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Links of Interest (August 24th 2007 Through August 31st 2007)

Friday, August 31st, 2007
Science Fiction Writers of America abuses the DMCA – Boing Boing
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America invoked the DMCA to request works be removed from Scribd even though in a number of cases they had no right to do so, including Creative Commons licensed work.
Consumer Reports says ‘keep that car’
Driving one car for 15 years is cheaper than buying a new one ever 5 years. Nice to see I’ve been doing the right thing all this time.
YUI Theater ? Joseph Smarr: ?High-Performance JavaScript: Why Everything You?ve Been Taught is Wrong?
Video of Joseph Smarr’s talk on High-Performance JavaScript.
30+ Firefox Add-ons for Web Developers & Designers
Nice collection of Firefox extensions useful for web developers and/or designers.
Redirection – Manage 301 redirections without modifying Apache
Wordrpess 2.1+ plugin to handle redirects. Looks very full featured.
eTextbook seller fails logic test
Evo points out what I assume is a hilarious misuse of survey data. CafeScribe is supplying a “book” scented scratch and sniff sticker to customers because people like the way books smell.

Michael A. Stackpole Selling New Fiction Online

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

It looks like Michael A. Stackpole is experimenting with direct e-book sales on his site. I’m very interested to see how it works out (and I hope it does).

Jed and the Titanium Turtle is a short story “about America and how it deals with a bunch of alien visitors who are ‘here to help.'” Sounds like it could be worth the $2 he’s asking.

Also available are the first two chapters of The Grand History, a fictional non-fiction history of the DragonCrown War. This is going for $1 a chapter, and may be the more interesting experiment. You’re only going to sell this to the subset of people who read the DragonCrown War books liked them enough to want to read meta-fiction in that universe. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy this type of work. I just think it has less commercial appeal, which makes it perfect for this type of sales model. I hope it works out because I’d love to see more of this type of thing.

The setup seems similar the one Holly Lisle uses in her shop. On the other hand, Mr. Stackpole is focusing on fiction, and short works. This immediately brought thoughts of micropayments to mind. iTunes has shown that the $1 granularity works for online sales (at least in huge quantities), but last time I looked into it (which was a few years back, and I was focusing on comics at the time) a decent micropayments systems for sub-dollar amount sales still hasn’t emerged.

All the works are currently only available as PDFs (just like Holly Lisle’s). This is a bummer (for me) because I can’t easily read them on my eBookwise 1150, which I’d prefer. I already work and write at the computer (although I’ve been doing more longhand writing lately). Extra on-screen reading is too much for my eyes. Since PDFs don’t let you resize the text and have it re-flow that means I’ll have to print them out. which is what I do with his excellent writing newsletter The Secrets. I don’t mind printing those out since I keep them indexed in binders to make it easy to refer back to them.

None of these are really issues I expect anyone to just solve, let alone authors selling their own stories for a couple of bucks. I do wish reasonable tools and standards were in place so that a more flexible solution would be the obvious choice.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to giving Jed and the Titanium Turtle a read later.