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Beth Cox Report: May 2017
I'm pleased to announce a new addition to the MBR website - the "Interviews & Testimonials" section! It's been added to the website's sidebar, or you can go there directly at
There are three different interviews of Jim Cox about the Midwest Book Review's 40+ years of operation, the publishing industry, the book review trade, and much more.
For now, the "Testimonials" part of the page consists of just a couple grateful email messages, but it's definitely open to additions! For the sake of privacy, I'm only listing the first names of people who email us testimonials, unless they explicitly request otherwise.
My aunt gave me a heads up on this next news item. I'd like to share a recent article from Vox:
It concerns a new - and disturbing - policy of the 800-pound gorilla bookseller that is Amazon. To summarize, Amazon's "buy box" for books is no longer guaranteed to be a purchase directly from the publisher; sometimes it is, and sometimes it's a purchase from a third-party bookseller.
This is potentially a squeeze on publishers, especially small publishers and independent authors. Even worse, Amazon can be slow to update its "buy box", making it look like a book is out of stock when it isn't.
I don't mean to criticize third-party booksellers. Without third-party booksellers, the MBR would cease to exist. Our book review business is emphatically not a lucrative one. This is why Editor-in-Chief Jim Cox's first piece of advice to aspiring full-time book reviewers is "Marry rich!"
The sale of review copies is what enables us at the MBR to review books for a living; even then, generous donations from grateful authors and publishers go a long way toward making ends meet each month. Without those sales and donations, I'd have to give up the book review trade and get a job at the local gas station.
What I dislike is how Amazon is hiding information from the consumer, to a degree. At the very least, they're forcing the consumer to jump through hoops if they want to be 100% certain they're buying a book from its author or publisher.
If you're an indie author or publisher who doesn't like this Amazon change... well, I certainly understand your dilemma. The one piece of advice I have is not to keep all your eggs (or books) in one basket. Explore bookselling options other than Amazon if at all possible, whether it's sales on your personal website, sales through Ebay, sales made with assistance from a bookseller association such as the ones listed on our website at
(like all our online resources, that list is open to additions if anyone would like to submit more Bookseller Association website links to us!), or sales made with aid from The Association of Publishers for Special Sales. The APSS website is
I don't believe there is any one, perfect "magic bullet" for selling your book. You'll just have to buckle down, do the research, weigh the options, and charge headlong into gruntwork and frustration.
Or you could marry rich, and have a good lawyer look over the pre-nupital contract!
Now for May's Link of the Month. It's LibQuotes, a website of "100% Sourced Quotations". Not only is this a useful resource for writers, it's especially valuable given the plethora of fake or falsely attributed quotes that have flooded the internet in recent times.
Finally, May's Book of the Month is from Nolo Press, which specializes in American law. Although Nolo Press titles absolutely cannot substitute for the counsel of a trained attorney, they are "must-reads" to prevent situations that could require an attorney, or for self-study before talking to an attorney who charges by the hour.
Neighbor Law, ninth edition
Emily Doskow & Lina Guillen
950 Parker Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781413323412, $29.99, PB, 392pp, www.amazon.com
It's said that 'good fences make good neighbors'. Now in a newly updated and expanded ninth edition, "Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise" by attorneys Emily Doskow and Lina Guillen will help the non-specialist general reader to avoid neighborly nuisances from turning into a hostile and expensive lawsuits. More than just an ordinary legal guide, "Neighbor Law" is a practical, jargon free instructional guide filled from cover to cover with practical tips on how to solve problems and restore good neighbor relations. The topics covered include: noisy neighbors; trees that hang over a property line; blocked views; unclear boundary lines; high, unsightly, or deteriorating fences; dangers to children ("attractive nuisances"); problems with neighboring businesses; drones trespassing onto your property; and many other common issues ranging from secondhand smoke, to blighted property, to animal issues, and more! Of special note is the information related to updated laws and information on mediation, going to court, boundary fences, private nuisances, etc. While especially recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Neighbor Law" is also available in a Kindle format ($16.19).
That's all for the May 2017 Beth Cox Report. If you're wondering whether I took my father's advice to marry rich, I must confess, the answer is "no"!
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James A. Cox
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