In the news today for writers and readers:
- Penguin has launched Book Country, an online writers’ community for genre fiction. Membership is free and is designed for writers to receive feedback on their work as well as connect with agents and publishers. While Penguin may find new authors for its own publishing house on the site, Book Country encourages other editors and agents to join as well. Members must critique three other pieces on the site before they can upload their own work. Future plans include e-publishing and print-on-demand services.
- The Chicago Reader will unveil a new format this week. The new magazine-style design is targeted to compete with other weeklies, such as Newcity and Time Out Chicago. Its new editor, Mara Shalhoup, indicates that the long-form reporting and local culture columns that the Reader is known for will continue, but may be more focused. According to The Chicago Tribune, "One of the big buzz phrases in media circles these days is "curated content," a kind of storytelling that can lend the impression people are telling their own stories in a less filtered way. In this vein, the Reader is going to add artist-on-artist interview/chats and other features in which taste-makers or figures of interest complement the work of its critics."
- In tech news, Sony is announcing the release of two new Android-equipped tablet computers anticipated to appear on retailers’ shelves in fall 2011. Why the lengthy interval of six months? Sony may be waiting to see whether the Android market flourishes or tanks this summer before they manufacture more devices.