Thursday News: Hugo Awards online, Barnes & Noble v. homeless readers(?), Romance Writers of Australia conference, and suing illegal downloaders
2015 Hugo Awards Ceremony – Missed the Hugo Awards ceremony? You can catch it (in four parts) on Livestream. I hear that Laura Mixon’s acceptance speech for Best Fan Writer was particularly moving. –Livestream
Viewpoint: Changes at Barnes & Noble may indicate a privilege problem – Nick Norton of Wayne State University found something disconcerting at his local Barnes and Noble: the reading chairs had been removed. What the store associate told Norton is pretty horrifying, and came down to a campaign to deterring the poor and homeless Norton’s great podcast investigates the issue further and talks about the conflicting information he got about the missing chairs. But even more important, he talks about the privilege inherent in neighborhood bookstores, along with the ways in which SES is linked with literacy rates, and the societal costs of limiting access to resources like books.
The employees – albeit not overtly — said Barnes & Noble chose to get rid of its big, cozy chairs to prevent the homeless from loitering in its stores. While they never used the term “homeless,” the employees instead referred to these loiterers as “undesirables,” or even “smelly people.–USA Today
RAZER ON ROMANCE WRITERS: THESE BROADS HAVE NO TIME FOR NONSENSE – Ostensibly a summary of the recent Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne. I have it on good authority that Helen Razer has quite the, well, razor tongue about nearly everything, so despite the overt sarcasm and arid wit of this article, that it’s really quite complimentary about Romance. And I can see that among some of the backhanded compliments is a genuine understanding that Romance is, indeed, a business, and that the women who succeed do so being able to negotiate both sentiment and business savvy.
If you don’t know love, you have no business here or elsewhere in an industry, however much it is mediated by market need, than runs on emotion. A cynic cannot write romance for cash — I’ve tried and, like many arrogant writers tempted by the thought of “easy money”, I’ve failed. It’s not enough to be a postmodern business-minded girl to succeed. You need to be truly sentimental.
This is a weekend of workshops on matters so practical and budgetary, it even draws experienced writers from other genres. I spot forensic medicine best-seller, Kathryn Fox whose heroines are less likely to wear a bodice than they are a blood-spattered lab coat. These women — and they are nearly all women, notably excepting a small group of men referred to as “the husbands” who keep the pitch sessions running to time — may write to a fantasy but they don’t write from within one.–Daily Review
Village Roadshow threat to sue pirates and block downloading websites – Speaking of Australia, they been very aggressive toward illegal downloading. Now Village Roadshow, the Australian company that has distributed films like The Lego Movie and Mad Max: Fury Road, is trying to block “illegal sites” and is threatening to sue anyone who has illegally downloaded a movie. Because suing is easier than simply making content available affordably and legally accessible???
Tom Godfrey, of consumer advocacy group Choice, told news.com.au that blocking sites would almost be useless in the fight against piracy.
“Anyone who has access to Google will be able to get around Australia’s internet filter,” he said. “This whole exercise has purely been about some very, very big players trying to prop up their business models and take out competitors.”
He also believes that blocking sites would hurt competition international companies have stimulated, rather than actually stop pirates.
“Fair enough if they want to wipe out The Pirate Bay and the like, but they’re using the pirating issue to also limit Australians access to international competition,” Mr Godfrey said.–The Advertiser