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Open letter to Hachette CEO Arnaud Nourry: Kill your hardback business

Sir: I read with interest your comments in the Financial Times of August 31, 2009, regarding the fact that “unilateral pricing by Google, Amazon and other e-book retailers such as Barnes & Noble could destroy publishers’ profits and kill the lucrative trade in hardbacks.” I write to warn you that, if your primary concern is […]

Smashwords opens B&N channel for self-publishers

Late Friday, Mark Coker of Smashwords sent the following via email: Smashwords has signed an agreement with Barnes & Noble to distribute Smashwords ebook titles, all of which are self-published or from small independent presses. As you might imagine, we’re thrilled.  Until today, it was difficult if not impossible for independent authors and publishers to […]

Premature evolution: E-book standards alone won’t solve the publishing problem

Peter Osnos, writing at The Atlantic, reiterates PC World‘s Tony Bradley in calling for a standard e-book format, writing that “it is a good place to start.” His article, however, suggests that the reproduction of reading is also the end of the road: “As readers become increasingly familiar and comfortable with reading and listening devices […]

Pearson’s digital pay-off still awaited

Pearson, the British publishing group behind Penguin, The Financial Times and a growing educational assessment and testing business, reported first-half financial earnings yesterday. Share prices gained nine percent on the day, well ahead of the rest of the market. Some digging in the report and presentation raises some interesting questions. First, the FT, which saw […]

Random House UK caught in e-royalties stupidity

The Bookseller reports that literary agents in Britain are steering clients away new deals with Random House UK over different royalty schemes offered to authors based on their sales potential. Lower-selling authors are being offered between 17.5 percent and 20 percent royalties on e-books compared the emerging standard royalty of 25 percent for electronic editions. […]

Pricing guru: “price cannibalization should be the least of a book publisher’s worries.”

Rafi Mohammed, a specialist in pricing, has an interesting posting at TheWrap about the reasoning behind the pricing of e-books. Well worth a read. A critical statement, one that points to changes needed in publisher thinking is Mohammed’s comment that “Since e-book sales were somewhat of an afterthought, in most book contracts today, authors receive […]

PW to host Google Settlement webinar

I’ll be listening in when Publishers Weekly‘s Jim Milliot, AAP board members Richard Sarnoff (Bertelsmann) and John Sargeant (MacMillan), and the Authors Guild talk turkey about the Google Books Settlement on July 29 at 2 PM Eastern time. The conference call will be held online, you can sign up here.

Challenge to Chris Anderson: Put some substance behind “Free”

Chris Anderson posts over at the Inside Google Books blog about his decision, along with publisher Hyperion, to give away free copies of his new book, Free. He suggests that selling hardcover and paperback copies will be helped by his promotional use of free copies, and that may very well be. He reports the book […]

The Obama Time Capsule: A participatory book breaks new ground

Photographer Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt have broken new ground in publishing with what can best be described as “event books” as far back the early 1990s with their 24-hours books. Their latest, The Obama Time Capsule, sets the stage for a new kind of book publishing, a participatory book created in part by the people who […]

Digital edition price flexibility is not optional

I’m not saying price e-books the same as paper or hardcover editions, but, in response to Rex Hammock, I do think publishers should be thinking in terms of the benefits of greater investment in the production of e-books. Likewise, this posting is a reply to Slate‘s Jack Schafer, who argues that, unless publishers embrace the […]