Tuesday News: Amazon’s retail vision, Nielsen Survey results, gaming the Hugo Awards, and #VeryRealisticYA
A recently filed patent application by Amazon reveals details about a new kind of retail establishment that would allow shoppers to pick items and leave without stopping at a cashier station or kiosk.
Based around the idea of complete convenience, such a store would work using a system of cameras, sensors or RFID readers that would be able to identify shoppers and the items they’ve chosen, according to the application, which was filed in September and published in January. The technology would also potentially give Amazon a more cost-effective way to compete with traditional retailers by operating a store that doesn’t require cashiers and could similarly serve as a place to pick up online orders. –Re/code
E-books accounted for 15% of the spending on all new books (backlist and frontlist titles) last year, up from 12% in 2013. The format’s share of units rose at a slightly slower rate, rising by one percentage point in the year, to 21%, an indication that though e-books remain lower priced than print titles, prices have increased. Print accounted for 70% of new-book spending in 2014, a drop of seven percentage points from 2013. The print declines came in trade paperback and hardcover, while mass market paperbacks had a slight increase in their share of spending. Consumers still spent the most money on hardcovers in 2014, with the format accounting for 32% of spending in the year, followed by trade paperback. Trade paperbacks accounted for the most units sold, though their share fell from 30% in 2013 to 27% last year; hardcovers held a 26% share of units in 2014, down from 27%. The audiobook category, led by digital downloadable works, had a solid year with its share of spending rising to 3% in 2014 from 1%. –Publishers Weekly
entirely deserving works, writers, and editors — all of whom would not otherwise find themselves on the Hugo ballot without some extra oomph received from beyond the rarefied, insular halls of 21st century Worldcon “fandom.”
According to Jason Sanford, this is not going over well with the Worldcon folks, who are already looking at future rule changes. But in the meantime, the legitimacy, purpose, and meaning of the awards all appear to be in flux.
While the fact that the Hugo Awards can be gamed may shock some people, it’s actually somewhat easy to do in the categories with lower voter participation, such as the short fiction categories. For example, if a few dozen people organize to vote for the same short story they can land that story on the final ballot. The reason this hasn’t been a major issue before is no one organized a large enough voting campaign like Sad Puppies 3. Basically, people had too much respect for the Hugo Awards to try and land only particular stories on the final ballot for political reasons. Most Hugo voters also took their nominating ability serious and voted for what they considered to be the best stories — and not for certain slates of stories and authors merely to make a larger cultural point. –Jason Sanford
While many are fighting against this lack of representation, teen author John Hansen — who identifies as a feminist, queer and an ally — is addressing the representation of teenage life in a clever new Twitter hashtag, #VeryRealisticYA.
The conversation began with Hansen’s observation that, despite being geared towards young adults, this genre generally doesn’t reflect the reality of being a teenager. Hansen’s observations quickly evolved into #VeryRealisticYA — a widespread exploration of the many sexist, heterosexist and overall problematic social norms young adult fiction often perpetuates. –Identities.Mic