Doubling Down on DRM – Last month, Tor’s entire catalog of ebooks went DRM free. You may have seen that if you went to purchase a Laura Florand backlist title after Sunita’s wonderful review of the Chocolate Thief. According to Cory Doctorow, Hachette UK wants its authors who are also published with Tor to ask Tor to replace the DRM. Hachette asserts this is because DRM is actually working to decrease piracy. I’m not sure what studies they have to prove their point (none exist as far as I know because how would you be able to test this? In fact, I recall asking Harlequin whether the DRM free titles were pirated at a greater rate than non DRM’ed titles and they replied that they did not believe so). Yet Hachette is so concerned about the DRM free nature of the Tor titles that it is actively reaching out to authors to get them to agitate for change. Change backward. I, and so many others, have tried to explain that eliminating DRM is one of the biggest competitive hammers publishers have against Amazon.
“I’ve just seen a letter sent to an author who has published books under Hachette’s imprints in some territories and with Tor Books and its sister companies in other territories (Tor is part of Macmillan). The letter, signed by Little, Brown U.K. CEO Ursula Mackenzie, explains to the author that Hachette has “acquired exclusive publication rights in our territories from you in good faith,” but warns that in other territories, Tor’s no-DRM policy “will make it difficult for the rights granted to us to be properly protected.” Hachette’s proposed solution: that the author insist Tor use DRM on these titles. “We look forward to hearing what action you propose taking.” The letter also contains language that will apparently be included in future Hachette imprint contracts, language that would require authors to “ensure that any of his or her licensees of rights in territories not licensed under this agreement” will use DRM. “ Publishers Weekly
FT publisher Pearson to offer business degrees I’m not sure what these types of online colleges are like in the UK, but in the US many see for profit, online colleges as a business scam. Pearson has faced criticism for tests in the US at the middle school level but with textbook prices falling and the education market shaking up, I suppose offering online degrees is only the next logical step in remaining profitable and relevant.
“The company, which owns Penguin Books and the Financial Times, said it aims to recruit “the brightest and most entrepreneurial students” for the courses, which have been developed with a number of businesses… Degrees at Pearson College, which will properly launch in September next year, will be validated by Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, which are part of the University of London, said the publishing and education firm.” Telegraph
The e-book lending wars: When authors attack — The story of the LendInk debacle is circling the internet and despite the obvious evidence that the claims of piracy were inaccurate and the repeated attempts of knowledgeable authors to point out what their colleagues actually agreed to do when publishing with PubIt! or Kindle Direct, some authors are simply adamant that lending between strangers is wrong and subverting the original intent of the lending program. Each lending program is draconian. Only one lend can occur for most books and the lending period is 14 days. The only way to lend is to actually have legally obtained a copy through purchase. This should not come as a surprise to any long time online denizen though. There are established authors who bristle at the used bookstore and decry libraries. One editorial in the NYTimes suggested that used bookstores were the downfall of publishing. Others want the First Sale doctrine to be revised so that every additional sale results in a royalty.
“Some authors didn’t even seem to be aware that their books could be loaned under the terms of their agreement with Amazon to publish on the Kindle, and a few later apologized for their attacks on LendInk — but others seemed unrepentant about their criticism, and argued that built-in approval for lending of e-books between complete strangers was somehow wrong. At least one author argued that sharing of books was fine between two friends, but not between two people who had been connected by a website or service like LendInk. Aside from the misunderstandings about the service, the dissatisfaction felt by some authors about the whole idea of e-book lending seems to be driven by the same impulse that keeps publishers from making sharing easier: namely, the idea that every book that gets shared is a book that isn’t bought, despite the fact that plenty of evidence shows that sharing — and even outright piracy — in many cases helps increase the demand for content. As musician Neil Young put it recently: “Piracy is the new radio — it’s how music gets around.”” GigaOM
The Best Time I Published With Harlequin – The author of the article starts off describing her disdain for the romance genre and her inaccurate belief that writing one of those factory produced category books must be easier than melting ice on Atlanta porch in July. She admitted she was wrong after she tried her hand at it and was rejected. Later she came back to the market when Spice Briefs were introduced and began writing sexier modern stories. Yet for all her liberation, the author still writes under a pseudonym, afraid of the disapprobation of her family and friends. The Hairpin
Helen Gurley Brown is dead at 90 - Cosmo is the butt of quite a few jokes, my favorite in recent memory being this hilariously written article (“Dip your breasts in edible body paint, and use them to ‘sponge paint’ his entire body. Then lick it off.”
How big a bucket of edible body paint would you need to dip your breasts in it? And what sort of weirdly dexterous breasts allow for painting? Doesn’t this just involve lunging at him like a brightly-colored walrus?) but in view of the Hairpin article and the shame women often associate with sex, Cosmo has to be credited with making women’s sexuality mainstream. Jim Romenekso
“Longtime Cosmopolitan magazine editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown died today. She was 90. “Her formula for honest and straightforward advice about relationships, career and beauty revolutionized the magazine industry,” says Hearst CEO Frank A. Bennack, Jr. “She lived every day of her life to the fullest and will always be remembered as the quintessential ‘Cosmo girl.’ She will be greatly missed.””