Book Publishers Scramble to Rewrite Their Future
March 19, 2013

After centuries in which books and the process of publishing them barely changed, the digital revolution has thrown the entire business up for grabs. It’s a transformation that began with the rise of Amazon as an online bookseller and accelerated with the resulting decline of the physical bookstore. But with the shift to ebooks—which now represent upwards of 20 percent of big publishers’ revenue, up from 1 percent in 2008—every aspect of the existing framework is now open to debate:

Beware Random House's Ebook Imprints
March 10, 2013

Random House’s ebook-only imprints Hydra and Alibi have come under fire for having overly acquisitive deal terms.

Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware revealed a couple of weeks ago that, based on a deal memo she had seen, Hydra’s terms are dreadful. Author John Scalzi goes into much more detail about exactly why these terms are bad for its authors. Both posts are essential reading.

The biggest problems identified by Strauss and Scalzi are:

BBC says no deal done yet for Lonely Planet
March 4, 2013

 The BBC has denied "a deal has been done" to sell a majority stake in Lonely Planet, after a report said it was on the cusp of being sold to an American landowner. It said it was continuing to explore "strategic options" for the travel publisher. has reported that the majority stake in Lonely Planet is to be sold to reclusive billionaire Brad Kelley from Kentucky, US, in a deal which was scheduled to be announced next week.

Microsoft: Would They Really Want To Own Bookstores?
March 4, 2013

Barnes & Noble shares are showing impressive gains Monday following a fascinating article in Barron’s by my old colleague Andrew Bary speculating on the potential fate of the book retailer and its Nook ebook reader business.

As the piece notes, the company’s founder and chairman, Leonard Riggio, is interested in buying out the company’s retail operations. But Andrew thinks investors should take care not to let him pull a Michael Dell and try to buy back the company on the cheap.

BBC selling Lonely Planet to Kentucky cigarette billionaire Brad Kelley?
March 4, 2013

Lonely Planet, the storied travel guidebooks publisher owned by BBC, is about to be sold. And the buyer is a doozy: reclusive Kentucky billionaire Brad Kelley, who spent the 1990s selling discount cigarette brands like USA Gold, Bull Durham, and Malibu, then sold the company for almost $1 billion in 2001, and parlayed that money into becoming the one of the largest land owners and conservationists in United States. The deal is in final stages of negotiation, and …

March 1, 2013

When Pubslush started, it launched as more or less a Kickstarter for book projects, with books that met their funding goals being published exclusively by Pubslush. But the company relaunched last year with a different angle on its concept. Think of Pubslush now as part book incubator, and part market intelligence provider.

"When we relaunched, we wanted to be a friend to everyone in the industry," says Amanda Barbara, development director at Pubslush. "With the old model, we were in competition."

What would become of an independent Nook?
February 27, 2013

While predicting doom for Nook, as our columnist Michael Weinstein put it, has become the favored pastime of the book and tech press of late, it’s hard not to read the news of B&N Chairman Leonard S. Riggio’s bid to purchase the chain’s retail stores and take them private—leaving the company’s foundering Nook division to fend for itself—as the beginning of the end for the little e-reader that could. (Or maybe it’s the end of the end for the little e-reader that couldn’t quite.)

Barnes & Noble Stores Seen Topping Market Value: Real M&A
February 26, 2013

For Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS) founder Leonard Riggio to take his bookstores private, he may need to write a check for more than the entire company’s market value.

Riggio said yesterday that he will offer to buy the retail stores and website of the New York-based company he started more than 40 years ago, leaving shareholders with Barnes & Noble’s college book and Nook e-reader businesses. The retail chain alone is worth about $1 billion, according to the average of four analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg…

Indie bookstores sue Amazon, big-6 publishers for using DRM to create monopoly on ebooks
February 20, 2013

Three independent bookstores have filed a class action suit against Amazon and all of the big-six publishers, alleging that the proprietary digital rights management tools Amazon uses on ebooks serve to create a monopoly. The indies say publisher contracts calling for the use of this DRM, which like most forms of DRM prohibits readers from copying ebooks or reading them on non-authorized devices, restrain ebook sales and that Amazon “has unlawfully monopolized or attempted to monopolize the market for ebooks in the United States.”

Choose your own adventure: Authors turn to Kickstarter to fund their stories
February 18, 2013

Game designer Mike Selinker had a dream back in 1995—to bring his puzzle solving fantasy adventure, a book called The Maze of Games, to market.

No one he knew thought he could sell it, so Selinker put his manuscript in the proverbial drawer for eighteen years. Then he decided to try Kickstarter.

Four and half hours after his campaign launched, he met his campaign goal of $16,000, and to date has attracted 1,600 backers and raised more than $100,000.