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

Monday News: YouTube targets slow ISPs, Scarlett Johansson wins limited judgment,...

YouTube, following Netflix, is now publicly shaming internet providers for slow video – This is pretty interesting. YouTube, which is owned by Google, is posting these messages on videos that have streaming issues due to insufficient ISP speeds. Netflix had been doing something similar, and Verizon apparently threatened to sue them, so they quit, but I’ve recently seen the YouTube message, so I know it’s still in use. At the same time, Quartz points out that there seems to be an awful lot of Silicon Valley silence about the proposed Net Neutrality rules, which is pretty frustrating, especially since the changes extend far past speed to the way Internet Service Providers are treated under the law.

Curiously, though, Google and other technology companies have been relatively quiet as the US Federal Communications Commission moves closer to rules that would explicitly allow those fast lanes. That’s a stark contrast to four years ago, when Google played a central—and controversial—role in drafting net neutrality regulations.

Rather than intensely lobbying the government this time around, Google and Netflix seem to be focused on a public relations campaign. Both now regularly report how well their services work on a wide range of internet providers. Netflix’s ISP Index covers 20 countries; Google’s Video Quality Report is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Google has also started labeling some ISPs as “YouTube HD Verified,” a sort of Good Housekeeping Seal for streaming video. –Quartz

Scarlett Johansson wins defamation case against French novelist – The title of this article is slightly misleading, as are articles like this one in Vogue UK,  which somewhat overstate the actual scope of the verdict by a French judge in Johansson’s suit. The fraudulent exploitation aspect was dismissed, based on the fact that she had not kept her private life private, and has spoken publicly about it. Consequently, she was awarded only €2,500, plus €2,500 in legal costs, and prevailed only on the alleged claim of two romantic relationships that never existed.

I doubt this case would have gotten very far in the United States, especially because public figures have to prove actual malice, but this case may have served as an informal precedent of sorts had she prevailed more broadly.

Emmanuelle Allibert of the publishers J-C Lattès said they and Delacourt were happy with the judgment. “All of Scarlett Johansson’s demands were rejected except one thing that was seen to be an attack in her private life over two relations that she never had.

“All her other demands, including damages of €50,000, were rejected, notably that there should be a ban on the book being translated or made into a film. We just have to cut out the bit about the affairs, which is just four lines,” Allibert told the Guardian. –The Guardian

“For Review” Vs. “For Review Consideration” – An interesting discussion on an SFF blog about the difference between reviewing every book a blogger accepts and considering for review every book the blogger accepts. I think this notion of a contract or an obligation between book blogger and author cultivates a really problematic reviewing environment, in part because it can create an environment where resentment or guilt can find their way into the reviewing process. Moreover, ARCs have historically been considered promotional items, and the more obligations that become attached to that process, the less independence of opinion you may end up with.

The main thrust of the article is that book bloggers as a whole seem to think that receiving books in exchange for a review (even an honest one) is a fair verbal contract. However, (and I didn’t know this previously) editorial media does not enter into this sort of tit-for-tat, book-for-review agreement with publishers, even when a reviewer specifically requests a book from the publisher. –On Starships and Dragonwings

Two new forms for submitting news and deal items to Dear Author – Jane has asked me to post links to two new forms, which are also available in the drop down Contact Us menu.

First, here’s a form for submitting any current book deal you think we should post.

And here’s a form for submitting and news story you think we should post.

In regard to news posts, when someone sends me a prospective item, I don’t generally reference the sender, because not everyone wants to be recognized in that way. But if you’d like a shout out, please let me know; I’m happy to oblige and always appreciate the heads up on articles I might otherwise have missed. –Dear Author

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!


  1. Avery Flynn
    Jul 07, 2014 @ 08:15:58

    When I was a newspaper reporter, I’d receive unsolicited books on a fairly regular basis on hopes of reviews. Since I covered the police beat, it wasn’t my area and I’d pass them along to the features team. Then it was a toss up to how many of those unsolicited books were reviewed. Honestly, probably not many.

  2. cayenne
    Jul 07, 2014 @ 08:54:30

    The article regarding the ARC review pressure was very interesting. I wasn’t clear on whether her “ARC guilt” was a personal sense of obligation or one that was externally imposed, but I really hope it’s not the latter. For someone who blogs and reviews out of love, I expect any kind of pressure would be unmotivating, and if conditions like “MUST review in exchange for ARC” are applied to ARC requests, I get the sense that there would ultimately be fewer reviews done as bloggers reject the conditions. From a PR standpoint, that would be pretty counter-productive.

  3. Suzy K
    Jul 07, 2014 @ 11:23:41

    I’ve been reading Shoma Narayanan’s Harlequin stories… I like reading about the Indian subcontinent and the cultures therein, whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, or any of the other smaller regional cultures. Fascinating!

  4. Cynthia Sax
    Jul 07, 2014 @ 13:35:18

    Now I have to update my “I Love Reviewers Page” ( ) to include “I don’t expect you to review every or any book I send you.” (which I previously thought was a given but I guess it isn’t)

    I LOVE that you added a submit a deal form! That ROCKS! Let me go test it!

  5. Cynthia Sax
    Jul 07, 2014 @ 13:47:37

    OMG! The new deal form is AWESOME!!! It was easy to use. I love the ‘Is there any content we should mention to readers?’ question (I wish booksellers had this). The only tweak I’d love to see is adding ARe ( ) to the list of booksellers.

  6. Alexandra
    Jul 07, 2014 @ 18:44:45

    YouTube is by no means perfect (like when it enabled DASH playback and video buffering took a serious hit) but IMO some ISPs get away with providing ridiculously crappy service (ahem, Comcast). Google and Netflix’s relatively quieter PR efforts are interesting, though. In a situation like this where video companies are battling ISPs the real loser is still going to be the end user. Which is unfortunate because (ever increasing) demand from the end user is what keeps both parties in business.

  7. JennK
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 13:43:16

    I got an ISP shaming notice from Microsoft last week when I installed Office 365. It said my connection was so slow, it was going to take extra time to complete the download and installation process. The media is covering this issue only with regards to streaming, but if your ISP throttles you back, it can also affect Dropbox syncing, online software purchases, and so on.

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