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Friday News: Streaming media at Amazon, Penguin Random House profits, Dubai...

Amazon Considers Streaming Media Service – To be honest, I’m surprised this hasn’t already come to pass, given the way Amazon continues to expand its media services. Is it the ad-supported aspect of a streaming video and music service that’s noteworthy? Is it the fact that such a service would expand current options beyond those that Prime members enjoy? Speculation in the article is that this is another way of encouraging purchases, since Prime members already spend so much more at Amazon than other customers, and that makes sense. Despite Amazon’s protests to the contrary, speculation is that this service could be rolled out within several months.

Ad-supported streaming video would give Amazon an opportunity to flex its advertising muscle. Amazon has been quietly building out a service for placing ads on its own and other websites. eMarketer estimates the ad-placing unit will hit nearly $1 billion in sales this year, rivaling AOL Inc. AOL -1.87% and IAC/InterActiveCorp IACI +0.39% but smaller than Google’s or Yahoo Inc.’s YHOO +0.39% operations.

By comparison, YouTube—which streams a combination of music, television, film and original content such as home videos—generated about $5.6 billion in revenue last year through advertising, estimates eMarketer. –Wall Street Journal

Penguin Random House Booms in 2013, Growing Revenue, Profit – So the newly merged Random House and Penguin venture is, thus far, at least, a profitable company. With almost 12,000 employees and €2.7 ($3.7) billion in year-end consolidated revenue, and an increase in sales. This figure reflects an entire year of sales for Random House, and six months for Penguin.

Despite no Fifty Shades for PRH in 2013, the company managed to keep its profit margin above 10% and actually increase its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA, a measure of profit) over the prior year.

The company also announced that it sold 100 million ebooks in 2013 worldwide. –Digital Book World

The Dubai bookshop that is helping to preserve historic Arabic writing – We definitely tend to think of independent bookstores as preserving culture, but here’s a truly poignant example of that concept, with Mohammed Al Sayed on his 20th year selling books by Arab authors that would otherwise no longer exist. Sadly, he indicates that many people seem to buy these books because they are interesting-looking artifacts; however, perhaps someone will consider a digitization process for some of these older works, especially since Al Sayed is noticing an upswing in interest in many of these books.

However, over the years, many of the great Arab authors – as well as the works of smaller, lesser-known ones – have had their work lost as their books went out of print.

Books from the 19th and early 20th century on the pre-Islamic era, Islamic periods and “golden civilisation”, the era of pan-Arabism, colonialism and independence and more can still be found in souqs across the country and some libraries. But if you’re looking for something in particular on any of the subjects, your first stop might be a tiny bookshop in Dubai known as Dar Al Fadeela. –The National AE

“Blurred lines” – Children’s shirt – A My Little Pony T-Shirt emblazoned with the “Blurred Lines” title – innocent imagery or creepy over-sexualization? Discuss. –BabyCenter

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

4 Comments

  1. Lostshadows
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 08:28:46

    I’d say the shirt is probably, poorly thought out by someone trying to be funny/jump on a trendy phrase.

  2. Christine M.
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 09:33:15

    I had no idea what the fuss was all about. I vaguely know Dash, but the idea that the words related to a song (and then I had to look up what song this is supposed to be, only to find it’s the faux Beetlejuice dude from the latest Miley Cyrus ‘scandal’ and then I learned it’s apparently a song about rape and non-con) is far fetched. Dash is fast, thus blurry when going full speed. End of story. :)

  3. Angela
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 10:01:53

    I think the shirt is poorly thought out (and designed) but it’s – sadly – not the worst childrens’ clothing I’ve seen.

    I do think that it’s intentionally trying to capitalize on the popularity (?) of the song though, as it’s in the same vein as the ‘poppin’ tags’ MLP shirt that was released as well – which is clearly playing with the Mackelmore song.

    I’m honestly amazed at some of the, completely inappropriate IMO, stuff that parents put their kids in. And likely the reference would completely go over the kids’ heads (and many adults too!), like most of these do, but that doesn’t mean the double-entendre doesn’t exist. I want to say “to each their own” but then I sit and think and wonder if this is one more small thing we’re doing to over-sexualize our children and desensitize ourselves to the sexualization of children. I argue with myself a lot on this subject, so I’m not even sure where my opinion lies – or where the line is for me – but I do think that there’s stuff here to think and talk about.

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