With Apple's iPad launch just weeks away, Amazon raised the stakes again when it "threatened to stop directly selling the books of some publishers online unless they agree to a detailed list of concessions regarding the sale of electronic books," the New York Times reported.
Although Amazon has agreed in principle that major publishers will be able to set prices, "it is also demanding that they lock into three-year contracts and guarantee that no other competitor will get lower prices or better terms," the Times wrote, adding that the three-year commitment is not appealing to publishers in a rapidly changing digital book world.
The Times also noted that Amazon has begun talks "with smaller publishers that have not yet signed contracts with Apple" and appears to be "waging a publisher-by-publisher battle, trying to keep as many books as possible out of Apple’s hands, while preserving as much flexibility as it can to set its own prices."
Evan Schnittman, v-p for global business development at Oxford University Press, said Amazon’s strategy "is to work very hard to limit participation in the agency model to only the big four or five firms that are already announced. This would leave 50% to 60% of the content out there subject to the standard distribution terms, enabling Amazon to promote and price as it does today, and forcing Apple to have to compete with Amazon's strength."
Effective May 3, Bob Miller joins Workman Publishing as group publisher, responsible for the Workman, Algonquin and Artisan imprints. Miller was most recently at HarperCollins, where two years ago he started HarperStudio and served as president and publisher. Prior to joining HarperCollins, he was president of Hyperion, which he founded in 1990. Peter Workman will continue as president and CEO of the Workman, collaborating closely with Miller.
"Peter has really been doing the things I have been trying to do at HarperStudio since 1968," Miller told the New York Times. "He has avoided the pitfalls of trade publishing to an extraordinary degree, publishing books that sell over time. Advances and returns are not an issue the way they are at other publishers. I'm eager to see how he does it."
In a memo to HarperCollins employees, president and CEO Brian Murray said HarperStudio will now be led by Michael Morrison, president and publisher, U.S. general books and Canada.
Books Inc. is opening a third store in San Francisco International Airport, in renovated Terminal 2. The 3,000-sq.-ft. bookstore should open next February and will use the Compass Books name, which is also used by another of Books Inc.'s SFO bookstores (which opened in 1995), as well as the location in the Downtown Disney District in Anaheim. The Compass stores offer selected frontlist, deep backlist, magazines and limited sidelines. Books Inc.'s other SFO store is bzinc, which has 300 square feet of space and features bestsellers, magazines and many sidelines.
Books Inc. has 12 stores in California, including nine in the Bay Area, besides the SFO stores. Last year, Books Inc. opened a store in Berkeley.
The New England Independent Booksellers Association has a
new logo, designed to be "fresh, contemporary and reflective of the
organization." The winning design was created by Amanda Begins of Amada
Begins Designs, Jeffersonville, Vt. She will receive a $250 gift
certificate to her local independent bookseller: Phoenix Books, Café
& Wine in Essex, Vt.
Shelf Awareness continues to grow, which has led us to seek a geek, "a junior level, fastidious" one. More formally, we are looking for a newsletter and web producer who will be responsible for production of the daily newsletter and other issues, updating the website and general administration/office tasks. The position is in our Seattle office and reports to the publisher. For a little more information, see our ad in this issue; resumes should go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I love independent bookstores," wrote Lindol French in the Sacramento Press. "The good ones are so much more than
just what the name would suggest. The best are part art gallery, part
history museum, part cafe, part think tank, part animal sanctuary, and
part resistance headquarters (vive la resistance!). I knew when I was
greeted at the door by a meowing, short-haired tabby that in Richard L.
Press, Fine and Scholarly Books, I had found one of the good
ones.... If independent bookstores are dinosaurs, we've got a T-Rex on the corner of 18th and F."
NPR's "What We're Reading" list this week includes A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks, The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley and So Much for That by Lionel Shriver.
"Pleasure seems to have become a rather neglected element in publishing," Orange Prize judge Daisy Goodwin told the Guardian regarding her experience reading the 129 entries for this year's competition.
"I think the misery memoir has had its day, but there are an awful lot of books out there which had not a shred of redemption in them," she added. "I'm more of a light and shade person and there does need to be some joy, not just misery.... I was surprised at how little I laughed... and the ones where there was humor were much appreciated I can tell you."
The Korea Times examined South Korea's reluctant approach to the e-book market, with publisher Kim Se-hun saying he believes his country's e-book industry lacks long-term vision and distinction from other forms. "Many e-book device buyers are early adopters who like new gadgets, not traditional booklovers," he said. "However, these light readers may be more interested in non-book content, and might not provide growth in the e-book market."
Omnibus Press, a division of the Music Sales Group that includes Schirmer Trade Books, Bobcat Books, Vision On Publishing, Gramophone Publications and Rogan House, will be distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services.
Omnibus Press publishes about 30 new titles per year and has more than 250 titles in print. It is best known for rock and pop themed titles. Omnibus also publishes reference trivia books, the In Their Own Words series and the Illustrated Lives of the Great Composers series.
Schirmer Trade Books publishes educational, entertaining and inspirational books about music with a focus on the recording arts, music business and genre histories. Schirmer Trade Books publishes 10 new titles a year and has an extensive backlist.
Vision On primarily publishes coffee-table photo books.