Round up #104: Heyer birthday to you, e-Quidditch

Round up #104: Heyer birthday to you, e-Quidditch

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Not enough Potter?

While you may already have The Complete Harry Potter Collection (or have purchased the seven books separately), it’s not really complete.

Two of Harry’s schoolbooks (officially available from J.K. Rowling’s own Pottermore, but you can start your purchase through the Kindle store) are also available:

Both of these are written by Rowling, and as Potterheads know, are featured in the books. The Fantastic Beasts book includes Harry’s marginalia.

They are $3.99 apiece in the US store at time of writing…and 40% of the sale of the books goes to benefit the charity Comic Relief. This group benefits especially children in need in different parts of the world.

Happy birthday, Georgette Heyer!

In honor of Georgette Heyer’s 110th birthday, the publisher Sourcebooks has put many of the e-book editions on sale for $2.99…and I’ve seen lower prices as well.

Georgette Heyer Kindle editions

Heyer had a huge impact on romances…here’s a nice little article from USA Today where current writers comment on the “queen’s” impact:

USA Today article

Not so secret agent

Once upon a time, authors wrote books…and left the business end to their agents.

That’s changed: many of today’s authors juggle more numbers than nouns. They spend more time on marketing than they do on metaphors. They…well, you can fill in your alliterative aphorisms. 😉

If authors become publishers, do they need agents to negotiate with themselves?

Well, in this Diane Patrick interview with Regina Brooks

Publishers Weekly article

you can get a little perspective on what it means to be an agent in this e-volving world.

I have no doubt that there is a solid place for business professionals to work with authors…I’m not sure traditional agency will continue to have the same prominence it has in the past, though.

The Digital Reader: “Amazon’s Next Kindle Fire Android Tablet Clears the FCC”

Well, now that my hypothesized timetable for a new hardware release has been thrown off by Amazon extending the Kindle sale forAmazon.com Rewards Visa cardholders to August 24th (thanks, reader Vonda Z!), I thought I’d link to a little digital legwork:

The Digital Reader article

There is some nice research in it, identifying a (redacted) patent filing as probably having been done by a front company for a front company for Amazon. 🙂

While I’m impressed with that part of it, it seems to be a bit of a leap from what we can’t see to what we think might be in it.

“Captain, you sing and dance as well as anyone I’ve ever seen, but what the devil are you talking about?”
–Harry Mudd (played by Roger C. Carmel)
I, Mudd
episode of Star Trek
written by Stephen Kandel

Apple has a point

Apple has recently filed a

Statement

objecting to the proposed settlement between the DoJ (Department of Justice), and some of the publishers accused of colluding with Apple to raise e-book prices.

I fundamentally don’t like the Agency Model, and I would like to see it gone. However, I think Apple makes a good point in this statement.

Their basic point is that the DoJ and the settling publishers can’t agree to terminate the Agency Model contracts with Apple…because Apple hasn’t agreed to it, and hasn’t been proven to have done anything wrong. The statement cites this case law:

“[A] court may not enter a consent decree that imposes obligations on a party that did not consent to the decree.”
Firefighters Local 93 v. Cleveland , 478 U.S. 501, 529 (1986)”

I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t know enough to know if this case is applicable to the current settlement or not.

However, on the surface, that seems logical to me.

The question would be whether not terminating the contracts would result in ongoing significant harm. Let’s say that a company is accused of sending toxic waste to another company, which is allegedly dumping it into the ocean. Even though the company which has been accused of dumping it hasn’t been convicted yet, the contract could be (at the least) suspended.

Do higher e-book prices similarly pose a threat (even if not of the same magnitude) that requires immediate action? How much worse would it be to wait for that remedy until there was a finding of guilt (which might be months or more away)?

That depends…the market could be considerably reshaped in a year, even if consumers were eventually compensated for what might be artificially higher prices.

On the other hand, in what is literally a footnote, they make a statement which I would consider to be…I’ll go with hyperbolic:

“6 For example, many expressed concerns about the possibility that the Government has unwittingly placed a thumb on the scales in favor of Amazon, the industry monopolist. Amazon was the driving force behind the Government’s investigation, and it told a story to the Government that has yet to be scrutinized. Amazon talked with the Government repeatedly throughout the investigation, even hosting a two-day meeting at its Seattle headquarters. In all, the Government met with at least fourteen Amazon employees—yet not once under oath. The Government required that Amazon turn over a mere 4,500 documents, a fraction of what was required of others”

ReadWriteWeb: “Amazon Pursues Growth at the Risk of Brand Identity”

I recommend this article by Kevin Kelleher:

ReadWriteWeb article

It makes an interesting point about how Amazon is diversifying so much it’s in danger of being seen as a nebulous expander, a company whose whole identity is tied to spreading out, rather than being focused on a mission.

While the article leaves out Amazon’s earlier auction failure (which does make a neater narrative, I guess), it’s a concern I’ve had.

My issue has been partially with naming a tablet a “Kindle” (as they did with the Kindle Fire). I think that really muddied the waters…I see many people asking why the Fire doesn’t do something that their RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) did.

That’s a smaller issue than Amazon’s overall customer perception, but shows a parallel…

Have comments on any of these stories? Feel free to let me and my readers know.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

5 Responses to “Round up #104: Heyer birthday to you, e-Quidditch”

  1. Joseph Holmberg@gmail.com Says:

    Like always, I wonder from time to time: what if Amazon had met its demise? What would happen to our kindles, apps, books, and all these goodies that we bought from Amazon and are all stored on their servers? We might not have to worry about this event at least not in too distant future but just wondering.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Joseph!

      Certainly, there are risks in all things. It’s a question of balancing those risks and benefits.

      Let’s say that Amazon went out of business suddenly tomorrow.

      We would not have immediate access to anything in their Cloud. For my family, that would literally be thousands of e-books, I would guess more than 100 apps, a couple hundred songs, a handful of audiobooks (I’m assuming here that their subsidiaries all go down as well), personal documents I’ve stored in our Cloud drive.

      Our physical Kindles would continue to operate…until they didn’t. They would not have access to Whispernet, but ones with wi-fi would still be able to connect to that.

      Third party repair places could keep Kindles going for a while…probably at considerable expense, like getting parts for a classic car.

      If you’ve backed up book files yourself, they would work on the devices for which they were originally intended (in most cases, they would have DRM…digital rights management that would key them to a specific device). If you downloaded them for Kindle A and that Kindle died, the file would not work on a different Kindle.

      If Amazon’s file format was gone from the commercial market, my understanding is that it would probably become legal to strip the DRM for the purpose of converting it. That would only work with files to which you had access…not the ones in your Cloud.

      I think there would be quite a good chance that someone else would buy Amazon’s Cloud…there is a lot of value there. We probably wouldn’t get all the Kindle services we have now (like Whispersync), but I think they might (even if it was at a price) give us access to the files.

      So, Amazon going out of business would be a very bad thing for Kindle users.

      I think, however, Amazon going out of business in that way is very unlikely.

      I think it is far more likely that, for example, your house burns down (unfortunately). I had neighbors whose house burned down, destroying their paper library. If those books had been Kindle books, they could, of course download them again to a different device at no additional cost.

      I personally think it is far more likely that my paperbooks will not be available two generations below me than that my Kindle store books will not be available…we’ll see, though. 🙂

  2. Zebras Says:

    I, too, wonder sometimes about Amazon not being there at some point. I’ve never really had a confidence problem about e-books. But I do have a confidence about buying a movie digitally, and not receiving a copy to put on a shelf. I was just analyzing whether to pay $14 for The Hunger Games movie, or rent it, but I feel like it is one of the ones I will watch more than $14 worth of rental fees. I now prefer to watch movies digitally, rather than getting out a DVD, getting the TV switched over to the DVD player, etc., but for some reason I can’t carry my confidence in Amazon over to movies.

  3. Cardinal Robbins Says:

    Bufo Calvin, I thoroughly enjoy your blog. It’s easily the MOST informative blog I’ve had the pleasure of reading. (Even more than the microbiology blog I love each week.)

    I wanted to *thank you* for mentioning the Georgette Heyer sale at Amazon — you saved me so much money, I’m almost ashamed to say that I ordered about eleven books to round out my sister’s Heyer collection. At full price they’re $12 and unaffordable, but at $3 I was able to splurge for once and really expand upon the vice she and I share. Thanks again!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Cardinal!

      Wow! Thanks for the kind words. 🙂 I’m glad that helped you…and your sister.

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