David Niven for Carling’s “Red Cap Ale”

This Week's Fish Wrap (№19)

This round-​​up, more about the HarperCollins /​ Library problem, and Borders continues its descent. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

David Niven for Carling’s “Red Cap Ale”
David Niven for Carling’s “Red Cap Ale”

BUT FIRST: a little self-​​promotion. Wayne Hurlbert at Blog Business World has interviewed Atomic Fez’s Proprietor/​Publisher! To read that in full and learn more things about this publisher house and the man who runs it, CLICK HERE.


HarperCollins v. the Libraries III: Read with a Vengeance!

Last week the issue started to heat up in a different way than it had previously. While average librarians, readers, and small publishers like Atomic Fez weighed in about it (to read that rant of March 7th, CLICK HERE). Now, the official people are taking the opportunity to comment, and the greater effects of the issue are being examined by both those in the industry as well as media watchers, freedom of information advocates, and main-​​stream media.

What is it that people are ‘buying’? What rights do readers, or viewers, or listeners, have to the works themselves? Does the creator of the work have the right to rescind permissions or change the work itself? What realistic expectations can a business have about their products, their customers, and the revenue stream from something which can actually be used infinitely without any diminishing of the item? Is it right to be able to fully remove a book from any circulation?

On a practical level, let’s say you have a problem with your e-​​reader and then have to re-​​set your unit, plus re-​​download a file you just downloaded from the library? The result is that you’ve ‘borrowed’ the book twice, yet haven’t read it yet. Ta-​​da! The library is now one more lending closer to the need of a license. Fair? Hardly! Before you suggest this might be rare, I did this just earlier today, minus having a file borrowed from library on the unit.

  • Publishers Weekly, “The Happy Reader Equation: A Librarian on HarperCollins’s E-​​Book Pricing Model” | CLICK HERE
  • Publishers Weekly, “In Statement, ALA Criticizes HarperCollins’ E-​​Book Lending Restrictions” | CLICK HERE
  • American Library Association, “Restrictions on Library e-​​Book Lending Threaten Access to Information” | CLICK HERE
  • Engadget, “Publisher Starts Annual e-​​Book Licensing for Libraries, Attempts Blood Extraction from Stone” | CLICK HERE
  • New York Times, “Publishers and Libraries Struggle over Terms of E-​​Books” | CLICK HERE
  • The Bookseller, “Library bodies warn [UK] Publishers Off ‘Retrenchment’ Over e-​​Book Lending” | CLICK HERE
  • Library Journal’s ‘Peer to Peer Review’, “Problematizing Patron-​​Driven Acquisitions” | CLICK HERE
  • The Star, “Publisher’s Cap on Library Downloads Begs Question: When Do e-​​Books Wear Out?” | CLICK HERE


Borders' Re-Organizations Continue to be Organized

Borders is slimming down – in the same way someone sheds 150 pounds of unwanted fat by hacking off their own leg – and things start getting a bit more interesting for the consumer: is my local store still there /​ will it be next week /​ what about my loyalty card /​ what about my e-​​books and so on? It’s not just the USA, either, as the cuts in Australia’s Borders, owned by REDgroup, continue to cut staff with seeming abandon.

  • Consumerist, “Borders Employee: I Don’t Want to Mislead Customers to Sell Rewards Cards” | CLICK HERE
  • Publishers Weekly, “Borders to Decide Fate of 75 Stores This Week” | CLICK HERE
  • Publishers Weekly, “Borders Gets Extension to Assume or Reject Leases” | CLICK HERE
  • Publishers Weekly, “Borders Gets DIP, Outlines Downsizing, Rejects Leases” | CLICK HERE
  • Publishers Weekly, “Borders Targets 28 More Stores for Closing” | CLICK HERE
  • Bookseller + Publisher, “REDgroup administration: 26 Australian head office staff made redundant; further redundancies, store closures possible” | CLICK HERE
  • NineMSM (Australia), “More lose their jobs at Melbourne Borders” | CLICK HERE


“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

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