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Other posts by Paul St John Mackintosh

States rights to damages bode ill for Apple
April 16, 2014 | 6:25 pm

AppleLegal developments around the Apple ebook price fixing debacle are not exactly going Cupertino's way. Most recently, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, to no one's great surprise, returned a negative response to Apple's motion to dismiss the damage claims brought by 33 states of the Union in their previous parallel case alongside the U.S. Justice Department. According to Reuters, the damage claims from U.S. states could amount to some $840 million. "Apple now moves to dismiss the antitrust action filed by the States. Apple contends that the States lack standing to assert their claims against Apple or, at the very least,...

Charon Coin Press picks up horror anthology series
April 16, 2014 | 2:25 pm

cropped-charoncoin_banner_web1Charon Coin Press, an independent publisher of speculative fiction, has acquired several series of horror and dark fiction anthology properties previously held by Rymfire Books under Armand Rosamilia. These include the series State of Horror, Heavy Metal Horror, Post-Apocalyptic Raid, I, Executioner, Revenant 1 & 2, and Vermin. These, and will apparently be followed by others as the basis for the anthologies division of Charon Coin Press. Charon Coin Press founder Jerry Benns was apparently editor for the State of Horror anthologies since January 2014, and the acquisitions were part of a transition from editor to full-blown publisher. "I didn’t start out...

Wiley buys into executive e-learning with CrossKnowledge acquisition
April 16, 2014 | 12:25 pm

CrossKnowledgeEducation and learning specialist publisher John Wiley & Sons has announced the acquisition of CrossKnowledge, "a learning solutions provider focused on leadership and managerial skills development, for $175 million in cash."As well as ramping up the publishing consolidation and M&A trend another notch, this development also marks another step in convergence between specialist publishing companies and other non-publishing content businesses in related sectors. "In today's knowledge-based economy, organizations of all different shapes and sizes are looking to address skill, productivity and performance gaps through investment in their current workforce rather than hiring additional resources," said Steve Smith, President and CEO of...

Herrick backdates emoticons to 1648?
April 16, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Robert_Herrick_HesperidesWhile attending the WCF Davos Forum in March, I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by Scott E. Fahlman, widely hailed as "father of the first smiley emoticon in 1982." As it happens, though, there have been other challengers to that claim - the New York Times once ran a story citing an excerpt from an Abraham Lincoln speech in 1862 that may have had a smiley inserted. Now, though, writer and editor Levi Stahl claims he may have discovered one of the earliest emoticons of all - a line in the poem "To Fortune" by 17th-century English poet...

Telephone box libraries in UK unite two obsolete services – or not
April 16, 2014 | 10:25 am

telephone boxWhatever your feelings about the future prospects of print book libraries, there is no doubt that they are anything but the cutting edge of library services. And the same can be said of public telephone call boxes. So it is a tad heartening to see several instances in the UK of people repurposing the iconic red telephone box, now just about as dated as the original Dr Who Tardis, as miniature local libraries and book exchanges. The latest is in Lewisham in London, making it the smallest library in the capital, but others have been sighted in Essex and Derbyshire, and...

Germany sees mixed feelings on Amazon Publishing market entry
April 15, 2014 | 6:25 pm

amazon publishingThe launch of Amazon Publishing in Germany, already covered in TeleRead, has elicited some mixed feedback from German publishers, booksellers, and other book market players. As reported in Stuttgarter Nachrichten, some, like Klett-Cotta editorial CEO Michael Zöllner, "do not see any impact on the German book market," while others, like Mirjam Berle, spokeswoman of Germany's largest bookstore chain Thalia, say: "the publishers have to fear the market power of Amazon." Bookstores are apparently some of the most negative respondents about taking Amazon Publishing titles on board. Stuttgarter Nachrichten quotes one local book vendor as saying she would not "let the Devil...

Norway pursues possible publisher cartel favoring own book chains
April 15, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Norway flagAfter the reports of Amazon entering the Swedish market amid possible restricted competition, now Scandinavian neighbor Norway has reportedly seen a crackdown on anti-competitive practices in the local book trade. According to the Norwegian press reports, the Norwegian Competition Authority (Konkurransetilsynet) has raided the offices of the country's big four publishing houses - Aschehoug, Cappelen, Gyldendal, and Schibsted - to investigate a possible cartel designed to restrict book supply to supermarkets and other outlets in favor of the publishers' own-branded book chains. Norway has a highly restricted publishing and book market that might facilitate such abuse. As per research in Regionalism...

Booktrack announces Series A funding, expansion into education
April 15, 2014 | 2:25 pm

BooktrackBooktrack, the startup company that adds soundtracks to ebooks, has announced its expansion into educational applications, as well as details of its recently completed Series A funding round. For those unfamiliar with the terminology of venture capital, Series A generally designates the first serious institutional round of VC investment into a startup, following angel investment and seed rounds, hence indicating that the company has now proven its proposition and is ready for expansion. And Booktrack came in right in the usual range for this level of investment, at $3 million in financing led by Sparkbox Ventures. According to the release, Booktrack will...

World Literacy Summit opens in Oxford
April 15, 2014 | 12:25 pm

World Literacy SummitThe World Literacy Summit 2014, which "aims to build awareness of the global literacy crisis and provide opportunities for participants to develop strategic plans, exchange information, find solutions and build partnerships to improve literacy standards worldwide," has just opened in Oxford. This year, the theme is "Literacies: the Power to Change," which allows for exploration of "the role of both new and traditional literacy tools and techniques in the worldwide fight to eradicate illiteracy." The Summit is organized by the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation from Australia, which seeks to "transform the lives of Indigenous children by focusing on literacy and numeracy education,"...

Happy belated birthday Samuel Beckett
April 14, 2014 | 2:33 pm

GodotLoadI hope no one's going to object to me commemorating the anniversary of Samuel Beckett's birthday a day late. After all, the great pessimist himself would be first to expect such a thing. And his original birth date was Friday the 13th. Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin on Good Friday, April 13th, 1906 - one of those not-so-happy coincidences that seem to have attended and defined him all his life. A keen sportsman as a youth, Beckett was not only a national-level university cricketer, but also attracted the attention of a series of women through his life, including Peggy Guggenheim...

Amazon goes into Sweden – but without
April 14, 2014 | 12:34 pm

Amazon SEAs previously reported in TeleRead, Amazon has been in discussions for some time with Swedish publishing data clearing house Bokrondellen for some months regarding its plans to enter the Swedish market. Now, according to The Bookseller, Amazon may have concluded the deal and be about to roll out in Sweden. However, this might have to happen without the domain. Local Swedish news sources \ suggest that a buyer who picked up the domain name in 1997 may be hanging on to it, despite negotiations with Amazon. Whether Amazon AB, the entity that currently owns the domain name, is actually cybersquatting...

Two cheers for Chromecast?
April 14, 2014 | 10:32 am

As TeleRead readers will be well aware, Chromecast, Google's neat HDMI-compatible AV streaming dongle and its associated programs,  has been around for a while now; but it's only just made it to certain European markets, and courtesy of my parents, I may still be Hungary's pioneering Chromecast owner. And though I love the technology, my first impressions are mixed - in a way that might be down to the usual Big Media interference in simple user-friendly propositions. Yes, it's straightforward no-brain plug-and-play. Yes, it streams content to your TV screen or HDMI-compatible monitor over your WiFi network - (mostly) pretty seamlessly....