Simon & Schuster has signed a new multiyear contract with Amazon that gives the publisher nearly full autonomy over ebook pricing. Both dealmakers appear to be pleased with the agreement, going into effect Jan. 1, 2015. S&S chief executive Carolyn Reidy said in a letter obtained by The New York Times that the deal “is economically advantageous for both Simon & Schuster and its authors and maintains the author’s share of income generated from eBook sales.” The publisher will gain control over determining the prices of its authors’ ebooks, “with some limited exceptions,” according to the letter. Amazon, for example, can still offer some discount deals.
Tag: Hachette (1-10 of 20)
Regan Arts is launching its line of hybrid book/technology products on Oct. 28 with The Virtual Reality Beginners Guide and VR Smartphone Toolkit. The kit contains a 40-page book coauthored by TechCrunch writer Frederic Lardinois and DODOcase founder Patrick Buckley—the novelty is the Google-designed viewer it comes with, which readers will use in conjunction with their smartphone to create a virtual-reality headset. “This title is not just a book, it’s an experience,” a press release states.
Regan Arts, a venture between publisher Phaidon and former HarperCollins executive Judith Regan, says the cardboard head-mount and lenses in the kit will provide a “constantly expanding trove of immersive 3-D virtual experiences” to anybody with a smartphone and $25.95 to spend. “For millions, virtual reality is now accessible at a ridiculously low price,” Buckley said. Regan Arts will make iPhone apps available to power the experience. “Books are the oldest version of virtual reality,” says Regan, and The Virtual Reality Beginners Guide will “bring us beyond the book or screen, and past 3D.” [Publishers Weekly]
On Saturday, Hachette sponsored a lunch organized by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) in honor of author James Patterson. Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch’s remarks to the crowd at the Sheraton Hotel in Norfolk, Virginia. The luncheon took place amid the ongoing Hachette-Amazon negotiations, and Pietsch told the crowd (a collection of independent booksellers and authors), “Thank you for your support during this time. In difficult times you find out who your friends are.” He also noted, “Our sales of print books are up over 2013.”
When Patterson took the floor, he spoke to the issue more directly, chanting, “Go Amazon, Go Amazon. And I mean, Go!” to laughter from the crowd. On a more serious note, he asked, “Why can’t we have more American companies who are also ethical about how they do [business]?” [Publishers Weekly]
Brooklyn-based poet Casey Rocheteau, 29, is the first winner of the Write a House Project, an initiative started to encourage writers to live and work in Detroit. In November, Rocheteau will move into her new home in the recently bankrupt city, where she will live and write as its first official writer-in-residence. The property was in foreclosure until the Write a House Project fixed bought and fixed it up with the help of another local nonprofit. After two years, Rocheteau will receive the deed. “I’m thinking of a city that is currently undergoing this regeneration,” the poet says of Detroit. “It’s a city that’s seen a lot and taken a lot of abuse.” [The Los Angeles Times]
The Rona Jaffe Foundation awarded six writers a $30,000 cash prize at their 2014 Writers’ Award ceremonies in New York City last week. The winning authors are Olivia Clare (fiction), Karen Hays (nonfiction), Danielle Jones-Pruett (poetry), T.L. Khleif (fiction), Mara Naselli (nonfiction), and Solmaz Sharif (poetry). [GalleyCat]
While Amazon and Hachette duke out their differences in the United States, German publisher Bonnier is now involved in a similar dispute with Amazon. Amazon and Bonnier are also negotiating over ebook prices for books published by Bonnier, and while negotiations are ongoing, Amazon has delayed shipment for their books and discouraged customers from buying them. More than 1,000 authors are protesting the treatment, signing an open letter to be published in several major newspapers in the region, and those authors include 2004 Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, bestselling authors Ingrid Noll and Nele Neuhaus, and many others.
“Amazon manipulates recommendation lists. Amazon uses authors and their books as a bargaining chip to exact deeper discounts,” the letter reads. Germany is Amazon’s largest market outside of the US. [The New York Times]
The Observer profiles Russell Grandinetti, a senior vice president at Amazon and the man representing the company in the publishing world. He’s one of the most important people in the Amazon-Hachette dispute, and probably in the publishing world at large. “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader,” he said. “Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.” [The Guardian]
Lev Grossman, author of the Magicians trilogy and Time book critic, writes about finding his voice in fantasy after trying out literary fiction. “In a fantasy world those demons can get out, where you can grapple with them face to face,” he writes. “The story I was telling was impossible, and I believed in it more than I believed in the 10,000 entirely reasonable, plausible things I’d written before.” [The New York Times]
At The Guardian, Sam Leith wonders why British people love to hate Martin Amis. “But there are really three Amises. There’s Amis the writer and Amis the private individual. And then there’s Amis the public figure: the Idea of Martin Amis. That’s the Amis who hogs the attention and draws the fire. The other two are, as it were, collateral damage.” [The Guardian]
The Jewish Books Council put together a “Jewish literary map of New York City,” an annotated map of the city marking places referred to in great books by Jewish writers. [Jewish Book Council]
Amazon’s fight with Hachette over ebook prices isn’t ending anytime soon.
For weeks, Amazon and Hachette have been deadlocked in a dispute over how much ebooks published by Hachette should cost, and how much of that revenue should go to the publisher, author, or Amazon. During this period, Amazon has delayed the shipment of Hachette’s books, removed the preorder button for some titles, and made the books harder to find on Amazon’s website.
Over the weekend, the Amazon Books Team posted an open letter arguing for lower ebook prices. According to the letter, many ebooks are being priced at $14.99 or $19.99, which Amazon believes is unjustifiably high, given that ebooks have “no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs,” and aren’t sold secondhand.
In 2013, Hachette—along with HarperCollins, Penguin (now Penguin Random House), Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan—was found guilty of conspiring to fix ebook prices. Amazon says the movie was disrespectful to readers and demonstrated a misunderstanding of how ebooks play a role in the publishing industry. According to Amazon, Hachette is afraid that cheaper ebooks will ruin book culture—but its own data suggests that ebook prices are elastic in a way that’s good for the publishing industry. READ FULL STORY
Hachette and Ingram have called off plans to acquire the Perseus Books Group. Despite efforts from all three players, an agreement could not be reached in order to finalize the transaction. CEO David Steinberger said that Perseus had a strong fiscal year. When questioned about a possible deal in the future, he said, “When you are a successful company you get offers.” [Publishers Weekly]
The Guardian released the longlist for their first book award. The list includes five non-fiction and five fiction entries, as well as one readers’ choice, May-Lan Tan’s Things to Make and Break. The judging panel will feature novelist Ann Enright and psychotherapist Josh Cohen, with the winner of the £10,000 award announced at the end of November. [The Guardian]
Jim Frederick, a former foreign correspondent and editor, died Friday at the age of 42. His 2010 book Black Hearts: One Platoon’s Descent Into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death was widely regarded for its thorough, unflinching reporting of the lives of American soldiers in Iraq. The cause of his death was cardiac arrhythmia. [The New York Times]
Barnes & Noble is teaming up with Google Shopping Express, a service that will let the bookstore provide same-day delivery to Manhattan, West Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The service will help the two compete with Amazon, which already provides same-day shipping in 10 cities in the United States. From Amazon, same-day delivery costs $5.99 for Amazon Prime members and around $10 for other customers. Users who have subscribed to Google Shopping express do not have to pay any additional fees for same-day delivery, and the service costs $4.99 for other customers. [The New York Times]
Nine hundred writers have signed an open letter to Amazon—to be published in this Sunday’s New York Times—asking them to stop singling out authors for “selective retaliation.” Amazon is delaying shipments of books published by Hachette, which they are negotiating contracts with. READ FULL STORY
HarperCollins is removing the passage that won Jesse Ventura a $1.8 million defamation lawsuit against the estate of author and former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Ventura said that, in American Sniper, Kyle quoted him saying the SEALs “deserved to lose a few.” HarperCollins didn’t say how it would be removing the passage, or if it will modify already-purchased ebooks. [ABC News/The Associated Press]
Lois Lowry talks about writing sequels for The Giver, how young adult literature has changed, and the long process of adapting the book to film. “I remember seeing the costume designs for the female lead, Fiona—in the book she’s 12, and in the movie she’s 16. I advised them that some of the costumes were too sexy. And so the hem was dropped a little bit. I asked them: ‘Please don’t turn this into a teenage romance.'” [The New York Times Magazine] READ FULL STORY
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