Writers, agents help cats in Pens for Paws auctions

pensforpawsI just realized that the annual Pens for Paws auction has already started!

If you are not familiar with Pens for Paws, it is online auction that raises funds for Fat Kitty City. Fat Kitty is a no-kill,cage-free sanctuary for cats (and some dogs too) located in California. Items are donated by writers, artists and agents and publishers to support our four-legged friends.

The auction is managed by author Angelica R. Jackson, who is herself a volunteer at the sanctuary.

The types of items up for auction vary, but include query and manuscript critiques from authors and agents, ARCs, jewelry and hand-crafted items. Just a few things from among this year’s items:

  • Arcs selected by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary Agency
  • A  critique of your query, plus your first ten pages by Jessica Watterson of Sandra Dijkstra
  • Signed copies of books by Marie Lu
  • A watercolor portrait of your pet from a photo
  • A hand-crafted quilt

You can also make a donation to help support the sanctuary. Food and litter are an ongoing need!

You can find out more and see all the items up for bid at http://pensforpaws.blogspot.com.

Daily Links and Deals: Artist never judges a book by its cover

daily_links_1Daily Links for day, March 13, 2016:

Netflix can’t stream house of cards globally, blames licensing deals (Torrent Freak) These old laws are the reason we can’t have nice things everywhere –  like books and movies.

People who buy activity-trackers shouldn’t have to be beta testers (The Verge) This is a reoccurring problem for early adopters of new technology.

Major publishers’ e-book sales stagnate as overall market grows (The Seattle Times) The market is just more than traditional publishers any more.

Artist never judges a book by its cover (LA Times) It’s okay if print books are dying.See what this artist does with old discarded print books.

Guess what we find in books? A look Inside our Midwest Regional Digitization Center– by Jeff Sharpe (The Internet  Archive Blog) Readers leave their mark in the books they read.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deals includes 80% off select biographies and memoirs, including An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Col. Chris Hadfield for $3.99.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor for $2.99. The Romance Daily Find is Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend by Linda Wisdom for $1.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Private: #1 Suspect by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro for $1.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Something Missing by Matthew Dicks for $1.99.

Google is offeing a selection of limited time deals,starting at 99 cents and up.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Apple appeal rejected by Supreme Court (Round up)

supreme-court-546279_1280Here is a round up of some of the coverage from today on the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Apple books appeal:

Supreme Court summary decision (PDF)

Supreme Court rejects Apple’s appeal (Publishers Weekly)

Apple rejected by US High Court in $450 million e-book case (Bloomberg)

Supreme Court will not hear Apple antitrust appeal – lower court decision stands (Teleread)

Apple is On the Hook for the $450m Settlement after Supreme Court Rejects Apple’s eBook Conspiracy Appeal (The Digital Reader)

Apple loses e-books price-fixing appeal in U.S. Supreme Court (Techcrunch)

Over the next few days, there will be a lot of discussion about lessons learned, what happens from here and when consumers will see credits from their ebook retailers. Apple’s damages are over double the damages paid by the Big 5 publishers and released back in 2014, so it should be interesting.

I, for one, am glad that it’s over. How about you?

Digital evangelism and the death of print

bible-600There is a good article on ebooks by Molly Flatt in today’s edition of The Memo. Titled “The ebook is dead, long live the ebook.” the article uses an interview with Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn to solidly make the point that ebooks are alive and well. It is a fascinating read.

As I sat down to do a write-up on the article, I was distracted by the following paragraph:

What’s more, he refuses to toe the digital evangelist’s line about the death of print. What we’re seeing, he believes, is the healthy recalibration of a truly hybrid industry.

I have to admit, I was a little taken aback. The death of print? Who asked for that?

As someone who passionately advocates for ebooks and digital access, I certainly consider myself a digital evangelist, but advocating for the death of print is another thing altogether. That sounds like more of a digital militant thing, IMHO. If that’s what it means, I evidently missed an important memo.

Most early adopters are pretty passionate (and evangelical to a degree) about e-reading. In the early days of the Kindle, most people that many early adopters encountered had never seen an e-reader. Yes, they existed, but they certainly were not widespread or mainstream. Most of us got very good at explaining both the mechanics of e-readers and the benefits of reading ebooks. For many of us, the introduction of ebooks was a life-altering experience and the analogy to a religious experience is probably not far off. I have  written here about how getting a Kindle changed my life.

But many of us also found that there was a dark side to having an e-reader. You didn’t own the books you purchased. You only had a license to use them and that license could be taken away (Google Amazon and 1984 to see what I mean). You can’t convert them to other formats or use them on other devices. You can’t sell your ebooks, many of them can not even be loaned.

Many titles were not available as ebooks at all. The ebook for a new release might not be released for months after the print version (a practice called windowing). And good luck trying to get all the titles in a series or the complete backlist from an author – it probably wouldn’t happen. And the quality?  Many of the first ebooks were horribly formated and filled with OCR scanning errors.  Publishers threw an OCR file together, called it an ebook and told customers that we were stealing them at the $9.99 price tag that they thought was too cheap.

Now, I could go on and on about agency pricing, price fixing, terms like “paperback ebook pricing” and “hardcover ebook pricing” and so on…. But I think you get my drift. If you read this blog, you’ve heard me say it all before. It all boils down to availability, accessibility, quality and a price that in commensurate with the rights included with the ebooks we purchase.

Are digital evangelists vocal about what they want? Sure they are, in the same way that any other group of passionate hobbyists are vocal about what they are trying to change. It is pretty galling to be asked to pay more for an ebook than a physical copy would cost and not even have the same usage rights.

But do notice that the death of print is not even on the list. Please don’t confuse publishers’ fears with what customers want.

First and foremost, at least as people who read ebooks are concerned, we are readers. Really dedicated readers. That means we love books. I still have a houseful, even though I haven’t read a paper one in years. No body wants to kill off print, even if we don’t want to read it. And some people do read both.

But, ultimately, we just want the option to read what we want, in the format of our choice, when we want it,and at a fair price. We don’t want to be told that we are miserly or cheap because we don’t think that the convenience of the ebook format is worth the premium price that publishers want to charge.

But a truly hybrid industry that offers fair, healthy pricing for both ebooks and print? Yeah, I could get on board with that.

Lendle Axed by Amazon

The Kindle lending service Lendle had its access to Amazon’s API shut off today.  Lendle has made a statement on the situation on their website, saying that:

The letter we received from Amazon states that the reason our API and Amazon Associates accounts have been revoked is that Lendle does not “serve the principal purpose of driving sales of products and services on the Amazon site.”

Lendle goes on to say:

We do know that we’re not the only eBook lending site who had their API access revoked today, so we can only speculate that it wasn’t anything about Lendle specifically that caused Amazon to act today, but rather something a bit bigger than us. We know publishers have been skittish about lending, and aren’t yet seeing how much value it brings them, so we might speculate Amazon was acting on pressure from them. [Emphasis added]

Personally, I don’t think that it is all that difficult to speculate what that pressure might be about. This is happening almost exactly a year since Macmillan boycott and the Agency Model went into effect. If, as I surmise, Amazon is once again in negotiations with publishers then lending and ebook rights are almost certainly on the agenda. That, coupled with the sudden rise of several services facilitating the loan of ebooks (with some even charging a fee for the service), does not bode well for readers’ rights in the future.

I also think that it is highly unlikely that it is a coincidence that this situation and the Harper Collins limit on libraries lending eBooks are happening at the same time. Harper Collins has been strangely silent on the library lending issue which may mean that it has some bearing on larger negotiations with retailers.

Watch this space; we are going to hear a lot more about these lending issues.

This blog entry composed while listening to American VI: Ain’t No Grave by Johnny Cash