Simon & Schuster plans to delay by four months the e-book editions of 35 leading titles early next year, and Hachette Group has similar plans "for the majority of its titles," according to the Wall Street Journal, which called the moves "a dramatic stand against the cut-rate $9.99 pricing of e-book best sellers."
S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy told the paper: "The right place for the e-book is after the hardcover but before the paperback. We believe some people will be disappointed. But with new [electronic] readers coming and sales booming, we need to do this now, before the installed base of e-book reading devices gets to a size where doing it would be impossible."
The affected S&S titles include Don DeLillo's Point Omega; Karl Rove's memoir, Courage and Consequence; and Jodi Picoult's House Rules.
Hachette CEO David Young said, "We're doing this to preserve our industry. I can't sit back and watch years of building authors sold off at bargain-basement prices. It's about the future of the business."
An Amazon spokesman told the paper, "Authors get the most publicity at launch and need to strike while the iron is hot. If readers can't get their preferred format at that moment, they may buy a different book or just not buy a book at all."
Random House has picked up where it left off earlier this year reorganizing the company: yesterday it announced that the trade publishing units of the Crown Publishing Group--including general books published by Crown, Clarkson Potter cookbooks and Shaye Areheart Books--will be separated from the Random House Audio business and the information unit, which publishes Fodor Travel Guides and Princeton Review guides.
At the same time, Crown Publishing Group president and publisher Jenny Frost is leaving the company and is being replaced by Maya Mavjee, executive publisher of the Doubleday Canada Publishing Group and executive v-p of Random House of Canada.
More in the New York Times.
Majors Books, the medical bookstore with sites in Houston and Dallas, Tex., is closing the Houston store in January, the Houston Chronicle reported. Owner Al McClendon told the paper that online booksellers had had hurt sales and that ever more medical information and research is available for free online.
Majors will keep the Dallas store open and sell online. Earlier this year the retailer had decided to sublet part of its 10,000-sq.-ft. space in the Houston store (Shelf Awareness, April 6, 2009).
Majors was founded 100 years ago. The Houston branch opened in 1956.
In the New Yorker's Book Bench Holiday Gift Guide, featuring recommendations from editors, writers and bloggers in the magazine's book department, Rebecca Mead wrote:
"I already got exactly what I wanted for Christmas--the Greenlight Bookstore, which recently opened in my Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene. Oh, the joy of living in a place where an independent bookstore is opening, rather than being closed down! The store is well appointed, smartly stocked, and welcoming. Their events have been packed like Chelsea gallery openings--at the opening party, which took place on a night of pouring rain, the sidewalk outside the store was thronging with crowds who couldn't get in--and their children's corner is a confirmed Saturday morning destination. With the Greenlight in the neighborhood it's almost possible to believe this is an era in which publishing is flourishing and reading has never been more popular. This may be a delusion, but it's not a bad one to have available just around the corner."
The Wall Street Journal offers "Recommended Reading for a Healthy New Year."
Is there a Jane Austen fanatic in your life? Inkwell Bookstore, Falmouth, Mass., has some great gift suggestions, from notecards and T-shirts to the Pride and Prejudice board game (sorry, no zombies).
Penguin Classics on Air, a half-hour radio series devoted to some of the more than 1,500 Penguin Classics titles, makes its debut this week on Sirius XM Book Radio (Sirius #117, XM #163). The series is written and produced by Penguin employees and airs twice a week, on Mondays at 3 p.m. and Thursdays at 11:30 p.m.
Hosted by Penguin Classics editorial director Elda Rotor, associate publisher Stephen Morrison and senior director of academic marketing Alan Walker, the shows include in-depth conversations with scholars and experts.
The first show, called "Why We Love Jane Austen," explores what it means to be a Janeite, how etiquette was different in Austen's time and why spoofs like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are so popular right now.
Get ready for "the next big thing in e-books": Baker & Taylor's Blio. According to Mike Shatzkin's blog, the wholesaler has been developing a proprietary e-book platform "that can work on 'any device with an operating system,' which means computers and iPhones, but not Kindles."
"Publishers deliver PDFs, which B&T converts for free to the new format," which Shatzkin describes as "the best I've ever seen. The type is crisp and sharp, it has full multiple-media functionality... and it does tricks, my favorite of which is that you can see (on a PC screen) many pages at a time dealt out like a deck of cards. Then you find the ones you want and hone in on them. There are many ways to use that capability, particularly for an illustrated how-to book or a textbook."
At the Frankfurt Book Fair, we at Shelf Awareness saw a demo of the device--which at that time was unnamed--and can attest to its attraction (Shelf Awareness, October 15, 2009).
The Open Book bookstore in Shorewood, Wis., which opened last month, has sent an apology to its member-owners for calling itself a co-op when it is actually an LLP, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. The owners are in the process of establishing a legal co-op.
The new store, managed by a Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops veteran, has been criticized for calling itself a co-op and for obtaining a $35,000 low-interest loan from the town of Shorewood (Shelf Awareness, November 8, 2009).
Five legal Wisconsin co-ops had sent a letter to the store asking that the store "make a public apology, that it stop using the 'co-op' description in its materials, and that it issue a news release to all local media correcting its description," the paper said.
Entertainment Weekly's Shelf Life blog reports that Nora Roberts is getting into the video game biz. "The famously prolific author is a fan of casual computer games herself, using them to help keep her mind elastic as she writes her 5-10 novels a year."
"The romance genre, with its built-in encouragements of reader identification and beach daydream role-play, seems a perfect fit [with videogames]... I-play, a computer gaming company that has already worked to make the work of James Patterson and Agatha Christie interactive, has teamed up with Roberts to fashion a downloadable casual-play game out of her 2009 novel Vision in White.
"The game follows the plot of Vision (about four friends who operate a wedding-planning company), punctuating the story with hidden-object tasks and nuptial-themed mini-games."