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Thursday Midday Links: Global Is the Future

This week has been bereft of news links because of our giveaways like “Save the Contemporary” and the “ACE/ROC Giveaway”.   This does not mean that news hasn’t been happening so here’s my two bit summary:

Overzealous copyright enforcement results in harmful and crazy results. First example is OK Go. EMI, the record label of OK Go, disabled the embed ability for OK Go’s famous treadmill music video, much to the dismay of OK Go. For OK Go’s next video, they partnered with State Farm to produce it, allowing for embedding. Yes, they had to get away from their record label to allow for embedding.

In another example of how bad it would be for ISPs to be required to police content is the chilling account of the silencing of Laurence Lessig.

But, really, the fact that Lessig has had two separate videos — both of which clearly are fair use — neutered due to bogus copyright infringement risks suggests a serious problem. I’m guessing that, once again, this video was likely caught by the fingerprinting, rather than a direct claim by Warner Music.

Reader Janice points out a study that two psychologists have done to posit that Harlequin titles reveal something about women’s desires. To wit: we like men that are  financially  secure and committed, fit and sexy.   This is a surprise?   Apparently we like doctors most of all and cowboys next.   What about the poor Sheik?

John Sargeant wrote a blog post about pricing.   I asked a question and he answered.

The high mass market pricing is a legacy of the old model. Under the agency model trade paperbacks will be $9.99 and lower. Mass markets will probably be at the price of the physical book or lower. We may do some experimenting on price here since digtal will be paperback format agnostic. Some books exsist in both formats-

What his answer means, I am not entirely sure.   He says that at the end of March, the new pricing models will engage and all the books published in print will be available digitally.   It is the beginning of March a) still books not in ebook format (i.e. Louisa Edwards’ On the Steamy Side) and books that have the super premium pricing (Julia Spencer Fleming’s entire backlist is priced at $14.00 even though there are mass market print editions selling for $7.99).   Hopefully, at the end of March, books will show up and at equal to or lower than print prices.   No discounting will be available, however, through retailers.

A Princeton pilot study on the use of ereaders has mixed results. There was less printing of material, almost a 2/3s reduction (if my math is right and it could definitely be wrong).   About 65% of the users, however, would not replace their ereader if broken but the majority are interested in foll0wing the technological advancements of ereaders. (Oh, I think the iPad and devices like that are going to win the day here).

The CEO of Penguin, John Makinson, showed off new iPad books from Penguin at the  Financial Times‘ Digital Media & Broadcasting Conference in London.   One of the books is Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and the “enhanced” version contains in book chatting or something like that.   Makinson suggests that the “book” is evolving:

The definition of the book itself, as far as we can see, is up for grabs. We don’t understand at the moment what the consumer is prepared to pay for them. We have opportunities to do more product marketing, by including a sales message at the end of every e-book for example.

We’ve recommended in book upselling for some time here at DA.   I suggest these CEOs hang around the readers at and other like places if they want to know what readers want.

Penguin had a very good year.

Shares in Pearson hit an eight-year high yesterday after the publisher of the Financial Times and Penguin books announced a 13 per cent increase in pre-tax profits.

Part of its success was driven by the huge number of bestsellers:

Bestseller success across the Group: Penguin enjoyed bestseller success around the world with a record number of New York Times bestsellers (243 with 30 hitting number one) in the US and, in the UK, Penguin had 46 Top Ten bestsellers. Bestsellers came from across a wide range of imprints highlighting the depth and breadth of Penguin’s publishing around the world and included titles from debut authors such as The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which was named the USA Today Book of the Year and now has more than 1.7m copies in print, and The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee in the US, and Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson in the UK, plus well-established author brands such as Charlaine Harris, Nora Roberts, Jamie Oliver, Jeremy Clarkson and Marian Keyes.

Ebooks sales in 2009 were 4 times the number in 2008.

So did Harlequin.

Harlequin closed the year very well. Including favourable exchange impact, Harlequin achieved annual growth in EBITDA of $15.7 million or 22% versus prior year despite the difficult global economic environment. This represents Harlequin’s third consecutive year of growth.”

Fiction booksales are up 2.7% in 2010 in the US but hunger for English language works is spreading globally.   India may be the next mid market (possibly bigger than the US)

Driving the demand is the country’s continuing economic boom – 6.7% growth in 2009 despite the global crisis – and the tastes of the new Indian middle class.

“It is a forward looking generation,” said Singh. “The low hanging fruit for us is the single working woman who has money in her hands, the liberty to read, no responsibilities yet, no husband, children and so on.”

I mentioned to other readers on Twitter that I can’t wait to read the four novels from India Mills & Boon writers and would love to see Russia Mills & Boon writers, Korean Mills & Boon writers, Turkish Mills & Boon writers. Maybe this globalization will lead to the diversity that some of us readers hunger for or maybe we’ll realize we are much more alike than different.

One of the benefits of global reach of an author’s work is the reduction of what Mike Cane calls “invisible piracy”.   The most recent example is this wherein Gene Simmons’ son was penning a graphic novel which appeared to be copied WHOLESALE from Japanese manga.   Nick Simmon’s lame ass response:

"Like most artists I am inspired by work I admire. There are certain similarities between some of my work and the work of others. This was simply meant as an homage to artists I respect, and I definitely want to apologize to any Manga fans or fellow Manga artists who feel I went too far. My inspirations reflect the fact that certain fundamental imagery is common to all Manga. This is the nature of the medium.

I am a big fan of Bleach, as well as other Manga titles. And I am certainly sorry if anyone was offended or upset by what they perceive to be the similarity between my work and the work of artists that I admire and who inspire me."

In true irony, Nick Simmon’s livejournal starts with this entry:

If you steal my artwork, you will pay. In cash.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. Joan/SarahF
    Mar 04, 2010 @ 12:05:52

    I’m pretty sure M&B just opened an office in Turkey. Too lazy to figure out if it’s an editorial office, or just business office. But they’re getting there.

  2. Laura Vivanco
    Mar 04, 2010 @ 13:41:43

    Sarah, according to Harlequin’s blog post about their launch in Turkey, Harlequin “are working with a local company, Ekip, who looks after translation & editing, coordinates local printing, and helps us with marketing & distribution.”

    But Random House India have apparently printed some historical romances written by Indian authors:

    At Random House, the girls at editorial decided to give in to their fantasies and commission some desi historical romances-‘ we call them the purdah-jhadoka romances inhouse -‘ with nawabs and zamindars and nautch girls. These were the books that we'd been longing to read when we were growing up!

    We decided to call our series Kama Kahani and asked four rookie novelists to try their hand at writing one, each in a different setting: ‘Jodhaa-Akbar' Rajasthan, Parineeta-era Bengal, White Mughal Lucknow and Ranjit Singh's Punjab.

  3. MaryK
    Mar 04, 2010 @ 14:00:00

    I wonder if coupons count as discounting. Some store coupons do have brand restrictions – “not applicable to such, such, and such brands.”

  4. Estara
    Mar 04, 2010 @ 15:08:29

    Some clarification regarding Nick Simmons plagiarism:

    Well, he didn’t copy it wholesale, but her certainly traced several poses of characters that looked like the Bleach/Hellsing etc. manga characters directly. His comic was in colour so he changed a lot of the colors used in the artwork (Bleach girl Orihime is red-haired with brown eyes I believe, his look-alike is blonde and blue-eyed).

    The damning bit was that you could overlay certain panels from his comic with the Bleach artwork (and the fan community even realised that some of the traced art came from chapters NOT AVAILABLE YET in the US – which means he used raws or scanlations from the internet).

    So = He’s not a complete copy-cat, but to my mind he is a thief.

    P.S. I loved the twitter reaction of Bleach mangaka Kubo Tite, who was more concerned that Gene Simmons’son was a mangaka at all, than that he had been ripped off.

  5. Ridley
    Mar 04, 2010 @ 15:17:19

    That video is amazing.

  6. AmyW
    Mar 04, 2010 @ 15:55:24

    I bought OK Go’s album because of that video and loved the song — and it was embedded on a blog. Hated all the other songs on the CD except for one, too, but they got my $12 all because of that YouTube clip…

  7. Zoe Archer
    Mar 04, 2010 @ 18:05:19

    I adore Rube Goldberg devices, so I’m glad OK Go was able to break the yoke of tyranny and allow me to see their epic video. Thanks, and good evening!

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