Thursday News: Amazon’s review rules, IPA supports Turkish publishing, use of English in science, and clever emoji book
Amazon’s New Review Rules: Should Authors Be Worried? – Author Anne R. Allen has written a post explaining why she thinks Amazon has been cracking down more on reviews, even going so far as to wipe out a reviewer’s whole review history on the site. One of the most important (and potentially confusing) aspects of the new rules is the issue of “paid” or “incentivized reviews.” Amazon is now limiting incentivized reviews to those produced through Amazon Vine, and has issued this language:
Paid Reviews – We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment (whether in the form of money or gift certificates), bonus content, entry to a contest or sweepstakes, discounts on future purchases, extra product, or other gifts.
Allen speculates about the possible interpretations of the “paid review,” including reviews produced through a blog tour, by Amazon affiliates, as part of a sweepstakes entry, or in expectation of a free book. However, Tech Crunch’s Sarah Perez claims that “[t]hese changes will apply to all product categories other than books.” So why is Amazon deleting book reviews? Jane’s response to Allen’s article is as follows:
I disagree with her interpretation of the rules to disqualify reviews using affiliate links or for bloggers participating in blog tours. The latter get no monetization or incentization. She appears to be guessing as to why some bloggers have had their reviews removed. It’s likely because Amazon presumes some close relationship, not that they are involved in a blog tour. The reviews could also have been removed because the bloggers are on a street team.
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016: Charkin Says IPA Stands With Turkish Publishers – The Frankfurt Book Fair has raised the profile of the horrifying conditions for artists and publishers in Turkey, and the International Publishers Association has expressed its support for the besieged Turkish industry. This is not the first time the IPA has condemned the Turkish government for its attacks on publishers and authors, though – they issued a statement last year, as well, about attacks on independent media outlets.
The plight of Turkish publishers has been a prominent issue at the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair, in the midst of a so-called “purge,” by the Erdogan regime, following a failed coup attempt this past July. Reports suggest that upwards of 30 publishers have been shuttered, and thousands of authors, journalists, academics and intellectuals have been arrested, or dismissed.
[IPA President Richard] Charkin visited Turkey October 1-2, and released a statement on the IPA website after the visit condemning the government’s actions. “If the government continues its vengeful persecution of any individual or organization whose views differ from its own,” he observed in that statement, “then Turkish publishing, and the country’s creative industries as a whole risk decimation.” – Publishers Weekly
Does English Have to Be the Dominant Language of Science? – A contemplation of the pros and cons of having a single language as the primary language of scientific discourse. Having that language be English both perpetuates and relies upon deep inequalities to maintain its singular dominance, because it “severely limits the participating population to those who can gain the requisite skills,” aka those who have the money and social standing to acquire adequate command of English. In addition, there is the problem of how translating one’s thoughts to English from another language can compromise the discourse itself:
A non-native English-speaking scientist must force his/her natural words into a rigidly structured alternate lexicon, and this process inherently changes the way science is recorded. We express science not only through words, jointed by the nuts and bolts of conjunctions and conjugations, but in the points we emphasize, the form of the storyline we tell, the way we view and perceive communication. Samuel Beckett consciously chose to write in French, and when asked why, he responded, “because it is easier to write without style.”
A language conveys information but in its native form, it infuses its nouns, adjectives, and verbs with a richness bigger than the meaning itself. It gives words a sense. Though science itself attempts to root out the un-quantitative, the way we conceive of science is drenched in the cultural environment where we produce it. These cultural subtleties manifest themselves in oral and written communications of scientific work, and bias the way we assess intellectual merit, so that even as objective judges we prefer the “American scientist”. – Scientific American
This emoji coffee table book is the perfect gift for ??? lovers – Artists provide their own interpretations of different emojis. Cute and clever. – The Next Web