Monthly Archives: October 2013

More about dodgy books & media

Having just written earlier about dodgy books and ebooks being removed by Amazon, etc., last night,

photo by BrotherDarkSoul on WikiMedia

photo by BrotherDarkSoul on WikiMedia

I heard Charlotte Church presenting the 2013 John Peel lecture about women, on BBC Radio 6 music. (I understand the lecture is downloadable from the R6m site).

Charlotte’s lecture was in a similar vein to the dodgy ero*tica book scene; she spoke about the excessive use of sexy music videos that abound, like Miley Cyrus’ recent Wrecking Ball song, and along with the likes of Annie Lennox and Sinead O’Connor, Charlotte added her very clear views about the current vogue in sexy music videos – let alone some of the media projects she had been uncomfortable with, but had to do when she was in her early teens.

Could this be the start of a backlash against gratuitous excesses generally? Do I have grounds here to repeat one of my mantras again, namely, that self-regulation only works while it’s not needed? One probably doesn’t want actual censorship back again, but how to moderate media excesses (including books – nowadays it’s all about content) of the ilk that you don’t want your 8-year old kids to see… especially if you’re the Mummy? What do you think?

Taking a view from the self-pub authors’ position, perhaps it would be no bad thing to keep a clear distinction between general and definitely adult content. The trouble with mixing the two together is that a published book can’t be taken back and changed at a moment’s notice. Your name is stuck out there for years to come… with Google around, maybe forever! Is there a solution I’m not seeing – if so, tell us what you think.

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Categories: Legal, Publishing - general, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dodgy / offensive books & ebooks

I see in today’s news that Amazon, Waterstones, and B&N are all going through their catalogues to root out porn / otherwise offensive titles, as it has been found that many self-pub books and ebooks are ignoring the rules. WH Smith has even closed down its website totally until they have sorted out the problem.

As usual, there is always a minority element that abuses systems that work well for the majority, causing problems and reputation damage for the innocent.  One hopes that there will be some kind of penalty meted out, to drive home the point that what one does on one’s own website is different to what should happen in public.

The above online bookshops have reacted pretty strongly, even going to the extent of searching for all ero*tic (in case WordPress also does a keyword hunt, I’m trying to keep these keyword comments clean!)  keywords and removing such titles wholesale. I guess, with millions of books around, that’s the only way to be sure. It does impact on those authors and publishers that are operating legally, but the fact remains that ero*tica is a grey area that has its risks as well as rewards.

Rest assured that no books or ebooks published by us (both Stellium and Zampub), or our personal publishing titles, ever have such content – we check every manuscript pretty thoroughly, as it’s easy to lose credibility, but very hard to rebuild. We probably wouldn’t have taken on eleventy-seven shades of whatever either, along with many other publishers. Would have kicked ourselves later? Who knows. Where do you draw the line? Reminds one of the old joke where the youngster asks his Dad about the difference between fact and potential – the thing is, I can’t repeat the rest, albeit mild, else you might not see this blog! Have to see how far this issue goes.

Trouble is, lines keep moving, so we each have to decide: set our own limits, or go with the flow. Even David Cameron has recently commented that the line is moving so far that there’s a danger of porn becoming the norm.

Also, remember that most of the world’s bankers over the past decade or so, decided to go with the flow…

Categories: Legal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TPS (telephone preference service)

If you’ve been plagued by cold calls, even though you’re signed up to the TPS, at least you’re not alone: the TPS has admitted that many people get up to ten cold calls a month (I get more than that…), because businesses are ignoring the TPS.

I wrote earlier about my mantra, that self-regulation only works while it’s not needed. Well, I now know who the TPS is run by – according to consumer association, Which?, it’s run by none other than the Direct Marketing Association. You might have views on that point, but “I couldn’t possibly comment…”

Legislation is in place about cold calling, clearly it still happens, sometimes placing the elderly at risk of being taken in.

However, there must be a good number of businesses that do follow the regulation, so if you aren’t on the TPS database, you can call them on  0845 070 0707, or register on their website. I don’t have the address offhand, but a Google search will turn it up. It’s a free service, and did work better in the past. One thing it can’t do is to stop those irritating overseas calls. The best  thing for those callers is to tell them to hang on, and leave the phone on the table. Mind you, a few expletives might soothe one’s feelings, too!

Categories: Legal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Publishers’ nightmares…

Here’s one to buck up those self publishers who get caustic reviews about errors in their masterpieces.

A well – respected publisher (Vintage), recently released two top titles in their Xmas line -up – the latest Bridget Jones book, and Sir David Jason’s memoirs, both on the same day, as expected. However, it seems that somehow, about 40 pages of Sir David’s book got into Bridget Jones’ offering – oops…

(see the BBC report here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24479822

and here’s another write up:

http://metro.co.uk/2013/10/10/you-plonker-david-jason-autobiography-pages-printed-in-new-bridget-jones-book-4141661/

Vintage put the ball in the printer’s court; perhaps, somehow. But I can’t help the feeling that, as with our books, the printer puts out what we give them. We don’t expect them to sort out last-minute things for us.

In any event, it gives one a measure of relief to know that there are others in the same boat – or should that be in the other boat… or partly… oh, you know what I mean!

Categories: Techie stuff, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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