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Thursday News: iPhone too small and expensive, is Star Wars just for white men, new imprint at Little, Brown, and an interview with Andrés Neuman

Thursday News: iPhone too small and expensive, is Star Wars just...

Internal Apple presentation on the iPhone: ‘Consumers want what we don’t have’ – A very interesting post, based on Apple’s internal slides from the Samsung-Apple legal morass, which shows that the market spot that the iPhone controls is basically outside what consumers want on both price (less than $300) and size (bigger display). I have to admit that the Galaxy screen is starting to look mighty appealing, especially since the iPhone has really not changed much over the last iteration or so. Will this spur change for Apple? I sure hope so.

Apple’s error in moving to the phablet segment may simply be a temporary blunder that is easily corrected later this year — or it may be a huge mistake that is too late to fix now that Android devices with 5- or 6-inch screens are deeply entrenched and starting to drift below $300 price point. –BGR

The Potential Energy of Major Star Wars Events – I’m not sure why, exactly, but I have to admit that I would think that anyone involved with the production of Star Wars products would have a more astute understanding of the diverse makeup of the series’ fan base, and thus, a more astute understanding of the value of reflecting that diversity in fan events. However, the company that produces some of these events — ReedPop — apparently lacks this perception. The upcoming Star Wars Celebration event in Anaheim features an all male group of stage hosts, as are all the participants announced to participate in the Star Wars Reads Day. ReedPop also organizes BookCon, and this year’s panel for children’s books was all white males. Of course, given the recent VIDA data on the creators of children’s books, I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised after all.

I’ll reiterate what I have stated previously: Episode VII will not win the box office in 2015 without female fans as engaged as their male fans. The movie is up against Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Both Lionsgate and Marvel have been actively building traction with female and non-white fans. Disney|Lucasfilm keeps making many positive steps forward in its efforts to prove Star Wars is for everybody, including adding more diversity to the creators presented in Star Wars Rebels videos and the addition of Vanessa Marshall at the Star Wars Rebels panel at Wondercon this weekend. There is a lot of potential energy in the way upcoming events like Celebration and Star Wars Reads Day are being framed, but it’s being hindered by the unintended adverse messages. Some planning and awareness now can avoid the two steps forward, one step back dynamic. –Fan Girl Blog

Boudreaux to Head New Imprint at Little, Brown – So not all of traditional publishing is contracting, it seems. Lee Boudreaux is moving from Harper Collins to Little, Brown, where she will head up a new imprint (she was editorial director of HC’s imprint Ecco). I have to say that I’m happy to see a woman getting her own imprint and will be interested to see what she acquires.

Boudreaux has been at Ecco for the last nine years where, among other titles, she acquired bestsellers like the runaway smash by debut novelist David Wrobleski, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (2008), and quieter literary successes such as Patrick DeWitt’s Sisters Brothers (2011). –Publishers Weekly

Conquering Displacement With Words – So I’m too lazy to link back to the story on the Dublin Literary Award, but this article profiles Spanish-Argentine writer Andrés Neuman, whose book, Traveler of the Century, was nominated (I even used the cover of his book for the featured image of the story). I did not realize that Neuman has written almost 20 books (and he’s only 37), with Traveler his first book translated into English. His second book to be published in English, Talking to Ourselves, comes out this month, and Neuman insists that each book he writes “refutes” the one before it. The Times calls it “a literary adventure that pays tribute to the classic road tales.”

“I deal with the trauma of displacement through writing,” Mr. Neuman said. His émigré family had shifted many borders to arrive in a new world. In a 2003 novel, “Una Vez Argentina” (“Once Upon a Time, Argentina”), he writes about his immigrant ancestors, including his paternal great-grandfather Jacobo, a Jew in Poland who escaped near-certain death doing military service in Siberia. Jacobo purloined the passport of a German soldier, whose last name was Neuman, and escaped with it to Argentina, becoming just that, a “new man.”

Mr. Neuman wrote about Argentina in his first two novels, but as he gets further from the country chronologically, his novels have come to inhabit imaginary territories, which he says are like “alephs,” referring to a story by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, in which the aleph is a central point that folds into it all places and times. –New York Times

Monday News: How people use their tablets, the trouble with Indiegogo, NPR’s tricks its readers, and amusing YA quiz

Monday News: How people use their tablets, the trouble with Indiegogo,...

Data Point: People Really Like to Read on Their Kindle Fires – A very interesting graphic comparing the iPad, the Galaxy, and the Fire. The statistic for e-reading on the Kindle Fire is a clear stand-out, but I’m not really sure what — if anything — that means. My first response was thinking that I hardly ever read on my Kindle Fire. However, there’s no category for “watching media,” which is what I do most on my Fire. And, if that was the only Kindle I had, I might read more on it — and reading might also be an indicator of general visual media consumption on the device. But it’s still interesting that e-reading on the Fire registered at double the rates for the iPad and the Galaxy (67% to 33% and 33%). –The Wall Street Journal

How Does Indiegogo Deal with Fraudulent Campaigns? – I don’t know if you’ve been following the Healbe crowdsourced funding scandal at Indiegogo, but Pando has, and they’ve found some extremely disturbing evidence that the diet watch device the company is claiming to manufacture (and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars toward), is not what it seems. And now, where crowdsource platform Indiegogo used to have a very strong fraud guarantee in its support/terms of service language, it only has a vague reference to fraud-checking. Needless to say, that does not instill confidence in either Healbe or Indiegogo — or it shouldn’t, at least.

In my last update — where Healbe’s founders explained that their innovation method was inspired by Russian science fiction, and released a ludicrous “demo” video — I wrote that the Healbe story had gone from scam to farce. Today Indiegogo has made clear that they’d rather be complicit in that farce, and in a million dollar scam, than be forced to take responsibility for what happens on their platform. –Pando Daily

Masterful NPR Prank Asks Why People Comment Without Reading – Although I think NPR is far from perfect (although no online venue meets that bar for me), what they pulled off with this slightly early April Fools’ Facebook joke is nothing short of brilliant. They posted a story titled “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?,” and instead of clicking on the link — which would have exposed the gag — people went ahead and commented anyway, descrying the fact that people aren’t reading before they comment.

The lesson here? It’s either that NPR is wasting your tax dollars on denigrating the American character, or that this is exactly why we need services like NPR in the first place. But you were probably already thinking that anyway long before you read this story. –Mediaite

Quiz: Can You Tell These YA Stories Apart? – Many of you have probably seen this already (sorry – I’ve got a backlog of stories that aren’t time-sensitive), but if you haven’t it’s a pretty amusing little quiz on five of the most popular YA series (Divergent, Hunger Games, Twilight, The Fault in Our Stars, Harry Potter). Definitely seems to add weight to the argument that from a distance all genre stories can look alike (aka it’s not the story, but how it’s executed that counts). –The Vulture