Freedom To Publish: Kalem Agency Author Koray Çalışkan Under House Arrest in Turkey

21 July 2017

From Publishing Perspectives:

In her newsletter from Istanbul this week, Kalem Agency founder Nermin Mollaoğlu writes that one of the authors she represents, Koray Çalışkan, is being held under house arrest.

“Some of you met him during our [10th anniversary] Red Party at Frankfurt Book Fair” last year. “I am sure that you’ll remember him with his wit and humor.”

Kristenn Einarsson, chair of the International Publishers Association’s Freedom to Publish Committee, has issued this statement in response to Publishing Perspectives‘ inquiry:

“We are deeply worried about the situation for our colleagues in Turkey, and the Kalem Agency case shows that the harassment continues. We are equally impressed by how the Turkish Publishers Association stands up for the right to publish, as shown in their latest report on Freedom to Publish in Turkey 2016 and 2017.” (More follows in this article on that report.)

The situation to which Mollaoğlu is alluding began on July 10 when, as Daren Butler and Ece Toksabay wrote for Reuters, “Turkey issued arrest warrants for 72 university staff…Police have so far detained 42 of the staff from Istanbul’s prestigious Bogazici University and Medeniyet University…Eight of the 72 were from Bogazici, including well-known academic Koray Çalışkan, who worked in the past as a voluntary adviser to Kilicdaroglu, according to a CHP official.”

. . . .

“Before his detention,” she writes, “he posted a photo from the final rally of the ‘Justice March’ on July 9, which two million people attended in support of  peace, freedom, and democracy in Turkey, and he wrote ‘When you stand together you become full of hope, my beautiful country.’

“Koray Çalışkan is under house arrest now.”

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives


England Unveils New 10-Pound Note Featuring Jane Austen

20 July 2017

From The Telegraph:

The new, polymer £10 note is being unveiled by Bank of England governor Mark Carney on Tuesday. This marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, who features on the new bank note.

Austen will be the only woman – apart from the Queen – to be featured on an English bank note, following the withdrawal of the old £5 notes, which featured Elizabeth Fry, in May. Fry was replaced with a picture of Winston Churchill.

. . . .

The note has already attracted some criticism due to the fact that Austen’s portrait appears to be “airbrushed”. It shows her noticeably prettier and less drawn than she appears in the only contemporary painting of her which exists (and is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London.)

As well as Austen’s portrait, the tenner will feature a quote from Pride and Prejudice when Miss Bingley exclaims: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment but reading!”

. . . .

Austen’s presence on the new £10 note was one of the first announcements made by Mr Carney after he took up his position as governor of the Bank of England.

He said: “Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes.

“Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal, and she is recognised as one of the greatest writers in English literature.

“As Austen joins Adam Smith, Boulton and Watt, and… Churchill, our notes will celebrate a diverse range of individuals who have contributed in a wide range of fields.”

Link to the rest at The Telegraph


PG also saw a report that some Jane Austen fans are upset about the quote because the line is spoken by a deceitful character, Caroline Bingley – who has no interest in books and is trying to impress Mr Darcy.


Authors suffer from bargaining ‘imbalance’ says SoA

20 July 2017

From The Bookseller:

The Society of Authors has welcomed the Creative Freelancers report, issued this week by the Creative Industries Federation (CIF), saying several of its recommendations will “chime very strongly” with members who are often “left out in the cold” in comparison with their publishing counterparts, despite being a “lynchpin” of the creative industries. However, the trade body called it “a real shame” that poor industry practices were not wholly addressed by the investigation.

The SoA praised the CIF’s call for better representation for freelancers at government level, its suggestion of a one-stop shop for support and advice for freelances, and its request for short-term relief grants for the self-employed. However, it was disappointed the recommendations didn’t go far enough to tackle issues such as late payment of freelancers, unpaid work or address “rights grabs”, where freelances are asked to sign over all their IP rights.

. . . .

“…Creative freelances suffer from lack of bargaining and negotiating power against those who use their services, often resulting in unequal deals. As well as legislation we would suggest encouragement of collective negotiations to provide codes of practice and minimum terms to protect all freelances and ensure that they are fairly rewarded, properly credited, that they can share in the success of their work and reclaim rights that are not being exploited.”

. . . .

She added she would like to see the department look at issues in the value chain because creators were not being “sufficiently rewarded” for their input.

“With average author earnings estimated at £12,500, we agree that a benefits system that is fit for freelancers is vital,” said Solomon. “Government urgently needs to find ways to adapt existing systems, such as Universal Credit, to work more sensitively for self-employed earners with uncertain incomes.”

Link to the rest at The Bookseller


E-books sales to drop as bookshelf resurgence sparks ‘shelfie’ craze

20 July 2017

From The Telegraph:

Bookshelves are making a comeback in living rooms as a “shelfie” interior design craze is sweeping the UK.

Brit’s increasing desire to show off their personality and intellect through their book collections is boosting book sales, but will see sales of e-books fall for the first time ever, consumer analysts have predicted.

According to Mintel sales of physical books are forecast to rise by 6 per cent this year to £1.7 billion while sales of e-books are predicted to fall by 1 per cent to £337 million in 2017.

Experts said consumers’ growing tendency to invest in physical books was partly down to a trend for bookshelves, which they believe make them look more interesting to dinner party guests and on social media.

Over the next five years sales of print books are forecast to grow by 25 per cent to reach £2.1 billion, Mintel said, while e-books will see only marginal year-on-year increases to reach £383 million in 2022.

. . . .

Award-winning interior designer Russell Whitehead told the Daily Telegraph: ” If you’re going to enjoy a good book its nice to have the physical thing and we are definitely seeing an increase in requests for bookshelves.

“Bookmakers are cottoning onto this trend and these days they are putting more effort into making books look beautiful. We are also seeing the rise of the social media ‘shelfie’ as proud collectors are posting pictures of their book collections on Instagram.”

Link to the rest at The Telegraph

PG says don’t forget the Books by the Foot solution to the shelfie challenge.


Extra copyright for news sites

18 July 2017

From Julia Reda:

Article 11 of the proposed EU copyright reform/expansion

. . . .

Commission proposal

Anyone using snippets of journalistic online content must first get a license from the publisher. This new right for publishers would apply for 20 years after publication.

The automatic link previews social networks generate when users share links (showing the article headline, a thumbnail picture and a short excerpt) would require a license, as well as anyone analysing news content on the web like news aggregators, media monitoring services and fact checking services.

The Commission wants to generate income for European publishers by allowing them to charge internet platforms for displaying snippets of their content to users. Stated targets are Google, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, who use such snippets in the course of linking to news articles.

. . . .


  1. Likely to fail: This is an attempt to replicate at an EU level an idea that already 
failed badly in Germany and Spain – only applied more broadly and longer. The German law is likely about to be pronounced invalid in court, while the Spanish one “clearly had a negative impact on visibility and access to information in Spain” (EPRS). Journalists certainly never saw additional remuneration.
  2. Attack on the hyperlink: Because readers need to know what a link leads to before clicking, sites almost always include a snippet of the linked-to content as part of a link. Any limitation on snippets is therefore a limitation on linking.
  3. Limiting freedom of expression and access to information: This provision would restrict not just businesses, but also individuals who publish news snippets, e.g. bloggers. Because a neighbouring right, unlike a copyright, doesn’t require originality to apply to content, it would protect even short and uncreative snippets, such as purely factual headlines.
  4. Boosting fake news: Making it legally risky or expensive to link (with snippets) to news risks disincentivising the sharing of reputable news content. Since “fake news” and propaganda outlets are unlikely to charge for snippets, their content could as a result become more visible on social networks.
  5. News-related startups discouraged, even though this sector is in particular need of innovation and experimentation to find new business models, ways of reaching audiences, fact-checking and combating fake news etc., as technology advances.
  6. Small publishers disadvantaged: Aggregators create a level playing field for independent publishers with less brand recognition to reach audiences.

Link to the rest at Julia Reda


Rates rises could see 275 towns lose bookshops

13 July 2017

From The Bookseller:

Booksellers have appealed directly to politicians to reform business rates or risk 275 towns losing bookshops at a parliamentary reception in the House of Commons on Wednesday (12th July).

Booksellers Association chief executive Tim Godfray told an audience of MPs at the reception hosted by Labour’s Margaret Hodge that a quarter of high street bookshops are facing a hike in business rates of 10% or more. He urged action to be taken before as many as 275 towns are deprived of a valued bookshop.

. . . .

“Put simply, if something isn’t done, booksellers will be put out of business. Twenty-five per cent of high street bookshops are facing a business rates increase of 10% or more. If even half of those bookshops were to close as a direct result of rates’ increases, then 275 towns could be deprived of a bookshop, and schools, libraries and children in those towns would be deprived of support (for reading). The Business Rates system is not fit for purpose and should be fundamentally overhauled.”

. . . .

As part of the film, this year’s Children’s Bookseller of the Year winner at the British Book Awards, Tamara Macfarlane from Tales on Moon Lane bookshop in London’s Herne Hill, spoke of the impact rising business rates have had on her business.

“As we are talking, our business rates have increased from £60 a month to £300 a month and will be going on up to £700 a month if they are not revaluated,” she said. “This has immediately meant that we have had to cut staff hours we vitally need in order to go out and do the community work we’ve been doing.”

Link to the rest at The Bookseller


Digital page turner

12 July 2017

From The Nation:

After online shopping, internet-based finance, mobile payments and bicycle-sharing, the digital dimension in China is taking in its sweep the world of books.

The publishing industry has gone digital in a big way, spawning a market comprising 300 million users of mobile devices who read electronic books in China.

The market, which has two key sections in hardware (reading devices) and software (e-books), reached about 12 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) in sales last year, up 25 percent year-on-year, according to a report by the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association.

. . . .

With nearly an 8 percent share of the global market, China now trails only North America, the largest market for e-book readers in 2016 with a 68 percent share, and Europe (almost 14 percent share), according to market consultancy QYResearch.

. . . .

Just like in North America, where the e-book reader device market is dominated by manufacturers such as Amazon, Kobo and PocketBook (which account for a collective 75 percent of the market share), the e-reader market in China has a few big names.

Amazon with its Kindle range of devices is the common leader in both markets, but it is followed by iReader and newcomers such as e-commerce giant JD in China.

As the e-book reader pioneer, has created an ecosystem comprising users, digital versions of printed books, e-book stores online and e-book readers. Amazon said the China market is important for it.

Last month, it announced a strategic partnership with Migu Culture and Technology Group Co, a subsidiary of China Mobile Communications Corp, and also launched a feature-rich Kindle created exclusively for Chinese readers.

The device presents more than 460,000 Kindle e-books and over 400,000 online literature titles from Migu, one of the largest online literature platforms in China.

The made-for-China Kindle X Migu device retails for 658 yuan. “China has become the largest market in the world for Kindle and enjoys a very strong growth momentum,” said Bruce Aitken, vice-president of Amazon China and general manager of Amazon Reading.

He said Chinese book-lovers are increasingly switching over to digital reading devices, and are willing to pay for e-books. This makes Amazon bullish on the future prospects of the digital publishing industry in China.

. . . .

“We find Chinese users refer to the dictionary a lot. Especially their use of the English dictionary is higher than in any other countries, so we specifically designed a function of tips about new words, and provide English-to-Chinese/English definition automatically for Chinese readers,” Aitken said.

Amazon, he said, will launch more new functions over the next year.

Compared with printed books, the cost of e-books is very low. In fact, some of the e-books are free of charge or cost just a few dollars.

For instance, the printed version of The Shortest History of Europe, one of the top five bestsellers in 2016, is priced 25 yuan, while its e-book version retails for only 2.99 yuan.

Link to the rest at The Nation


Brooklyn Beckham got a book deal on merit? Pull the other one

11 July 2017

From The Guardian:

It’s always interesting to see what hill a person will die on – which cause they will defend, no matter what the risk to their ability to look themselves in the mirror afterwards. For some (me), that cause is the argument that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is artistically superior to any other movie ever made. And for others, it is that the children of the famous should never be accused of benefiting from nepotism, no matter how obviously they have exploited that nepotism.

This latter argument has been much in evidence since 18-year-old Brooklyn Beckham published his book of photography, What I See, with much fanfare last week. Penguin Random House, which apparently learned nothing after publishing Pippa-sister-of-Kate Middleton’s hilariously terrible book about how to be Pippa in 2012, describes his work as “unique, authentic and stylish”, yet even this short sentence turns out to contain only one accurate word. Just a glimpse at these photos – such as a blurry table (“I like this picture – it’s out of focus but you can tell there’s a lot going on”) – proves without question these are indeed authentic.

Perhaps you are thinking, “Come on, he’s just 18. Give the kid a break!” Some have been urgently dying on this very hill. “Critics should encourage this budding photographer. After all, David Bailey didn’t even get his first photography job as an assistant until he was 21,” wrote GQ magazine, sweetly maintaining the fiction that it was Beckham’s talent that got him this book deal. The BBC’s arts editor, Will Gompertz, felt moved to write Brooklyn Beckham an open letter in which he insisted: “The snide remarks being made about your work are cheap and self-serving. Ignore them.”

This attitude is well-intentioned, but it is wrong. It is our moral duty to laugh at Brooklyn Beckham’s photos, and at the blithely self-entitled endeavours of all children of celebrities who get a free ride, thanks entirely to their connections.

Link to the rest at The Guardian


Indie bookshops slam heavy discounting on Pullman

10 July 2017

From The Bookseller:

Independent booksellers have slammed the heavy discounting of new hardback titles by larger retailers as “pretty close to chaos” and “enormously detrimental to authors” ahead of the release of Philip Pullman’s first Book of Dust novel.

The debate was sparked by Tamsin Rosewell, bookseller at Kenilworth Bookshop in Warwickshire, who penned a blog about the difficulties of stocking big hardbacks such as Pullman’s highly anticipated La Belle Sauvage (Penguin Random House Children’s and David Fickling Books). Indie booksellers have said they’ve been put in a “ridiculous situation” because it costs them more to stock the title than it is being sold for at other retailers.

La Belle Sauvage is being sold on pre-order at Waterstones, Amazon, W H Smith and Foyles for £10, and at Tesco for £12. The r.r.p. is £20.

Rosewell told The Bookseller that she was prompted to pen the blog post when she realised that there was “no financial point” in stocking La Belle Sauvage because it was “so heavily discounted we can’t even buy it into the shop for the price that it’s being sold to the public elsewhere”.

“We realised as it stands at the moment, that there was no financial point in us stocking The Book of Dust, which is ridiculous situation to be in – what kind of bookshop would not stock the latest Philip Pullman? It’s a hugely important book”, Rosewell said. “This is something we’ve actually been aware of for a very long time… We’re aware of our position on the high street; we know we can’t compete [on the big titles] but this book is different and is really a kind of crunch point on this [issue], because it’s such an important book and author in the cultural canon of this country that we felt that we really needed to say something now.”

Rosewell lamented the abolishment of the Net Book Agreement in 1997 which fixed the price of books. She said the current approach, which enables retailers to choose their own prices, is “actually pretty close to chaos” and “enormously detrimental” to authors.

. . . .

“The big publishers often take what are going to be good titles anyway, and discount them, to people like Waterstones or Amazon, because they know they’ll sell the volume. And I find that frustrating… it devalues books and the brands of the authors. Books are cheap anyway. A paperback is the price of a takeaway pizza. The more we do that, the more we say to customers that  a hardback isn’t worth £20. If you’re talking the big mass market authors, we very rarely stock them in hardback, because our customers are going to pick them up somewhere else at half price, and we can’t afford to discount and I’m quite opposed to it. How are [the publishers going] make enough money to fund younger writers if they’re discounting their bestsellers now.”

Moser added: “I know this isn’t all driven by publishers, it’s also driven by the retailers. Sometimes you have to give them the big deal. It’s a deep frustration, I can often buy a new paperback in my supermarket, cheaper than I can buy it from my wholesaler. That’s how silly it gets. Frequently in Tesco you can buy a new paperback for £3; and it costs me £4.25 to buy from the wholesaler. So that’s why it frustrates small booksellers. We know these guys get the discounts because of the volume they’re buying of the books but also means we can’t make the money on those big titles. My biggest frustration is that I think it distorts the market, and distorts the perception of what a book’s worth and I think authors deserve better.”

Link to the rest at The Bookseller


Europe’s Geo-Blocking Debate: Booksellers on the Ropes

9 July 2017

From Publishing Perspectives:

To outsiders, the details of European booksellers’ argument with geo-blocking may come as a surprise.

For one thing, geo-blocking not about “portability” of ebooks and other digital products which consumers have already purchased. For another, the booksellers—at least as represented by the European & International Booksellers Federation (EIBF)—not opposed to selling e-books across borders.

What the EIBF is protesting against, however, is the EU’s proposed legislation on rollback of geo-blocking, because it forces them to sell ebooks to users in all EU countries. This requirement to service the union’s wide range of member nations’ varying taxation levels, fixed prices, and other constraints is too costly for many booksellers to bear.

In April 2017, the European Parliament issued a draft law outlining instances in which geo-blocking—restricting content sales and access to services based on the user’s location—would no longer be allowed. Included in this proposed legislation is an end to geo-blocking sales of ebooks across the EU.

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives and thanks to Paul at The Digital Reader for the tip.

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