Publishing

Casper the Commuting Cat to be Immortalised in New Children's Book

Dewey was a great one, but he will not be the only cat to be remembered in a book. Such a fellow was Plymouth U.K.'s Casper, who sadly was run over by a car while crossing the road to queue up for his daily bus ride last month.

Casper was an amazing cat who fancied himself a daily commuter. His life on the buses came to international attention last year. It turned out that for four years he had been riding the no 3 bus, passing the Devon city's historic dockyard and naval base, en route. He tended to curl up on a seat or sometimes purr around fellow passengers' legs, all the way to the final stop, stay on and make the return journey. Drivers got used to letting him off at the correct stop.

Owner Susan Finden, 65, said she would be donating any money she makes from the book to animal charities. She said: 'It's lovely to think he will go on in memories - and with this book his story will live on forever. The book will be published by Simon & Schuster next summer.

More on Casper in The Guardian and The Bookseller UK.

Retailing Pressure and Emergence of the ebook are Threatening the Future of Authors and Their Work

Political espionage author and journalist Henry Porter solemnly points out: "To begin to write a book these days seems more than the average folly. Publishing appears to have been hit by a storm similar to the one that tore through the music industry a few years ago and is now causing unprecedented pain in newspapers We are told that fewer people are reading, that book sales are down, that the supermarkets which sell one in five copies of all books care more about their cucumber sales, that the book is shortly to be replaced by the ebook and electronic readers sold by, among others, Amazon, which seems bent on reducing publishers to an archipelago of editorial sweatshops and the writer to the little guy stitching trainers in an airless room.

Publishing seems to be one of the great mysteries of commerce. Despite the large numbers involved – a total of £1.752bn was spent on 235.7m books in 2009 in the UK, that's nearly four books for every man woman and child – the business today is a testament to self-deprecation, with only a few people willing to assert the unique value of books and their content."

More from the Guardian Observer.

Amazon & Macmillan - Monday Update

From today's Shelf-Awareness: "The Macmillan ban went beyond Amazon's website: reportedly without notice to Kindle owners, Amazon went into the devices and removed Macmillan titles from wish lists and removed sample chapters of Macmillan titles. This move was reminiscent of the retailer's quiet pulling last year of some e-titles whose copyrights were in question (Shelf Awareness, July 19, 2009)."

The wild weekend of Amazon and Macmillan

Commentary by publishing industry consultant Mike Shatzkin

Excerpt:

Now I swear all this is true. As everybody knows, a very serious food fight broke out between Amazon and Macmillan late Friday night. All weekend Michael Cader led the way in ferreting out additional useful information and I spent most of today (Sunday) trying to write an analytical blogpost. I got it just about finished in the early afternoon, and the bottom line to what I’d written was “Amazon will not be able to sustain this.”

I decided to hold the post until after going to see Crazy Heart this afternoon and, when I came home, Amazon had already folded. But I had written a post that provided a lot of useful information, even if events had stolen my punchline.

So I’m giving it the once-over to edit it for the reality that Amazon has already announced that they will not continue to boycott Macmillan books.

Amazon Concedes to Macmillan on Price of eBooks

On Friday, Amazon.com shocked the publishing world when it pulled both the digital and physical books of Macmillan, the large international publisher, after Macmillan said it planned to begin setting higher prices for its e-books. Until now, Amazon has been setting e-book prices itself, and has established $9.99 as the common price for new releases and best-sellers.

But in a message to its customers posted to its Web site on Sunday afternoon, Amazon said that while it strongly disagreed with Macmillan’s stance, it would concede to the publisher. The New York Times reports.

“We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles,” Amazon said. “We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books.”

Sounds like Amazon wished Macmillan didn't have a monopoly over their own titles. Perhaps Amazon wants to write, edit, publish, print, design, bind, price, market, distribute, sell and ship its own books in addition to formulating its own proprietary reading technology and software?

Amazon Has a Hissy Fit

Amazon.com has pulled books from Macmillan, one of the largest publishers in the United States, in a dispute over the pricing on e-books on the site.

The publisher’s books can be purchased only from third parties on Amazon.com.

A person in the industry with knowledge of the dispute, which has been brewing for a year, said Amazon was expressing its strong disagreement by temporarily removing Macmillan books. The person did not want to be quoted by name because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Macmillan, like other publishers, has asked Amazon to raise the price of e-books to around $15 from $9.99.

Macmillan is one of the publishers signed on to offer books to Apple, as part of its new iBookstore on the iPad tablet unveiled earlier this week.

iCountry News

Will Apple’s iPad save, or doom, book culture and the community bookstores, authors and readers that support it?

Opinion piece in the NYT

LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #104

This week's episode brings an analytical essay. What is fueling this renewed drive for paywalls and exclusivity contracts for content? The essay talks about some of the economic pressures that may have been overlooked. Remember, the air staff used to work in print news which means that they have their bylines and photo credits in at least a vertical file out there somewhere.

A miscellany of brief items is also presented.

Related links:
Andy Woodworth on paywalls and EBSCO exclusivity
China accuses US of online warfare
Reuters on the China situation regarding Internet freedom
Tom Foremski on a paywall hole
Usage of Mobile Internet in the UK
This Week in Fun Enters Hiatus
The death of Air America
Tech Liberation Front on Air America's death

15:57 minutes (6.4 MB)
mp3
[audio-player]

The Most Ironic LISNews Post Ever: Improving Access to Research

I bet you'd love to read this article in Science Magazine: Improving Access to Research
The authors write "Last week, the U.S. House Science and Technology Committee's Roundtable on Scholarly Publishing (on which we served along with 10 others) released a report* arguing that journal articles derived from federal research funding should be made publicly available as quickly as practicable—generally in a year or less after publication—and in ways that will improve scholarship by maximizing the scope for interoperability across articles, among disciplines, and internationally. "
Unfortunatly.... "The content you requested requires free registration or a subscription to this site. If you already have a user name and password, please sign in below."
Well at least you can read the report.

Amazon Increases Royalty Rate for Books on Its Kindle E-Reader

In what appeared to be a clear bid to anticipate the release of the breathlessly awaited Apple tablet, Amazon announced Wednesday new royalty terms for authors or publishers who release e-books through its Kindle’s digital text platform, a direct publishing initiative.

Authors and publishers will be offered a royalty rate of 70 per cent of the digital list price after “delivery costs,” typically about 6 cents per digital unit. This rate is similar to that currently offered by Apple in its app store.

Full article at NYT.com

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