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Beth Cox Report: May 2015

Dear Loyal Readers, Authors, and Publishers,

For every author that sells ebooks to pay the rent - including a friend of mine who used to work for the Midwest Book Review - ebook piracy is a problem. This month, I read a few disturbing articles from The Digital Reader blog, about ebook pirates who use Google Play as platform for industrial-scale operations. In

The Digital Reader sharply criticizes Google Play for failing to ban accounts that sell ebooks which are obviously pirated, especially when compared to Kindle or other legitimate ebook copies. "What we have here are multiple accounts which have picked an authors name and uploaded obviously pirated books under that name, effectively creating a pirate ebookstore."

In a follow-up article,

The Digital Reader yields that Google actually did take down the pirate ebookstore accounts he publically called out in his previous blog post. "They can be shamed into taking action. Now if only that action would extend to changing their policies, then we would be going somewhere."

The article also notes that Kindle ebook authors are hurt when Amazon aggressively price-matches its Kindle ebooks to the lower, pirated ebook prices.

Google responded to The Digital Reader, claiming that "Google Play takes copyright seriously" in

but The Digital Reader was not impressed by Google Play's nonspecific statement.

"When I asked what Google was doing to fight piracy in Google Play Books, they were unable to name a single activity. When I asked what it would take to get a commercial ebook pirate banned from Google Play Books, the Google rep was unable to even confirm that they would even ban a pirate after dozens of valid DMCA notices."

I strongly recommend reading all of these blog articles for the full story, and The Digital Reader earns the designation of May's Link of the Month for its candid honesty.

Every ebook connoisseur should check its daily content out!

I would also like to spread the word about a charity I discovered this month, Books for Africa:

This is an organization with a straightforward mission: to collect, sort, ship, and distribute books to students of all ages in Africa. I cannot put into words how valuable and desperately needed books and improved education are for Africa's youth, especially those in remote areas where access to both is scarce. Books and education are the key to a better future for everyone, worldwide.

May's Book of the Month describes the positive effects of education better than I can:

Forever Changed
Linda Mornell
Triumph Books
814 N. Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781629370224 $24.95

Forever Changed offers the author's insights into how low-income kids can use summer programs to challenge themselves and develop new skills leading to self-assurance: something more monied children often receive. Her idea was to develop a summer program, Summer Search, to change urban adolescent lives, and Forever Changed not only follows the course of this program and its impact on adolescents, but how it can translate to lower-income students. It reads like an autobiography in following the author's interactions with her own (and other) kids, with setting up a structure for students and their mentors, and in exploring how these approaches can lead to stronger kids at the end. The result is a positive, upbeat and practical guide that uses Mornell's vision and applied programs to discuss how teens can learn and grow outside of a school structure. Educators, parents, and program directors alike will find it compelling.

That's all for the May 2015 Beth Cox Report. If the pen is mightier than the sword, then books have the power to change the world.

Bethany Cox
Managing Editor
The Midwest Book Review

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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