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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. –

Wednesday News: Amazon speaks, smartphones boost digital reading in India, has Apple dropped Beats, and Rogen v. Hornaday

Wednesday News: Amazon speaks, smartphones boost digital reading in India, has...

Amazon Responds to Discussion of Hachette Contract Dispute – Amazon has broken its silence on the Hachette negotiations, and, as Nate Hoffelder points out, it’s much more generous to Hachette than Hachette has been to Amazon. Also, how is it no one seems to have learned anything since the agency pricing debacle?

Negotiating with suppliers for equitable terms and making stocking and assortment decisions based on those terms is one of a bookseller’s, or any retailer’s, most important jobs. Suppliers get to decide the terms under which they are willing to sell to a retailer. It’s reciprocally the right of a retailer to determine whether the terms on offer are acceptable and to stock items accordingly. A retailer can feature a supplier’s items in its advertising and promotional circulars, “stack it high” in the front of the store, keep small quantities on hand in the back aisle, or not carry the item at all, and bookstores and other retailers do these every day. When we negotiate with suppliers, we are doing so on behalf of customers. Negotiating for acceptable terms is an essential business practice that is critical to keeping service and value high for customers in the medium and long term. –The Digital Reader

Smartphones drive ebook sales in India – Another article on the global interdependence of smartphone technology and digital reading. While developing markets still depend on smartphones for growth of digital book sales, the impact of ereading technologies on the digital book market is substantial – for markets in which Amazon is present, owning a Kindle means that someone will buy, on average, four times the number of books they otherwise would.

But the smartphone surge, and the availability of reading apps on them, are redrawing the book market. “Few in India would want to spend a minimum of Rs 7,000 on an e-reader and then pay money to buy e-books,” says Thomas Abraham, MD of Hachette India. “But now, with tablets and smartphones (that you bought anyway) having reading apps, we are seeing the beginnings of what might well be a big change. Last year we saw a quantum jump in sales,” he says.

Ditto for Flipkart, India’s biggest bookseller. Since their launch in November 2012 on the e-commerce site, e-books have seen an eight-fold growth. The growth got a huge boost last year in July when Flipkart launched multiple e-books reader apps with features that allowed access to any section of the book instantaneously, personalization, bookmarking of pages, highlighting text, taking notes, and reference to a dictionary while reading. They now even have a text-to-speech feature where the app reads out the book to you, useful when you are, say, driving, or for the visually challenged. –The Times of India

Did Dr. Dre kill the Apple-Beats deal with his drunken video selfie? – So Dr. Dre and Tyrese Gibson made a video in early May, announcing the sale of Beats headphones to Apple and the fact that the deal would make Dr. Dre “the first billionaire in rap.” That video, which was also apparently fueled by a fair number of Heineken beers, has in turn fueled speculation that Apple has pulled back from the deal, due to the likely unauthorized public representation of the deal. Hmmm.

Not only was it inconsistent with Apple’s famously secretive product launches and buttoned-up corporate image, but Dr. Dre was almost certainly subject to a non-disclosure agreement which he blasted to hell with video, disclosing the deal to the entire internet and dropping a few “motherfuckers” to boot. –Death and Taxes

Seth Rogen Is Not A Victim Of The Santa Barbara Killings – I’m not a big fan of the argument that books and movies influence people’s behavior in any substantial way, especially when that behavior is extreme and extremely anti-social. I think the relationship between culture/media and individuals is complex and multilayered, and that it’s not a simple matter of irrelevance v effect. Still, I think this article makes some really good points about how Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow (in whom I’m REALLY disappointed) missed a huge point, and a major opportunity to be part of a necessary social awakening about the diseased thinking that misogyny represents, instead of the self-centered defensiveness that is so very much a part of the problem.

To quote Hornaday: “For generations, mass entertainment has been overwhelmingly controlled by white men, whose escapist fantasies so often revolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment (often, if not always, featuring a steady through-line of casual misogyny).”

This is the point at the heart of the op-ed that really matters. Neighbors is just referenced as the latest in a long, long line of movies in which men are granted what they desire, always and without question, even if what they desire is not a what, but a who. –Think Progress