Tuesday Midday Links: Crowd Based Patronage
This is a quite hilarious ad by Verizon mocking AT&T’s pathetic coverage (I am an AT&T customer via my move to the iPhone). Watch until the end.
Guardian asks whether crowdsourcing author advances is legitimate. Deanna Zandt wanted to write a book on using social networking for social change and action, specializing in often marginalised subsets such as women, people of color and queer folk. She wanted to write full time and not work and asked for “investors” who would send her money that she could use to support herself while she was writing books. She raised about half of the money that she had targeted.
The article calls this asking for the crowd to source an advance but because investors don’t get anything back, I see it more as a modified patronage system. It was one of the experiments that Cory Doctorow wrote about. I don’t think it’s chutzpah, necessarily, as the Guardian author suggested. I wouldn’t donate to Deanna, but I did donate money to Ann Marie Cox when she was laid off in the midst of covering the presidential election. The note I sent was that I hoped she used my donation expressly for something frivolous. I had received a lot of enjoyment from following Cox during the election period and wanted to give back.
There are definitely some authors that I would donate money to simply for the pleasure of keeping them writing. Whether there are enough of us to do that, I can’t rightly say.
Another article in the Guardian notes that George RR Martin has completed over 1200 pages in his next installment of the Song of Fire and Ice series. I some concern that this series will never be completed so I am not going to reinvest time to revisit this series until is actually finished.
Media publishers (not book publishers…yet) are upset with Apple over Apple’s refusal at this time to give up any consumer data information.
Media executives fear Apple will have unprecedented control over their readers’ information, one of their most valuable treasures to attract advertising, and will take almost a third of their subscription revenues “forever,” according to the Financial Times.
Keishon writes about how ebook quality control is important to her.
Lack of covers -‘ most annoying. But the argument always circles back to well, you're not even reading on a device that sports color anyway so what's the big deal. It's a big deal. In color or not, I would like to look at the original cover versus looking at a mock-up with book title, author name and publisher name. Its an eye-sore and it looks tacky. Besides, Stanza and eReader apps for iPhone sports color covers.
Kassia Krozser admits to having entitlement issues.
A recent meme in publishing is that some readers are exhibiting a sense of "entitlement" about buying ebooks. I'd like to humbly offer myself as Exhibit A. It is true: I feel entitled to buy books. I insist upon it, actually*.
Seriously, is it ever a good idea to disparage your customers? To treat them like they are annoyances? To suggest that they simply don't understand how things work, when, really, why should they? Especially when, in at least one instance, the publishers were the ones who changed (or attempted to change) the rules?
So, as a person who happily pays for books, this is what I feel entitled to: the book in the format I prefer at the time my awareness in said book is sufficient that I go to make the purchase at the price I deem reasonable based on my extensive experience as a book consumer.
Jessica takes on the scholarly article on romance and feminism by Rochelle Hurst in Australian Feminist Studies, Vol. 24, No. 62, December 2009. Hurst apparently posits that BJD is more feminist than the Mills & Boon books:
I am not going to comment on Hurst's points about Bridget Jones' Diary, except to note that her argument for BJD's feminist superiority to romance, depends largely on her faulty take on the romance genre. I want to focus instead on Hurst's portrayal and dismissal of romance, and her "scholarship".
James Grimmelman, a professor at New York Law School, found this interesting tidbit in the Google Book Settlement filing. It comes from the statement of Paul Aiken, Executive Director of the Authors’ Guild, and suggests that the contracts that were submitted by the Author Subclass cover digital editions:
Counsel also advised me from their review of such contracts that in the late 1980s many of the major publishing houses' form contracts began to include electronic rights grants to the publisher.
From the Authors’ Guild website, however, is this statement:
The misunderstandings reside entirely with Random House. Random House quite famously changed its standard contract to include e-book rights in 1994. (We remember it well — Random House tried to secure these rights for royalties of 5% of net proceeds, a pittance. We called it a “Land Grab on the Electronic Frontier” in our press release headline.) Random House felt the need to change its contract, quite plainly, because its authors did not grant those rights to it under Random House’s standard contracts prior to 1994.
A fundamental principle of book contracts is that the grant of rights is limited. Publishers acquire only the rights that they bargain for; authors retain rights they have not expressly granted to publishers. E-book rights, under older book contracts, were retained by the authors.