On this first Tuesday in December, digital, libraries, and imprints make the top news. Forgive the late posting, as well as the length of this week’s piece.
Some are crying thief with the news of Penguin and Random House merger, but others are suggesting they are victims, particularly literary agents have the ‘V’ marking, so says Ella Delany, citing, “…One single publishing house usually contains multiple imprints with distinct identities and tastes. Agents typically pitch one book to one imprint at one house, although the exact rules differ from publisher to publisher. The rule at Penguin is that agents cannot pitch to multiple imprints within the group; imprints cannot bid against each other for the same manuscript.”
Have you seen the big six morph into the big two and lesser two? Here’s the breakdown: If HarperCollins snags Simon & Schuster, Random House and Penguin merges, that leaves Hachette and MacMillan, genuinely smaller across the asset board. The Annoyed Librarian tackles this topic…
Speaking of librarians, these self-less folks are up to GOOD, see how the plan for a digital library is being built, block by block, coming to Boston’s historic first publicly funded library, “The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an ambitious, broad-based effort to establish a new library platform for our digitally-mediated age.” Not only are they breaking new ground, they’re defending rights, too, “…more than 40 of the American Library Association’s 57 state and regional chapters signed a joint statement opposing the pricing and licensing terms that publishers and distributors have established for the sale of ebooks to libraries.” Full story… Plus read about a new prize your local library may be eligible for: LibraryAware Community Award, which will “…illuminate the value that communities throughout the United States and Canada derive from their libraries.” And the last bit of news about super librarians, a group goes graphic! Two Kansas University librarians have teamed with a student to create, Legends of the Library Ninjas: A Quest for Knowledge, a graphic guide book for rising college students.
We all know that technology is changing the publishing world. Several things are pushing the rapid shift, and some are trying to catch the boat before it lifts anchor and heads to deeper seas. Among those are US companies, and there is much speculation. But in Guadalajara, Bill McCoy, executive director of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), and Pablo Defendini of Safari Books Online, recently addressed piracy. The lesser discussed problem as many publishers leave their authors in water over their heads. “McCoy stressed the importance of collaboration between publishers and tech companies in order to bring books to readers via the greatest variety of devices, particularly as tablets become an everyday commodity, something which he predicts will happen quickly.” The full article…
And while we’re on the subject of tech companies, last week Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge and I exchanged comments concerning McGraw-Hill’s sale of their education branch. I saved this mess to mention today, as they “…will focus on content and analytics in the global capital and commodities market.” Yes sir, folks, step right up and see where this is going. I don’t often quote Wikipedia, but hey, here’s the perfect place to take some tangled titles and simplify as only they can. Commodity: “… Many products’ degree of commodification depends on the buyer’s mentality and means. For example, milk, eggs, and notebook paper are considered by many customers as completely undifferentiable and fungible; lowest price is the only deciding factor in the purchasing choice.” The complete explanation from Wiki here, and the article from Publishing Perspectives here.
From piracy to launches and you’ll sea see where we’re headed: Brazil’s Objetiva has introduced their digital imprint, Foglio, accepting short stories, tales, poems and essays up to a length of 15,000 words. While Amazon will focus its European eyes in Luxembourg, using English-language content, “…The move is ring[ing] warning bells for the traditional publishing firms that are already upset by the rise of e-books and by some authors putting out their own work through internet.” More on this… Also on the Amazon front, the company rumors to construct their third distribution center in California, less than 50 miles from another facility, although they have not officially announced the plan…yet. Right? Then how did I hear about it?
Shifting overseas, in China, the majority of the population reads digital content on their phones, more… and in Japan, GREE, by Zong, is the method to collect payment on that digital content, even if users don’t have a credit card or bank account, details… Yet in Russia, B & N is preparing to peddle Nook e-readers and tablets with help from Microsoft…the scoop.
Besides merger, what’s Simon and Schuster up to? Can you say self-publishing boys and girls? Under the imprint of Archway, S & S claim’s they are: Powered by Experts. Published by You. Not only have they sent an arm of self-pubbing out to test the waters, S&S will work with Author Solutions, offering “…a speakers’ bureau, video and book trailer production and distribution services and a ‘concierge service,’ allowing authors to work with a publishing guide…Some of its services are among the priciest for self-publishing authors, ranging as high as $25,000 f…” According to Shelf Awareness… Oh, did I mention, “…One unusual aspect of the deal: in July, Penguin Group parent company Pearson bought Authors Solutions and combined it with Penguin, which is merging with Random House. According to the New York Times, S & S and Author Solutions were already working on a deal before the Pearson purchase and ‘decided to go ahead anyway.’ Author Solutions divisions include AuthorHouse, AuthorHouse UK, iUniverse, Palibrio, Trafford Publishing and Xlibris.”?
Where’s your score card now? Not only do you need one for the mergers of the big six to a mere four, but for all the self-pubbing arms popping out in every direction!