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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. –Phys.org

Friday News: RIP Nook(?), Syracuse schools equip students with summer reading, the losers in Hachette v. Amazon, and a random reading project

Friday News: RIP Nook(?), Syracuse schools equip students with summer reading,...

So This Is How The Nook Ends – In his inimitable style, Mike Cane sounds the death knell for Nook, noting that the announcement by Barnes and Noble and Samsung to build “co-branded tablets” says more about how B&N has abandoned Nook than it does about the prospect of one more freaking tablet on the market.

What I notice missing in the above is any link to the Nook App Store. Using “regular” Android, they won’t need that store now. I guess they’re monitoring legacy users and will know when it’s best to finally pull the plug on that money drain. –Mike Cane’s blog

Syracuse district to give 10 books to every elementary student for summer reading – With a donation of books and backpacks from Scholastic totaling over $100,000 the Syracuse School District added more than $275,000 to give every student from K-5 10 books for summer reading. This will amount to a distribution of almost 93,000 books, all intended to encourage students to read during the summer without having to put any effort into acquiring books, which can be a deterrent, especially during months when kids can become easily distracted by other activities, leisure or otherwise. I hope they chronicle the results of their experiment, because it seems like a very reasonable approach to cultivating young readers.

Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras told the students the books were intended to stop “summer learning slide.” The district cited research showing that as much as 85 percent of the achievement gap between students from low-income and high-income families can be attributed to the loss of reading skills during the summer. –Syracuse.com

“You Root for the Authors!” Hachette Author Stephen Colbert vs. Amazon – Although I’m sure many authors are cheering on Stephen Colbert in his war on Amazon, I was disappointed that in the end, he refused to see how much shared blame and responsibility there is between the massive publisher and the massive bookseller. Does nobody remember (non) agency pricing and the collusion settlement????

Still, it’s very true that authors and readers lose when neither publishers or booksellers have robust competition. So, if a bookstore like Powell’s benefits from this situation, and if other independent bookstores can take good advantage of the current vacuum, I think that will be good for everyone, including, in the end, Hachette and Amazon.

So on last night’s The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert did a mitzvah for a young debut author, Edan Lepucki, whose apocalyptic novel,California, is “currently unavailable” on Amazon, ramping up to a July 8 release. As fellow Hachette author Sherman Alexie explained, bookstores order copies of books based on presales, pre-publicity, and pre-orders coming, most often, from Amazon. Lepucki’s book falls in that category. But Colbert is coming to the rescue, determined to try to “sell more books than Amazon.” When you go to his site, there’s a link to pre-order California through Colbert and the excellent Portland bookstore Powell’s. –Flavorwire

GHOSTS IN THE STACKS: Finding the forgotten books. – This is such an interesting article about an idiosyncratic reading project by retired English professor Phyllis Rose. Rose decided to read a random assortment of books, specifically a shelf in the library. Has anyone read these particular books in this particular order? Will the specific assortment of books shape how they’re read and what the reader gets out of them? Are there specific ways in which they should be read? A fascinating meditation on not only what we read, but how our own reading patterns may have an element of randomness to them we haven’t really contemplated.

Her shelf, she decides, must have a combination of new and older works by several authors, both men and women, and one book has to be a classic that she has always wanted to read. The shelf cannot contain any work by a person she knows. She surveys some two hundred shelves, and eventually settles on LEQ-LES. It holds twenty-three books by eleven authors, including “A Hero of Our Time,” by Mikhail Lermontov; Gaston Leroux’s “The Phantom of the Opera”; novels by Rhoda Lerman, Margaret Leroy, and Lisa Lerner; and Alain-René Lesage’s “Gil Blas.” (There are only three female authors in her sample, a fact that she analyzes at length, though she does not comment on its racial monotony.) She has never before read any of these titles, and she will read them in whatever order fancy suggests. “The Shelf” reviews facts about each author’s life and summarizes the plots of the novels, but, always, the real focus is on Rose herself: what she likes and dislikes, how she feels while reading, whether it is easy or difficult to escape into the story. She’s on the lookout for “spontaneity, inclusiveness, and uniqueness”—three things that she prizes in fiction, and three of the elements driving her project, too. –The New Yorker