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Publishing industry consultant Mike Shatzkin:

We’ve been imagining a split market for ebooks: “branded” ones from conventional publishers being sold in the $10-$15 range and “commodity” ones from lesser-known sources (authors and publishers) at $1.99 and $2.99. Over time, we figured that improved curation of the cheaper ones, plus promotional pricing by the branded ones, would drag the overall pricing down. That’s been behind our concern that maintaining anything close to the current pricing for print will be almost impossible to do over time.

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What will be the big digital issues in January 2011?

Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin has a blog entry entitled: What will be the big digital issues in January 2011?

Here are some of the points discussed:
1. What’s going to be in an ebook?
3. To what extent will publishers view single-title marketing as a practical endeavor?
5. How important is the mobile phone market?

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Missouri's 'blue books' made extinct by Legislature

Missouri is cutting back in the book-publishing trade, in part because it already has a stack of books nobody seems to want.

On Thursday, the Missouri Legislature voted to eliminate the hard-bound version of the official state manual, known as the "blue book," and cull many old sections from the even heftier 20-volume set of state laws.

Full article here

Contest for Audio Books

Enter to win free audiobooks from Tantor Media!! Ten for ten anniversary sweepstakes...ten libraries can win. Good luck.

Zed's Dead - Law, Finance, and the Future of Online Publishing

This is a two-part essay on the future of online publishing in the US. In this essay, I argue that professional publishing companies such as Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg hold the keys to the future of the news and information industry, far more than do technology companies such as Google. The goal of this essay is to offer a plausible roadmap for navigating the toughest business challenges facing the news and information publishing industries in the digital age.

Full article

Authors Unbound Online

How the digital age is making self-publishing respectable.

Full article at


Amazon Cuts Prices in Tiff With Penguin

In the latest round of the book pricing wars, Inc. has begun selling a number of new hardcover books published this month by Pearson PLC's Penguin Group (USA) for only $9.99 amid a dispute between the two companies over electronic books.

Penguin stopped providing digital editions of new titles to Amazon as of April 1 because Penguin and Amazon haven't yet struck an agreement on a new "agency" pricing model, in which publishers set the retail prices of their e-books. Out of the five major publishers that struck an agency-pricing deal with Apple Inc., Penguin is the only one that hasn't yet reached an agreement with Amazon.

Since Amazon can't sell the digital editions of Penguin's books, it is, in effect, showing its customers that Amazon is still the place to go for discount pricing. The low price also serves to put pressure on Penguin, as publishers passionately dislike the steep discounts. Many publishers say a $9.99 price tag on a new hardcover book cheapens the value in the minds of consumers.

Full article in the WSJ


Can The iPad Or The Kindle Save Book Publishers?

Fresh Air on WHYY

Interview with Ken Auletta

Ken Auletta's latest column asks the question, "Can the iPad topple the Kindle and save the book business?" The article, published in the April 26 issue of The New Yorker magazine, discusses the ongoing battle between publishing companies and Amazon for pricing e-books, which are projected to eventually account for as much as 40 percent of all books sold.

Auletta is also the author of 11 books, including World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies and Googled: The End of the World As We Know It, which tracked the development of Google from a search engine to the provider of all things Internet. He has written the "Annals of Communications" column for The New Yorker since 1992.

Listen to full piece or read interview highlights here.

Publisher misses out on e-book rights

<a href="">A dead author </a>is making a big splash in the publishing industry. William Styron wrote towering works of literature -- "Sophie's Choice" among them. Styron died four years ago. His work is about to be published as electronic books. But the author's long-time publisher will not be collecting the profits.


By now it must be clear to all but a handful of diehards that the business model based on returnability of books for credit, a practice instituted by the trade book industry some 75 years ago, is no longer viable. In fact it has proven to be a bargain with the Devil.

Some pundits ascribe the woes of our business to printed books themselves, saying that the medium is no longer appropriate for our times. In truth nothing is wrong with printed books. Everything is wrong with the way they are distributed.

Full blog entry at


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