Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gospel Condoms; Writers Battle Amazon; Amazon and Affordable E-book Prices

Gospel Condoms

Online sockpuppetry and real life fakery reigned supreme when a Christian activist admittedly used a fake organization, fake names, and web site to trick the people running Vancouver Pride Parade into letting them march so they could hand out anti-gay pamphlets disguised as Trojan condoms.

How disgusting is this?

Whatcott, who is the executive director of anti-gay group Christian Truth Activists, applied to march in the parade using a pseudonym and a fake society called the Calgary Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster alongside four other evangelical Christians.

They covered up the Gospel Condoms with Trojan condoms (I think) and basically worked the parade route, tricking both parade organizers and the Trojan condom company.

General manager Ray Lam said the Vancouver Pride Society approved the application because there is a legitimate society of a similar name.

'Obviously we're going to have to look at our review process and look at how we can weed out organizations like this in the future.'

You can read more here.   There are links to the fake web site. Frankly, I know this is easy to say after the fact, but I'm not sure I would have trusted something as ridiculous as that. But who knows? If I were to focus on this topic indirectly I would zoom in on the bigger issue of Internet crime and this kind of fakery. It can happen to anyone. It happens on small scales and large.

Writers Battle Amazon

I think everyone knows the basics about Amazon and big 5 publisher, Hachette. For those who don't, here are a few posts I've done on the topic. Now something new has surfaced: the clichéd "open letter" slamming Amazon and supporting Hachette.

A group of over 900 writers are supporting an open letter written by author, Douglas Preston, about Amazon using writers as "hostages" in negotiations. Preston wrote this letter, get this, from a quiet little town in Maine...where he summers. Before I continue, how many of you genre authors "summer" in Maine...or anywhere else? I'm just throwing it out there, especially to all of you who have been rejected time and again by literary agents, many of whom are also "summering" in Maine right now. Or, those of you writers who never had a chance with a big publisher because gatekeepers kept you out of "their world" based on their subjective taste in books?

In any event, a few more big names jumped on board in their quest to save publishing as THEY'VE always known it:

The letter, composed in the shack, spread through the literary community. As of earlier this week 909 writers had signed on, including household names like John Grisham and Stephen King. It is scheduled to run as a full-page ad in The New York Times this Sunday.

Well, there you are. The New York Times. The epitome of elitism as we've always known it...also a failing venture for the past few years that wouldn't know the meaning of objective journalism if it bit them in the ass. And, you'll love THIS. A group of privileged who can obviously afford to waste their money on advertising in the NYT all contributed to the ad's cost...$104,000. I'm linking to this below so you can see I'm not making that figure up. Imagine what you could do with that kind of money.

Even more interesting, there's another petition in support of Amazon.

The petition has 7,650 signatures.

You can read the rest here.  I've only covered the basics in this post. After reading about the cost of the ad in the NYT, I can't help thinking how all this reminds me of the old saying about the guy crying poor mouth with two loaves of bread under each arm.

 Amazon and Affordable E-Book Prices

I don't have a link here. This information is coming directly from my inbox from an e-mail I received from Amazon as a KDP author. It's very long and I'm not going to share the whole thing. But I did want to show a few parts so readers can see a little more about what this is all about...at least from Amazon's POV. Most of the readers I hear from are not lucky enough to "summer" in Maine. They love to read and they have a bottom line when it comes to e-book prices. And, e-book readers are voracious. Those of us who started out a long time ago in digital first publishing know this and we never take our readers for granted.

After a few lines about how the literary community of the last century shunned paperback books when they first came out, Amazon compares this to how e-books are being received now.

Fast forward to today, and it’s the e-book’s turn to be opposed by the literary establishment. Amazon and Hachette – a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate – are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market – e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.

There's more about how things change all the time. It's hard for me to dispute any of this because I know, first hand, nothing in the above paragraph is false. In fact, it's all so true I never thought I'd see it printed so openly. But the e-mail ends on this note:

We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know making books more affordable is good for book culture. We’d like your help. Please email Hachette and copy us.

Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch: Michael.Pietsch@hbgusa.com

Copy us at: readers-united@amazon.com

Please consider including these points:

- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
- Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
- Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.
- Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.

Thanks for your support.

The Amazon Books Team

P.S. You can also find this letter at www.readersunited.com


It should be interesting to see how this is going to end.

Here's a side note: The other night I was watching the TV show, House Hunters International, and the young woman on the show was buying a $400,000 apartment in Paris. She mentioned that she works for a large publishing house in New York in one of the "creative" departments. I guess she's not worried about what she pays for e-books. But I couldn't help wondering how many mid-list authors with big publishers who get paid every four months make enough money to buy an apartment in Paris...or, for that matter "summer" in Maine.

Cage James
.99 E-BOOK By Ryan Field
 
 









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