Tuesday News: SCOTUS rejects Apple, Super Hero Girl dolls, and the nonexistent bestseller
Supreme Court Declines to Hear Apple’s Appeal in E-Book Pricing Case – Without providing justification or explanation, the Supreme Court turned down Apple’s request for the Court’s review of the Second Circuit’s appellate decision that the company’s agreement with Big 5 publishers amounted to price-fixing. Which means that Apple is still facing a 2014 $450 million dollar settlement agreement, despite the company’s insistence that it was actually helping competition,
“Apple’s launch of the iBookstore as a platform for tens of millions of consumers to buy and read digital books on the iPad dramatically enhanced competition in the e-books market, benefiting authors, e-book publishers, and retail consumers,” Apple said in its petition seeking a Supreme Court review. “Following Apple’s entry, output increased, overall prices decreased and a major new retailer began to compete in a market formerly dominated by a single firm.”
“If a new firm’s entry disrupts a monopoly and creates long-term competition, that is to be lauded, whether the previous prices were artificially high or artificially low,” the brief said. – New York Times
DC Super Hero Girls Bring Comic Book Toys To A Brand New Audience – Six new Mattel “Super Hero Girls” dolls are out: Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman and Bumblebee, and my first thought is that they look like a cross between Disney and Monster High. Anyone have any thought about the dolls and their look? They seem very gendered to me.
The DC Super Hero Girls line is more than just toys. Late last year Warner Bros. and Mattel launched an official website for the property, featuring a series of animated shorts setting the tone and establishing the characters attending Super Hero High.
With graphic novels, apparel and animated shorts both available and forthcoming, DC Super Hero Girls is positioning itself as a strong transmedia brand with an admirable message—anyone can be a hero. – Kotaku
EXCLUSIVE: How This Marketer Created a Fake Best Seller—And Got a Real Book Deal – Brent Underwood got sick of the marketing machines responsible for creating what her perceives to be unworthy and bogus bestselling books on Amazon, so he organized a scheme to get his own completely unworthy and bogus (and nonexistent) book to #1 bestselling status on Amazon. Which then brought him attention from Publishers Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, BoingBoing, and even The Paris Review, as well as an actual publishing offer from Thought Catalog (the offer was tendered after the scheme was revealed, a “meta on top of meta on top of meta” situation, according to Ryan Holiday, Underwood’s partner at the Observer). It took only three sales for the “book” to become a “bestseller,” and Amazon finally pulled it after 14 sales. If nothing else, it shows the power of publicity, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. So why did Underwood do it? He explains,
I believe books are important. I know authors work like hell to get their books out there and sold. I see it every day with our clients and friends. It’s dishonest and annoying for people who phone in a book, throw it up just because they can self-publish, and top an Amazon category for an hour to go around calling themselves a bestseller. It devalues the term and disrespects generations of authors. It’s about as far as you can get from someone who does this work for real, like, say, Robert Caro,who slaves away for decades on each book he writes. Creating books is a craft, and the phoniness in the industry erodes people’s respect for it.So to prove my point, reveal what was at work in the industry, and to get a window into Amazon’s backend analytics, I needed a “book.” Having a “book” would allow me to see how sales affect ranking and show with screenshots exactly what all the scammers were offering as a service. I wasn’t going to write 50,000-word book just to prove this point, so I just thought of the quickest way to produce something. Ergo, I took a photo of my foot.
I wanted it to hit the top of a category so I could call out their nonsense and knew it wouldn’t take that many sales depending on the category. The fact it took a mere three books was a little surprising, but looking back I think I could have picked an even more obscure category and gotten to the “No. 1 Best Seller” spot with just a single sale. Maybe I’ll do that later today. – Observer