Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

News Flash: Google Settlement Rejected

STATUS: Talk about chat in the blogosphere. Rumors has it that internet ePublishing phenom Amanda Hocking might be on the verge of accepting a 7-figure deal with a major traditional publisher and traditionally published Barry Eisler is foregoing SMP deal and moving to digital only.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? SYMPHONY No. 3 –LARGO by Gorecki with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

In the other big news flash of the day (she says facetiously) is that the Judge Denny Chin rejected the Google Book Settlement. In the end, he said is main issue could be ameliorated by changing the settlement from an opt-out process to an opt-in.

As this issue hasn’t been actively discussed in 13 months, I suggest reading the article and re-familiarizing yourself with all the arguments, issues, and objections. This case is definitely not dead. I imagine we’ll see a something new put forward in the not so distant future. As Judge Chin points out, such a settlement would give Google an unfair competitive advantage (definitely not a news flash for anyone following this case), and Google won’t want to let go of that easily.

In an interesting side note, Scribd has the rejection filing posted in its entirety for reading on their site. This alone might underscore Judge Chin’s position on unfair advantage.


12 Responses

  1. Mahak Jain said:

    Scott Turow’s comment is the best — recognizing that we have the wonderful opportunity now to provide access to otherwise out of print books. I guess for now it’s a matter of figuring out how exactly that’s going to happen — I love the judge’s comments and how thorough they are. Very excited about where this might go.

  2. Suzan Harden said:

    Wow! Between Judge Chin’s rejection today and the Supremes refusing to overturn the Eminem case yesterday, I have hope that the justice system will actually enforce artist’s rights.

  3. Mary Holland said:

    Fascinating. My former employer closed our library because “everything is going to be available on Google”. I found their wholesale copying, without permission, to be horrifyingly arrogant (as Judge Chin quotes, their attitude has been “so sue me.”)
    I hope they convert to an opt-in and this does not end up at the mercy of Congress, because Google can afford to pay lots of lobbyists, and it is unlikely Congress will devote the care and attention to the rights of artists that Judge Chin has.

  4. David said:

    Regarding moving to digital, a great read, I’m wondering how agents will transition into the digital world. Konrath talks about E-stributors who would then work for a 15% fee, but would in the process handle marketing for digital authors.

    Could you see yourself doing this? Working on book covers, jacket copy, even web presence and all of that?

    Also Konrath mentioned selling one of his short stories on Amazon and making about $30,000 in a year. Amazing.

    But my question comes at price point. When we are talking impulse buys, does quantity matter? If a short story is short but sweet can it stand to be priced at $.99 next to a novel?

    I wonder how buyers would react to that?

  5. said:

    Despite fariness in the market place (other companies wanting to steal copyrigted work as if it were public domain and profit from it), “opt in” is the only reasonable protection of an author’s copyright. I own my out-of-print books and when I die all google has to do is pretend they couldn’t get in touch with my heirs and they can steal my books for their OWN profit. This would make copyright meaningless in the U.S. Thank you, Judge Chin. God bless you, Judge Chin.

  6. Maril Hazlett said:

    This court case, the rise of e-readers – it’s all making me think long and hard about what it means to be a writer, and the relationship between form and content. I think I’m okay with transition in writing formats (I think). I’ve always written, always will, so I’m obviously going to have to cultivate some flexibility in order to survive in the future.

    But rights… that’s essentially the foundation of how writers make a living. I don’t feel so flexible on that.

  7. Anonymous said:

    Well, so much for Eisler’s fans who don’t want to buy a Kindle or an iPad, but a hard copy book. And so much for the libraries…

  8. Marie said:

    A stunning reversal! I’m glad to see Chin’s ruling. Opt-in is what it should’ve been from the very beginning. And I’m excited to hear about Amanda Hocking’s huge new publishing deal. 🙂 Looking forward to what the books are about!

  9. alyssalinnpalmer said:

    I’ll be interested to see how things work out for Eisler. He’ll likely see his PB sales drop (esp. if they’re only available as a POD online order, though that doesn’t mean libraries/bookstores couldn’t still order), but within a couple of years, the ebook market will likely continue to grow as it has been. Half a million is a lot, but he’s given himself a lot of freedom to experiment as he pleases.

  10. Atlanta Roofing said:

    Absolutely, which is why this is the kind of thing that the LOC should be doing, not Google. Just because Google chose to do it doesn’t mean they should be allowed to claim the copyrighted works of others as their own to sell as they like.

  11. Jourdan Alexandra said:

    Hi there Kristin! I have a question for you (given the status of this post) and I understand if you don’t have time to answer it, but it’s something I’ve been very curious about.

    If you self-publish through Amazon like Hocking, can you still attempt to query agents with the novel? I would think that Hocking was offered the deal because of her success, but if a novel had moderate success could you take it off the Kindle market and attempt to land an agent for the project?

    Thank you for your time!

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