Monday News: Comic sales up, new flack over Amazon reviews, a Hugo puppy primer, & the marginalized power of Black Twitter
Comic Book Sales Hit 20-Year High in 2014, Says Report – Good news for Comic-Con this year – Comic book sales in 2014 were at $935 million, seven percent more than in 2013 and the highest since the mid 1990s. $835 million of that was from print sales.
*Digital sales actually experienced a decreased growth rate from 2013 (11 percent to 29 percent), though they did surpass the $100 million milestone.
*The only actual sales decline came in newsstand sales of periodical comics, which fell by $5 million, largely as a result of Marvel pulling out of the market.
Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 3 No. 1) was the best-selling comic of the year, with The Walking Dead (No. 132) second. For those who like their information in picture form, this infographic provides a neat summary of 2014 sales. –Paste Magazine
Furor over Amazon review policy probably signifies nothing – I’ve been seeing authors complain for a while now about having their reviews removed on the basis of personally knowing the author whose book they’re reviewing. How does Amazon determine this? They’re not saying. But as Tele Read’s Chris Meadows points out, Imy Santiago isn’t saying, either, which makes the complain equally opaque. It seems to me that Amazon is between a rock and a hard place with this. If they do nothing, then purchased reviews will remain on the site, but if they aggressively try to keep the rules in place, they will likely over-reach on occasion. Not sure what the solution is, frankly.
As posted on her blog and recounted in a Gizmodo story, writer and blogger Imy Santiago bought an independent novel, read it, and tried to post a review of it to Amazon. But Amazon rejected her review, and held firm on the rejection through two rounds of appeals. Amazon said that they had looked at Santiago’s account activity and from it determined Santiago actually personally knew the author of the novel she was trying to review. Hence, Amazon rejected the review on the grounds that there could be a conflict of interest. This seems to be part of a new change in the way Amazon is considering its reviews—probably part of the same changes that have also altered the way aggregate review scores are calculated. . . .
You see, Santiago firmly refuses to identify the author or title of the book she was attempting to review—nor has she divulged the nature of their relationship. She simply says that as an independent author herself, she moves in the same circles as a lot of other independent authors—but she has not even hinted at the precise nature of the relationship between her and the unnamed other novel’s author. Are they in fact best buddies? Does Santiago follow her on Twitter and occasionally retweet her posts because they’re funny? Does she not even really know the person but just happened to reply to one of her posts once to answer a question? No way to know, because Santiago’s not saying. –Tele Read
Eight Books You Need To Know About To Understand The Hugo Awards Snafu – If you’re not completely burned out by the Hugo disaster already, or if you’ve been ignoring the whole thing and want a crash course, this isn’t a bad way to study up. And it features actual books!
This year’s Hugo Awards controversy is confusing. There are two kinds of puppies! Are the puppies against diversity, or literary snobbery? And so on. But really, this is all about books, and particularly what kind of books we’re supposed to celebrate. So here are eight books that can help you understand the Hugo mess.–i09
The Power of Black Twitter – A great piece by Stereo Williams on the growing influence of Black Twitter, and the simultaneous appropriation of its voices by white media, without proper attribution or the promotion and elevation of those who are making the actual contributions. April Reign, who created the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, talks about the marginalization of black voices via the mainstream dominance of white media outlets and voices:
“We’ve really had to create our own spaces all too often—and I think that’s a problem,” Reign explains. While acknowledging that even black online media doesn’t seem to maximize the talented and influential persons who have gained recognition on Twitter, she also believes that white media prefers hearing black stories filtered through the lens of white observers. “I think that they’re still hiring white people to tell our stories and saying, ‘Go out there and live among the natives and come back and tell us what you’ve found,’ instead of hiring the natives,” she says. “There are those who would love to tell the story from a first-person narrative and who have the skills to do so, but our work is being appropriated all too often.”
“How many black people does HuffPost have?” Reign continues. “Are they all centered in HuffPost BlackVoices? Are they recent hires and people you would recognize as someone who’s created something recently? Or are they writers from something else who have been stuck in the ‘black section’ because they’re black?”–The Daily Beast