Publisher takes on Amazon with Australian-based site

Global publisher Pearson has internet giant Amazon in its sights with the launch of an Australian-based online bookseller.

The publisher has rebranded the Borders.com.au site which Pearson bought for less than $5 million after owner REDGroup’s collapse last year. The company says its new Bookworld.com.au site is aiming to compete with Amazon on price and delivery, offering free shipping with two-to-three day delivery to any capital city on Australian books. Bookworld has about 100,000 e-book customers and a total of 750,000 customers on its database.

“You’ve got to have a price that will get you to market and clearly Amazon are the benchmark,” said Bookworld chief James Webber.

“We compete with Amazon very effectively that includes no shipping costs.”

Mr Webber said that 50 per cent of Bookworld’s stock was sourced in Australia.

REDgroup was unable to compete with global retailers like Amazon and Book Depository because of higher book prices in Australia.

Under current pricing offers, the cost of Christopher Hitchens’ book Mortality is $23.95 from Amazon with delivery taking up to a month. Bookworld offers the same book at $19.99 to its club card holders with three-day delivery.

Bookworld said it has sold more e-books than physical books in the past month in another sign of how quickly the book industry was changing.

http://www.bookworld.com.au

via Publisher takes on Amazon with Australian-based site.

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What’s the Point of Publishers in a Digital Age? | Digital Book World

This blog post is a response to Rob Eagar’s post here at Digital Book World:  What’s The Point of Publishers in a Digital Age.  I was going to just make it a comment, but then it grew too big.  I recommend you read his post first, and then mine, and the reality probably lies somewhere in the middle.

While human nature must certainly be factored in, and emotion does usually trump logic, when running a business, one must focus on logic.  Publishers do indeed help the author ego, if that author happens to be in the top 5% of the ranks at their publisher.  Below that, the experience is often the opposite.  The midlist is usually the living hell of getting blown off by harried editors, being promised promotion just so you don’t call or email any more and when the book actually arrives, there is no promotion, and the reality is that when you don’t earn out, you are in essence going to get ‘fired’ by not getting renewed.

This was my experience over 42 titles with 4 of the Big 6.  Even when I sold over a million books for Random House, they could have cared less.  I didn’t see much ego stroking going on for most authors.  But if you are in the elite 5%, certainly.

via What’s the Point of Publishers in a Digital Age? | Digital Book World.

What’s The Point of Publishers in a Digital Age: Response

Regular Use of Marijuana in Adolescence Can Cause Permanent, Irreversible IQ Loss

Regular Use of Marijuana in Adolescence Can Cause Permanent, Irreversible IQ Loss Neetzan ZimmermanRegular use of marijuana during adolescence can lead to irreversible IQ loss, findings from a long-range study suggest.The report, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, relies on data from a series of interviews conducted with over 1,000 residents of Dunedin, New Zealand, who were tracked from birth until the age of 38.Those in the study group who reported using marijuana more than once a week during their teen years scored, on average, 8 points lower in IQ tests at age 38 than at age 13. Furthermore, friends and relatives of persistent users were more likely to note attention and memory problems than those of non-users.”Adolescent-onset cannabis users showed significant I.Q. declines, and more persistent use was associated with greater declines,” said lead author Madeline H. Meier of Duke University.

From Science Daily:While 8 IQ points may not sound like a lot on a scale where 100 is the mean, a loss from an IQ of 100 to 92 represents a drop from being in the 50th percentile to being in the 29th, Meier said. Higher IQ correlates with higher education and income, better health and a longer life, she said. “Somebody who loses 8 IQ points as an adolescent may be disadvantaged compared to their same-age peers for years to come,” Meier said.

The study notes that quitting cannabis “did not fully restore neuropsychological functioning among adolescent-onset cannabis users.”Interestingly, interviewees who did not begin using marijuana before reaching adulthood did not present a similar IQ decline. It was unclear, however, at what age marijuana use becomes “safe.””The simple message is that substance use is not healthy for kids,” said co-author Avshalom Caspi, also of Duke. “Thats true for tobacco, alcohol, and apparently for cannabis.”[photo via Shutterstock]

via Regular Use of Marijuana in Adolescence Can Cause Permanent, Irreversible IQ Loss.

Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves – NYTimes.com

This is so wrong, and will likely make a lot of people much more reluctant to trust online reviews. In the end, authors will suffer. As an author, I would NEVER pay for a favourable review. EVER.

‘Suddenly it hit him. Instead of trying to cajole others to review a client’s work, why not cut out the middleman and write the review himself? Then it would say exactly what the client wanted — that it was a terrific book. A shattering novel. A classic memoir. Will change your life. Lyrical and gripping, Stunning and compelling. Or words to that effect.’

via Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves – NYTimes.com.

Copyright stuck in horse and buggy era

“This hostile regulatory regime is one of the reasons why so many Australian start-ups head straight for Silicon Valley.”

Copyright law experts say in some areas the law is too strict and stifles innovation while preventing the public from enjoying creative works. Recent court battles have sparked debate on some of these issues including Larrikin Records’ victory over Men at Work and the Optus stoush with the AFL and NRL.

Google’s search engine uses automated web crawlers to find and copy sites on the internet. The copies are indexed and stored in its cache so users can more quickly access search results.

However, the ALRC’s paper said that because there are no exceptions in the Copyright Act allowing caching, indexing and other internet-related technical functions, Google’s search engine “may infringe copyright”. Further when it displays results to users this could be considered “communicating copyright material to the public”, another breach of the Act.

“If Google had been started in Australia, it could well have been sued out of existence,” said Dr Rebecca Giblin, copyright law expert at Monash University.

via Copyright stuck in horse and buggy era.

Writing and publishing news, events and markets — Speakeasy

Cram your novel in a compactor; strap your short story to a rack; or break out your best short novel or long short story. In other words, it’s time to bust out those novellas. Seizure, the cutting-edge, Sydney-based journal, is currently running Viva La Novella, a novella competition for Australian and New Zealand writers. Seizure is looking for novellas running between 20-50,000 words and is offering to the winning author $1000, publication in Seizure, the full editorial treatment and significant exposure.

via Writing and publishing news, events and markets — Speakeasy.

Spielberg Dumps JoBeth Williams In A Pool With Real Skeletons In ‘Poltergeist’! | | Bloody DisgustingBloody Disgusting

This isn’t exactly a well kept secret, but it’s weird to think sometimes that some of those skeletons in Poltergeist are real. Towards the end of the film JoBeth Williams‘ character is thrown into a swimming pool flooded with dirt, rain and actual human remains (their house is built on a burial ground after all).
While the jury is still out on who directed the film between Tobe Hooper and producer Steven Spielberg, there’s no doubt that both of them were aware of their “authentic” props.

via [Remember This?] Spielberg Dumps JoBeth Williams In A Pool With Real Skeletons In ‘Poltergeist’! | | Bloody DisgustingBloody Disgusting.