Publishing potpourri for 100, Alex

Jasmine or honeysuckle, if you’re offering. Lavender and gardenia make my nose itch.


A resident of the Ivory Tower, who apparently called dibs on A’isha (child bride of Muhammed) as her personal and exclusive domain of study and forgot to send the memo, raised a ruckus about a book she didn’t like and managed to get Random House to pull it after the author had been paid her $100k advance and the presses were rolling. I say it’s an academic hatchet job.

You can read the prologue here and then you may come weep with me that we won’t get to read the rest of it unless someone else picks it up. I like midrash-ish treatments like The Red Tent (although I haven’t read Card’s series on Rebekah, Sarah, Rachel and Leah yet).

I’m not going to wade in on all the outrage and outcries of what normal Muslims do and don’t think (’cause I ain’t one), but naturally, they’d be offended that their prophet is written about in a secular and therefore, profane, way. Catholics were offended by Dogma and The DaVinci Code. Jews were offended by The Passion of the Christ. Christians were offended by The Last Temptation of Christ and Piss Christ. Mormons, well, you know the drill. Anyhoo, my question is this: Why does a major publisher pull “offensive” material about one religion’s sacred icon but nobody else’s?

Update from today’s Galleycat: The dude who wrote Prophets & Princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammed to the Present opined:

“I agree with [the aforementioned Ivory Tower resident]…You don’t turn scripture into soft core pornography.” While admitting that he hadn’t read any of Jones’s novel…

WTF?!?!? These people are scholars?


So Teddypig of The Naughty Bits blog has a most excellent article on epublisher website design, which I use as a guideline when I’m building and coding. I may not always get it right, but I’m working on it. Anyhoo, he directed Smart Bitches toward a functionality of iPhone to set up ebooks as applications in the iTunes shop for download to iPhone. Apparently, the process is a little whacked (because it’s an application, not a text/data file), but I’m all for getting ebooks out there via iAnything. Steve, I shall ask again: Where is your iBooks store? I don’t want the Kindle to be the only game in town and it looks like Sony’s all but given up the ghost.

Fictionwise’s eReader was downloaded on 130,000 iPhones in a month and Stanza is apparently only a little behind that as the ereading software alternatives to downloading ebooks-as-applications on your iPhone. I am a-quiver.


So the LA Times book section shut down amidst weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Color me clueless. I never read book reviews before Smart Bitches and Dear Author (which sites I read religiously). The elites got all in a tizzy because review sites whose reviewers obviously don’t know what they’re doing started popping up all over the place.

Hey. Newspapers. Publishers. You can’t go home again.


What is it about publishing accounting I don’t understand? I mean, I was a college student once and pretended to take accounting 101 for an entire semester. I get it. First, there’s reserves against returns. Second, there’s returns (aka consignment, tyvm, and say, how’s that Breaking Dawn return-don’t-burn campaign coming along?). Third, there’s the actual tallying which seems to be done by typing monkeys. You know, the ones who can’t count.

On a different front, there’s the copyright and plagiarism issue, which seems to be thought of in PublishingVille as the crazy aunt in the attic of intellectual property law. What, publishers, you don’t have enough stake in seeing that your property is stolen that you can’t do something about it?

In the most egregious and outrageous case I know of (aside from Cassie “The Ferret” Edwards), Janet Dailey stole from Nora Roberts. Thieved. As in, took something that wasn’t hers and got off with a slap on the wrist. Ms. Roberts calls it “mind rape.” Indeed. So if that weren’t enough (I don’t even think I can bear this, but I’ll take one for the team), Jane of Dear Author writes:

Nora was also subjected to many people arguing that she shouldn’t have gone public with the copying (although it was a fan who had made the case publicly in the first place); that she, Nora, was being petty and vindictive.

Crabs in a bucket, I tell you. One attempts to climb out, but the rest just pull her back in. Yes, I used “her” on purpose.

So I was amused to note on Charles Bock’s copyright page of Beautiful Children (also the result of Random House’s research into how DRM doesn’t work and passing out free ebooks without it does), the following notice: This is our intellectual property, so kindly don’t fucking steal it. I haven’t read this book yet (I got a copy when it was hot off the interwebz), but it’s in my queue somewhere up front because his last name begins with B.

And finally…


Lots of profanity here, which of course means that I like it. A London restaurant reviewer seems a wee bit testy about the way his articles are randomly edited by People Who Don’t Get It.

And worst of all. Dumbest, deafest, shittest of all, you have removed the unstressed “a” so that the stress that should have fallen on “nosh” is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you’re winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can’t you hear? Can’t you hear that it is wrong? It’s not fucking rocket science. It’s fucking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and i have never ended on an unstressed syllable.

You know, I only love this guy because I don’t work for him.

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