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Publishing

Guardian takes up UK Society of Authors statement: Traditional publishing terms no longer fair or sustainable
July 13, 2014 | 1:41 pm

SoA logoAfter UK Society of Authors head Nicola Solomon wrote to TeleRead in the wake of the release of the UK Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) report on author earnings, The Guardian picked up the same statement from her to endorse the SoA view that "the terms many publishers are demanding are no longer fair or sustainable." And this time The Guardian, hitherto a more than somewhat anti-Amazon publication, only mentioned Amazon briefly and in positive terms, in the context of self-publishing. The Guardian mostly covers the same ground that Solomon already went over in her Q&A with TeleRead, and the arguments also covered here,...

Hey, publishers? Show us the money!
July 10, 2014 | 4:37 pm

money_grubbing_businessman_0521-1011-0416-3829_SMUPublishers are earning more than ever before. Writers are earning less than ever before. So why are writers defending publishers? And why is all that money staying with publishers instead of going back to authors? This debate has gained fresh point and ammunition in the context of the recent Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) study on UK author incomes. Nate Hoffelder criticized the ALCS report on the grounds of methodology: "This report looks less like a true survey of writers and more like a hatchet job from a group with an axe to grind. I suggest that you ignore it."...

Publishers vs editors: which do we need more?
July 9, 2014 | 2:25 pm

editorsI linked yesterday to an intriguing op-ed from Book Riot called 'Why We Still Need Publishers.' At the time, I thought writer Susie Rodarme made some salient points about the value of a second eye in the editorial process. But now that it's sat with me overnight, I think Rodarme has reached the wrong conclusion. She is correct that authors---good authors---probably can't or shouldn't try to do it all without a helper. But she makes a terminology error and confuses 'publisher' with 'editor.' For instance, just after declaring in paragraph 4 that 'publishers perform a necessary and not-easily-replaced service to the...

ALCS leads debate at House of Commons following author earnings report
July 9, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Following the release of the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) study “What Are Words Worth Now?,” already covered in TeleRead, which showed a catastrophic drop in writers' earnings, and the numbers of full-time authors, in the UK, the ALCS held a debate at the UK House of Commons on the issues raised in the report. Some participants at least didn't mince words about the report's conclusions. Owen Atkinson, Chief Executive of ALCS, said after the release of the report, "These are concerning times for writers. This rapid decline in both author incomes and in the numbers of those writing full-time could...

Hachette rejects Amazon proposal to give Hachette authors 100% of e-book revenue
July 8, 2014 | 6:09 pm

In the Amazon vs. Hachette feud, the PR moves and countermoves are coming out. Laura Hazard Owen has coverage at GigaOm and the Wall Street Journal also has a piece (paywalled; google the headline to view) on a proposal Amazon has floated to Hachette authors to pay them 100% of all revenue from sales of their e-books—cutting out both its own 30% and Hachette’s 70% share—if Hachette agrees. The revenue split on paper books would be unaffected. The letter is particularly interesting in that, for the first time, Amazon is shedding some light on how the negotiations with...

Why books are no way headed for the dumpbin of history
July 8, 2014 | 12:25 pm

There can be all kinds of disputes about the future form and the proper sales and distribution model of the book, but there is one thing that could certainly kill books stone dead in the long run: if young readers stop reading. Fortunately, there's absolutely no sign of that yet. Not at least according to the latest Publishers Weekly sales rankings for "The Bestselling Books of 2014 (So Far)." According to their data, "Young adult novels reigned over the top halves of the print and Kindle bestseller lists for the first six months of the year. John Green’s unstoppable The Fault...

Amazon-Hachette: Whose Side Are You On?
July 8, 2014 | 10:30 am

laura resnickBy Laura Resnick The non-disclosure agreement governing the current negotiations between online retail giant Amazon and publishing corporation Hachette sometimes seems about as effective as a gag order in a custody battle between Hollywood celebrities. Hachette has released multiple statements and leaks about the negotiations, including a claim that "Amazon has been demanding payments for a range of services." Amazon made a statement in May, eventually followed by an Amazon executive telling the media in July, "This discussion is all about e-book pricing." However, apart from such occasional tidbits, there's little information about the specific terms on the table. And in the absence...

SFWA ‘doubles down’ in support of Douglas Preston’s petition
July 8, 2014 | 6:26 am

sfwaPassive Guy over at The Passive Voice reports receiving an email from SFWA headed “SFWA doubling down,” clarifying its position on signing onto Douglas Preston’s open letter decrying Amazon’s hardball tactics in its negotiation with Hachette. (Odd that they didn’t also send it to me, given that TPV carried the story I posted about it in the first place.) The letter reads as follows: SFWA’s support of Douglas Preston’s open letter reflects our concern about Amazon’s tactics in their dispute with Hachette and the way those tactics are impacting writers and their careers. We are,...

Does the UK’s CIC want to gag copyright reform proposals?
July 7, 2014 | 4:31 pm

CICGiven all the hysteria around the Amazon-Hachette faceoff in UK media, you could be forgiven for thinking that the UK publishing industry was on its last legs. Not so, according to the latest Create UK report, the main strategy document from the Creative Industries Council, available here. As part of the media circus surrounding the release of the report, UK Prime Minister David Cameron publicly undertook to double the value of exports from the UK's creative industries, currently running at £70 billion ($120 billion) a year, with a growth rate five times that of the wider economy over the past three...

Bertelsmann leaves the club as retail book arm closes
July 7, 2014 | 10:25 am

Gerrman media giant Bertelsmann, part owner with Pearson of Big Five behemoth Penguin Random House, is reportedly closing its direct-to-consumer book sales business in Europe, Der Club, and its few retail bookstore premises. According to the Wall Street Journal report, "The company's retail locations as well as the online store, branded under the 'Der Club' label, will cease operations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland by the end of 2015, spelling the end to almost all of Bertelsmann's remaining bookselling activities." A residual business will continue to operate in Russia, the Ukraine, and Spain. As the German press remarks, this decision has long...

Big Five publishers, it’s time for some tough love
July 6, 2014 | 4:32 pm

ToughLoveSo, Andrew Updegrove has a blog post in which he expresses concern about the future of competition in publishing. (Found via The Passive Voice.) His thesis seems to be that traditional publishers exert a competitive pressure on Amazon—Amazon can’t lower the rates it pays self-publishing writers as long as traditional publishers represent some kind of alternative. He writes: If Hatchette and the other big publishers are successful in holding off Amazon, then it’s pretty safe to assume that not much will change with the way they do business. But if Amazon wins, the traditional publishers will...

Would Anyone Care About the Amazon/Hachette Dispute If it Wasn’t About Books?
July 6, 2014 | 12:55 pm

hachetteMy RSS feeds have been flooded this week with stories about the latest Amazon vs Hachette development, the letter author Douglas Preston initiated urging readers to email Jeff Bezos and tell him what they think. I have written before about this and pointed out that tons of companies limit or restrict sales for all sorts of reasons. I myself have been on the hunt for a certain lunch container ever since I heard about its release, but the Canadian reseller doesn't have it yet because the creator likes to sell it on their website exclusively first, before they offer it to...