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Other posts by Chris Meadows

Randy Queen backs down from DMCA threats against Escher Girls
August 6, 2014 | 2:35 pm

Here’s a quick update to yesterday’s story about Randy Queen using the DMCA to stifle Escher Girls’ criticism of his art. The Mary Sue reports that Queen has apologized and stood down his threats. He posted a public statement to his Facebook page in which he indicated a period of high stress in his personal life led him to lash out without thinking. Tumblr has restored the posts in question but the images are still absent. Hopefully they can get put back soon, too, given that their use was well within the bounds of criticism and commentary that have...

Evil Hat Kickstarts Designers & Dragons, a four-volume history of role-playing games
August 6, 2014 | 2:18 pm

designdragon70sHere’s an intriguing Kickstarter from Evil Hat Productions, the folks who ran a highly successful KS for pulp tie-in novels to their Spirit of the Century game, and several other Kickstarters besides. This one is for a four-volume history of role-playing games entitled Designers & Dragons. Previously published in a single volume, it has been revised and expanded by its author to four full books. And this Kickstarter looks like a great example how to do things right. For starters, they set the goal to $7,500—a reasonable level for printing and shipping the first volume. Perhaps unsurprisingly, just a...

Smartphone size no obstacle to long reading
August 5, 2014 | 8:45 am

Hey, guess what? People read on their smartphones. That’s the thrust of a piece in Wired that talks about how the smartphone has been a godsend for long-form written journalism. Where people used to read their newspapers on the subway, now they read their smartphones—and despite the predictions of those who said such devices would destroy our attention span, the evidence is pretty good that smartphone users are able to concentrate enough to read articles thousands of words long in one go. The Atlantic recently reported that a gorgeously illustrated 6,200-word story on BuzzFeed—which likewise...

Comic book creator Randy Queen attempts to stifle criticism with DMCA, provokes Streisand Effect
August 5, 2014 | 7:26 am

If you don’t think you’re getting enough attention on the Internet, there’s a way to fix that. Though you probably won’t like the results. Every so often, you run across one of those “Streisand Effect” cases where someone decides to try to stifle criticism of themselves and it backfires in a big way. I thought I’d seen the most amusing possible example of that yesterday with this Ars Technica story about a hotel whose web site promised a $500 fine for negative Yelp reviews (they swore they were “just kidding,” but not before a major backlash brought them...

Best Buy CEO says tablet sales are ‘crashing’
August 4, 2014 | 12:38 pm

Re/code has an interview with Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly in which he talks about a few things like fighting showrooming with pricematching, why people might want to buy gadgets in Best Buy rather than Amazon, and perhaps most interestingly, the sales rates for tablets. We’ve mentioned before how the tablet seems to be replacing the laptop in terms of most ordinary consumers’ needs, but according to Joly sales have been starting to fall off. He believes this might suggest the market has just about reached saturation—all the people who wanted a tablet have gotten one, and they don’t...

Amazon says it would be content with 30% of revenue if Hachette e-books were $9.99
July 29, 2014 | 8:42 pm

Amazon has posted another update to its Kindle user forum, dispensing more information about the nature of the dispute between itself and Hachette. In fact, this is pretty much the clearest statement of what the actual argument covers that we have yet seen from either side, including those Hachette leakers. (And, interestingly enough, it doesn’t actually agree with some of the content of those leaks! Imagine that?) I haven’t looked for any reactions yet, but I predict the same howls of outrage we got with Amazon’s last such announcement in May, from Hachette partisans complaining that Amazon didn’t have...

Google uses transfer pricing to avoid paying European taxes
July 27, 2014 | 9:25 am

One of the most commonly-heard complaints about Amazon, at least in Europe, is that it sells e-books from a division based in Luxembourg so that it can charge a much lower VAT (Value-Added Tax, the European equivalent of sales tax) rate on its e-books than UK law allows. The unspoken implication is that everyone else must surely pay all the taxes they owe like good little corporate boys and girls. But Ars Technica reports that Google uses a practice called “transfer pricing” to assign most of its European revenues to an offshore subsidiary in Bermuda and avoid paying taxes...

Apple bought, shuttered book recommender Booklamp in April
July 26, 2014 | 9:01 pm

MacRumors reports that Apple bought and shut down book-recommendation service Booklamp back in April. Booklamp was intended to be a sort of “Pandora for Books”—it used a similar system of categorizing books based on specific elements—but as I determined when I checked into it last November, it fell pretty far short of actually being useful, for two major reasons: it didn’t have a very big selection due to its opt-in nature, and it couldn’t account for humor. Apple hasn’t been saying much about why it bought the service, but that’s not unexpected. I imagine that, as is usually the...

Audience migration to digital pulls The Legend of Korra off Nick TV channel
July 26, 2014 | 7:32 pm

korraThe digital transition: it’s not just for books. With the advent of tablets and smartphones with fast cellular connections (or wifi), there’s been a critical shift in the way media are consumed. I’ve talked about that before: In the early days of the Internet, companies invested in computer-on-TV devices, assuming that when convergence came, everything would converge through the TV set. They invariably flopped. But now that we have small screens we can always carry with us, with processors good enough and Internet fast enough to stream video in real time, more and more people...

Webcomic ‘Help Desk’ takes on e-book DRM
July 23, 2014 | 11:20 am

drm-rollIf you could use a good chuckle, webcomic “Help Desk” has just started a storyline focusing on e-book DRM. (The storyline then continues here.) It seems to have been inspired by the letter that Cory Doctorow received from Hachette about DRM. Since some authors publish with Tor in the USA but Hachette in the UK, and Tor went DRM-free two years ago, this means the US edition of their book would be DRM-free. Hachette didn’t like that, and wanted authors to insist that Tor put DRM on that edition to protect the sales of their UK edition. The letter was actually posted...

Amazon Prime streaming video app coming soon to Android, Amazon says
July 23, 2014 | 12:36 am

It might be a bit surprising, but one of our most popular articles here at TeleRead deals not with books but rather with video—in particular, how to use a Flash-enabled web browser to watch Amazon Prime streaming videos on Android devices. Since there’s no native Android player application for the service, the way there are for Kindle Fire and iOS devices, this workaround has been the best that Android owners can do. (And even that didn’t work outside of the US.) Until now. PC Advisor reports that Amazon Instant Video marketing director Russell Morris said at an event in...

July Author Earnings report surveys DRM, genre sales
July 18, 2014 | 3:34 am

ae-julyHugh Howey and Data Guy have done it again, producing another interesting report on a sample of data scraped from Amazon. The July report re-runs the numbers for their main chart based on the new data, then branches out into a couple of interesting new measurements—including one that I specifically asked for back in May. The main measurements show basically incremental change from the last few reports, In terms of daily revenue to authors (taking into account royalty percentages from publisher sales and Amazon revenue percentages from self-published works), Big Five authors take 37% of total Amazon daily revenue...