Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Apple

Writers Finding the Best Advice, Wherever It Might Be…


I’ve done 6 posts that involved Nilofer Merchant in some capacity. Nilofer Merchant

For those new to blogging—since I’m going to tag this post with her name, you’ll also find this article at that last link :-)

Nilofer has been called the Jane Bond of Innovation and it’s usually folks in business that follow her advice.

So, since I’m an advocate for Self-Publishing and since that route demands a number of activities that have the fragrance of business about them (especially, book promotion), it could benefit writers if they sought out what Nilofer thinks…

So, if you’ve never heard of this woman and you’re a writer (or, if you’re not a writer and you engage in any kind of business), I’ll share a bit from an article on the Strategy + Business Site called, Nilofer Merchant’s Required Reading:

Nilofer Merchant knows something about value creation. By her reckoning, she has had a hand in launching more than 100 products that have netted a combined US$18 billion in sales — first in stints at Apple and Autodesk, and later as an advisor to technology companies such as Logitech, Symantec, and HP.”

Substitute “writerly” for “corporate” in this quote:

“…Merchant sees the humanist values of diversity, inclusivity, and collaboration as the keys to creating corporate value. ‘It’s not that everyone will but that anyone can contribute’, she says.”

I should add that the inclusivity and collaboration will probably occur some time after the first draft :-)

This next excerpt is meant to be pondered (and, hopefully, remarked on in the Comments…):

“She argues for a more inclusive approach to strategy-making that enlists the people responsible for executing it….Merchant contends that social technologies and tools have given rise to a new era in which the basis for value creation is collaboration and co-creation by communities of people who are united by an aspirational purpose.”

Then, for those intensely interested in exploring “value creation” as a tool to include in their kit, there are three books and one article that Nilofer recommends.

And, here’s a video of her—meant to be “interpreted” from “corporate” to “writerly” advice (she starts by talking about her time working for Steve Jobs…):


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“Federal Court Finds Apple Guilty of E-Book Price Fixing”


The title of this post is from an article on WIRED.

Forbes, a major money magazine, has Apple Loses E-book Case After Judge Says It Played A ‘Central Role’ in Price-Fixing Conspiracy.

Back in March last year, when the story broke, I wrote Authors/Readers vs Publishers vs the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Then in June I wrote Public & Publishers Speak Out To U. S. D. O. J. on Pricing Collusion.

The March post linked to a conversation between authors Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler and I quoted part of it in the June post:

“…if you’ve not been following the story, the publishers involved are all pointing fingers at Amazon as the company that must be stopped

“I’ll put a bit of conversation between authors Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler, from the March postwith their opinions about Amazon as the Bad Guy:

“Joe: The Big Publishing Cartel monopolizes distribution for decades and that’s fine, but some upstart comes in and starts treating authors and readers with consideration, and it is a call to arms.

“Barry: This argument is just bizarre. I mean, Amazon, which sells more books than anyone, is destroying bookselling? Amazon is destroying bookselling by selling tons of books?”

So, the case has reached a verdict (with probable appeals approaching) and the site GigaOM has an article that deals with DRM, Amazon, and the Big Six Publishers.

If you don’t know what DRM is, watch this video or check out this article

GigaOM’s article is called The real villain in the ebooks case isn’t Apple or Amazon — it’s publishers’ addiction to DRM and there’s a subheading that says The Big Six gave Amazon the keys

Here’s a short excerpt from that article, just to encourage you to go read the whole thing:

“The Big Six’s pig-headed insistence on DRM on ebooks is handing Amazon a stick with which to beat them harder. [Their] insistence on DRM has proven to be a hideous mistake. Rather than reducing piracy, it has locked customers in Amazon’s walled garden, which in turn increases Amazon’s leverage over publishers.”

Wondering where this will all end—though, many folks are going to speculate themselves into a frenzy………
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Publishing News Is Having A Crisis


Authors who want to be published have, possibly, more options than they need right now.

Traditional, Indie, POD, Small Imprint, Publishing Aid companies, and full Self-Publishing, to name the major options.

Plus, all those categories are mating and producing offspring

It’s no wonder news about publishing has become as confusing as the act of publishing itself.

I believe, one day, things will calm down to just a few of the best new ways to publish along with a transformed “traditional” option

I’ve had a couple polls on this blog to gauge what readers want—the most recently available survey HERE—and, considering the three main areas of concern on this blog (Reading, Writing, and Publishing), publishing is the least interesting to visitors who’ve voted.

Of course, not all visitors give their opinions and that latest survey is definitely still open for voting

Still, whether I “cover” the news about publishing or not, I still scan the headlines—I am a published author who will be publishing again.

Some of the most interesting coverage of happenings in publishing are over at Kristine Kathryn Rusch‘s blog, Business Rusch.

I’ve referenced her before in the posts Are Traditional Publishers Really All That Bad? and Further Considerations On Traditional Publishers.

So, as the United States Department of Justice leveled a law suit against Apple and a few of the Big Trads, Rusch’s take on the proceedings became of interest. Let me quote a bit from her Writers and The DOJ Lawsuit:

“A reporter is only as good as her sources. And on a story like this, reporters usually have no sources at all because publishing is a poorly covered industry. Most reporters hope to break into ‘real’ writing one day (‘real’ writing being getting a book published), so they’re both in awe of the publishing industry and afraid of rocking a boat while covering it.

“In other words, what you read in the mainstream press comes from sources of dubious provenance, press conferences (the DOJ), statements from the parties involved (usually drafted by lawyers to avoid any legal issues), and whatever is in the media already (usually misinformation or partial information). Add to that the need to cover a complicated case in either a story that lasts 30 seconds to two minutes (TV/radio) or in about 1,000 words (print/blogs), and you have the makings of severe misunderstandings.

“What does the DOJ case mean for writers, traditional or indie?

“Um…no one knows.”

Of course, this woman is a writer so she does go on, at length, to give her experienced opinion

I’ve only published four books and only have two more I’m working on for publishing.

I have few solid opinions about what’s going on but I do share what others I respect say.

And, so far, Joe Konrath makes the most sense to me.
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Authors/Readers vs Publishers vs the U.S. Dept. of Justice


It appears that Apple plus five of the Big Six publishers are being threatened by a lawsuit.

It seems to be revolving around the “Agency Model” of pricing

Personally, I have no rock-solid opinion, though I am leaning in a certain direction—which should be obvious when I include a few excerpts from the last reference-link below—in fact, even if you read all the referenced articles, I encourage you to read the last one first then go back and judge the others

Let me introduce you to a few published opinions:

From The Atlantic: How Cheap Should Books Be?

From the independent publisher, Melville House: Authors Guild head (and attorney) Scott Turow warns DOJ about the effects of law suit.

From The Guardian: Ebooks: defending the agency model.

From The Christian Science Monitor: Right pricing e-books: Is the government actually discouraging competition?

From TechDirt: Author’s Guild Boss On E-Book Price Fixing Allegations: But… But… Brick-And-Mortar!

And, From A Newbie’s Guide To Publishing: Barry, Joe, & Scott Turow.

Just a few excerpts from that last one [italics are Scott Turow, President of the Author’s Guild; Joe is Joe Konrath; Barry is Barry Eisler]:

Yesterday’s report that the Justice Department may be near filing an antitrust lawsuit against five large trade book publishers and Apple is grim news for everyone who cherishes a rich literary culture.

“Joe: Translation: It will be grim news for bestselling authors and billion-dollar publishers.

“Barry: I always wonder what people mean by these vague references to ‘rich literary culture’ (and when I see the same phrase crop up in more than one place, it really sets my bullshit detector tingling). Ordinarily, these buzzwords sound appealing in the abstract, but dissolve like an urban legend when subjected to a bit of thought.”

The Justice Department has been investigating whether those publishers colluded in adopting a new model, pioneered by Apple for its sale of iTunes and apps, for selling e-books. Under that model, Apple simply acts as the publisher’s sales agent, with no authority to discount prices.

“Joe: Translation: Under the Apple model, publishers can set their own prices. That isn’t Amazon’s model, but if enough of us band together (i.e. collusion), publishers can force Amazon to accept the prices publishers set.

“Look, a retailer should be able to sell whatever they want to sell, for however much they want to charge.

“Imagine going to a car dealer and being told, ‘We have to sell this Mazda for $19,999, and you can’t bargain.’ Imagine owning a store and not being able to put anything on sale.”

Amazon was using e-book discounting to destroy bookselling, making it uneconomic for physical bookstores to keep their doors open.

“Joe: Translation: Amazon was using free enterprise to gain market share, something that worries inferior competition.

“Barry: Oh, come on. Amazon’s lower prices were intended to ‘destroy bookselling’? Not to sell more books and gain market share? It’s ipso facto evil to compete via lower prices?

“I really wish all companies would collude to charge higher prices. The world would be a better place.

“Joe: The Big Publishing Cartel monopolizes distribution for decades and that’s fine, but some upstart comes in and starts treating authors and readers with consideration, and it is a call to arms.

“Barry: This argument is just bizarre. I mean, Amazon, which sells more books than anyone, is destroying bookselling? Amazon is destroying bookselling by selling tons of books?”

So, what do you think about all this?

Are Apple and the Big Five right?

Is the President of the Author’s Guild in the pockets of the Big Five and Apple?

Is Amazon evil?

Are Joe and Barry crazy??
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