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.