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Chris Meadows

Big Five publishers, it’s time for some tough love
July 6, 2014 | 4:32 pm

ToughLoveSo, Andrew Updegrove has a blog post in which he expresses concern about the future of competition in publishing. (Found via The Passive Voice.) His thesis seems to be that traditional publishers exert a competitive pressure on Amazon—Amazon can’t lower the rates it pays self-publishing writers as long as traditional publishers represent some kind of alternative. He writes: If Hatchette and the other big publishers are successful in holding off Amazon, then it’s pretty safe to assume that not much will change with the way they do business. But if Amazon wins, the traditional publishers will...

In taking sides in Amazon/Hachette dispute, John Scalzi tells readers to do as he says, not as he does
July 4, 2014 | 3:48 am

John Scalzi has written a blog post noting that publishing “is not a football game” and people shouldn’t be rushing to take sides. Like many of Scalzi’s posts, it seems superficially reasonable. Scalzi’s point seems to be that business is business, and big companies aren’t your friend or your enemy—they do what big companies do, which is whatever is best for them. Their interests might align with yours, or not. That doesn’t mean they like you or hate you. (Though he does make clear he thinks “what Amazon’s doing to US Hachette authors at the moment well and truly sucks.”)...

SFWA endorses Douglas Preston’s open letter without consulting its membership
July 4, 2014 | 2:43 am

Two “open letters” came out yesterday, one berating Amazon and another praising it. Now it turns out that SFWA has emailed its membership endorsing one of those letters, and it should be pretty easy to guess which one. Author Don Sakers has posted an essay to his blog complaining that the SFWA has endorsed Douglas Preston’s letter. Sakers, an independent author who makes most of his sales through Amazon, is annoyed that SFWA’s leadership did not make any attempt to consult or discuss the matter with its members before acting, and points out that this comes only a...

Hugh Howey launches Change.org petition letter thanking readers for their support
July 3, 2014 | 11:49 am

You know that open letter I mentioned Douglas Preston circulating? Self-published author Hugh Howey has just launched one of his own, as a Change.org petition from self-publishing writers, thanking readers for their support, explaining self-published authors’ side of the Amazon/Hachette feud, and asking them not to boycott Amazon. It’s a remarkably clever idea, and already has over 500 signatures. The letter, and signatures below it, are replete with endorsements from authors explaining that Amazon has made it possible for them to earn a living, or (in my case), expect to earn a living at some point, from self-publishing their...

Douglas Preston decries Amazon tactics against Hachette authors (Updated)
July 3, 2014 | 4:25 am

Well, he’s at it again. Long-time TeleRead readers might remember Douglas Preston as the author who complained about readers’ “sense of entitlement” for wanting cheap e-books, only to backpedal rather hastily when the complaint sparked a reader backlash. Yesterday, Jeffrey Trachtenberg reported in the Wall Street Journal that Preston has been circulating an open letter among various authors complaining that Amazon has been unfairly targeting Hachette authors in its recent contract negotiations with their publisher. He has reportedly received support from a number of big names (including, predictably, James Patterson) and will be posting the letter to his...

New York Public Library panel: ‘Amazon: threat or menace?’
July 2, 2014 | 11:33 am

Origin 712014 71734 PMWell, the New York Public Library panel discussion on Amazon was a big disappointment. I suppose I should have expected it, given how the panel was stacked with some of Amazon’s harshest critics and others from the old-guard publishing industry, but I had harbored some hope they might be willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint. Unfortunately, it was even worse than I’d feared. The 90-minute video is available at the livestream page if you want to watch the carnage. First of all, the meeting was clearly put together with an anti-Amazon agenda, as the selection of...

New York Public Library Amazon panel discussion takes place tonight
July 1, 2014 | 11:05 am

Just a friendly little reminder to block out 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern tonight to watch the panel discussion that the New York Public Library is hosting on Amazon’s business tactics, featuring James Patterson, Bob Kohn, and Passive Guy. It will be livestreamed, and promises to be rather entertaining. I’ll try to write up some thoughts about it afterward, or tomorrow....

Jolicloud Drive adds cloud EPUB reading capability
June 30, 2014 | 11:30 am

Origin 6302014 111244 AMJolicloud was originally conceived as a web-based “operating system.” The web version of it showed the same home screen, with all the same web apps, that a user might have configured on the Ubuntu-based JoliOS operating system for computers or tablets. The problem was that apparently the JoliOS Linux operating system never really became popular enough to support, and Joli discontinued it. Since then, it seems to have been casting about for something to keep it from being just another collection of bookmarks to web apps. It has renamed itself “Drive,” and now bills itself as a way...

New York Public Library to host panel discussion on Amazon with James Patterson, Bob Kohn, Passive Guy, and others
June 27, 2014 | 4:07 pm

Nate mentioned this New York Public Library panel discussion, “Amazon: Business As Usual?” a few days ago. It’s going to have a number of the loudest complainants about Amazon taking part, including James Patterson and Bob Kohn. I wondered what the point was, given that it seems the deck was largely stacked with publishing-industry types who have ample reason to dislike Amazon. That was before I learned that David Vandagriff, aka “Passive Guy” from The Passive Voice blog, will also be taking part. One of big publishing’s most outspoken critics, he is assured to have plenty to say at...

Amazon gives away 30 free Android apps June 27, 28
June 27, 2014 | 3:36 pm

If you’ve got an Android tablet and are looking for something fun to put on it, don’t miss this Amazon giveaway. Instead of just one app, today Amazon’s giving away thirty with a combined total value of over $100. And these aren’t some random apps you’ve never heard of, either. Gizmodo has a rundown of some of the better ones.  The list includes the Plex media streamer, AccuWeather Platinum (a great weather app, which I personally used myself already), Notepad+, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and more. Most of them will work with any Android tablet, as long as you’ve...

Aereo loses, cell phone privacy wins at Supreme Court today
June 25, 2014 | 11:22 am

A pair of important Supreme Court decisions came down today—one disappointing and one critically important to anyone who uses mobile devices. The disappointing one is a 6-3 decision killing Aereo. The service that used dedicated individual miniature antennas to stream broadcast TV service to people’s computers over the Internet has been ruled to appear too much like a cable company, even as it scrupulously followed the letter of existing case law (while nonetheless skirting its spirit). Aereo could try to license content from the networks going forward, but would have to pass the costs on to consumers—and as Gizmodo...

Amazon wants co-op payments, and also concessions in the UK
June 24, 2014 | 4:02 am

So, thanks to a leak, we’ve finally found out what the Amazon/Hachette spat is over. The New York Times reported a couple of days ago that an anonymous source within Hachette says that Amazon wants to extract extra fees for a number of services, including the pre-order button, placement in personalized recommendations, and so on. It looks kind of skeevy at first glance, but it’s really the same kind of “co-op” promotional payment Barnes & Noble extracts for prominent placement of books in its stores. You know how you sometimes see displays dedicated to a single book. or...