Did Amazon Sink the Queen of Online Erotica?
- Phoebe Reilly, Vulture
"Engler is an underappreciated pioneer, a self-proclaimed feminist in furry-cat slippers. To put her crowning achievement demurely, she challenged the book-publishing industry's denial of women's appetite for sexually explicit books. She wrote tawdry, lowbrow novels, and published hundreds of others, that freed romance from its lame euphemisms well before Fifty Shades of Grey, and she did so in a digital format long before the Kindle and the iPad allowed e-books to flourish.
"To put it less demurely: There were readers out there, lots of them, who didn't want to read about thick manroots. They wanted hard cocks. So that's what Ellora's Cave gave them. Easily and often."
Amazon’s disruption of the traditional publishing model is well-documented
. Self-published authors on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited are seeing their incomes plummet by as much as 75%
. Citizen-reviewers have wrested the reins of criticism from established newspaper and magazine critics, much
to authors’ dismay
. But one writer found online reviewing a way to reclaim her identity as a writer—even if she was reviewing a crappy mattress purchase on Amazon. How A Bad Amazon Review Totally Changed My Career
. [more inside]
Best Selling author Douglas Preston
, along with 907 other authors, signed a letter
that ran as a double full-page ad in yesterday’s print edition of the New York Times
, asking Amazon to stop blocking or delaying the sale of books on their site as a tactic to lower the e-book prices that Amazon is charged by the publisher Hachette.*
The three month dispute between Hachette and Amazon previously prompted a response by Amazon’s self-published authors and readers
, but it took an odd turn Saturday night when Amazon posted this letter
on a site called ReadersUnited.com, after sending it as an email to all of its Kindle Direct Publishing
authors. In that letter they include Hachette’s CEO’s email, and have asked their KDP authors to write to Hachette’s CEO telling him what they think about cheaper ebooks. [more inside]
Amazon is deprecating books published by the French publisher Hachette
after Hachette refused to drop wholesale prices to Amazon in recent negotiations. Per the NY Times, Amazon is reporting delays on Hachette books, increasing their prices, and suggesting alternatives
. Hachette has maintained silence on the issue to their authors
but royalty statements and examining their listings on Amazon reveals the truth. Affected authors and their professional associations are speaking out
to pressure Amazon. Meanwhile, Amazon is raising the stakes by refusing to accept pre-orders for some books on Hachette imprints
, including those by popular authors like Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling).
"Not very many people read. Most of them drag their knuckles around and quarrel and make money. We’re selling books. It’s a tiny little business. It doesn’t have to be Walmartized."
Superagent Andrew Wylie, who represents Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Elmore Leonard, and Philip Roth, among others, talks about the future of publishing, his on-again-off-again relationship with Amazon, and "effete, educated snobs who read," with the New Republic.
Amazon has announced that "MatchBook" will launch in October, allowing you to buy Kindle versions of select physical books you've purchased from Amazon, for $2.99 or less
. The service will be retroactive to 1995. Reactions from TechHive
, and Engadget
"..it is refreshing to see Jason Merkoski
, a leader of the team that built Amazon's first Kindle, dispense with the usual techo-utopianism and say, “I think we’ve made a proverbial pact with the devil in digitizing our words.” [more inside]
The social book site Goodreads has been acquired by Amazon.
Many members are upset and uncertain what this means for site which has relied on members to do the work of building and maintaining their database. Amazon already owns Shelfari
and has a 40% stake in LibraryThing
, two competing sites.
Amazon contemplating the used ebook market.
But will they still have used book coffee rings on the pages? [more inside]
Released today: the top Google searches of 2012.
Also, the top Google searches in the UK
Hungry for more "Best of 2012" collections? Curious about "best of" versus "most popular"? There's much [more inside]
Five years ago today
Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com released the Amazon Kindle
, a move that would revolutionize
the publishing industry. While often controversial
, most recently for its international tax avoidance schemes
, Amazon has been very successful and has made millions for its founder. What has Bezos done with some of his tax-free millions? Well for one, he launched and landed a rocket vertically, and posted the video to YouTube, just yesterday
. [more inside]
The book publishing world is merging into behemoths in order to better negotiate with Amazon. Rupert Murdoch (HarperCollins) has made an offer
to buy Penguin for $1.6 billion
. This just hours after Penguin said it was in talks to merge with Random House to create a 'Random Penguin' with nearly 25% of all English-language book sales. Either way the reputation of Penguin could soon be in tatters.
As one agent said, "Authors have told me they are frightened by a Random House takeover, but terrified by a HarperCollins one."
Barnes and Noble is spinning off Nook into a subsidiary business
after a $300M deal with Microsoft which gives the Redmond company a 17% stake, bringing an end to a patent dispute
between the two companies and sending shares skyrocketing
. Commentary from John Scalzi
and Tobias Buckell
. Meanwhile the Kindle Fire, Amazon's competitor to the Nook tablet, has grabbed over 50% of the Android tablet market
Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers.
“Everyone’s afraid of Amazon. ... If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out."
(Some adventures in self-publishing.) [more inside]
is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
this morning, announcing
it would close about 200 of its 650 or so remaining stores.
discusses Amazons top 10 SF/Fantasy books of the year, which he selected in consultation with Amazon editors : Part 1
, Part 2
Cory Doctorow gives a talk
at Bloomsbury on book pricing in the internet age (47min video)
The announcement of the iPad
earlier this week has prompted a lot of discussion about ebook prices among publishers and their sales partners. That discussion took a major turn yesterday when Amazon pulled the buy buttons for Macmillan's books off their site
. Many of Macmillan's titles are still available through Amazon, but only through third parties. Right now, one of the largest publishers in America is no longer available from Amazon because they can not agree on ebook prices. [more inside]
Within the last few hours, a trend on Twitter has emerged
in response to Amazon's removing the sales ranking of books they consider to have "adult content,
" which also keeps those books from appearing in search results. However, while seeming to unilaterally de-list any books with gay themes and characters, many books with adult heterosexual content were left untouched. [more inside]
Some are calling it the "Kindle Killer".
(Demo launch video at engadget
.) Plastic Logic's new e-reader, expected to be out in the first half of 2009, does promise to offer a lot that Kindle and most other other popular e-readers don't, like a larger display, big enough to provide a newspaper or magazine layout; touch-based markup and annotation; the ability to read standard documents and other file types without conversion; (promised) Wi-Fi connectivity (including the ability to transfer documents between readers); and last but not least, a screen display that you can hit with a shoe
, and isn't that something we've all been waiting for during these tense times? [more inside]
Philip M. Parker
has written and published over 85,000 books on Amazon
in the past few years, although by his own count the total published is over 200,000. He is like a writing machine - in fact, he has created a machine that churns out an original book about every 20 minutes. A few sample titles: [more inside]
Amazon's Jeff Bezos wants to change the way we read
. Amazon's new e-book reader, Kindle, is not just a device, it's a service. With EVDO wireless connectivity you can download content to your Kindle any time any place. "This is not your grandfather’s e-book
," said one publishing executive to the New York Times. "If these guys can’t make it work, I see no hope."
"This book isn't as good as Harry Potter in MY opinion, and no one can refute me. Tastes are relative!" A review of Orwell's 1984 on Amazon, from a list compiled by Matthew Baldwin at The Morning News
with a selection of the funniest one-star reviews of books from Time's list of the 100 best novels.
The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection
. "From Edwin A. Abbott to Emile Zola, the 1,082 titles in the Penguin Classics Complete Library total nearly half a million pages."
The weight of the books is approximately 700 pounds. Amazon is offering free shipping! I wonder how big the box would be waiting at my door. (via
"I was stunned by its lyrical beauty and easy cadence. The tempo, the choice of words, and the layout on each page captured my imagination so much that it took me about seven minutes to recover my bearings." Amazon users review My Pet Goat. (via Sadly, No!)
"First, look up the most popular and critically-acclaimed books, movies, and music on Amazon. Click on 'Customer Reviews,' and sort them by 'Lowest Rating First'..." The Amazon.com Knee-Jerk Contrarian Game
Visual Relationships at Amazon.com
- Here's an interesting visual implementation of the Amazon API. It's almost like flipping through books on the shelf. What's next? A 3D bookstore rendered on the Quake engine?
Authors Guild seeks to stop Amazon from selling used books.
It's the analog version of RIAA vs. Napster!
"Amazon's practice does damage to the publishing industry, decreasing royalty payments to authors and profits to publishers. In time, as we pointed out to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos when it first began this practice over a year ago, the financial loss to the industry could affect the quality and diversity of literature made available through booksellers. If profits suffer, publishers will cut their investments in new works, and authors facing reduced advances and royalties will have to find other ways to earn income. "
Read Jeff Bezos' email to Amazon Associate Members
Whatever Next? Amazon Makes A Profit!
Having lost $3 billion so far, Amazon Books has just posted its first-ever profit of $5 million. Perhaps it was thanks to the new machines
they bought to replace more workers.(this last link req. NYT reg.
) How would you
spend it if you were Jeff Bezos? And what does it mean: has the tide turned or not?
The latest Holt Uncensored is a review of online book stores from various regions of the U.S., including Boulder Bookstore
, with its "invaluable subsites," YogaSight.com and BuddhaSight.com, Square Books
where "You'll feel almost set down in the hot and leafy Courthouse Square of Oxford, Mississippi," Amazon Bookstore Cooperative
("not *that* Amazon [but] the oldest independent feminist bookstore in North America" (in Minneapolis) - and a dozen more. Do you have a favorite that was left out?
Modern Humorist's "Rough Draft: Pop Culture the Way it Almost Was" is finally available.
A few samples are here
. And while I like the Modern Humorist
and enjoyed their first book
I'm partial to The Onion's "Our Dumb Century"
as the funniest.book.ever. As I brace for the sarcastic responses, what do you
think is the funniest book ever written?
Amazon's new Look Inside feature
allows you to see images of selected pages and excerpts from books. Now if only they could get that latte to flow through the cat-5...
Dark is Rising (Amazon link) by Susan Cooper.
This book, about an 11 year old boy, was given to me by my oldest sister when I turned 11. Now that I have kids of my own, I look forward to passing this book on to my son when he turns 11. Any other age-appropriate books that stand out in your mind, particularly if given when you were the age of the lead character?
Read what Newt does.
Or not. Newt Gingrich offers his book reviews
on Amazon. Who knows, maybe he is saving up his associates fees for a barbecue grill
Five five-star reviews on Amazon
for G. Bruce Knecht’s The Proving Ground
, about the tragic 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race. Of coarse it helps if you're a personal friend of Jeff Bezos
. Does anyone seriously believe Jeff Bezos's review was honestly rated "18 out of 18 - helpful" by customers?
Borders outsources online sales to Amazon.com
The alliance, scheduled to be announced at a press conference in New York, is expected to involve Amazon effectively taking over the online operations of Borders, according to people familiar with the matter. Borders is expected to effectively exit from the online book-selling business, these people said. Further terms of the alliance couldn’t be learned, though Amazon is expected to receive promotion from Borders through its chain of off-line book stores.
A new JD Salinger Book!
Just caught this on Amazon the other day. I haven't really heard anything about it, but it's worth a pre-order
at the least. Here's some other information
I've found. Along with the supposed introduction to the book...
I will write for us both, I believe, as Buddy is engaged elsewhere for an indefinite period of time. Surely sixty to eighty per cent of the time, to my eternal amusement and sorrow, that magnificent, elusive, comical lad is engaged elsewhere! As you must know in your hearts and bowels, we miss you all like sheer hell. Unfortunately, I am far from above hoping the case is vice versa.
Amazon as used book store?
When did this happen -- you can sell your books (or other items), through amazon. Has anyone tried this? Where do the things show up?
Give It Away?
Seth Godin's book Idea Virus
is available for free on his website, but the book is ranked #973 on the Amazon.com
best-seller list (which means more than a few people are buying it anyway). Interesting...
Barnes And Noble steps up for sloppy seconds.
After Amazon elected not to renew their agreement with Yahoo, Barnes and Noble replaced the online bookseller as Yahoo's premier advertiser for books. It is uncertain as to whether or not Yahoo and BN have had the grueling discussion regarding the number of partners they've each shared in the past, but it looks like an optimistic relationship regardless.