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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.

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

13 Comments

  1. Ivy
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 14:57:32

    The ad is hilarious…ck. your site every day. You always have the most interesting info.
    Ivy

  2. HeatherK
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 15:17:17

    First time I saw that particular ad. The Verizon vs. At&T ad wars crack me up. I like the one where the guy’s in a diner and his “map” falls and the guy says, “You’ve got some map in your soup.”

    I enjoy those almost as much as I like the Mac vs. PC commercials.

  3. katiebabs
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 15:27:05

    See, even Verizon wants Bella to be with wolf boy. LOL

  4. MaryK
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 15:40:53

    I read Kassia Krozser’s article immediately after commenting on the Reading Neurosis thread. The lost sales because of unavailability she talks about sounds a lot like the TBR comments in the RN thread. With paper books, immediately available, I buy and then lose interest. With ebooks, windowed, the buyer is unable to buy and loses interest. Sure, the ebook buyer could calendar the ebook release, if it’s known, but by then the reviews are old and something newer is buzzing.

  5. RStewie
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 15:43:52

    As a crappy person, I am reading this at work and can’t see the ad, but I’ve been following the Verizon VS ATT ads since their inception…hilarious. I have a TMobile Tap, and am with TMobile. I am completely happy with them, so I’m a very disinterested 3rd party when it comes to this “showdown”…that said, AT&T seems to be constantly scrambling.

    I loved Jessica’s take-down of Hurst’s “academia”, and her judiciously harsh use of quotes. The quotes sold me on the whole article…decisively utilized, there. “Scholarship”, indeed.

    I DON’T want “covers” on my ebooks. I like the title page dealio, I don’t want pictures crowding up my computer folders for no apparent reason. They certainly aren’t selling me on the ebooks, like they would on the MMPB…so I’d rather they weren’t there. But I guess I’m alone in that?

  6. CourtneyLee
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 16:10:21

    There are a few authors I’d donate to, as well, to keep them writing. I think it might backfire on occaision, though, if it happens and the author’s “patrons” are unsatisfied with subsequent books or feel that because they are paying the author to write, they have a say when it comes to content. But in theory, I’d totally send off a few bucks for the cause.

  7. Bonnie
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 16:17:41

    Can someone tell me why AT&T has such shitty coverage? And why Apple would continue to stay with them in spite of this?

    Funny video, though.

  8. Kim
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 17:22:37

    To RStewie, work is the perfect opportunity to surf the net, read romance reviews, and catch up on emails. As long as you keep typing, but don’t laugh, you should be good.

    I discovered Dear Author, Smart Bitches, and other blog sites last year at work. Since then, I have moved across an ocean and became a professional volunteer. I am infrequently home during the day to surf the net. I log onto blog sites at midnight, tired, so I often skim or even misread stuff. So enjoy surfing at work!

  9. Edie
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 18:00:44

    @RStewie: Must admit I am not majorly fussed about covers on the ebooks – I would prefer the blurb.

  10. Dana L
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 19:06:39

    I have Verizon and I have never seen that ad. It is hilarious to me. I thought about going to AT&T for the IPhone, but I hear the coverage isn’t that great, so I will just get an I-Touch and be happy.

  11. Heather Massey
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 19:11:41

    so I am not going to reinvest time to revisit this series until is actually finished.

    I admire your discipline. When it comes to Song of Fire and Ice, I have absolutely none. I’ve got a mad crush on Tyrion, and I’m only going to fall harder watching Peter Dinklage play him in the HBO series.

  12. kirsten saell
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 00:45:43

    The next SOIAF? Now that’s an ebook I might pay more than $10 to get. Holy bleeping bleep, 1200 pages of it? I am so there.

  13. SAO
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 03:56:57

    I usually buy an ATT sim card when I’m in the states (A sim card is the thing that gives you a phone number). Their 3G coverage map as much more coverage than Verizon’s version of it. I’ve never had a problem with phone coverage with ATT.

    I get my SIM cards from ATT because they let you pay 15$ for the sim card and 15$ worth of calls, allowing me to have a US phone for a few weeks. The bad thing is you can’t keep your number unless you spend $100/year with them.

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