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Thread: [Publisher] RDR Books

  1. #1
    Accordion Dreams Susan B's Avatar
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    [Publisher] RDR Books

    Hello,

    Does anyone have experience with RDR Books/Roger Rapoport? (Yes, first name is Roger. Got it wrong in the thread title.)

    http://www.rdrbooks.com/

    Suggested to me as a good, small independent publisher by a local independent bookseller.

    Thanks!

    Susan
    Last edited by Susan B; 04-27-2007 at 09:07 PM. Reason: got the first name of the publisher wrong!

  2. #2
    Sockpuppet
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    They are. I've seen their books in my local Barnes and Noble. Good quality.

  3. #3
    Accordion Dreams Susan B's Avatar
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    Thanks, good to know! And nice to hear from a fellow Chicagoan (where I lived till moving to CA 10 years ago.)

    Susan

  4. #4
    Geek Unique LeslieB's Avatar
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    I don't think this would be a very good publisher to go with, since they seem to have a bad understanding of copyright law.

    The person who created the Harry Potter Lexicon website asked JKR if he could publish a book version of the site. She said no. He then proceeded to compile it anyway, and RDR was planning to publish it until JKR and Warner Brothers stepped in with lawyers. Both the writer and the publisher are playing the wounded innocents because they are being told that they cannot market someone else's copyrighted material.
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  5. #5
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Accordion Dreams Susan B's Avatar
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    Wow!

    Relieved that I've ended up working with another publisher! Can be hard for smaller publishers to deal with this kind of thing--hope they can all work it out.

    Here is the lengthy explanation/defense on the publisher's site:

    http://www.rdrbooks.com/lexicon_info.html


    Sounds like a mess!

    Susan
    Last edited by Susan B; 11-03-2007 at 11:57 PM.
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  7. #7
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    The fact that she had given the website an award (and admittedly used it herself) then sues has left quite a few people shaking their head.

  8. #8
    Accordion Dreams Susan B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. R. Tomlin View Post
    The fact that she had given the website an award (and admittedly used it herself) then sues has left quite a few people shaking their head.
    Yes, it sounds very complicated. Definitely several sides to it.
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  9. #9
    *Does not molest books. Novelust's Avatar
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    This is turning into one heck of a kerfuffle.

    "RDR claims not to have given JKR’s people a copy of the book because “we don’t have a copy to give them…because the book hasn’t been published yet.” Asked why they didn’t hand over a manuscript, Mr. Harris said, “how would it benefit us in any way?" "

    See the links below for context.

    Story on Leaky Cauldron: http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/20...ith-wb-and-rdr

    Part 1 of the story on Fandom Wank: http://www.journalfen.net/community/...11.html#cutid1

    Part 2 of story on Fandom Wank: http://www.journalfen.net/community/...29.html#cutid1
    Last edited by Novelust; 11-05-2007 at 12:04 AM.
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  10. #10
    Geek Unique LeslieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. R. Tomlin View Post
    The fact that she had given the website an award (and admittedly used it herself) then sues has left quite a few people shaking their head.
    Liking the website isn't the same as giving them permission to make money off of her copyright. Though if you really want to shake your head so hard your neck will break, you should read the fan comments that the Lexicon guy's book would be canon, while JKR's version would just be 'stuff she made up'.
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  11. #11
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    J. R. Tomlin:
    The fact that she had given the website an award (and admittedly used it herself) then sues has left quite a few people shaking their head.
    Well the situation seems to be a little more complicated than that. From the reports coming out within the HP community, it appears that the author originally asked for Rowling's permission to publish a book version of his website and she refused. This kind of suggests to me that he realised he'd need the permission of the copyright owner before he went ahead and published but when it was refused, decided to go ahead with it anyway.

    From RDR's statements, the book appears to be a hard copy version of what's on the site (which, if you check it out is a mixture of fan essays on Rowling's world and a compendium of short entries on spells, characters, time-lines etc). Unfortunately, not all of those essays were written by the author of the book and there's currently a big question mark as to whether those essays that don't belong to him are going to be published without the original author's permission. The author has claimed not, the publisher seems to be claiming otherwise. Regardless of what you think of fandom, I think most people here would agree that publishing an essay that you haven't written without the permission of the original author and without giving them remuneration is not cool.

    Finally, there's a massive difference between an author sanctioning a resource that's available for free on the internet and the owner of that site then deciding to try and make money off it. Both RDR and Steve Vander Ark seem to have a head in the sand approach to the seriousness of this and RDR's statements aren't reassuring as to their having a professional attitude.

    MM

  12. #12
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    I've been watching this JKR vs. RDR and SVA thing for a while through Fandom Wank. Their latest thread about it includes links to various legal documents for the case. Vander Ark's contract might interest you guys.

  13. #13
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    The thing in Vander Ark's contract about how he got 50% royalty on all books sold through the Floo Network was especially egregious--the Floo Network, which is a fan-operated ring of Harry Potter websites, provided free webspace for the Harry Potter Lexicon site for years.

    Vander Ark never discussed selling his book through the Floo Network with any of the Floo Network owners/administrators at all. That takes gonads of titanium, but not in the good sense.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceCreamEmpress View Post
    Vander Ark never discussed selling his book through the Floo Network with any of the Floo Network owners/administrators at all. That takes gonads of titanium, but not in the good sense.
    He certainly has more than all my living male relatives put together!

    I don't know legalese, but it does seem bad that Rowling is specifically mentioned on page five of the contract.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW cethklein's Avatar
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    RDR Publishing

    This question is being posed mostly out of sheer curiosity. I read this article on MSN this morning:

    http://movies.msn.com/movies/article...09320&GT1=7701

    And it got me thinking, "Who is this publisher". Are they legit? I've found a bit of info on Google but has anyone here ever used them for anything? I have to question their credibiltiy if they would even consider publishing a book like the one this guy wrote.

    I'll admit that I've never read so much as a single word of Harry Potter. They just don't interest me. But I think this case is definitely important to all of us.


  16. #16
    Holding out for a Superhero... Sheryl Nantus's Avatar
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    this part of the article made me wonder as well...

    "After Rowling released the final chapter in the Harry Potter series that same month, Vander Ark was contacted by an RDR Books employee, who told him that publication of the lexicon would not violate copyright law, he said.

    Still, to protect himself, Vander Ark said he insisted that RDR Books include a clause in his contract that the publisher would defend and pay any damages that might result from claims against him."

    smart on the guy's part, but I'm not sure what to think of a publisher who runs willy-nilly into the fire like this. I can only hope they got some sort of legal advice before charging forth...

    ... or not.

  17. #17
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cethklein View Post
    And it got me thinking, "Who is this publisher". Are they legit?
    He's a small publisher who operates out of his house in Michigan, and he's done a perfectly decent job of publishing books in that niche for some years (at least ten).

    I don't know if he just totally misunderstood copyright law (possible, because he had no attorney at all at first, then he got a family member whose specialty was not intellectual property law to respond to court documents, and he finally got an actual intellectual property attorney only several months into the matter) or if he was operating under the mistaken idea that "all publicity is good publicity" or what...

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW cethklein's Avatar
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    I appologize for not locating this thread first before maknig my topic, I was in a bit of a hurry this morning.


  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Any decision yet on the case? Last I heard, the judge's ruling was expected mid May.
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  20. #20
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    Apparently not. Both parties filed Proposed Findings of Fact documents on May 9.

  21. #21
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    The judge has ruled in Ms. Rowling's favor. Court doc is here. More discussion in Roundtable: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=115283.
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  22. #22
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  23. #23
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    They came to a mutual agreement and the author did a re-write. From what I heard, many of the Harry Potter fandom (i.e. the committed fans most likely to buy the book) boycotted it. It probably didn't help that one of the owners of The Leaky Cauldron (a huge Potter site) released their own guide/explanation of the Potter phenomenon at the same time - only this one featured an interview with Rowling and was done with her blessing. It was widely taken as an eff-you to Vander Ark.

    The last I heard, Vander Ark is now living in the UK and working on another book, although I don't know if it's fiction or non-fiction.

    MM

  24. #24
    Expert Procrastinator Kweei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    They came to a mutual agreement and the author did a re-write. From what I heard, many of the Harry Potter fandom (i.e. the committed fans most likely to buy the book) boycotted it. It probably didn't help that one of the owners of The Leaky Cauldron (a huge Potter site) released their own guide/explanation of the Potter phenomenon at the same time - only this one featured an interview with Rowling and was done with her blessing. It was widely taken as an eff-you to Vander Ark.

    The last I heard, Vander Ark is now living in the UK and working on another book, although I don't know if it's fiction or non-fiction.

    MM
    Interesting. I knew most of this as I was following the back and forth for quite some time, but I didn't know the final results.
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  25. #25
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Per Roger's Goodreads page (Fall '10):
    RDR Books is now closed. Most of the former RDR Book titles are now available from Ashley Creek Books.

    Books written and edited by Roger Rapoport are now available from New Lake Books.
    Ashley Creek is an imprint of Wicker Park Press: http://wickerparkpressbooks.com/abou...-and-imprints/
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