The good news is that I've been saving links like a hyperactive squirrel stores acorns. Here we go! Rapid fire style.
First, I was recently interviewed for a San Jose Mercury News article on Facebook's cultural impact, in which I touch on the way social media enforces transparency and honesty, something The Next Web tackled recently as well.
Author Matt Myklusch is starting a new podcast, which I hope to guest appear on in the new few weeks.
Mathew Ingram wrote an interesting article for GigaOM in which he summarized Clay Shirky's argument that Publishing is No Longer a Job or an Industry, It's a Button. Like Ingram, I think Shirky was being a bit cheeky here -- distribution is becoming a button, but there's a lot more that goes into making a book than distribution. Someone's got to take care of those other pesky tasks, and publishers are still pretty good at most of them. Shirky argues that publishers have to find a way to add value to the equation.
And speaking of adding value, J.A. Konrath kicked off a good debate by featuring a post by a veteran Harlequin author, who opted to self-publish because of the paltry royalties Harlequin pays.
If you think your critique partner is rude, check out this letter Jack London wrote to an aspiring writer. London: "Honestly and frankly, I did not enjoy [your story] for its literary charm or value. In the first place, it has little literary value and practically no literary charm." (via JES)
Mike Shatzkin has a typically erudite and insidery take on where the publishing industry stands vis a vis Amazon, in an article called Amazon's Growth and Its Lengthening Shadow. Meanwhile, paidcontent.org summarized the juicy bits from an interview with the head of Amazon's publishing imprint, Larry Kirshbaum.
Oh, and Amazon will be publishing the James Bond backlist. Shaken, surely, not stirred.
In case you're curious about where we go from here in the wake of the DOJ lawsuit, my colleague and fellow author David Carnoy has an awesome article on the future of e-book pricing.
So the golden era of reading is in the past and no one reads anymore, right? Um. Not so fast. Seriously, check out this chart.
Children's and YA book sales are surging! They're up 72%. A quiet sleeper called The Hunger Games might have something to do with that.
Need to procrastinate? The Rejectionist has some ideas on things you can do instead of writing.
McSweeny's has a funny guide to writing better than you normally do. (via Holly Burns)
And my wonderful company CNET has an awesome ode to NASA's first astrochimp.
Comment! of! the! last! few! weeks! A few weeks back I had a post on what the book world would look like after the DOJ lawsuit, and Doug had some more specific details on where things could go:
And finally, my friend Rakesh Satyal, author of the fantastic novel Blue Boy, was one of the many illustrious contributors to the Scholastic anthology The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to Their Younger Selves. Here's the book trailer:
The transition period could be a mess. E-book stores can't sell e-books without a contract. If those three publishers have to cancel their contracts with all of the e-book stores, it's going to be mid-2010 all over again, when only a few sellers had Agency titles, most of them didn't have all of the publishers, and it took even Amazon six months to get a Penguin contract in place.
Random House wasn't sued, and their Agency Model will continue on as before. The DoJ wasn't concerned about the Agency Model but rather how it came about.
The settling publishers are permitted to continue using Agency Model, but for two years they can't control retail prices other than having a contract clause forbidding sustained sales below cost. (And no Most Favored Nation clause for five years.)
The "no sustained sales below cost" clause could be bad news for mid-list authors. It says that the total discounts offered by the seller on the publisher's titles over the course of a year cannot exceed the seller's commissions on that publisher's titles over the course of the same year. So if Amazon chooses to lose $2 on each of the bazillion e-book copies of JK Rowling's A Casual Vacancy that they sell, they're going to have to make up that $2 bazillion with increased prices on Hachette's other e-book titles. And I can pretty much guarantee you that it won't be on other front-list titles.
Have a great weekend!