10 Things Publishers Have Been Doing (That We Should Celebrate)
July 16, 2014

Publishing is all too often, and all too easily, lambasted for all the things it does not do. But we should also acknowledge what has been happening. What publishers have been trying out and in what areas these initiatives have been working. 2014 has already been a sobering year for the business, with the loss of two redoutable indies (both scooped up by Hachette), and a continuing decline in sales of physical books (albeit at a slowing rate). But it has also been a year of innovation

Letter from Richard Russo on the Amazon-Hachette Dispute
July 11, 2014

The primary mission of the Authors Guild has always been the defense of the writing life. While it may be true that there are new opportunities and platforms for writers in the digital age, only the willfully blind refuse to acknowledge that authorship is imperiled on many fronts. True, not all writers are equally impacted. Some authors still make fortunes through traditional publishing, and genre writers (both traditionally published and independently published) appear to be doing better than writers of nonfiction and "literary" mid-list fiction. 

Do Writers Need a Union?
July 7, 2014

On the website ThePassiveVoice, commenters bring up trade and labor disputes and organizations, and I think these and class warfare comments I've seen elsewhere are spot-on. Trade fiction and narrative nonfiction authors do not have any meaningful representation. There is no group busting balls on behalf of writers, and there are a lot of balls out there to be busted. Amazon, the Big 5, B&N, Apple, Google ... no one is fighting these people for better terms and pay. The Writers' Guild seems to exist to fight Amazon

Byliner Gone Bad And The Business of Longform Journalism on The Web
July 7, 2014

On Christmas Eve Day in 2012, I sat in a Starbucks and wrote an enthusiastic post about why it had been the year of the e-single. E-singles - works of journalism between 3,000 to 15,000 words, usually nonfiction and sold as individual ebooks - were "a true digital-native format," I wrote, "the format for our time," ideal to read curled up with your iPad. With the crash and burn of Byliner this year, however, my enthusiasm seems less than prescient. Byliner, which launched in 2011, was one of the darlings of the literary startup scene

Apple Launches 'New Literary Talent' Promotion
June 24, 2014

Apple is giving away a free e-book a day this week to highlight emerging talent and "exciting new literary voices".

The promotion has kicked off today (23rd June) with Dawn O'Porter's debut YA novel Paper Aeroplanes (Hot Key Books) - a "touching" portrayal of young girls trying to come to terms with grief - and The Bookseller understands tomorrow's promotion (24th June) will be Broken Dolls, a debut by James Carol (Faber) featuring Jefferson Winter, an ex-FBI psychological profiler assigned to help the Met out with their cold cases.

The Big 'If' in Apple's Ebook Settlement
June 23, 2014

No money will change hands until Apple has exhausted its appeals.

U.S.A. v. Apple, the e-book antitrust suit that Apple AAPL -0.28% lost so spectacularly last year, is back in the news.

Apple has struck a deal with 30 states attorneys general who had demanded hundreds of millions of dollars in damages on behalf of book buyers in the their states. By settling, the two sides avoided a jury trial that was set to begin next month.

Apple Discounts Hachette E-Books Amid Spat With Amazon
June 20, 2014

Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) is taking advantage of the dispute between Inc. (AMZN:US) and Hachette Book Group by promoting and discounting pre-orders for the publisher's digital books.

There are 25 books featured for $9.99 in the Popular Pre-Orders category on Apple's iBooks store, all of which are published by Hachette. Authors on the list include Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling and mystery author James Patterson. Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS:US), another e-book competitor, is taking pre-orders for Rowling's new work, "The Silkworm," for $14.99 for its Nook tablet.

Apple Settles $840m Ebook Price-Fixing Case
June 17, 2014

Apple has settled its case with US states and consumers over ebook price fixing, according to a filing with a New York court made on Monday.

The attorney Steve Berman, representing US consumers and some states, told the US district judge Denise Cote that Apple had reached an agreement in principle with the plaintiffs. Cote ruled against Apple in a non-jury trial in 2013. Full details of the settlement are being kept under seal before approval by the court.

With an Amazon Smartphone, the Retailer Seeks a Tether to Consumers
June 16, 2014

Hold the phone: Amazon wants to burrow even deeper into your life.

The retailer is expected to introduce a smartphone on Wednesday at an event in Seattle, a long-rumored project that aims to close any remaining gap between the impulse to buy and the completed act.

Amazon has spent the last several years furiously investing billions of dollars on multiple fronts: constructing warehouses all over the country to deliver goods as fast as possible, building devices as varied as tablets and set-top boxes, and creating and licensing entertainment to stock those devices.

Hachette Reveals Amazon Digital Sales Share
June 12, 2014

Amazon has a 78% market share of Hachette Livre e-book titles in the UK and a 60% share in the US, an Investor Day presentation by Hachette Livre has revealed. The presentation, made public on the company's website and first reported by Publishers Marketplace, has shed fresh light into how hard the publisher must be being hit by its current row over terms with Amazon in the US, which has seen pre-ordering removed from selected Hachette Book Group titles. The presentation has also discussed a necessary "rebalancing" between the company's US and UK operations.