Publishing

Dire Warning to Publishers: The End of Hardbacks

According to the French publishing group Hachette: Hardback books could be killed off if Amazon’s e-books and Google’s digital library force publishers to slash prices, warns Arnaud Nourry, Hachette's chief executive.

Mr Nourry said unilateral pricing by Google, Amazon and other e-book retailers such as Barnes & Noble could destroy publishers’ profits (not to mention what is happening to bookstores).

He said publishers were “very hostile” to Amazon’s pricing strategy – over which the online retailer failed to consult publishers – to charge $9.99 for all its e-books in the US. He also pointed to plans by Google to put millions of out-of-copyright books online for public use.

“On the one hand, you have millions of books for free where there is no longer an author to pay and, on the other hand, there are very recent books, bestsellers at $9.99, which means that all the rest will have to be sold at between zero and $9.99,” Mr Nourry said.

Mr Nourry’s comments come as analysts predict a growth spurt for the still-niche electronic reader market, with wireless devices from Sony, Plastic Logic and others due to compete with the Kindle.

Financial Times reports.

Novels Don't Have to be Hard to Read

Wall Street Journal. AUGUST 29, 2009, "Storytelling: Good Books Don't Have to Be Hard; A novelist on the pleasure of reading stories that don't bore; rising up from the supermarket racks." By LEV GROSSMAN

This brought with it another, related development: difficulty. It's hard to imagine it now, but there was a time when literary novels were not, generally speaking, all that hard to read. Say what you like about the works of Dickens and Thackeray, you pretty much always know who's talking, and when, and what they're talking about. The Modernists introduced us to the idea that reading could be work, and not common labor but the work of an intellectual elite, a highly trained coterie of professional aesthetic interpreters. The motto of Ezra Pound's "Little Review," which published the first chapters of Joyce's "Ulysses," was "Making no compromise with the public taste." Imagine what it felt like the first time somebody opened up "The Waste Land" and saw that it came with footnotes. Amateur hour was over.

The Party's Over at the World's Biggest Book Show

In a sign of the economic times, Random House has canceled its famed curtain-raising soiree during the Frankfurt Book Fair. The party, long known as a lavish annual industry event, has been the financial responsibility of Random House and parent company Bertelsmann and was, this year, canceled by the CEOs of those companies.

A spokesperson for the publisher issued a statement saying that "this course of action is consistent with our not hosting any corporate social events this spring at the LBF or BookExpo America. Story from Publishers Weekly.

Yale University press caught up in censorship row

Yale University Press has been forced onto the defensive, amid accusations that it is unfairly curtailing a social scientist’s ability to publish her research.

Latest Magazine to File for Bankruptcy

The Reader’s Digest Association Monday became the latest magazine publisher weighted down by severe debt to file for bankruptcy protection. RDA said it reached an agreement in principle with a majority of its senior secured lenders on terms of a restructuring plan to reduce the company’s debt from $2.2 billion to $550 million, and expects to file a pre-packaged Chapter 11 petition for its U.S. business within the next 30 days.

RDA's lender group will also provide the company with $150 million in debtor-in-possession financing which, it said, will be convertible into exit financing upon emergence from Chapter 11.

But, there will always be Reader's Digests....won't there?

Bits of Destruction Hit the Book Publishing Business

Bits of Destruction Hit the Book Publishing Business: Part 4

In this fourth part of our investigation into the ongoing changes in the book publishing business, we look at the author's point of view. What are they getting today? What would they like to get? What can they reasonably expect to get as this drama unfolds? Authors are the creative juice of the whole eco-system. If they don't create material that people want to read, no one will make any money.

Full story at ReadWriteWeb

If you had not seen the previous parts here they are:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

No Images of Muhammad in New Book

The forthcoming book from Yale University Press, “The Cartoons That Shook the World,” will NOT contain the 12 Danish drawings that originally appeared in September 2005. A panel of diplomats and experts on Islam and counterterrorism unanimously decided not to include the cartoons that are the main subject matter of the book.

New York Times reports.

In a Digital Future, Textbooks Are History

Story in the New York Times

At Empire High School in Vail, Ariz., students use computers provided by the school to get their lessons, do their homework and hear podcasts of their teachers’ science lectures.

Down the road, at Cienega High School, students who own laptops can register for “digital sections” of several English, history and science classes. And throughout the district, a Beyond Textbooks initiative encourages teachers to create — and share — lessons that incorporate their own PowerPoint presentations, along with videos and research materials they find by sifting through reliable Internet sites.

Textbooks have not gone the way of the scroll yet, but many educators say that it will not be long before they are replaced by digital versions — or supplanted altogether by lessons assembled from the wealth of free courseware, educational games, videos and projects on the Web.

Full story here.

Did the American Association of Law Libraries Refuse Thomson-West Sponsorship Cash for It's 2009 Annual Meeting?

Yes, AALL did and did so because Thomson-West in no longer on the Association's approved sponsors list. Why? Because the Company refuses to provide pricing data for its annual price index (while enjoying operating profit margins in excess of 30%). Details on Law Librarian Blog.

Publisher says newspapers must charge for online content

The model of requiring online readers to pay for some or all of a newspaper's online content - which the Democrat-Gazette adopted seven years ago - is referred to as a "pay wall."

Hussman said during the webinar, titled "From Free to Fee," that the Democrat-Gazette's pay wall helps it remain the primary source of information for the state (Arkansas).

Full story here.

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