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Beth Cox Report: January 2017

It's now the year 2017! As the world keeps changing, the publishing world changes with it, and one refrain I've seen become more common is: "The days when you could learn one thing and do it forever are over."

On its surface, that statement is something of an exaggeration. But viewed from another angle, it's been true for a long time - it's just more readily apparent now than it used to be.

For example, there's the medical profession. Doctors can't stop learning about the medicine trade the moment they achieve the right to put the letters "M.D." after their name. As advances in medical science continue, doctors of every field are required to keep their knowledge current in order to best serve their patients.

Another example is accounting and tax professionals. Tax laws change every year and they have to keep studying to remain up-to-date in their field! (I heard one practicing, professional accountant describe a special online course system on his podcast. It cost him a flat free for the opportunity to study as many credits as he could make time for per semester).

Computer programming professionals have to keep learning new languages, new tricks, and new techniques to stay current with the latest software innovations. Automobile repairmen have to adjust to service new models of cars. The list goes on and on.

What's different now is that the pace of innovation has increased, so that skillsets in demand fluctuate more than ever, or become obsolete more quickly than ever. This is why "lifelong learning" is so important, as is the ability of people to "be their own teacher" and motivate themselves to learn from new classroom models like Massive Open Online Courses (also known as MOOCs)... or from the humble book.

January's Link of the Month is the Association of Publishers for Special Sales, or APSS (pronounced "apps"). They used to use the name "Small Publishers Association of North America", or SPAN, but changed their name in 2013.

APSS transformed itself in response to the changing nature of the book trade, and now they focus primarily on helping small publishers make "special sales" to non-bookstore buyers. To quote their website, "Most of the existing marketing and educational programs will continue, but with the emphasis on special sales. For example, APSS will continue its program of co-op mailing programs, but the recipients will be non-bookstore buyers instead of bookstores and libraries."

January's Book of the Month is the excellent graphic novel adaptation of a literary classic:

Manga Classics: Jane Eyre
Charlotte Bronte, author
Story Adaptation by Crystal S. Chan
Art by SunNeko Lee
Udon Entertainment
9781927925652 $19.99 pbk / $10.78 Kindle

Part of the Manga Classics series of black-and-white graphic novels adapting great novels with artwork reminiscent of the style used by Japanese comics ("manga"), Manga Classics: Jane Eyre presents the timeless tale by Charlotte Bronte in an accessible, reader-friendly format for readers of all ages. Manga Classics: Jane Eyre does not take any liberties with the original novel about an independent young woman in Victorian England, who values listening to her conscience even if doing so may break her heart. Manga Classics: Jane Eyre is especially ideal for high school and public library collections, as an excellent way to encourage teenagers and adults alike to experience Bronte's masterpiece! Highly recommended.

That's all for this month's Beth Cox Report. Reading and learning deserve to be lifelong passions!

Bethany Cox
Managing Editor
The Midwest Book Review

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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