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From today's Wall Street Journal.
"The Justice Department has warned Apple Inc. and five of the biggest U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter."
As promised, Random House will continue to offer its e-books to libraries but as of March 1 has raised many e-books’ wholesale prices significantly—in some cases by as much as 300 percent.
Harry Potter e-books coming soon to schools and libraries
Harry Potter e-books are coming to schools and libraries, at a date to be determined. OverDrive Inc., a leading distributor for the school and library markets, announced Monday that it has reached an agreement with J.K. Rowling's Pottermore website to make downloads of the seven Potter books available for students and library patrons
Because libraries are, at most 5% of a general trade publisher’s business and far less of the ebook business, and because the market is changing so rapidly and because every retailer except Amazon can be said to be struggling to carve out a sustainable position in the global ebook marketplace, there are many legitimate reasons for the biggest publishers to take a wait-and-see attitude about libraries and ebooks. The fear is of a “shopping and consuming” experience at the libraries which is comparable to what the retailers can offer. That potential is largely mitigated now because most of the big books don’t go to them. But, if they did, publishers fear the market could shift away from retail.
That fear is not just about a “lost sale”. It is also about a “lost channel” of sales, or a pipe to the consumer that runs entirely through Amazon.
Author Discovers Bots Competing To Sell His Book
What was happening was that a bot had found the book and priced it at some ridiculous level – $45 at last count. Bueno was bemused, at best, and realized that bots had found the book and were essentially running a price war amongst themselves in order to offer the same print-on-demand book Bueno was offering at a massively inflated price. They were, in short, going to buy the $14 book and resell it for forty dollars more.
"My reaction to this algorithmic whipsawing has settled down to a kind of helpless bemusement. I mean, the plot of my bookis about how understanding computers is the first step to taking control of your life in the 21st century. Now I don't know what to believe."
Excerpt from article by David Dobbs - I’m pleased to announce a new site I’m part of. I’m one of an otherwise distinguished handful of reviewer-editors for Download the Universe, a site conceived by Carl Zimmer in an off-hand remark last month during a ScienceOnline session on e-books. We aim to meet a simple but stark and urgent need: While lots of new science books are coming out in e-book-only form, it’s hard to find reviews of those books or a single site or publication where such books are noted. Download the Universe is that new place, and along with Carl Zimmer, my fellow editors (listed below) include some sharp minds and some of our best science writers. We’ll be regularly posting both short and long reviews of new (and existing) science books that are published only in e-book form — usually 2 or 3 a week — as well as occasional comments or essays on trends in science books and e-book publication.
Full article at Wired.com: Download the Universe Right Here: A New Site for Science E-Book Reviews
If we think of the printed book as a natural or perfected object, who are we to say that we don’t like black ink on white paper, or that rectangular books are annoying? With the relatively recent recognition of dyslexia and other learning disabilities, perhaps people are becoming slightly less afraid to speak up about their individual and idiosyncratic experiences and frustrations with ink-on-paper, but by and large the message is clear in our culture that smart people read and reading people are smart, and if reading is difficult for you, the problem is with you, and not with the book.
A couple of major (Big Six) publishers have acknowledged that ebook revenues for them have passed 20% of their revenues. Of the 80% that remains print, I think it would be conservative to estimate that 20% of that is sold online. That’s an additional 16 percent of their business. Adding those together tells us that, for at least some very major companies, 36 percent of of their sales are being transacted online. That would leave, on average, about 64% of the sales for print sold through brick-and-mortar retail and other more minor channels. ”On average” should not be read as “typical” on a title-by-title basis. It isn’t. For immersive reading, or straight text like novels and biographies, the percentage sold in stores is already almost certainly substantially lower. My hunch, and nobody really keeps these figures (but I think I’ve found a way to get at them, which we’ll try to show at a future Publishers Launch conference) is that it may already be down to 50% print in stores for new titles.