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

ebook settlement

Monday News: Apple continues its losing streak, say goodbye to DailyCandy and Television Without Pity, “Mammy” gets her own book, and ten beautiful bookstores

Monday News: Apple continues its losing streak, say goodbye to DailyCandy...

Apple Loses Two Key Decisions in E-book Case – Apple continues to suffer at the pen of Judge Cote, who has made it even more likely that Apple will be paying out HUGE in damages. First Cote granted class action status (aka certified the class) in the state and consumer actions, which means that they can all sue together in one action. Then she rejected two of Apple’s expert witnesses and refused to disqualify the testimony of Roger Noll, which basically amounts to accepting the plaintiff’s estimate of damages over the defendant’s (Apple). Which, of course, is significant, because plaintiffs’ analysis sets damages at a much higher level — possibly as high as $840 million (minus the $166 million in settlement funds, of course). Pretty much everyone expects Apple to appeal both decisions.

As part of her granting class certification, Cote also denied Apple’s motion to strike the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert witness, Roger Noll, setting the stage for Noll’s model to be used in determining a final damage award. In her opinion, Cote called Noll’s analysis “straightforward,” and rejected attempts by Apple’s expert witnesses—economists Joseph Kalt and Jonathan Orszag—to discredit Noll’s model. –Publishers Weekly

NBCUniversal-Owned DailyCandy and Television Without Pity Will Be Shut Dow – In a hugely sad move, NBC-Universal is shutting down both DailyCandy and Television without Pity, which means the displacement of 67 employees total (64 at DailyCandy and 3 (!) at TWoP). The reason offered for the move is the predictable not enough traffic and, therefore, not enough money (however that is measured). I have to say that I’m kind of surprised by this move, although I’m not familiar enough with all of the market competition to these two sites. Still, both have been around for more than 6 years, and have compiled pretty substantial archives. TWoP’s forums have also been a pretty good source of entertainment.

So what happens to the huge amount of content in the archives of both DailyCandy and TWoP? It will all be saved in the digital ether, but not be available to the public. One small caveat that should please no one regardless: TWoP’s popular user forums will be kept open until May 31. –Re/code

Mammy Revealed, and Not Just Her Red PetticoatGone With the Wind has been in the ether quite a bit lately. In just a few months, an official (aka authorized by the Mitchell Estate) prequel is being published, written by Donald McCraig, who also wrote one of the authorized sequels, Rhett Butler’s People. The prequel, Ruth’s Journey, focuses on the personal history of “Mammy,” and, according to the publisher’s editorial director, Peter Borland, it will answer one of the major criticisms of the original GWTW:

“What’s really remarkable about what Donald has done is that it’s a book that respects and honors its source material, but it also provides a necessary correction to what is one of the more troubling aspects of the book, which is how the black characters are portrayed,” Mr. Borland said.

In an email, Mr. McCaig, 73, who lives on a farm in Virginia, said that he was drawn to write about Ruth because there are “three major characters in ‘Gone With the Wind,’ but we only think about two of them.” –The New York Times

Ten of the world’s most beautiful bookshops – A little eye candy for the book lover. Happy Monday! –BBC Culture

Wednesday News: Ebook settlement rebates, a reunited Hindu epic, Lego – from band to movie, and a profile on Leila Aboulela

Wednesday News: Ebook settlement rebates, a reunited Hindu epic, Lego –...

Amazon Customers Win Big In Ebook Settlement – So many of you may have noticed refunds from the great ebook settlement, at least from Amazon and Apple. Barnes & Noble, along with smaller online retailers, do not appear to have released their customer rebates yet. However, this is good timing, considering the fact that many of us are paying our taxes within the next month. Also, as this article pointed out, Amazon really ended up ahead of other publishers here, because not being a party to the investigation and legal case means that they won’t face the kind of pricing scrutiny Apple and the Big 5 likely will.

Now that all five publishers have settled, it’s good news for Amazon Kindle shoppers. If you got an Amazon credit today, there’s no need to take any action. It’s already been added to your account, so all you need to do is spend it. The credit will only be available on purchases of Kindle or print books (not other items available through Amazon) through any publisher. –ReadWrite

Making a digital masterpiece: British Library gathers antique Ramayana into one virtual location – In light of the story yesterday about the Vatican Library digitizing its archives, here’s another interesting digital project, this time related to one sprawling work that, until now, has been split among multiple locations, from Mumbai to London. This seven-book version of Ramayana was commissioned in the mid-17th century by Maharana Jagat Singh I, ruler of Mewar, who died before the work was completed (it only took four years, which given the size, scope, and intricacy of the text, seems amazingly rapid to me). The Hindu epic, in which a prince must rescue his wife from a demon king, took three years to bring back together, almost as much time as it took to create the folios more than 350 years ago.

“What makes this version of the Ramayana so special is that it’s the most heavily illustrated,” she explains. “There are more than 450 paintings in this manuscript, so Jagat Singh had three artists [one of whom, Sahibdin, was a Muslim] and every episode in the book has a pictorial representation. “The Sanskrit text was important, but it was there as an accompaniment – it was the paintings which told the story. So you don’t have to know any Sanskrit to enjoy the Ramayana.”

The digital Ramayana is much more than a lavish online picture book – Chellini has overseen clickable data, interpretive text and audio related to each page. She’s particularly happy with the English narration, performed by Sudha Bhuchar of Tamasha theatre company. “The Book of War, for example, is told with great fervour,” she says. “There are other places where the Ramayana is quite funny – for example, Lakshmana is hit by an arrow and asks the monkey Hanuman to go and find some magic herbs on the Himalayas. But Hanuman doesn’t know which herbs to take – so he rips off the whole mountain peak and is depicted carrying it back to Lakshmana! So I hope we’ve got across that this is a very rich, very human book. It’s a religious text, but there’s great fun to be had with it, too. –The National

Lego Goes to Hollywood – This is a pretty interesting story about how a toy brand was able to transform itself into an incredibly successful and well-reviewed film. Even titling the movie “The Lego Movie” seems like an obvious brand ploy, and yet, as many reviewers pointed out, the film built on the architectural creativity and intelligence that Legos represent and appealed to a large and diverse audience.

At a time when Hollywood filmmakers are increasingly reliant on money from overseas audiences for survival, a movie based on a toy with such broad, cross-cultural appeal would seem like a no-brainer. “I can’t tell you how many people come up to me now and say, ‘Oh, a Lego movie? No duh. It’s so obvious,’” says Lin, whose job it was to persuade Lego to seize this opportunity. “It was absolutely not obvious five years ago.” –Business Week

One Foot in Each of Two Worlds, and a Pen at Home in Both – As I read this article, I had in the back of my mind the discussion on Tuesday’s news post about how to define fiction that isn’t historically accurate, but is still focused on a different historical era. In genre fiction, especially, we like the clarity that (ostensibly) comes with categorization, and yet, so many books defy our attempts to universally define them. Leila Aboulela is an author who shares this, well, dilemma or opportunity, depending on how you’re looking at it. A really interesting contemplation on the complexity of personal identity and artistic expression, especially when viewed through the lens of culture and nationality. In fact, her first book is aptly titled The Translator.

Born in Egypt to a Sudanese father and an Egyptian mother, Ms. Aboulela was raised in Sudan, where she attended the Khartoum American School and Sisters School, a Catholic girls’ school, as a child. She grew up reading many Western classics. “I was very much into the diary of Anne Frank, which was unusual for an Arab at that time,” she said in an interview at the book fair. But instead of studying literature, she pursued economics at the University of Khartoum.

Ms. Aboulela, 49, now lives in Britain and her background makes it difficult to categorize her fiction: does she write primarily as an African, Arab or British writer who is Muslim? The compound modifier that many readers and critics have settled on to describe Ms. Aboulela’s work is Sudanese-British, which leaves plenty of room for criticism in a world of relentless categorization. “Sudan is not Arab enough for Arabs and not African enough for Africans,” she said, laughing at the thought. –The New York Times