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International Book news: the Europeana library snafu and more

November 24, 2008 |  7:24 am


The new online Europeana Digital Library launched last week and promptly crashed. The massive site contains more than 2 million items from the collections of 1,000 institutions, including the Louvre and the British Library, and was swamped with more than 10 million requests per hour on its Nov. 20 launch. As of this writing, all that remains of the the site is a placeholder page and a link to a draft version.

The Guardian talks to seven ghostwriters. Mark McCrum, who worked on pop star Robbie Williams' "Somebody Some Day," among others, writes, "Obviously you have to put your ego on hold. This isn't too hard, as it's likely to be dwarfed by the size of your subject's."

The new Warwick Prize from the University of Warwick in England has announced its first long list. The prize, 50,000 pounds, will be given every other year to a work published in English. The theme will change each cycle; this year's theme is complexity. The 20 long-listed works include "The Rest is Noise" by Alex Ross, "Planet of Slums" by Mike Davis, "The Art of Political Murder" by Francisco Goldman and "Someone Else," fictional essays by John Hughes, an Australian librarian writing in the voices of Bob Dylan, Samuel Beckett and more.

Karl Marx's "Das Kapital" will be published in manga form in Japanese next month. Britain's Times Online, which has a preview frame, reports:

The ambitious comic rendering of Das Kapital is designed to parcel the complex economic theories of Marx’s hefty original in a format which Japanese adore digesting their information from; it will also be compressed into a size that can be slipped discreetly into a Chanel evening bag, or slid into the top drawer of a desk when the bosses are looking....

The comic is expected to sell tens of thousands of copies in its first weeks on sale, but is up against stiff competition: anti-capitalist books are the hottest sellers in capitalist Japan at the moment, and it will take something extraordinary to beat the sales of Hideki Mitani’s “Greedy Capitalism and the Self Destructiveness of Wall Street.”

-- Carolyn Kellogg