Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Monday Midday News: Sandra Hyatt Memorial, Sara Douglass passes, Copyright Office...

As you will have heard, author Sandra Hyatt (Hyde) died suddenly a few weeks ago. A trust has now been set up in her memory, it’s aim to support a NZ-based romance writer going to a conference here or overseas. Link:


Someone is having trouble separating fact from fiction but I’m not convinced it’s romance readers. Teenage murder suspect declared to the police that she was a vampire / werewolf.

Police have previously speculated that there may be more to the case. They say the murder suspects may have been involved in a vampire cult, WTSP reports, and Pistey’s claims to vampiredom appear to give credence to the idea.

In a jailhouse interview, Pistey told local station WJHG, “Since I was like, 12…I know this is going to be crazy, but I believe that I’m a vampire. Part of a vampire and part of a werewolf.”


Librarian by Day posts that Kindle’s agreement with Overdrive is allowing Amazon an unprecedented amount of customer data that libraries may feel violate privacy rights of its patrons. Further, libraries should be allowed access to the data that Amazon is compiling as well as referral fees for any purchases made as a result of a lend. As a library patron, I fully endorse both of those ideas. Bobbi Newman, the librarian, goes on to say that libraries are at great risk by digital developments and she’s not sure who is to blame. Probably everyone, she concludes. But what is next?


Australian fantasy author Sara Douglass passed away last week from ovarian cancer.

Douglass, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, was the first Australian author signed to HarperCollins’ Voyager Fantasy list in 1995.

Her book, BattleAxe, sold almost one million copies in Australia alone, Ms Martyn said.

September is the Ovarian cancer month. The worst irony, isn’t it? Here is a PubMed article on signs/symptoms of ovarian cancer and a page from the National Cancer Institute. Finally, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance provides details about how to get involved.


In the “what in the world is going on in NY” saga, comes the entry of Neal Stephenson’s e-book Reamde. HarperCollins had to take down the book briefly because there were so many errors in the digitized version. Additionally, the book was actually missing content.

“After reading over 500 pages of this great book, Amazon tells me there was ‘missing content,’ ” fumed another reader. “After a live chat and talking to 2 support people, they won’t tell me what was missing, how much, what type of content, or why. The customer service people are zombies…. When I demanded a refund, they said I would lose access to this book. There is no consideration that I invested hours in a flawed product. No desire to provide information to customers. Nothing. Not even an apology.”

Part of the flaws were noticed when Amazon inadvertently allowed the ebook to be sold 2-3 weeks in advance in the UK. According to some of my reader friends who have been reading this book, there were errors that were in the ARC that were directly translated into the final copy, not to mention simple proofreading errors. The ebook cost $17. A corrected version has been provided to all original purchasers of the Amazon book (not sure about the epub version) and the proofread digital copy is up for sale. I haven’t seen Neal Stephenson, a guy who has been said to be so internet savvy that he can out troll the trolls at Reddit, make any comment.


The Copyright Office is accepting comments regarding the next set of exemptions to the DMCA rules.  The last set allowed for you to circumvent the DRM of ebooks so long as those ebooks did not have text to speech enabled and there was no alternative in the marketplace. I would encourage readers who dislike DRM to go and provide comments about how DRM enables companies to lock consumers in to one device, limits lending, and is anti competitive. The Copyright Office takes these comments seriously and will refer to them in rendering the exemptions. So anything you, as a reader can do, to comment about the issues you have with DRM would be useful.

The Copyright Office’s Web site will contain a submission page at:


One analyst firm believes that the Kindle Fire costs about $191.65 in parts.

IHS iSuppli said the components that go into the Kindle Fire cost $191.65. Additional manufacturing expenses bring the total cost to $209.63.

Based on IHS iSuppli’s estimates, the company may lose just under $10 on each Fire it sells.

Another analyst believes that the Fire has about a $50 profit built in.

Based on its estimates of the bill of materials and cost for the Amazon Kindle Fire, iPad 2 and PlayBook, device experts at Light Reading sister company UBM TechInsights estimates that it costs around $150 to produce the 8GB Kindle Fire, compared to $170 for a 16GB PlayBook (the device it most closely resembles) and $270 for the CDMA/GSM versions of the 32GB iPad 2.

UBM suggests that Amazon is saving about $20 by not including 3G connectivity.  I wish Amazon would give me the 3G choice.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Karen
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 16:12:22

    I just read (on Lifehacker) that the Kindle Touch 3G will not allow you to use the 3G service for anything other than for accessing the Kindle store and using Wikipedia. That’s a very limited service for the extra price of the 3G, which makes me wonder how many people will pay for it on the Touch. (Browsing the web on the Kindle 3 is slow, but I found it very useful recently when I was on vacation recently and needed emergency access to my email. I don’t have a smart phone but I had my Kindle with me.) Of course, Amazon could add some kind of monthly cost to the Fire for 3G access, and I’m guessing that will probably come later if customers start asking for it.

  2. Sandia
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 17:06:32

    The link on the missing bits of ebook is why I still don’t understand why the Agency publishers still insist that they are putting the same amount of man hours into the production of an ebook as a real book. Would they have let the HC version of that book go out with s many errors??? But they jip the digital consumer, then pay lip service to how it has the same production value. Blah!

    On the Kindle Fire – I wonder if they’re not waiting for more availability of the higher speed mobile service “4G” before they launch it? If it is truly meant to consume video and multi-media, I don’t think 3G speeds cut it.

  3. Keziah Hill
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 17:47:26

    I once purchased a faulty ebook of China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station from Amazon and their customer service was terrible. They told me I wouldn’t have access to the book if I wanted a replacement and the replacement wouldn’t be ready for weeks. Since the book was essentially there (I had multiple chapters repeated throughout the book)I opted to forget about it.

  4. Nadia Lee
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 18:06:53

    @Keziah Hill: I’m not sure if it’s really Amazon’s fault that the e-book provided by the publisher was poorly formatted. And it’s not like Amazon’s the one charging people lots of money. Most expensive ebooks come from Agency pubs, and Amazon is not the one who came up with the scheme in the 1st place. (Blame Apple for that one.)

    @Sandia: Yes! I’m actually a bit apprehensive about buying ebooks from big publishers if this kind of things happen to a big author like Neal Stephenson.

  5. Alter-alias
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 21:37:42

    Sara Douglass (spelt Sara) was one of my first high fantasy gloms, though her endgames were a source of endless frustration for me. She was a magnificent writer, and my condolences go to her family.

  6. meoskop
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 22:12:19

    The DRM link is not working as I think you meant it to –

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