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Earlier this month, one of the many blogs I subscribe to for work linked to this report on Media Piracy in Emerging Economies, and wrote a concise summary.  The report and summary are very focused on piracy in other media, but I thought some (most? all?) of the bullet points were relevant to Big New York Publishing, particularly points three (antipiracy education has failed) and six (enforcement hasn’t worked).

The summary doesn’t address one of the driving forces (I think) behind ebook piracy — geographic availability.  What I find most interesting in the guest blog post is that the author points out that DVD piracy is what drove the global piracy and IP enforcement drive by the MPAA in the 2000s — and that it is a medium that is dying.  Is the publishing industry an analog, with books dying more slowly than DVDs?  The conventional wisdom is that ebook sales will eventually stabilize and paper will be remain a viable part of its revenue stream.  

I don’t know.  And I don’t have anything intelligent to share.  But I thought that readers who are interested in the publishing industry and the publishers’ antipiracy efforts would be interested in the report.

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Emptying the junk drawer

When I was a kid, my sister and I would spend part of the summer with my grandparents, who spoiled us rotten.  (I’m not exaggerating:  we were the first grandbabies and could do NO WRONG.)  One of the mysteries and treasures of the summer was Mommom’s junk drawer.  You could find amazing, magical, useful things in the drawer; whenever you needed something, it could be found there.  Spare keys, a screwdriver, twist-ties, lids for canning, a ruler, etc.  The drawer collected the flotsam of the household, the bits and bobs that wound up in the kitchen for some reason, and held it all securely until we needed it.  Because sooner or later someone would need that key chain or a green ink pen or whatever other oddity might’ve gotten added to the jumble.

As an adult, I recognize the pack-rat tendencies and Depression-era mentality of my grandmother that led to the junk drawer — don’t get rid of anything still usable because it might be useful at some point.  I’ve managed to avoid having my own junk drawer in the kitchen, but I still manage to have a sort of book related equivalent:  not just this blog, but a collection of notebooks, some expensive and some not, that reside in my shoulder bag, being filled with notes about books to buy, reviews to write, links to share, and things to look up.

  • The Economist on the success of Nordic crime fiction
  • An interview with Gore Vidal that was banned.  I have thoughts about Vidal’s play, The Best Man, and how it reflects on the current election season, but haven’t managed to string them together coherently other than to think that John Stamos’s character seems like a frighteningly accurate portrayal of the GOP veep nominee and also any tea party candidate.
  • Matt Taibbi on Romney the archipelago man.
  • This article on David Ferrer made me ::head desk:: when I read it.  Really? Has that journalist (assuming he is a legitimate sports journalist) paid more than cursory attention to professional tennis?


On the reading front, I’ve finished Aaronovitch’s first and third Peter Grant urban fantasy novels.  As I mentioned earlier, I found them at the Strand, but unfortunately could not find a copy of the second book of the series.  I’ve broken down and bought a copy of the ebook, but read #3 before doing so.  I’m kind of sorry I skipped around now, because some of Grant’s behavior in the second book changes my opinion of his reliability as a narrator and a detective/constable, which would make a difference to my reading of the third book (although it wouldn’t change my enjoyment of the series.)  Will have to reread book three once I’ve finished book two.

I’ve also fallen prey to the lure of Audible.com.  I used to borrow a lot of audiobooks from the library, but fell out of the habit.  A recommendation over at Dear Author in a comment thread got me started again.  ::sigh::  Just what I needed:  more books, just in another format…



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Please let me direct your attention

+  It’s the Fiesta de San Fermín.  (How do I get the accent to work when I’m typing directly in WordPress?)  Check out this gorgeous photo by Mike Randolph.  No bulls or crazy running men, but a lot of San Fermines gathering.  Time has a slideshow, but none of the photos are as good IMO.

~  Is it appropriate for tattoos to be considered in a visa or LPR application when those tattoos are traditionally affiliated with criminal gangs?  The WSJ writes about it today.

–  The last few episodes of NYC-22 that were filmed are being aired by CBS and then made available for viewing online (not sure how long that’ll last).  I feel somewhat ambivalent about the show (unoriginal) as a whole but am entertained by Stark Sands in the Crossing the Rubicon episode:  shout out to Tunny?  He and Adam Goldberg have great chemistry, and I love how they break out a Sharpie to draw tattoos on McLaren when he reveals that he’s an ink-virgin.

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Nothing to see here, move along

1.  Check out the first rough draft of the next Kate Daniels’ book by Ilona Andrews, posted as part of a bribe.

2.  I’ve found the links and articles posted by The Arabist to be very helpful in giving a less western-oriented MSM perspective on political events in Egypt, North Africa and the Middle East.

3.  Have you checked out Courtney Nguyen‘s reporting on the French Open in Beyond the Baseline for SI?  She loves and knows tennis, it’s clear in her writing, but her voice is fresh and irreverent, which is welcome among some of the more conservative sport journos (Neil Harman, I’m looking at you). 

4.  La Tienda has a post up on coffee in Spain.  Personally, I don’t drink much coffee unless it’s been ruined adulterated diluted almost beyond recognition by a great deal of milk and sugar, but I have been known to enjoy a morning cafe con leche while on vacation in Madrid or Barcelona.  (FWIW, the blog post is also available in Spanish.)

5.  Dear author:  why would you have someone drive from Baltimore to Dulles to catch a flight to New York?  That’s an hour drive at best and closer to two at worst.  Government employees traveling from Baltimore to NY would either fly out of BWI or take the Acela, which drops you in midtown in 2 hours.  In a pinch, they might fly out of Reagan, maybe.  But Dulles? No.



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Because I have nothing original to say…links!

I have only just run across David Simon’s commencement address to Georgetown.  It’s…completely consistent with what his worldview would appear to be based on the shows he has written and produced.

I’ve got to dust off the Greg Rucka books in my TBR stack now that I’ve read his essay on why he writes strong female characters.

For some pretty good photos of the French Open, check out @adel1609‘s tweets.

…and that’s all I’ve got.  Back to work today after a four day weekend.

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Bits and bobs

+ A collection of previously published novellas by Carla Kelly has been published by her new (non-mainstream romance) publisher, Cedar Fort.  I thought I’d read all of her novellas before, but there is one that I hadn’t encountered.  At $2.51, the three novellas are a bargain compared to the cost of the print backlist.

~  Have I been an observer of the romance publishing industry (and publishing generally) too long?  A couple of recent posts written by people I thought were long-timers ponder things that I thought were common knowledge or generally understood.   An author blogged recently about the relative size of her name on the cover of her new Harlequin Historical regency novel.  I dunno, it seemed a little disingenuous for someone who has published several books with H/MB that their titles are fairly standard and seldom reveal much of use about the contents of the book and that many categories are sold based on line or author alone.  And elsewhere in my feed reader (apologies, I can’t find the blog to link now) another blogger mentioned learning only recently (2010) that the decision to move to hardback was not one in which an author usually has any input.  Really?  Hasn’t this been discussed by author after author as their books or series gained success?  I can recall Nora Roberts addressing this years ago when the In Death books moved to hardcover.  Eh, I feel jaded and old.

+ David Simon, former reporter and and TV-writer/producer of The Wire, Treme, Homicide, and Generation Kill, has begun to write at his long held but unused website.  (via Media Bistro).

~Sports in romance: I love and hate it.  Read the sample of a m/m novel (ridiculously priced, which is one strike) whose characters are baseball players.  In some ways, the sample showed a lot of baseball knowledge.  Yet in other ways, it was a little off.  Or maybe I just think it’s off and my understanding of baseball is off.

~ When I saw the cover for Suzanne Johnson’s urban fantasy novel, Royal Street, I did a double take because I first saw the author’s name as Susan Johnson and wondered when the Old School romance novelist had moved into UF.  Uh, no, different author.

– When did 35,000 words become “novel” length?  That’s…more like a novella in my mind.  When I searched for standard novel lengths, this interesting post came up, among others.  Pretty uniformly the various websites indicate that a standard novel length is over 50,000, and anything less is a novella.  Is this word inflation?  Maybe.  Of course, the e-publisher whose definitions prompted this check is one of the pricier e-publishers; knowing they charge $6.99 for an ebook that is half the length of an HP is disenchanting.

~  While looking at various holiday resorts, I ran across The Towers at Mullett Bay.  Now, I know that the word has and had other uses historically.  But all I can imagine is a harbor full of be-mulletted men now: not the image I want for a vacation.  😛



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A gathering of links

Check out Jon Wertheim at SI on the incestuous nature of sports agents, commentators, and players, and how tennis doesn’t seem to pay as much attention to optics as other sports might.  As I watched the Federer-Nadal match and ESPN kept panning to Mary Jo Fernandez sitting in the player’s box next to Federer’s wife, I wondered how anyone could take her commentary on Nadal (or any other Federer opponent) seriously, and apparently I’m not the only one who questioned it.

And read Ben Rothenberg’s NYT piece on Larry Ellison and what he’s done and wants to do at Indian Wells.  While I do question how the additional purse is distributed, there’s no denying that the BNP Paribas Open is a tennis destination and a crowd-pleaser.

The DABWAHA has resumed.  Go vote!

The Cutty Sark has reopened.  On my list of things to see/visit next time I’m in London.

The Economist evaluates Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State and speculates about her future.  I find it odd that she is characterized as being “not a lawyer” but a politician.  Did the writer forget what she did for a living prior to moving into the White House?

The cherry blossoms are in full bloom.  Or so I’ve been told — I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t gone to see them in years.  Maybe next weekend?  If  you’re in DC, have you braved the crowds?


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Two weeks have never passed so fast or so slow

The hashtag for die-hard tennis fans has been #sleepisfortheweak.  As much as I’ve enjoyed the matches and the first major of the year, I’m ready to retire it for the next 11 1/2 months.  Tonight is the last night of the Australian Open.  Or rather, tomorrow morning is.  I’ll be up at 3am to watch the men’s final.  And then I’ll be able to sleep somewhat normal hours until the European clay court season begins in April; any other insomnia or zombie-like behavior in the interim will be the result of other things.

Am behind on my planned reading and the on-going book purge, although I’ve managed to discard another handful of books.  Have thoughts about how Harlequin categories and their treatment of premarital sex compare to contemporary Harlequin categories, but I haven’t quite worked out in my head what I want to say.

Read a m/m book that made me scratch my head.  Was that romance?  Was it supposed to be?  Was it lad lit?  It sort of relied upon some genre constraints or expectations, but was a mess in other areas.  Short review TBD.

In the meantime, please enjoy the following links.

+  What happens when you give thousands of stickers to thousands of kids.

+ A Federer fan’s perspective on Fedal and the outcome of the first AO semifinal.  h/t C-Note at Beyond the Baseline.

+ The Economist on the simultaneous aging and youth (of the population) of London.

And in anticipation of tonight’s match:


Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.  Via Nadal News.

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Links of interest…or not

I keep meaning to do a wrap up post for 2011 but it hasn’t made it from my notes to WP or LJ.  Instead, here are some links that were of interest to me but may be of little or no interest to any of you.

Religion and popular culture:  a short piece comparing Tim Tebow’s ostentatious religiosity with Rafa Nadal’s seeming agnosticism.

Education and economics:  a longer piece published by the ABA Journal on the law school bubble and the way that federally subsidized loans have distorted the economic reality of the profession for potential lawyers.

Shiny pretty:  hand porn from Doha, Qatar.

Political:  my favorite new tumblr, in which the frothy mix’s misogyny and condescension is screen capped. (ReadReactReview)

Other random bits of information:

We Bought a Zoo is not a bad movie, as long as you ignore Scarlett Johanssen’s inability to do anything other than pout and leer.

Crazy Stupid Love…the best parts of it were shown in the trailer, although I did really appreciate Ryan Gosling as a sort of fairy godmother.  The glimpse of the Borders logo on the outside of a building made me feel a little nostalgic, and then the mention of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher as a successful older woman-younger man made the movie feel dated.

The message at the beginning (“this is a rental edition, if you want extra features then buy the BluRay”) fails for me as a movie consumer — I don’t generally care about the extra features, so that sort of marketing/messaging just alienates me.  Note to self: start checking for WB movies, rent only, don’t buy.

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Checking in

For a variety of reasons, my reading has been extremely limited this month, hence the recent silence.  But things are looking up, in part because of the upcoming holiday travel, which lends itself to reading.

On the book front, yesterday a copy of Robert Morrison’s new annotated edition of Persuasion arrived at my house as a gift.  What a gorgeous book! I’ve only read the Introduction so far and the first few pages of the first chapter, but I am quite pleased with it.  The Introduction includes references to a variety of literary criticism of Austen generally, including Woolf’s essay on her, which I found in a collection of essays footnoted in another annotated edition.  More books to look for either at the library or online…

Other interesting things online:

Courtesy of Jessica at ReadReactReview, here’s a nice interview of Nora Roberts in The Guardian.

And here’s a link to a piece in The Economist on Spain’s upcoming election and the new Prime-Minister-to-be’s huge job of rescuing the Spanish economy, and the hopes that he’ll have more success than Berlusconi or Papandreou.

I haven’t read beyond the first Twilight book (meh), nor have I watched any of the movies.  (No, I’m not Team Anything, blech.)  But I appreciated Roger Ebert’s piece, “Heteronormative vampires“.

For tennis fans, the year end finals (in London still for the time being) began today.  The opening doubles match was excellent, and the second one has been good, too, but for me the main event is this afternoon’s (evening there) marquee match up, Rafa Nadal v. Mardy Fish.  For many ATP fans, today’s drinking game will be based on the number of times the announcers refer to Fish’s weight loss, or the fact that Nadal is naturally a righty but plays lefty or maybe about how Djokovic is in his head.  *eye roll*

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