Despite its decidedly unfriendly-to-authors feud with a major publishing company, Amazon is touting a new program that provides an outlet for hopeful authors, while letting readers maybe, sort-of decide who’s worthy of being published. [More]
They’re going to the chapel and they’re gonna get married: Book publishers Penguin and Random House will become one after their parents company complete an upcoming merger. If the merging of companies in other industries is any indication, this new union could produce higher book prices as the two cease competing, as well as a possible dearth in the selection of titles. [More]
At a small book store in NYC’s West Village, there are shelves labeled “Best Sellers” and “Sale,” but even a quick scan of the spines will reveal something: They’re all the same book. In fact, all 3,000 or so volumes stacked and shelved in Ed’s Martian Book store are the same. [More]
Probably not. But it does have lots of widgets and video modules. [More]
Add this to the woes facing the magazine industry: retailers are cutting back on the space they allocate to print products, and many are outright banning titles that show a little skin. Over the last three years, 18,000 North American retailers stopped carrying magazines, an 11.3% decline. [More]
Defying the notion that the magazine business is careening at the edge of a digital abyss, the venerable Atlantic is about to turn its first profit in over ten years. The magazine cites a cultural shift that had employees think of themselves as “a venture-capital-backed start-up in Silicon Valley whose mission was to attack and disrupt The Atlantic.” [More]
The second half of summer is “complain about textbook prices” season, and last week the New York Times put together a special section on the topic and asked experts to weigh in. Too many of the contributors just provide an overview of the situation but no solutions; a publishing industry representative actually defends textbook prices as trivial compared to other educational costs. Fortunately Anya Kamenetz, who writes for Fast Company, suggests Flat World Knowledge. And to be fair, the guy who defended textbooks prices suggests CourseSmart for ebook rentals. The Times also asked students, professors and parents to weigh in with advice. [More]
Yesterday we wrote about someone who downloaded a pirated copy of a game after he couldn’t gain access to the copy he’d already paid for. In that case, which most of our commenters supported, it was clear that the consumer was trying to resolve a problem created by the DRM. But what about if you own a printed copy of a book and you simply want to read the ebook version? Should you have to pay for a second copy? Randy Cohen, who writes the The Ethicist column for the New York Times, says downloading a copy you find online is ethical. [More]
Imagine trying to buy a book from Big Generic Bookstore and watching the cashier add $5 to the sticker price. “What are you doing?!” you cry out, waving a fist menacingly at him. “You look like you can afford it,” he says back to you with a hint of entitltement. That’s basically what a publishing industry expert said in a piece he wrote last week about ebook pricing. [More]
If you’ve ever worked in a bookstore, you’re probably intimate with the practice of pulping mass market paperbacks. Publishers reimburse booksellers for inventory they don’t sell, but paperbacks are so cheap to produce that it would cost more to return them than to throw them away. Instead, stores tear off the covers, mail those back as proof of unsold inventory, and throw the books in the trash. [More]
Cory Doctorow is self-publishing a book and documenting the process for Publishers Weekly. His latest column is about selling audiobook versions of his past works, and how both Apple and Audible have refused to budge on their anti-consumer policies when it comes to digital rights management (DRM) and end user license agreements (EULAs). Even though both companies get paid the same either way, and even though both Doctorow and his publisher, Random House, want to sell the content without these restrictions, Apple and Audible have said no. [More]
One of the big selling points about the Nook, the new ebook reader introduced this week by Barnes & Noble, is that unlike Amazon they’ll let you virtually “loan” your ebook to a friend for up to 14 days (if the publisher allows it). What they don’t tell you–some smart readers over at MobileRead sussed it out–is that you can only do this one time per book. You’d better lend wisely–and your friend had better finish that book within 14 days.
Students who prefer to shop for textbooks online are encountering a hitch in their efforts. University and College courses are increasingly using bundled versions of textbooks that come with their own ISBN number. School book stores sell the packets as a single item, because their contents don’t come itemized.
This story is a little old, but was just brought to our attention this weekend. Elsevier, which is sort of the Death Star of academic publishing, was caught offering $25 Amazon gift cards to professors who gave the book five-star reviews on Amazon.