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Other posts by Chris Meadows

Atavist Books to close down at the end of 2014
October 21, 2014 | 7:41 pm

sleepdonation I had occasion to mention Atavist Books in March of this year. when it launched with the novella Sleep Donation and proclaimed its intention to “revolutionize book publishing” with interactive multimedia books. At the time, I expressed my doubts that anybody actually wanted the platform it was building. It seems that events have borne out my supposition. Saying that it’s found “the market for highly innovative enhanced full length literary e-books still heavily relies on a print component and has yet to emerge,” Atavist Books has announced it will be closing down its e-book-publishing operation as of...

Simon & Schuster reportedly reaches agency deal with Amazon
October 20, 2014 | 6:50 pm

The interesting times we live in might just have gotten a little more interesting. Right as Hachette is in the middle of a protracted contact negotiation dispute with Hachette comes a rumor, via Publishers Weekly, that its fellow Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster has just finalized a contract deal with Amazon. The deal would supposedly move the pricing model “back toward the original agency plan,” with S&S able to set prices on its e-books, but Amazon retaining some ability to discount. Of course, this is just a rumor based on an anonymous leak. PW pointed out that...

Magazine publishers unhappy with Apple Newsstand
October 16, 2014 | 10:01 pm

newsstandDigital magazines for tablets have long had a number of problems, not the least of which being that it’s considerably easier for people to make their own “magazines” via RSS readers or other content aggregators such as Flipboard. But Digiday reports that magazine publishers are finding Apple’s Newsstand app problematic in new ways as well. In iOS 7, Apple changed the way Newsstand worked so users were no longer notified if there was a new issue of their magazine available. It doesn’t let users put shortcuts to their magazines on their home screens either. Its ability to download issues...

Amazon to experiment with brick-and-mortar store in New York City
October 9, 2014 | 5:16 pm

Remember when Apple opened its first retail store and everyone thought they were crazy? It’s déjà vu all over again. The Wall Street Journal (article paywalled; google the headline to read) cites the ubiquitous “people familiar with” the matter to reveal that Amazon is opening its first brick-and-mortar store at 7 West 34th St. in New York City, across from the Empire State Building and just a block away from Macy’s at Herald Square, just in time for the holiday season. The store space could be used for same-day delivery in New York City, returns and exchanges, order...

Adobe Digital Editions 4.0 tells Adobe what books you’re reading
October 7, 2014 | 6:10 pm

imageYesterday, Nate broke quite a story over on The Digital Reader about Adobe Digital Editions 4.0 sending information in the clear about the e-books you read. It got picked up by The Passive Voice, Ars Technica, GigaOm, TechDirt, Slashdot, BoingBoing, the list goes on and on. Congrats on the scoop, Nate! (Frankly, I’m amazed his blog is still up, given all the traffic this has to be sending his way.) He posted another story today indicating that the bug doesn’t seem to affect prior versions. Effectively, ADE 4.0 gathers up a bunch of information on the books you open...

Digital piracy now about access more than cost, says New York Times
October 5, 2014 | 10:44 pm

The New York Times has an interesting piece about Hana Beshara, who ran pirate web site and chat community NinjaVideo from 2008 to 2010 until she was arrested and served 16 months in prison. Beshara still doesn’t believe she did anything wrong. Her position isn’t exactly helped by the fact that the site made about $500,000, of which she kept nearly half, but Beshara said for her it was more about being part of the online community than about the money. The story takes a reasonably balanced look at Internet piracy these days, mainly in terms of...

New York Times public editor finds bias in its Amazon/Hachette coverage
October 5, 2014 | 10:45 am

Wow, this is pretty big. For quite some time, indie publishing bloggers such as Hugh Howey, Joe Konrath, and David Gaughran have been complaining about the slanted nature of the New York Times’s coverage of the Amazon/Hachette squabble. Now New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan has taken a look at the Times’s coverage and admitted that it could, indeed, be more even-handed. In her editorial, Sullivan links, recaps, and discusses prominent objections to the Times’s coverage, asks the Times reporters involved for their responses, and concludes: MY take: It’s important to remember that this...

Greenpeace deluges Amazon Fire Phone with one-star protest reviews
October 3, 2014 | 5:56 pm

greenpeaceWow, everyone’s piling onto Amazon these days. The latest fight Amazon’s picked with someone (or vice versa) is with, of all organizations, Greenpeace. Seeking Alpha reports that the environmental organization is upset Amazon hasn’t committed to moving to 100% green energy for its data centers the way other big data users like Google, Apple, and Facebook have. Even Yahoo and Microsoft have been making improvements, but Amazon hasn’t seen the need. So, Greenpeace decided to stage a protest. And since Amazon doesn’t have any ships they can row dinghies in front of or send scuba divers to sabotage, they...

HarperCollins offers authors higher royalties for direct sales
October 2, 2014 | 6:17 pm

harper-collinsOne of the rallying cries of author advocates and Amazon adversaries alike has been that publishers should start selling their books direct to the public instead of letting middle-man Amazon have so much power. Another rallying cry is that publishers should pay authors bigger royalties. Well, Publishers Weekly reports that HarperCollins is combining those two suggestions, in a way—it’s offering authors an additional 10% royalty rate if they use an affiliate link on their web site to sell their book, e-book, or audiobook from HC’s direct sale site. (The PW article isn’t clear on the math; I’m assuming this means...

Soylent: The ‘e-book’ of food
September 30, 2014 | 8:57 pm

IMG_20140923_171115341Remember how much resistance there used to be to e-books? You still see some of it, though it seems to be growing less and less pronounced over time. Seems like people worried that the presence of a new way of doing things like reading books would mean that the old way was destined for the trashbin of history, and they loved the smell of paper and ink and tactile feel of paper books too much to want to give that up. Well, happily, it looks like paper books are still going to be around for a good long while, no matter...

Ellora’s Cave sues Dear Author over ‘defamatory’ blog post
September 26, 2014 | 9:59 pm

Ellora's Cave Well, that was unexpected. The saga of Ellora’s Cave has been chronicled over the last few months, and especially over the last few weeks, on various e-book blogs I read. For example, from The Passive Voice: Ellora’s Cave The mysterious case of the missing royalty checks from Ellora’s Cave More Ellora’s Cave troubles… Cat Grant Gives Away Her Unreverted Ellora’s Cave Titles And those are just from the last week or so. Authors...

Authors United to ask Department of Justice for Amazon antitrust inquiry
September 25, 2014 | 6:08 pm

So, Authors United’s latest publicity stunt is to declare they’re asking the Department of Justice to investigate Amazon for anti-trust issues in the wake of the continuing contract dispute with Hachette. (Publishers Weekly talks about it here, linking to a paywalled Financial Times article that you can read free by googling “Authors to call for Amazon antitrust inquiry” then clicking the FT article and answering a question.) They’re still in the process of drafting the letter; Douglas Preston says it was leaked “very prematurely.” The letter will ask the justice department’s antitrust division to “examine Amazon’s...