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Friday Midday Links: Let the Battle for BN Begin

Liberty Media, owner of QVC, Starz, Pro Flowers, and a few other internet companies, has made a bid for Barnes and Noble at $17 per share which is a little over $1 Billion. Publishers Lunch intimates that this is the beginning of a bidding war for BN. I suspect we’ll see the company sold before the summer.


Mike Cane posits that this is because BN is about to make an international move. Waterstones has been bought by a Russian billionaire.  Gary Price has a fuller listing of Liberty Media’s assets.


If agents are going to circumvent publishers, then Random House’s direct deal with author Tom Sharpe should have come as no surprise.  Futurebook announces that RH has signed a deal with Tom Sharpe.

The news that we report today that Random House has approached the author Tom Sharpe direct and concluded a deal for his backlist e-book rights without recourse to his agent (Sonia Land chief executive of Sheil Land) shows that publishers will not go quietly into the night, and simply let the author brands they have built discard them.


Quarterly results show digital is up and paper is down in terms of sales.

While adult hardcover and mass market paperback did better, posting gains in March, all the print segments had declines for the first quarter with the nine mass market houses that report results showing a 23.4% sales decline, and the 14 children’s paperback publishers had a 24.1% decline in the quarter. E-book sales easily outdistanced mass market paperback sales in the first quarter with mass market sales falling to $123.3 million compared to e-books’ $233.1 million in sales.

In March, the mass market sales were actually up 1.2% (which is, I think, the first increase in mass market sales in months).


This is consistent with Amazon’s report that it now sells 105 Kindle books for every 100 paper books sold, regardless of format (trade, mass market and hardcover).  From the press release:

Recent milestones for Kindle include:

  • Since April 1, for every 100 print books has sold, it has sold 105 Kindle books. This includes sales of hardcover and paperback books by Amazon where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.
  • So far in 2011, the tremendous growth of Kindle book sales, combined with the continued growth in Amazon’s print book sales, have resulted in the fastest year-over-year growth rate for Amazon’s U.S. books business, in both units and dollars, in over 10 years. This includes books in all formats, print and digital. Free books are excluded in the calculation of growth rates.
  • In the five weeks since its introduction, Kindle with Special Offers for only $114 is already the bestselling member of the Kindle family in the U.S.
  • Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books so far in 2011 as it did during the same period in 2010.
  • Less than one year after introducing the UK Kindle Store, is now selling more Kindle books than hardcover books, even as hardcover sales continue to grow. Since April 1, customers are purchasing Kindle books over hardcover books at a rate of more than 2 to 1.


Bowker says that print production was slightly decreased in fiction category.

Fiction remained the top production category, representing 15 percent of the total, but it declined 3 percent from 2009 (48,738 versus 47,392).



Someone is coming out with a digital reader that will sport a Mirasol screen.

The good news, however, is that the company’s 5.7-inch, low-power display actually will see the light of day by the end of 2011, with at least one “converged e-reader” slated to bring a 3x battery life improvement to a mobile reader format.


Backlist eBooks is having a sale.

BACKLIST EBOOKS is comprised of print-published authors who have re-released our out-of-print backlist titles as reasonably priced ebooks.

Our authors include NYT and USA Today bestsellers, as well as those who have won major literary awards–including the Hugo, Nebula, RITA, Romantic Times and more.

The sale books include titles from Marsha Canham (a favorite of Jayne’s) and PB Ryan (a favorite of Janine).  In fact, the first in the PB Ryan series, Still Life with Murder, is totally free.


CDC has a page on Zombie preparedness.  Even if you aren’t ready, the CDC is.

If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine). It’s likely that an investigation of this scenario would seek to accomplish several goals: determine the cause of the illness, the source of the infection/virus/toxin, learn how it is transmitted and how readily it is spread, how to break the cycle of transmission and thus prevent further cases, and how patients can best be treated.


Finally, it is hard to believe that this is a photograph but it is.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Julie
    May 20, 2011 @ 10:20:49

    Thank god we have a plan for the zombie apocalypse. It was keeping me up nights worrying about what would happen during an emergency of such epic proportions.

  2. Heather Greye
    May 20, 2011 @ 11:02:42

    I thought the CDC’s zombie guide was a really clever way to inform people about disaster and emergency preparedness. People who might not even think about what they would do in an emergency have likely clicked on the page to read about zombies. (I read there was enough interest the first day to bring the server down.)

    Well-played, CDC, well-played.

  3. sula
    May 20, 2011 @ 14:24:44

    Marsha Canham…I am so getting me some e-versions of her backlisted books. Swash my buckle!

  4. Maryann Miller
    May 20, 2011 @ 14:56:12

    Wow, thanks for the shout out about the Backlist e-book sale. I love Marsha’s book, Swept Away, and it is always listed on Amazon with my, One Small Victory. I think that has helped us both.

  5. Miriam Minger
    May 20, 2011 @ 15:48:22

    We have a fantastic group of authors on Backlist Ebooks. Thanks so much for the mention about our Merry May sale!

  6. JessP
    May 20, 2011 @ 16:49:52

    Amazing photo! Thanks, Jane.

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