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Random House

What I got for my $18: A Kindle Case Study
October 10, 2012 | 9:52 pm

Hours of DevotionI try to keep my Kindle spending to $10 or less per book—partly for budgetary reasons, and partly because I find most e-books so error-filled that I resent paying so much money just to copy-edit them myself. When I wrote about the errors in JK Rowling's new hardback-priced bestseller, I made the point that if publishers want to make the argument that e-books are worth full retail paper price, they need to put out a product that merits that price. My experience in the last year or two has been that they are not putting out such a product. But every...

Judge denies Apple, publisher motions to dismiss class-action price-fixing suit
May 15, 2012 | 11:58 pm

062907pricefixingHot on the heels of the filing I mentioned yesterday, the judge in the publisher/Apple price-fixing class action has issued a 56-page ruling (PDF). It’s important to note that this is only a preliminary ruling on Apple and the publishers’ motion to have the case thrown out. It doesn’t mean they’re necessarily guilty. As such, it used a simplified set of criteria—rather than questioning the plaintiffs’ facts, as would be done in a full trial, the judge took them at face value for the purpose of determining whether there was enough of an issue to move to full trial about....

New details come to light in agency pricing class-action lawsuit
May 15, 2012 | 1:32 am

The hits just keep on coming. On PaidContent, Laura Hazard Owen writes about a new filing in a class-action lawsuit against the agency pricing publishers that reveals some previously redacted evidence in the case shedding light on the agency pricing negotiations. This is the suit in which a number of states (now up to 31 including DC and Puerto Rico) seek monetary damages, in addition to the DoJ’s class action settlement. In one case, Macmillan CEO John Sargent asked Apple if they might consider relaxing their 30% take for new-release “hardcover” e-books to help ease the pain of their...

Amazon Publishing acquires North American James Bond print and e-book rights
April 18, 2012 | 2:15 am

James-Bond-CartoonThe name is Zon. Ama Zon. In 2010, the Fleming estate chose not to renew its publishing contract with Penguin for the James Bond novels, and proceeded to release them electronically in the UK via Amazon, Waterstones, and other e-book retailers. In March of this year, Random imprint Vintage Books acquired the world publishing rights for ten years to the 14 Fleming Bond novels and two nonfiction titles, but not the US or Canadian rights. It wasn’t clear who would be the North American publisher. But now we know: the books are back with Amazon again, but this...

Big Six publishers decline to renew contract with Amazon over unfavorable terms
April 10, 2012 | 3:39 am

Salon Magazine has an extremely lengthy story looking at Amazon, and bringing up a couple of points I hadn’t heard about before. In main, the article looks at Amazon’s habit of making quiet but substantial grants to various small independent publishing organizations, totaling about $1 million per year. Is it done to support indie publishing, or silence Amazon’s most strident critics? The Salon piece is more even-handed than the last article I covered on this theme. But the really interesting part is actually buried in the second section of the article, which mentions something I hadn’t heard elsewhere: Salon claims that...

Some publishers more willing to settle with DOJ than others over e-book pricing
April 7, 2012 | 12:49 pm

The Wall Street Journal has some further news on the putative e-book pricing settlement in the US Justice Department and European Commission joint anti-trust investigation of the “Agency Five” publishers plus Apple. Anonymous sources have told the Journal that three publishers are inclined to settle and two others (plus Apple) are holding out. HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster reportedly favor settling, while Penguin and Macmillan (plus Apple) do not. (Random House, who waited a year to implement agency pricing, was not part of the investigation.) "The companies involved know very well under which conditions we...

Nova Scotia libraries boycott Random House over e-book price hike
April 2, 2012 | 11:21 pm

CBC News reports that some Nova Scotia libraries have begun boycotting Random House over a change to Random House’s e-book pricing for libraries. Earlier this year, Random House announced its plans to raise the prices on e-books bought for library loans, and despite an ALA statement asking the publisher not to do so, put it into effect last month. Under the new rates, libraries have seen Random House e-book prices almost triple. Troy Myers, CEO and chief librarian of Nova Scotia’s South Shore Public Libraries, said that he hopes the boycott will make a statement, and that publishers should...

Thanks to e-books, publishers’ revenues are down but profits are up
March 31, 2012 | 9:31 pm

The other day, I mentioned a survey showing that the growth of e-books has reduced the overall value of the book publishing market in the UK, and wondered what the figures might look like for the US. While the figures don’t measure precisely the same thing, Laura Hazard Owen reports on PaidContent that some figures released in publishing conglomerates Bertelsmann (Random House) and Pearson (Penguin) show that, thanks to the broad adoption of e-books, publishing revenues are lower but profits are higher. In other words, publishers are making a better profit even though they’re taking less money in, because...

Mike Shatzkin: Bookstores’ decision not to carry Amazon books could be wise move
February 9, 2012 | 12:52 am

Are Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, and Indigo making a wise move by not carrying the books from Amazon’s publishing arm, or are they cutting off their noses to spite their faces? This is the question that Mike Shatzkin addresses in his latest column. He notes that a reporter contacted him, undoubtedly expecting the same sort of attacks on the move posted by some major media outlets, and was rather surprised when Shatzkin said that, from a self-interested point of view, the decision made perfect sense. Shatzkin recapitulates the recent history between Amazon, the Big Six publishers, and...

Kobo announces publishing arm, signs e-reader sales deal with UK bookstore chain W H Smith
October 27, 2011 | 11:44 am

As Amazon goes, so goes Kobo? A report from CBC suggests that would seem to be the case. Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis says that Kobo is developing a publishing arm to offer complete publishing services (including editing and design) for authors who would like to publish through it. It’s not clear from the article whether this service just covers e-books, or is like Amazon’s new publishing division in offering both electronic and print publication services. Either way, it’s one more way e-book-based firms are competing with traditional publishers, though traditional publishers don’t necessarily seem to be worried just yet....

Random House releases interactive Little Golden Book apps
August 25, 2011 | 10:16 pm

pokypuppyI have fond recollections of a particular series of children’s books with shiny foil spines. I expect anybody of my generation, those since, and probably several before do as well. Little Golden Books are some of the first books a child will ever read. Those books helped me win a prize for reading 104 books in a month in Kindergarten—I have little doubt most of those books were Little Golden ones. Of course, now that the younger generations are enthralled by portable electronic, Little Golden Books have to change with the times as well. Random House is releasing digital...

Random House cuts out agent in e-book backlist deal with author
May 21, 2011 | 9:37 am

A couple of months ago, agent Sonia Land of the Sheil Land literary agency placed Catherine Cookson’s backlist titles directly on Amazon, without consulting their print publisher, Random House, or offering it a chance to be part of the deal. Now it would seem that Random House has struck back, closing a backlist e-book deal with author Tom Sharpe and bypassing Land, who is also his agent. On FutureBook, Philip Jones writes: Agents will fume: one said the gloves were now off. Anthony Goff, president of the Association of Authors Agents, told me that undermining the...