Just after Labor Day, Amazon announced the October debut of Kindle MatchBook. “For thousands of qualifying books,” purchased new in print going back to 1995, said the company website, customers can get “the Kindle edition for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free.” Publishers and authors can opt in to the program, but currently only a tiny fraction of Amazon titles are available.
In some ways, romance novels are the dirty little secret of the literary world. Largely ignored by mainstream critics, regularly maligned by academics, and sometimes hidden away even by their readers, romances are nevertheless responsible for as much as 50 percent of annual mass market paperback sales in the U.S.. Now, the organizers of the Popular Romance Project (PRP) are trying to rewrite the narrative, bringing romance to the attention of those who might not already pay attention to the genre by showcasing its diversity and depth and the community of authors and fans that drive its enduring popularity.
“Penguin will resume doing business with OverDrive as of this morning,” Penguin spokesperson Erica Glass told LJ on September 25. According to a blog post by Karen Estrovich, collection development manager for OverDrive, 17,000 Penguin ebooks are already “live and available for purchase in OverDrive Marketplace.” Although Estrovich refers to the transaction as a purchase, the books are being offered for a one year term on a one copy/one user lending model.
I have for years been a huge fan of the WAC Clearinghouse—a remarkably deep collection of open access resources for those who teach writing across the curriculum (WAC) and want to share scholarship on the teaching of writing. That’s in part because there’s a lot in common between writing instruction and information literacy programs. But I’m also a fan because it’s such a good example of high quality open access publishing. I decided this week to contact Mike Palmquist, founding editor of the Clearinghouse, to ask him how it all works.
It’s been a long, hot summer for Apple, as the case against the tech company for allegedly conspiring with big-name publishers to fix the price of ebooks in the iBooks Store drew to its conclusion. The company finally got a bit of good news last week, though, as federal Judge Denise Cote mitigated the sanctions originally proposed for the company. The final terms of the injunction, signed yesterday by Judge Cote, take much of the sting out of a series of penalties suggested by the Department of Justice (DOJ), which Apple’s lawyers complained were excessively harsh.
With the completion of the Penguin Random House merger on July 1, the company is now the world’s largest consumer book publisher. The newly formed company will have $3.9 billion in revenue, 10,000 employees, nearly 250 imprints, and a global reach, combining Random House’s strength in Latin America with Penguin’s hold in India and China. Penguin Random House will publish 15,000 new titles a year, about one-quarter of the world’s English-language books. What will this mean for the publishing landscape?
My favorite comment on the merger of Penguin and Random House was in an Op Ed in the New York Times. “[M]aybe Random Penguin, as a few wags have suggested, would have been a more apt name.” (The name was widely tweeted and depicted as well.) I can see the image in my own mind, an even more eccentric-looking penguin than Penguin’s own, looking around with a slightly drunken gaze. It is so much more satisfying than the temporary logo.
Audio publishers are moving way beyond their core audience to capture sales to both libraries and consumers. In June, Random House Audio Group launched an online/radio/print ad campaign that reinforces what librarians already know: you don’t have to be a commuter or road-tripper to listen. Working out? Knitting? Ironing? The campaign website, TryAudiobooks.com, even features a “personal audiobook assistant” that can match how long your project will take to titles of similar length. The ad campaign caught the attention of the New York Times.
Major distributor Baker & Taylor will offer publisher services to its customers via a new strategic partnership with Bookmasters, the company announced on July 10. The move comes as private equity firm Castle Harlan acquired Bookmasters; that purchase was also announced yesterday. Castle Harlan had previously acquired Baker & Taylor in July 2006 for about $455 million.