May 23 2011
Joplin Missouri was hit by a tremendous tornado yesterday. The American Red Cross has sent out a call for donations and for medical help. On CNN, it is reported that 75% of the city has been destroyed by the tornado.
I feel a little awkward about transitioning into books after this but this post is about news and books. BEA starts today and Richard Curtis of eReads leaked a seismic announcement last night that is setting BEA aflame. Larry Kirshbaum, a former CEO of Time-Warner Book Group (now known as Hachette) is going to run Amazon’s New York publishing office beginning July 5, 2011. Kirshbaum left Time-Warner and formed his own agenting firm which he has run for several years. Now, he is back on the publisher side of things. Amazon NYC plans to publish everything from literary fiction to commercial fiction to non fiction. More hires to come.
This has serious ramifications. My first thought is who else is Amazon NYC going to poach and how will they change the publishing culture? Will there be advances? How fast will they get a book to market? What kind of focus will be on the print side?
Joe Konrath, self publishing guru and Amazon fan, has blogged about his recent troubles getting his soon to be published print book with Amazon’s mystery imprint into brick and mortar retailers. Indie booksellers, who believe that Amazon is in large part responsible for their demise, are threatening to boycott him. Further, it is unlikely that Amazon’s competitors like Walmart, Borders, and Barnes and Noble are going to carry his books.
Larry Kirshbaum, if he intends for Amazon to have a print presence, will have to address these issues.
It’s nearing a new release period and thus we’ve got some resources to help craft your TBR list. There is the coming soon catalog from Dear Author. As well as the open thread for authors (where authors post their new releases) and for readers.
S. Victor Whitmill is a tattoo artist. He designed the tribal tattoo that is on Mike Tyson and replicated in the movie The Hangover Part II. Mr. Whitmall is claiming that the tattoo is subject to copyright and has sued Warner Brothers to enjoin them from using the tattoo without his permission.
If a tattoo clearly violates copyright — say, exactly reproduces a Keith Haring drawing or an Annie Leibovitz photograph without permission — could a court order it removed?
The case gets more serious, according to Christopher A. Harkins, an expert on copyright and patents who has written the definitive law review article on the subject, when someone tries to profit from the copying — by, for instance, selling photographs of the infringing tattoos.
Obviously this has all sorts of implications, the least of which is whether it will impact the use of tattoos on romance book covers.
Eric Hellman blogged about Hachette’s views about its future business.
Massive companies, Amazon, Apple, Google, and in fact last year was a tipping point for our company, because 50% of our net revenues were made through outlets that were not invested in us. Companies like Walmart and Costco and all the others you can think of, not directly invested in our business. And I think that was a big moment and it means you’re having to deal with people who think about books in a way totally different from the way Barnes and Nobles regards books.
Kobo has a brand new eink reader. It’s basically like the Sony Reader: touchscreen and Pearl eInk with a much faster processor. The best part? It’s only $129.99.
This was a fascinating! report. According to data compiled by Dan Lubart of eBook MarketView, romance readers have shifted their purchases away from Agency priced books and toward lower priced books. Even Harlequin, who is not an Agency publisher, is seeing a reduction in market share of their higher end books.
Interestingly Angela James at Tools of Change told the TOC crowd that Carina Press had reduced the top of end pricing for their books from $6.99 to $5.99 because no one (or few) were buying the $6.99 priced books.
I’m not sure what to make of this data. Are romance readers on the front of a trend here? They were one of the first group of readers to really embrace digital books and digital first publishing or is this a genre specific phenomenon? In other words, romance readers are voracious readers and consume multiple books a week. In the digital world, there is no used market or resale market nor can they easily trade or share books. Thus, to feed their habit, romance readers are turning to lower priced goods. This behavior is not likely to be replicated in other genres.
Update: On Twitter, I saw that 66% of the power ebook buyers are women and they buy primarily romance with a household income of $77,000 or above.