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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...

Margo Howard takes up New Republic’s anti-Amazon banner, disses Vine club for daring to review her
October 21, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Author entitlement is a wonderful thing. Just by putting pen to paper, you can be forgiven for child abuse. Stalking. Abusing your readers. Grumpy-catting when you can't get the recognition and validation you paid for. Especially in your own mind. Apparently it's all part of that miraculous creative process. So welcome Margo Howard as today's star turn in authorial over-self-entitlement. (Is that a word? Sorry, English language, but it sure is an accurate description.) Aided and abetted, as these cases so often are, by a paranoid conspiracy theory - which is given added credence and visibility, in this instance, because it...

What would make an Amazon competitor competitive?
October 21, 2014 | 2:25 pm

competitionAs all and sundry go round and round about Amazon/Hachette and the end of author royalties as we know it, I stopped to consider. I believe the eBook marketplace is healthier with competition, even if Amazon is right now a pretty darned good company to do business with. I do not consider B&N, Kobo or Apple to be the ideal competition, although together, they may not be too bad. So, I asked myself, with both my reader and author hats on, what it would take to be a contender in the eBook marketplace. As a reader This was tough because Amazon does...

Is online privacy an unreasonable expectation?
October 21, 2014 | 12:25 pm

online privacyJanet at Dear Author has a well-argued opinion piece up today on the whole Kathleen Hale story---I'd actually been reading up about it before Paul covered it yesterday but I still had not formulated my response to it and was content to let another Teleread contributor beat me to the punch. Janet makes some good points that I think bear highlighting, and that sum up a lot of what my own musings were on this story. Firstly, this: "That, for example, The Guardian saw fit to publish the Hale piece, despite all of its obvious problems, is not merely baffling to me,...

Does the Hemingwrite reflect the true nature of modern writing?
October 21, 2014 | 10:25 am

An interesting product came up on my radar yesterday. And I'm not one to diss genuine creativity and inventiveness gratuitously, but I do wonder. The Hemingwrite, you see, is designed as "A Distraction Free Writing Tool," offering the functionality of an old-style word processor, the ergonomics of a typewriter, and the freedom from distractions of a hermit's cave. And designed for decades of use. The Hemingwrite's features include a mechanical keyboard, an e-ink display with backlight, and Evernote cloud backup - for despite its retro styling, the Hemingwrite is a connected beast. What it is not, however, is connected to the...

Morning Links: Roundup of Kindle Voyage reviews. Amazon will slash royalties! Really?
October 21, 2014 | 9:04 am

kindle voyageRoundup: Kindle Voyage Reviews (The Digital Reader) Amazon’s latest and greatest ereader officially broke embargo today, a day ahead of the official shipdate, and the early reviews have already been posted. *** Simon & Schuster Strikes Amazon Deal Reviving Agency Ebook Pricing (Digital Book World) Simon & Schuster has reached a multi-year distribution agreement with Amazon, according to reports today by the Wall Street Journal and Business Insider. *** Journalism May be Common Core's New English (Mediashift) On one hand, those CCSS English Language Arts college- and career-readiness standards sounded a lot like what they were doing already. *** Amazon Will Slash Your Royalties! (Joe Konrath) But then isn’t this...

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...

Cardiff gets horrifically horrible with Scardiff
October 20, 2014 | 3:34 pm

The Welsh capital received an horrific visitation last weekend in the shape of Scardiff, " the first Cardiff horror expo," and a celebration of "all things horror: books, comics, movies, cosplay, the works." And according to attendees, Cardiff Masonic Hall was overrun by a zombie-like horde of attendees, foaming with rabid enthusiasm for the events and attractions. The program at Scardiff included "horror-themed cosplay comps with prizes and custom-made trophies," an SFX scareoff, tabletop gaming, a low-budget filmmaking workshop, and - last but not least for budding horror writers - "a live pitching session for budding novelists, led by Scott Harrison...

On fandom and fanfiction
October 20, 2014 | 2:05 pm

fanfictionThis article started out as a response to a comment on this post, but it quickly grew beyond a comment. The comment was a question about the recent quotes by Benedict Cumberbatch regarding fan fiction. His comments about Johnlock fiction upset a number of people in the Sherlock fandom and spawned, among other things, this great article in response. Let me preface this by saying that I have been writing fanfiction for more than 3 decades, and I have written slash stories, including a pre-slash Incredible Hulk story when I was 13 and honestly had no clue what I had written. I...

Quote of the day: “What happens when The Guardian lets an author gloat about stalking a blogger”
October 20, 2014 | 10:25 am

Plagiarism or not, second-hand reporting or not, I can't do better than to simply repeat and link to the above headline. Here's The Guardian, defender of free speech and woolly thinking, running in full the ruminations of author Kathleen Hale on how she tracked down the perpetrator of a one-star review of her book - to her real-world address, in person, face to face. Admittedly, The Guardian doesn't take sides, simply giving the author's account, without implied endorsement even in the subtitle. But commentators on the story soon did, both for and against. A good many who weighed in on Kathleen Hale's side...

Morning Links: Why TV networks are ready to unbundle. Polish eBooks on the rise
October 20, 2014 | 9:00 am

tv networksLove it or Hate it, Common Core Should Include Journalism Education (Media Shift) Launched in 2009, Common Core is a set of national standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy intended to enhance college and career preparedness as well as bring all states in line with international benchmarks. *** Never Say Never: Why TV Networks Are Suddenly Ready to Unbundle (GigaOM) Not so long ago, people argued that HBO wasn’t going to unbundle anytime soon, or ever. So what changed? *** The Polish eBook Industry is on the Rise (GoodeReader) The Polish eBook industry is starting to see some significant gains and rose 23% in 2013....

Q&A with Michael Kelly on crowdfunding the Year’s Best Weird Fiction
October 19, 2014 | 2:28 pm

Michael KellyAfter reading Michael Kelly's posts about the organizational work needed to reward the contributors to the crowdfunding campaign behind the critically acclaimed anthology Year's Best Weird Fiction Vol. 1, I contacted him for his comments on his work as series editor and on the complications of crowdfunding an anthology in the ebook era. Here are his replies. TeleRead: Are physical books still an important reward for crowdfunding campaigns? What does this say about the enduring status of print? Michael Kelly: The majority of people prefer a physical book, to be sure. But that gap is closing. Two-thirds of the contributor's to the Year's Best Weird...