requiring a new format. The e-book as we know it “will not last,” Roncevic insisted. Lending libraries were once an innovation that helped spread literacy and popularize books. Roncevic wants libraries to continue innovating—for example, by experimenting with new formats and license models in partnership with independent or international publishers. “Libraries have more power than they sometimes realize,” she told me.

An App Called Libby and the Surprisingly Big Business of Library E-books

Steve Potash, the bearded and bespectacled president and C.E.O. of OverDrive, spent the second week of March, 2020, on a business trip to New York City. OverDrive distributes e-books and audiobooks—i.e., “digital content.” In New York, Potash met with two clients: the New York Public Library and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. By then, Potash had already heard what he described to me recently as “heart-wrenching stories” from colleagues in China, about neighborhoods that were shut down owing to the coronavirus. He had an inkling that his business might be in for big changes when, toward the end of the week, on March 13th, the N.Y.P.L. closed down and issued a statement: “The responsible thing to do—and the best way to serve our patrons right now—is to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.” The library added, “We will continue to offer access to e-books.”

The sudden shift to e-books had enormous practical and financial implications, not only for OverDrive but for public libraries across the country. Libraries can buy print books in bulk from any seller that they choose, and, thanks to a legal principle called the first-sale doctrine, they have the right to lend those books to any number of readers free of charge. But the first-sale doctrine does not apply to digital content. For the most part, publishers do not sell their e-books or audiobooks to libraries—they sell digital distribution rights to third-party venders, such as OverDrive, and people like Steve Potash sell lending rights to libraries. These rights often have an expiration date, and they make library e-books “a lot more expensive, in general, than print books,” Michelle Jeske, who oversees Denver’s public-library system, told me. Digital content gives publishers more power over prices, because it allows them to treat libraries differently than they treat other kinds of buyers. Last year, the Denver Public Library increased its digital checkouts by more than sixty per cent, to 2.3 million, and spent about a third of its collections budget on digital content, up from twenty per cent the year before.

There are a handful of popular e-book venders, including Bibliotheca, Hoopla, Axis 360, and the nonprofit Digital Public Library of America. But OverDrive is the largest. It is the company behind the popular app Libby, which, as the Apple App Store puts it, “lets you log in to your local library to access ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines, all for the reasonable price of free.” The vast majority of OverDrive’s earnings come from markups on the digital content that it licenses to libraries and schools, which is to say that these earnings come largely from American taxes. As libraries and schools have transitioned to e-books, the company has skyrocketed in value. Rakuten, the maker of the Kobo e-reader, bought OverDrive for more than four hundred million dollars, in 2015. Last year, it sold the company to K.K.R., the private-equity firm made famous by the 1989 book “Barbarians at the Gate.” The details of the sale were not made public, but Rakuten reported a profit of “about $365.6 million.”

In the first days of the lockdown, the N.Y.P.L. experienced a spike in downloads, which lengthened the wait times for popular books. In response, it limited readers to three checkouts and three waitlist requests at a time, and it shifted almost all of its multimillion-dollar acquisitions budget to digital content. By the end of March, seventy-four per cent of U.S. libraries were reporting that they had expanded their digital offerings in response to coronavirus-related library closures. During a recent interview over Zoom (another digital service that proliferated during the pandemic), Potash recalled that OverDrive quickly redirected about a hundred employees, who would normally have been at trade shows, “to help support and fortify the increase in demand in digital.” He recalled a fellow-executive telling him, “E-books aren’t just ‘a thing’ now—they’re our only thing.”

Before the pandemic, I had never read an e-book, and didn’t particularly want to. But, during the lockdown, I spent nearly every day wandering my neighborhood in a mask and headphones, listening to audiobooks. I wanted to hear a human voice and feel the passing of time; Libby became a lifeline. As a dual citizen of the Brooklyn Public Library and the N.Y.P.L., I toggled between library cards, in search of the shortest waiting list. I did what previously had been unthinkable and spent a hundred and eighty dollars on a Kobo. I read more books in 2020 than I had in years. I was not the only one; last year, more than a hundred library systems checked out a million or more books each from OverDrive’s catalogue, and the company reported a staggering four hundred and thirty million checkouts, up a third from the year before. (Barnes & Noble, which has more retail locations than any other bookseller in the U.S., has said that it sells about a hundred and fifty-five million print books a year.) The burst in digital borrowing has helped many readers, but it has also accelerated an unsettling trend. Books, like music and movies and TV shows, are increasingly something that libraries and readers do not own but, rather, access temporarily, from corporations that do.

The company that became OverDrive began, in the mid-eighties, as a document-digitizing firm, in a suburb of Cleveland. Potash and his wife, Loree, an academic librarian, had both gone to law school at night, and their early clients were law firms that needed help digitizing large volumes of paperwork. Eventually, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (a precursor to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) hired the young company to digitize reference books, and other publishers followed. “It was probably about a ten-year struggle to get the e-book concept to grab hold,” Jon Nigbor, an early colleague and investor who left OverDrive around 1990 and sold his stake in 2010, told me. “It was the twenty-five-year overnight-success story.” (Nigbor describes himself as a co-founder of the company; Potash denies this.)

In the two-thousands, OverDrive helped publishers set up online stores and sold e-books directly to consumers through its own marketplace. The company also persuaded a few presses to license their e-books to libraries. At the time, the six largest publishers tended to sell their goods through online retailers, such as Amazon, which released its e-reader, the Kindle, in 2007. But, gradually, the Big Six began to sell digital rights to libraries under a “one copy, one user” model. As soon as one reader returned an e-book, a second reader could check it out, and so on, with no expiration date. “At the beginning, we were really trying to replicate what happens on the print-book side,” a publishing executive told me. Digital books, which could in theory be duplicated for free by any librarian with a computer, would still have waiting lists.

“We then saw the first wrinkle in one copy, one user,” Potash said. In 2011, HarperCollins introduced a new lending model that was capped at twenty-six checkouts, after which a library would need to purchase the book again. Publishers soon introduced other variations, from two-year licenses to copies that multiple readers could use at one time, which boosted their revenue and allowed libraries to buy different kinds of books in different ways. For a classic work, which readers were likely to check out steadily for years to come, a library might purchase a handful of expensive perpetual licenses. With a flashy best-seller, which could be expected to lose steam over time, the library might buy a large number of cheaper licenses that would expire relatively quickly. During nationwide racial-justice protests in the summer of 2020, the N.Y.P.L. licensed books about Black liberation under a pay-per-use model, which gave all library users access to the books without any waiting list; such licenses are too expensive to be used for an entire collection, but they can accommodate surges in demand. “At the time of its launch, the twenty-six-circulation model was a lightning rod,” Josh Marwell, the president of sales at HarperCollins, told me. “But, over time, the feedback we have gotten from librarians is that our model is fair and works well with their mission to provide library patrons with the books they want to read.”

During the past decade, publishers and booksellers have consolidated at a rapid pace, leaving a smaller number of companies with a greater degree of influence over what and how we read. In the early days of the Kindle, Amazon undercut many of its competitors, including brick-and-mortar bookstores, by selling consumer e-books for just $9.99. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice accused Apple of conspiring with publishers to increase the prices of consumer e-books, and Apple later agreed to pay four hundred and fifty million dollars in settlement. In 2013, the six largest publishers became five when Penguin merged with Random House. (Now, the Big Five is poised to become the Big Four, if Penguin Random House’s purchase of Simon & Schuster is approved.) Earlier this year, a consumer class-action lawsuit accused Amazon of signing anti-competitive contracts with the five largest publishers in a “conspiracy to fix the retail price of trade eBooks.” (An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment for this story.)

Libraries now pay OverDrive and its peers for a wide range of digital services, from negotiating prices with publishers to managing an increasingly complex system of digital rights. During our video call, Potash showed me OverDrive’s e-book marketplace for librarians, which can sort titles by price, popularity, release date, language, topic, license type, and more. About fifty librarians work for OverDrive, Potash said, and “each week they curate the best ways each community can maximize their taxpayers’ dollar.” The company offers rotating discounts and generates statistics that public libraries can use to project their future budgets. When I noted that OverDrive’s portal looked a bit like Amazon.com, Potash didn’t respond. Later, he said, with a touch of pride, “This is like coming into the front door of Costco.”

Alan Inouye, the senior public-policy director at the American Library Association, told me that consolidation could reduce competition and potentially drive the cost of library e-books even higher. “OverDrive is already a very large presence in the market,” he said. The company’s private-equity owner, K.K.R., also owns a major audiobook producer, RBMedia, which sold its digital library assets to OverDrive last year. But, Inouye added, OverDrive’s influence is an important counterweight to the largest publishers and to Amazon, which dominates the consumer e-book market and operates as a publisher in its own right. (Amazon did not make its own e-books available to libraries until May, when it announced a deal with the Digital Public Library of America.) When I asked Potash about the concern that consolidation could also give OverDrive too much influence over the market, he called that “a far-fetched conspiracy theory.” He cited the company’s track record of advocating for libraries, adding, “I’m a big fan of free-market capitalism.”

To illustrate the economics of e-book lending, the N.Y.P.L. sent me its January, 2021, figures for “A Promised Land,” the memoir by Barack Obama that had been published a few months earlier by Penguin Random House. At that point, the library system had purchased three hundred and ten perpetual audiobook licenses at ninety-five dollars each, for a total of $29,450, and had bought six hundred and thirty-nine one- and two-year licenses for the e-book, for a total of $22,512. Taken together, these digital rights cost about as much as three thousand copies of the consumer e-book, which sells for about eighteen dollars per copy. As of August, 2021, the library has spent less than ten thousand dollars on two hundred and twenty-six copies of the hardcover edition, which has a list price of forty-five dollars but sells for $23.23 on Amazon. A few thousand people had checked out digital copies in the book’s first three months, and thousands more were on the waiting list. (Several librarians told me that they monitor hold requests, including for books that have not yet been released, to decide how many licenses to acquire.)

The high prices of e-book rights could become untenable for libraries in the long run, according to several librarians and advocates I spoke to—libraries, venders, and publishers will probably need to negotiate a new way forward. “It’s not a good system,” Inouye said. “There needs to be some kind of change in the law, to reinstate public rights that we have for analog materials.” Maria Bustillos, a founding editor of the publishing coöperative Brick House, argued recently in The Nation that libraries should pay just once for each copy of an e-book. “The point of a library is to preserve, and in order to preserve, a library must own,” Bustillos wrote. When I asked Potash about libraries and their growing digital budgets, he argued that “digital will always be better value,” but he acknowledged that, if current trends continue, “Yes, there is a challenge.”

Readers of the future are likely to want even more digital content, but it may not look the same as it does now. Audible, which is owned by Amazon, has already made listening to books more like streaming, with subscribers gaining access to a shifting catalogue of audiobooks that they do not need to buy separately. “We have moved away from owning, to accessing,” Mirela Roncevic, a longtime publishing and library consultant, told me. Maybe readers will expect books to feel more like Web sites, and an infinite scroll will replace the turn of the page, as it has in the digital magazine you are reading now. Perhaps readers will want images and videos to be woven seamlessly into the text, requiring a new format. The e-book as we know it “will not last,” Roncevic insisted. Lending libraries were once an innovation that helped spread literacy and popularize books. Roncevic wants libraries to continue innovating—for example, by experimenting with new formats and license models in partnership with independent or international publishers. “Libraries have more power than they sometimes realize,” she told me.

Bernard Lumpkin on Bringing His Private Art Collection to the general public

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” I believe it’s crucial to consider what you’re attempting to do with your collection,” Lumpkin claimed. “That will normally lead you to the following item, or the following musician, or the following phase you intend to inform in the tale of your collection– whatever that tale occurs to be.”, as an example, presented Lumpkin to the intricacy of graphes of the Black body, which triggered a much deeper examination right into the influences of shade and also type. This, subsequently, led him to musicians consisting of as well as.

“Young, Gifted and also Black” is currently positioned to open up in Chicago after a respite throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Lumpkin kept in mind that the program at first may have appealed extra to participants of the art globe than to the public. However that might be various currently, following George Floyd’s May 2020 murder, and also the succeeding demonstrations have actually caused a significant change in public recognition of race relationships. The program, the musicians, the jobs, the going along with directory, as well as the goal of the job in its entirety have actually tackled brand-new definition. The highlighted jobs talk to problems such as variety and also addition; and also tough galleries and also galleries to work with even more individuals of shade, advertise the jobs of even more varied musicians, and also reassess neighborhood interaction and also assistance strategies.In Lumpkin’s sight, equally as musicians are protestors, clients and also enthusiasts have a responsibility and also a benefit to pursue development as well as justice. Developing his collection with this in mind has actually been vital to standing for, working together, as well as promoting for adjustment.”Young, Gifted as well as Black “is simply the start.

‘Shang-Chi and also the Legend of the Ten Rings’ Review: House of Hidden Dragons

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Home is where the heart is. Unless you’re Shang-Chi. After that residence is where your mom’s magical secret town– as well as its dragon guardian– is. That’s the instance in Marvel’s unstable “Shang-Chi and also the Legend of the Ten Rings,” routed by Destin Daniel Cretton with a requiring eye towards martial art movie theater, yet very little else.Meet Shaun

( Simu Liu). He’s your regular millennial loafer, web content with his valet work, where he collaborates with his similarly lifeless friend, Katy (Awkwafina). However Shaun has a key: his mom (Fala Chen), that passed away when he was a youngster, was a master martial musician from an alternative measurement. Oh, as well as father (Tony Leung) is a conqueror with a secret ninja military and also 10 enchanting arm rings. And also sis, Xialing (Meng’emergency room Zhang), hasn’t communicated for some time; she’s obtained a below ground “Fight Club“-design realm to subjugate. When Shaun, a.k.a. Shang-Chi, gets a puzzling message, he obtains drawn right into a household get-together and also should consider his past.

“Shang-Chi” peppers its hero’s heartbreaking back tale throughout however does not totally familiarize us with him in the here and now prior to it delves into his past. As in “Black Widow,” right here’s a situation of a lead character that can not take on the a lot more interesting personalities around him. Take Leung’s personality, a poisonous yet charming papa, continuously rotating in between tender susceptability as well as the devastating mood that conceals it. Xialing, also, is incredibly tough as a woman authority. Regrettable she falls under among Marvel’s trustworthy tropes: the awesome sibling waiting in the margins of the tale. (Other instances consist of Yelena Belova, Shuri and also the seductively atrocious Hela.)

After that there’s the cherished partner, a duty Awkwafina satisfies in similar means she has in a number of various other movies, as in the street-smart hustler Constance and also the gaudy nouveau-riche bestie Peik Lin— which is to claim awkwardly as well as obnoxiously. She does double-duty as the hero’s possible love rate of interest, a just as uncomfortable component offered the absence of chemistry in between her and also Liu. (Benedict Wong, looking like the secure to the bigger Marvel Cinematic Universe, nonetheless, is wonderful as constantly, also in his quick as well as clear feature in the movie.)

A minimum of there’s the combating, right? Nope. Besides one astonishing battle series on a bus, the fights are improperly lit and also shot with such an over-excited eye that the ins and outs of the choreography are shed. It’s a roast, due to the fact that Liu, a skilled stuntman, has the uncomplicated balancings and also meticulous fighting styles method of an A-list activity hero. Liu additionally has a pleasant funny bone, though “Shang-Chi” does not understand just how to utilize it.The last act

of the movie, which declines right into a fight-fest with enchanting radiant bracelets, demonic beasts and also tons of C.G.I., is one of the most tiresome, and also this initial Asian M.C.U. movie left me with a befuddling idea: Was this suggested to be the following “Black Panther“? The dragon, the ninja military, the “Crouching Tiger“-design wonderful martial art (in addition to Michelle Yeoh, in a bit part): The movie makes use of the surface pens of Asian society as well as filmmaking without offering anything one-of-a-kind in its Marvel handle that practice. Significantly, as the M.C.U. lastly tries to expand its lineup, it takes the chance of supplying a lot more sub-par, trope-heavy token-hero movies. I wish I’m incorrect, since Shang-Chi– and also the women heroes, queer heroes as well as heroes of shade that will ideally comply with– are worthy of a great deal more.Shang-Chi and also the Legend of the Ten Rings Ranked PG-13 for martial art battling. Running time: 2 hrs 12 mins. In movie theaters.

A day and a night at the Picasso museum this weekend for an unprecedented and fun dive into the artist's work

Discover by day and by night La Célestine , Matadors et Musicians ou Kisses : some of Pablo Picasso's greatest works will be accessible for 24 hours without interruption, Saturday and Sunday, at the National Picasso Museum in Paris.

Installed in a private mansion in Paris, in the heart of the Marais district, the institution will offer an unprecedented and fun dive into the work of Picasso and the most significant moments of his life, as well as a cross-reading with the work. by sculptor Auguste Rodin.

In the exhibition halls and in the open air, workshops, shows, screenings, DJ sets, musicians, actors and circus artists will follow one another from daybreak to the heart of the night.

"For 24 hours, the museum will be fully animated. Since its reopening in 2014, the museum has been in perpetual motion," Claire Garnier, director of the museum's collections, told AFP, which has one of the richest public collections. in the world dedicated to the Catalan master. "Coming in the middle of the night to visit the collections will be a special and quite magical experience."

Saturday morning, the start of this artistic marathon will be given at 10:00 am with a thematic walk guided by Picasso's sketchbooks. In the evening the romantic and artistic encounter between Dora Maar and Picasso will be told to night owl visitors who will be able to eat in the gardens around food trucks of Spanish cuisine.

Other highlights:

6.15 p.m. to 7 p.m. live concert: the orchestra of the Compagnie Alexis Grüss revisits the first decades of the 20th century in Paris and the musical history of the circus.

– 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. nocturnal readings: Adel Abdessemed, Kamel Daoud, Christophe Ono-Dit-Biot, Lydie Salvayre and other authors even closer to the works of Pablo Picasso.

-22h electro live from Thylacine: with his new album "Timeless", the French electronic music prodigy transforms classic masterpieces into magnificent electronic pieces. On the program, Mozart, Beethoven but also Satie with whom Pablo Picasso collaborated for the ballet Parade.

-From midnight to 4 am : equipped with Picasso's words and long hollow canes, artist-poets whisper poetic, philosophical and literary secrets in the ears of visitors.

-1am cinema: Le Mystère Picasso by Henri Georges Clouzot (1955)

Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956, the film was critically acclaimed

Full program (reservation recommended)

5 Artists on Our Radar This September

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Felandus Thames bestows basketball hoops, hairbrushes, and plastic beads with rich conceptual narratives around race and gender. With grace and, at times, humor, the artist transforms everyday objects into vital political entities that open discussions.

One particularly striking series conveys the words of cultural icons through the bristles of brushes made for Afro-textured hair. One piece spells out the Richard Pryor quote “You go down there looking for Justice, that’s what you find: just us”; another relates the James Brown song “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud.” In another body of work, Thames strings together hair beads and hangs them side by side like a curtain, resulting in commanding portraits. Through his fresh takes on the ready-made, Thames seeks, according to his artist statement, to create “vessels able to contain beauty and trauma at an equilibrium” and “work that functions in the way that Black music is endowed by, but not the sum of, Black joy, pain, and suffering.”

Turner Classic Movies Is Changing. As Well As Trying to Stay the Same.

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to flourish as a direct cable television network while bringing its experience to various other systems? As a residential property of WarnerMedia, just how can TCM add to that firm’s very own HBO Max streaming solution without obtaining engulfed by it?At the very same time, TCM does not intend to estrange its existing target market– one that values its curation of movies and also its discourse on them. And also as TCM present its rebranding, it acknowledges that also aesthetic modifications can appear like the precursors of essential changes in philosophy.As Mankiewicz discussed, “I wish to make it to make sure that followers will certainly recognize that what they appreciate is not altering. However they are still mosting likely to have a little cardiac arrest. “Pola Changnon, an expert TCM exec that became its basic supervisor in January 2020, stated that she and also her associates had actually been pondering a refresh of the network for numerous months.Looking back over the 27-year background of TCM, Changnon claimed the network has actually constantly pleased a core target market”that truly simply desires their Doris Day motion pictures, that anticipated, traditional directory. Yet

after that there are people that are a lot more daring, that wish to discover as well as participate in a various means.”To that end, TCM has actually currently begun including shows like “Reframed, “a collection that re-examines motion pictures like”The Jazz Singer,”” Gone With the Wind”as well as”Breakfast at

Tiffany’s,” which have actually been slammed for their out-of-date therapies of race, sex and also sexuality.”You can still delight in the movie, however you’re recognizing a few of the important things that, for modern eyes, can be tough,”Changnon stated.”We do not wish to terminate these movies– we would certainly instead talk around them.”The redesign presented Wednesday includes a brilliant scheme implied to stimulate the Technicolor logo design. The TCM logo design has a brand-new font style as well as, onscreen, a computer animated letter C that handles different types and also dimensions prior to relaxing at a form that looks like an electronic camera lens or movie going through a projector.A brand-new marketing campaign as well as a brand-new tagline, “Where Then Meets Now, “will certainly stress the links TCM looks for to make with its programs, targeting cinephiles while prolonging an invite to

novices. Site visitors to this month’s Telluride Film Festival, as an example, will certainly be welcomed with banners birthing art work that compares scenes from the George Cukor as well as Bradley Cooper remakes of “A Star Is Born,” or the John Wayne and also Jeff Bridges manifestations of Rooster Cogburn from their variations of”True Grit.”Tricia Melton, that is primary advertising policeman of Warner Bros.’international children, young people and also standards department, stated these adjustments at TCM were meant to stress “just how the past can notify the here and now.”While various other networks as well as streaming websites can supply huge movie collections, Melton stated TCM was

differentiated by”the capacity to bring curation as well as context to these movies– why they still reverberate today, why they matter. “”You do not desire a brand name to ever before be stationary,”Melton stated.”We need to relocate with society, also. “That social change has actually been increased by the appearance of HBO Max, which had its launching in May 2020 and also has actually because come to be an essential hosting ground for WarnerMedia’s flicks as well as TELEVISION programs. On that particular website, TCM exists as simply among numerous centers with a collection of numerous hundred movies.( The network additionally has its very own on-demand solution, Watch TCM, that provides livestreaming and also a part of its brochure. )Tom Ascheim, the head of state of Warner Bros.’worldwide children, young people and also standards department, stated that it was merely a truth of the present media atmosphere that TCM would certainly need to create a streaming existence. “To assert among one of the most evident sentences regarding our sector, even more individuals are streaming than they utilized to, “he claimed.”For us to neglect that would certainly

be rather silly.”While he as well as his coworkers discover brand-new means for TCM to utilize HBO Max, Ascheim indicated this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival– which was kept in May as a digital occasion occurring completely on TCM and also HBO Max– as evidence that both

systems can exist together as well as match each various other. “We have a possibility to make the

power of curation much louder on a streaming solution than a few of our rivals, that complete on quantity as well as formula,”he stated.”TELEVISION by the load is not that terrific. TELEVISION that’s very carefully chosen for me, by someone I truly depend on, that really feels excellent all day.”Ascheim claimed that increasing the network’s streaming existence was not an indication that TCM was quiting on conventional cable television or its very own underlying worths.”There’s no intent to transform TCM right into Cinemax, much like a lot of films from the present minute,”he claimed.”As long as direct exists, we’ll exist with satisfaction.

“Still, also the idea of modifications at TCM suffices to trigger uncertainty from its customers. When a brief intro video clip was published to Twitter recently, revealing Mankiewicz repainting his very own collection, it generated a collection of skeptical remarks. Sam Adams, an elderly editor at Slate, created in a tweet: “thinking this indicates a modification to ‘HBO Classic’or some such”But TCM staffers claimed this type of second-guessing was all component of the procedure. Mankiewicz claimed he experienced a comparable analysis when he signed up with TCM in 2003 as a recurring host– a function that, up till that time, had actually been held just by the network’s trademark individuality, Robert Osborne.”For not a month or more months but also for years, there was a sensation of, Who the heck’s this man?”Mankiewicz remembered.”Only after 2 or 3

years, they resembled, This person discusses the motion pictures, it’s OKAY, we’re all right.”All that was being upgraded, Mankiewicz stated, was the network’s outside appearance as well as logo design, his collection and also possibly his clothes. “My closet possibly will alter a percentage,” he claimed.” I’m not appearing putting on shorts. That’s not mosting likely to take place.”While modern technology as well as systems will certainly remain to develop, Mankiewicz claimed, what will certainly stay the very same is TCM’s objective to bring its motion pictures as well as discourse to every one of

these locations.”What you experience at TCM, I’m really positive you will certainly have the ability to experience in 25 years,” he claimed. “I’m not wise adequate to claim precisely the fashion in which it

‘s going to obtain supplied to you. Yet will you be enjoying curated flicks with a host intro where the films are placed in context? And also will every little thing on the network appearance superb the means it does currently? Yes, that I am 100 percent particular of.”