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Publishing

Why we need an e-book DRM DMCA exemption
October 30, 2014 | 8:54 pm

It’s that time again. Ars Technica reports that the Copyright Office is accepting petitions on activities to exempt from the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, making it legal to crack DRM for certain restricted purposes. We’ve reported on this procedure a few times over the last few years. The way it goes is that various people or organizations make proposals and the copyright office considers whether to grant them for the next three years. The exemptions then have to be requested again at the next session if they are to continue. Public Knowledge will be submitting requests to legalize...

Hugh Howey corrects just about every assumption you ever had about the book trade
October 29, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Hugh HoweyWhat could change just about every aspect of the current disputes about digital disruption in the book trade? The revelation that the key traditional businesses are not being disrupted at all, right? Well, that may be overstating the case, but not too far - at least according to Hugh Howey. Under the headline "Two Important Publishing Facts Everyone Gets Wrong," he's put together an analysis, with a lot of its data drawn, interestingly, from the New Republic, to demonstrate that: "Almost everything being said about publishing today is predicated on two facts that are dead wrong. The first is that publishers...

Atavist Books to close down at the end of 2014
October 21, 2014 | 7:41 pm

sleepdonation I had occasion to mention Atavist Books in March of this year. when it launched with the novella Sleep Donation and proclaimed its intention to “revolutionize book publishing” with interactive multimedia books. At the time, I expressed my doubts that anybody actually wanted the platform it was building. It seems that events have borne out my supposition. Saying that it’s found “the market for highly innovative enhanced full length literary e-books still heavily relies on a print component and has yet to emerge,” Atavist Books has announced it will be closing down its e-book-publishing operation as of...

Simon & Schuster reportedly reaches agency deal with Amazon
October 20, 2014 | 6:50 pm

The interesting times we live in might just have gotten a little more interesting. Right as Hachette is in the middle of a protracted contact negotiation dispute with Hachette comes a rumor, via Publishers Weekly, that its fellow Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster has just finalized a contract deal with Amazon. The deal would supposedly move the pricing model “back toward the original agency plan,” with S&S able to set prices on its e-books, but Amazon retaining some ability to discount. Of course, this is just a rumor based on an anonymous leak. PW pointed out that...

Permuted Press tells authors: No more paper for you, kids
October 15, 2014 | 2:25 pm

"Acclaimed horror author, indie songwriter and artist Gabrielle Faust" - and no I am not being the remotest bit snarky by quoting that - has just posted a pretty remarkable, and quite disconcerting, account of a recent alert that she and other authors had from publisher Permuted Press, the self-proclaimed "leading publisher of zombie and horror fiction," who, according to her, has declined to print their books in future. On paper, that is. Unless they're bestsellers. Bear in mind when reading the following that some have dismissed all this as sour grapes. Others, however, equally authoritative, have not. Some are even...

Big Publishing’s latest author discovery wheeze: YouTube celebrity deals
October 14, 2014 | 4:25 pm

YouTubeThe Next Big Thing in author discovery, according to a Wall Street Journal article anyway, is YouTube. Book promo videos have been a coming thing for a while now, as any fule kno. But now Big Publishing is turning the equation round, by using the power of rich social media to discover rather than to market authors. One of the key titles in the new surge of YouTube celeb signings is - appropriately enough - “The Pointless Book,” by UK video blogger Alfie Deyes. Then there's also "Make Up," by YouTube makeover celeb Michelle Phan. And unsurprisingly, the names of the...

Laura Fredericks on the future of publishing
October 12, 2014 | 3:30 pm

Laura Fredericks, founder and CEO of the writing community Describli, has put up a very interesting guest post on the future of publishing at the Independent Publishing Magazine - the same platform that had the good taste to commend me and Chris Meadows as shakers in the evolution of the industry. And she is not exactly recommending the status quo ante disruption. In fact, her call - and warning - for both publishers and writers is: connect (or be damned). Fredericks's take is that although "the future of publishing remains uncertain," the "even more direct connection between writers, readers, publishers, and publicity"...

The Lovecraft eZine hits the print big time
October 7, 2014 | 10:37 am

The Lovecraft eZine is one of the best-known and most esteemed destinations on the internet for all things H.P. Lovecraft, with a reputation, under the guiding hand of Mike Davis, as a venue for seriously strong Lovecraftian and dark/weird fiction. Each issue is available as a Kindle/Nook and a print edition, an audio version, and as a free-to-read online copy. And now it's branching out into actual book production. "I’m now publishing Lovecraftian and Weird Fiction books, in addition to the magazine," Mike Davis explains. "If you’re a Weird Fiction, Lovecraftian, and/or cosmic horror writer, and you’re working on a novel, novella,...

What is Faber’s new division supposed to do? And is digital the savior of high culture?
October 6, 2014 | 10:29 am

According to a report in The Bookseller, Henry Volans, head of Faber Digital, has been tasked to form a new division of Faber and Faber, Faber Press, with the goal of creating a new kind of business for the venerable UK literary publisher. The exact purpose of this new structure is not yet clear, except that, according to several reports, it unites Volans's current purview at Faber Digital with Faber Finds and Faber Fine Press, as well as embracing Faber's poetry, drama, film, and classical music lists. Faber Press apparently does not bring any change in editorial policy, with commissioning still...

New York Times public editor finds bias in its Amazon/Hachette coverage
October 5, 2014 | 10:45 am

Wow, this is pretty big. For quite some time, indie publishing bloggers such as Hugh Howey, Joe Konrath, and David Gaughran have been complaining about the slanted nature of the New York Times’s coverage of the Amazon/Hachette squabble. Now New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan has taken a look at the Times’s coverage and admitted that it could, indeed, be more even-handed. In her editorial, Sullivan links, recaps, and discusses prominent objections to the Times’s coverage, asks the Times reporters involved for their responses, and concludes: MY take: It’s important to remember that this...

Why people still prefer print – in pictures
September 28, 2014 | 3:29 pm

books_infographic-674x1030Here's an interesting infographic from UK new-era second-hand book trading platform FatBrain on why people still prefer print books to ebooks - all down in pretty pictures for those who reading onscreen has left comprehensionally challenged. And of course, FatBrain, whose business depends on people emailing barcodes or ISBNs from print books, has a strong vested interest in people opting for print. But take a look at the pretty pictures that are almost as easy to follow as ink ant trails pressed into woodpulp, and enjoy.  ...

Ellora’s Cave sues Dear Author over ‘defamatory’ blog post
September 26, 2014 | 9:59 pm

Ellora's Cave Well, that was unexpected. The saga of Ellora’s Cave has been chronicled over the last few months, and especially over the last few weeks, on various e-book blogs I read. For example, from The Passive Voice: Ellora’s Cave The mysterious case of the missing royalty checks from Ellora’s Cave More Ellora’s Cave troubles… Cat Grant Gives Away Her Unreverted Ellora’s Cave Titles And those are just from the last week or so. Authors...