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

Amazon

Tuesday News: Authors United insult just about everyone, Robin Thicke’s deposition disaster, LEGO’s gender trouble, and portraits of Black Victorians

Tuesday News: Authors United insult just about everyone, Robin Thicke’s deposition...

Amazon has every right to refuse to sell consumer goods in response to a pricing disagreement with a wholesaler. We all appreciate discounted razor blades and cheaper shoes. But books are not consumer goods. Books cannot be written more cheaply, nor can authors be outsourced to China. Books are not toasters or televisions. Each book is the unique, quirky creation of a lonely, intense, and often expensive struggle on the part of a single individual, a person whose living depends on his or her book finding readers. This is the process Amazon is obstructing.

. . . traditional publishing houses perform a vital role in our society. Publishers provide venture capital for ideas. They advance money to authors, giving them the time and freedom to write their books. This system is especially important for nonfiction writers, who often must travel for research. Thousands of times every year, publishers take a chance on unknown authors and advance them money solely on the basis of an idea. By assuming the risk, publishers expect—and receive—a financial return. What will Amazon replace this process with? How, in the Amazon model, will a young author get funding to pursue a promising idea? And what about the role of editors, copy editors, and other publishing staff who ensure that what ultimately ends up on the shelf is both worthy and accurate? –Authors United

The transcripts of the depositions don’t necessarily refute the plaintiffs’ contention in their own summary judgment motion that “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give It Up” are not substantially similar for purposes of a copyright analysis, but on the road to a trial that is currently scheduled for February 10, 2015, the Gayes believe they have ammunition to destroy the plaintiffs’ credibility and honor.

“Thicke, for his part, now claims he made all of his statements while drunk or on drugs, none of them true, and he mentioned Marvin Gaye only to sell records,” states the counter-claimants’ court papers. “He also actually testified that he is not an honest person. This complete contempt for the judicial system, and their obligations to tell the truth, can best be summed up by Thicke’s ultimate admission, while under oath, that he ‘[does not] give a f—k’ about this litigation.” –Hollywood Reporter

Family-owned LEGO toys used to be staunchly gender neutral – as self-professed Lego geek David Pickett exhaustively demonstrates. The early advertisements featured both boys and girls playing with identical toys. When minifigs were first introduced in the late 70s – the era of androngyny – gender was downplayed, and the 80s were a golden age for the company. But between the late ‘80s and early ‘00s, the company launched a stream of product lines aimed at girls, none particularly successful and most heavily anchored in pink. These weren’t toys that boys and girls could play with – the company was now making one set of toys for boys (which were often more interesting and challenging to build) and one set of pink, simplified products for girls, including a jewelry line and dollhouses. As Pickett points out, many of these pieces weren’t even compatible with the majority of Legos (i.e., the boy Legos) – and interchangeability is the whole value proposition of the Lego system. –Harvard Business Review Blog

Fittingly, the exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Stuart Hall, the influential left-wing cultural theorist who died this year, and whose writings underpin The Missing Chapter project. “They are here because you were there,” he wrote of the black British people whose experience he illuminated. “There is an umbilical connection. There is no understanding Englishness without understanding its imperial and colonial dimensions.” The excavated images in Black Chronicles II provide a crucial and, until now, overlooked way of further understanding that complex connection. –The Guardian

Thursday News: Change your Google Password NOW, Apple settlement notice to Amazon customers, RIP Graham Joyce, and Judge Judy gives away free ebook

Thursday News: Change your Google Password NOW, Apple settlement notice to...

Concerned users can use this tool (h/t Lifehacker) to check if their information was leaked. Using it, an editor at Fast Company confirmed his email address was part of the cache, but the password listed was from several years ago. (Some readers said they were uneasy about handing over their email addresses. They can also run a search replacing up to three characters with asterisks–eg. john***[email protected] instead of [email protected]–to return the number of matching results.) In addition, users can turn on two-factor authentication to add a security layer when accessing accounts from new devices. –Fast Company

Those consumers who now wish to “opt out” of the settlement (that is, not to receive payments and to retain their legal right to sue) must do so by October 31. More importantly, however, that is also the date by which requests to receive a check rather than an account credit must be submitted, otherwise settlement funds will be issued as direct credits. –Publishers Weekly

It’s really hard to describe Joyce’s books, or categorize them under one single label. His work is generally described as “dark fantasy,” but he used genre trappings to tell different kinds of stories. At the same time, his books often seemed to feature a kind of magic that’s lived in and a bit worn down, not showy or dazzling. His best stuff often deals with families, and the uncomfortable intimacy that comes with blood relatives. And the moments when private strangeness suddenly becomes public. –i09

In this book I want to have an honest conversation with women about what it really takes to get what you deserve out of life: how to define your worth and stick to it; how to find the courage to take risks–and how to build your backup plan; yow to ignore the chattering classes (and the fearmongers) and create your own destiny. –What Would Judy Say