Monday Midday Links: Reuters Reports Agency Pricing Settlement Likely & Everyone Hates Amazon
On Friday, Reuters reported that Apple and five of the Big 6 publishers are moving toward settlement. My guess is that either Random House is arguing that it wasn;t involved in any collusive activity as it’s decision to move toward Agency came far later and based on market influence rather than any collusion or Pearson/Penguin is holding the line with its argument that it really is engaged in Leegin approved retail price maintenance.
While negotiations are still fluid, the settlement is expected to eliminate Apple’s so-called “most favored nation” status, which had prevented the publishers from selling lower-priced e-books through rival retailers such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) or Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS.N), the people said.
The deal could also force a shift, at least temporarily, in pricing control from publishers to retailers, one of the people said.
This settlement is enraging the literati. Dennis Johnson of Mobylives writes:
Mind-fuckingly, the purported settlement, according to the Reuters story, will be favorable to Amazon, and will probably work to lower the price of ebooks — exactly the thing the so-called “collusion” was intended to prevent, by exactly the monopoly everyone in the publishing industry is praying for the DOJ to do something about. (See our earlier report, and our report before that, as well as this report on the Authors’ Guildblowing a gasket about the same thing.)
Amazon is pressing for bigger discounts from publishers.
The world’s largest Internet retailer wanted better wholesale terms for the small publisher’s books. Starting Jan. 1, 2012 — then only 19 days away — Amazon would buy the publisher’s books at 45 percent off the cover price, roughly double its current price break.
Amazon is evil mantra is one I recall from when Wal-mart became a big player in the print publishing market, at least for mass market books. Time and again, publishers have faced problems with retailers becoming too important to their business. In 10 years, maybe it won’t be Amazon who is the threat but someone else.
One thing I do find fascinating about the Fifty Shades phenomenon is the high demand for the books in print. According to Publishers Weekly, the initial print run of a book that has already sold several hundred thousand copies is a half million. This signals to me that print is far from dead, but that digital first might be the dominating business model in 5 years. As if reaffirming my theory, I received an email today from Grand Central announcing that it would be publishing Debra Webb’s self published novellas:
Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, announced today that it will publish six books in Debra Webb’s bestselling romantic thriller series FACES OF EVIL, under their Forever and Forever Yours imprints.
One thing we don’t see much of in romance is risk taking. This NYTimes article argues that the number of adults reading YA is increasing because YA authors are taking more risks.
It’s because adults are discovering one of publishing’s best-kept secrets: that young adult authors are doing some of the most daring work out there. Authors who write for young adults are taking creative risks — with narrative structure, voice and social commentary — that you just don’t see as often in the more rarefied world of adult fiction.
I want to point out that the Hunger Games contains a strong romantic thread with a questionable HEA so the risk taking really isn’t in the relationship aspect but the storytelling. Of course, given that Hunger Games so closely resembles Battle Royale which is, itself, a riff off Lord of the Flies, begs the question of whether these stories actually are risk taking.
This article on the rise of genre fiction at the collegiate level is somewhat related. The article presumes, or at least advances the maxim, that literary fiction is the only thoughtful fiction and misquotes, I believe, a NYTimes article that suggest fiction can create empathy. Not sure why genre fiction is being excluded by the North Dakotan article, but I think the idea that genre fiction could push out the studies of classical literature is interesting.
But with universities focusing on exposing students to those kinds of books, few people are afraid classic literature will fall by the wayside.
“There is a broad range (of texts) in composition courses, but literary texts predominate in literature courses and creative writing courses,” said Laura White, professor and Vice Chair of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
According to White, a third of the students majoring in the English department are interested in pursuing creative writing. With such a large percentage of students interested, some may find it surprising that one of the most profitable aspects of writing is not taught, but UNL English professor Judith Slater said preparing students to be professional writers is not the main goal at the undergraduate level.
Pamela Clare is receiving a journalism award for her work on exposing sexual assault for her real life work as an investigative reporter. Congrats!
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