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Tuesday News: LendInk killed by false accusations of piracy; Criticisms of...

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“Get your hands off me, you damn Coal!”

After this Eden panics and is set upon because she said an offensive term to her boss because, in this world, established in the first ten pages (even if you want to check merely the preview on Amazon for free it’s there), coal is still considered a racial slur.” Legendary Women

I’ve debated whether to post about the book Save the Pearls by Victoria Foyt because it is such an awful book and the marketing is so terrible (blackface) and the comments by the author have been racist (“Conceivably, if the book had not reached the African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists, perhaps there might be some backlash.”). I didn’t want to give such a negative thing any attention at all, but if I were to give it attention, I would want to point toward some great critiques of the book which says everything that I think and then some. (See also here)

If you want to hear a full throated defense of Agency pricing, you can enjoy this podcast interview with Simon Lipskar, President of the Writers House literary agency. That said, you may want to read Courtney Milan’s takedown of Lipskar’s letter to the DOJ before listening to Lipskar’s podcast.

LendInk brought strangers together, allowing them to lend legitimately purchased ebooks to each other under the terms and policies set by each publisher (whether it was a self published author or a traditionally published author). Unfortunately, for some reason a number of authors believed that the site was engaged in piracy and in three days got the site shut down. I participate in both the Kindle Owner’s Library program (which requires the ownership of some kind of Kindle device rather than simply downloading a Kindle app) and I’ve received and lent books through Amazon when the book rights permit it. When I use the lending feature enabled for a book, the author does not get a royalty for that book but that is how the system is designed based upon the rights granted by the publisher and in the case of indie authors, by the author herself.

Apple did approve Amazon’s Instant Video App so it’s not really silencing competitors in the video market.

This is in Australia but given the international reach of the internet, it is something to think about.

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

38 Comments

  1. Kate
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 05:43:38

    I’m completely embarrassed by the response to Lendink. It, along with other sites created for the same purpose, was/are an amazing service. It was a way that those who perhaps couldn’t afford my book, or weren’t completely sure they wanted to spend money on a book by an author they never heard of, could read it and decide whether or not to look out for my work in future. I mentioned it on my Facebook page in an attempt to inform my readers that they could share their books and find new ones in a similar way. Immediately I had questions as to why I was promoting a pirating site.

    I first saw this on Kindle Boards and was shocked at how quickly people jumped on the band wagon, not reading past the first post to see the responses by those who’d bothered to read the FAQ. Even when they did read them, the debate turned to whether it was ethical. It’s such a shame that it’s gone now.

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  2. Lynne Connolly
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 06:54:30

    Lendink had a few problems, but it wasn’t a file hosting site and sending a DMCA (takedown) notice to it was a waste of time, since they didn’t have anything to take down.
    When the “piracy” calls started up on the author loops of most of the publishers I’m with, I decided to find out for sure.
    So I joined the group with a fake email, just in case it was hooky. My first problem was that the site certificate was out of date. A red flag, but not one that shouted “piracy.” They asked me to list a book so I could get credits, which would enable me to borrow. I listed a book at random, one I didn’t actually own. They accepted it and listed it. Maybe they should have given me credits after I’d lent a book, not before, but maybe it was goodwill that gave me enough credits. I went through the process of borrowing a book but I deliberately chose a book I knew wasn’t available because the author had opted out of all borrowing schemes when she listed it. The site said the book wasn’t available. Good, that was what it should have done.
    Note, at no point did it say that I had to upload anything. That would have been evidence of piracy. I couldn’t find any evidence that the site was doing anything illegal. As far as I could see, it was one of those “dating service” sites that hooked up people wanting to borrow books under the Amazon and Barnes and Noble schemes with people having books to borrow. There are a few of these sites on Goodreads, and one or two others online. Nothing wrong.
    What appalled me was the level of ignorance on some of the author lists of what piracy consists of, and the lack of knowledge of what actually happens to their books when they are listed at Amazon and B&N.
    Also noticeable was the authors from the smaller publishers seemed to be the ones who made the most noise. The larger publishers (EC, Samhain) put up notices saying they’d investigated, but the site didn’t appear to be doing anything wrong, and they explained what happened when a book became available for lending. The authors with the smaller pubs went into a hysterical witch-hunt.
    Writing for publication is a business, people. Learn it. Don’t scream “Wolf!” without clear evidence.
    Concentrate on the places you know for sure are pirating. No way will I give them extra publicity by listing them here.

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  3. Variel
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 07:30:20

    So suddenly YouTube is going to work on iOS devices despite the fact that Apple do not support and have adamantly refuse d to support flash on the devices. Sound a bit fishy to me but I’ll have some happy friends if the safari option does work in future.

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  4. Joy
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 08:27:23

    Whoa, they took down a lending site because they didn’t know what one was? There have been a number of these around for years–I’ve used them a fair amount– and it’s all legal and aboveboard. It doesn’t seem like they understood user-to-user lending at all.

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  5. onyx
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 08:30:30

    Thank you so much for highlighting this article “Racist Issues in Victoria Foyt’s Save the Pearls: Revealing Eden.”

    Even the title of the novel makes me cringe.

    Since I’ve got a site up that goes into detail on where The Help went wrong (Medgar Evers error is a HUGE one that was never picked up by mainstream media), I’m reading and researching about “Save the Pearls” right now. In the meantime, I have links which go into the marketing mis-steps when dealing with African Americans.

    http://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/the-help-movie-cleans-up-after-itself-the-novel/making-the-help-pay/

    http://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/the-newest-trend-in-advertising-wtf-ideas-with-offensive-overtones/

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  6. Becky Black
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 08:40:53

    That’s so annoying about LendInk. I saw the messages about it appearing on loops I’m on, so had a look at the site, Googled about it, read messages on the loops from people (including Lynne above – thanks!) who explained what it was really about and stopped worrying about it. That was the end of it for me, but apparently not for others.

    We’ve got all the resources of the internet at hand to figure stuff out, why don’t people use them? It’s like people who retweet a spurious breaking news story on Twitter without taking a minute to check a few news sites to see if it’s actually true. Check facts first, please!

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  7. Isobel Carr
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 09:54:34

    So, Save the Pearls is Morlocks meet the Island of Dr. Moreau with an extra soupcon of racism and WTFery thrown in for good measure (and a WHOLE lot of world-building problems tossed in to make the show extra entertaining)? What was that tag for truly awful books: #SweetJeebusHoneyDews?

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  8. AlexaB
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 10:20:06

    @Variel: YouTube works right now within Safari on iOS devices. I’m on an iPad and can go to the website and play video just fine. YouTube uses H.264 video compression, so iOS still isn’t supporting Flash.

    I personally find the YouTube app clunky and avoid it when possible, so Apple’s decision won’t affect me. But I do think it’s another salvo in the ongoing iOS vs. Android mobile operating system war (YouTube, like Android, belongs to Google.)

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  9. Jane
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 10:37:40

    @Isobel Carr – SweetJesusHoneyDews.

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  10. Lil
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 11:04:15

    The power of social media to do harm is frightening. Is there a cure that isn’t worse than the disease?

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  11. Jody W.
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 11:14:10

    The LendIt hysteria was an embarrassment. I saw it explained, repeatedly (and may have explained myself), to some of the reactionary authors that LendIt was NOT A PIRATE. I guess the facts were tl;dr or something because they were subsequently ignored. How very…Fox News.

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  12. Nadia Lee
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 11:20:38

    @Jody W.: The biggest objection to the site, whether legit or not, was that when the book was lent, the author didn’t get $. So the only thing the objecting authors wanted was that everyone who read their book bought it new.

    Basically the same anger / hate some authors directed at UBSs or libraries in some cases.

    Makes me unhappy since I think shutting down the site deprived readers of legitimate ways to try new-to-them authors for free. :(

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  13. Sirius
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 11:40:14

    @Nadia Lee: Okay, I am confused now and probably purely out of ignorance. Isn’t that what happens when kindle lending happens? I mean I get to lend or borrow the book and author does not get royalties but gets a chance to let new reader know about them?

    Here is the thing, unless I get a reviewing copy for free or friend sends me a kindle loan, I practically never buy completely new authors these days – way too much dissappointment and more than enough authors I am already happy and familiar with to satisfy my reading appetite . I never went to the site, simply because I did not know about it till reading about it few days ago (yes, as always I am really late to the news), but I most certainly do kindle loans with the friends. I discovered several newer authors this way which works I buy often now. I just wonder how shortsighted one should be to not realize that this is a *good* thing to let the reader sample their works that way. Shakes head. And yes, I also thanked my lucky stars that several books I loaned I did not have to pay money for because I will never touch some authors’ works after I sampled them that way, but again,is it not better for the authors? I would have been much angrier and more inclined to express my dissappointment in the review had I paid money for the book?

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  14. Nadia Lee
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 11:54:04

    @Sirius: Of course it’s better & you basically said how I felt about Kindle / Nook lending, but guess some authors feel differently? :( I have no idea. No matter how many times people tried to explain that LendInk is a legit site, many chose to ignore it and reported it for piracy, etc. :sigh:

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  15. Nadia Lee
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 11:55:32

    *how I feel

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  16. MrsJoseph
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 11:57:39

    @Sirius:

    IIRC the Amazon lending program gives a small amount of money to the author per lend. The more lends the larger the small dollar amount per lend. Last I heard it had gotten up to $1.60 for some authors.

    From what I read, this does seem to be the largest issue: the desire to have every read = new purchase.

    The idea of this makes me slightly ill. I’m sure that 99.9% of those authors used a library at one point in their life.

    Annnnnd now, with the exception of authors who I already know and trust, I’m already back to only buying used in print. Screw your ebooks and the desire to kill off lending. I’ll keep my money in my pocket.

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  17. Isobel Carr
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 12:00:27

    @Jane: I was SO close!

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  18. Sirius
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 12:06:46

    @MrsJoseph: AHA thanks , I did not know that, but still – what I said before still applies, IMO. I am not near at the swearing off the ebooks stage, but as I said, you do not want to let me *legitly* try your work, eh keep it to yourself then, not a cent of my money will go to you simply because I have more than enough authors to choose from and as it is humongous TBR list.

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  19. Mina Kelly
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 12:10:48

    I do think the over-reaction to LendInk was absurd and hopefully it’ll reappear soon, once they establish they’re doing nothing wrong. Lynne’s post is interesting to me, though, in that she tried to borrow a book that wasn’t available and wasn’t able to – obviously the site is down right now, so I’ll have to ask: how are books listed on there? I ask because I have seen at least one author claim a book of theirs that wasn’t yet released available through the site. They assumed a user in possession of an ARC was abusing the system, but now I wonder if it was listed solely because it was on Amazon (as coming soon) and had they been a member they’d have found it wasn’t actually available to borrow yet.

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  20. willaful
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 12:13:43

    “Get your hands off me, you damn Coal!””

    Anyone else having “Planet of the Apes” flashbacks?

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  21. Dawn
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 13:21:16

    @Variel – the original YouTube iPhone app has worked just fine (I’ve used it on various devices). Reading elsewhere, it seems that this event relates to several different things, including the chilly relationship between the two companies. Apple built and included the original YouTube app, which forced the move away from Flash videos, since Flash does not work on idevices (or much else, really). The app hasn’t been updated in a long time, and will not be included in iOS6. In the relatively near future, Google will be putting a new YouTube app on the app store, which will be more up to date than what we have now, presumably including some of the features available on the website and will allow Google to show ads prior to videos. In the interim, YouTube will continue to be available through Safari on iphones, ipads, etc.

    For more info: http://thenextweb.com/apple/2012/08/06/why-is-apple-ditching-the-youtube-app-from-ios-6-its-about-money-and-machismo/

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  22. MrsJoseph
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 13:39:37

    I don’t use You Tube so it’s a step up to me. I’ve tried to delete the app in the past but it wouldn’t let me. I’m more than ok with Google getting off my phone. I’m sick of them tracking me and I have no interest in a “You Tube Account.” Guess what? Thanks to the foresight of the good people at Google I have one though! :-(

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  23. azteclady
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 13:42:39

    @willaful: *raising hand*

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  24. onyx
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 13:59:20

    @willaful

    Yes. That’s the first thing I thought of when I read it. I’m referencing it in a post on my blog.
    “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!” – Taylor/Charlton Heston’s character from the original Planet of the Apes

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  25. Mireya
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 14:49:29

    @Nadia Lee: Thanks for confirming what I had been thinking all along about this.

    The funny thing about this is that I, like many other readers, DO NOT buy new-to-me authors unless (1) they are recommended by a friend whose taste I trust; (2) a reviewer whose taste resembles mine recommends the author; (3) I have a chance to try a freebie or a very cheap ebook copy of one of the author’s stories. Lending is a perfect way of trying new to me authors. This incident doesn’t exactly endear them to me, and as someone else mentioned, my autobuy list is large enough for me not to need to be actively looking for new/new-to-me authors.

    As much as I may somewhat understand, fact remains that the way things are with all the competition and what not, marketing aka hype is EVERYTHING, and forcing lending social networks to shut down seems (at least in my eyes) like a rather myopic move.

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  26. Janine
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 15:02:15

    @MrsJoseph:

    From what I read, this does seem to be the largest issue: the desire to have every read = new purchase.

    The idea of this makes me slightly ill. I’m sure that 99.9% of those authors used a library at one point in their life.

    This.

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  27. Joy
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 15:52:59

    @Mina Kelly:

    as to how books are listed on lending sites in general, I can say that it varies. Some of them pull metadata directly or indirectly from Amazon or B&N. Others just let you give the title and author. Some intermediate the lending, some just allow you to request a loan directly of the lender. Some lending groups are implemented using goodreads shelves. In the 150+ loans I’ve participated in since 2010 (both borrowing and lending), only once have I seen a ebook I thought might be pirated (and I certainly didn’t expect it). Sites that don’t intermediate the lending can’t verify anything of course, but the users of these sites are by and large honestly and legally lending.

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  28. Ann Somerville
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 18:42:45

    The same idjits who are screaming about this lending site are undoubedly the same ones who were whining about Amazon allowing returns on ebooks a little while ago. They simply don’t understand the power of ‘try before you buy’ in promoting an author’s work.

    I swear most of us self-pubbed authors were dropped on our heads as children. It’s the only explanation. And yes, I include myself in that, only my lunacy tends in other directions ;)

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  29. Brian
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 14:45:11

    @Mina Kelly:
    All books available on Amazon were listed as it was also an Amazon affiliate site to generate income (before Amazon dropped all CA affiliates), so even non-lendable books were listed on the site, but couldn’t be borrowed unless they had lending enabled.

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  30. Kate
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 18:10:23

    A post on Kindle Boards by the owner of Lendink

    http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,122241.msg1823244.html#msg1823244

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  31. Moriah Jovan
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 18:42:38

    @Ann Somerville:

    They simply don’t understand the power of ‘try before you buy’ in promoting an author’s work.

    That’s what sampling is for. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen someone on GR say, “I couldn’t stand this ebook from the first page. I returned it/want to return it/if it hadn’t been free I’d be pissed I’d spent the money.” If someone knows they can/do quit a book at the first page or first chapter or whatever, they should be reading samples as a matter of course.

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  32. Sirius
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 18:51:32

    @Moriah Jovan: Not at all. Sampling of one page does not work for me as a substitute of reading author’s complete work. Sure, sampling 20-30% of the work may do the trick, but you know, I would never bother doing that for the author I never heard of. Again though – this is those authors’ loss, not mine. I do not need to find new authors, really I do not. I mentioned it elsewhere, but I will repeat it here, I can easily name around twenty mm authors, whose works I am confident enough to at least check out. A lot of those authors are autobuys for me and I am so confident in them that if they produce one or two works I consider crap, I will still continue buying them. And those are just mm works, which is not the only genre I read even if this is the genre I mostly review. If those authors (I keep saying those authors, even though I have no idea whether mm authors participated in killing this extremely useful service) are thinking that I need something else to read, they are really really mistaken.

    I try to be a conscientous reviewer and try new authors from time to time with free reviewing copies, but for my reading pleasure and with my own money? Absolutely no way. Too much crap out there on this book market IMO.

    And the readers who do not also review for blogs (which is the majority of readers), have lending as their primary tool to try new authors, why would any author be silly enough to want to limit that?
    Lending is a virtual library, to me it is as simple as that. I would have thought the authors would be jumping up and down wanting to make sure their works could be lended, because otherwise *I* (any reader I mean) would never learn about them. At least five or six of my favourite authors I discovered during the last year through reviewing and lending. I would have *never* discovered them otherwise.

    EDIT: Yes, there are of course reviews, but I pay attention to the reviewers whose tastes are similar to mine, which is not too many, so even if I see a review on respectable blog, and I do not know how close reviewer’s tastes are to mine, I will not rush to get the very new to me author.

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  33. Moriah Jovan
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 19:07:24

    @Sirius:

    Sampling of one page does not work for me as a substitute of reading author’s complete work.

    So you would buy a new-to-you author’s work without sampling it, then discard it after one page or one chapter, and be angry about having wasted your money?

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  34. Sirius
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 19:14:31

    @Moriah Jovan: My whole point was that I will *not* buy the new to me author at all, unless I will read her or his complete work or the very trusted reviewer recommends it.

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  35. Ann Somerville
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 00:38:35

    @Moriah Jovan:

    If someone knows they can/do quit a book at the first page or first chapter or whatever, they should be reading samples as a matter of course.

    There are plenty of writers with a decent style and competent skills who still can’t provide a satisfying experience at the end of the book for the reader. Samples are important. So is the ability to try out a full book.

    Seriously, the people screaming about this should be so lucky that anyone even *wants* to borrow their damn books. Half the time SP authors can’t give them away. People are *that* wary about having a bad experience with a crappy author/story.

    ETA: Or I could have written, “What Sirius said” :)

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  36. MrsJoseph
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 11:00:58

    @Moriah Jovan:

    Samples: Retailers have different sample amounts. Kobo books samples are often just the equivalent of the first 5-10 printed pages. In the last book I sampled from them those pages only got me to the final title page. I didn’t get to read a single word of the text. Amazon gives a higher portion.

    You can’t rely on samples.

    As Sirius said, I’m just going to stop reading new to me authors. Problem solved.

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  37. Ann Somerville
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 18:37:07

    @MrsJoseph:

    “As Sirius said, I’m just going to stop reading new to me authors. Problem solved. ”

    Which is, of course, the solution all self-published and niche authors want to see [/sarcasm].

    At least with Smashwords finalising their library sales deal, some of us will have a chance to put books out for lending without all this screaming from idiot fellow awwwthors.

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  38. Merrian
    Aug 12, 2012 @ 23:42:00

    Here in Australia, the LendInk debacle is news in our state broadsheet newspaper now. The article focuses on the author’s misunderstandings and attack as a negative outcome of DRM and the emerging clash of interests between readers and authors the witch hunt reveals

    http://www.theage.com.au/it-pro/innovation/blogs/smoke–mirrors/lendink-fiasco-keeps-rights-management-issue-burning-20120810-23z01.html

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