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Wednesday News: The Washington Post’s new CEO, Disney v Deadmau5, pseudonymity enhances commenting, and red “warps the mind” (?)

Wednesday News: The Washington Post’s new CEO, Disney v Deadmau5, pseudonymity...

Jeff Bezos Ends Washington Post Publishing Dynasty With Politico Alum – So after a year of owning The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos is replacing Publisher and CEO Katharine Graham Weymouth with Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., a former member of Ronald Reagan’s presidential administration and co-founder of Politico. Weymouth will be staying on for a year to smooth Ryan’s transition into power, but the new appointment is definitely raising questions — and some eyebrows:

Bezos declined to comment, but in a letter to the staff Weymouth said it was time to “explore new opportunities” and that “it is time for new leadership.” Ryan has experience at one of the leading digital politics sites, but as The Post notes Ryan, who was a top presidential aide, is “certain to raise questions about the direction of The Post’s editorial page.” –The Wire

TRADEMARK: Disney Makes Good on Deadmau5 Extermination Threat Read more: TRADEMARK: Disney Makes Good on Deadmau5 Extermination Threat – So Disney is now going after Deadmau5, who has filed for trademark of a logo also makes use of cartoonish mouse ears. Citing consumer confusion in their 171-page oppositional filing, Disney is either protecting its trademark (which is a necessary duty of trademark holders) or exercising predatory behavior, depending on your perspective. Deadmau5′s trademark filing can be accessed here, and according to a comment on Twitter seems undeterred by Disney’s action.

Disney lays claims to the representation going back to ‘at least 1928? (the year Steamboat Willie and Mickey Mouse were introduced to the world) and goes on to demonstrate the use of said mouse ears in several commercial uses, but also relies heavily on the fame of Mickey Mouse himself, citing the popularity of the 1950?s television series, ‘The Mickey Mouse Club,’ and states that mouse ears have been a core element of Disney’s consumer products ‘at least as early as 1955.’ –Stich Kingdom

Research shows that if you remove anonymity, you won’t hear from most of your readers – Honestly, I’m amazed this is a debate at all, but then I’ve been working with speech issues for more than a decade now, and have absolutely no trouble believing that the study cited in this Gigaom article and additional research by Disqus demonstrate that forcing people to comment under their real names disincentivizes engagement on the part of some of the most ardent and consistent site users/readers.

What that means in practice is that if a site like The Huffington Post or ESPN requires their users to login with Facebook or provide a “real” identity in some other way, they are likely shutting out as many as 80 percent of their readers. While at least some of these may be trolls or bad actors of some kind, it’s reasonable to assume that a significant number are loyal members of that site’s community, who may have something important or worthwhile to contribute. As David Williams, community manager for CNN Digital, said in an interview with Managing Communities:

Anonymous commenting isn’t the problem. The problem is when commenters feel anonymous. It is really important to let your community know that you’re listening and that you value what they have to say… If you don’t pay attention, people will misbehave until you are forced to pay attention. –Gigaom and Disqus

How the colour red warps the mind – So color psychology looks at the effect of colors on mood, perception, and behavior. Red, long perceived as a power color (which may explain why boys, and not girls, used to be associated with pink, as screwed up as the whole blue/pink dichotomy is), is now being studied for its potential effects on any number of behaviors, from athletic matches (who wins) to romantic gestures. As usual, I’m skeptical of the overlap between social conditioning and physiological effect.

Perhaps the most studied effect concerns the shade’s association with desire, seduction, and sin – a link that can be seen in everything from the Scarlet Whore of Babylon to Chris de Burgh’s Lady in Red. A string of experiments, by Elliot and other colleagues, have all confirmed that men and women are both rated as being more attractive when wearing red compared to other shades. Although many of the studies were conducted in the laboratory, with subjects passively rating static photos, it also seems to translate to real-world behaviour; waitresses in red also tend to get bigger tips from male customers, for instance; wearing a red t-shirt can also increase female hitchhikers’ chances of getting a ride. –BBC Future

Tuesday News: Publishers at Comic-Con, self-publishing and agent contracts, how BookBub works, and the Telegraph’s 1914 archives

Tuesday News: Publishers at Comic-Con, self-publishing and agent contracts, how BookBub...

Comic-con may celebrate comics but the fans are on the lookout for books and related media of all kinds. Over the weekend, HarperCollins and its partners are set to preview an interactive, multimedia project based on writer James Frey’s Endgame trilogy, which chronicles teens hunting for ancient keys that could save the world. At its core, the project is an augmented reality game that allows players, using their smartphones, to scavenge for items around Comic-Con. Endgame is also getting the film treatment by 20th Century Fox. Frey, HarperCollins, Google’s Niantic Labs and 20th Century Fox collaborated on the project, and they’re planning panels, signings, access codes to games. –Publishers Weekly

I’ve warned in the past about interminable agency clauses in author-agent agreements (language through which an agency claims the right to remain the agent of record not just for the duration of any contracts it negotiates for your book, but for the life of the book’s copyright). One of the many concerns raised by such language is what happens if you want to self-publish backlist books that the agency originally sold for you. With an interminable agency clause, might your agency feel entitled to a share of your self-publishing income? –Writer Beware

It’s important to know before reviewing the graphic that BookBub has always limited the number of titles we feature in order to avoid overwhelming our subscribers and to ensure all our partners’ listings have an equal chance of performing well. So while every book that gets submitted to us goes through this process, only about 10%-15% of them will be chosen for a feature. We hope this graphic reveals just how tough those decisions can be for our editors! –BookBub

Of course, the reality was far different for the 99 per cent of people who did not own land, collect rents or vacation at Biarritz and Marienbad. Most Edwardians worked in dark, noisy factories, cut hay in fields, toiled down dirty and dangerous mines; had bones bent by rickets and lungs racked by tuberculosis. Life expectancy then was 49 years for a man and 53 years for a woman, compared with 79 and 82 years today. They lived in back to back tenements or jerry-built terraces, wore cloth caps or bonnets (rather than boaters, bowlers and toppers) and they had never taken a holiday – beyond a day trip to Brighton or Blackpool – in their entire lives. –The Telegraph