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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 05:13 pm:   

In the last couple days, I've seen a bunch of e-book downloads showing up in general listings on Amazon. A bunch of them are Contemporary Authors listings, like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0007SD700/qid=1112832305/sr=8-3/r ef=sr_8_xs_ap_i3_xgl14/002-7287393-8761633?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Okay, $3.90 for a couple paragraphs sounds steep. But that's C.A. I guess they can do what they want.

But what about this one?


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00091ZN9I/qid=1112832305/sr=8-9/r ef=sr_8_xs_ap_i9_xgl14/002-7287393-8761633?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

That's $5.95 for a very short essay I wrote many years ago, which appeared in The Review of Contemporary Fiction, and for which I'm almost certain I received little if any payment. At the time this appeared, there were no ebooks, and I'm fairly certain nothing in the agreement covered electronic publication of the essay--certainly didn't allow it without some form of royalty disbursement once the books started pulling in (theoretical) income.

I'm just casting up a red flag here. In itself, this little incident is strange but not particularly bothersome. But why all of a sudden? And how widespread is it? I'd just as soon dump the text of that essay here on a Nightshade forum than see people spend $6 on the same thing, when no arrangement has been made with me regarding its electronic publication.

I'll have to cast around for the old contract if I can find it, to see if this new mode of publication is addressed in any respect. But others might be interested in looking at their Amazon catalog and see if anything of theirs is suddenly turning up, unexpectedly, in electronic format. I notice that all of a sudden, e-versions of Contemporary Author listings are showing up under many author names.
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2005 - 10:22 am:   

Learn anything more about these, Marc? I know that Amazon is moving into POD stuff, maybe this is another initiative that they're trying out and some people are jumping at the chance. It'll be interesting to hear how this works.

JK
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2005 - 11:04 am:   

Haven't learned anything, John. I think it's fine and natural, except for the fact that I'm not sure I gave RCF the right to use my story this way. I somehow doubt they're going to sell any downloads anyhow, and it's ludicrously expensive (the whole journal itself, with 20 such articles, probably didn't cost more than $15), especially when you consider there are minimal production costs associated with it from the Review's point of view. If it were me, I'd say the article was worth a proportionate amount of the cost of the printed journal. Less than a dollar, probably. Hopefully people notice the wordcount before they download the thing. (Not that anyone will.)
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2005 - 12:23 pm:   

One can hope. Amazon states, in their FAQ about electronic documents, that there are no returns, so hopefully no one downloads a slew of these and gets pissed at how much they paid.

Of course the content is golden, right? :-)

JK
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2005 - 12:37 pm:   

It's golden, sure. I'll happily email anyone a copy, free.
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Brian Keene
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 06:19 am:   

Hi Marc,

Was directed here by a Shocklines thread regarding the same issue. If you email Amazon and inform them you own the copyright, and that a digital version of the book was never authorized, they'll remove the link from their inventory.

Details here: http://p082.ezboard.com/fshocklinesforumfrm2.showMessage?topicID=21826.topic

Looks like it was some type of computer glitch. Innocent enough, but aggravating. Also, it doesn't appear as if the digital books can actually be ordered (you'll notice none of the books that were recently listed actually have a sales ranking).
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 08:49 am:   

Thanks, Brian. Considering a large class action was recently awarded against unauthorized electronic reproduction of written works by dozens of major publishers, people should be more careful about this stuff.

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