Publishing

Publishers brace for authors to reclaim book rights in 2013

A copyright law that lets authors break contracts after 35 years will start taking effect in January. The law, which is meant to give authors like Stephen King and Judy Blume a “second bite at the apple,” could provide yet another disruption for traditional publishers.

What Can Publishers Learn from Indie Rock?

The lessons of Indie Rock for the publishing industry are pondered in a post at The Scholarly Kitchen,
"Whenever you buy a record from just about any indie band, it comes with either a CD or with a card that contains a URL and a download code so you can get a digital copy at no additional cost...
If implemented in the right way, publishers could kill two birds with one stone: they could support a mechanism for downloading e-books purchased in conjunction with hardcovers that not only makes their best customers happy and extends the life of hardcover sales, but that actually fosters competition in the ebook marketplace."

Trying to explain publishing, or understand it, often remains a great challenge

From - The Shatzkin Files

Opening: I went to the In Re Books conference at New York Law School last Friday and Saturday in hopes of curing some of my ignorance about the law and publishing. I learned some things, including the facts about a very interesting case involving a book publisher, the associations of publishers and booksellers, and a large general retailer that took place over a century ago and anticipated a lot of what we’re seeing today as the other players in the industry battle the power of Amazon.

But I’m afraid my major takeaway was, once again, that the legal experts applying their antitrust theories to the industry don’t understand what they’re monkeying with or what the consequences will be of what they see as their progressive thinking. Steamrollering those luddite denizens of legacy publishing, who just provoke eye-rolling disdain by suggesting there is anything “special” about the ecosystem they’re part of and are trying to preserve, is just part of a clear-eyed understanding of the transitions caused by technology.

So perhaps we have symmetrical ignorance and will never understand each other.

Full blog post

Canada's book publishers are looking beyond mere survival

Independent publishing in this country is alive vigorous and vital. There are more than 100 active publisher members of the Association of Canadian Publishers. These publishers are doing the same thing today as they did last week, and indeed, as they will do next week — working like hell to publish books by Canadian authors and illustrators for readers across Canada and around the world. Our strength lies not in the size or the reach of any one publisher, but in the diversity and breadth of the publishers considered as a whole.

Random House and Penguin Are Actually Merging

Pearson, the British media conglomerate that owns Penguin, said Thursday that it was discussing a potential deal with Random House’s owner, Bertelsmann of Germany. The merger, if completed, would create a combined entity that would control nearly 25 percent of the United States book market and feature an elite roster of authors like Dan Brown, Toni Morrison and John Grisham of Random House and Junot Diaz and Patricia Cornwell of Penguin.
“A combined Random House and Penguin would be a supplier so large it would be very difficult for any anyone to dictate terms to,” said Mike Shatzkin, the founder and chief executive of the Idea Logical Company, a consultant to publishers. He added: “You’re allowed to collude if you’re combined.”

[Update] Gary Price Says It’s official. A deal bringing Penguin and Random House together is a GO according to official announcements from Pearson (Penguin’s owner) and Bertelsmann (Random House owner).

Self-published books triple in production since 2006

Self-published books make up 43 percent of the print titles released in 2011 and helped to drive the first growth in print production since 2007, according to a new study from Bowker.

What happens to all these self-published books, one may wonder? Do they mostly end up in boxes in the authors' garages? Not necessarily.

Publishers See Pitfalls to Open Access

I guess the opposite of Open is Closed? "Open access. Two bland words that have obliged scholarly publishers, librarians, scientists, funders, and governments to rethink their most basic assumptions, and in some cases begin to tamper with a business model that has held up for more than a century.

Open access (OA) calls for scholarly publications to be available online at no cost and without barriers. Arguments in favor include a broader and more rapid distribution of research results, and the essential fairness of allowing taxpayers who paid in part for the research to access it without paying again.

But publishers worry that making manuscripts freely available would weaken the scientific peer review process, because libraries, the main source of revenue for most publishers, would no longer have to pay for subscriptions to the journals. "

[Thanks to Graham for the link]

Three words of wisdom: standards, rights, & data

The Book Industry Study Group’s annual membership meeting on Friday concluded with a panel discussion among four industry executives who have leadership roles in the group. They are also four of the sharpest minds in publishing and they all had provocative things to say. Recollection of detail is not my strongest suit and I didn’t take any notes, but all of them said things that stuck with me and which struck me as ideas that deserve more attention than they get.

Full post here

Librarian Patience Has Run out on E-Book Lending Issues, Library Association Says

Speaking at a private gathering of publishers organized by the Association of American Publishers, Sullivan was explaining why earlier this week the ALA sent a strongly worded open letter to publishers about the need to figure out way for publishers to sell libraries e-books for “equitable use at a reasonable price.”

Publishers in the room, however, were not so conciliatory.

An executive from Perseus Book Group who did not identify herself said, “our executives are confused as to what is a library?” She cited concerns that the free and wide availability of e-books to library patrons could undercut publisher business.

But the most pointed questioning came from Wiley’s director of digital business development Peter Balis.

“When will the ALA start proposing to us some best practices on what models you think will work from your digital solutions working group? You put a lot on us and it’s created a lot of chaos and clearly it’s [e-book library lending] broken. We have twelve different models,” he said. “You have to come back to us with more than just ‘equitable access at a fair price.’”

As the question was being posed, many heads in the publisher-heavy audience were nodding in ascent.

Full piece

Library and Publisher Associations Duke It Out Over E-Book Prices

Gary Price at Infodocket presents documents for both sides in the disagreement over e-lending.

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