The Surprising Games People Made with Public Domain Works (Boing Boing)
The recent Public Domain Jam has spawned a whole bunch of new works…about Captain Ahab, Captain Hook, Cinderella, Dorian Gray and lots more than any fan of classics might like to peruse.
The TeleRead Take: I love this story. Boing Boing points out that while many popular characters are popular because they are free to use, there is a long list of under-utilized public domain characters ripe for remixing. How neat that someone is encouraging this! Information about the Cinderella image here.
Onyx Boox i86 eReader With Frontlight Now Up for Pre-Order (Bits, Bytes & Pixels)
This ereader runs Android 4.0 (with Google Play) on a 1GHz CPU with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage. It’s 8″ E-ink display has a screen resolution of 1,600 x 1,200, and the device also has a frontlight and IR touchscreen.
The TeleRead Take: As Nate notes, this one has been delayed and delayed. Here’s hoping that the wait will be worth it for buyers. Here’s purchase information. Price works out to $270-$300 with shipping considered.
LGBT-Themed Children’s Book on Kickstarter (GalleyCat)
Children’s book author Jase Peeples is trying to raise $10,000 on Kickstarter to fund an LGBT-themed children’s book.
The TeleRead Take: This is a timely project, with the recent Jenner family news (bonus link: here are GLAAD’s guidelines) I love that Kickstarter is providing a venue for people to get support for what otherwise would be very niche projects.
UK Courts Must Block eBook Pirate Sites (Wired UK)
The five largest ISPs in the UK have been handed another blocking order by the High Court, this time mandating they restrict access to sites offering pirated ebooks for download.
The TeleRead Take: A necessary move, I think. Personally, I think piracy is a bit of an overblown issue; the vast majority of authors should worry more about obscurity than about piracy. But I think that if writers’ groups can show they are doing everything they can, people will stop focusing so much on this and focus instead on more pressing issues such as getting their work out there and visible in the first place.
Kindle Daily Deal: The Bloodletter’s Daughter (and others)
The line about piracy and obscurity always gives me a sad little laugh. You need to hang out with authors for a while, David.
Many of the self-pubs I communicate with about the issue are a bit excited or worried when their first book is uploaded to pirate sites and watch the downloads move into the thousands, yet they receive very little income from their first book although the reviews are good.
The second book is in demand, all right, but it’s people on pirate sites asking for a free download. A majority of people who pirate want free or nothing. The sale numbers for book two may rise a smidgen, but it isn’t from the pirates.
If this continues and the author wants to stop bleeding money, there will probably not be a third or fourth book. So, the paying readers lose, and even the pirate fans lose.
Meanwhile, the pirate site owners are growing fat like ticks sucking the lifeblood out of publishing.
Thanks for sharing your opinion here, Marilyn. The “Take” in this case comes from Joanna Cabot, now venturing into publishing. Joanna herself is a veteran freelancer.
My own opinion, as author of seven publisher-published books, including titles from Ballantine and St. Martin’s, is that piracy is both a threat and a help. But you know what? In focusing so much on the piracy issue, the industry is losing sight of more important numbers.
Isn’t it outrageous that excluding textbooks, the average U.S. household spends only around $125 a year on books and other reading? Why aren’t the anti-piracy crusaders taking a little time to consider major ways to meaningfully expand the money pot for writers, promote reading, and serve the result of society?
How about the concept of a national digital library endowment, for example, funded by interested members of the super rich? The idea has shown up in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Education Week and Library Journal, and yet other journalists and book-writers just are not following up. Sad.
This anti-piracy issue has stolen no small amount of energy that we writers could better devote to other causes. The endowment certainly would fall into the “more pressing issues” category to which Joanna refers. When will the Authors Guild start caring?
David has it 🙂 . It is not that I condone piracy or think it is never an issue. I just think there are other problems which are either more pressing, or more solvable, which get lost in the shuffle.
My sister is planning to self-publish a Kindle book, and was surprised to look at the numbers in her category. The number one book in that category is selling about 3 copies a day, according to the Kindle stats sites I found. And that was an author who appeared on the Oprah show. We can assume that my sister, much as I love her, will sell less than the Oprah author.
The pot is just so small. That doesn’t mean people like my sister shouldn’t put out their book. But it may mean it is unrealistic for her to expect to make a living off of it. And indeed, there are a lot of worthwhile things many people spend their time on which they cannot earn them a living, so writers are hardly unique in this regard.
Fighting piracy isn’t a waste of time just because other issues need attention. We all have things we feel passionate about and that passion should rule us, not issues others are passionate about.
I became involved with the anti-piracy and copyright fight over fifteen years ago. As a teacher, writer, and researcher, I realized that authors didn’t have the information they needed on the subject so I researched and have presented those facts over the years. I wrote copyright articles aimed at readers in the hopes that they would become advocates for their favorite authors instead of seeing free online books as harming no one.
I wrote articles and taught authors of the various predators circling around them like sharks. I gave them tools to fight back.
I won’t even go into the amount of time and advocacy I spent on ebooks within libraries or my advocacy of ebooks themselves at a time when no one read them, no one respected them, and other authors considered ebook pioneer authors and publishers as the enemy to be destroyed.
And, David, I know you are happy to be back in charge of this site, and your passion is that national digital library, but, if you keep banging that drum to the point of the ridiculous, you will drive readers away. All subjects here do not lead back to your hobby horse.