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Weekly News Digest

October 19, 2021 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

APA Shares Study on How Memes Are Helping People Cope With the Pandemic

This may seem obvious, but it’s nice to have a study to confirm it: “Funny memes may help people cope with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, making viewers feel calmer and more content,” the American Psychological Association (APA) reports.

According to “Consuming Memes During the COVID Pandemic: Effects of Memes and Meme Type on COVID-Related Stress and Coping Efficacy,” published in the Psychology of Popular Media journal, “Looking at memes about COVID-19 also increased people’s confidence in their ability to deal with the pandemic. … The researchers found that people who viewed memes compared with other types of media reported higher levels of humor and more positive emotions, which was indirectly related to a decrease in stress about the COVID-19 pandemic. People who viewed memes with captions related to COVID-19 were even more likely to have lower stress levels about the pandemic than people who viewed memes without COVID-related captions.”

This study is based on a December 2020 survey of 748 people ages 18–88.

For more information and a description of how the study worked, read the press release.

Amazon Is in Hot Water With Congress Again

Manish Singh writes the following in “Amazon May Have Lied to Congress About Its Business Practices, Lawmakers Say” for TechCrunch:

Five members of the House Judiciary Committee have accused … Amazon’s top executives of either misleading or blatantly lying to it about its business practices and said they are considering an investigation following publication of two damning reports last week. …

Reuters and the Markup reported [on Oct. 13 and 14, respectively,] that Amazon uses the data of third-party sellers on its platform to inform and create its private-label products. Both the outlets also noted that Amazon then gives preference to its own portfolio over those of the rivals when customers look up products.

[A] letter, addressed to Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy, says it’s offering Jassy ‘a final opportunity to provide exculpatory evidence to corroborate the prior testimony and statements on behalf of Amazon to the Committee.’ …

Amazon, grappling with way too many controversies to document at this point, said it has not ‘[misled] the committee, and we have denied and sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question.’

For more information, read the article.

Publishers Weekly Reports on the Indie Bookstore Boom

Judith Rosen writes the following in “Another Pandemic Surprise: A Mini Indie Bookstore Boom” for Publishers Weekly:

Though the pandemic caused financial hardship for many independent bookstores, particularly those in cities and states that forced retailers to close their doors for months, it has also paved the way for a mini-boom of bookstore openings. ‘I’ve gotten a lot of, “Why would you open during a pandemic? That’s brave,” ’ said Kari Ferguson, who opened an online children’s bookstore, Oh Hello Again, in June 2020, followed by a general bookstore of the same name in the Capitol Hill section of Seattle in December. ‘But really, the pandemic allowed me to open a physical location, because rent prices dropped on retail spaces due to store closings. The community has been so supportive. I think people are enthralled with the novelty of a business opening rather than shutting down during Covid.’ …

Other new bookstore owners have been able to follow through, in part, because they got rent breaks from their landlords. Jennifer Caspar, founder of Village Well Books and Coffee in Culver City, Calif., signed a lease in February 2020, just ahead of pandemic shutdowns. She didn’t start paying rent on her 3,000-sq.-ft. space until November; the official store opening was on Jan. 2, 2021. …

While acknowledging that the disruption of Covid has been challenging and that some bookstores are still struggling, Allison Hill, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, noted that ‘there’s also been growth in ABA membership.’ She also pointed to ‘exciting trends in new stores—more diversity, location-independent formats, smaller sizes with room for growth—and an increased interest in nonprofit and co-op models.’

For more information, read the article.

OverDrive Education Updates Sora App With Magazine Content

OverDrive Education made magazines available via its Sora student reading app for ebooks and audiobooks. Schools can buy bundles of 50 always-available magazines (focusing on both education and enjoyment) for their students, including National Geographic KidsTIME for Kids, and The Week Junior. The bundles come in Juvenile, Young Adult, and Adult options, and titles can be removed as needed. New issues will automatically appear in the app as they become available.

OverDrive notes that “the bundle saves time for librarians because there is no need to select individual titles or manage expirations or physical copies. The all-in, bundled price (based on enrollment) helps make purchasing magazines more cost-effective than purchasing on a per-title basis. The Simultaneous-Use rights of the collection allow all students in a school to access the titles at the same time.”

For more information, read the blog post.

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli
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