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Thursday Midday Links: Defamation Accusations Strike Again

In France, a business has taken a great dislike to the way it was portrayed in a recent crime novelist’s book and has sued the author for defamation. I know that the laws for defamation tend to favor the alleged defamed (business) than the alleged defamer (novelist) but this case does surprise me.

For Walker, the court case has come as a shock. “I think this is serious. It means that every time you want to write a fiction you have to ask the permission of the owners or the place,” she said. “Potentially it represents a big threat to our liberty.”

She added, gloomily: “We will all have to end up writing science fiction instead.”


Apple’s contract with the publishers is making Amazon quite unhappy.   Currently the Apple contract allows the publisher to set the price. Apple takes 30% but requires that no other vendor is allowed a lower price or more favorable terms.   Amazon wants the same deal and wants a three year commitment or it won’t sell the paperbooks directly. Frankly given that Amazon restored direct sale capability to Macmillan after only a few days, I see this threat toward big publishers as fairly empty.   Toward smaller publishers? It might be more real.


The Game Developer Choice Award Winner, Gabe Newell, shared his thoughts on DRM.   He calls entertainment a service and DRM a disservice to his customers.   DRM adds negative value to the product.


Barnes and Noble stock grew a tiny amount on the news that Steve Riggio, one of the co owners of Barnes and Noble, was stepping down from the CEO position and 39 year old William Lynch was being handed the reins of the largest physical retail bookselling chain in the US.


Teleread has an interview with Baen publisher who sells DRM free ebooks along with print books.   Part of the reason the books are not as costly is because of the lack of DRM (signalling perhaps that DRM is a monetary choice rather than a philosophical one?).   Weisskopf scoffs at the idea that one sale cannalbalizes another.

TW: I don't think any sales "cannibalize" any other sales. Does a used book sale cannibalize a new book sale? Not at all. In general, people buy the nicest version of a book they can at the time. Can a used book sale or a library loan introduce my author, my series, my brand to a new reader, who may then be enthralled, entranced, ensorcelled into buying the next new hardcover in the series (and the eARC, and the final ebook, and maybe the pb too, so she can lend it out)-’heck, yes. My goal is to make more readers for my brand. ANY sale has the potential to do that.

H/t to reader les


Scott H, aka Dr. Skippy, has created magic from the Dear Author/SBTB/Angela James survey we did for the Tools of Change conference. I’m amazed and full of gratitude.   (yes, magic is hyperbole)


Amazon has released the MAC version of its Kindle Application. Now Mac users can enjoy all the freebies that the PC and iPhone/iTouch users enjoy.

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

15 Comments

  1. willaful
    Mar 18, 2010 @ 13:45:28

    Nice to see a publisher so sensible. I usually buy used for myself but when I find an author I like, buy tons new for presents for other people. Or replace much loved battered copies with new editions.

    Getting the same book as an ebook free would definitely encourage me to buy a book new. I much prefer reading print, but there are so many books I wouldn’t mind keeping if it weren’t for space limitations.

  2. Kalen Hughes
    Mar 18, 2010 @ 13:56:31

    Baen has the right idea. In fact, I just bought P.C. Hodgell’s entire backlist from them (ebooks) cause I love them so much and don’t want to wear out my Hard Backs (which I bought after rereading and loaning out my paperbacks till they fell apart). So I've now paid Hodgell at least four times (maybe five for a couple of books).

  3. Kaetrin
    Mar 18, 2010 @ 17:00:26

    Kudos to Baen. Why can’t the big NYC publishers see this?

  4. Tae
    Mar 18, 2010 @ 17:58:22

    Hurray for Kindle app on my Mac! As a Sony PRS reader I’ve been frustrated by all the free Kindle books that I can’t get since I don’t have a Kindle or an itouch or an iphone

  5. Jane Litte
    Mar 18, 2010 @ 22:13:24

    I am happy that the Mac application came out. Robin and I argue about why it takes so long for Mac applications to follow.

  6. Kerry
    Mar 18, 2010 @ 22:53:52

    I love Baen. I think they are one of very few publishers who “get it”. Thanks to their sensible ebook strategy, I tend to buy their books twice. I’ll pay for both the hardback for my keeper shelf and first read and the ebook for ease of rereads.

    In a way it’s silly. I’ve just downloaded Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s latest book as an ebook but I won’t read it until the hardcover arrives next month. But it makes me happy to have both and Baen and the authors make two sales on the same book.

    But I love that they don’t tie me down with DRM and that they don’t care where in the world I live. They just want to let me read their books.

  7. sao
    Mar 19, 2010 @ 00:05:31

    The easily readable charts revealed a serious design flaw with your survey:

    681 responders said they’d downloaded a non-free book, but,

    Around 2500 answered the question, “I would stop illegal downloading if . . ”

    By very rough math, 70% of the people who answered the “I would stop illegal downloading if” question have never illegally downloaded a book. My guess is most of them do not plan to, either.

    In short, your data on that question is completely and utterly worthless.

  8. Jae
    Mar 19, 2010 @ 00:39:50

    681 responders said they'd downloaded a non-free book, but,

    Around 2500 answered the question, “I would stop illegal downloading if . . ”

    By very rough math, 70% of the people who answered the “I would stop illegal downloading if” question have never illegally downloaded a book. My guess is most of them do not plan to, either.

    I think you’re reading the questions incorrectly.

    A “non-free book” sounds like a book that has been paid for, so a non-free book cannot be an illegally downloaded book which is free by definition. So about 2500 people are admitting to illegally downloading books, but only 681 people are admitting to paying for an ebook.

    There are some serious design flaws with this survey that render it utterly worthless, but this isn’t one of them.

  9. stevie
    Mar 19, 2010 @ 05:49:30

    John Gruber is rather less impressed with the Mac Kindle:

    ‘You'd be better off with scanned images of the print versions of books’

    http://daringfireball.net/linked/2010/03/18/kindle-mac

    Of course he also wonders, along with Paul Constant at The Stranger:

    ‘How long is Amazon going to dick around publishers before customers start to think of their inventory as unreliable?’

    which suggests that he is a bit slow; many of us have already grasped that Amazon cannot be relied upon and taken our custom elsewhere…

  10. Marianne McA
    Mar 19, 2010 @ 07:34:18

    I bought all of Bujold’s Baen books twice as well – because at those prices you can afford to duplicate and have the ebook set as well.
    They also have really decent lengthy excerpts, and are easy to buy from. IIRC, they note the books you’ve bought from them as well, so you can redownload them if you need to.
    I’m already planning to buy Bujold’s next in both formats.

  11. Bonnie
    Mar 19, 2010 @ 08:30:47

    Jane, you were faster than Amazon about the app for Mac. Didn’t hear from them until today. Thanks!

  12. sao
    Mar 19, 2010 @ 12:43:51

    Sorry, I phrased that badly.

    681 people answered yes, they’d downloaded a non-free book without paying.

    Around 2500 people replied to the question, ‘I’d stop downloading illegal books, if. . . ”

    Meaning around 70% of the people who replied to that question had never illegally downloaded books (downloaded a non-free book without paying).

  13. Ridley
    Mar 19, 2010 @ 18:02:27

    I don’t understand how a regular DA or SBTB reader could not know what DRM was, yet 11% didn’t.

    It’s constantly debated at length here. How do you miss it?

  14. Estara
    Mar 21, 2010 @ 15:31:24

    @Kalen Hughes: You did see that Bound in Blood is out as a final ebook version, too, didn’t you?

    Of course you did.

    Oh and I told her you liked her books, when she asked if she had gotten new readers from her change to BAEN on her LJ – http://tagmeth.livejournal.com – although I did say I didn’t know when you had discovered her.

    Charles Stross discovered her recently, too. Squee!

    re: BAEN – they also offer multiple formats for download – so you don’t need to tie yourself to just one – or have to convert books via Calibre. The only other vendor I’ve seen do that so far is Fictionwise with the non-drm books. AllRomance offer you various choices but you are tied to the one you initially downloaded, same with BooksonBoard.

  15. Merrian
    Mar 22, 2010 @ 22:21:46

    re the down loading non-free e-books question i think it was confusingly written but dosen’t mean that all those who answered were pirating. I at first was going to say yes because I was thinking of project guttenburg texts as aooposed to the free giveaways from publishers, then I realised it was about pirating…. so yes it was confusingly written but you can’t therefore say that everyone who answered is a pirate.

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