Monday News: Terry not so Goodkind, ebooks and hardcovers, sexist new video game
Terry Goodkind Apologizes to Artist After Trashing Cover to Own Book – When Terry Goodkind called his new book cover “laughably bad,” he was in no way insulting the cover artist. Of course he wasn’t! Who would ever think that?! If you believe his lame “apology,” he was really criticizing the publisher. I haven’t read the series, so I don’t know why Goodkind reacted the way he did, but to call that cover “bad” is hardly a precise description coming from a writer. To me, “bad” implies objectively awful, poorly constructed visuals, garish colors, discordant imagery, extra arms or clear evidence of photoshopping – that kind of thing. But this cover image is none of that, from what I can tell, which I think makes Goodkind’s reaction seem more like a temper tantrum than a referendum on the way publishers manage cover art.
Eventually, Lecouffe-Deharme responded to Goodkind’s original post, writing on Saturday, “It was nice working with you Terry. What you are doing is totally disrespectful. As if I didn’t create those covers accorded to exactly what I was told to do. In my entire career I have never seen an author behaving like that.” . . .
“In no way do I feel the quality of the art is rendered poorly,” he continued. “For any misunderstanding, I apologize to the artist, his friends, and of course my own community here.” – Bleeding Cool News
‘The ebook is a stupid product: no creativity, no enhancement,’ says the Hachette Group CEO – You may have seen this quote circulating on Twitter, and yeah, it’s bad. But I don’t think Arnaud Nourry was trashing ebooks, per se; I think he was more demonstrating the persistent ignorance and incompetence traditional publishers have when it comes to digital technologies. And I think he was doing that with a combination of insight and defiance, resenting the existence of digital (because it can disrupt the hardcover model and can’t be “enhanced”) while still acknowledging its appeal and even necessity. And although he may not have intended it, I think Nourry’s comments are a great example of how digital consumers may understand the format far more than (some) traditional publishers do.
It’s been a little over ten years since ebooks came to the market in the form of Kindle. You mentioned a small decline – do you think the market has plateaued? Are there formats other than ebooks that publishers should be looking at?
There are two different geographies to look at for this. In the US and UK, the ebook market is about 20% of the total book market, everywhere else it is 5%-7% because in these places the prices never went down to such a level that the ebook market would get significant traction. I think the plateau, or rather slight decline, that we’re seeing in the US and UK is not going to reverse. It’s the limit of the ebook format. The ebook is a stupid product. It is exactly the same as print, except it’s electronic. There is no creativity, no enhancement, no real digital experience. We, as publishers, have not done a great job going digital. We’ve tried. We’ve tried enhanced or enriched ebooks – didn’t work. We’ve tried apps, websites with our content – we have one or two successes among a hundred failures. I’m talking about the entire industry. We’ve not done very well.
I’m convinced there is something we can invent using our content and digital properties beyond ebooks but I reached the conclusion that we don’t really have the skills and talents in our companies because publishers and editors are accustomed to picking a manuscript and creating a design on a flat page. They don’t really know the full potential of 3-D and digital. So we acquired three video game companies in the last two years to attract talent from different industries and see how we can nurture one another and how we can go beyond the ebook on digital. We need to offer different experiences to our consumers. – Scroll.in
Book clinic: why do publishers still issue hardbacks? – Reading Nourry’s comments next to this statement from The Bookseller’s Philip Jones puts both in a clearer context. Jones confirms the persistent preference publishers have for hardback, not only for prestige and literary value, but also because the traditional publishing+sales ecosystem is still viable and comprehensible:
Size also matters: hardbacks are bigger than paperbacks, they take up more space in bookshops and are more visible – whether in window displays or on bookshop tables. The hardback is the prop forward of the book world: it bashes its way through a crowded marketplace giving the book/author a foothold before the pacier paperback races through. Hardbacks are also more profitable for publishers: they will often sell at twice the price of their paperback equivalent but do not cost twice as much to produce. If a hardback becomes a bestseller, the publisher will often delay the paperback release even though that limits the book’s sales potential. – The Guardian
New ‘Pick-Up Artist’ Video Game Teaches Men How to Be Creeps – In some ways this is no shock, since, as the article notes, PUA is sadly but perfectly fit for a gaming platform. But the fact that Steam is apparently going to sell this thing is, well, let’s go with interesting. Based on the work of Richard La Ruina, the game, “Super Seducer,” was actually banned from Kickstarter, and part of the issue is that PUA manifestos are not marketed as fiction or fantasy, but as a philosophy on women and on male-female relationships, sometimes in vengeful terms (aimed at the women who rejected you). La Ruina claims this is a kinder, gentler version of the PUA narrative, and that women in the game and those who have plated it are “cool with it.”
I also asked La Ruina what he thinks about the criticism that is leveled at PUA these days. He told me that Super Seducer embodies an approach that is much more “wholesome,” and that the women featured in the game and others who have played it are “cool with it.”
“PUAs fall into a spectrum from those that legitimately want to ‘get back’ at women who rejected them their whole life to nice guys who are more like Will Smith in Hitch,” he said. “PUA used to be cool in 2006-9, and obviously it’s not well-placed right now with #metoo. Although I named my business ‘PUA Training’ back in 2006, I’m now married and have always taught ‘natural game’ with an honest approach…so don’t really like that I still have that label stuck to me.” . . .
Super Seducer‘s Steam page lists two publishers, RLR Training Inc and Red Dahlia Interactive, but clicking through to the game’s official site leads to PUATraining.com, which hawks La Ruina’s products. Headlines under the “popular posts” section of the site include “How To Get Your Ex Girlfriend Back (Even If She Hates You)” and “How To Make Women Squirt On Demand.” La Ruina’s byline graces a July 25 story with the headline “WHY WESTERN WOMEN SUCK AND HOW TO PICK UP A LOVELY EASTERN EUROPEAN LADY.” – Motherboard