At a congressional hearing today, the Justice Department’s anti-trust authorities confirmed they are investigating the way publishers price electronic books for possible violations, reports The Wall Street Journal. In what’s known as the agency model, publishers set the price of books and allow stores like Apple and Amazon to take a 30 percent cut. This differs from the wholesale model used for print books, where publishers set a retail price that bookstores can choose to ignore. Read More
Print to Digital
The Observer has spent a small amount of time tooling around the Beta version of Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s digital fantasmagoria, which is currently open to a select one million users. We’ll fill you in with more details later but so far our exploration of the site has been a somewhat uneventful experience Read More
In a move that will likely be mimicked by other publishers, Reuters reports that Bloomsbury has launched a digital imprint for books that are currently out of print and where English-language rights have reverted back to the books’ authors. It’s called Bloomsbury Reader and so far includes out-of-print books by writers Read More
Trident Media Group, a powerful New York literary agency whose clients include Deepak Chopra, “Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger and The Vatican, has announced it will launch an e-book division to “create, manage and implement innovative e-book strategies for its authors, including the distribution of a variety of e-books directly to a large number of e-tailers in North America and internationally.” Read More
Amazon Publishing fulfilled expectations a few weeks ago when it announced its first big book deal, to publish The 4-Hour Chef by kickboxer and tango dancer Timothy Ferriss. It was the kind of book one would expect Amazon to acquire: written by a bestselling self-help author who will sell hundreds of thousands of e-books, extensively self-promote on the internet and likely be less remembered for his contribution to literature than for his showmanship. (He will also be one of those writers who have a guaranteed place on the shelves of every used bookstore in America until the end of time or of used bookstores, whichever comes first).
What was less expected was Amazon Publishing’s latest move: hiring one of the editors of The Believer to acquire fiction for the imprint. Ed Park, whom The New York Times once called “The Wizard of Whimsy”, will now represent the literary side of the Seattle company’s New York publishing house. Read More
The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is starting a Netflix-style subscription service to access a digital library of books. Publishers are skeptical, though the article says they would be paid a fee. No official response yet from Amazon.
Andrew Wylie, literary agent, returned for another Monday address to the BBC, this time as a participant in The World At One’s week-long series on the future of publishing. Mr. Wylie criticized publishers for giving 30 percent of potential profits over to what he called “digital device holders” like Amazon and Apple. “I Read More
Indie publisher Melville House announced today that it is publishing what it’s calling HybridBooks, “an innovative publishing program that gives print books the features of enhanced eBooks.”
The idea is that users can aim their magic phones at one of those barcode thingies (known as a Quick Response or QR) on the back of a Read More
The problem with looking to J.K. Rowling for inspiration about how to transition a book franchise into the digital era is that no author can really be compared to J.K. Rowling.
“She’s kind of like the Oprah of children’s books,” said Lorraine Shanley, co-founder of Market Partners International, which consults on digital books.
“I mean, Read More