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Wednesday News: Amazon speaks, smartphones boost digital reading in India, has...

Amazon Responds to Discussion of Hachette Contract Dispute – Amazon has broken its silence on the Hachette negotiations, and, as Nate Hoffelder points out, it’s much more generous to Hachette than Hachette has been to Amazon. Also, how is it no one seems to have learned anything since the agency pricing debacle?

Negotiating with suppliers for equitable terms and making stocking and assortment decisions based on those terms is one of a bookseller’s, or any retailer’s, most important jobs. Suppliers get to decide the terms under which they are willing to sell to a retailer. It’s reciprocally the right of a retailer to determine whether the terms on offer are acceptable and to stock items accordingly. A retailer can feature a supplier’s items in its advertising and promotional circulars, “stack it high” in the front of the store, keep small quantities on hand in the back aisle, or not carry the item at all, and bookstores and other retailers do these every day. When we negotiate with suppliers, we are doing so on behalf of customers. Negotiating for acceptable terms is an essential business practice that is critical to keeping service and value high for customers in the medium and long term. –The Digital Reader

Smartphones drive ebook sales in India – Another article on the global interdependence of smartphone technology and digital reading. While developing markets still depend on smartphones for growth of digital book sales, the impact of ereading technologies on the digital book market is substantial – for markets in which Amazon is present, owning a Kindle means that someone will buy, on average, four times the number of books they otherwise would.

But the smartphone surge, and the availability of reading apps on them, are redrawing the book market. “Few in India would want to spend a minimum of Rs 7,000 on an e-reader and then pay money to buy e-books,” says Thomas Abraham, MD of Hachette India. “But now, with tablets and smartphones (that you bought anyway) having reading apps, we are seeing the beginnings of what might well be a big change. Last year we saw a quantum jump in sales,” he says.

Ditto for Flipkart, India’s biggest bookseller. Since their launch in November 2012 on the e-commerce site, e-books have seen an eight-fold growth. The growth got a huge boost last year in July when Flipkart launched multiple e-books reader apps with features that allowed access to any section of the book instantaneously, personalization, bookmarking of pages, highlighting text, taking notes, and reference to a dictionary while reading. They now even have a text-to-speech feature where the app reads out the book to you, useful when you are, say, driving, or for the visually challenged. –The Times of India

Did Dr. Dre kill the Apple-Beats deal with his drunken video selfie? – So Dr. Dre and Tyrese Gibson made a video in early May, announcing the sale of Beats headphones to Apple and the fact that the deal would make Dr. Dre “the first billionaire in rap.” That video, which was also apparently fueled by a fair number of Heineken beers, has in turn fueled speculation that Apple has pulled back from the deal, due to the likely unauthorized public representation of the deal. Hmmm.

Not only was it inconsistent with Apple’s famously secretive product launches and buttoned-up corporate image, but Dr. Dre was almost certainly subject to a non-disclosure agreement which he blasted to hell with video, disclosing the deal to the entire internet and dropping a few “motherfuckers” to boot. –Death and Taxes

Seth Rogen Is Not A Victim Of The Santa Barbara Killings – I’m not a big fan of the argument that books and movies influence people’s behavior in any substantial way, especially when that behavior is extreme and extremely anti-social. I think the relationship between culture/media and individuals is complex and multilayered, and that it’s not a simple matter of irrelevance v effect. Still, I think this article makes some really good points about how Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow (in whom I’m REALLY disappointed) missed a huge point, and a major opportunity to be part of a necessary social awakening about the diseased thinking that misogyny represents, instead of the self-centered defensiveness that is so very much a part of the problem.

To quote Hornaday: “For generations, mass entertainment has been overwhelmingly controlled by white men, whose escapist fantasies so often revolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment (often, if not always, featuring a steady through-line of casual misogyny).”

This is the point at the heart of the op-ed that really matters. Neighbors is just referenced as the latest in a long, long line of movies in which men are granted what they desire, always and without question, even if what they desire is not a what, but a who. –Think Progress

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

17 Comments

  1. Sirius
    May 28, 2014 @ 06:53:03

    Evil, evil Amazon lol. Thanks for posting their reply Robin.

  2. Janet
    May 28, 2014 @ 08:21:14

    About the whole Amazon thing, I just don’t understand why people don’t get that this is 2 big businesses doing what businesses do. Just because there are authors involved does not make it less of a business. The bottom line is all that matters to either side.

  3. Chris
    May 28, 2014 @ 08:29:12

    I don’t think it’s any more fair to drag Seth Rogan and Judd Apatow into the spotlight of the Santa Barbara killings than it is to equate Jodi Foster to John Hinkley Jr’s actions. Or the Beatles to Charles Manson. Recognizing and treating the mental illness of people who commit mass murder is the problem here, plus the media who obsess over these type of killings so much it becomes a ticket to posthumous fame for the killers. The killer’s “excuse” for his rampage was how he was treated by women, yet a large number of people he killed were young men. What did his poor roommates have to do with a Judd Apatow movie or how he was perceived by women? That guy was mentally ill and if he didn’t have rejection by women to blame his evil actions on it would have been something else.

  4. Laila Blake
    May 28, 2014 @ 09:38:04

    Honestly, I think the fact that Rogan responded at all is the problem. People write stories in the wake of tragedies (often ones aimed at ruffling some feathers, that’s the nature of articles) and I’ve had my fair share of just rage-quitting the internet in the face of the linear thinking in the case – on all sides.
    It’s not JUST misogyny (although it often enough is), but it’s also not JUST mental illness. He didn’t feel entitled to, say, being in a movie or getting a Grammy. He felt entitled (aided by his mental illness) to a mass cultural narrative of women being objects to entertain men and to give them sex. Free sex-vendors, I guess.

    And yeah, of course movies play a role in that. Surely not only Neighbors, but pretty much 90% of them. So Rogan was called out because of… timing? Because that’s the roles he tends to play? That’s all it was, and he should have ignored it if it ticked him off. By making the conversation about him and the injustices against his poor white male self, he does proof her point more than her article ever could have.

    By the way, the fact that not only women were the victims here only proves one thing: that so called women’s issues, aren’t women’s issues. They are about all of us. Misogyny kills not just women, and it doesn’t just hurt women either. Every feminist ever talking about misogyny knows this. It hurts young boys who are raised with violence in the home or told boys don’t cry, it hurts teenage boys in schools by warping their sexuality towards violence and crudeness, and it really hurt these poor guys who ended up shot because some asshole couldn’t live with the fact that he wasn’t getting the free service women apparently are obligated to perform for him.

  5. leslie
    May 28, 2014 @ 09:46:28

    @Laila Blake: Word!

  6. Lostshadows
    May 28, 2014 @ 09:53:41

    @Janet
    I’m not sure people don’t get it, so much as find it really annoying.

    The book I’m currently reading is selling at Amazon for slightly above cover price, with a wait time of two to four weeks. If I were to rave about it to a bunch of people who were likely to love it, I’m guessing a fair number would be turned off from buying it due to those factors.

  7. Ridley
    May 28, 2014 @ 10:14:11

    I’m not a big fan of the argument that books and movies influence people’s behavior in any substantial way, especially when that behavior is extreme and extremely anti-social.

    This is one of the things I find most frustrating about your discussion posts. If media has no substantial effect on us, why bother writing 5k word posts about it?

  8. Sunita
    May 28, 2014 @ 11:06:52

    I love my ereader, but the growth is all going to be in smartphone apps. In India alone, there are a ton of people that are (a) literate, (b) like to read, and (c) spend a lot of time standing in lines or commuting. Smartphones are perfect for that. If you look at the Pew reports over the last 5 years, one of the striking changes is the extent to which internet access among the lower income quintiles occurs on smartphones, and the share is only going to increase.

    I find it hard to believe that Apple is killing the Beats deal because of a drunken video. If it makes business sense they should do it, and I am pretty sure they know that.

  9. Anonymous
    May 28, 2014 @ 16:33:01

    I don’t blame Seth Rogen any more than I blame anyone else from the pop culture side of things. I do think the gun culture in this country is out of control.
    As for the pop culture, I find it hypocritical to blame only the buddy movies. I was disturbed more at the shooter’s use of the term alpha-male which is term I mainly hear in the romance genre. Romance promotes machismo as much as other culture. We create and in a contest the most uber-macho alpha available. I tend not to like books like that, but they are so much a part of the genre is hard to avoid them altogether. Romances often center on violent evil scheming heroes who use the heroine or force them to do whatever they want. It is unclear what movies or tv he has seen or what books he has read. How would an author like R. Lee Smith respond versus Rogan or even a blog like Dear Author respond to a charge that the recommendation of a book like Heat, (which is an extreme and easy example when they are probably dozens)? I see no reason Rogan should take responsibility in our world where the same narrative of male (usually white) is shown dominating over and over again over women, over his environment, over other people who stand in his way, over rivals just as violent and aggressive as he, and over others in an extreme Darwinian sense. This narrative crosses genres and mediums (Media?).
    Rogan loses no points with me. Dear Author however could have chosen to post stories about rising awareness of misogyny, a rising awareness of gun violence, or introspective look at our genre affects both problems. Instead they picked an article to rip someone who no way advocated this kind of behavior.

  10. Anonymous
    May 28, 2014 @ 16:53:17

    Unfortunately my original comment was lost and not posted on Dear Author. I will attempt to say the same thing, but I apologize if it comes off less articulate.
    I personally understand why Seth Rogan is offended. I think the myth of the uber white violent alpha male is a myth that permeates all genres particularly the romance genre. I never really used to the term alpha male until I became a romance reader. I was very disturbed to see “Alpha male” appear in the hero’s manifesto. It is term that is blatantly used in the romance genre. We don’t what library books he (the shooter) read or did not read. Our genre often promotes that the most dangerous, violent and evil male is the most desirable mate. R Lee Smith’s Heat was a Dear Author recommended read, which featured a very violent man and the woman he treated as an object.
    The extreme alpha also extends to television for example Breaking Bad. It is not one narrative it is several including the romance genre. I neglected to mention that often heroes bed many women before “falling in love” with the heroine. The women previous seem to hold the place of sexual objects.
    I read many books that include a alpha male narrative so I am not objecting to that.
    However I feel Dear author would have been to simply write about their favorite moments in the anti-misogyny campaign or an inward look at the romance genre and it’s alpha problems, rather than just going after Rogan. Let she who is without sin….

  11. Anonymous
    May 28, 2014 @ 17:02:38

    @Anonymous
    I just wanted to add that I don’t think pop culture is responsible for either mental illness or violent tendencies in mental illness. My point is more that if we were to blame pop-culture, we need to consider all aspects of culture including the ones we find more relatable. I apologize if offended anyone by seeming to blame anyone but the shooter for his behavior. That was not my intent. Sorry.

  12. Ridley
    May 28, 2014 @ 17:11:26

    @Anonymous: Who’s only blaming bromance movies? Romance and erotica’s role in perpetuating rape culture comes up fairly often.

  13. Sunita
    May 28, 2014 @ 17:37:20

    Hornaday doesn’t only blame buddy movies. She comments more generally about a range of movies made by men and aimed primarily at young male moviegoers (who are the target audience of the vast majority of Hollywood films). As Andrew O’Hehir notes in a very good column at Salon, she never names Rogen by name or blames him directly for anything. She does directly reference Christian Bale in American Psycho and the Robert Downey Jr. character in The Pick-up Artist, but in terms of their resemblance to Rodger, not as direct causes of his behavior. Had Rogen not responded, or had they responded the way Christian Bale did after the Aurora massacre, this never would have spiralled into the mess it did.

    The term “alpha male” isn’t just a romance term. It’s used in PUA forums, where Rodger apparently spent time. He doesn’t have to have read any romance novels to have discovered and embraced the concept. Just google “alpha male pua” and you’ll get a sense of how widespread it is.

    This isn’t about media causing people to act violently, it’s about cultural values and meanings that are manifested in cultural products, including movies, which then give people a language through which they can express themselves, for good and for ill.

  14. Sunita
    May 28, 2014 @ 17:40:40

    And the Apple-Beats deal is official. Here’s the announcement from Tim Cook.

  15. Wahoo Suze
    May 28, 2014 @ 20:34:56

    The really horrifying thing about Rodgers is that his actions are not in any way unusual. Shocking, but not unusual. This Tumbler started only a few days ago and already has over a hundred examples of women being hurt or killed for refusing to have sex with someone: http://whenwomenrefuse.tumblr.com

    The MRM is, I think, not a huge group, but their attitude of entitlement and general misogyny is rampant in the general population. I recommend http://wehuntedthemammoth.com to learn more and see MANY, MANY examples of misogynist asshattery–and not all of it committed by men, by the way. And as an added bonus, the commentariat (metaphorically) eviscerate the perpetrators, and share recipes and and pictures of kitties stuff.

  16. Robin/Janet
    May 28, 2014 @ 23:31:27

    @Ridley: Well, except I don’t write 5K word posts about the influence of media on people’s behavior (I don’t actually write 5K word posts here on anything, but I’m sure it seems like it to some people ;D). And I didn’t say that media has no effect; what I said is that I’m critical of the argument that movies and books *influence our behavior in any substantial way.* For me, it’s the difference between saying “X caused Y, or X caused Y to do A,” and saying “X may very well be related to Y, but we don’t know in what way or to what degree.” The first is a conclusion offered without evidence or analysis, the second an invitation to discussion. Unfortunately, I think we see far too much of the first, which makes it really difficult to have more of the second. Which is too bad, since, for the most part, we don’t really know why people do most of the shit they do, especially when it’s outrageous or extremely anti-social. Or how the many different messages we get from society affect us as individuals.

    @Laila Blake: The thing is, Rogen wasn’t even mentioned. Which just strengthens your point about how he made it all about him, instead of using the opportunity to open an actual discussion about what he thinks the relevant issues are. He could have used the opportunity to encourage thoughtful analysis, and instead personalized, and therefore limited, the discussion. I thought Hornaday’s post way oversimplified things, but now it’s even more difficult to talk about her actual argument, because of the people rushing to defend someone who wasn’t even personally attacked. Too bad.

    @Sunita: Ooh, thank you for linking to that. The thing that struck me most about the Death and Taxes piece was the way in which Apple is really no longer seen as the great underdog we’re all rooting for, but an entity potentially petty enough to kill a huge deal over a drunken brag. I find that fascinating.

  17. Kaetrin
    May 29, 2014 @ 02:26:41

    @Robin/Janet: I saw a graphic on Twitter the other day which had a graph of various industries/companies and their net worth. The music industry as a whole was a lot smaller than Apple. (Apple wasn’t the biggest – that was Telcos IIRC) but it was interesting to see how much bigger Apple was than an entire industry. So, no, they’re totally not the underdog!

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