December 15th, 2014 by Michael Sauers

I read copyright pages. (Don’t ask.) As a result, sometimes I read suprising things. Here’s something I found last night:

A catalog record of this book is available

Well, that’s interesting… A normal wouldn’t need a cataloging record, and I’m guessing a cataloger, even if they noticed this, would already know they can get a record from OCLC. Though, I guess I can see the use for some small libraries. But, I can’t find any such page on the BOOM! Web site. I did find a Librarians page on the Kaboom! Studios site (an imprint of BOOM I believe) but none of the links work.

Posted in Libraries Tagged with: , ,

September 24th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

terribleminds logoDRM is dumb. DRM does not work. DRM is the Empire is tightening its fist, which only forces more star systems to slip through its fingers. You know how our war on terrorism basically begets more terrorism? Like, someone blows up our shit, then we blow up some Yemeni daycare thinking that an Al Qaeda higher-up is hiding there, and then all the people affected by the blown-up daycare suddenly think, “The US kills kids so now we’re gonna be fight the US with tooth and nail?” Meaning, our war on terror just creates more terrorists?

Help libraries. Help them. They’re customers. But even beyond that, they’re the drug dealers of the book world. They’re the ones giving out free samples of your work (which, to be clear, they paid for) and fostering a love of stories and a culture of books. Libraries are Willy Wonka factories where they make new readers instead of weird-ass child-endangerment candy. (Seriously, the government needs to step in and shut Wonka down. Last I heard he was drowning kids in a corn syrup river or something. He’s like a fucking Batman villain, that guy.)

Read the full post @

Posted in ebooks Tagged with: , , ,

September 4th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Cory DoctorowAt the start of the summer, I traveled to Chicago for the annual national conference of the American Library Association. It was great. There are many utterly baseless clichés about librarians – the shushing spinster who prefers the company of books to humans is a creation of pure and unimaginative fantasy. But there is one way in which librarians live up to their reputation: they are superbly organized. I’ve been to many library conferences – national, regional, even Europe-wide – and the one thing I can report about all of them is that they ran like clockwork.

While I was in Chicago, I sat down with some of the ALA strategists to talk about how libraries are getting a raw deal on e-books. When libraries want to buy an e-book from the publisher, they find themselves paying as much as five times the price you or I pay for the same book. Literally – librarians are paying $60-80, and sometimes more, to include current release frontlist titles in their collections. Each of these e-books can only be lent to one patron at a time, which means that libraries are sometimes buying a dozen – or more – of these overpriced text-files.

Not only that, but libraries have to buy these books with DRM on them, and invest in expensive, proprietary collection-management software from companies like Overdrive in order to ensure that only one patron at a time can check out any given e-book. These e-books come with restrictions that don’t appear on regular print books; they can’t be sold on as used books once their circulations drop below a certain threshold; neither can they be shared with another library’s patrons though standard practices like interlibrary loan, a mainstay of libraries for more than a century.

Read the full article @ Locus Online.

Posted in ebooks, Libraries Tagged with: , ,

July 10th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

The Steve bookU.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote’s ruling in the non-jury trial sets back what Apple claimed all along: that their discussions with the five major book publishers was merely doing business in a new marketplace for Apple.

Read the full article @

For a great overview of the whole case consider spending $1.99 for  The Battle of $9.99: How Apple, Amazon, and the Big Six Publishers Changed the E-Book Business Overnight by Andrew Richard Albanese.

Update: Here’s the full text of the judge’s ruling:

Posted in ebooks, Politics & Law Tagged with: , ,

July 1st, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Hachette logoPARIS — Hachette Book Group, a division of French publishing giant Hachette Livre, says it’s buying Disney’s Hyperion, in a deal that will significantly expand HBG’s backlist with about 1,000 books and a list of forthcoming titles from authors including actor Ethan Hawke.

Read the full article @

Posted in Books Tagged with:

June 28th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

a4le logoAre you an author? Do you want all eBooks to be available to all libraries?

Our nation’s readers and libraries need your help.

Did you know that many ebooks are not available to most libraries at any price? Of those we can buy, libraries frequently pay 150 to 500% more than the consumer price, forcing us to purchase fewer copies for library readers to discover. As more books appear only in electronic form, the situation will become intolerable for our nation’s readers.

Authors benefit when libraries have the ability to buy and lend ebooks. Libraries help authors through:

  • Exposure. Libraries help people find you. Readers discover new authors, topics, and genres in our libraries. Libraries help authors get noticed: we host you at author events; we feature your books at book clubs; and we spotlight your titles on our websites.
  • Sales. Research shows that our loans encourage people to buy your books. Additionally, many libraries now provide an option for people to click and “buy-it-now” from our websites.
  • Respect. Libraries honor your work. We protect copyright, and we pay for what we use. We want you to keep writing, and make a living at it.
  • Love of reading. Libraries help grow readers – and writers.  Library lending promotes literacy, exploration, creativity, and innovation.

The Authors for Library Ebooks campaign seeks to add author voices to those of librarians and readers in support of equitable access to digital content through libraries. There are many ways you can support this effort:

  • Sign on to the Authors Stand with Libraries statement.
  • Help us raise awareness of this issue with publishers, other authors and the general public.
  • Learn more about what’s at stake.

Literature and knowledge—in all their forms—are essential. We must protect access to them for all people through libraries. Stand with libraries as we seek sustainable solutions for our nation’s readers, thinkers, writers and dreamers.

Check it all out @

Posted in ebooks, Libraries Tagged with: , ,

June 13th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

The BattleSome of the world’s largest book publishers are going after two prolific Usenet uploaders. The publishers have obtained subpoenas from a federal court in the District of Columbia which require major Usenet providers to reveal their customers’ identities. Thus far legal action against Usenet users has been relatively rare, but the documents suggest that the publishers are preparing just that.

Cengage Learning, John Wiley and Sons, Elsevier and McGraw-Hill recently obtained subpoenas from the U.S. District Court of Columbia, requiring Usenet providers to hand over the personal details of two very active uploaders.

Read the full article @

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: , , , ,

May 21st, 2013 by Michael Sauers

DSC_9275While most small presses sell all their books freely and happily to libraries, the “Big Five” publishers continue to be terrified by the idea of letting public libraries have their e-books, and to punish libraries for even trying to get their e-books to customers.

The corporations’ confused and panic-driven search for an “acceptable business model” for the library e-book has led to some truly grotesque solutions:

So, dear reader, if your library doesn’t have the e-book you’d like to read, please don’t complain to your librarian. Complain to your publisher. Tell him to wake up and get real.

Read the full article @

Posted in ebooks Tagged with: , ,

May 15th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

DOJ logoBoth the publishers and Apple have denied any collusion, but a newly uncovered e-mail from late Apple co-founder and turtlenecked figurehead Steve Jobs to James Murdoch of News Corp (parent company of HarperCollins, one of the sued publishers and a former employer of yours truly) seems to indicate that its Jobs who came up with the pricing scheme.

“Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream e-books market at $12.99 and $14.99,” wrote Jobs.

Two days later, HarperCollins signed a deal with Apple that made agency pricing its standard model for all e-book sellers.

The DOJ also alleges that when Random House resisted the shift to the agency model, Jobs threatened to block the publisher’s e-book application from being distributed through the Apple app store. After Random House gave in, the Apple exec in charge of its e-books deals wrote to Jobs saying that part of the reason the publisher ultimately agreed was “the fact that I prevented an app from Random House from going live in the app store.”

Another document uncovered by the DOJ shows Random House’s top executive saying his company had been counseled by Apple to withhold e-books from Amazon in order to get the company to accept agency pricing.

Read the full article on The Consumerist.

Posted in ebooks, Politics & Law Tagged with: , ,

March 24th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Taylor & Francis logoI recently put the payment for a speaking gig on the line over licensing terms. In that case the terms were changed, the event happened, and I got paid. Jason Griffey on the other hand, put payment for a writing gig on the line over licensing terms and the gig didn’t happen.

I’ll be blunt: there is no situation in which I’d sign copyright over the T&F…or, frankly, anyone. I’m very happy to sign a license of limited exclusivity (say, 30-90 days) for publication, or license the work generally under a CC license and give T&F a specific exemption on NC so they can publish it. But their language about “Our belief is that the assignment of copyright in an article by the author to us or to the proprietor of a journal on whose behalf we publish remains the best course of action for proprietor and author alike, as assignment allows Taylor & Francis, without ambiguity, to assure the integrity of the Version of Scholarly Record, founded on rigorous and independent peer review. ” is just…well, bollocks.

However, there’s much more to the story as it turns out that the editorial board of the journal involved ended up resigning over said licensing issues. (Not specifically in regards to Jason’s complaints, but to his and what sounds like many many others.) Like Jason,

I fully understand that I speak from a position of privilege, as I have the ability to turn down writing opportunities such as this without it effecting my career negatively, and that what I’m about to say is said from this same position, but: No scholar should be producing work, whether that work be the creation of content, editing of content, or other, for entities which insist that they are doing you a favor by taking away your rights or the rights of those you represent.

Read the full article @

Posted in Writing Tagged with: , ,