Sunday, June 27, 2010

MediaWeek (Vol 3, No 26): OCLC, AAUP Conference, Intellectual Property Enforcement, Harold Robbins, Book Bloggers

OCLC announced that a revised record use policy will be going into effect on August 1st (LJ):
After more than a year and a half of proposals, withdrawals, and revisions, OCLC's final updated policy governing the usage of WorldCat records is set to go into effect on August 1. The document, an update to the currently prevailing "Guidelines for Use and Transfer of OCLC Derived Records" (from 1987), is written in the form of an agreement on "Rights and Responsibilities" governing both OCLC Cooperative members and the steward organization itself. This commitment-driven approach is a departure from OCLC's previous attempts, criticized for being opaque and for featuring severe legalistic language. The current iteration has been repeatedly described as "a code of good practice," and stresses cooperative member libraries' vested interest in maintaining WorldCat as a viable and self-sustaining resource for catalog records and other services.
A wrap up of the AAUP conference in Salt Lake City (Chronicle):
The program was praised by many attendees in part because it focused on digital how-to: how to make and market e-books, and how to work with libraries that want everything in electronic form. It's far too early to say that most or even many university presses have made the transition from a print-based world to an electronic one. But most have now recognized that they have to figure out what that transition will look like for their particular presses if they want to keep publishing.
Beyond the practical questions, there was a philosophical slant to the conference, too. The publishers wondered and worried about the future of the long-form argument—e.g., the scholarly monograph. How will it survive in an era of quick Internet searches and piecemeal reading? Nicholas G. Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, wasn't in Salt Lake City, but his argument that the Internet is killing off "deep reading" came up several times.

At a freewheeling session on "information hyperabundance," the audience wrestled with how society ought to deal with the flood of data coming at us. Michael J. Jensen, director of strategic Web communications for National Academies Press, talked about how publishers and the rest of us are up against "a whole industry of distraction engines" that wants us to surf the Web, play video games, and generally do anything but read a book.
A drink writer is a bad writer (Independent):
"The idea that drugs and alcohol give artists unique insights and powerful experiences is an illusion," he said. "When you try and capture the experiences [triggered by drugs or alcohol] they are often nonsense. These drugs often wipe your memory, so it's hard to remember how you were in that state of mind."
LA Times notes that the Obama administration is beefing up the policing of piracy and counterfeiting of goods and e-books are mentioned (LAT):
Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel said her office would review current efforts to curb intellectual property infringement of U.S. goods abroad, especially in China. China also is the source of many counterfeit goods. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection report published last year said 79% of seized fake goods came from China.

The enforcement strategy outlined in a 61-page report released Tuesday contains over 30 recommendations, which includes establishing an interagency committee dedicated to curbing fake drugs and medical products. It also calls for agencies to encourage foreign law enforcement to go after rogue websites and "increase the number of criminal enforcement actions" against intellectual property violators.

"There's not an industry that hasn't been affected," said Dr. Mark Esper, executive vice president of the Global Intellectual Property Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who lauded the enforcement strategy. "The next victim out there is probably going to be the e-books and the publishing industry. "
Also in the LAT, book bloggers are inheriting the world of book reviews (LAT):
Blogs like Riley's, because of the genres they focus on, have caught the eye of publishers, who are eager to have a new opportunity to reach readers. "Women's fiction that maybe wouldn't be covered by traditional book sections is being blogged about, talked about," says Jennifer Hart, vice president and associate publisher at HarperCollins for its paperback imprints. "There are books blogs for every niche of publishing — from literary and commercial fiction to young adult, to sci-fi, to cookbooks. This offers publishers an incredible opportunity — we can reach the audience for all of our books, no matter the genre."

Some of this diversity was reflected in the Book Blogger Convention's attendees. Joan Pantsios, a public defender from Chicago just getting started with book blogging, has a fondness for literature. Carrie Brownell, whose Christianity is important to her blogging, is a stay-at-home mom from Oregon. Monica Shroeder, a 23-year-old military service member, devours books with incredible speed — especially those with vampires. Yet despite their different backgrounds, world views and tastes in books, these women — most book bloggers are women — were all incredibly friendly, eager to connect.
Almost complete collection of Faukner's works goes up for auction at Christie's (AP):
The auction could be the last chance to acquire such a large collection of the Nobel Prize-winning author's work, said Louis Daniel Brodsky, a poet and Faulkner scholar, who lives in St. Louis.Brodsky, who donated his own private collection to the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University, said he once owned the extremely rare copy of Faulkner's first novel, "Soldier's Pay," in a dust jacket that's part of the lot up for auction."There are five of those known," he said.Also included in the collection are signed copies of "The Wild Palms" and "Absalom, Absalom!" In keeping with common auction house practice, Christie's didn't identify the owner, but said he was an American.A few items offer a glimpse into the personal side of the author, whose stream of consciousness writings explored the complicated social system of the South.Ironically, Faulkner likely would have cringed to know his personal items are to be part of a public bidding war, Griffith said.
The lot eventually went for $833K. Not too bad - pays for a few air conditioners.

News that Author House will bring Harold Robbins back into print reminded me of Basil Fawlty and the Waldorf salad episode of Faulty Towers. This is Basil's review of Robbin's work:
"aimless thrills, ... the most awful American ... tripe, a sort of pornographic muzak." Of course, when he (Basil) learns the Hamiltons (guests) like Robbins, Basil pretends to have been referring to another author named "Harold Robinson." Harold Robbins was an American romance novelist whose peak of popularity lasted from the 1950s through the 1970s. His lurid, melodramatic writings were dismissed by critics as trashy pulp but were international bestsellers.
Here from the press release:

AuthorHouse, a leading self-publishing imprint of Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI), announced Thursday that is re-releasing 12 classic novels from America's top-selling fiction author of all-time, Harold Robbins.

Robbins' widow Jann said she chose AuthorHouse because it provided her the opportunity to make the books available over a wide range of digital platforms, like the Kindle, the nook and through Kobo. Additionally, the books will be re-released in paperback and hardcover formats.

"I'm an avid reader of eBooks and Harold would have loved the idea of making his books available digitally," said Jann Robbins. "His books spoke to all people, and by increasing the ways we can reach readers [through digital formats], I believe we're carrying on his legacy."

Galley editions of the first three titles: Where Love Has Gone; The Lonely Lady; and Goodbye, Janette will be debuted at the 2010 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference Friday through Sunday at the Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.

In addition, AuthorHouse will re-release nine more titles in the coming months. The release dates for hardcover copies and digital versions of the books will be announced in July, but pre-orders will be taken at the conference. "Harold Robbins is an American icon, selling more than 750 million books, in 32 languages, to readers worldwide. He paved the way for mainstream authors like Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins. We are pleased to bring his writing into the new digital age," said Kevin Weiss, ASI president and chief executive officer. The other nine titles being made available through AuthorHouse include: The Adventurers; Never Love a Stranger; Descent from Xanadu; Memories of Another Day; The Pirate; The Inheritors; Spellbinder; Dreams Die First; and The Dream Merchants.
From the @twitter this week:

Guardian: Conrad Black given fresh hope of early release after US supreme court ruling The
TeleRead: Ray Kurzweil’s ‘Blio’ e-reader: Is it really all that?
Guardian: 'Operation Thunderdome' takes US paper digital. Digital first print last. Revolutionary
MediaPost Viacom's Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against YouTube Dismissed: In a sweeping victory for Google, a federal...

BBC News: Spy novelist Alan Furst takes readers back in time - Just saw this. He is a great writer. (Video)
Nothing to report in Sport this week.

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