News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, giveaways on this and other blogs, and other cool stuff.
- “Decrying the evil empire of publishing while piloting one of its battle cruisers?” Traditional & indie author Bob Mayer takes a look at the anti-Amazon rhetoric coming from (gasp!) authors and publishers who sell through Amazon. (Thanks to The Digital Reader for putting me on to this post.)
- “Mining Books to Map Emotions Through a Century” (Alix Spiegel, NPR’s All Things Considered) Researchers looked at the use of “emotion” words in over a century of digitized books.
- “Why Facebook Home bothers me: It destroys any notion of privacy” (Om Malik, Gigaom).
R. I. P.:
|Roger Ebert with wife Chaz Hammel-Smith and Nancy Kwan. Photo by Chuck Boller of the Hawaii International Film Festival. Used under CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.|
- Roger Ebert, beloved film critic, on Thursday, 4/04/13. (Cheryl Corley, NPR’ All Things Considered)
- Author and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala died Wednesday at 85. Jhabvala wrote the screenplays for A Room With a View, Howard’s End, and other Merchant/Ivory films, as well as a number of acclaimed novels. (Krishnadev Calamur, NPR’s The Two-Way)
More Books & Ebooks in the News:
- “2013 Hugo nominees announced” The Hugo Award goes to outstanding authors, artists, editors, and fans in the science fiction and fantasy field. (Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing)
- “Reselling digital goods is copyright infringement, judge rules”, and blogger Jane Litte of Dear Author thinks the ruling needs to be revisited, because “the decision itself is contradictory and shows a distinct lack of understanding of digital media.”
- LibraryThing founder Tim Spalding responds to Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads. (Hint — he’s practically jumping for joy.) My advice to him as a current Goodreads and former LibraryThing user: if you want LibraryThing to attract readers who are leaving Goodreads, make the interface less clunky and the pages less cluttered. In other words, LT’s bones are good, but it needs a facelift.
- “Here’s the problem with publishers’ book discovery problem” (Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent) I missed this article back in February, but it’s still relevant.
- Shakespeare’s business practices were questionable. A recent study claims he evaded taxes and stockpiled grains to resell at inflated prices. (Sam Marsden, The Telegraph)
|Brilliant playwright… and shady businessman?|
- Someone named Glenda Wallace has put up a petition to get Amazon to stop allowing returns on Kindle ebooks. As you can imagine, many of the signers are authors, who are dismayed because some consumers are gaming the system — reading the book, then returning it. And they’re right — that stinks, and it should be discouraged. But here’s the thing: Amazon already discourages this practice. According to Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader, Amazon cuts off ebook returns if a customer returns too many of them. And there are good reasons to continue to allow customers to return some ebooks… Look, I’ve seen print books returned because — gee, look! it’s missing pages 45-89. Or half the pages are upside-down. And if you read ebooks, I can almost guarantee you’ve gotten at least one that was badly formatted for your reader (or any reader) — or badly proofread, or more likely not proofread at all and riddled with errors. Shouldn’t consumers have the right to return what is in essence a defective product?
- The Midnight Garden is giving away a complete hardcover trilogy of Melina Marchette’s Lumatere Chronicles. Plus, this is one of the most passionate and eloquent reviews I’ve read in quite a while. Whether you want to enter the giveaway or not, you really ought to take a look.
Just for Fun:
- “Expecto Valeo: How Much Does Hogwarts Castle Cost?” David Cross has estimated the value of Hogwarts based on location, estimated square footage, and comparable properties in the area. (Movoto blog)
I’m always on the lookout for interesting articles, lists, and links for News & Notes, so please let me know if you see (or write!) anything that might be good for this feature. You can leave me a comment or send me an email — my address is on the About/Review Policy/Contact page.
I very much disagree with the Amazon petition. There are, as you said, valid reasons for an ebook to be returned and I’d hate to see the process made more difficult or taken away. And of course, many bookstores allow print books to be returned so why would ebook authors want to make purchasing ebooks less desirable? That would certainly hurt their sales.
Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard
I agree with you; I’m also against the petition. That said, the reason authors are worried is because some people misuse the privilege, returning ebooks after they have read them. In other words, they’re reading the books for free; the author gets no royalties. If I were an author, that would bother me — but it does seem that Amazon’s policy addresses that issue. (Incidentally, Amazon is the only company I know of that allows ebook returns at all; at all other retailers, sales are pretty much final.)