Lee Goldberg reports some potential legerdemain pertaining to Simon & Schuster’s new indentured servitude policy. The Authors Guild claims that S&S is more interested in a “revenue-based threshold” as opposed to a reversion of rights. The problem with such language is that this is precisely how Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were screwed over by DC Comics regarding The Watchmen. As the famous story goes, Moore and Gibbons agreed to let DC Comics keep the rights to The Watchmen once it went out of print. Alas, DC Comics has never permitted The Watchmen to go out of print. Thus, Moore and Gibbons have not seen royalties. If “revenue-based threshold” is a replay of such diabolical tactics, then the Authors Guild (and any writer striking a deal with S&S) should probably pay serious attention. Writers may be little more than prostitutes to some moneymen, but even whores should stick up for themselves. I will look into this story later in the week and try to clarify these questions.
Ron Hogan has a detailed report on the Crisis in Book Reviewing panel, including a few minutes I missed. And it’s even more absurd than I reported: “When National Book Critics Circle president John Freeman finally got the show moving, he started off by announcing that the NBCC had decided to create a new award honoring book review sections as a class. (As Hail Mary conciliatory gestures to the newspaper industry go, I have to say I was rather underwhelmed, but I imagine section editors who are also Circle members will strive keenly to earn the shelf decorations.)” Take that, you corporate vultures! Self-aggrandizement from the inner circle! This is too close to some of Mailer’s stunts to be taken seriously.
I seem to have the same crap cough that Maud has. Can someone explain this respiratory perdition to a sudden East Coast transplant? I hope Maud gets well. She will be reading on Sunday, June 10, at 5:00 PM.
Again, Reuters gets it wrong about Andrew Keen. Various people have been rightly lambasting this decidedly unkeen specimen of the monkeys because he is decidedly not an intellectual. Keen is, as I observed a few months ago with considerable supportive examples, an indolent and idiotic thinker who wouldn’t know a nuanced argument even if James Wood holed up with him in a motel room for a week to “deprogram” him of his sophist tendencies. The only reason he gets column inches is because there is nobody else out there attempting a civil argument and because many print journalists have a vested interest in protecting their turf from the online upstarts. The real gonzo come lately is Keen himself.
I don’t want to get in the way of a good feud, but the panel report on the Critical Mass website – which seems likely to be accurate on this point – talks about a prize for “excellence in a book-related publication, web site, or section“, rather than a prize just for newspaper book reviews. You’re probably eligible.
Ed is eligible already as a fine, upstanding member of the NBCC! Wait, I forgot “proud.”
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons haven’t been shut out of royalties for WATCHMEN, although it’s been argued that they’ve been denied their rightful share of royalties on the book and on certain spinoff products, like the blood-specked have a nice day button. The real key issue is the rights reversion based on the book’s in-print status; basically, Moore and Gibbon are unlikely to ever be able to assume control of the work and negotiate their own deal for it with another publisher.