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Other posts by Chris Meadows

Apple anti-trust monitor can stay on, appeals court rules
May 28, 2015 | 1:37 pm

My, the squabbles between Apple and the e-book anti-trust monitor Michael Bromwich have been going on for a long time, haven’t they? I can’t even keep track of how many shots and volleys have been fired back and forth. The latest news out of the case involves the appeal of Judge Cote’s decision not to disqualify Bromwich. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals declined to reverse Cote’s decision, so Bromwich stays on. Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs found that some of Bromwich’s behavior (such as submitting an affidavit in conjunction with the plaintiffs’ legal brief) might be a little sketchy,...

Might subscriptions be the best option for tech news?
May 28, 2015 | 8:00 am

Not long after I posted my essay about how hard it is to make any money blogging, Bloomberg View has an article showing that even the major tech industry blogs face the same problem. Noting that Kara Swisher and Walter Mossberg’s Re/Code just sold itself to The Verge operator Vox Media after only 18 months, Bloomberg columnist Katie Benner suggests that the subscription or paywall model might be a better strategy for tech news sites in the long run. According to the article, Re/Code is only able to pull in 1.5 million unique views per month—not enough to satisfy...

GigaOm to return, possibly as content farm
May 28, 2015 | 3:31 am

Back in March, tech news site GigaOm shut down due to bankruptcy. However, it appears to be lurching zombie-like back from the grave. And just as with zombies, it sounds as though the resurrection may be a significant step down from the original incarnation. The only real public information available about the purchase comes in the form of a rather self-serving press release posted to the GigaOm site, stating that tech entrepreneur and author Byron Reese’s startup Knowingly Corp has bought the site’s assets and plans to relaunch it in August. Ex-GigaOm writer Matthew Ingram writes at Fortune...

Kobo, American Booksellers Association launch ‘eRead Local’ promotion to boost bookstore e-book sales
May 27, 2015 | 4:12 pm

Kobo is launching a new program in conjunction with the American Booksellers Association to promote the sale of e-books in independent bookstores, reports Publishers Weekly. “eRead Local” will run for 100 days, and provide $5 to participating ABA members for each new customer they deliver, as well as give those customers $5 off their first Kobo e-book order. (ABA members also get commissions on e-books their customers order.) ABA members who manage to deliver 50 or 100 members will enter drawings for free Kobo e-readers for in-store use or an in-store event with a yet-to-be-named bestselling author. Publishers Weekly...

Baen e-book store to drop ‘mail to Kindle’ function
May 27, 2015 | 2:55 pm

Baen has just sent an email to its customers noting a change to one method of Baen e-book downloads. At the moment, Baen has a form on its web site where you can fill in your Kindle’s Personal Document Service e-mail address and have the e-book emailed to your Kindle with the click of a button. However, that feature is soon going away. Baen writes: Starting on or about June 10, 2015, Baen Ebooks will no longer be able to provide automatic delivery of the .mobi format to a Kindle device via the "Email book...

Authors Guild President deplores free blogging—but where is the paid blogging?
May 27, 2015 | 1:00 pm

Last week, The Bookseller carried an interview with Authors Guild President Roxana Robinson warning that writers should not contribute free work to popular websites in order to gain “exposure.” Robinson holds that that by doing so they are devaluing the efforts of those who write for pay, and the promotional efforts may not even be effective. The rest of the piece was dedicated to demonizing Amazon and Google, but Nate Hoffelder at Ink, Bits, and Pixels has already done an excellent job picking apart those claims and the motives behind them, and I see no point in duplicating his...

Tor and BitLit offer discounted e-books to print book owners
May 4, 2015 | 11:53 am

bitlitTor has just announced it will be using BitLit to make DRM-free e-books of TorForge titles available at a discount to people who can prove they own the physical version of the book. It joins HarperCollins, which began using the program last year. BitLit is an iOS or Android smartphone app that allows readers who can prove they own a physical copy of a book to buy the e-book version at a discounted price. It works by taking “shelfies”—shelf-by-shelf photos of your bookshelves with the spines out—and then attempting to recognize which books you own. Once it’s matched one,...

Why own media when you can rent the library?
April 30, 2015 | 2:51 pm

eatIs ownership of media passé? Over the last few years, I’ve noticed an interesting trend develop. It started with music, as “all-you-can-eat” services like Pandora and Spotify popped up to offer users a chance to listen to as much music as they wanted either free with advertising, or for a small monthly fee. Amazon, Google, and Apple soon followed suit. Then came video, as the holy trinity of Netflix, Hulu, and (again) Amazon launched streaming video services for television and movies. Next, it moved into e-books, with Oyster, Scribd, and, yes, Amazon launching services. (Amazon doesn’t seem...

Why the Hugos are broken, and who’s breaking them now
April 23, 2015 | 5:52 pm

Hugo-Awards-logoThe Hugo Puppies affair proceeds apace. As it will for at least the rest of this year, and probably the next as well. Everyone is having their say, and some excellent things have been written about the whole matter lately. I’ll get to those in a moment. The Internet Breaks the Hugos Whether you’re for the Puppies or against them, there can’t be any argument that the Hugo nomination and voting process is badly broken. The interesting thing is that the process hasn’t changed appreciably for years or even decades. It didn’t just break on its own. No,...

$5 Blu-rays? Blame Amazon overstocks
April 16, 2015 | 5:18 pm

amazon overstocksThe critically-acclaimed, Oscar-winning movie “Birdman” was only released two months ago. I just bought this movie on Blu-ray for $5. The case was in great condition, had a blank label over the bar code, but had no shrinkwrap seal. The disc appeared in excellent order, with a little bit of minor scratching around the edge that could have happened in shipping. The bundled code for a digital copy had not yet been redeemed, and I was able to add it to my Google Play account with no problems. It loaded up in PowerDVD and played just fine. That’s a pristine, unused...

Gen Con, other businesses displeased with new Indiana religious freedom law
March 26, 2015 | 2:36 pm

protestAs I’ve said before, Gen Con’s reputation as the largest gaming convention in North America eclipses its status as one of the largest writing conventions in North America, offering guidance on all aspects of writing and publishing. On Monday, March 23, Gen Con’s CEO sent a letter (PDF) to Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence, warning that a controversial religious freedom bill he was about to sign into law would affect Gen Con’s decision whether to stay in Indianapolis past the expiration of its contract in 2020. This morning, Governor Pence signed that bill. I covered the particulars in a post...

Boxes of writing ideas: The Storymatic and Rory’s Story Cubes
March 14, 2015 | 11:53 am

IMG_20150314_103250On the Internet, it can be a thin line between reading and writing, especially if you take part in one of the many shared writing universes that float around. But sometimes people who want to write need sources of inspiration. That’s where writing workshopping tools come in. I already reviewed a book discussing how to use tarot cards for workshopping writing ideas, and that’s a fine thing as far as it goes. But tarot cards’ greatest strength—their rich depth of symbolism—can also be a weakness for writers new to tarot, since they might well spend more time puzzling over...

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