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Thursday News: Amazon weighs in on ebook pricing, sale of Harlequin nearly complete, OkCupid lies to daters, and Turkish women are defiantly laughing

Thursday News: Amazon weighs in on ebook pricing, sale of Harlequin...

Keep in mind that books don’t just compete against books. Books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.

So, at $9.99, the total pie is bigger – how does Amazon propose to share that revenue pie? We believe 35% should go to the author, 35% to the publisher and 30% to Amazon. Is 30% reasonable? Yes. In fact, the 30% share of total revenue is what Hachette forced us to take in 2010 when they illegally colluded with their competitors to raise e-book prices. We had no problem with the 30% — we did have a big problem with the price increases. –The Digital Reader and Amazon

With Harlequin’s sale to HarperCollins expected to be completed before the end of the week, the publisher’s parent company, Torstar, reported that sales for the second quarter ended June 30, 2014 fell C$6.4 million to C$96.4 million and net income dropped to C$1.6 million from C$5.6 million in last year’s second quarter. The revenue decline was attributed primarily to lower sales in North America. –Publishers Weekly

On Monday, President Christian Rudder disclosed in a blog post that OkCupid had conducted experiments on its users, including a test to see whether its assessment of their matchability led to successful dating.

“To test this, we took pairs of bad matches … and told them they were exceptionally good for each other,” Rudder wrote. “When we tell people they are a good match, they act as if they are. Even when they should be wrong for each other.” 

OkCupid’s actions, at least four legal experts said, appear to be in violation of a provision in the FTC act that prohibits “unfair and deceptive” practices by a company that result in misleading or harming consumers. –Huffington Post and Reuters

Bülent Ar?nç said during an end of Ramadan speech that women should not laugh in public or talk about “unnecessary” things on the phone. He made these oddly specific demands as he seemed to yearn for a simpler time when Turkish women were more repressed.

“Where are our girls, who slightly blush, lower their heads and turn their eyes away when we look at their face, becoming the symbol of chastity?” he asked, complaining of what he saw as the moral decline of Turkish society. –Global Post

Thursday News: Pixar & Lucasfilm started wage-fixing cartel, Apple tells on Google, profits down at Samsung, and bookstore shelving

Thursday News: Pixar & Lucasfilm started wage-fixing cartel, Apple tells on...

REVEALED: Court docs show role of Pixar and Dreamworks Animation in Silicon Valley wage-fixing cartel – Remember the revelations of artificial wage suppression by Google and Apple? Well, that, it turns out, was just the beginning of the conspiracy, and now, with a $324 million settlement at risk, revelations about Pixar and Lucasfilm as the apparent instigators of the so-called “wage fixing cartel.” Not surprisingly, both studios are now owned by Disney, which, again, not surprisingly, is attempting to bring more international workers into the US, claiming that will help salaries for all employees. Huh??

Seriously, folks, go read the story. There are some email exchanges that almost make Apple look tame. Almost.

For one thing, most of the previous attention in the case was focused on the behavior of executives at Apple and Google. What hasn’t been fully explored is the involvement of major and minor Hollywood studios that are alleged to have been party to the same illegal cartel. The wage-fixing cartel originated with Pixar and Lucasfilm, two northern California computer animation film studios now under Disney’s roof.

Disney, in particular, has received very little public scrutiny over its own role in the Techtopus, an oversight which is made all the more troubling by the fact that the company’s CEO, Robert Iger, is now heading a campaign to increase the number of foreign tech workers coming to America, using a dubious study to promote its cause. –Pando

Apple Tattled on Google to Draw FTC Attention to Similar Kids In-App Purchasing Issue – Speaking of Apple, apparently they were pretty cranky about having the FTC fine them for not providing stronger controls against children making autonomous in-app purchases. So with a nana nana boo boo, the tech giant stooped to conquer, pointing an accusatory stylus at Google.

As it turns out, while Apple was being targeted by the FTC for letting children make in-app purchases without parental consent, the company was attempting to get Google in trouble for doing the same thing. According to a report from Politico, head Apple lawyer Bruce Sewell sent the FTC a report highlighting the same in-app purchase issues in Google’s own Play store.

“I thought this article might be of some interest, particularly if you have not already seen it,” Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell wrote to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Democratic Commissioner Julie Brill, pointing to a report that criticized Google’s app store over the same issue of unauthorized purchases. The previously undisclosed email was obtained by POLITICO through a Freedom of Information Act request. –Mac Rumors

Samsung forecasts 25% drop in profit – On the strength of the Korean Won, as well as competition in the Chinese and European markets, profits at Samsung are falling for the third quarter in a row. Because Samsung exports so many of its products, a strong home currency can work against them, and combined with a slower smartphone market in general, their drop is particularly acute.

“Now it is all about high-volume and low-margin handsets. And on that front the competition is getting fiercer with each passing day.”

Various other smartphone makers including China’s Xiaomi, Huawei and ZTE have been increasing their market share steadily.

Mr Sunder said that given the slowing growth and increased competition in the smartphone market, Samsung needed to look at boosting its presence in other sectors if it wanted to sustain high growth rates.

“Its over-dependence on the mobile phone division needs to go,” he said. –BBC News

Shelving to Save a Book’s Life – An interesting article by novelist Susan Coll, who also serves as director of events and programs at an independent bookstore in Washington, D.C. Coll talks about how a book can get lost on a bookstore shelf or can be featured. We all know that positioning is important, and I know there are some authors who practice self (or street team) help in this regard, either turning books so their covers face front or moving books to other areas of a bookstore. Just one more factor in a book’s performance at an individual venue. Do publishers still pay for special positioning and lay-down dates?

Save one life save the world, instructs the Talmud, a book we may or may not carry. You can’t save every life. You can’t save every book. But you can at least throw lifelines now and then. Turning a book face out is the micro version of Stephen Colbert bestowing likely bestsellerdom on a debut novel caught in the Hachette/Amazon crossfire. Collectively, bookstores can do quite a lot by getting behind certain titles, whether it be via the IndieNext list or the Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers program, but even those titles are among a chosen few. When a book lands on the shelf, it can be rescued from being smothered by the behemoths, but what about books that never make it onto our shelves in the first place? What about the books that end their journeys in our staff break room, where the less desirable bound galleys that precede the final version of a book wind up? –The Atlantic