First off, I have some personal but semi blog related news to share. I have been asked by Berkley to put together an erotica/erotic romance collection of shorts which will then be published in a flip book. The flip book has two covers: one on the front and one on the back. Each cover is reverse of the other. You read half the book and flip it over and read the other half. My goal is to collect twenty authors who will write 5,000 words or so about the topic of pleasure and/or pain. The book will be published by Berkley Heat and will be on shelves December 2011. I hope to include a variety of authors, some unpublished, some recognizable. If you have recommendations, let me know!
In disturbing news, I came across a copy of Pursuit by Elizabeth Jennings (published by Grand Central, a division of Hachette) selling for $22.99. This surprised me given that Pursuit was a mass market paperback release in 2008. The digital price is listed at $10.99. Again, for a mass market release put out two years ago.
When I mentioned this on Twitter, I was informed that Pocket is doing the same thing. Roxanne St. Claire’s Hit Reply is listed at $21.99 and the digital price is $15.99. Another person sent me the link to Pamela Morsi’s Courting Miss Hattie listing at $19.00 for print and digital. The actual price of the digital is $9.99 as Amazon is allowed to discount Random House books.
All these books have apparently run through the original print runs. In order to keep the books “in print” and not allowing the rights to revert to the authors, publishers are using Print on Demand technology to keep the books in print.
I think that this is just a crazy policy by publishers. For one thing, it pushes readers to the used market. Who is going to buy the POD version of a book at $22 when she can buy a used copy for $3.99? For digital readers, why in the hell would they pay $15.99, $10.99 for a book that sold as mass market. They are better off creating their own digital copy from a used book. Or some may just decide to pirate it.
This type of pricing doesn’t serve the author and it doesn’t serve the reader.
Congress held hearings on whether the US Postal Service can eliminate Saturday mail service. Amazon claims the lack of Saturday service will adversely affect rural areas while Netflix doesn’t see much of any impact. I love Saturday mail service but eliminating it supposedly will save billions of dollars.
Harlequin is partnering with Penguin India to bring the Mira imprint to ndia, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
Padmanabhan said Penguin-India saw a 'strategic fit with the success of MIRA's list worldwide'.
"The market in India has an ever-growing need for commercial mass market fiction like historical, fantasy, vampire and paranormal romances that are a huge hit worldwide. Indian readers love them too. Anyone looking for a great read, be it in summer or winter, at home or while travelling, is our potential customer,' he said.
I’m kind of fascinated by this cross publisher relationship that is taking place overseas. Is there anything like that in the US or UK?
Laura Miller, of Salon, talks about the up side and down side of increasing amount of self publishing.
Readers themselves rarely complain that there isn’t enough of a selection on Amazon or in their local superstore; they’re more likely to ask for help in narrowing down their choices. So for anyone who has, however briefly, played that reviled gatekeeper role, a darker question arises: What happens once the self-publishing revolution really gets going, when all of those previously rejected manuscripts hit the marketplace, en masse, in print and e-book form, swelling the ranks of 99-cent Kindle and iBook offerings by the millions? Is the public prepared to meet the slush pile?
Readers do complain about the lack of variety and that is one area in which I would hope to see growth but the issue of curation is going to be a big one in the future.
Finally, the biggest news of yesterday was YouTube’s win over Viacom. Viacom sued YouTube for copyright infringement and argued that YouTube should be actively policing the content it is hosting in order to p
The judge granted YouTube’s Motion for Summary judgment (which is a legal document saying “we don’t have any real dispute over the facts so decide the legal question before you.” All legal questions are for the judge and all fact questions are for the jury (factfinder)). In the ruling, the judge found that the DMCA protects entities like YouTube who might know that users will upload copyright infringing material so long as YouTube (and like entities) remove the copyright infringing material once notified.
Essentially the judge was upholding the plain language of the DMCA statute.
[Judge] Stanton ruled that YouTube's "mere knowledge" of infringing activity "is not enough."
"To let knowledge of a generalized practice of infringement in the industry, or of a proclivity of users to post infringing materials, impose responsibility on service providers to discover which of their users' postings infringe a copyright would contravene the structure and operation of the DMCA," the judge wrote.
Stanton ruled that YouTube had no way of knowing whether a video was licensed by the owner, was a "fair use" of the material "or even whether its copyright owner or licensee objects to its posting."
Viacom’s interpretation was that once a company knows that people use it for improper purposes, the company loses its “safe harbor” protection. By looking at extensive legislative history, Judge Stanton determined that Viacom’s interpretation was not consistent with the intent of Congress AND that it would have made the DMCA safe harbor provision meaningless.