Buzz Worthy News: Rowling Rocks 20/06/2014

20 June, 2014 Buzz Worthy News 6 comments

BWN-bee-graphicWelcome back to Buzz Worthy News where the stories are awesome and not at all well-written. Need your YA industry news? Never fear, Kat and Kate are here to give it all to you. Just, ya know, not in any kinda sophisticated sense or nothing.

In this week’s Buzz, YouTuber Zoe Sugg gets a book deal, J.K. Rowling is getting attacked, Waterstones win the internet and Game of Thrones Children’s Books are the best.

Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly news post bringing you all the best information about the book and blogging world, particularly for the venn diagram of people who overlap between the two. For new releases and cover reveals of all the best Young Adult fiction, check out our Sunday post: Hot New Titles.

Two-Book YA Deal signed for YouTuber Zoe Sugg

zoeRefusing to limit herself to one form, popular YouTuber Zoe Sugg has signed with Penguin to begin a career as a novelist. Describing her first work of fiction as a modern-day Notting Hill for teens, the 24 year old fashion and beauty blogger is set for a publishing date this November.

Penny, a blogger with 5,432 followers  meets and falls in love with a famous guitarist, Noah, thus beginning the tale. Despite the rather bland and predictable plotting of the novel, it’s easy to see why Penguin Editor, Amy McCulloch picked it up. Zoe Sugg has been watched by over 12 million people in a single month and can attest to 4.9 million YouTube subscribers. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

Novel writing has apparently been her dream since she was fourteen. Good to see people living out their dream, even if my first instinct is to snark them to death.


Tyrion Gets Memed

I don’t know what happened on the last episode of Game of Thrones. I don’t WANT to know what happened. But whatever it was, was good enough to spawn ultimately one of the coolest memeings in recent history. A few of my favourites:

Game of Thrones Childrens books were created and it was wonderful!

Possibly my favourite:


Creepy Paddington Bear is Creepy

Another meme to happen was for Creepy Paddington, the book-to-movie adaptation that doesn’t look very promising.

The beloved children’s book character has been photoshopped into a number of horror movie roles and…manages to fit in seamlessly with the creepy backgrounds.

The first image of Paddington bear appeared in the June 10th issue of the Telegraph and featured the bear standing happily in front of Buckingham Palace. Of course!

But discussion quickly turned from excitement to mockery as Paddington’s expression and overall look was scrutinised until the hashtag #creepyPaddington began to be used. Then there was just no stopping the truth.


We Must Protect Teh Precious!

J.K. RowlingPeeps! There are people out there attacking our queen! Recently, J.K. Rowling donated 1 million pounds to the Better Together Campaign, which seeks to keep Scotland under English Sovereignty, and she has been coping shit for it ever since.

I know what you’re asking yourself. Did she call Scotland yard? Hahahahahahaha! Maybe Sherlock Holmes will be on his way to help.

Actually the Scottish Police were called and they said they “consider any complaint about online abuse seriously and will investigate as appropriate.”

Please do. Call Sherlock, I mean. He could really help.


Best Tweet!

JK Rowling proved that she is definitively the best writer on the internet when she answered one fan’s tweet with a screencap of another fan’s tumblr post. Talk about being in touch with your own fandom.


Waterstones on Oxford Street Wins the Internet

Great-cthulhuWhoever is in charge of Waterstones twitter right now is a fucking BOSS and I am not even kidding right now. They are winning all the internets. Particularly with their recent creepy tweets.

The story begins when one ludicrously foolish person accidentally starts reading Necronomicon.



Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 8.36.48 pm

Oh no! Guys, guys, guys! Are you okay? Seriously! Please tell me everyone is okay!

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 8.37.06 pm

Awwww! A happy ending! Unlike actual H.P. Lovecraft stories.


91 Year Old Man Returns SRSLY Overdue Book

When I’m lying on my death bed, I sure hope my last words aren’t, “Gosh Dang it! I forgot to return that library book I checked out when I was 30!” Such was the case (sans death bed) of Ron Webster.

Ron Webster of Derbyshire, England, was working as a research assistant at the social sciences department of the University of Liverpool, and checked out a book from one of these libraries entitled Structure and Function in Primitive Society. But when he left to work in London, he committed the grave crime of forgetting to return his library book.

It wasn’t until very recently, 61 years later, that he discovered the book and realized where it came from. So, he did the honest thing and returned the book.

And how much will a 61 year overdue book run you? 4500 pounds, apparently. Thankfully, librarian Phil Sykes was happy to waive the fee.

“Of course, I cannot condone the late return of books but I remitted the fine of £4,510 on the condition that Mr Webster agreed, henceforth, to live an exemplary life and return all his books on time.”



Overdrive’s Self-Pub Ghetto

I was pretty shocked to hear that the largest purveyor of digital/audiobooks for libraries was soon going to include self-published books from Smashwords. It seemed like a breakthrough for indies everywhere. And then this happened(author Maria Schneider):

I immediately contacted my librarian friend to make sure [my books] could be seen in the overdrive library system. I’ve had several requests from fans who want their library to order my series. I wanted to make sure the books showed up in the system before I shared the news.

Well. Smashwords does ship the books to Overdrive. HOWEVER, in order for the librarian to even FIND the books in the list, she had to spend a lot of time researching. None of the usual methods worked: Title, nope. Author name, nope. OH. Turns out there is a box on overdrive underneath some other menu…labeled “Self-published.” Once she FOUND that menu and clicked that box and did a search, well THEN the titles would show up. The button was not obvious and had she not known me personally and asked someone else about it…they would never have found my titles at all.

So, basically, self-published books are only accessible through a sub-menu? I don’t understand why they’re not searchable through title and author… Oh, because according to Overdrive, that’s what librarians asked for?

We value self-published works and are proud to make them available to the library. We think it’s a benefit to give the Smashwords and other self-published titles their own tab in our Marketplace catalog portal. This was a direct request from librarians to make their selection process easier by splitting off this important and valuable collection. It’s not because the collection is any less valuable, but instead because it is a large selection it’s much more efficient to search and find what you’re looking for. This is similar to other special collections, like simultaneous use titles.

Except the thing is, I bet “simultaneous use” titles are still searchable by author or title, right? Because otherwise, it would be such a BURDEN for librarians to try and sort through all that. I don’t know. I can’t really figure it out myself. But then again, I’m not a librarian, so I couldn’t say what the reasoning there was.



BIG Changes at Wikipedia

Wikipedia’s new Terms of Use have sent shockwaves mutterings through the internet this week and should hopefully cut down on some fraudulent posts in the future?

Half a billion people use Wikipedia every month as their source of knowledge. Wikipedia’s community editors work tirelessly at maintaining the accuracy, transparency, and objectivity of the articles, which requires identifying conflicts of interests and removing bias. Editing-for-pay can be a source of such bias, particularly when the edits are promotional in nature, or in the interest of a paying client. The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to continuing to support the Wikipedia community’s efforts to keep articles free of promotional content.

As explained in October of 2013, we believe that undisclosed paid advocacy editing is a black hat practice that can threaten the trust of Wikimedia’s volunteers and readers. We have serious concerns about the way that such editing affects the neutrality and reliability of Wikipedia.

The change to the Terms of Use will address these concerns in a variety of ways. First, it will help educate and explain to good-faith editors how they may continue to edit in the spirit of the movement and mission, through simple disclosure of their affiliation. Second, it will empower the community to address the issue of paid editing in an informed way by helping identify edits that should receive additional scrutiny. Finally, it will provide an additional tool to the community and Foundation to enforce existing rules about conflicts of interest and paid editing.

Paid editing sucks. And I’d love to see that at least admitted to by companies/public figures. This sounds totally voluntary, though. So… how are they gonna make sure this actually happens?



Kids Write The News!

Got any kids that are interested in getting some write experience on a practical level? Well, Scholastic wants to “hire” your 10-14 year olds to be a part of its online News Kids Press Corps.

The news crew covers stores in all new categories including current events, breaking news and entertainment stories. The stories are featured online, as well as in select print editions of Scholastic Classroom Magazines. Past participants have interviewed politicians, entertainers, authors, scientists and sports stars.

OMG, why oh why didn’t they have this when I was a kid? So awesome!



Oyster Now on Android

Hey, remember that eBook subscription service we talked about last year? Well, looks like they’re movin’ on up in the world. Oyster, the pay by the month service that has been called “Netflix for Books” is now expanding to Android.

The unlimited ebook subscription service, today announced the launch of Oyster for Android. The app is now available on all Android devices, Kindle Fire, and Nook HD, in addition to iOS devices. The team has focused on building this app with the highest quality, all with the Android platform in mind.

“Since launching last fall, Oyster for Android has been the number one incoming request from readers,” said Eric Stromberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Oyster. “Ultimately, we want to be available on every platform where people want to read, and this is an important step toward that goal.”

But I have none of those things… When you gonna get on iPad, Oyster? When????



Prose Before WHAT???

One of the most well-known bookstore’s in the biz put their entire foot up to the thigh in their mouth this week as they released an ill-advised button proclaiming “Prose Before HOES” in an effort to spur more reading amongst the youths.

Magnets emblazoned with the phrase “Prose Before Hoes” are sparking controversy at the Strand Book Store, with employees calling the message “offensive.”

The $3.95 gray and white magnets — featuring a literary riff on the frat boy phrase “Bros Before Hoes” — drew ire from some of the Village bookstore’s workers after they hit the shelves last week.

The magnets were designed in-house by Studio Strand, according to the store’s website.

In response, a group of eight Strand employees emailed a letter of protest to shop owners Fred Bass and Nancy Bass Wyden and manager Eddie Sutton on Monday evening, asking that the magnets be removed.

I’m all for catchy phrases intended to get people to read, but this one was extremely shortsighted. You don’t get new readers by marginalizing half of them out of the gate.

The other thing I don’t get… couldn’t they have done something halfway clever instead of ripping off some corny old Shakespeare joke that seems to have been on the internet since before time began? Honestly amazed at the lack of creativity involved here.



Apple Settles EBook Case

So, it appears Apple has given up the ghost, as it were, and reached a settlement with the courts over its eBook pricing scandal.

Apple Inc reached an out-of-court settlement with U.S. states and other complainants in an e-book price-fixing class action lawsuit on Monday, effectively avoiding a trial in which the iPad maker faced more than $800 million in claims.

Last July, a federal court found Apple liable for colluding with the publishers after a separate non-jury trial in a case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Judge Cote found that Apple took part in a price-fixing conspiracy to fight online retailer Inc’s dominance in the e-book market.

Apple is appealing that decision and Monday’s settlement is contingent on the outcome of that appeal.

“As set forth in the memorandum of understanding, any payment to be made by Apple under the settlement agreement will be contingent on the outcome of that appeal,” Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, wrote in a letter to the judge.

Looks like there will be more reader refunds in the future!



Another Death Match: Authors vs. Publisher!

Not content to pit Amazon against Apple, and Traditionally Published authors against Self-published authors, the world of the internet has decided we should all be up in arms about the royalties that authors get from Publishers. (Cue my epic eye roll.)

So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, it all started with Mr. Hugh Howey, the voice of the self-publisher in America. He wrote a blog post addressing his take on the Amazon Hachette Wars, as they will be referred to by future generations. In it he discusses Hachette’s self-stated goal to implement the agency model “with e-retailers thanks to Hachette Livre’s size and Anglo-Saxon presence in order to retain control over ebook pricing”. Or in Howey’s words:

Hachette is strong-arming Amazon and harming its authors because they want to dictate price to a retailer, something not done practically anywhere else in the goods market. It’s something US publishers don’t even do to brick and mortar booksellers. It’s just something they want to be able to do to Amazon.

His two biggest complaints are that Hachette seeks to dictate to Amazon what their selling price would be, and that Hachette makes way more than it should on ebook royalties.

The biggest problem with Hachette’s strategy is that Hachette knows absolutely nothing about retail pricing. That’s not their job. It’s not their area of expertise. They don’t sell enough product direct to consumers to understand what price will maximize their earnings. Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Apple have that data, not Hachette.

As author Michael Sullivan broke down in this damning blog post, it shows publishers making $7.87 on a $14.99 e-book while the author only gets $2.62. For a hardback that costs twice as much at $27.99, the publisher makes $5.67 to the author’s $4.20. What used to be a fair split is now aggressive and indefensible as publishers make more money on a cheaper product while the author makes far less. Publishers are ripping off readers and writers as they shift to digital, and they are getting away with it. They are even winning the PR campaign against Amazon, a company that has fought for lower prices for its customers and higher pay for its authors.

Well, then Mike Shatzkin came out with his take, in direct response form:

But what Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Apple know is not how to maximize Hachette’s or Hachette’s authors’ “earnings”, however they get divided between author and publisher. What they know is how to maximize their earnings and, mainly, their market share. And only Amazon and B&N have any picture of how the interaction between ebook prices and print sales works, which deeply affects an author’s and publisher’s earnings. None of the other ebook retailers have a clue about that, and Amazon doesn’t know how bookstore sales are affected (and it would be their objective to have them affected negatively, wouldn’t it?)

I agree that ebook royalties should be higher. But, in fact, only authors who sell their books to publishers without competitive bids (which indicates either “no agent” or “limited appeal generated by the proposal”) are living on that 25% royalty. The others negotiated an advance that effectively paid them far more than that. And guaranteed it before the book hit the marketplace. Publishers are making a massive PR error not raising the “standard” royalty since they effectively pay much more than that now, but the authors signing contracts with them know the truth.

See, obviously these two men are greatly at odds with each oth— Oh, wait. Howey and Shazkin actually seem to agree that eBook royalties suck.

Of course then an actual Hachette Author (and writer for Slate, so you can see where this is going) by the name of Laura Miller who, after slamming the poor rejected and angry self-published authors, decided to give her opinion on the matter:

It helps to understand what’s happening here if we all stop thinking about a traditional book publishing contract as a halo of literary worthiness bestowed upon an author by entities invested with a sacred, ineffable authority. Actually, it’s a business deal. It signifies that a disinterested party (i.e., not your mom or spouse) believes enough in the book’s potential appeal that it is willing to put its own money into the project. Publishers don’t just supply professional services (editing, design, distribution, marketing); they are investors. Doesn’t mean they’re always right; publishers often aren’t. But publishing a book is always a gamble of sorts, and a traditional publisher has ponied up.

While I don’t believe Miller’s words to be senseless, I do believe she wrote an entire article that incites more battling between authors and doesn’t address the ACTUAL REAL ISSUE AT HAND. Why do eBooks, which have been PROVEN more profitable for publishers, get a significantly lower royalty payout for authors? The answer seems to be that authors are willing to accept that “business deal” that Miller talks about.

Any by the way, if you were under any illusions about publisher’s profits, I suggest you read THIS.

Sources HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy
Kate Copeseeley

Kate Copeseeley

Buzz Worthy News Correspondent
Kate Copeseeley is the Buzz Worthy News Correspondent, occasional reviewer, and a bonafide bookslut®. She can be found haunting Goodreads, writing The 100 fanfic, and neglecting everything else in favor of burying her nose in a book. Visit her on Goodreads.
Kate Copeseeley

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6 Responses to “Buzz Worthy News: Rowling Rocks 20/06/2014”

  1. La Coccinelle

    Great… just what we need. Libraries flooded with self-published books.

    It’s not that I have anything against self-publishing. The concept is fine… in theory. But there need to be better ways of letting readers know that a book is self-published. I gather that the Overdrive issue you were talking about relates to librarians only. But I would like to see books in the actual library catalog labelled as self-published if they’re going to be in there. I’ve wasted too much time on self-published abominations. I’ve only read one that didn’t make me want to throw it across the room.

    • Kate Copeseeley

      hahaha Actually, that’s a great point. As far as I know (going from the Overdrive page I can access from my library) it shows who the publisher is, right on the listing. Penguin, HarperCollins, etc. All you have to do is avoid the ones labeled “Smashwords, Inc. I imagine.

      Also, from Smashwords email to me, when they announced it like a month ago, it will only be the top percentage of self-published books on their site. So you won’t have a lot of dreck to sort through.

    • Kate Copeseeley

      ME TOO! And it makes me even more mad when publishers and distributors get into fights and both of them are all… “You’re hurting writers! Stop hurting writers!” When neither of them really cares.

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