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Beth Cox Report: June 2015
Dear Loyal Readers, Authors, and Publishers,
There have been some high-profile supreme court rulings recently, but a lesser-known federal appeals court ruling may potentially impact ebook publishers and authors. The 2-1 ruling declared that Apple was guilty of illegally conspiring with other publishers to increase ebook prices, intentionally raising ebook costs from $10 (the standard price on Amazon) to $13-$15. The one dissenting judge argued that Apple's efforts weren't anti-competitive because, at the time, Amazon dominated 90% of the ebook market.
The entire story is available on Reuters at
I've been slow to get on the ebook bandwagon, since the MBR does not directly review ebooks. Ebooks are eligible for our Reader Fee Review program, and we gladly run ebook reviews submitted by independent volunteers in the "Reviewer's Bookwatch" and the "MBR Bookwatch". But I personally had never browsed one, until just this month.
I downloaded and installed Amazon's free ebook application for personal computers/tablets/etc., a simple enough process even for a techno-clueless person like me (my computer science degree is 20 years out of date, and about as meaningful as a paper with the crayon-scrawled words "I've written programs in TurboPascal!"). The app came with a handful of complimentary ebooks, including a copy of Aesop's Fables.
Although there are a number of convenient features in the app - for example, bookmarking pages or jumping to a chapter is quite possible - navigating an ebook still felt clunky and awkward compared to the ease of paging through a physical book.
There's also the issue of limiting computer screen time for the sake of my eyesight; I already spend plenty of hours at my computer every day, especially when working. A friend alerted me to the helpful properties of electrophoretic ink, also known as e-ink, which is a type of ebook display technology specifically created to be easier on one's eyes. The Wikipedia page about e-ink has more information:
"E Ink (electrophoretic ink) is a specific proprietary type of electronic paper manufactured by E Ink Corporation, founded in 1997 based on research started at the MIT Media Lab. Joseph Jacobson and Barrett Comiskey are listed as inventors on the original patent filed in 1996.
It is currently available commercially in grayscale and color and is commonly used in mobile devices such as e-readers and, to a lesser extent, mobile phones and watches."
My friend swears that he notices a beneficial difference when he browses his e-reader designed to use an e-ink display. If I were to purchase a dedicated e-reader (unlikely, as I have plenty of physical books to review each month), then I'd certainly consider getting one that can display e-ink, and I'm adding the E-Ink URL
to the "Ebooks" links page on the MBR website.
Now for June's Link of the Month. It's Editing Market, a price-comparison website for anyone seeking to purchase editing services of any kind, including proofreading, copy editing, ESL editing, plagiarism checking, journal paper editing, and more. Editing Market is a handy resource for the writer on a tight budget - or for the editor seeking to get the word out about their competitive rates!
Finally, June's Book of the Month is about the writing and publishing trades. Writing/Publishing books are regularly featured in the Jim Cox Report, so I rarely spotlight them here, but this one is exceptionally worthy:
The Frugal Editor
9781505712117, $17.95, 288pp, www.amazon.com
Editing is the process of selecting and preparing written, visual, audible and film media used to convey information. The editing process can involve correction, condensation, organization, and many other modifications performed with an intention of producing a correct, consistent, accurate and complete work. The editing process often begins with the author's idea for the work itself, continuing as a collaboration between the author and the editor as the work is created. As such, editing can involve creative skills, human relations and a precise set of methods. There are various editorial positions in publishing. Typically, one finds editorial assistants reporting to the senior-level editorial staff and directors who report to senior executive editors. Senior executive editors are responsible for developing a product for its final release. The smaller the publication, the more these roles overlap. In the book publishing industry, editors may organize anthologies and other compilations, produce definitive editions of a classic author's works (scholarly editor), and organize and manage contributions to a multi-author book (symposium editor or volume editor). Obtaining manuscripts or recruiting authors is the role of an Acquisitions Editor or a commissioning editor in a publishing house. Finding marketable ideas and presenting them to appropriate authors are the responsibilities of a sponsoring editor. Copy editors correct spelling, grammar and align writings to house style. Changes to the publishing industry since the 1980s have resulted in nearly all copy editing of book manuscripts being outsourced to freelance copy editors. "The Frugal Editor: Do-It-Yourself Editing Secrets for Authors" is a complete course of instruction under one cover. From editing query letters to editing final manuscripts to the editorial chores of marketing, "The Frugal Editor" covers the complete range of editorial tasks and responsibilities -- including common mistakes and errors to avoid. Thoroughly 'user friendly' from beginning to end, "The Frugal Editor" is ideal for the novice author, and would prove to be of immense value as an instructional reference resource for experienced authors, publishers, publicists, and freelance copy editors.
That's all for the June 2015 Beth Cox Report. Stay book-loving, my friends!
The Midwest Book Review
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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