First Agency Model Casualty: Amazon Not Selling New Penguin e-Books

Truth is stranger than April Fools.

Following up on what was expressed in the Shelf-Awareness April 1st edition as the "buy or bye" button

...key among the changes: all book titles listed on Amazon will have "bye" buttons next to the "buy" buttons, only one of which can be activated at a time...

Penguin and Amazon have failed to reach an agreement over terms of sale. As a result, Penguin e-books released beginning today will not be available at the Kindle store. E-books released prior to April 1 are still for sale at the $9.99 price.

Penguin CEO David Shanks explained that Penguin has reached new terms of sale agreements with a number of e-booksellers, but not Amazon. "Our conversations with Amazon are ongoing and we do hope to continue our long-time relationship with them," Shanks said. Shanks noted that new Penguin e-books "are available through Barnes and, Sony, Kobo,, reader applications on the iPhone and soon on the iBookstore for the iPad. Additionally, we're working with our digital delivery partners (Ingram, Overdrive, and Baker & Taylor) to make your eBooks even more widely available."

Publishers Weekly reports.

It's a New Month in the Book Trade

Shelf-Awareness on the first of the new month for your viewing pleasure:

Brave New Book World: Adapting to the Coup d'Etat/Apple Shines with iTie iNs/Borders' New Two-for-One Deal/Never-Ending Conference Becomes a Reality/Amazon Opens Northern Front

...also an ad for "Thin Thighs in Thirty Days", which claims NOT to be an April fool if you can believe it...

Amazon's Buy Button Rumors Swirl

Rumors swirled today that Amazon (AMZN) could revoke the buy buttons for books by Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin, or Hachette if the major publishers can't strike an eBook deal with the online bookseller.

Neither Amazon nor the publishers went on the record about the eBook pricing debate. However, the New York Times has spoken with unnamed publishing executives about the terms of the eBook deal--noting that major publishers are "reluctant" to strike this kind of deal: "Amazon has agreed in principle that the major publishers would be able to set prices in its Kindle store as well. But it is also demanding that they lock into three-year contracts and guarantee that no other competitor will get lower prices or better terms."

Around the Internet, various commentators weighed in. eBookNewser noted that "it's a war out there" also reporting on Amazon's quiet launch of a Kindle App for the Mac.

The Arrival of Enriched E-Books

It's not 'just a book', it's "enriched". From the AP:

David Baldacci's next thriller, "Deliver Us from Evil," comes out April 20 as a hardcover, an e-book, and in an "enriched" electronic version which will include passages deleted from the final text, research photos, an audio interview and video footage of Baldacci at work.

"I have a pretty cool office, if I do say so myself," the author told The Associated Press during a telephone interview Monday from his office just outside Washington, D.C., where he sets many of his books.

"For a long time it seemed all people were talking about was pricing and the timing of the e-book. And I want to bring it back to the books themselves, to the content, because that's what should matter. I want people to have a great experience and give them a behind-the-scenes look at what I do, the way you would have it on a DVD."

The "enriched" Baldacci release will cost $15.99, according to Maja Thomas, senior vice president for Hachette Book Group's digital and audio publishing. The regular e-book will start at $14.99, then come down to $12.99 once it becomes a top seller, old hat for a Baldacci novel.

Why Dad’s book had a disclaimer from the publisher

Only a short post on a rainy Sunday, a little folksier than usual. But I did think of something sort-of analytical at the end.

But when I write about my Dad, nice things happen. Last week I got this link (LISNEWS) sent to me by a friend in London, reminding me of the disclaimer in In Cold Type. Dad was actually pretty proud of it. I also got a call from a retired CEO who encountered him early in his career and was permanently influenced. And next week I’m having coffee with a literary agent who started her career working with a dose of his mentoring at Doubleday in the 1950s.

Dad’s book is a tour de force. Nobody ever thought more analytically about every single process in trade publishing or brought such a comfort level with technology to their thinking. He should have gotten more attention for correctly predicting the inevitable decline of mass market publishing at a moment when few saw it: very shortly after what remains the biggest paperback deal in history. (That was Princess Daisy by Judith Krantz, from Crown to Bantam Books, for $3.1 million, in 1979.)

Full blog post here.


Pondering Good Faith in Publishing

Book publishers have long seen themselves as the gatekeepers of literary culture. But when they’re not looking, the truth has a way of being left at the door.

Last week Henry Holt & Company stopped printing and selling “The Last Train From Hiroshima,” about the atomic bombing of Japan, because its author had relied on a fraudulent source for a portion of the book and possibly fabricated others.

This is not the first time a publisher has been humiliated by an author’s unverified work. But this instance has occurred at a time when the publisher’s traditional role is under economic and technological stress.

Full article in the NYT


Former Book Designer Says Good Riddance To Print

A recent blog post by Craig Mod, a self-titled computer programmer, book designer and book publisher, offers a thoughtful and distinctive perspective on the move of books from paper to interactive devices like Apple’s iPad.

Mr. Mod summarizes his argument in the subtitle of his post: “Print is dying. Digital is surging. Everyone is confused. Good riddance.”

Mr. Mod divides content broadly into two categories: content where the form is important, such as poetry or text with graphics, and content where form is divorced from layout, which he says applies to most novels and non-fiction.

This kind of thinking makes a key point: instead of arguing about pixels versus paper, as many book lovers tend to do, it is more useful to focus on whether the technology is a good match for the content.

Full article at the NYT Bits Blog

Disclaimer in book

Small piece of publishing history: (On page 205 of "The book publishing industry" by Albert Greco)

Houghton Mifflin published Leonard Shatzkin's In Cold Type: Overcoming the Book Crisis, an intelligent critique of the marketing and distribution of books in the United States. This book was so contentious it contained a disclaimer from the publisher, an exceptionally rare event in the world of publishing; even Mein Kampf (also issued by Houghton Mifflin) does not contain a disclaimer from the publisher.

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10 Takeaways from the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference for Librarians

10 Takeaways from the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference for Librarians
Earlier this week Sue Polanka attended the O’Reilly Tools of Change (TOC) Conference for the first time. Over 1250 attendees gathered in New York City to discuss and network about issues and trends in publishing, in particular, digital publishing. While much of the information presented was for the publishing industry, she did manage to find several great ideas and concepts that relate to libraries. She'd like to share these with you, in no apparent order.

A Self-Publishers Tale: The Disadvantages of Amazon's Advantage Program

Dennis Danziger writes: "I am the world's worst Jewish businessman. I don't understand why I'm so bad with money. It can't be genetic. My brother is a professor of economics. My cousin Leilah, a college dropout, created a company that trades on the NY Stock Exchange. And I am very good at three-point shots.

Not only am I inept at everything money-oriented, but I am unorganized and have no patience for details. So self-publishing my novel, A Short History of a Tall Jew, a dark, romantic comedy set in Los Angeles, was something most of my friends and family warned me against.

I could have hired an on-line self-publishing company to do the work. They're fast and inexpensive, but I got all snobby and didn't want a name on my book's spine that would instantly identify my work as a vanity production.

So I farmed out the cover art, the page lay-out and the web design to a place where skilled craftsman earn a fraction of what they're actually worth - Cleveland - my wife's hometown.

And before my website was up, I astonishingly received an order from the Amazon Advantage Program.

More from The Huffington Post.


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