Wednesday News: B&N self-printing; Amazon v Hachette = end of civilization; Reuters disables comments; and guys tweeting as girls but making $$ like men
I’m trying to get it together to do a WWI links news post this week, but I just haven’t had the time to finish it. I am working on it, though.
Barnes & Noble jumps into print-on-demand with Nook Press Print – Poor Barnes & Noble. It seems that everything they do these days is a day late and a dollar short, so to speak. Now they’ve decided to enter the print business for self-published authors, except that the books would not actually be sold by B&N. Someone today told me that will simply ship the boxes of books to your house, and it’s up to you, the author, to distribute them. That’s superior to Amazon how, exactly?
The tools provided by Press Print integrate with the existing services Barnes & Noble offers through the Nook Press program, including editing and formatting. Pricing for those services starts at $999, and this move to offer print-on-demand publishing could help draw authors to those up-sell services as well. –Geek Wire
The War of the Words – A long, semi-derivative discussion of the Amazon evolution, with emphasis on the battle with Hachette as a potential turning point, not only for publishing, but for The World As We Know It. Andrew Wylie, who apparently implored his authors to sign the Authors United petition, puts it this way: If Amazon wins this battle, Wylie insists, “No one, unless they have inherited $50 million, will be able to afford to write a serious work of history, of poetry, of biography, a novel—anything. The stakes are Western culture.” Well, okay, then. Class action attorney Steve Berman talks about how he’d “love to sue Amazon,” although it’s a premature impulse. One of the more interesting passages in the article to me was on Amazon’s relationship to genre fiction:
Amazon’s self-published authors’ books were particularly inexpensive, and also something else: they were a particular kind of book. In publishing terms they were known as “genre” books: thrillers, mysteries, horror stories, romances. There were genre writers on both sides of the dispute, but on the publishing side were huddled the biographers, urban historians, midlist novelists—that is, all the people who were able to eke out a living because publishers still paid advances, acting as a kind of local literary bank, in anticipation of future sales. Some pro-Amazon authors boasted of the money they’d earned from self-publishing, but the authors of books that sometimes took a decade to write knew that this was not for them—that in an Amazon future they would be even more dependent on the universities and foundations than they already were. When, in turn, pro-Amazon authors lashed out at traditional publishing, they often spoke with the passion of the dispossessed. The publishing houses made a lot of money on their own genre best-sellers, but the Amazon backers were not wrong to think that some of the institutions associated with American publishing—such as The New York Times, which has reported on the Hachette-Amazon standoff in great detail—did not take self-published genre writers all that seriously, and probably never would. (But get yourself on the Man Booker Prize short list and your call to the Times will go right through.) And perhaps the pro-Amazon writers also preferred the Amazon executives—Grandinetti, who talks about defending regular customers from the big “media conglomerates” (though he went to Princeton and worked for Morgan Stanley), and Bezos, who comes across as an excitable mad inventor (though he also went to Princeton)—to the buttoned-up representatives of the “legacy publishers,” such as the soft-spoken and impeccably articulate Michael Pietsch, who had gone to Harvard. In this way, the Amazon-Hachette dispute mirrors the wider culture wars that have been playing out in America since at least the 1960s. On the one side, super-wealthy elites employing populist rhetoric and mobilizing non-elites; on the other side, slightly less wealthy elites struggling to explain why their way of life is worth preserving. –Vanity Fair
Ending reader comments is a mistake, even if you are Reuters – So Reuters is now disabling commenting on its own articles, acknowledging the way in which discussion has largely migrated to places like Twitter and Facebook. Matthew Ingram has been a vocal opponent of the dismantling of commenting communities on websites, and I think he makes some compelling points here about the myriad negative effects of, well, basically outsourcing your comment sections to social media platforms that are disassociated from the site that created the content to begin with. For example,
As I tried to point out, what Reuters is really doing is two-fold: it is effectively offloading the cost of moderation to its writers — who will now be responding on Twitter and Facebook either on their own time or during work hours or both — and it is handing over much of the value of that engagement with readers to Twitter and Facebook and other social platforms. . . .
Many people complain about comment sections, but in my experience just as many either secretly or not-so-secretly enjoy the back-and-forth of reader discussion, even if it does get out of hand sometimes. And one of the most important aspects of comments isn’t just that it gives those who comment a place to put their remarks — it’s that it allows other readers who may never comment to see those discussions taking place, and hopefully see journalists responding to those comments. –Gigaom
Meet The Network Of Guys Making Thousands Of Dollars Tweeting As “Common White Girls” – As much as I dislike Buzzfeed, this article on young guys who are tweeting as young girls is just horrifying enough to draw attention to. Because not only are these guys tweeting as young girls in order to capitalize on that enormous social media presence, but also to make mega bucks. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, bucks. According to Cameron Asa, a 21-year-old who has 1.2 M Twitter followers to his account “Tweet Like A Girl,” explains that the Alex from Target phenomenon can be credited to these accounts.
He told BuzzFeed News that he’s part of an unofficial network of Twitter users, all with massive parody accounts who are regularly responsible for making new memes go super viral. He said the network — which has no corporate sponsor backing it — was responsible for the “Alex From Target” sensation on Sunday.
“I know for a fact it was the parody accounts that started it,” Asa said. “It was just absolutely nuts. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
But randomly flexing their power to launch random cute boys into superstardom is only the tip of the iceberg for Twitter’s unofficial parody account network. The guys running these accounts are also making impressive amounts of money. –Buzzfeed News