Hachette Book Group
Occasionally I've asked book publishers if they've ever considered a turnabout: withholding their books from Amazon until Amazon makes some concessions. They always insist that they couldn't withstand the short-term financial hit such a move would entail. They surely know the reality of their own bottom lines far better than I do, and they certainly haven't gotten the same free pass from Wall Street that Amazon has enjoyed over the past couple of years.
It has been a week since news broke that Amazon and Hachette were in the middle of a nasty contract negotiation, and much ink has been spilled about Amazon's dirty tricks. The NYTimes has cited instances of Amazon running out of stock on Hachette titles, Publishers Weekly has posted a behind the scenes view of what's at stake, and yesterday GigaOm posted a roundup of responses to the negotiation. But in spite of all this coverage I think there's an aspect of this story which no one has covered yet, and that is the possibility that
Titles by authors including Malcolm Gladwell, James Patterson and Iain Banks are taking weeks to be sent to readers from Amazon.com, as the online retailer is accused by the books' publisher Hachette of delaying delivery "for reasons of their own".
The New York Times found estimated delivery times of two to three weeks in the US on a range of books published by Hachette, including titles by Gladwell, Stephen Colbert and JD Salinger. Other affected Hachette titles include Banks's Consider Phlebas, Kate Adie's memoir The Kindness of Strangers,
A U.S. federal judge denied a bid by Apple Inc on Wednesday to hold off a trial in a case brought by state attorneys general accusing the company of conspiring with five major publishers to fix e-book prices.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in a brief order said the July 14 trial had already been postponed once and should go forward, paving the way for more than two dozen states to pursue hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
Visitors to the New York Public Library's website will have a new way to decide what to read next: The library is partnering with New York-based startup Zola Books to offer algorithm-based recommendations to readers. The technology comes from Bookish, the book discovery site that Zola acquired earlier this year.
Canadians will have to wait longer for cheaper e-books, as a move by the Competition Bureau aimed at reducing the prices of the digital reading material has been postponed due to a challenge by Kobo Inc.
The deal struck by the bureau and four major e-book publishers to remove restrictions on retailer discounting was signed on Feb. 7 and due to take effect on Wednesday.
Kobo has filed objections to a Competition Bureau agreement impelling four of the biggest publishers operating in Canada to renegotiate their contracts with ebook retailers.
The Feb. 7 consent agreement - the culmination of an 18-month investigation into ebook pricing in Canada - involves Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Canada, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster Canada. It requires the publishers to remove or amend clauses in their distribution agreements that restrict the ability of ebook retailers to offer discounts.
Independent bookstores, with their paper-thin profit margins and competition from Amazon, have found themselves a Daddy Warbucks.
The best-selling author James Patterson has started a program to give away $1 million of his personal fortune to dozens of bookstores, allowing them to invest in improvements, dole out bonuses to employees and expand literacy outreach programs.
Borders is long gone, Barnes & Noble (BKS) is on the ropes, and total sales at U.S. bookstores have fallen 22% over the past five years. Is every book lover's nightmare coming true? Is the publishing industry somehow being destroyed by a combination of Amazon (AMZN) price cutting and a wave of Netflix (NFLX) watching, iPhone gaming and tweeting?
Definitely not, though you might come away with that ridiculously pessimistic view from some recent coverage trashing Amazon's role in the industry.
The publishing company Lagardère reported 2013 earnings today, reporting its U.S. publishing arm recorded a 6 percent jump in revenues. Taking into account all its publishing divisions, Lagardère was able to report that revenue was up 1.9 percent for 2013. The publisher said that eBooks now account for 10.4 percent of sales, up from 7.8 percent in 2012. "The digital transition remains for the time being essentially limited to the US and UK markets," the company said.