I apologize for missing last week’s article roundup. It’s been another very busy two weeks, complicated by problems with my computer which kept me off it for days. So here are some of the last two weeks’ articles of interest:
E0book Pricing Settlements:
The biggest book-related news of this two weeks is that Federal Judge Denise Cote approved the DOJ’s antitrust settlement with Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Hatchette Book Group. This Los Angeles Times article gives the basics. Dear Author’s Jane Litte gives an excellent plain-English summary and explanation of the settlement. Laura Hazard Owens discusses “What the DOJ settlement means for ebook prices now.” (Paid Content) And Rich Adin believes that we will see ebook prices rise as a result. (An American Editor blog)
Note that HarperCollins titles are already being discounted by Amazon, though you may have to compare Kindle and mass market prices to be sure. (It’s not necessarily a huge discount: some $7.99 books are selling for $6.99 in Kindle format, which is about a 12.5% price reduction.) Books On Board also discounted HarperCollins books for a week. I don’t see similar discounts at Kobo and B&N, but I’m hopeful they will soon be follow suit.
Preliminary approval has also been given to a settlement in a price-fixing suit brought by 49 states against Apple and three publishers. (Los Angeles Times, Sept. 12)
“Apple, publishers offer antitrust concessions: source” (Reuters): Apple, Simon & Schuster, Hatchette Livre, HarperCollins, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck (they own the German division of Macmillan) are offering concessions to end an antitrust investigation by the EU.
Libraries and e-books:
“Ebooks for Libraries” is a guest post on Joe Konrath’s blog by Michael Saperstein and Linda Stevens, two librarians with the Harris County Public Library system in Texas. The two do a very nice job of summarizing the issues and challenges facing libraries wanting to offer digital books to their patrons. (Note: I find some of Konrath’s posts abrasive, and I disagree with his position on the recent scandals involving authors and fake reviews. However, this guest post is excellent.)
Nate Hoffelder reports that Hatchette Group is raising ebook prices an average of 220$ for libraries, potentially pricing some of them out of the market. (The Digital Reader blog)
Other book and ebook topics:
Jane Litte’s “Ownership in the Digital Age, Part 1” and “Ownership in a Digital Society, Part 2” , posted on the Dear Author blog, discuss one of the major issues with digital media: what is ownership and do we actually own the digital content we purchase? I’ve written about this previously, but Litte does an excellent job of laying out the problems.
“Reviewing EPUB Myths”, posted by Matthew (no last name) on the ePub Secrets blog, is aimed at ebook creators, but includes some helpful information for the layman. I didn’t realize, for instance, that you can sideload ePub books bought at other stores, with or without DRM, onto several of the NOOK models. The post is essentially Matthew’s notes from and reactions to a webinar hosted by Aptara, and gives the URL for the webinar in case you’re interested in the entire thing.
Ever wonder about the importance of cover design? Author Sherry Thomas blogs about her experiences with ebook cover design, with lots of pictures to serve as examples. The post makes it clear that digital covers face challenges that print book covers do not. (Dear Author blog)
Speaking of cover design, The Enchanted Inkpot has again posted a whole lot of YA book covers, collected to show trends and similarities. “Fall YA Covers: Red to be Read” and “YA Fall Covers, Take Two”.
Rich Adin muses on the downside of free ebooks on his blog, An American Editor.
“Watch a novel being written ‘live’: Author Silvia Hartmann is writing a fantasy novel on Google Docs — so anyone who wants to can watch the writing process live. According to the Guardian’s BooksBlog, it doesn’t look like a scintillating novel (some of the quoted sentences are pretty much dreck), but it’s an interesting concept.
Finally, I was going to include the Sept. 6 announcements by Kobo and Amazon of their new e-reader devices, but I ended up writing an entire post comparing the e-reader lineups of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.
And Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader reports a rumor circulating on several blogs that B&N may be releasing a new tablet, to run Windows 8 rather than Android.