Pub Rants

Three Articles Worth Sharing

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STATUS: TGIF—even if it’s cold in Denver.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? BARE NECESSITIES by Phil Harris

Sorry to interrupt our fun with royalty statements (and don’t worry, I’ll resume on Monday) but I saw these three articles and they definitely are worth sharing.

First article is a follow up to the one on Tuesday about FTC fining of blog reviewers for nondisclosure. Richard Cleland highlights that the FTC doesn’t have the authority to level fines, and he says, “the blogger or endorser would not be fined, but the advertiser would.”

Second is a blog entry on the HuffPo site from Steve Ross (Former President, Collins Division at HarperCollins and Sr. VP, Crown Division at Random House) asking why we can’t all just get along and responds to two recent blog postings by Chip O’Brien and Mark Coker with the following:

“Both blogs are, to this reader, rife with fallacious thinking, faulty reasoning, and/or tunneled perspectives that ignore the complex realities that publishers face during this turning point for the industry. But at a time when it is in the best interests of everyone who loves books to help the major houses endure, they’re being scapegoated, demonized and ridiculed for trying to survive with the crippling business model they’ve been handicapped with for decades.”

Last but not least, FrogDog Media does a children’s iStorytime ap for the iPhone—just in case you want your 3-year old to read instead of playing a video game on your iPhone. Kinda cool. And they are doing all picture books by new writers.

21 Responses

  1. greenminute said:

    Steve Ross on the Huffington Post was terrific (and with humor!).

    I do so wish the big publishers would get together and break or modify or limit this systems of bookstore returns.

  2. Mechelle Fogelsong said:

    [Reads]”the blogger or endorser would not be fined”.

    [Wipes perspiration from brow.] WHEW! Glad to hear that! Some of my favorite things to blog about are other people’s books!

  3. Anonymous said:

    well after i emailed kristin my first 30 pages i thought she was supposed to respond in 6-8 weeks like she said but i sent it august 13 and still haven’t heard from her what should i do?

  4. Barbara said:


    I need a time machine. I can’t stand reading anything online longer than maybe 2000 words (oh, I’ll do it, but I keep having to scroll back because I can’t concentrate as well), detest Kindle, and fall asleep on audio books. I don’t really care about it as a writer–heck, give the people the formats they want–but as a reader, they’d best not take away my hardcovers.

  5. Ryan Potter said:


    The Apple apps are amazing. I’m thrilled with the iStorytime app.

    NOTE: Kristin, I love your blog, but you might want to disable anonymous comments. See comment #4 above.


  6. Gordon Jerome said:


    I need a time machine. I can’t stand reading anything online longer than maybe 2000 words (oh, I’ll do it, but I keep having to scroll back because I can’t concentrate as well), detest Kindle, and fall asleep on audio books. I don’t really care about it as a writer–heck, give the people the formats they want–but as a reader, they’d best not take away my hardcovers.

    Nonsense. Absolute nonsense. You can only detest Kindle because you’ve probably never held one or read from one (of course, now you’ll say that you have). No one, unless they have some fetish for books, could ever want to read a book after reading the same work on a Kindle. Books are hard to hold open, and they’re heavy, and the one side casts a shadow on the other when your reading in bed. And a Kindle cost less than ten hardcover books. I just downloaded Stephen King’s Just After Sunset for 7.99, and I don’t have to add another book to this huge computer box full of books I have that don’t fit on my book shelves.

    The only thing hardcovers are good for now is propping up the printing industry, allowing for greater cover prices for the publishing industry, and keeping the paper industry going. They are obsolete–just like the home telephone, just like the film camera, just like the phonograph album, and just like the mechanical digital watches from the early 1970’s.

  7. Gordon Jerome said:

    Oh, I just read your profile. So sorry. Kindles along with Google Books, and Project Gutenberg also make libraries obsolete. No wonder you like hardcovers. Do you realize how many thousands of books I can store on a 4 gig scan disk that goes right into my kindle?

  8. Aimee States said:

    Personally, I find it very rude and distasteful when a commenter disqualifies another’s personal views.

    “No one, unless they have some fetish for books, could ever want to read a book after reading the same work on a Kindle.”

    That is merely an opinion, like everything else you stated. It would be nice to respect other’s views when they don’t match your own. Fetish is not the word to be used here either, it’s called preference.

    There are plenty of people who will want to read a physical book after using a Kindle. I will also consider it a sad and hopeless day if print books cease to exist.

    Just my opinion.

  9. Gilbert J. Avila said:

    Now, if someone invented a single-volume kindle with leather binding and ambient light/battery backup that would line-up on a shelf with titles on the spine facing out like dvds….;-)

  10. Gordon Jerome said:

    I’m afraid you all just don’t get it. Until you’ve tried it, you won’t know what I’m talking about. Once you go Kindle, you never go back. It’s like a cell phone: you don’t know how you did without it.

    You can all sit around tub thumping singing, “Gimme dat ol’ time religion…” But what was good for ma and papa is not good enough anymore. The amount of energy and raw materials that go into making books is obsolete, and it’s wrong to continue manufacturing books that end up thrown away as returns.

    It’s funny that the author-librarian says she wants hardcovers over Kindle; that’s what the initial experience is like. You get a Kindle, and the first thing you think after reading a book on it is how you won’t go back to paperbacks, but hardbacks are still good. And then you read a few more books and you get a hardback, this heavy object you have to hold open to read, and you realize it’s too cumbersome. And then, like me, you loathe haveing to read a book that isn’t on Kindle (such as a John Grisham book).

    With a Kindle, you can even adjust the font size with a single button. When you stop reading and put it in standby or go back to the main screen, it save the place where you were reading in each and every book you have, so when you click on that book again, it goes right back to the spot where you left off.

    Fiction will go to Kindle. Nothing can stop it. The only question is how they will do full-color textbooks and the like.

  11. Laer Carroll said:

    Gordon, you make a good case for why YOU love the Kindle. But I find it offensive when you insult the rest of us for not sharing your view.

    Laer Carroll

  12. Gordon Jerome said:

    Yeah, that whole “fetish for books” thing was way over the top when it comes to things that are posted on the internet. Way over the top, even compared to the wealthy getting bailout bonuses while the poor go bankrupt. It was completely out of line for this civilized world. “Fetish for Books” what a horrible thing to say. I can’t believe it came off the tips of my fingers. May I burn in hell!

  13. Cam Snow said:

    My greatest hope for the Kindle and other eReaders will be the rebirth of the short story and Novella. I’m sure many of you have noticed that a lot of novels (especially mainstream fiction) have tons of fluff in them these days and could be cut down to probably half their published length without losing a single necessary scene. However, since book buyers often scoff at shorter novels (or novellas) they have almost disappeared.
    Think how hard it would be for Joseph Conrad, a great author, to be published these days – his books just wouldn’t be long enough by today’s standards.
    So, my hope is that publishing houses will start offering authors the chance to ePublish short stories and Novellas with the promise of combining them into collections if they sell well enough electronically. How likely would you be to buy a short story for 99 cents if if was easy? I fyou bought a couple and liked them, would you be more likely to buy a collection of them? Would you buy a 150 page paperback for $7.99? Probably not b/c it looks small next to the others, but what if you could buy it for $3.99 electonically.
    That’s my true hope for eReading is that it will open the market back up to shorter works of fiction – I don’t always need to read 500 pages to enjoy!

  14. Cam Snow said:

    I would actually love to know if any literary agents have tried pitching a series of short stories one at a time for epublication only to any of the big houses? Same goes for novellas… have any lit agents tried pitching it where they sell it electronically first, and if there is any buzz at all, go to print? (or god forbid, imagine if a publishing house hade the main offering be the ebook and use print on demand for those that must have it in print)
    It seems like it would be a great way for the publishing houses to get out more works and new authors.

  15. David Kearns said:

    The idea of reading a novel on a machine and getting jazzed about it is utterly bunged with lunacy.

    Yes, let me read that hot new thriller on my iphone: there’s an ‘app” for that.

    Listen to me now, human. You have been targeted for extinction. All that will be required to make the transformation complete is for you to rend up the power of thought and introspection and expression from LANGUAGE AND READING.

    The sooner you give these things up, and embrace the joy of losing your soul to the machine, the happier you will be, the more docile, and compliant.

    Don’t be paranoid, everyone is doing it. It’s going to be alright. Just relax and commit yourself to the void.

    Remember that THOUGHTCRIME, is counterproductive to the running of an automated, industrialized corporate state.

    Duty now, for the future.

  16. Gordon Jerome said:

    I’m not sure e-publishing will help the short story. The problem with short stories are that they dont’ seem serious enough to invest time in. I even feel that way about Stephen King’s short stories. However, you may have a point regarding the novella. UR, by Stephen King is a novella only available on kindle, and it was a good story with enough length to flesh out the characters, develop suspense, and illustrate the theme. I would definitely buy a novella, but probably not short stories, not even in a collection edition.

  17. Gordon Jerome said:


    I agree that reading a book on any kind of iphone or any backlight screen, like a computer, is lunacy. The Kindle reader, however, uses an e-ink screen, as does the Sony reader (but you can’t get Kindle books on a Sony reader). An e-ink screen is actually like reading paper, not like reading a computer screen. And I can tell you that most people who have a Kindle would rather read from it than from paper books.

    I will still buy a paper book, but it is not something I like to do. Sometimes, however, it is necessary. When it comes to fiction, it is never necessary except when John Grisham publishes something I want to read. For some reason, his stuff isn’t available on Kindle–but it will be. I know it. All fiction will eventually be on Kindle (or something like it).

    Example: I am currently reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. I’ve never read the book. It’s very good so far, and though I have a paperback version, I am reading it on my Kindle. It’s just too much of a bother to read the book itself. It’s the same words, but it’s physically more difficult to read the book.

  18. David Kearns said:

    I applaud you for reading Mary Shelly’s classic. I have yet to read it but my daughter has.

    One classic I have read repeatedly is Orwell’s 1984. I find I am living in an Orwellian nightmare.

    First publishing itself was dismantled by whomever; shipped into the big-box store. The mid-list, much like the midddle class now, was essentially exinguished.

    They said it was for “the greater good” like the psycotic villagers in the movie “Hot Fuzz”

    Now, whomever, call them those “they” want everything electronic. You have to go and purchase an electronic interface for $199 in order to receive the priveledge of reading a book, for which you also pay a download charge. Ipods for books, then.

    Yes, phase out even the big box book store next, and now what? Well there are those pesky libraries to consider; how do we get rid of those?

    Oh! I know, counties will have their budgets slashed in half with a failing economy! And will school district’s PAY for each student to receive a kindle? Not in this environment. Not likely.

    Someone, somewhere seems very vested in placing barriers of tamigachery between the reader, and words, thoughts, ideas as expressed through language. Part of an alarming pattern.

    School districts in my state attempted to eliminate art and music programs once, and this was before the economic crisis! They will try again.

    The remaindered employees of the publishing houses kvetch about the changes in the industry like beggars to the banquet of invading cannibals. Often they blame the writers and bloggers such as myself.

    You’ll note Ms. Nelson spends a lot of time discussing royalty statements. I can only imagine the on-going game of three card-Monty being played on her and her writers from the bowels of the accounting departments. Been there, done that once without an agent, now I’m on meds.

    Utterly dismal news for the writer and I am sorry for my stance on this. Not easy being me in this environment.

    I have no idea what the answer to this is, but I suspect Kindle is only a belay tactic in the overall retreat of writing itself from the onslaught of enslaving technology.

    My choice now, is simple. If there was anything you as a writer wanted desperately to say and be heard by humanity at large, whomever you may reach, start a blog and say it. Be it a novel you feel is important, a column or whatever.

    Do it before “they” figure out a way to silence your voice there:and beleive me, “they” are looking into it.

  19. Deb said:

    Tell you what: as a writer both e-pubbed and print-pubbed, I think there is space for both formats. Think of it as need-specific media. You’re traveling by plane? You want your choice of books on your Sony or PDA or Kindle. Fine. You’re headed to the beach? You want a paperback. Fine. You want an out of print, obscure tome that 10 people on the planet even know exists? You head to the public library and get it on interloan. Finer still.

    It’s not all-or-nothing in any medium, people. Just because Gutenberg invented the printing press doesn’t mean the British Library threw away all the manuscripts. Both are valid, have value, and are necessary. So it will be between e-publishing and print publishing. Folks have their preferences, that’s 110% okay.

    End of rant.