Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Tuesday Midday Links: Stephen Covey Decouples

I have no idea the contractual terms under which Stephen Covey made his publishing deal with Simon & Schuster but apparently it is allowing him to sell his digital rights to Rosetta Books in a deal that will make two of his bestselling books available ONLY on the Kindle platform for one year.    My guess is that Rosetta and Covey got some kind of deal from Amazon for the exclusivity.

This is a coup for Amazon because the only thing that prevents Amazon from real domination is content control.   I’ve argued, although not many people believe me, that Amazon wants to publish and will unveil more partnerships like this in the future.

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Huffington Post has collected a number of photographs of innovative bookcases. I love the first one that has the lounging seat in the middle. I wonder if I could get Ned to build one in the tot’s bedroom.

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Author’s Guild calls the move by Random House that all its ebook rights belong to the publishing house so long as the word “book” is in the contract “regrettable.” Regrettable? Really, that’s the harshest word you can think of?

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Harlequin’s collaboration with Big Fish Games hits the market today.   You get to play the role of a reporter while you find hidden objects and solve puzzles.   Have I ever mentioned how I played Riven like 32 hours straight.   It is sad but true.   Nora Roberts has a game coming out based on her wedding series. I would have said that a JD Robb based game made more sense, but puzzles are puzzles, right?

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Speaking of Harlequin, it has been the subject of two more controversies.   First up is the fact that Harlequin, in re-releasing some vintage titles, edited the content to make it more palatable.   Harlequin probably should have had a forward/editorial note regarding the changes.

Second, in the recent Harlequin Presents writing contest, entrants were disappointed that two published authors won the contest.   The authors were within the terms of the rules because only currently contracted Harlequin authors were ineligible but entrants felt the playing field was uneven.   I think Trish Morey has it right, though, that you don’t have to win the contest to sell.

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Andy Ihnatko writes about the mythical Apple Tablet, the death of the Crunchpad, and envisions new publishing formats:

Device-independent standards are the tools that allow them to sell content to anybody with money to spend, and investing in an open standard liberates them from the problem of predicting a winning horse a year before the race is run.

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

7 Comments

  1. Shannon Stacey
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:09:23

    How do you get to the books in the eyes of the figure eight-ish one? I’m stumped.

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  2. Mike Cane
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 14:06:15

    >>>Regrettable? Really, that's the harshest word you can think of?

    Really, what else can the AG say? They’ve already sold every writer down the river with Google. So now publishers are emboldened to steal what remains.

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  3. AQ
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 14:35:16

    Jane, I’ve always agreed with you on the Amazon push toward exclusive content. Much like we see albums being exclusive to Wal-Mart or Best Buy. I’m actually waiting for the exclusive Wal-Mart book deals and would like to see the Wal-Mart vs. Amazon battle of the big names. I suspect Wal-Mart or even Target would kick butt. Better marketing machines already in place, I suspect larger single title sales, plus all of those in store reminders. Really it’s only a matter of time before Wal-Mart enters the ebook marketplace. They’ve already targeted Amazon as a competitor in the next phrase of business expansion so I doubt that they’ll leave the ebook marketplace alone when they can be the reseller of the ebook readers.

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    HQ: I didn’t follow the entire thread but I did wonder how Susanna Carr aka Jenesi Ash’s current books with Spice fit into the criteria found in Rule #5. Of course, not enough to follow-up on it.

    Potential sale? Not even an issue for me. It’s not the prize. The access to the editor for an entire year. That’s a different story. Who wouldn’t give their eyeteeth to have access to an editor when you’re unpublished? It’s not as big of deal if you’re already working with multiple projects with other editors.

    I suspect that “aspiring” authors were more likely to attempt writing the entire novel whereas for a published author the contest requirements are less than a typical book proposal. Fair? Ehhh. Easier? Yep. Not against the rules though but I can see the argument about the spirit of the marketed contest as it applied to the single announcement I read.

    I’m sure HQ will work it out before next year’s contest. I do hope that they make an official announcement about Susanna Carr’s eligibility and how her work with Spice didn’t disqualify her from the contest since that’s a distinction that not every contest entrant would be able to make on their own.

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    Ahhh, pretty bookcases. Now me want more books. I think I saw the autumn bookcase on last week’s episode of Castle. It’s was Riley from Buffy’s bookcase. (I’m too lazy to look up the actor’s name.) I thought it look pretty cool then too.

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  4. The Octopus Gallery
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 15:01:37

    All I can think of when looking at those shelves is that none of them are very practical. Maybe the Cave could be, but it’s still a lot of wasted shelf space. This is why high design is lost on me.

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  5. rs
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 16:32:37

    @AQ:
    Joanne Grant explained at the bottom of the thread here, that Carr hadn’t broken any rules. She said they’d spoken to their legal department. However if they had to speak to their lawyers then they must have had a problem with it. The issue would have been helped if Harlequin had been a bit more forthcoming. It was obvious that Carr’s publishing history was going to be found out. If they had stated that she hadn’t broken any rules when she was announced as a winner then much of the furore wouldn’t have happened. Also if the HQ published authors had refrained from telling everyone to act professional and stop being so upset then I think things would have calmed down much more. They were fanning the flames. They should just have stayed away.

    The problem with this thing is the appearance of impropriety. It may well be legal but is it really ethical for two published authors to enter a contest that has been pitched at aspiring authors? Carr in particular had a history with HQ. She could have quite simply contacted her Spice editor and asked if she would read her manuscript and forward it on. She would have stood out from the general submissions as a previously contracted HQ author. I simply do not understand why she felt the need to enter this contest. The fact they have two winners instead of one speaks volumes imho.

    It will be interesting to see if they change the rules of the contest if/when it runs next year. Or if it becomes a free for all with all the HQ authors not currently “contracted” entering the contest desperate to ride the Presents gravy train.

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  6. AQ
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 17:04:45

    @rs:

    So “contracted” should interpreted to mean actively working to fulfill a contract and has nothing to do with the fact that the work is currently available for sale by the same publisher. I’m taking it that this work does not get royalties then, only a flat fee like a work for hire or something similar. (Sorry, trying to work the logic out in my head.)

    That’s an interesting distinction that I’m not sure a lay person could make. Heck, if the legal department had to make then I doubt the average editor or author could make it either.

    Wow. Why bother?

    The win doesn’t guarantee a contract only access. As you pointed out this author already had access via her previous relationship. I understand it was a different editor but still… Why give even a hint of impropriety when the win doesn’t come with a contract guarantee? The work can still be contracted without giving the non-contracted author the win.

    ETA: I noticed that they locked the thread. It must not have died down enough.

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  7. rs
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 17:58:43

    @AQ:
    Yes apparently when that is what they mean. Nice of them to clarify that before the contest. There’s a thread over on Absolute Write where one of their authors goes into the contract stuff a bit more. Even though you are getting royalties you are out of contract. That is the publishing industry standard definition, apparently. Thread is here

    Yes, they did lock it. They were still getting more negative comments. From the attitude of some of the authors and posters over there I think I think you have to be happy clappy and think the suns shines out of HQ’s backside.

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