Thursday Midday Links: Can a “no issues” book truly be no issues?
Booksmugglers (one of my favorite blogs) reviewed Daniel Ehrenhaft’s book “Friend Is Not a Verb” and because of a multitude of issues, Ana was not able to grade the book, but the review and following comments are a fascinating and thought-provoking read. That is, to what extent should authors being including provocative elements without addressing the byproduct of those provocative elements. The author came and stated that while he understood Ana’s complaints, she was reading too much into the book because it was “not an issues book.” Aja, another reader, asks
instead of the *reader* having to juggle guilt for their own gut reactions to skeevy moments in the books they read, wouldn't it be a heck of a lot easier for authors just to not write problematic elements into their storytelling?
It reminds me a bit of Robin’s thoughtful piece about bad mothers on Romancing the Blog and Karen Templeton’s response that Robin was reading too much into the issue. I would link to RtB but someone has decided that the entire archive should not be available to the public. (and by someone I mean someone who runs RtB) Alison Kent reports that there is some corruption in the data? I don’t know. Hopefully it will be back on line.
iRex Technologies has declared bankruptcy. iRex manufactures the expensive Iliad reader. I would be leery of buying any of these devices because there won’t be any support in the future. That said, you might be able to get these on a steep discount. Best Buy was carrying these at some point.
Dr. Jack M. Balkin and other scholars run a blog called Balkinization. Yesterday, a guest blogger posted about the unintended consequences of our current copyright system (a topic I am going to post about on Tuesday). Christine Mulligan points out that the high school show choir Glee constantly (but fictionally) violates copyright preforming the songs and mashups. In real life, a show choir could never perform the songs that the Glee club sings because high schools and other secondary educational institutions would never be able to afford performing rights.
Each mash-up is a "preparation of a derivative work" of the original two songs' compositions – an action for which there is no compulsory license available, meaning (in plain English) that if the Glee kids were a real group of teenagers, they could not feasibly ask for -‘ or hope to get -‘ the copyright permissions they would need to make their songs, and their actions, legal under copyright law. Punishment for making each mash-up? Up to another $150,000 -‘ times two.
Lest you think that no record company would ever go after a glee club for violating copyright, think again. Mulligan points out that in the 1990s, the Girl Scout troops were asked to pay royalties for singing copyrighted songs at camp.
Andrew Savikas of O’Reilly blogs over at the Tools of Change site. He gives some insight into what has worked for them in terms of pricing.
The data above doesn’t include the promotion we ran on May 21, when we extended the “$9.99 Deal of the Day” to any title — our servers metaphorically melted from the demand, which far exceeded our expectations, driving more than a 20-fold increase in sales over a typical day.
This is consistent with Jobs’ philosophy on the pricing of content (versus hardware)
Jobs believes people are willing to pay for content, and says Apple has found the key to moving content is aggressive pricing and volume. Given that the iTunes store revolutionized the e-music industry, I suppose he ought to know.
The FTC has proposed a number of suggestions that would allow journalism to be preserved. These include allowing price fixing for newspaper paywalls and taxing ISPs. Nice and very pro consumer (said with a heavily sarcastic tone).
According to Knopf Doubleday, first week ebook sales for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest was approximately 30% of all units sold.
The popular subscription-based book industry website's mid-day newsletter is reporting that "Knopf Doubleday spokesman Paul Bogaards says their internal figures show an approximate first week sell-through of 425,000 units-which includes 125,000 ebook editions."
As Teleread noted, the sale of these books came from Amazon and other retailers as Random House is not part of the iBook revolution.
Stephenie Meyer has a new novella out about some character that appeared for six pages in the very last book of the Twilight series. Yes, I don’t know either. Cleolinda recaps it and as talented and funny as Cleolinda is, even she couldn’t make the novella sound interesting.
The novella includes the phrase of “cheeseburger of pain.”
Jessica interviews another of my favorite bloggers, Rosario. Rosario began blogging in August of 2002.
5. Do you think the romance genre has changed? What are some of the most significant changes in your eyes?
I know lots of readers feel that the genre has become homogeneous over the years, with fewer and fewer settings and authors constantly jumping on whatever the new big trend is, but I think it's more complicated than that. In terms of who the protagonists can be, in my opinion, there's much more variety. It's most obvious with heroines, and I do love that. These days female characters can be strong, they can go toe to toe with the hero and actually win (without then being punished for it, either), they can be sexually experienced, they can make mistakes and be flawed, and they're still allowed to be heroines. As for the heroes, although the over-the-top alpha is still as popular as ever, I feel different conceptions of masculinity have become acceptable in romance novels now.
Brian O’Leary at MagellanMedia Partners writes an open letter to Authors Guild president, Scott Turow. O’Leary tries to appeal to Turow’s legal training which would require him to look at evidence, good evidence, to back up the claims that piracy is going to kill the publishing industry if the publishing industry doesn’t take action.
I understand that you want to send the message to AG members that you are on top of the hot button issues they are likely concerned about. I would hope that you agree that the membership deserves the truth about piracy, its effects, and even potential uses your members or their publishers can make of existing piracy.
So, here's what I think you should do: keep piracy on the agenda, but change the language you use to describe it. The goal is not to "stop piracy", but to understand its impact and use enforcement in markets where doing so has the greatest positive impact.