- The Morning Coffee – 16 October 2014
- Permuted Press Drops Print Production & Delays Release Schedule, Demands Authors Pay to Get Out of Contracts
- Survey Says: The Fire Phone is the eReading Device of Last Resort
- Leaked User Manual Confirms iPad Air 2, iPad Mini Details
- Infographic: Reading Can be Good for Your Health
- On Writing Novels on Smartphones
Posted: 15 Oct 2014 08:10 PM PDT
Here are 8 stories to read this Thursday morning.
Posted: 15 Oct 2014 05:06 PM PDT
Long considered by some to be a shifty operation, Permuted Press has survived and even thrived in the self-pub boom by being able to offer at least one thing that is still difficult for self-published authors: getting books into physical book stores (in the US, at least).
Alas, that is no longer true. Over the past few days multiple authors have reports that Permuted Press has abruptly changed the contract they signed with authors. Permuted is dropping the print edition for most of the books they have in the pipeline, and they’re also pushing publication dates back by 5 months or more.
Jack Hanson was one of the authors who has been affected; Permuted has had his novel since June 2013 and was supposed to be publishing it today. He just found out that it’s been bumped to February:
Naturally he’s not all that interested in working with a publisher who isn’t even going to bother with a print edition (it is the majority of the market, after all), so Hanson asked for the rights to both of his novels back. He says in his FB post that Permuted is willing to cancel the contracts – right after he pays them $1,100 to cover the investment in editorial costs and cover design.
If that doesn’t set off your skeeze radar, this next bit might. Hanson’s tale has been confirmed to various degrees by Gabrielle Faust, R. Thomas Riley, William Meikle, and others. Many are reporting that Permuted broke the news to some authors at a get together back in September, but didn’t tell the rest of its authors until blindsiding them last week.
And to make matters worse, those print editions which Permuted can no longer afford are actually POD, so aside from the initial design and setup costs there is no upfront cost to production.
And yet Permuted can’t afford the cost of setting up a POD edition? Really? If Permuted is really in such a dire financial state then authors would be advised to flee immediately.
Alas, many might not be able to, because the contract they signed was (according to a couple different sources) absolutely terrible. Brian Keene says he got a look at Permuted’s contracts a decade ago and decided to stay away – far, far, away.
Graeme Reynolds went one step further and detailed the terms of the contract. I truly hope he made this up, because this is wrong on so many levels:
To be fair, Permuted is no Dorchester (which sold pirated ebooks after the rights had reverted) nor is it even Ellora’s Cave (which has many authors and editors saying that they have not been paid).
But this is still pretty damn bad.
In this day and age Permuted had better be doing something damned amazing to justify their contract terms. If not, authors could easily do better by self-publishing.
Posted: 15 Oct 2014 01:40 PM PDT
Pundits have been speculating for a couple months now that sales of Amazon’s smartphone have been dismal, and of there’s any truth to the consumer survey which just crossed my desk, they’re right.
A new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners shows that Amazon prime members, consumers who could be described as the company's most loyal shoppers, aren’t buying the Fire Phone.
According to the press release, CIRP polled 500 Amazon Prime customers in the third quarter and found that hardly any of them owned a Fire Phone. The survey also found that around one in four respondents owned one of Amazon’s tablets or ereaders, and that around 5% owned a Fire TV.
The results for Fire and Kindle ownership were about what I would have expected; given the free ebooks and free streaming video, it makes financial sense for a Prime member to also buy one of Amazon’s cheap devices. And it is equally obvious that that incentive doesn’t extend to Amazon’s $650 smartphone.
“Our data shows that Amazon hardware devices have mixed results,” said Mike Levin, partner and co-founder of the research group in a press release Wednesday. “Effectively zero percent own an Amazon Fire Phone. In contrast, approximately one quarter of US Amazon customers have either or both of a Kindle Fire tablet and Kindle Reader, and about 5% report owning the new Amazon Fire TV set-top box. Though anecdotal accounts suggest Amazon has sold a few thousand Fire Phones, none of the 500 recent Amazon customers in this quarter's survey reported owning one.”
Amazon hasn’t shared sales figures, but in late August a guesstimate went around that pegged Fire Phone sales at 35,000 units. I didn’t believe that guess at the time, but now it seems that it was not inaccurate.
Released in early July with a retail price of $650, the Fire Phone was initially available from AT&T at a subsidized price of $199. Amazon dropped the subsidized price to under a dollar in early September, but that does not appear to have boosted sales all that much.
The reasons for the Fire Phone's failure are both obvious and numerous: the subsidized price is an AT&T exclusive, it costs as much as the iPhone 6 or Galaxy S5 without offering that smartphone’s extensive app ecosystem, and it has an excess of gimmicky features but no single killer feature.
I think it’s safe to say that the Fire Phone has been extinguished, don’t you?
The post Survey Says: The Fire Phone is the eReading Device of Last Resort appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 15 Oct 2014 11:20 AM PDT
9to5Mac has found screenshots for the new iOS8 user manual in iBooks, and it has let the cat out of the bag. (While Apple won’t be uploading the actual manual until tomorrow, someone goofed and uploaded screenshots today.)
The screenshots, which you can see for yourself, don’t include any detailed specs but they do shows that the iPad Mini 3 and the iPad Air 2 both have a fingerprint sensor integrated into the home button – just like on the latest model iPhones. Another new feature confirmed by this leak is a new Burst Mode (first introduced with the iPhone 5s) for the iPad Air 2.
Unfortunately the screenshots don’t confirm any other leaks or rumors, like the gold iPad Air 2, the thinner shells and redesigned speaker grills, or the upgraded A8X CPU, so we’re just going to have to wait until tomorrow to find out more.
Is anyone else surprised by this leak?
Apple is a company which is notorious for secrecy – even more so than your average tech company. They’ve even written multi-million dollar penalties into the contracts with their suppliers. GT Advanced, for example, revealed in one of their bankruptcy filings that Apple would have socked them with $50 million fines for each leak. That company never actually supplied components to Apple (this is why it is in bankruptcy), so it has literally gotten all of the pain with none of the gain.
And yet here is Apple, leaking their own new hardware. It’s as if all that money spent on threat and thugs who can break legs was wasted.
The post Leaked User Manual Confirms iPad Air 2, iPad Mini Details appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 15 Oct 2014 10:41 AM PDT
Reading might be typically associated with a sedentary lifestyle, but it’s not all bad. Canada's National Reading Campaign released an infographic last week which details how reading can lower your stress level and help you become a better person.
It can’t do much for one’s weight or cholesterol, but for that I would recommend an audiobook and a good pair of shoes.
Posted: 15 Oct 2014 03:24 PM PDT
As National Novel Writing Month approaches, I’m sure many writers are still trying to figure out how they’ll find the time to finish such a long work. While I’m not sure this would work for everyone, one possible solution came across my desk this morning,
Blackberry started a new media campaign yesterday which focuses on authors who had tapped entire novels into their BB smartphone. While this might sound like a good plan to get free advertising, they do raise a good point.
It’s a point which writing experts like Kevin J Anderson have also made: the truly dedicated author tries to find time, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there on a commute, to write their novel.
Geordie Greig, for example, wrote his first novel while working insane hours at a full time job: editing the London Evening Standard. I can’t imagine how he pulled it off, but according to BB he says that:
What’s more, he’s not the only author to pull this off. Last year Stuff.co.nz profiled a local author who had written a 1,500 page novel on his HTC smartphone during his daily commute:
Writing during a commute would seem to be the more common example of smartphone noveling. That is how Peter Brett wrote his first novel:
To be honest, I’m not sure how much this will help an author who is trying to finish a novel in a single calendar month; most of the authors I found who had written a novel on a smartphone took several years to finish it. Of course, that long delay reflects less on a slow writing style than the simple fact that these authors were so constrained in terms of time that they almost didn’t have time to write the novel at all.
But they still made the time. And as one of the aspiring novelists on the NaNoWriMo forums said, “even if you get a couple of hundred words done on it, that’s a couple of hundred fewer to do later on, so go for it”.
Do you think you could write a novel on a smartphone?
image by Janitors
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