By highlighting journalists’ need to protect confidential sources and other information, the Justice Department’s recent seizing of AP phone records without notice may finally lead to passage of a federal press shield law. The Authors Guild, which has long backed the enactment of such a law, is part of a coalition of media organizations calling on Congress to use this as an opportunity to strengthen the First Amendment protection of press freedom. It’s going to be an uphill battle, says legislation monitor GovTrack.us.
Still, the moment seems right. Amid the uproar over the DOJ’s actions, President Obama has asked New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to revive shield law legislation that was shelved in 2009. Last week Schumer said he would reintroduce the bill, The Free Flow of Information Act, and Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe introduced shield law legislation in the House. Here’s the text of the bill from THOMAS (Library of Congress) and an analysis of the bill’s sections by the Newspaper Guild.*
This week’s contests include both poetry and fiction, with deadlines ranging from June 15-June 30.
The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Competition is currently accepting submissions for an unpublished manuscript of poetry. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication. Manuscript must range between 48 and 80 pages in length and be written in English. Translations do not qualify for this award. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: June 15, 2013. For complete submission guidelines, please visit the website.
The Red Hen Press Short Story Award is currently accepting submissions for an original short story of any theme. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication in the Los Angeles Times Review. Entry fee: $20 for two stories, 25 page limit per story. Deadline: June 30, 2013. For complete guidelines, please visit the website.
by Campbell Geeslin
Virginia Woolf, Lewis Carroll and Ernest Hemingway did their writing standing up, with a tall piece of furniture serving as a desk.
Now, Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin, reports that she works at a tall desk—not just standing, but walking many miles on a treadmill while writing.
In an essay for The New Yorker, Orlean writes that her research revealed that sitting “for more than two hours causes the presence of good cholesterol to drop, and, in time, insulin effectiveness plummets. This can lead to cardiovascular problems, certain kinds of cancer, depression, deep-vein thrombosis, and type-2 diabetes.” If you want to avoid all those pitfalls, tall desks and special treadmills are now available on the market.
These words are being typed as my laptop sits on a tall chest of drawers. I stand, bouncing up and down on my toes, hoping to avoid deep-vein thrombosis.
Lawmakers looking to overhaul U.S. copyright law heard testimony on Thursday that underscored a crucial difference between the present and any other time in history: Copyright is now something the general public is aware of daily, which makes the issue far more contentious.
In the first in a series of hearings on copyright, the House Judiciary Committee invited five members of a study group, The Copyright Principals Project, to testify, Adi Robertson of The Verge website reported.
This week’s round up of new and recent releases by Authors Guild members includes books by Michael Agar, Julia E. Antoine, Ardie A. Davis, Barbara T. Dreyfuss, Clyde Edgerton, Kevin Emerson, Thomas C. Foster, Nora Gallagher, Enid Harlow, Alice Hoffman, Eloisa James, Daphne Kalotay, Robert Kuttner, John Manbeck, Penney Peirce, Toni Ortner, Fred Reed, Seymour Simon, Megan Stine, Daniel Weiss, Fay Weldon, and Jasenn Zaejian. See the list of titles after the jump.
Ebook sales increased by 45 percent in 2012 to make up 20 percent of the trade book market, according to a report released today by Bookstats, a co-production of the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group.
Not surprisingly in the era of erotic mega-series like Fifty Shades and Crossfire, adult fiction, particularly romance novels, showed the strongest growth in ebook sales.
This sounds like great news for digital publishing, but the reality may be even better. Despite the impressive increase reported by Bookstats, the figures almost certainly underestimate true ebook market growth as titles self-published or released by micropublishers are not included.
The New York Times today also looked at the state of more traditional formats.
Sales of hardcover and trade paperback books were relatively flat: hardcovers accounted for just over $5 billion in 2012, up from $4.9 billion in 2011. Mass-market paperbacks, the smaller format of paperback popular in airports and grocery stores, also decreased in sales.
Ahead of the June 3 trial start date of its price-fixing lawsuit, the Department of Justice is portraying Apple as the “ringmaster” that drew publishers into a scheme to sell digital books on the agency model.
In a memorandum filed in court yesterday, the DOJ ascribes tactics to Apple that ranged from enticing to coercive as it persuaded publishers that it offered their best chance to “challenge the $9.99 price point” set by Amazon.
Five major publishers named as defendants when the lawsuit was filed last year have since settled. According to yesterday’s filing, when the publishers “voiced fears that signing an Apple Agency Agreement would subject them to harsh market conditions unless the other Publisher Defendants signed too, Apple assured the publishers that they would be acting in concert to move the industry.”
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr, speaking to The New York Times, disputed the government’s claims.
“We helped transform the e-book market with the introduction of the iBookstore in 2010, bringing consumers an expanded selection of e-books and delivering innovative new features,” Mr. Neumayr said.
The Authors Guild members’ early-bird discount on registration to BookExpo America ends today.
This year’s BEA, the national booksellers’ convention, is Wednesday, May 29th, through Saturday, June 1st, at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. (The exhibition hall opens Thursday; we’ll be at booth #2764.)
All-access passes for members are $104 during early-bird registration.