What Not to Say to Bookstore Employees

Source: http://bookriot.com/2015/07/03/what-not-to-say-to-bookstore-employees-2/

Avoid bookstore faux pas like the following while speaking to the overworked bookstore employees with their smocks and helpful head nods:

  1. How much does this cost on Amazon?
  2. How can you work here when Amazon Prime exists? Are you on Amazon Prime?
  3. I’m a writer and I don’t want to waste my time, so which of these should I actually read?
  4. I only read signed copies. Where is the signed section?
  5. I don’t need help. I just come by the bookstore to hit on the smart people buying Ulysses for light, fun reading.
  6. I don’t need help. I just want to write down all of Giada’s recipes.
  7. I don’t need help. I’m just figuring out where my book will be shelved once I finish it, get an agent, sell it, and get it stocked here, in this location.
  8. I don’t need help. I’m just writing notes on page fifteen of every book. I’m creating a treasure hunt for the bookish.
  9. Which of these is going to be a movie? I want to judge the future movie by the past cover.
  10. How many teens die in this one? I only respond to mass numbers of teen deaths.
  11. If I just spilled my coffee on the hardcover book of swimming dogs, should I tell you about it?

Rest of the list at: http://bookriot.com/2015/07/03/what-not-to-say-to-bookstore-employees-2/

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Court ruling against Apple over e-book pricing upheld

Apple’s mistake was hooking up with the book-publishing cartel

Source: http://fortune.com/2015/06/30/apple-court-books/

An appeal court’s decision finding Apple guilty of collusion with publishers reinforces just how cozy a cartel the industry was.

Apple may be trying to keep the spotlight on its latest foray into the streaming-music business, but it is also still trying to clean up the mess caused by its ham-handed entry into an earlier market: book publishing. A federal court on Tuesday rejected the company’s appeal of an earlier ruling that found it guilty of orchestrating a conspiracy with the major book publishers, in what the court said was a successful attempt to artificially inflate the price of e-books.

As Fortune‘s Jeff Roberts reports, the court found Apple AAPL -0.16% engaged in collusion with what amounted to an oligopoly—namely, Harper Collins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Macmillan—and that its actions were a clear breach of antitrust law. Apple argued that the deal it cut with the publishers was necessary to blunt Amazon’s dominance in the e-book market, but the appeals court didn’t buy that argument. Judge Debra Ann Livingston wrote:

“Competition is not served by permitting a market entrant to eliminate price competition as a condition of entry, and it is cold comfort to consumers that they gained a new ebook retailer at the expense of passing control over all ebook prices to a cartel of book publishers.”

One reason the court failed to buy this argument is that the major publishers clearly had zero interest in actually competing on price—in fact, they wanted to do exactly the opposite. Their interest in doing a deal with Apple stemmed from a desire to maintain the existing favorable price structure for books, which allowed them to milk the market for high-priced hardcover versions of new novels before eventually releasing cheaper versions. Amazon’s AMZN 0.07% low-priced e-books were a threat.

Rest of the article: http://fortune.com/2015/06/30/apple-court-books/

***
One lawyer’s comments on the judgment:

The Passive Voice

Source: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/07/2015/apples-mistake-was-hooking-up-with-the-book-publishing-cartel/

After strong-arming Amazon into accepting the new “agency pricing” model—in which the publishers got to set the price for their books, rather than allowing the retailer to do so—the book industry got exactly what it wanted. According to research by the Justice Department, the price of newly released books rose by an average of 24% and bestsellers climbed by 40%.

It says a lot about the book-publishing business that doing this actually caused book sales to drop fairly dramatically across the board: research done by another expert using data from Random House showed that publishers who switched to the agency model sold close to 15% fewer books than they would have otherwise. So the industry was effectively willing to trade a short-term decline in sales for the increase in power that they got over pricing as a result of the deal with Apple.

Full blog entry at: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/07/2015/apples-mistake-was-hooking-up-with-the-book-publishing-cartel/

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Photo finish Friday: “Root a Vega”

This is what happens when you've been stuck in a rut so long: the rut gets stuck on you.

This is what happens when you’ve been stuck in a rut so long: the rut gets stuck on you.

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Filed under 2015, photo by David E. Booker, Photo Finish Friday

Amazon Cracks Down on Bogus Reviews

Source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2486445,00.asp

Amazon is changing its ratings system, but you probably won’t notice a difference right away.

Amazon will start assigning more weight to recent reviews, as well as reviews that have been written from verified purchasers of a particular product. Amazon will also weigh reviews that have been deemed helpful by other Amazon users. So, be sure to put a bit of thought into your prose on Amazon if you want to meaningfully contribute to a product’s overall score.

The new system, which went live on Friday, will tweak a product’s overall rating using the same criteria. In other words, product rankings are probably going to vary a bit more over time. Previously, scores were an average of all the stars a product’s reviewers had given it.

“It’s just meant to make things that much more useful so people see things and know it reflects the current product experience,” Amazon told CNET.

Rest of the article at: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2486445,00.asp

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Haiku to you Thursday: “Align”

I sit, wait, and age. /

Celestial bodies align. /

Mine aligns with dust.

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Writing tip Wednesday: “Wheel of Words”

A quick chart that might help if you get stuck.

A quick chart that might help if you get stuck.

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cARtOONSdAY: “i sPY”

Willard now understood why they offered him a disguise at the sign in table.

Willard now understood why they offered him a disguise at the sign in table.

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Filed under 2015, cartoon by author, CarToonsday