Monday News and Deals: Paypal Obscenity Crackdown, Fake Amazon Reviews, & Earnings Roundup
An author by the name of Mainak Dhar has several self published books for sale and many of his books have an average of 4 stars with over 200+ reviews. The number of high ranking reviews is propelling sales. Alice in Deadland, one title, had been lingering on the #1 Kindle sci fi spot for a long time. Dhar claims to be making $1000 a day on the sale of his books. Good on him, right? Well, not exactly. The large number of reviews are actually the result of a dedicated effort by Dhar to create hundreds of accounts used to post favorable reviews on his own books. A reader caught the author’s act after the author accidentally outed himself by posting as his author name but signing the post with his fake reader name. (The author went back and revised the posting but not before Amazon had sent the automatic update to those who had subscribed to the topic). Dhar is perpetrating this, ah, questionable activity on Goodreads.
For most readers, sussing out this type of behavior is difficult, particularly for a book that has a ton of reviews. Some of the ways you can tell is if the reviewer giving 5 stars has only one or two reviews in the review history. Another way to suss on false reviews is if the reviewer only gives 5 stars. The problem is, of course, there is always an exception to the rules but the next time you come across an unknown book with a ton of reviews you might want to check a few of those five star reviews out.
Jenny Bent gives a pro/con summary of recent publishing changes. The bad surround how the author is getting paid (broken up into more chunks and more rights for less money) whereas the good includes better education authors and more flexibility for those authors. It’s definitely an agent oriented list.
Romance readers and authors might be interested in an auction with a number of signed books and arcs as well as lunches with authors and agents at RWA in Anaheim, July 2012. The auction is to assist the 12U Unleeshed girl’s softball team and their bid to play in the 2012 World Series of Softball in Panama City Beach, Florida this July. You can check out a complete list of items being offered at Bunaunleeshed.wordpress.com or check out the team website at www.unleeshed.com to get to know the girls your bids will support! Auctions will begin March 1 and end on March 3. Unleeshed is a 501 c organization and all donations are tax deductible.
Round up of last quarter’s results for the Big 6:
- Simon & Schuster: Sales are down 1% but profit is up because of “increased sales of e-books, which parent company CBS noted, are more profitable than the sale of print books, which fell in the year.” Source: PW
- HarperCollins is doing well enough to garner a mention in the NewsCorp quarterly earnings call. Harper UK is doing well but Harper US not so well. “Harper says print product during the quarter (which ended December 31) comprised a big 90 percent of revenues worldwide, leaving only 10 percent for digital and audio.” Source: PublishersMarketplace.
- Lagardere, parent of Hachette, did the opposite. US sales were up, likely due to the Steve Jobs book but UK sales were down 4.5%. Digital sales were under 10% for the company although last quarter, the US digital sales were 20%. It is unlikely that number has declined. Source: Paid Content
- Random House: German media company Bertelsmann AG said Thursday operating earnings before interest and taxes, or EBIT, fell to EUR1.7 billion in 2011 from EUR1.8 billion in 2010, due to start-up losses for new platforms and a weak business performance of some printing operations, as well as declines in the replication and direct-marketing businesses. 2011 Annual report will be released at the end of March. Source: Fox Business
- Penguin: 2011 year end is due February 27 however, “Overall, Pearson’s digital activities generated approximately £2bn. Penguin Books will report “solid results” despite “tough conditions in physical book retail,” it added.” Source: Telegraph
- Macmillan: Waiting…
- Harlequin: Waiting…
In what may be the most important rights dispute of recent memory, Open Road responds to HarperCollins lawsuit. Open Road repeatedly made references to the lack of investment or intention of HarperCollins in the production of a digital book. I am curious about this argument as copyright isn’t a “use it or lose it” type of right like trademark rights. My take on the suit so far is that HarperCollins is asserting that it has a contractual right to produce digital books and Open Road is arguing that HarperCollins contract rights don’t include rights that it has not exploited and had no intention of exploiting. There is almost an unjust enrichment argument being made here as OpenRoad argues in on Paragraph 9 that the advance had already earned out years ago. I’m not terribly comfortable with either defense argument.
Via Paid Content
Samhain is running an ad on the Jumbotron in New York City. One internet forum suggets that an ad costs about $10,000 per hour.
Source: Romantic Times.
Publishers might hate Amazon but Amazon is fighting bigger demons (and I’m not referring to states trying to collect sales tax). Instead, Amazon is competing with the richest company in the world with a profit margin of greater than 40%.
Apple’s strength in iPhone and iPad sales are negatively affecting Amazon.com by accelerating the company’s transition from physical to digital media sales (which has effects on sales, margins and ROIC) as well as impacting Electronics & General Merchandise (“EGM”) growth.
Source: Business Insider
Paypal has long had a policy of not accepting payments from companies that sell obscene work. See commenter Anne Douglas back in 2009.
There is a reason for this and it stems back to good old pornography and adult content…and that PayPal refuses to service either of those.
Was there not an ePublisher that had it all go to hell in a handbasket with paypal over that?
Decided to go look it up, to check it was still prohibited. As per my payapl Acceptable use page:
You may not use the PayPal service for activities that:
1. violate any law, statute, ordinance or regulation
2. relate to sales of (a) narcotics, steroids, certain controlled substances or other products that present a risk to consumer safety, (b) drug paraphernalia, (c) items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity, (d) items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime, (e) items that are considered obscene, (f) items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction, (g) certain sexually oriented materials or services, or (h) certain firearms, firearm parts or accessories, ammunition, weapons or knives
For some reason, publishers have slid by but Paypal is now enforcing its policy against self published authors and publishers, one of whom is purported to be Siren, who publish books with “incest, pseudo incest, rape, and bestiality.” So if you go shopping and the Paypal option has been removed, that’s probably the reason why.
Don’t forget that I keep a running list of deals and coupons here. This page has the $4.99 Penguin deals as well. Several of the Dukes on Sale have gone up but there are new Darcy fan fiction for $1.99.
Samhain is having a $5 any $15 order or more. Use coupon code PRES12 at the Samhain Store. Deal ends tonight at midnight EST.
Sony has a 35% off coupon for one book today. Use coupon code 35OFFPD0217.
Kobo has 20% off coupon which ends today. Use coupon code feb17us20 at the Kobo Store.
- My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up by Russell Brand * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Once Upon a Wicked Night by Jennifer Haymore * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Jenna’s Cowboy by Sharon Gillenwater * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S (inspirational)
- Deep in the Heart by Sharon Sala * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Truest Heart by Samantha James * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
- The Red Heart of Jade by Marjorie M. Liu * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Too Hot for TV by Cheris Hodges * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Touch of a Thief by Mia Marlowe * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Deadly Desires by Ann Christopher * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
- That’s Amore by Wendy Markham * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Welcome to Last Chance by Hope Ramsey * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Highlander’s Heart by Amanda Forester * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Taste Me by Tamara Hogan * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
- I’ll Be Slaying You by Cynthia Eden * $2.69 * A | BN | K | S
- Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
- The Duchess and the Dragon by Jamie Carie * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S (inspirational)
- Love’s First Light by Jamie Carie * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S (inspirational)
- Lord Lightning by Jenny Brown * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
- His And Hers by Dawn Calvert * $3.03 * A | BN | K | S
- The Secrets of the Heart by Kasey Michaels * $3.59 * A | BN | K | S
- The Year of Living Scandalously by Julia London * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Highland Scandal by Julia London * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Seen and Not Heard by Anne Stuart * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Days of Gold by Jude Deveraux * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
- The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
- A Lady Never Tells by Candace Camp * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Devil Wears Plaid by Teresa Medeiros * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Scandalous by Karen Robards * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
- One Night in Scotland by Karen Hawkins * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Rushed to the Altar by Jane Feather * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
- When Passion Rules by Johanna Lindsey * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Defiant by Kris Kennedy * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
- The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
- Flawless by Carrie Lofty * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
- The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S