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Wednesday Midday Links RoundUp: Big Changes at Simon & Schuster

I woke up and Twitter was alive with the news that Simon & Schuster was making a huge change to its organizational structure. Simon Spotlight Entertainment and Pocket Books will be reconfigured. All the hardcovers and trade books that were once Pocket Books or SSE will now be Gallery Books. Pocket Books will focus solely on mass market releases. Louise Burke will be the Executive Vice President and Publisher at Gallery. No further layoffs were announced. Via PublishersLunch (paid subscription).

BordersMedia tweeted that it would be supplying free WI FI to its customers by October via Verizon so you can buy your Sony eBooks in the store like you can buy Barnes and Noble ebooks from the new iRex reader. What you won’t be able to buy, though, is the new Sarah Palin memoir which the publisher won’t release in ebook format until 6 weeks later. Kassia has more to say about this decision at Booksquare.

Speaking of ebooks, the Kindle + University experiment = unhappy students. The student newspaper at Princeton quoted students and professors alike being frustrated with the Kindle’s lack of features. It’s clear that the current slate of ereading devices are not well suited to the academic environment.

"Much of my learning comes from a physical interaction with the text: bookmarks, highlights, page-tearing, sticky notes and other marks representing the importance of certain passages -’ not to mention margin notes, where most of my paper ideas come from and interaction with the material occurs," he explained. "All these things have been lost, and if not lost they’re too slow to keep up with my thinking, and the "features’ have been rendered useless."

Publishers are looking for new ways to monetize their content. According to a survey, US publishers are more inclined to want to charge smaller amounts of money for smaller amounts of content:

Charging readers a flat rate that would allow them access to all of a information provider’s online content similar to a traditional subscription model was favored by 25% of respondents, especially those from Europe. Paying for snippets of content through micropayments was favored by 23%, with that method backed the most in Great Britain and the U.S. The premium model, under which users would pay for selected online content, found support from 16% of respondents.

It might be that US publishers think readers will pay for serialized content where readers will be charged per chapter or section. I think readers are much more included toward the subscription model akin to what Disney is offering for its books – a monthly fee for access to the entire backlist.

Over at slashdot, someone posted a link to a recent ruling by a federal judge that game renderings of football players where expressive works and thus protected under the First Amendment.

In a further bastardization of the classics (and because no hit cannot go unexploited), there comes news of Little Women and Werewolves.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

7 Comments

  1. KMont
    Sep 30, 2009 @ 12:05:26

    Was the Kindle intended to work well for academics? The article says Amazon and Princeton were partnering in the endeavor, but I’m still wondering. I thought the Kindle was more intended for readers of things like fiction. I know I’ve seen plenty of reviews on Amazon for Kindle editions that don’t work well for books that have charts, etc. in them. Ward’s Compendium was one.

    I’ll have to click on Little Women and Werewolves when I’ve had more coffee, but I’m already snorting, laughing and weeping at same time.

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  2. Shannon Reinbold-Gee
    Sep 30, 2009 @ 12:17:02

    Wow. Some stunning news all around. I’m still blinking about the whole “Little Women and Werewolves” thing… What’s next “Villette and Vampires” or “Oliver Twist and Ogres”? Sheesh.

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  3. carolyn crane
    Sep 30, 2009 @ 12:20:28

    I really don’t get these classic/monster hybrids. Does anybody actually read them? The titles are funny but does the story work? They must be selling, I guess.

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  4. Kalen Hughes
    Sep 30, 2009 @ 13:55:31

    One of my friends bought the Jane Austen Zombie mashup and quickly told everyone she knew not to waste their money.

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  5. SonomaLass
    Sep 30, 2009 @ 14:21:21

    I know people who really like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, including a couple of Austen enthusiasts and two Austen scholars. So obviously there’s a range of opinion, as with most books. I giggled at the first chapter when I read it on line, but I haven’t read the whole book yet.

    Yay for free WiFi at Borders! I don’t have a reader yet, but I do like to take my laptop with me when I go out for coffee, and I’d rather be in a bookstore than Starbucks.

    As for the Palin book, the publisher said that delaying the ebook release was to maximize hardback sales over the holidays. Doesn’t that mean sales as gifts? They should go ahead and release the ebook then, as we all KNOW it’s almost impossible to give an ebook as a gift. No harm to their sales from that.

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  6. will it never end? « Collection Developments @ Sno-Isle
    Oct 01, 2009 @ 11:14:33

    [...] (via Dear Author) [...]

  7. Ciar Cullen
    Oct 01, 2009 @ 14:00:16

    On Kindle and Princeton–the Prince article doesn’t really tell the whole story. I’m on a Cost Savings advisory board here, and a lot of considerations fold into the pilot program. Some users will find the Kindle inadequate for academic reading, as many romance readers aren’t comfortable without their paperbacks. But when universities (even the “rich” ones) suffered endowment losses at the same astounding rate that the rest of society is suffering cuts, 401Ks in the toilet, etc, they have to turn to new ideas that allow for continuing to support learning and research at a high level. I don’t mean that to sound snooty. When you figure the cost of textbooks — surely there’s a parent out there who has already felt that sticker shock — and the impact of toner, paper, and labor associated with xeroxing texts in an institution that has stated its commitment to sustainability…
    Blah blah I’m going on, but that article looks at only one part of the equation.

    ReplyReply

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