Friday News: Publisher faces criminal charges, Man Booker International Prize, Amazon continues to piss off publishers, and the history of pop-up books
Erotica publisher, author charged for manipulating book sales – Wowza. Colorado publisher Jana Koretko faces more than twenty charges, including multiple counts of money laundering, felony theft, computer crime, and tax evasion. The allegations cover 15 authors, and Koretko is accused of artificially inflating and lowering sales, all for her personal profit. So . . . this can’t be the first case like this, can it?
According to the arrest affidavit, Koretko owns JK Publishing, primarily exclusive to romance and Erotica authors, and is accused of stealing more than $125,000 from multiple clients over a two-year period.
The Weld County District Attorney’s Office was first notified of the alleged scheme in August 2015 when one of the company’s authors noticed several discrepancies in her royalty payments. After further investigation, authorities learned Koretko was manipulating the monthly and quarterly sales reports from E-book retailers, like Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble and Kobo, to indicate lower sales. – Weld County District Attorney
Man Booker International Prize: David Grossman wins for stand-up comic novel – One of the coolest things about David Grossman’s win for A Horse Walks into a Bar is the fact that he split his £50,000 prize money with the book’s translator, Jessica Cohen. The book features “a stand-up comedian living in a small Israeli town who falls apart on stage in front of an audience,” and was eligible as a translated work published in the UK between 2016 and 2017 (May 1 to April 30).
Grossman was up against fellow Israeli author Amos Oz for Judas, Compass by Mathias Enard, The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen, Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors and Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin.
Each shortlisted author and translator automatically receives £1,000.
This is only the second year that the prize has been awarded to a single book. Before 2016, the Man Booker International was awarded every second year to an author for their entire body of work. – BBC
Amazon gives book resellers new prominence, and publishers aren’t happy – Despite claims by Amazon that they have taken steps to ensure that customers will be getting books in their advertised condition, publishers are (SURPRISE!) very unhappy with the way the online retailer is featuring new copies from third-party sellers. Publishers recognize (they even hired a consulting firm to study the situation) that this practice mostly affects still-in-print backlist titles (hmm, what might be a good partial solution for this? *cough* digital backlists *cough*), but still, the Author’s Guild is already predicting ‘decimation’ (hyperbole much?) for publishers. Because . . . Amazon.
The Authors’ Guild, a professional organization representing writers, issued a strongly worded statement that says the “buy-box” move “has the potential to decimate authors’ and publishers’ earnings” from many books. It’s the same argument the guild brandished in 2002, unsuccessfully, against an early Amazon disruption — the sale of used books over the internet.
Big publishers are monitoring closely what kind of impact the latest move will have on their bottom line, which seems more significant for books on the so-called backlist, older books that are still in print. It’s certainly ruffled feathers in a sector that often butts heads with Amazon. – Seattle Times
The History of Movable Paper in One Massive, 9,000-Book Collection – Who doesn’t love a good pop-up book (okay, probably lots of you . . . but you’re wrong!)? Actually, this collection is all about “moveable books,” of which pop-ups are only one component. And their history is long and rich. After you’re done reading this article, check out this CNN coverage of a 256-year-old adult coloring book, which suggests that our perception of what categorically constitutes children’s book features seems relatively modern.
Pop-up books are mostly closely associated with children today, but that’s a relatively recent development. Before the 17th century, Rubin says, movable books were used for texts on medicine and astronomy. “Movable books, as far as we know, started in the 12th century,” she says. The earliest example is a manuscript dating to 1121, titled Liber Floridus, that illustrates the orbits of the planets around the Earth. The top part of the page folds up, a gatefold, to reveal the complete illustration.
“The first movable that we say was for children,” Rubin says, “was the turn-up book, or the harlequinade.” Those were first printed around 1750. “You read it by looking at an image and then half of that image turns up. And what’s underneath is integrated with the part that’s not turned up. The text changes and the story changes with the change of the image.” – Atlas Obscura