U.S. federal courts have approved a settlement Hachette Books Group, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins, that booksellers may set their own pricing and that publishers may not sign contracts with retailers during the next two years which restrict pricing decisions. They also may not enter into contracts (for five years) which give specific sellers a guaranteed lower price than others.
Two more publishers, Macmillan and Penguin, refused to settle and have a court date in June. I wonder how much extra profit they and Apple will make during that time.
Read more at cnn.com.
5 August 2012
Amazon.com announced that their customers in the United Kingdom are buying 114 eBooks for every 100 print books sold on their site. This is probably attributed to the lower cost of many eBooks, though Amazon claimed that many print books that were sold were also inexpensive. There was no data indicating whether the eBooks that were sold were independently published or not, nor any information specifically indicating the price range of the eBooks sold as compared to print books.
Read more at guardian.co.uk.
As of the date of this article, the Kindle Touch 5.1.0 firmware still has a serious security hole. Kindle Touch owners with this version of the software are well-advised to avoid using the browser and to keep their eye out for a the next version of the firmware, 5.1.1, which is shipping with new Kindles but apparently isn’t “current” on existing devices.
Read more at h-online.com.
Amazon has acquired Avalon Books, a publishing company founded in 1950, which publishes titles in the mystery, romance, and western genres. As a part of the purchase, Amazon acquired Avalon’s entire 3000-title backlist, which they plan to make available digitally. I wonder if they will sell them exclusively on Amazon.com, or if they will also make them available through Barnes & Noble, the iBookstore, and other venues. (View Amazon’s press release on the subject)
Read more at paidcontent.org.
BrainHive, a new eBook rental service, plans to offer eBook rental to schools. They will charge $1 per book when a student or teacher checks it out. This seems like a good way to make a much wider range of books available to small libraries, but at the same time, it could get very expensive, very quickly. BookSprung, an eBook news site, discussed this issue with regard to the 26-times checkout-limit put in place on library books by HarperCollins and noted that, based on an anecdotal survey, popular books are often checked out many dozens of times before their natural end-of-life due to wear and tear. Dozens of students might check out the same popular paper book, and it only costs the school a fixed amount for the physical product. In the “pay-per-view” scenario offered by BrainHive (and publishers who limit checkouts), however, the cost is never-ending and prevents libraries from being able to accurately predict and control costs.
Read more at schoollibraryjournal.com.
An interesting story about how mindless, automated eBook conversion can seriously screw up a book. In this case, every time the word ‘kindle’ appeared in the book, it was replaced, in the Barnes & Noble version, with the word ‘nook.’ So rather than being kindled, lights were ‘nooked.’ Make sure you proofread your books—every single word—before publishing!
Read more at pcmag.com.
Stephen King, citing his childhood love of paperbacks, has decided, for the time being, to hold off on publishing his upcoming (June 2013) novel, Joyland in an electronic format. Although he also chose not to publish The Colorado Kid as an eBook, King has been involved in electronic publishing longer than most authors—dating all the way back to 2000. He has wisely not boxed himself in, by allowing that he may eventually publish the new books electronically. The referenced article includes quotes by King and further information.
Read more at theverge.com.
This is an article detailing Apple’s continued and laughable denials that they colluded with publishers to fix prices on eBooks, forcing buyers to choose between overpaying for an eBook, buying a sometimes-cheaper physical book, or simply not buying the book at all. Pricing an eBook too high is likely to result in a loss of income to a greater number of authors, as readers must limit their purchases to their budgets, which may be significantly lower than the time they have available to read lower-priced books. Personally, I’d buy ten eBooks priced at $5 before I spent $18 on one.
Read more at macworld.com.
This article discusses Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin’s ongoing fight against the US Department of Justice’s accusations of collusion in price-fixing. Three other publishing companies (Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and HarperCollins) have settled, which is rather telling. It is interesting to note, that despite claiming they did not conspire to fix prices, their arguments sound an awful lot like they are trying to justify their scheming, rather than deny it.
Quark XPress 9.3 has an update that supposedly allows direct export to Kindle format. Given the quality of the final file that other similar applications, like InDesign, produce, I will remain skeptical until I see a high-quality product produced by a typical Quark user. However, Quark has, traditionally, been a high-quality print publication tool, so maybe they’ll manage to produce something that works for eBook conversion. We shall see!
Read more at macworld.com.