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Monday News: Do small pubs benefit from Amazon v. Hachette, Jay...

“All the anti-Amazon stuff lately would have you believe that Amazon is squeezing all of the publishers,” Shepard told Business Insider. “I don’t know what they do with the big guys, but for us, what Amazon has created is the best outcome that one could possibly deal with.”

         Shepard feels that Amazon has democratized the book market: He says that small publishers no longer    need to buy publicity, because their books will get just as much room online as Hachette titles.

“They’re preserving a literary culture, not just best sellers,” he says. “This is a very good thing.” –Business Insider

Among Lake’s numerous honors were a quarterly first prize in the Writers of the Future contest in 2003 and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in Science Fiction in 2004. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Interzone, Strange Horizons, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. He was an editor for the “Polyphony” anthology series from Wheatland Press, and was also a contributor to the Internet Review of Science Fiction. Lake’s final collection, The Last Plane to Heaven, an anthology featuring thirty of his short stories, will be available September 2014. –Tor.com

Non-whites are virtually absent from BookExpo planning committees and prime promotional slots. Tavis Smiley is the only non-white among the 16 scheduled breakfast and author tea speakers, who also include Jodi Picoult, Lena Dunham and Anjelica Huston. There is little non-white representation for various other high-profile events, from “Buzz” forums for upcoming adult, young adult and middle grade releases to an all-white panel that will discuss discrepancies between how men and women fiction writers are treated.

“I don’t have a good answer for you,” said BookExpo event director Steven Rosato, who noted that publishers submit candidates for panels and other gatherings. “Clearly, there’s a gap between the industry and what’s representative of the country.” –ABC News

“Viewing women only as victims of men’s sexual dominance fails to hold women accountable for the roles they play in reproducing social inequalities,” Elizabeth Armstrong, a sociology and organizational studies professor at the University of Michigan, said in a release. “By engaging in ‘slut-shaming’ — the practice of maligning women for presumed sexual activity — women at the top create more space for their own sexual experimentation, at the cost of women at the bottom of social hierarchies.” –Al Jazeera America

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!

10 Comments

  1. SAO
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 07:36:54

    I’ve long felt the book industry is too cliquey, from the publishers who choose what books to publish to the reviewers. What these two articles suggest is that Amazon, rather than being the destruction of books, might actually be helping people outside that clique find an audience.

    As a side point, I don’t see how slut-shaming creates space for others to sexually experiment. If you scorn women who sleep around (or appear to be) how do you get away with doing the same and not being a slut?

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  2. Mzcue
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 09:00:15

    @SAO: I don’t know how accurate historical romance novels are in portraying the social and sexual mores of European culture in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. As a latecomer to the genre, I’ve only been reading historicals for the past six months or so. However, one plot point that I’ve seen driven home frequently is that the emerging middle class was much less tolerant of peccadillos than the aristocracy. Once the “heir and a spare” were produced, women of the “ton” could take lovers and live apart from husbands—if their wealth permitted of course. Discouraging association with women of lower classes from approaching their aristocratic targets would seem to ensure that more upper class men would be available. Again, this is all fiction, but that is the way that I’m finding it written by novelists such as Jo Beverley, Mary Balogh, and Georgette Heyer.

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  3. hapax
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 11:51:41

    @SAO: The article I read in The Atlantic on the same study summed it up like this:

    The poorer women seemed to notice that their wealthier dorm-mates were more sexual, but felt they couldn’t get away with being similarly libertine. The wealthier women, meanwhile, seemed unfazed by accusations of sluttiness if they came from their lower-status peers.

    Also, “slut” was pretty much a content-free insult, used more as a means for controlling women’s behavior than describing any particular behavior; as such, it naturally carried more power with the weight of privilege behind it.

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  4. Susan/DC
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 12:11:23

    I’m not an author or a publisher, but I am a reader, and after reading George Packer’s article about Amazon in the February 17/24 New Yorker, I’m not sure I’d be so sanguine about Amazon’s tactics and impact. I also seem to remember reading recently that while Amazon deeply discounts books because books are one of the few products to carry a specific price inside so buyers are very aware of how much they save, other items are not necessarily cheaper. Books are the gateway and, once on Amazon’s site, the temptation is to buy everything (diapers, shoes, whatever) rather than leaving the website to comparison shop elsewhere online or in brick-and-mortar stores. Only time will tell if Amazon is a Good Thing for everyone or a typical monopoly.

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  5. Charming Euphemism
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 13:00:36

    The article on slut shaming was interesting, but the conclusions are way over stated IMO. They interviewed 53 women at one university dominated by the sorority/fraternity system about various attitudes.

    I actually did find the conclusion quite startling, as the stories my young adult daughters have told me didn’t especially reflect this dynamic. I am also not seeing it in public life. Sandra Fluke wasn’t attacked because of her social class, for example.

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  6. CelineB
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 13:11:15

    Apparently, Barnes and Noble is trying to capitalize on the Amazon/Hachette feud by having having a buy 2 get the 3rd free deal on many Hachette books.

    http://m.barnesandnoble.com/s/?pro=2897&store=book&view=grid&sort=SA

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  7. AlexaB
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 14:59:07

    I thought one of the sticking points in the Hachette dispute are the co-op advertising fees Amazon is demanding? Which seems to suggest that no, Amazon is not a level playing field for small publishers who can’t pony up the requisite funds for preferred placement and therefore do not get the same room online as the big guys.

    http://www.economist.com/news/business/21603036-amazon-plays-tough-publishers-over-e-book-prices-burying-hachette

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  8. Juhi
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 15:14:55

    I went to the Fantasy panel with Deborah Harkness and Lev Grossman and at one point it struck me that there was absolutely no person of color there. AT ALL. I have no idea about the turn out at other panels but this just really jumped out at me.

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  9. Juhi
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 15:21:18

    Ahhh… I was referring to the fantasy panel at the BookCon.

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  10. Evangeline
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 15:53:23

    The first and easiest step towards diversity is dipping into the authors of color who are published by Hachette (or Kensington or HarperCollins, etc) and promote their works on equal footing. Create panels for the editors and publicists working for a major publisher’s multicultural imprint(s) at BEA, ALA, and other major book/publishing venues. After all, isn’t most of what goes on in the publishing world based on where the publisher decides to put their money behind? How difficult is it for the Big 5 who sponsor book conventions/conferences to add their diverse offerings to the swag and free books they give away?

    The article zoomed away from genuine and doable methods of boosting diversity to meaningless drivel about the demographics of the employees in the industry.

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