Monthly Archives: January 2012

Publishing’s Ecosystem on the Brink: The Backstory

[Update, February 2, 2012: There have been some comments here and elsewhere questioning the accuracy of a sentence in this blog post that we excerpted from Barry Lynn's "Killing the Competition" Harper's piece. The sentence deals with Amazon's blackout of Macmillan titles in 2010. We found Mr. Lynn's sentence, saying that "Amazon wanted to price ... every e-book of every publisher at $9.99 or less" to be accurate. To our knowledge, that's precisely what Amazon was trying to do. In our post about the buy-button blackout at the time (The Right Battle at the Right Time, two years ago today), we described a "$9.99 ceiling that Amazon has been seeking to impose on the industry." It's true that Amazon did selectively sell some e-books from major publishers at $10 or more, but Amazon's intentions and practices -- in October 2009, for example, Amazon priced a reported 104 of 112 NY Times bestsellers at $9.99 -- seem quite clear.]

Subtlety is out. Bloomberg Businessweek’s January 25th cover shows a book engulfed in flames. The book’s title? “Amazon Wants to Burn the Book Business.” A towering pile of books dominates the front page of Sunday’s NYT Business Section. The pile starts well below the fold (print edition), breaks through the section header at the top of the page, and leans precariously. Books are starting to tumble off. “The Bookstore’s Last Stand,” reads the headline.

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Give Away Someone Else’s Book on World Book Night

World Book Night, a British experiment in giving away royalty-free new books to strangers, is coming to the US, and we’re on board. Here’s the background.

On every first Thursday in March since 1998, the UK has celebrated World Book Day by giving several million British schoolchildren £1 tokens they can use to purchase any book at a bookseller. UK publishers produce special £1 World Book Day editions of select books, and booksellers, schools, and libraries host hundreds of author visits, story times, and dress parties to celebrate the day. By all accounts, World Book Day has become quite successful in bringing books to children and families to bookstores.

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