Kwana emailed me to let us know that Macmillan publishing has launched a new Facebook and twitter account called The Loft. Kwana is the moderator and it is a place to talk about contemporary women's fiction, romance and chicklit. It’s interesting that publishers like Macmillan through Tor.com and now, The Loft, are attempting to create fan site communities with fans at the helm.
A new website, Shameless Yonis, is devoted South Asian women writing, exploring and discussing all things erotic. Most of the women who are writing for this site are authors of multicultural erotic romance.
Dominique Raccah of Sourcebooks has been putting herself out there to explain what exactly a publisher might offer to authors who are debating whether to go the self published route. This is a recap of what she spoke about at Frankfurt bookfair.
Unsurprisingly, Raccah rounded on the idea that e-books should be “free or $0.99″. She said: “It comes from the concept that we are not adding any value, and I feel we are adding a lot of value, and it's not cheap.” She added: “Book publishing is not book printing, let's be really clear about that: if you think all publishers do is print, you have a problem.”
Raccah also wrote an article for RWR (Romance Writers’ Report) which she republished on the Sourcebooks.com blog.
This deluge of books has, I believe, two big implications:
1. It devalues content-’there's too much of it and too little time. So there's increasing pressure to keep prices low and to give readers more for their money. Not necessarily a bad thing, by the way.
2. It also creates an overwhelming sense of constantly being sold to, which, when combined with the fragmentation of media, makes marketing increasingly difficult. No one likes being sold to. And today there are fewer and fewer mass market media outlets.
For me, the real job of a publisher is many, many things, all of which center around the incredibly rewarding challenge of connecting authors and readers. In the end, whether physical or digital, the role of the publisher is to create an audience for the author. It's to bring the author and the book to market. It's never really been about printing. And that's really clear now, isn't it? It's always been about connecting authors and readers.
Sony is finally bringing its content to the app market. In December iThing and Android users will be able to use Sony Reader App to read their books and it looks like the Sony Reader store will be web based and will not require a software download. I think this signals that Sony intends to stay in the reader market for a while.
Gawker published 21 pages of Sarah Palin's upcoming book and this made Sarah Palin unhappy. HarperColliins has responded by filing suit. On Saturday, a temporary injunction was issued and Gawker was ordered to remove the content. I'm not sure whether the reason for this is because the content had not yet been published and therefore republication would not be considered fair use or whether the republication of 21 pages is considered to be beyond fair use.
Interestingly the pre publication of Palin's books by conservative sites have not been targeted by HarperCollins.
I think litigation of fair use is a valuable activity and I am very interested to see the outcome of this.
I saw the Gawker suit on NBC Today show so the Nick Denton media network is getting a lot of airplay as a result of these suits (Apple's suit against Gizmodo for the acquisition of the iPhone 4 pre release and now this one).
A couple of other really important copyright cases that are going on include the suit against mp3tunes over the safe harbor provision of the DMCA. According to the DMCA, an internet service provider or a hosting service isn’t legally responsible for the illegal content hosted on its servers until it receives notice of the illegal content and fails to take prompt steps to remove such content. EMI sued MP3Tunes, which allows users to upload content, because users were uploading illegal content. Youtube won a similar suit against Viacom but in the Ninth Circuit. The MP3 case is in the Second Circuit.
The second important copyright case is the Costco Wholesale Corporation v. Omega SA. Costco went overseas and bought a whole bunch of Omega watches and sold them at a discount in the Costco warehouses. Omega sued Costco for copyright infringement. This case was argued to the Supreme Court of the United States on November 8, 2010. The ruling in this case might have impact on geographical restrictions, among other things.
Amazon introduces the PriceCheck app. News of this had leaked a few weeks ago, but the App is live today. If your phone has a good enough camera, you can take a picture of an item's UPC and then price check using Amazon's app. You can also speak the product's name and Amazon will look up the price of the product. The results that are returned are from Amazon and other online merchants.
Borders will be closing 17 superstores after the holidays because they don't fit in with Borders' business objectives. Whatever those may be.
I thought this article in the Guardian about how the King James Bible has influenced the secular language was fascinating.
As well as selling an estimated 1bn copies since 1611, the KJB went straight into our literary bloodstream like a lifesaving drug. Whenever we put words into someone’s mouth, or see the writing on the wall, or go from strength to strength, or eat, drink and be merry, or fight the good fight, or bemoan the signs of the times, or find a fly in the ointment, or use words such as “long-suffering”, “scapegoat” and “peacemaker” we are unconsciously quoting the KJB. More astounding, compared to Shakespeare’s prodigal 31,000-word vocabulary, the KJB works its magic with a lexicon of just 12,000 words.
The word scapegoat is a great closing argument in a trial. The story goes that the word scapegoat is derived from an Old Testament ritual described in Leviticus 16. In order to atone for their sins, a clan would gather together each year. Two goats were chosen from the herd, perfect and without blemish. One would be sacrificed. On the head of the other, however, the clan would cast all its sins, hurts, jealousies, aggrievements (is that a word?), misdeeds. This blameless goat would then be driven out into the desert, alive, to suffer alone and die as atonement for the wrongs of all the clan. (then you appeal to the jury and say something like “this is what the opposing side would have you do, heap all the wrongs and misdeeds of an entire corporation on the head of one person, and drive that blameless person out into the wilderness, alone and helpless, a scapegoat for someone else’s wrongdoing.”)