Friday News: Apple’s appeal, Kindle Scout’s selections, Australian awards controversy, and books on the battlefield
Can Apple Win Its E-book Appeal? – This is a pretty good primer on Apple’s appeal to Judge Cote’s 2013 judgment against them in the now-infamous conspiracy and price-fixing case against the big NY publishers and Apple. The Department of Justice, of course, continues to claim that their evidence against Apple is “overwhelming,” and legal experts have been skeptical of Apple’s chances of overturning the original judgment. Oral arguments will take place on December 15th.
The key argument Apple will make to the Second Circuit is that case law limits the inferences a judge can make from evidence submitted in antitrust cases, and that Judge Cote relied on too many inferences from too much ambiguous evidence and thus erred in finding Apple liable for a “per se” case of price-fixing. In a recent letter to the Second Circuit, Apple attorneys reiterated that argument, pointing to a recently decided case in another circuit they believe bolsters their contention that case law limits the inferences a judge can make from circumstantial evidence in antitrust cases.
In Apple’s version of events, the company did “nothing more” than “[hear] out” the publishers’ complaints about Amazon and convey its “openness to pricing above $9.99.” Nothing in the evidence, they stress, definitively shows otherwise. Did Apple exploit the publishers’ desire to blunt Amazon’s pricing? Sure—but at no time, Apple attorneys insist, did Apple knowingly join a conspiracy—it was simply trying to enter the e-book market under “rational” business terms. And its entry into the e-book market had “pro-competitive” effects, helping to dent Amazon’s 90% market share. –Publishers Weekly
Kindle Scout: Selected for Publication – Amazon’s crowd-sourcing imprint has selected its first round of books, including titles from Neal Wooten, Sariah Wilson, and 11 other authors of what appears to be a lot of SFF and crime fiction, with one Romance. Hmm. The Digital Reader’s Nate Hoffelder also notes that many of these authors have been traditionally published, suggesting somewhat traditional publication tastes:
Of those thirteen books, ten are by authors which I can confirm have a book with a traditional publisher. Most had been published by small presses, but at least three had been published by major publishers, including Random House (Bantam and Ballantine imprints) and Gale (via its fiction imprint, Five Star). –Amazon
Joint winner puts the ‘Prime Minister’ in literary awards – An interesting controversy around Australia’s Prime Minister’s Literary Award for fiction involving a last minute announcement, by the Prime Minister himself, that the book unanimously selected by the panel of judges — A World of Other People by Steven Carroll — was now only half winner of the prize, along with Richard Flanagan’s Man Book Prize winning novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Beyond the fact that the decision reflects a usurpation of the judge’s final decision, the timing of the announcement, which occurred at the actual awards ceremony, did not go over well with some people, including judge and poet Les Murray, who has subsequently broken the secrecy of the judging process to criticize the Prime Minister’s actions.
For his part, Flanagan, a vocal critic of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, is apparently donating his prize money to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. This is not the only controversy surrounding this year’s awards – the history category has seen its share of public debate, as well.
Now there’s an argument that it’s the Prime Minister’s prize, and therefore the Prime Minister can intervene at any point to change or modify the judges’ decision. There’s even something in the rules about that. (It might even have happened in the past under Kevin Rudd, but if so, the judges have kept quiet about it, as they should.)
Certainly I have no quarrel with the Prime Minister’s right to choose judges, say. But it seems to me that only in the most extreme circumstances – an unbreakable deadlock, where no one is giving any ground – should the Prime Minister come in with a casting vote. –Sydney Morning Herald
WWII By The Books: The Pocket-Size Editions That Kept Soldiers Reading – A fascinating story about the small (smartphone sized- according to the article) paperback books that American soldiers of World War II carried around in their uniform pockets, including on the battlefields. A new book by Guptill Manning, When Books Went To War, traces the history of these Armed Services volumes, which were cheaply made and incredibly popular, ranging in topic from learning new crafts to Shakespeare and even Romance. The strong appeal of Romance novels might not strike you as particularly enlightened, but it’s interesting:
On the appeal of romances and books with steamy sex scenes
Many men wrote in saying, “We would like to read books like Strange Fruit by Lillian Smith because,” as one man said, “this book has sex scenes and a lot of them.” …
[Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor] was more of a romance novel. And actually some of the people that were in charge of selecting the books expressed concern about sending what they called “trashy books” to soldiers and sailors who were fighting at war. And so, top publishers in the United States were presented with the question of whether they should be sending trashy books to American troops, and the publishers said yes. They said if the men want to read trashy novels then let’s send them trashy novels. –NPR
My s-I-l has one of the 40’s armed services editions, i think it’s short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It struck me as more phablet sized, I think, but definitely smaller than my iPad mini.
“They said if the men want to read trashy novels then let’s send them trashy novels.”
I bought ‘When the books went to war”. Thanks Robin.