- Author Lawsuit Against Harlequin Certified as Class Action
- Audiobookers, Take Note: Downpour Launches Audiobook Rentals
- Comparison Review: Kindle Voyage vs Onyx Boox T68 Lynx
- The Fire Phone Has Fizzled
- The Morning Coffee – 24 October 2014
Posted: 24 Oct 2014 02:05 PM PDT
Originally filed in July 2012, Keiler et al v. Harlequin Enterprises Limited et al was brought by a group of authors who allege that Harlequin had cheated them out of their royalties.
In the early ebook era (before 2005) contracted for ebook rights offered a standard contract that included an “all other rights” clause which promised authors 50% net royalties. While that sounds like a good contract, as a result of an accounting slight of hand on the part of Harlequin the actual royalties paid to the authors were far less than what Harlequin received from distributors and retailers.
Harlequin designated one of its Swiss subsidiary as the publisher, which then licensed the rights back to the parent company at about 6% to 8% of the retail price of the ebooks, enabling the publisher to keep the difference.
It was a smooth trick, and they got away with it for quite a few years. They also almost won the lawsuit filed by the authors in 2012 when it was thrown out last year. Unfortunately for Harlequin and its new corporate parent HarperCollins (which is owned by Newscorp), the lawsuit was reinstated by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in May of this year. That court ruled that Harlequin et al had “calculated their e-book royalties based on an unreasonable license fee”.
In short, the appeals court pointed out the obvious: Harlequin gave itself a sweetheart deal which assigned a far lower value to the ebook rights than what would have been negotiated with an outside publisher.
The plaintiffs are now a class which includes authors from the US, Canada, UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand who signed standard Harlequin publishing contracts between 1990 and 2004 which included the following All Other Rights clause:
Would anyone care to bet on how long it will be before Harlequin’s corporate parent Newscorp decides to settle?
image by anoldent
The post Author Lawsuit Against Harlequin Certified as Class Action appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 24 Oct 2014 10:41 AM PDT
Amazon’s Audible might dominate the audiobook market in the US but they’re not the only retailer. Downpour.com, an independent audiobook retailer, recently launched a new rental service which could help readers/listeners save a few bucks.
Downpour customers can now rent audiobooks for 30 to 60 days at a reduced price. The audiobooks have to be read in Downpour’s app, and they will expire at the end of the rental. This breaks with Downpour’s policy on selling audiobooks DRM-free, but makes sense.
According to the catalog around 8,000 titles are available for rental, compared to 30,000 titles available for sale in all formats. TBH I’m not sure how accurate that 8k figure is; I spot checked and a number of the titles listed in that section didn’t show rental as an option alongside MP3, CD, etc. There are also quite a few public domain titles which may not be worth renting, not when you can also find the audiobook for free on another site (here’s a dozen sites you can browse).
But there are other titles for rent, including Atlas Shrugged. This is one of the 60 day rentals (because it’s a bajillion hours long). It rents for $8, and can also be bought for $32. You can find more info at Downpour.com.
So is this a good deal?
I’m not into audiobooks, and I’m also not into renting content, so I can’t tell. I’m going to have to wait for audiobook users to weigh in.
What do you think? (Besides that the Downpour website is as slow as molasses, that is.)
The post Audiobookers, Take Note: Downpour Launches Audiobook Rentals appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 24 Oct 2014 08:47 AM PDT
A couple days ago I pulled my T68 Lynx out of storage to test a couple apps at the request of a reader, and now that I have it in my hands again I’m remembering why I liked it so much.
Before I get into the comparison review, let me first point out that I reviewed the T68 Lynx extensively back in June. Many of the details shared here are written in the context of that post, so if you are thinking about buying a T68 Lynx you should read that review as well.
There are nine ways that these two ereaders differ.
The T68 Lynx has a noticeably clunkier design, but it also has its strengths. As a general purpose ereader it’s not going to be as good as the Voyage at being a Kindle, but the T68 Lynx is better than the Voyage at pretty much everything else.
The post Comparison Review: Kindle Voyage vs Onyx Boox T68 Lynx appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 24 Oct 2014 05:08 AM PDT
Amazon reported quarterly revenues of $20.58 billion, up about 20% from the same period last year. The retailer says that they lost $437 million last quarter, with a good third coming from a write down on the Fire Phone.
Amazon Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak disclosed on Thursday that Amazon had taken a $170 million write down in the third quarter largely related to their unsold stockpile of Fire smartphones as well as supplier commitment costs. The retailer is sitting on $83 million in unsold Fire Phone stock, which means that it is actually possible that Amazon is sitting on more unsold units than they have managed to sell in the past 4 months.
I know that I snarked about this topic yesterday when AT&T announced they were bundling a $49 Fire HDX tablet with new Fire Phone sales, but damn. That gimmick-packed wunder-phone really isn’t selling.
What’s next, do you think? Amazon already okayed a great bundle deal with AT&T; do you think that will become permanent, and will Amazon offer a similar bundle for an unlocked Fire Phone?
I was all set to get a Fire Phone following news of yesterday’s bundle but as I sat down this morning and priced the monthly cost I lost interest. That bundle looks like a great deal, but it comes with a $60 a month contract. Considering how rarely I would need the smartphone (I do have a landline, after all), that is a lot of money over 2 years – especially when you remember that this is a crippled smartphone.
As Juli Monroe pointed out in the comments yesterday, Amazon’s platform lacks Google apps, and even though the Amazon appstore has most of the apps found in Google Play, ” it is missing some of my must-have apps (or was, I haven't checked recently) like the Starbucks app. Even when they have apps which are available on Google Play, they are often an upgrade or two behind, which annoys me. “
Posted: 23 Oct 2014 08:32 PM PDT
The reading list may be short this morning but it’s full of stories worth reading, including an update on the Ellora’s Cave lawsuit, a reader’s manifesto, a look at how Indian publishers are running a FUD campaign against Flipkart and Amazon, and more.
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