Don’t bet on a new Harry Potter novel

This is the surest way I have seen for some time of throwing away good money:

"Ladbrokes has reopened its "will there be an eighth Harry Potter book" market, following a number of requests from fans. The betting firm is offering odds of 2/1 on JK Rowling releasing another installment of the phenomenon by the end of 2012. It is offering 1/3 on there not being another Potter novel." (From the Bookseller blog.) 

Apparently, there was quite a flurry of bets immediately after publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (book 7), then all went quiet. Now, people are wanting to bet again. Well, a fool and his (or her) money are easily parted.  It is possible, I suppose, that this recent activity has been stimulated by the current New York court case, in which J. K. Rowling is trying to stop someone from plagiarising chunks of her books into a self-styled "lexicon". Be that as it may, there will be no eighth Harry Potter novel. The author has long said that she might write an encyclopaedia-style book, in part to add some details. Such a volume might be based in part on the huge "style bible" that the Bloomsbury sub (copy) editors have gradually accumulated. J. K. Rowling has also occasionally mused on revising the existing novels. But there won't be a new one.

Shakespeare in open digital form

Via an industry press release, I discover that a group of "foundations, government, post-secondary institutions, and libraries is breaking ground in the presentation of Shakespeare for the masses. As open digital content, William Shakespeare's 32 pre-1641 quartos will soon be available for scholars, students and the general public." This project is apparently possible in principle because Shakespeare did not give permission for his works to be printed, so the quartos being digitized in this project are originally "foul" copies: working drafts written down from people's memories after performances and published as "paperbacks".
The UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) is coordinating the Shakespeare initiative, with partners including the University of Maryland, which will provide the technology and platform for people to conduct research, including analysis and comparisons, of the quartos. Another partner is the Shakespeare Institute, whose teachers, students and scholars will provide feedback and guidance on the prototype. Also involved are the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, Oxford University, and high-school teachers in the Washington, DC area.
Publishers do not appear to be part of this initiative, so it will be interesting to see what role they take, if any.