Dear DOJ: Agents Speak Out | Publishers Lunch – “The 13-member board of the Association of Authors Representatives has sent a letter to the Department of Justice opposing the proposed agency ebook pricing settlement with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster. In a separate email, the AAR called on members “to express their views on the settlement to the DOJ and we hope you will also urge your clients to do the same. Your note might address whether you feel the settlement will foster competition and well-being in the literary marketplace, or the opposite…. We believe it is tremendously important that we all be heard on this most significant issue. We believe the more letters from publishing professionals that are received, the better the chance of affecting the judge’s final decision.” The organization is planning “an open forum at which we will discuss the various elements of the suit and the proposed settlement,” with details to come.”Publishers Marketplace (paid link)
Personal Note: Of course agents are unhappy with the decline of paper books and frankly their opposition to the settlement just confirms the DOJ’s assertion to the court that ebook prices were held unnaturally high to prevent cannibalization of print book sales and to slow ebook adoption. If you haven’t sent a statement in support but would like to, please feel free to use this form: http://support4settlement.wordpress.com/
LAGARDERE S.C.A. : Lagardère SCA: Quarterly Information – First quarter 2012 | 4-Traders – “On April 11, 2012, Hachette Book Group has negotiated a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) on e-book sale price-fixing. According to the terms of that agreement, the agency contract with distributors is being maintained, but those distributors may offer customers discounts within certain limits and during a two year period following the enforcement of new contracts.” and “Good performance in the United States (+2.8%) due to steady growth in e-book sales, now at 28% of net Adult trade sales in the US (vs. 20% in 2011).”4-Traders.com
Personal Note: It looks like Hachette is going to pursue some kind of agency pricing deal with Amazon. The only agency pricing deal (which isn’t even agency pricing but whatever) limits the total number of discounts that Amazon can give on a book by the amount of commission Amazon earns on the aggregate sales of the publishers’ books.
Amazon Media Room: Press Releases – “Owning a Kindle just got a whole lot better for magic-loving Muggles. Starting June 19, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is adding all seven Harry Potter books (in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish) to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). Harry Potter is the all-time best-selling book series in history, and Amazon has purchased an exclusive license from J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore to make the addition of these titles possible. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a benefit of Amazon Prime membership—Prime members also enjoy free two-day shipping on millions of items and unlimited streaming of more than 17,000 movies and TV episodes. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library has now grown to over 145,000 books that can be borrowed for free as frequently as once a month, with no due dates.”Amazon Kindle Boards
NY1 Exclusive: Memo Shows Company Aware Of State Test Errors – NY1.com – “Almost 30 different test questions have now been declared invalid because they’re confusing or have outright errors. And now Pearson Publishing is scrambling to explain what went wrong and how it’s going to fix things….. The Pearson executive wrote that an investigation is underway but said many errors seemed to result from a lack of proof reading rather than a translation issue. He mentions a math question where a negative sign somehow became a positive sign in a translated version. In another case, the translators seem to have confused common middle school math terminology, replacing the term “mean” with a translation of the term “median.””NY1
Personal Note: This is a story I have been following but didn’t post about. Apparently Pearson Publishing (a division of Pearson which is the parent of Penguin) provides testing materials to schools. A huge uproar began after there was a strange question on an English exam about the feelings of a pineapple. The author took to his website to answer questions about the Pineapple question. You can read more about it here. More problems arose. If the problems are truly because of proofing, then obviously some internal controls need to be instituted. Education, I believe, constitutes about half of the revenue of Pearson.
Inside Amazon’s Idea Machine: How Bezos Decodes The Customer – Forbes – ” Another one-time insider remembers a relentless push for sturdier-than-usual cardboard so customers could reuse its boxes for other shipments or presents, creating goodwill and putting Amazon’s name in front of a second set of potential customers.”Forbes Personal Note: This is a pretty fascinating (and long) article on Bezos.
Comment from Dear Author – From a self published author: I thought I’d just e-mail here since I didn’t want to clutter up the comments with stuff that I don’t think is of any interest to readers. I wanted to remark on the statistics regarding time windows for when readers browse e-books. While I can only speak for myself, my sales numbers back up the observations that 8 – 9 and 7 – 10 in respective time zones are the most active for browsing. .. I keep an eye on purchase trends for my one self published book, and since day 1, I’ve seen most sales activity during these specific time windows.
Torstar Corp. raises dividend, reports solid results amid challenging environment – thestar.com – “Torstar Corp., publisher of the Toronto Star, is increasing its dividend to shareholders as revenues for the first-quarter declined slightly in a challenging environment, the company said.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, commonly known as EBITDA, for the first quarter were $40.2 million, down $1.5 million from the first quarter of 2011. The decline reflects relatively stable media results and a decline at Harlequin, which continued to adjust to the shift to digital reading, the company said.”Toronto Star
Amazon.com: Customer Discussions: Random House excludes Kindle for Jurassic Park release – Over on the Kindle Boards, someone discovered that Jurassic Park was no longer available for pre order even though B&N and iBooks had it available and Kindle once had it available for pre order. The reader called Amazon customer support and was told that Random House had pulled the book from the Kindle store for the foreseeable future. I called Amazon and was told that the book was pulled by the author. I told the CS person that Crichton was dead and she said that Amazon doesn’t control availability. I wrote to Random House and this morning was sent a link to the Kindle version of Jurassic Park. What I think happened here is that the Amazon CS reps are trained to blame the publisher for everything.
Lavendar Vows by Colleen Gleason * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
Tainted by Temptation by Katy Madison * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
Magic In His Kiss by Shari Anton * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
To Surrender to A Rogue by Cara Elliott * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
For Better or Hearse by Laura Durham * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
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