Publisher takes on Amazon with Australian-based site

Global publisher Pearson has internet giant Amazon in its sights with the launch of an Australian-based online bookseller.

The publisher has rebranded the site which Pearson bought for less than $5 million after owner REDGroup’s collapse last year. The company says its new site is aiming to compete with Amazon on price and delivery, offering free shipping with two-to-three day delivery to any capital city on Australian books. Bookworld has about 100,000 e-book customers and a total of 750,000 customers on its database.

“You’ve got to have a price that will get you to market and clearly Amazon are the benchmark,” said Bookworld chief James Webber.

“We compete with Amazon very effectively that includes no shipping costs.”

Mr Webber said that 50 per cent of Bookworld’s stock was sourced in Australia.

REDgroup was unable to compete with global retailers like Amazon and Book Depository because of higher book prices in Australia.

Under current pricing offers, the cost of Christopher Hitchens’ book Mortality is $23.95 from Amazon with delivery taking up to a month. Bookworld offers the same book at $19.99 to its club card holders with three-day delivery.

Bookworld said it has sold more e-books than physical books in the past month in another sign of how quickly the book industry was changing.

via Publisher takes on Amazon with Australian-based site.

What’s the Point of Publishers in a Digital Age? | Digital Book World

This blog post is a response to Rob Eagar’s post here at Digital Book World:  What’s The Point of Publishers in a Digital Age.  I was going to just make it a comment, but then it grew too big.  I recommend you read his post first, and then mine, and the reality probably lies somewhere in the middle.

While human nature must certainly be factored in, and emotion does usually trump logic, when running a business, one must focus on logic.  Publishers do indeed help the author ego, if that author happens to be in the top 5% of the ranks at their publisher.  Below that, the experience is often the opposite.  The midlist is usually the living hell of getting blown off by harried editors, being promised promotion just so you don’t call or email any more and when the book actually arrives, there is no promotion, and the reality is that when you don’t earn out, you are in essence going to get ‘fired’ by not getting renewed.

This was my experience over 42 titles with 4 of the Big 6.  Even when I sold over a million books for Random House, they could have cared less.  I didn’t see much ego stroking going on for most authors.  But if you are in the elite 5%, certainly.

via What’s the Point of Publishers in a Digital Age? | Digital Book World.

What’s The Point of Publishers in a Digital Age: Response

Regular Use of Marijuana in Adolescence Can Cause Permanent, Irreversible IQ Loss

Regular Use of Marijuana in Adolescence Can Cause Permanent, Irreversible IQ Loss Neetzan ZimmermanRegular use of marijuana during adolescence can lead to irreversible IQ loss, findings from a long-range study suggest.The report, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, relies on data from a series of interviews conducted with over 1,000 residents of Dunedin, New Zealand, who were tracked from birth until the age of 38.Those in the study group who reported using marijuana more than once a week during their teen years scored, on average, 8 points lower in IQ tests at age 38 than at age 13. Furthermore, friends and relatives of persistent users were more likely to note attention and memory problems than those of non-users.”Adolescent-onset cannabis users showed significant I.Q. declines, and more persistent use was associated with greater declines,” said lead author Madeline H. Meier of Duke University.

From Science Daily:While 8 IQ points may not sound like a lot on a scale where 100 is the mean, a loss from an IQ of 100 to 92 represents a drop from being in the 50th percentile to being in the 29th, Meier said. Higher IQ correlates with higher education and income, better health and a longer life, she said. “Somebody who loses 8 IQ points as an adolescent may be disadvantaged compared to their same-age peers for years to come,” Meier said.

The study notes that quitting cannabis “did not fully restore neuropsychological functioning among adolescent-onset cannabis users.”Interestingly, interviewees who did not begin using marijuana before reaching adulthood did not present a similar IQ decline. It was unclear, however, at what age marijuana use becomes “safe.””The simple message is that substance use is not healthy for kids,” said co-author Avshalom Caspi, also of Duke. “Thats true for tobacco, alcohol, and apparently for cannabis.”[photo via Shutterstock]

via Regular Use of Marijuana in Adolescence Can Cause Permanent, Irreversible IQ Loss.

Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves –

This is so wrong, and will likely make a lot of people much more reluctant to trust online reviews. In the end, authors will suffer. As an author, I would NEVER pay for a favourable review. EVER.

‘Suddenly it hit him. Instead of trying to cajole others to review a client’s work, why not cut out the middleman and write the review himself? Then it would say exactly what the client wanted — that it was a terrific book. A shattering novel. A classic memoir. Will change your life. Lyrical and gripping, Stunning and compelling. Or words to that effect.’

via Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves –

Copyright stuck in horse and buggy era

“This hostile regulatory regime is one of the reasons why so many Australian start-ups head straight for Silicon Valley.”

Copyright law experts say in some areas the law is too strict and stifles innovation while preventing the public from enjoying creative works. Recent court battles have sparked debate on some of these issues including Larrikin Records’ victory over Men at Work and the Optus stoush with the AFL and NRL.

Google’s search engine uses automated web crawlers to find and copy sites on the internet. The copies are indexed and stored in its cache so users can more quickly access search results.

However, the ALRC’s paper said that because there are no exceptions in the Copyright Act allowing caching, indexing and other internet-related technical functions, Google’s search engine “may infringe copyright”. Further when it displays results to users this could be considered “communicating copyright material to the public”, another breach of the Act.

“If Google had been started in Australia, it could well have been sued out of existence,” said Dr Rebecca Giblin, copyright law expert at Monash University.

via Copyright stuck in horse and buggy era.

Writing and publishing news, events and markets — Speakeasy

Cram your novel in a compactor; strap your short story to a rack; or break out your best short novel or long short story. In other words, it’s time to bust out those novellas. Seizure, the cutting-edge, Sydney-based journal, is currently running Viva La Novella, a novella competition for Australian and New Zealand writers. Seizure is looking for novellas running between 20-50,000 words and is offering to the winning author $1000, publication in Seizure, the full editorial treatment and significant exposure.

via Writing and publishing news, events and markets — Speakeasy.

Spielberg Dumps JoBeth Williams In A Pool With Real Skeletons In ‘Poltergeist’! | | Bloody DisgustingBloody Disgusting

This isn’t exactly a well kept secret, but it’s weird to think sometimes that some of those skeletons in Poltergeist are real. Towards the end of the film JoBeth Williams‘ character is thrown into a swimming pool flooded with dirt, rain and actual human remains (their house is built on a burial ground after all).
While the jury is still out on who directed the film between Tobe Hooper and producer Steven Spielberg, there’s no doubt that both of them were aware of their “authentic” props.

via [Remember This?] Spielberg Dumps JoBeth Williams In A Pool With Real Skeletons In ‘Poltergeist’! | | Bloody DisgustingBloody Disgusting.

2012 Queensland Literary Award Shortlist

Unpublished Indigenous Writer – David Unaipon Award

Siv Parker for Story
Ellen van Neerven-Currie for Hard
Dorothy Williams-Kemp for My Journey that May Never End

Emerging QLD Author – Manuscript Award

Aaron Smibert for Scratches on the Surface
Luke Thomas for Home Mechanics
Catherine Titasey for Island of the Unexpected
Ariella van Luyn for Hidden Objects

Literary or Media Work Advancing Public Debate – Harry Williams Award

Science Book Award

Robyn Arianrhod for Seduced by Logic
Frank Bowden for Gone Viral
Rob Brooks for Sex, Genes and Rock ‘n’ Roll
Dr Richard Smith for Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide

History Book Award


Peter Carey for The Chemistry of Tears
Anna Funder for All That  I Am
Kate Grenville for Sarah Thornhill
Alex Miller for Autumn Laing     
Frank Moorhouse for Cold Light


Robin de Crespigny for The People Smuggler
Jane Gleeson-White for Double Entry
Patrick Holland for Riding the Trains in Japan
William McInnes & Sarah Watt for Worse Things Happen at Sea
Alice Pung for Her Father’s Daughter

Australian Short Story collection – Steele Rudd Award

Rodney Hall for Silence 
Marion  Halligan for Shooting the Fox 
John Kinsella for In the Shade of the Shady Tree
Ryan O’Neill for The Weight of a Human Heart 
Janette Turner Hospital for Forecast: Turbulence

Judith Wright Calanthe Poetry Award

Anthony Lawrence for The Welfare of my Enemy
David McCooey for Outside
Rhyll McMaster for Late Night Shopping
Peter Rose for Crimson Crop
Simon West for The Yellow Gum’s Conversion 

Children’s Book Award

Pamela Rushby The Horses Didn’t Come Home
Flanagan John for Brotherband: The Outcasts
Libby Gleeson & Freya Blackwood for Look, a Book!
Elizabeth Honey for Ten Blue Wrens
Briony Stewart for Kumiko and the Shadow Catchers

Young Adult Book Award

Kirsty Eagar for Night Beach
Neil Grant for The Ink Bridge
Judith Clarke for Three Summers 
Margo Lanagan for Sea Hearts
Vikki  Wakefield for All I ever wanted

Drama Script (Stage)

Angela Betzien for War Crimes
Wayne Blair for  Bloodland
Patricia Cornelius for Taxi
Rita Kalnejais for Babyteeth
Lally Katz for A Golem Story

Television Script

Blake Ayshford for The Straits  (episode 3 )
Brendan Cowell for The Slap (episode 3)
Liz Doran for Dance Academy (season 2, ep 24)
Anthony Mullins for Strange Calls (episode 3)
Sue Smith for Mabo

Film Script

Louise Fox for Dead Europe
Miro Bilbrough for Being Venice
Shane Armstrong & Shane Krause for Rarer Monsters
Brendan Cowell for Save Your Legs

Submission Guidelines « Midnight Echo magazine

Midnight Echo Issue 9 – Mythical Horror
(edited by GN Braun)

Research and modernise a myth, legend, folk-tale etc. The tale must be written in such a way that the myth is recognisable, yet without ‘info dumps’. What we are looking for are re-workings of myths and legends, brought into the modern world and ready to scare the pants off us.

Remember, though: the tale must have horror as a central theme.

The Brothers Grimm defined legend as a historically-grounded folktale. For this purpose, that is not quite the definition we are looking for. We all know legends, yet not all of them are grounded in history. Loch Ness, Bigfoot, Johnny Appleseed… the list goes on. Use this concept to shock and amaze us.

Myth: a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being, hero, or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.

Myths have defined society for as long as there have been human beings. Whether those myths are religious or cultural or a mixture of both, we have always lived with them, one way or another.

Ancient Greece, Egypt, Sumeria; they all have their unique mythology. Sometimes, the myths cross over, due to immigration or expansion or colonialism.

NOTE: Any stories involving cultural borrowing from indigenous cultures should be respectful of the beliefs of the traditional owners.

via Submission Guidelines « Midnight Echo magazine.

Writing rules, misapplied: kill your darlings « Wendy Palmer

…originally the phrase was ‘murder your darlings’, and it came from Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch: “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – whole-heartedly – and delete it before sending your manuscripts to press. Murder your darlings”

via Writing rules, misapplied: kill your darlings « Wendy Palmer.