This week in Buzz Worthy News: Probably, like, the most depressing BWN ever. Sad, sad, stories that will make you go “Uh! Why, life?! WHY?!” Probably best you don’t read it, actually. Mostly death, sickness, disappointment and admissions to a disturbing Heathers fixation in my infancy. Read on at your own peril.
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: How New Titles.
Roger Ebert, perhaps the most famous film critic that I know (okay, the only), died on Thursday. It’s kind of really sad because I always looked up to Ebert as someone with an unparalleled ability to snark with style. Jeez that man knew how to hate and hate well. His review of North has been doing the rounds on the internet lately, reminding us of why he was so badass.
“I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.” SOURCE
Ebert has had a long and fruitful career as a film critic, beginning in 1967. In 1975, received a Pulitzer for badassery in the art of pissing on bad films. Well, maybe they didn’t put it that way. But they should have.
“The Chicago Sun-Times, the base of operations for Ebert’s syndicated reviews, announced his death at age 70.
“We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away. No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition,” his wife, Chaz Ebert, said in a statement Thursday.”
This makes me so sad, I can’t even crack a joke about it. Iain Banks blogged this week with the sad news that he is officially very, very unwell. How unwell?
“I have cancer. It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.
The bottom line, now, I’m afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I’m expected to live for ‘several months’ and it’s extremely unlikely I’ll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last.”
Holy shitballs, man. Just… SHIT. Ya know?
“As a result, I’ve withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I’ve asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry – but we find ghoulish humour helps). By the time this goes out we’ll be married and on a short honeymoon. We intend to spend however much quality time I have left seeing friends and relations and visiting places that have meant a lot to us. Meanwhile my heroic publishers are doing all they can to bring the publication date of my new novel forward by as much as four months, to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves.”
I don’t even have words. No words. Cuddlebuggery salutes you, Iain Banks. Personal notes for the author can be left here.
Discussion over Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads has continued to occupy the minds of many of the literary minded. In particular, why Amazon would bother paying $150 million dollars for the small but powerful book networking site. The Atlantic’s aslkfjalsfjslkjd may have the answer. You.
Amazon wanted to know what your book habits are because times have changed. The shelf at your local Barnes and Noble no longer dictates what is big and what is not. In fact, studies show that 11% of book buyers in America effect 46% of the sales. And that 11%? They’re probably you and me on Goodreads. People are using sites like Goodreads more and more to discover books and this contributes to the economic hard-on Amazon got for Goodreads. Amazon now has a direct feed into our book buying brains, habits, likes and tendencies.
“Today, the publishing industry survives on super fans — book worms who read far more than most Americans, and who tell their friends what to read as well. By picking up Goodreads, Amazon gets to tap into those super fans. Simple.
The United States is not, sadly, a country of lit buffs. In 2008, a little more than half of all American adults reported reading a book that was not required for work or school* during the past year, according to the National Endowment of the Arts. And as shown in the graph below, which like the other charts in this piece come courtesy of the industry researchers at Codex Group, and updates the sample data to match the 2010 Census, just 19 percent read a dozen or more titles.”
The European commission has now also given its blessing for the Random House Penguin merger/marriage. Thus allowing Random House and Penguin to begin their new life together conquering the known book world and battling it out with Amazon.
“The Commission assessed the impact of the transaction on the upstream markets for the acquisition of authors’ rights for English language books in the European Economic Area (EEA) and worldwide, and on the downstream markets for the sale of English language books to dealers in the EEA, in particular in the UK and Ireland. The Commission found that on both types of markets the new entity Penguin Random House will continue to face competition from several large and numerous small and medium sized publishers. As regards the sale of English language books, the merged entity will furthermore face a concentrated retail base, such as supermarkets for print books and large online retailers for e-books, like Amazon. In addition, the Commission’s investigation revealed no evidence that the transaction would lead to risks of coordination among publishers in relation to the acquisition of authors’ rights and the sale of English language books to dealers.”
So, there was this idea to resell music files which was kind of awesome if you could get the first sale doctrine to apply to digital merchandise. The first sale doctrine is that piece of legislature that allows you to resell your old shit you don’t want anymore. Like those lifestyle books your mother buys you every Christmas because she thinks you’re a no-account dumbass (or maybe that’s just me). Well Amazon and a bunch of others were waiting on this court case to determine whether they could plow ahead and sell off their old ebooks. I certainly would have appreciated getting rid of a few of mine. Alas, I can’t and it doesn’t look like any of us are going to be able to hawk any of our goods online.
“The Court cannot of its own accord condone the wholesale application of the first sale defense to the digital sphere, particularly when Congress itself has declined to take that step. Accordingly, and for the reasons stated above, the Court GRANTS Capitol’s motion for summary judgment on its claims for ReDigi’s direct, contributory, and vicarious infringement of its distribution and reproduction rights. The Court also DENIES ReDigi’s motion in its entirety.”
April 12th is the cut off date for both parties to submit a letter and all but, at this point, it don’t look good.
So Amazon does this thing where, when you buy an ebook, you have seven days to return it if you read it, only to discover that it’s a honking pile of dogshit. But this is causing friction amongst some who think that time period is simply too long.
Look, everyone knows the casual kindle reader is an amoral book pirate with all the ethics of a sleazy politician in Exxon’s pocket. They buy the ebooks, they read them and then return them within seven days because that’s just what these bastards like to do for kicks. It’s all true.
Actually, Kindle Obama says No. But in the words of the organizers of the Change.org petition, here it goes:
“It is understood that if a customer goes into a store and purchases a tangible item, that item can be returned to the store within a specified amount of time for a refund. In this case, nobody is out of anything. The customer has their money back and the store has the original item purchased. But if Amazon sells our e-Book(s) and allow customers to keep that product for seven day (more than enough time to read it) and then, give them the option to return it for a refund, the consumer has already read our work and we’re out of the amount of money charged for that item. Is this fair or not? This is like going into a restaurant, buying a meal, then asking for a refund after you’ve already eaten it!
Something has to be done. We (authors/publishers) have invested too much time and money into creating our products to just let them (Amazon) give it away for free. Amazon’s “Search Inside the Book” Program makes approximately 3 chapters (sometimes more) of most books available so that customers can preview the book prior to purchase, so why would they allow someone to purchase the book, give them seven days to read it, and then give them a refund?”
Look, there are always going to be dodgy people who abuse the system. I’m not saying they’re not out there. And they do dodgy things not just to Kindle authors, but to Walmart and that fish and chip shop around the corner, and to everyone. But seven days, to me, seems like a reasonable amount of time for someone who has purchased a book, intends to read it in a day or two, begins, doesn’t like it and decides to return it. And shafting the majority of people who use the service legitimately seems pretty bad form. All businesses deal with write-offs. Don’t believe me? Work in a Walmart for even a week and see how much merchandise is:
1) Returned damaged and can’t be resold
3) Broken in store and left
It’s… a significant amount.
But, ya know, that’s just my opinion, and I am a cold-hearted bitch who has once returned an ebook within hours of the seven day rule because I read half of it, got busy, and realized I really didn’t like it.
So news of the book-to-movie adaptation his the Vampire Academy Facebook page and it is… interesting.
“New York Times bestselling series Vampire Academy – optioned by Preger Entertainment way back in the summer of 2010 – is finally moving forward with the first book’s big-screen adaptation. According to the official Facebook page for the film, “We have a writer & a script: Dan Waters of Heathers fame! Woot Woot!!””
Wait, wait, wait, wait… Dan Waters of Heathers fame!? Okay, Trivia from the Life of Kat: Heathers was my favourite movie when I was six. Which should possibly be concerning.
There’s no way to calculate how much effect this film has had on my psyche…
But, it wasn’t actually the most well-written movie ever. Still, preparations are moving along and the actors are prepping for their physically intensive roles.
There’s a lot of back and forwards over whether G.R.R. Martin despises women with the fire of a thousand suns, and the degree to which women should or shouldn’t be offended by Game of Thrones. I know enough feminists who love it that I don’t easily dismiss their assurances that it is not a stain upon human kind, seeking to sully the female gender. And, G.R.R. Martin claims, himself, to be something of a feminist. So there’s that.
“‘Some women hate the female characters,’ he says. ‘But importantly they hate them as people, because of things that they’ve done, not because the character is underdeveloped.’ The pitfalls of lots of other fantasy texts, he says is when writers stray into writing in sterotypes. But because Martin has a sprawling world with thousands of characters (and five books to do it in), he has the luxury of developing each one fully. ‘Male or female, I believe in painting in shades of grey,’ he says. ‘All of the characters should be flawed; they should all have good and bad, because that’s what I see. Yes, it’s fantasy, but the characters still need to be real.’”
G.R.R. Martin does entirely own to being a feminist because:
‘There was a period in my life when I would have called myself a feminist, back in the seventies, when the feminist movement was really getting going and growing out of the counter culture of the sixties,’ he says. ‘But the feminist movement has changed. Sometime in the 80s and 90s I read some pieces by women saying that no man can ever be a feminist and you shouldn’t call yourself that because it’s hypocritical, so I backed off. I thought if the current crop of feminists believes that no man can be a feminist, then I guess I’m not one.’
They probably did say that, Martin. However, as the interviewer assured you, men can be feminists these days. It does help to look like this:
I’ve never read the books or really seen the show, so I have no comment on any of this. But I have a great deal of opinions on Ron Swanson’s moustache! Namely that it is FANTASTIC! So there is that…