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Monday News: Social media pre-nups, ebooks in Amazon v. Hachette?, cover contest results, and antique book bound in human skin

Monday News: Social media pre-nups, ebooks in Amazon v. Hachette?, cover...

People Are Getting Social Media Prenups – The title of the article says it all. Psychotherapist Karen Ruskin insists that the desire for such a pre-nup is indicative of deeper relationship problems. She also notes that sometimes people can get frustrated if their partner fails to mention something relationship-oriented on social media.

I can see how this would be an issue for celebrities who negotiate for strict confidentiality clauses when it comes to relationship issues (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, anyone?), and I know the article deems it sad that people need to feel protected from social media disclosures in relationships. However, after the infamous Auto Admit incident, and the popularity of revenge porn, I’m not so sure it’s needless paranoia that makes people, especially women, feel vulnerable. Not to mention the fact that perfectly good people can do some pretty heinous things in the midst of a bad breakup.

ABC says that 80% of divorce attorneys say discussion of social networking is increasingly common in divorce proceedings for a range of reasons, which means we’ll probably be hearing more about prenups like this. But it’s not a safety measure– it’s a red flag. –Time

Getting Things Straight: eBooks May Indeed be an Influence in the Amazon-Hachette Dispute – So depending on how you read the DOJ settlement terms — and that seems to be a major issues in and of itself — it’s possible that Amazon and Hachette are battling over ebook prices in their current contract dispute (e.g. is the two-year ban on publishers pursuing agency pricing over?). Of course, part of the problem here is that no one really knows what’s going on, but this is kind of interesting speculation. There seems to be some evidence to support the argument and some against. I suggest you read Hoffelder’s entire piece for all the details.

To recap, in January 2010 5 US publishers conspired with Apple to bring about retail price maintenance in the ebook market and to force Amazon to submit to the pricing changes. The DOJ and state’s attorneys general started investigating in mid-2010, and in April 2012 the DOJ brought an antitrust lawsuit against the 5 publishers and Apple.

Three of the publishers (S&S, HarperCollins, and Hachette) settled the day the lawsuit was filed. Penguin and Macmillan settled later (late 2012 and early 2013), and Apple fought the lawsuit in court and lost (repeatedly). –The Digital Reader

And the Winners Are… Cover Contest 2013 – So here are the results for the 2013 Cover Cafe contest, along with a link to make nominations for the 2014 contest. With more and more books being self-published, it’s going to be interesting to see how and if that affects the nominations. –Cover Cafe

Harvard confirms antique book is bound in human skin – I think the title to this article contains its own content alert, so if you’re not comfortable with this concept, stop reading now.

My first thought reading this piece was of the Victorian practice of photographing the dead and making hair jewelry. On one level, the idea of a book bound in human skin freaked me the hell out, but maybe that’s hypocritical, considering I think nothing of wearing (cow) leather shoes and carrying purses made from various animal hides.

Harvard said that “Des destinees de l’ame” was the only book in its collection bound in human flesh.
However, the practice, called anthropodermic bibliopegy, was once somewhat common, the university said.
“There are many accounts of similar occurrences in the 19th century, in which the bodies of executed criminals were donated to science, and the skins given to tanners and bookbinders,” the library’s blog entry said. –

Monday Midday Links: Unscientic conclusions put forth as real science (what else is new)

Monday Midday Links: Unscientic conclusions put forth as real science (what...

Yesterday it was announced that members of the U.S. special forces had successfully executed a mission to kill Osama Bin Laden.  People acknowledged this news in various ways but while we don’t know what will happen in the future, President Obama made a point of noting that

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not — and never will be — at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own.

This mission was years in the making and involved a number of individuals in our military from the intelligence committee to the Navy SEALs.  One way to acknowledge this mission would be by donating money to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund or to the military

txt HUG to 85944 to donate $10 to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund.


Log on to the following Web sites to show support, to include greeting cards, virtual Thank You cards and calling card donations to help troops stay in contact with loved ones:

Based on the Twitter feeds last night of my romance reading buddies, there appears to be a run on military romances.  I would recommend the Maya Banks’ KGI Series, Lisa Marie Rice’s books (more on her here), and Stephanie Tyler, Suzanne Brockmann’s Silhouette Intimate Moments series starting with Prince Joe (Tall, Dark & Dangerous, Book 1) and Books 1 through 4 of the Troubleshooter series. My favorite is Over the Edge but be warned that there is a painful rape that happens to one of the secondary characters in that story.  More good military reading includes the Samhain shorts by Elle Kennedy.


In a remarkable display of what social media can do, an information technology professional living in Abbattabod, Pakistan, tweeted about strange helicopters hovering over Abbattabod, crashing to the ground, and then a bomb going off.  He did not know, at the time, what he was tweeting about at 1 am Pakistani time was the special forces invasion of Bin Laden’s compound. Sohaib Athar’s tweetstream (img) is one of the more remarkable artifacts of social media I have seen.


Screen shot 2011-05-02 at 8.12.25 AM

We are slowly adding the publisher lists for 2011 to Dear Author. You can see them in the sidebar or in the “Readers Resource” menu item right under the carousel of book images. The publishing lists are a quick way for you to see what publishers are putting out every month and it can help you organize your book buying budget.  I still have Berkley and Avon lists to put together. Kensington has sent me a list and we will be posting a contest with the list later today.


cover cafe logo

The Cover Cafe contest is open for business!  Voting starts to day and runs until May 31, 2011.  Head over and vote for your favorite (and least favorite) covers of 2010. I know it is hard to believe, but The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton did not make the cut as a Contemporary finalist.  The cover was robbed!  Said book is a 2011 publication. Sigh.


Sunita has a takedown of an offensive article at the Wall Street Journal by Ogi Ogas, the author of the piece in Psychology Today which Robin took apart last Tuesday.

Ogas equates a woman’s search for a mate with the way Miss Marple goes about solving a murder, and calls “this unconscious evaluation [is] the source of ‘feminine intuition.’” I have no idea what this means, but falling in love with someone you want to spend your life with doesn’t seem to me to have much overlap with solving a crime. He then draws an analogy between romance novels and pornography. Women, who are complex, read romance novels while men, who are simple, look at pornographic visual material. Women don’t buy subscriptions to porn sites, but they read lots of romance novels. In fact, there are as many people reading romance novels in English worldwide as there are people visiting porn sites in the U.S. and Canada (which suggests that many more people visit porn sites, but whatever).


Finally, in the next-to-last paragraph of the article, Ogas completely undermines everything that has gone before. Granted, it wasn’t very good to begin with. Let’s recap: (1) Women go online to find romance novels, erotica, and fan fiction in order to figure out through fictional heroes the kind of man they want; (2) Men are visual and solitary, women are textual and communitarian; and (3) Reading romance and erotica, and writing fan fiction, is about “satisfying sexual curiosity” for women.

Whoever is giving Ogas a platform should stop.  Not because he is insulting to women but because his science is so bad he is insulting knowledge.