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Macmillan CEO pens interesting letter on publishing state of play
December 20, 2014 | 12:25 pm

john-sargent.jpgJohn Sargent is CEO of Macmillan, itself one of the Big Five publishers, although perhaps lower key and less controversial than the other four. And he penned an end-of-year message to the company's "Authors, Illustrators, and Agents" which has appeared in full on the blog of Macmillan imprint Tor. It makes for some interesting reading. Sargent's choice of date is significant. "Today a portion of our agreement with the Department of Justice (called a consent decree) expires, and we will no longer be required to allow retailers to discount e-books." In principle, at least. Although, as Sargent explains, the verdict in...

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, John Sargent: Major publishers learning, trying new things with e-books
December 18, 2014 | 6:30 pm

Here are an interesting juxtaposition of posts that just came to light today. In the first, Kristine Kathryn Rusch at last returns to blogging about the publishing industry with an end-of-year post that is both interesting and scary. Last year, I wrote an open letter asking the Big Five publishers if they’d learned anything from the Apple verdict. In her new blog post, Rusch suggests that they have, and it might not be good news for the authors who sign with them. Touching once more on the sales problems inherent in publishers no longer being able to schedule book...

Macmillan makes Nature access free in content-sharing push
December 3, 2014 | 6:29 pm

cover_natureThe scholarly open access model of scientific publishing received a boost this week when Macmillan Science and Education, "one of the leading publishing and technology companies in the world," announced a new content-sharing and free access initiative for top journal Nature and other publications offered over the Nature.com platform. According to the Macmillan release, "subscribers to 49 journals on nature.com can now legitimately and conveniently share the full-text of articles of interest with colleagues who do not have a subscription via a shareable web link on nature.com. In addition, Macmillan Science and Education will take a lead on opening up...

Webcomic ‘Help Desk’ takes on e-book DRM
July 23, 2014 | 11:20 am

drm-rollIf you could use a good chuckle, webcomic “Help Desk” has just started a storyline focusing on e-book DRM. (The storyline then continues here.) It seems to have been inspired by the letter that Cory Doctorow received from Hachette about DRM. Since some authors publish with Tor in the USA but Hachette in the UK, and Tor went DRM-free two years ago, this means the US edition of their book would be DRM-free. Hachette didn’t like that, and wanted authors to insist that Tor put DRM on that edition to protect the sales of their UK edition. The letter was actually posted...

Macmillan exec asks what publishers can do for readers, but does she mean it?
June 18, 2014 | 4:46 am

Porter Anderson at FutureBook reports on a presentation given by Sara Lloyd, Pan Macmillan’s digital and communications director, at the “FutureBook Hack” conference. (TeleRead previously carried an open letter to Ms. Lloyd from Brian Ford of Lendle.) Lloyd was gung-ho about wanting publishing to move forward with digital and take things to the next level. She said things like “I think we haven’t done the great things yet and that’s what you guys are here for,” and “Ask what you can do for readers, not what you can do to solve the problems of publishers.” ...

Department of Justice files brief in Apple antitrust appeal, argues for upholding Judge Cote’s verdict
May 29, 2014 | 4:37 am

Publishers Weekly’s Andrew Albanese has a rundown of the latest developments in the Apple anti-trust affair. The Department of Justice has filed its brief in favor of the appeals court upholding Judge Cote’s guilty verdict. (GigaOm has some additional commentary and a Scribd link to the filing itself.) The filing says about what you would expect it to say: the DoJ summarized Cote’s findings and rebutted all of Apple’s attorneys’ arguments. In their brief, the DoJ basically recapped their case, and argued that the prosecution did not need to meet a higher legal standard, as Apple...

Tor looks back on two DRM-free years, launches new Tor.com novella imprint
May 28, 2014 | 5:14 pm

Tor has posted an interesting article on Tor.com covering Tor Books president and publisher Tom Doherty’s presentation at BEA today. First of all, he discussed the aftereffects of removing DRM from Tor books. He said much the same thing Tor said at the one-year-mark. Citing Baen’s example, he noted that “...the lack of DRM in Tor ebooks has not increased the amount of Tor books available online illegally, nor has it visibly hurt sales.” DRM, Doherty held, was a disruptive barrier that got in the way of readers, writers, and communities making connections. Getting rid of it has...

Hugo voter e-book bundle to include only excerpts of Orbit Best Novel nominees
May 15, 2014 | 10:14 am

orbitWell, here’s some disappointing news. You know how, in recent years, the Hugo Voters Packet has included as many of the Hugo-nominated works as it was able to get out of its publishers? Including, this year, almost the entirety of the Wheel of Time series? (It’s lacking the prequel novel which isn’t directly connected to the storyline of the main series.) There’s a fly in the ointment this year, and it’s that, apart from Wheel of Time and Baen author Larry Correia’s book, all the nominees for Best Novel were published by Orbit, the UK publisher and subsidiary of...

Hugo voter e-book bundle to include entire Wheel of Time series
April 21, 2014 | 4:15 pm

hugo_wheel-of-timeThe Hugo nominations have been announced. One of the more interesting things to come out of the nominations this time around has been the inclusion of the entire Wheel of Time series for “Best Novel.” This is something of a first for the Hugos, and would probably be at least mildly controversial in other years. (This year, what with the Jonathan Ross thing and another more recent kerfuffle that I might discuss in another post, it seems to rate as relatively minor on the outrage scale.) But one side-effect of that nomination is to make Supporting Membership in this...

Humble Bundle plans to expand e-book, audiobook offerings
March 3, 2014 | 8:25 pm

humblelogoRemember the Humble E-Book Bundles? Humble’s done a couple of them (not counting the ones by other bundle sites) plus an audiobook bundle, and wants to do more. Calvin Reid has a great article at Publishers Weekly looking at the Humble Bundle e-book program in depth. It has some interesting facts. It turns out that the first two pay-what-you-want Humble E-Book Bundles were actually organized by Cory Doctorow. Not a big surprise given their DRM-free nature. The problem was that DRM-free nature meant Macmillan (whose Tor subsidiary had already gone DRM-free) was the only Big Five publisher willing to...

Is the SFWA losing its relevance?
February 18, 2014 | 3:25 pm

“This is the song that doesn’t end…it just goes on and on my friend…” To mix musical metaphors, I’m getting that whole “second verse, same as the first” feeling as I look at the latest vitriol to come out of the whole Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) sexism affair (which we’ve covered in more detail here, here, and here). A few days ago, an article appeared on The Daily Dot blog citing posts from the public discussion forums on SFF.net pertaining to the latest round of ugliness. SFF.net is the discussion forum website of the SFWA, but has always...

Fate of Girl Genius omnibus at Tor causes friction between the Foglios and Patrick Nielsen Hayden
January 30, 2014 | 12:16 pm

girlgeniusTV Tropes has a trope called “Poor Communication Kills,” in which an otherwise easy-to-prevent problem comes about because of either plot-contrived or real failure to communicate. (I’m pretty sure that’s happened at least once or twice in the Girl Genius comics.) Well, these things happen in real life, too. Last night, Phil Foglio posted to his LJ, Facebook, and blog a story of frustration with Tor, who had opted to try launching a line of graphic novels starting with the first Girl Genius omnibus edition. They came out with a low-priced hardcover, but when the Foglios wondered when the...