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Friday News and Deals:  Penguin Pulls Entire Digital Catalog From Libraries

Friday News and Deals: Penguin Pulls Entire Digital Catalog From...


Penguin has severed all ties with Overdrive which means that there will no longer be any titles from Penguin available for library loan in digital format. The parties are negotiating terms in which books that the libraries have already purchased can be lent but no agreement has been forthcoming. Chilling, isn’t it?

Perhaps libraries won’t need an agreement from the publishers in the future depending on the outcome of the ReDigi lawsuit. ReDigi is a company that allows the resale of mp3s. Capital Records sued for an injunction to shut down the site and the judge has denied that preliminary motion. The case will proceed to trial on the issues of fair use and the bounds of the first sale doctrine. The outcome of the ReDigi case, depending on how far up the ladder the appeal process goes (and I suspect it will go all the way to the Supreme Court if the case is not settled), may define the boundaries of ownership of digital products.

One librarian has posted a sign indicating that the reason certain content is not available to patrons is the result of decisions made by publishers. I hope more libraries post signs like this. The problem with the Big 6 publisher’s decisions is that a) it does not deter digital growth; b) it drives consumers to non big 6 content; c) it could increase piracy and d) it cedes more ground to Amazon.

Publishers Lunch goes into more detail about how publishers want to increase the fiction for digital lending including making the patron go to the library to borrow a digital book and requiring Kindle users to download lends to their computer and transfer the book to the device via a USB cable.  It’s a free article.

Today is the last day to register a comment or a suggestion for the next set of DMCA Exemptions. Every two years the Registrar of the Copyright Office issues exemptions to the DMCA.  Two years ago, the Registrar allowed jailbreaking and DRM stripping of ebooks in limited cases.  Here are the proposed exemptions.

Indigo sold Kobo to a Japanese company and is now suffering decreased profits. The president has resigned. One reason given for the declining profits was the low margin in print book sales and increased sales of low margin ereaders.

Indigo CEO Heather Reisman attributed reduced profits to “lower gross margins as a result of increased promotionaldiscounts to drive print sales and increased sales of low margin e-readers.”

Sarah Wendell has a hilarious blog post interpreting the future from futuristic romance covers. Spoiler: We all ride unicorns.


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Dear Author

What to do about the First Sale day?

For the past few years, nearly every Monday we have featured a First Sale letter from different authors.   These blog posts told the stories of authors “first sale”, generally to a big six traditional publisher.   As we came to a close last year, I began to think about this space, the authors who are featured, and what it is really offering to the readers.

Even though each author told a different story, I began to feel a certain sameness about the series and wondered if it wasn’t getting stale.   In November, I stopped accepting new blog posts (I still have a few in the hopper for upcoming releases).   What I did like about this space was that it was for authors to talk about themselves and their books on a blog that usually doesn’t have that type of feature.   It was promotional, of course, but it wasn’t too in your face and for the most part, it didn’t sound promotional.

Probably the biggest drawback is that it unfairly featured big six traditional publishing even though the blog has always been a supporter of alternative forms of publishing.   With the rise of self publishing, coop publishing, digital publishing, and everything in between, it seems outmoded to continue to support a feature that leaves out a great portion of our community.

Now statistically speaking, there has been no visible decline of visitors on Mondays (maybe you all skip Monday morning and come back in the afternoon or maybe you love First Sale stories and are going to tell me so in the comments).   This blog is about delivering good content to readers and sometimes that means things need to be changed.

I’ve enjoyed the occassional author essay like the one Julia Spencer Fleming wrote a couple of weeks ago.   I wouldn’t mind more essays by authors about concepts, tropes, ideas in their books.   Another thought is something like John Scalzi’s Big Idea.   I really can’t do interviews on Monday morning UNLESS it is a templated interview and by that we have a set of six questions or so about the book that each author follows.   The reason is that I feel an interview is no good unless the interviewer has read the book. Alyson H’s interviews are awesome for just that reason – she reads the book and has insightful and knowledgeable questions.

I’ve not come up with anything awesome so I put the question to you all.   What would you like to see here Monday mornings? Maybe you don’t want to hear from authors at all.   Maybe you love the First Sale.   Maybe you want something totally different. I’m totally open. Inundate me with suggestions.