10 February 2014

The Agony of De Feet

I just could not resist an Olympics-related title, particularly as they were actually showing skijumping last night...

  • For some time, now, the Canadian government has been involved in its own e-book pricing investigation concerning the same publishing cartel; there's now an agreement in place (PDF), subject to final approval. On the flip side of this, the usual complaints about fair use/fair dealing in Canada continue to be rehashed by people who don't give a rat's ass about authors' interests (and persist in believing that all authors' interests are identical in the first place). It's particularly ironic that the AAP would try to use Special 301 as its vector... given its historical abuse of copyright and the antitrust decree noted as another major ingredient in this sausage. Those with even moderately long memories (or who have studied the history of US copyright) will understand that the US is historically a pirate nation!
  • From the Department of Revolving Doors, there's news that yet another H'wood actor wants to keep its potential publishing revenues in-house (a la Buena Vista), while simultaneously there's consolidation going on among "stand-alone" e-book vendors. Draw your own conclusions... but not too firmly, as I'm about 95% certain that these news items are both substantially wrong in one or more significant aspects. For one thing, there's the little matter of transferrability of existing authors' contracts without their prior approval for the latter...
  • Is commercial publishing fundamentally changing... or merely adopting a new slush-screening process? There's a good — almost compelling — argument that in certain of the publishing industries, it's much more the latter than the former. The irony that this slush-screening process is starting to look more like late-twentieth-century commercial nonfiction submission packages (with full platform and competitor analysis) in commercial-category fiction is a bit much, especially when one looks back at the actual data from the heydey of the submission package and realizes that it didn't work better than blind reading there, either.
  • Meanwhile, Vendor 1 leaves the market and "transfers" some stuff to Vendor 6 while everyone ponders what this means for Vendor 4 without actually looking at what's being transferred. Or, for that matter, considering device lock-in and differing DRM schemes.