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In dismissing Amazon’s Orwell quotation, Laura Miller misinterprets Orwell herself
August 26, 2014 | 9:15 pm

There she goes again. Salon’s Laura Miller has penned the latest in a series of tirades against Amazon, this one summing up the squabble thus far and taking issue with Amazon’s quotation of Orwell’s discussion of paperbacks in its “Readers United” letter explaining that lower prices were good for everyone. We’ve already discussed Miller’s biases in some of the links above, but the most interesting thing has to do with her understanding (or lack thereof) of the Orwell quotation. Miller writes: To top it all off this month, the retailer posted an open...

11 Publishing Shakers to follow, besides us
August 13, 2014 | 8:28 pm

shakerI’ll admit this is blowing my own horn a little, but today I was alerted to an article on The Independent Publishing Magazine listing “The 12 Publishing Shakers You Should Be Following.” After a bit of puzzlement—are the Shakers even still around, and didn’t they make furniture rather than publish?—I noticed that our very own Paul St. John Mackintosh comes in at number one on the list. (And they happen to mention a certain other TeleRead writer in the comments after that…) Another TeleRead-related writer, Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader, came in at #7. While posting about it...

Amazon’s e-book position ‘weak’ but customer focus too strong for disruption
August 11, 2014 | 4:35 am

Here’s a couple of interesting takes on the Amazon/Hachette affair. It’s kind of refreshing, actually, after all this back and forth he-said/she-said of authors in favor of Amazon or Hachette and Amazon and Hachette themselves to look at what more neutral parties are saying. For starters, here’s Jake Kerr on Medium.com suggesting that Amazon is fighting so hard for lower prices on e-books because, far from being the monopolistic behemoth others accuse it of, its position in the e-book trade is actually fairly weak. This seems a little counterintuitive at first, but Kerr points out that e-book stores have...

Hachette responds to Amazon advocates’ email on pricing its e-books
August 11, 2014 | 1:24 am

Digital Book World is carrying the response Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch is sending to those people who write him at Amazon’s behest. Since I posted the Amazon letter in full, it seems only fair to do the same for this. Pietsch (or whoever wrote the response for him) maintains that “Hachette sets prices for our books entirely on our own, not in collusion with anyone” (technically true, I suppose, since he said books, not e-books). He also maintains that the vast majority of Hachette’s titles are priced at or below $9.99, that the ones that cost more are nonetheless...

Amazon asks Kindle Direct authors and readers to lobby Hachette in contract negotiation
August 9, 2014 | 3:37 am

Amazon’s PR push in the Hachette negotiation seems to have moved beyond simply posting announcements to forums. I just had a rather lengthy email show up in my inbox from “Kindle Direct Publishing,” which begins with the salutation “Dear KDP Author.” I’m not sure if I received it because I created a KDP account at some point while looking into it, or as a member of the press. Either way, I’m reproducing the letter here in full. The letter essentially expands upon Amazon’s recent forum post about the situation, laying out Amazon’s belief that Hachette wants to charge too...

Hachette tried to toss indies out with the trash in Perseus distro deal
August 8, 2014 | 10:25 am

Perseus GroupNick Mamatas was kind enough to tip me off to a fascinating writeup by Dennis Johnson, co-founder of Brooklyn indie publishing stalwart Melville House, on a story that knocks another hole in Hachette's credibility as the self-styled defender of cultural and literary values against the encroachment of Amazon. As Johnson tells it, Hachette Book Group's just-collapsed deal to buy Perseus Books Group, long owned by private equity fund (not hedge fund as Johnson describes it) Perseus LLC, would have involved jettisoning the cluster of often highly-regarded indie publishers that it aimed to sell with the acquisition's distribution business, to U.S. distributor...

Who exactly owns aNobii?
August 7, 2014 | 4:25 pm

sainsburys_logoThe Bookseller reported that UK department store chain Sainsbury's has bought out its publisher partners HarperCollins and Penguin Random House in aNobii, the book-focused social media platform originally launched by Greg Sung in Hong Kong in 2006, and has raised the 64 percent stake it bought from HMV for £1 in June 2012 to 100 percent. The aNobii website itself is headed up by a press announcement from Italian publisher Mondadori which reads "Mondadori buys aNobii." According to this, Mondadori has taken over "Anobii Ltd. the brand and the assets of the social reading service which has a million users around the world and over 300,000 in...

Bowker data shows traditional publishing steady in U.S.
August 7, 2014 | 12:25 pm

NielsenThe latest short data report from  ProQuest research affiliate Bowker showed traditional print publishing holding up very nicely, thank you, in the U.S. The Bowker release stated that: "production of print books by traditional publishers in the USA declined from 309,957 titles in 2012 to a projected 304,912 titles in 2013. According to the company, the two per cent decrease reverses the sector’s growth in 2012 over 2011, but points to a relatively stable market for print works despite competition from e-books." Meanwhile, "the non-traditional publishing sector saw a far more significant decline over 2012. Its print output for 2013 was projected at...

Shatzkin shares latest on maximizing the backlist in digital publishing era
July 30, 2014 | 6:47 pm

mikeshatzkin.jpgMike Shatzkin's commentary on developments in the publishing industry has often featured in TeleRead in the past - not always in entirely respectful terms. All the same, he's often good for wrap-ups of not-quite-leading-edge newly-received wisdom in mainstream publishing, and one such piece is his latest post entitled (deep breath...): "Publishers need to rethink their marketing deployments and tactics in the digital age to take advantage of their backlists." Shatzkin delves into the traditional publishing priorities of frontlist versus backlist marketing ("Books have always been launched like rockets. The publisher commits maximum firepower to getting them off the ground. Most crash to...

Alloy Entertainment partners with Amazon on digital-first for young adults
July 30, 2014 | 3:25 pm

Time Warner-owned book packager and entertainment property developer Alloy Entertainment has partnered with Amazon Publishing on a digital-first imprint for young adult titles. As reported in Digital Book World and elsewhere, this builds on Alloy's existing partnership with Amazon for the Kindle Worlds fanfic program, and titles published first on this platform will later be considered for hard copy print runs. According to the original Alloy Entertainment press release, available here: "The new imprint, named Alloy Entertainment, will be part of Amazon Publishing’s Powered by Amazon program. Powered by Amazon enables publishers and authors to leverage Amazon’s global distribution and personalized,...

Amazon says it would be content with 30% of revenue if Hachette e-books were $9.99
July 29, 2014 | 8:42 pm

Amazon has posted another update to its Kindle user forum, dispensing more information about the nature of the dispute between itself and Hachette. In fact, this is pretty much the clearest statement of what the actual argument covers that we have yet seen from either side, including those Hachette leakers. (And, interestingly enough, it doesn’t actually agree with some of the content of those leaks! Imagine that?) I haven’t looked for any reactions yet, but I predict the same howls of outrage we got with Amazon’s last such announcement in May, from Hachette partisans complaining that Amazon didn’t have...

Latest Nielsen UK figures show ebooks eating into soft covers
July 29, 2014 | 10:25 am

nielsenThe latest figures brought together in the Books & Consumers 2013 UK Annual Review from Nielsen Book, which "provides an overview of consumer book purchasing in the UK in 2013 compared to 2012, using data based on 80‐90,000 book purchases made by a nationally representative sample of 37‐38,000 book buyers per year," shows ebook purchases in the UK rising to one quarter of Nielsen's estimated total, at 25 percent for 2013 versus 20 percent in 2012. However, this growth came at the expense of paperback books, with softback purchases declining from 55 to 50 percent over the same period, in the...