Tuesday News: People want bigger phones, independent booksellers capitalize on Hachette v. Amazon, Open Road responds to Harper Collins, and literary miscellany
Survey Says: People Want Bigger Phones – Dear Apple, what is that they say — change or die? Remember the olden days when you were the underdogs, the upstarts, the revolutionaries? What happened, Apple? Please don’t make me buy a Galaxy Note. Please. XOXO, Me
Of the 23,000 people polled in almost two dozen countries, 57 percent plan to buy a new smartphone in the next year. And almost half, 48 percent, of intended buyers want a model with a 5- to 7-inch screen, Accenture said.
. . .
In India, 67 percent of consumers are leaning toward a larger screen model, in addition to 66 percent in China, 61 percent in Indonesia, and 64 percent in Turkey. By contrast, In the United States, only 40 percent were seeking a larger screen and just 30 percent in Germany and 19 percent in Japan. –Yahoo Tech
Booksellers Score Some Points in Amazon’s Spat With Hachette – My brain keeps wanting to read this as “bestsellers score some points,” because for all the talk of independent booksellers taking advantage of a potential vacuum in the retail market, what’s happening with mid-level authors and books? From what I can tell (and this article seems to add anecdotal evidence to the case), it’s still the big books that seem poised to benefit. And that doesn’t seem like so much good change to me.
What bothered Mr. Sindelar wasn’t that Amazon’s tactics were so hard-boiled. Rather, “our goal as retailers is to connect people to books,” he said. “The notion that a retailer would obstruct readers from getting to certain books they want completely violates our ethics as retailers. I wondered how we could get that message across to customers.”
So Mr. Sindelar went to Hachette’s publishing list, looking for the next potential blockbuster. At the Hachette subsidiary Little, Brown and Company, he found “The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith — a.k.a. J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series — the follow-up to her best-seller “The Cuckoo’s Calling.” “That seemed obvious,” he said. “Ordinarily, we wouldn’t get any pre-orders for a book like that. Zero. But Amazon had deleted its pre-order button, so I thought we could capitalize on that.” –New York Times
Open Road Fires Back at HarperCollins in Copyright Case – Boy, this is getting interesting. Open Road is, among other things, claiming they’ve only made $19K in sales on the digital edition of Julie of the Wolves (about 10.45K books). Harper Collins wants something in the neighborhood of $1.1M, inclusive of attorneys’ fees and damages for alleged “willfulness” on Open Road’s part. Although the origins of this case were contractual (was there a granting of digital rights to Harper Collins in the 1971 contract), it may have more to do with royalties, which Jean Craighead George found to be insufficient with Harper Collins (only 25% to Open Road’s 50%). Considering the Hachette-Amazon battle, that makes the situation even more relevant and interesting.
Claiming that the Harper proposal is based on “a misleading portrayal” of the facts, Open Road attorneys argued that not only has Harper not suffered the kind of irreparable harm necessary to justify its proposed remedy, in fact it has not suffered any harm at all. “Harper cannot prove any present harm, let alone irreparable harm,” Open Road attorneys argued, noting that despite its win in court, Harper does not have the right to sell Julie of the Wolves e-books without the author’s consent, “which it has never obtained” owing to “a fundamental disagreement as to a fair e-book royalty.” –Publishers Weekly
The Secret Lives of Authors: The stories behind the stories. – Speaking of Open Road, they’ve got a pretty rich Pinterest board — a sort of ‘behind the scenes’ author board. Normally I’d shy away from posting something like this, because I think the focus on authors over their books has gotten a wee bit out of control. However, there’s some pretty cool stuff here, and some of the authors are no longer around. For example, there’s a list of ’16 things you didn’t know about Octavia Butler’ and some great old photos of the likes of a young Dorothy Sayers and Erica Jong, as well as a listing of ‘literary drinks — 10 famous fiction writers and their cocktails.’ –Pinterest