Daily Links and Deals: The looming threat to our book industry is bad for authors, publishers … but mostly for you

daily_links_1Today, a look at proposed book industry changes in Australia. Also, the US House blocks Google and Yahoo services, consumers want Netflix to stop blocking VPNs and asking if the $300 for the Oasis is worth it. In deals, Amazon has a sale on the Fire HD tablet for Kids.

Daily Links for day, May 12, 2016:

The looming threat to our book industry is bad for authors, publishers … but mostly for you (The Guardian) Like Canada, Australia has mechanisms in place to put locals talent first. Is this really good for Australians? Here’s one point of view.

Report: U.S. House blocks access to Google services amid fears of ransomware attacks (9 to 5 Google) Congress is grounded off Google? And Yahoo too?

45,00 People Ask Netflix to stop VPN Crackdown (Torrent Freak) Group wants a meet with Netflix CEO to discuss privacy alternatives.

Should you spend nearly $300 on a new Kindle? (The Verge) Is your Kindle Paperwhite good enough or do you need the new Oasis?

1.8 Million Free Works of Art from World-Class Museums: A Meta List of Great Art Available Online (Open Culture) This is amazing and you can view it all without leaving home. 🙂

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The Very Best of Kate Elliott by Kate Elliott for $1.99.

In Today’s Deals, you can save $50 on the Fire HD 6 Kids Edition Tablet.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital by Alexandra Robbins for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is In the Fast Lane by Audra North for $1.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart for $2.99. The Extra Daily Deal is Love, Diamonds, and Spades
Cactus Creek (Book 2) by Violet Duke for $99 cents.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Last Clinic: A Darla Cavannah Mystery by Gary Gusick for $2.99.

(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, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Library Corner: 12/7/2014

Library corner imageThis week’s links in library news:

What’s going on in the Library, Part 1: Librarian publishers may be more important than you think (Scholarly Kitchen)

3M  adds audiobooks to the cloud library (Digital Reader)

The top 10 Library stories of 2014 (Publishers Weekly)

Collected Papers of Albert Einstein debut online (Infodocket)

Second Circuit hears Google Books case (Publishers Weekly)

New York Libraries to lend hotspots  (Digital Reader)

Picture adapted from Morguefile original


A Return to Agency Pricing…

money fightSimon and Schuster has reached an agreement with Amazon to return to agency pricing, according to a report from Digital Book World. The deal is to go into effect January 1, 2015  and is said to  apply to both print and e-books. According to the rumored term s, “Amazon’s prerogative to discount the publisher’s ebooks is sharply limited.”  There is no word if this will have any effect on the negotiations between Amazon and Hachette.


Personally, I think this is very disappointing news. As someone who buys a lot of e-books, I still think that most of the Big Publishing House e-books are priced too high, especially many backlist books. I boycott any e-books priced over $9.99 and have had to leave several series unfinished because of pricing issues.  I also reject e-books that are priced as high as their paper versions. IMHO, this is not a move that is good for consumers.

I do predict that this will be good for the subscription services, however, especially if publishers try to return to the $12.99 to $14.99 price points. That monthly fee for Scribd or Oyster or Kindle Unlimited probably just got more attractive.

It is also probably good news for indie authors, at least in the short term. I am not convinced that books are necessarily interchangeable. I think I am somewhat of an anomaly because I am willing to abandon a series based on price or principle.

How do you feel about the news?




DC Comics make publishing history

DC Comics is making publishing history by offering a Print-Digital combo pack starting with Justice League 1 on August 31, 2011.

This follows on the heels of DC’s announcement that they are renumbering all of their comics, ditching the old numbering system and rebooting so that all the series will start with number 1.

DC Comics’ new pricing strategy addresses several of the issues that eBook consumers have asked for, such as a print-digital package and digital-only pricing discounted proportionately to the print-only version. The fact that the price reduction is scheduled is also a bonus. DC will regularly reduce the price on products at four weeks; currently, ebook customers have no idea when prices will be dropped on any particular book.

Many will see this as a step forward for ebook consumers, especially if other publishers follow suit. Are you listening, Big Six?

This post composed while listening to The Complete Billie Holiday.

What’s in your ebook bill of rights?

One of the big issues over this last week has been Harper Collins’ announcement that they were placing limits on how many times a library book may be circulated. The last-minute announcement broadsided librarians and readers alike. (There are roundups of the blog entries and media coverage available and  you can follow the discussion on Twitter under the hashtag #HCOD.) EDIT: Sorry, but that hashtag no longer has the same meaning and that information is no longer available.

Ironically, the new limits went into effect on March 7, 2011, right at the beginning of Read an Ebook Week.

Those discussions have yielded a lot of interesting ideas about accessibility, DRM (Digital Rights Management) and the future of ebooks. One of these ideas is the aggressive promotion of an eBook User’s Bill of Rights, most frequently the one offered by Sarah Houghton-Jan on her blog, Librarian in Black.

Sarah’s bill of rights focuses on:

  • the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
  • the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
  • the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
  • the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

Well known tech blogger Mike Cane tackled this subject as well on his own blog last August in his article the Ebook Buyer’s Bill of Rights.   His bill of rights focuses mainly on issues involving appearance and functionality: covers, table of content, bookmarks. Formatting issues are also important in his version:

3) You have the right to proper formatting by default.
a) Formatting should mirror a proper printed book.
b) Paragraphs should have indents without spaces between paragraphs.
c) Only after such proper default formatting should a reader be able to mix things up via a device’s software settings (typesize, spacing, margins — in other words, reflow overrides).

A site called the Reader’s Bill of Rights promotes rights for readers of digital books. Created by librarian Alycia Sellie and technologist Matthew Goins, the site advocates critical looks at the downsides of ereader technology and has an anti-DRM stance. The powerful graphic for Libraians against DRM shown above comes from their site. (Note that this site was registered in April 2010, well before the Harper Collins OverDrive announcement.) Its bill of rights focuses more on DRM and accessibility.

The Readers’ Bill of Rights for Digital Books:
1. Ability to retain, archive and transfer purchased materials
2. Ability to create a paper copy of the item in its entirety
3. Digital Books should be in an open format (e.g. you could read on a computer, not just a device)
4. Choice of hardware to access books (e.g. in 3 years when your device has broken, you can still read your book on other hardware)
5. Reader information will remain private (what, when and how we read will not be stored, sold or marketed)

The site also has an interesting blog entry about the ALA president speaking out about this issue on Facebook. The entry links to one of the best arguments I have ever seen for NOT joining the social networking giant.

Each of these rights statements makes it extremely clear that they are meant to be starting points for the conversation about rights. It is also quite obvious that each author has different priorities that are important to them, whether it is the first sale doctrine or DRM.

What I personally find extremely surprising, given all the discussion about eBook prices, is that none of these rights statements even mentions the concept of the price of digital books as an important factor.

How about you?  Is there something that you think should be included in an ebook bill of rights?  Is a fair price something you would like to see as part of the discussion?