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Sunday News Round Up with One Bonus Author Amazon Freakout

emoticon_surprisedRIAA (and hence the music industry) believes that your digital product should not play into perpetuity but rather you, the consumer, should be required to repurchase a digital product from time to time.   Steven Metalitz, an attorney representing the RIAA and MPAA, during the DMCA exemption hearings asserted the argument that digital is ephemeral.

“We reject the view,” he writes in a letter to the top legal advisor at the Copyright Office, “that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works. No other product or service providers are held to such lofty standards. No one expects computers or other electronics devices to work properly in perpetuity, and there is no reason that any particular mode of distributing copyrighted works should be required to do so.”

Via Ars Technica by way of Teleread.org.

eyeAccording to Smart Bitches, the Sony PRS 300 with a 5 inch screen will sell for $199.   That’s the cheapest e-ink Reader on the market.   it will read EPUB/BBeB (Sony’s proprietary format),/PDF (secure/unsecure)/WORD/TXT/RTF.   I love that it has native Word support.   The Sony 600 will sell for $299 with no front light but there will still be a touchscreen and ability to add “freehand notes.”   Via SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com.

emoticon_tongueReed Business is trying to sell a number of its divisions including Publishers’ Weekly, Library Journal and School Library Journal. RBI was for sale last year but had no takers.   Via Publishers’ Weekly.

emoticon_tongueReligious books are in decline with BISG numbers indicating a 10% drop in 2008 and a projected decrease in 2009 of 4%. Part of the reason might be because BISG is getting better data (suggesting, perhaps, that sales have been inaccurately projected too high), but mostly it is due to the same problems that all segments of publishing are suffering: a downturn of book purchases because of the contracting economy and lack of big books. Via Publishers Weekly.

emoticon_smileMike Cane breaks down a French video about the future of digital reading. The two screen, touch controlled device that is displayed in the videos and screen caps looks amazing. There is no question that the software and hardware for digital reading is in its infancy.

emoticon_tongueDorothy Benton Frank is the latest author freakout over at Amazon. Her latest book, Return to Sullivan’s Island, is not getting very good reviews from her core audience. Review after review makes the same disappointed claim that this work isn’t living up to her previous efforts. One reviewer was adamant that DBF had not written this book, “In my humble opinion, Dorothea Benton Frank did NOT write this drivel!” and another ” There is an overabundance of dialogue, which seems to have been written by an amateur.” DBF did not get upset about these reviews, but two others.

The first was Susan Lane’s

I have been a huge fan of Ms Frank’s books for years. Her last 2 books were very mediocre. The Return To Sullivan’s Island is just plain terrible. I am sorry because I will miss the wonderful writing she used to do.

DBF used the comment feature to leave this:

Didn’t anyone ever teach you any manners? What kind of horrible person are you?

When another reader suggested that this wasn’t an appropriate author response, DBF argues that the review must be a fraud.

The second was a two star review left by a male reader whose past reviews, according to Ms. Benton Frank, pertained to science fiction, historical fiction, adventure travel with some business books thrown in for good measure. His review prompted this comment by DBF:

Mr. Pruette, your list of books that you have read and offered critiques to the public is overwelmingly comprised of science fiction with some historical fiction, adventure travel and a smattering of photography thrown into your mix….I am not in the business of pleasing my neighbors or business associates any more than you sir are in the business of understanding women’s fiction. I was just in High Point last week where I spoke to a sold out crowd of hundreds of WOMEN, not science fiction fans, who were lovely and supportive….Unless you are a professor, not only are you unqualified to judge, your manners are seriously lacking. I ought to tell your mother. Hopefully someone will.

Will the professors over at Teach Me Tonight go wild having now gotten approval from DBF to engage in mannerless and judgmental reviewing?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

20 Comments

  1. Sarah Frantz
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 12:58:09

    Reading it again, I don’t think it’s permission. I think it’s an insult. I *think* she’s saying that professors are already so rude, there’s no point in comparing anyone’s manners to them. Srsly, parse it out: “Unless you are a professor, not only are you unqualified to judge, your manners are seriously lacking.” So, “unless you are a professor…your manners are seriously lacking.”

    Sigh. I guess I’m not doing my part to uphold my profession. I’ll have to be a lot ruder to everyone. It’s obviously expected of me.

  2. Brandy
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 13:50:30

    Wait. So unless he’s a Professor he’s not intelligent enough to critique her work? What does that say about her loyal readers who have also critiqued her latest and how she feels about them?

  3. Bev Stephans
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 13:55:14

    When authors behave badly, I don’t buy their books. I have never read one of DBF’s books and now I never will! She joins a long list (mine) of authors behaving badly.

  4. NCKat
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 15:30:47

    I wonder why she responded to these two reviews and not the others? You would think that the underwhelming approval ratings would validate these two.

  5. Nonny Mouse
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 15:53:02

    I spoke to a sold out crowd of hundreds of WOMEN, not science fiction fans, who were lovely and supportive…

    Because it’s impossible to be a woman and a science fiction fan at the same time, obviously.

  6. Deb Kinnard
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 16:09:59

    @Nonny, LOL. I got a whole novel out of that mistaken idea, once. It was sure a lot of fun to write, meanwhile doing my best to debunk that myth.

  7. Meljean
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 17:42:13

    Good news about the Sony. I don’t need the bells and whistles or wireless; I’m mostly just interested in a device that can read multiple formats (especially secure Adobe) and has a nice screen, and I’m more likely to upgrade from my Ebookwise at the PRS-300 price than for $300.

  8. joanne
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 18:24:46

    So my question is: will this generate more sales for Dorothea Benton Frank? I would wonder if the rant is rewarded.

    I do know that the Amazon commenters are beating up pretty badly on Christine Feehan for her latest but I don’t think I’ve ever seen her rant. Will good online behavior result in better sales numbers? Does it effect sales at all? Just curious.

  9. katiebabs
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 18:30:51

    It seems once a month there is some sort of author freak out on Amazon over reviews. Is there something in the water?

  10. Angie
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 18:51:26

    where I spoke to a sold out crowd of hundreds of WOMEN, not science fiction fans

    Because of course there are no WOMEN who are science fiction fans. [coughcough]

    This WOMAN obviously doesn’t spend enough time online. If she did, she’d know what kind of reputation this behavior would earn her. :/

    Angie, who’s been into SF longer than she’s been into romance

  11. Leah
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 20:13:36

    It’s silly, but part of me wants to read this book now to see if it is, indeed terrible. So if we all had money to burn, yeah, it might result in increased sales. And it doesn’t take a genre expert to recognize good writing. I am not a sf/f reader, and it doesn’t thrill me–but I can still recognize quality writing in that genre. If I ever get pubbed, I hope I can learn from this either not to read Amazon reviews ever, or to at least not reply to them!

  12. Julia Sullivan
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 20:57:37

    Of course I had to wade in. I was tempted to vote Ms. Frank off my island, but I don’t know how they poll us Sullivans for that!

  13. SonomaLass
    Aug 03, 2009 @ 00:17:22

    Okay, so because I’m a woman, I can’t be a science fiction fan, and as a professor, I’m expected to have bad manners. Wow, I’m glad someone cleared THAT up — like Sara F, I have NOT been doing my bit in the rude college faculty effort, and like Nonny Mouse, Deb and Angie, I have considered myself a science fiction fan for quite some time. Who knew?

    As for the RIAA, this is why I resist going totally digital for music. I buy the CD and then import it to my iTunes library, or else I buy it on iTunes and immediately back it up onto a CD. Not a good equivalent of that for ebooks yet, so I only get free/cheap ones that I don’t mind losing someday.

    I keep telling my family that I keep the big box of video discs and the non-functioning player for same in the spare closet (instead of throwing them away) because they serve as a reminder about the cost of jumping on the bandwagon of a particular media format. Really it’s just because after all these years, I still can’t bring myself to throw away the investment they represent. At least the books I bought back then (c. 1984) can still be read and enjoyed!

  14. Susan D.
    Aug 03, 2009 @ 07:35:11

    At $199 it will be very tempting to buy a Sony, even though I have committed to a netbook (a laptop at an ebook reader price…). At $199, I might be willing to have both. Wonder if Sony would consider $149, that would make me even happier.

    Has anyone learned how much these things cost to make, and at what price the device makers are profitable? Just curious.

  15. Randi
    Aug 03, 2009 @ 08:52:22

    If DBF can prove her assertion that most of her bad reviews are actually written by the SAME person, using various screen names, the story would get even better. But sounding off that all the bad reviews are one person, with no proof-Bad Author!!

    Clearly, DBF hasn’t spent enough time here at DA to know that you need to back up your accusations with proof.

  16. Kalen Hughes
    Aug 03, 2009 @ 09:37:03

    f I ever get pubbed, I hope I can learn from this either not to read Amazon reviews ever, or to at least not reply to them!

    One of the first lessons I learned from my pubbed friends was to NEVER look at my Amazon reviews (my sister sometimes trolls them and forwards me the good ones). And I think common sense tells most of us not to get into a public spat with a reader over a review.

  17. LizA
    Aug 03, 2009 @ 13:30:54

    I have never gone 100% digital because of the age issue, and this confirms my suspicion that it is all about selling the same product to the same person again and again and again. I am quite surprised someone comes right out and tells the customer that they are going to take them for a ride, though. Used to be that products were made to last, and quality was something to be proud of…

  18. Jules Jones
    Aug 03, 2009 @ 14:13:14

    [looks at bookshelves and DVD collection]

    [looks down front of blouse to check the mammaries are still there]

    Another one for the non-existent group over in the sf corner…

  19. Statch
    Aug 03, 2009 @ 19:04:44

    Mr. Metalitz seems to have missed the point that the idea is to SELL creative works to the public. He can reject the view all he wants — I’m not going to buy a digital item, be it music or book, that I can’t keep permanently (or that I can’t turn into something I can keep permanently). I guess he missed the whole music industry DRM fiasco….

  20. Stumbling Over Chaos :: More book contests and links than really seems reasonable
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 02:07:00

    [...] Author has a great news round-up, including a statement from the RIAA that might make your brain explode. If that doesn’t, the [...]

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