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Wednesday News: NYPL hosts Amazon roundtable, Guernica names first paid publisher, JK Rowling’s plot map, and Game of Thrones wedding costs

Wednesday News: NYPL hosts Amazon roundtable, Guernica names first paid publisher,...

Amazon: Business As Usual? – Although I have not had a chance to watch it, and therefore cannot comment on the content, I’m thinking that the 759 comments (as of Tuesday night PST), some of which are pretty entertaining, suggest that it might be worth sitting through the 90-minute discussion of everyone’s favorite subject (not). From the website describing the event:

Authors, agents, and publishers take to the LIVE from the NYPL stage to tackle these urgent questions in a conversation moderated by Tina Bennett, literary agent at WME. Guests include: best-selling author James Patterson; Morgan Entrekin, publisher and president of Grove Atlantic; Bob Kohn, attorney and founder of EMusic.com; Tim Wu, law professor and theorist of “net neutrality;” Danielle Allen, political theorist, author of a new book on the Declaration of Independence and elected chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board; and David Vandagriff, intellectual property lawyer. –New York Public Library

Guernica Magazine Names Lisa Lucas PublisherGuernica Magazine is celebrating its 10th anniversary as an entirely free, volunteer-run publication that, as its latest edition demonstrates, is better than many professionally run publications. Lisa Lucas, who has been serving as volunteer publisher, is poised to be the magazine’s first paid employee, and she is expected to undertake fundraising to pay more contributors and even produce a print version of the magazine. It will be interesting to see how, if at all, funding changes Guernica‘s priorities, content, and/or reach.

“I am thrilled to be charged with ushering Guernica into a new era of growth and sustainability. For 10 years, the magazine has been publishing the highest caliber of intellectual and literary work for free,” Ms. Lucas said in an announcement. “With keen long-term strategy, we will continue to do so while fostering creative culture by supporting our incredible contributors and expanding our offerings to new platforms.” –New York Observer

How J.K. Rowling Plotted Harry Potter with a Hand-Drawn Spreadsheet – First, if you don’t already visit Open Culture on a regular basis, start today – the site is devoted to locating free content, whether it be music, film, books, or cartoons. This is a particularly interesting entry, as it contains a piece of notebook paper on which JK Rowling plotted chapters 13-24 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. If you find writerly processes interesting, check out Rowling’s intricate chart.

At the height of the Harry Potter novels’ popularity, I asked a number of people why those books in particular enjoyed such a devoted readership. Everyone gave almost the same answer: that author J.K. Rowling “tells a good story.” The response at once clarified everything and nothing; of course a “good story” can draw a large, enthusiastic (and, at that time, impatient) readership, but what does it take to actually tell a good story? –Open Culture

The true cost of every wedding on ‘Game of Thrones’ – Want to recreate one of the Game of Thrones‘ weddings? According to wedding planner Sarah Haywood, all it takes is money. How much, you may ask? Somewhere between $500 and $10 million ought to do it, depending on your wedding of choice.

What if you were truly determined to host one of Game of Thrones’ infamous weddings in real life, and had the resources to do it? What challenges would you face, and just how much would it set you back?

Even with our copious infographic experience, we couldn’t calculate this one alone. So we roped in the help of Sarah Haywood, described by Time as “Britain’s most sought-after wedding planner and an authority on multimillion-dollar weddings.” Haywood has dozens of high-end nuptials under her belt, and she agreed to lend us her professional perspective. –Daily Dot

Wednesday News: Börsenverein v. Amazon, the future of digital lending, YouTube’s subscription service, and polling readers for a book title

Wednesday News: Börsenverein v. Amazon, the future of digital lending, YouTube’s...

Note: We’ve had some caching issues where the front page (the one with the slider) failed to update the content. The http://dearauthor.com/blog page was fine. I think we’ve fixed it but if you visit DA and there’s not updated content, let us know by emailing [email protected] with the issue (and a screencap if possible) so we can forward that to our developer.

German trade body files Amazon complaint – Börsenverein, a German trade association, has filed a claim with German competition authorities, alleging that Amazon has been trying to negotiate an increase in ebook percentages from 30% to 40-50% with Bonnier, and thus “abusing its market power.” Reports claim that Amazon is, in both the US and the German markets, removing pre-order buttons and delaying shipping of certain books.

In the UK, publishers have told The Bookseller that they too are facing tough negotiations with the giant retailer, with Amazon seeking parity on trade terms for e-books and p-books, and the ability to POD title where a publisher has run out of stock, or is having delivery issues. The Bookseller also noted that the European Union’s Directorate General for Competition is understood to have approached major UK publishers over an investigation into Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clauses. –The Bookseller

What’s Next for E-books in Libraries? – Random House recently hosted a Publishers Weekly executive breakfast, which included a discussion among librarians and publishers, among others, regarding the future of digital books and libraries. This discussion reflects a shift in the overall conversation about libraries and digital books, which had previously been focused on getting as many publisher as possible to agree to have their books digitally available in public libraries. Now, though, there is apparently more attention being paid to optimizing consumer satisfaction and innovating strategies to keep digital lending not just viable but future-oriented.

In one of the more provocative proposals, Mitchell Davis, founder and chief business officer of BiblioBoard, a digital platform provider, told the audience that libraries should consider moving away from their focus on e-book bestsellers. Instead of spending money on a limited number of frontlist e-book titles, generating long waits in hold queues and patron dissatisfaction, why not concentrate limited resources on building a better user experience, based on the library’s “long tail” collections? –Publishers Weekly

YouTube, Record Labels And The Retailer Hegemony – As YouTube prepares to launch a subscription service, music labels are considering the value that the video service brings to their business. Some independent labels have refused Google’s terms, and now there’s a question of how much power YouTube really has, and the extent to which music labels are beholden to the service: “YouTube has become phenomenally powerful but delivers comparatively little back in terms of direct revenue and is now happy to flex its muscle to find out who is really boss.” The relationship seems a bit analogous to that between publishers and Amazon, and considering the hard lessons the music industry has learned vis a vis content delivery, perhaps it’s again time to pay attention to what’s happening there (p.s. I’m not sure about the reference to Brazilians below, because this blog appears to be UK-based and not Brazil-based).

Labels are beholden to YouTube as a promotional channel.  They have turned a blind eye to whether its ‘unique’ licensing status might be stealing the oxygen out of the streaming market for all those services which have to pay far more for their licenses.  The underlying question the labels must ask themselves is whether YouTube’s inarguably valuable promotional value outweighs the value it simultaneously extracts from music sales revenue.  Indeed 25% of consumers state that they have no need to pay for a music subscription service because they get all the music they need for free from YouTube (see figure).  This rises to 33% among 18 to 24 year olds and to 34% among all Brazilians. –Music Industry Blog

HOW I USED FACEBOOK TO PICK MY NEXT BOOK TITLE – An interesting post from Maya Rodale about how she used Facebook polls to forge an appropriate title for her upcoming book. One of the most interesting things about this post for me is the insular context in which titles are chosen (something I knew, but it’s interesting to see it spelled out here so clearly). Of course, since book ideas aren’t really tested out with readers, why would titles be, right?!

Next I learned that data isn’t everything in publishing

I emailed my agent and editor with the exciting news that I had a kick ass title backed up by data. I was then informed I could not use that title precisely because it was so similar to The Flame and The Flower, which they had also published.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a title changed—my first book was supposed to be called The Pleasure Revolution but a buyer at one of the major accounts said they would not stock the book with that title because they didn’t feel readers would like it. We went with a different title rather than lose some major print distribution. It never occurred to anyone—my co-author, our editor, our publisher, the buyer—to test the title with readers. –Maya Rodale