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Monday News: Hachette V. Amazon plus a dash of plagiarism

Monday News: Hachette V. Amazon plus a dash of plagiarism

So how is Amazon making the ebook business not worth pursuing? They are doing it by discounting so aggressively that the value of the book business for ebook retailers is so miniscule that it doesn’t even raise the eyebrows of the major tech companies. While the book business is big, why even bother with it if the profit margins are so small as to not even move the needle? Your time is better spent focusing on video games with in-app purchases, among many other things. –Jake Kerr via Medium

But Orwell then went on to undermine Amazon’s argument much more effectively than Hachette ever has. “It is of course a great mistake to imagine that cheap books are good for the book trade,” he wrote. “Actually it is just the other way about … The cheaper books become, the less money is spent on books.”

Instead of buying two expensive books, he says, the consumer will buy two cheap books and then use the rest of his money to go to the movies. “This is an advantage from the reader’s point of view and doesn’t hurt trade as a whole, but for the publisher, the compositor, the author and the bookseller, it is a disaster,” Orwell wrote. –New York Times

Pietsch insists that Hachette is “negotiating in good faith”, a point that Amazon has disputed in the past (in the leaked letter), and then he goes on to make the bogus historical claim that paperbacks were originally “not intended to replace hardbacks but to create a new format available later, at a lower price”. That’s not at all true, but to be fair Amazon also played fast and loose with the early history of the paperback book. –The Digital Reader

I will start by saying that nothing we do or say is 100% original. Even some exact combination of some of the words I write here have probably been written somewhere, by someone, in the vastness of history and time. –Shey Stahl

Wednesday News: The FCC invites comments on Net Neutrality, Apple disappoints (again), alleged plagiarism in 1D fan fiction, and Writer’s Coffee Shop owner is sued for millions

Wednesday News: The FCC invites comments on Net Neutrality, Apple disappoints...

John Oliver’s Net neutrality response swamps FCC – I’m posting this story to serve as a reminder that the public comment period for the FCC’s new Net Neutrality proposal is open until July 15th. It’s also a pretty funny anecdote about how comedian John Oliver directed people to the FCC website for comment, which basically killed the FCC site (too much traffic — the irony is so rich). And if you aren’t up on Net Neutrality, there’s more information at the CNET site.

The FCC’s online public-comment system stumbled under heavy traffic Monday after comedian John Oliver capped a 13-minute segment about Net neutrality — the concept that all Internet content should be delivered without preference or discrimination — with a rallying cry to the Internet’s trolls to visit the FCC’s website and “focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction.” –CNET

Apple: There’s more than meets the eye in today’s announcements – In which we are sold the story that the disappointing Apple announcement was more significant than we think. A new programming language (Swift) that’s already making programmers and software developers swoon (allegedly), expanded cloud storage, etc. Still would have been better with new hardware, especially given Apple’s deficiencies relative to more inexpensive, larger screen phones.

As for the rest, in the attached video Yahoo’s Aaron Pressman says much of Apple’s announcement is a down payment on their future. Sure it wasn’t as sexy as an iPhone or iPad launch but Tim Cook and company unveiled the Homekit and Healthkit apps. They will allow third party hardware and software to better integrate with Apple’s ecosystem. –Yahoo

One Direction fanfic author gets book deal – There are really two stories here. First, the sale of a real-person fan fiction story to Simon & Schuster (details below). Then the allegation that the book, After, contains some plagiarized content, most notably from You’ve Got Mail. I’m not sure which story is more interesting, or troubling, but you can read about the plagiarism allegations on Jenny Trout’s site, which is linked to in her Twitter conversation about the situation.

Harry Styles-inspired fanfic After, by 25-year-old One Direction fan Anna Todd, has inked a three-book deal. Simon & Schuster acquired the series with a deal in the “mid-six figures,” according to Publisher’s Weekly. They also grabbed the story’s “world and audio rights,” meaning that spinoffs are possible as well — and movie rights are in the works.  –Entertainment Weekly

Arlington woman seeks millions in royalties from “Fifty Shades of Grey” - And speaking of fan fiction, there’s an interesting twist to the Fifty Shades story, or, more specifically, to the co-op that published the story. Jennifer Pedroza, one of the original owners of the Writer’s Coffee Shop, is suing another owner, Amanda Hayward, alleging that Hayward cheated Pedroza out of royalties when Fifty Shades was acquired by Simon & Schuster. Additionally, Christa Beebe, an employee of Writer’s Coffee House, is suing Hayward, basically for breach of an alleged employment contract. Both Pedroza and Beebe live in Texas, while Hayward is from Australia, where the Writer’s Coffee House is based, although there was apparently no partnership agreement among the women (including a fourth, Lea Dimovski, who joined in 2011), the year they published Fifty Shades.

From the outside, the history and status of Writer’s Coffee Shop has always been a little fuzzy (was it a publisher or was it a place for fan fiction writers to post and exchange their work), and it sounds like things weren’t so clear from within the Shop, either. It’s gonna be interesting.

Writer’s Coffee Shop was launched in 2009 by Pedroza, Hayward and Waxahachie resident Jennifer McGuire as a blog site in 2009. The three women had formed online friendships though a fan fiction website. McGuire did the design on the blog, Pedroza uploaded contributor’s writing and Hayward worked with authors, the suit says. In May 2011, it published Fifty Shades, followed by two sequels of the trilogy in 2011 and 2012.

Pedroza not only handled marketing for the runaway bestseller, she also packed the print-on-demand copies in her home for shipment. Beebe joined in January 2012 to help with marketing and distribution, first as an unpaid volunteer then as a salaried employee, it said. –Forth Worth Star-Telegram