Archive for the ‘Ebooks’ Category


Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Following the bidding wars for Fifty Shades of Grey (which began its life as Master of the Universe on a Twilight fan fiction site) and the sci-fi Wool, Hollywood continues its fascination with self-pubbed titles.

Film rights to Tracey Garvis-Graves’ On the Island, a NYT E-Book Fiction Best Seller (currently at #9 after 4 weeks; down from a high of #7), were just won at auction by Warner Brothers, reports Variety. In addition to the ebook format (available on B&T’s Axis 360), it is available in paperback (Amazon/CreateSpace, 9781466363212, 3/14/12). WorldCat indicates that few libraries own it.

The NYT On Justice’s Suit Against Publishers

Monday, April 16th, 2012

In today’s New York Times, media columnist David Carr examines the suit that the Justice Department entered last week. It charges Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster of colluding with Apple, against Amazon, to fix prices on eBooks. All but Macmillan and Penguin have agreed to settle (the text of the filing is here).

According to Carr, the action gives Amazon a major advantage; “Amazon has the Justice Department as an ally to rebuild its monopoly and wipe out other players. ”

Time Magazine's Person of the Year, 1999

The press has been in agreement with Carr. The WSJ offered a similar opinion last week, remarking on Justice’s “hyperventilating account of Apple’s negotiations with the publishers” and that “The book industry is defending the very survivability of a book industry whose products are anything but uniform.”

Amazon’s home town paper, The Seattle Times, reports on speculation that Amazon is behind the law suit.

Harry Potter eBooks Now for Sale (and Library Loaning)

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

As of today, Harry Potter ebooks are available for consumer purchase exclusively via the shop.

As of tomorrow at 9 a.m., ET, the entire series will be available for checkout from OverDrive, according to an email sent by the company earlier today. Pre-orders, which had been temporarily halted, have now been restored (and the 10% discount extended through 4/30). The company also says that all holds place on earlier ordering will be honored.  The HP books are available in EPUB, Kindle and MP3 audio formats.

Librarians, Publishers and eBooks

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

In the following video, librarians present the case for  ebooks in libraries to major publishers at last week’s Association of American Publishers annual meeting (via Publishers Marketplace). The speakers are ALA President Molly Raphael; Jim Neal, Columbia University libraries; and Tony Marx, NYPL. In the audience  are the heads of most of the largest houses in publishing, including many that do not sell ebooks to libraries.

Video streaming by Ustream

The Big Six Hear from Libraries

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

A panel entitled “Redefining the Dialogue between Libraries and Publishers” at the Association of American Publishers annual meeting yesterday featured ALA President Molly Raphael; Jim Neal, Columbia University libraries; and Tony Marx, NYPL.

Reportedly, Marx “generated the most drama” (the UK’s trade publication, The Bookseller), giving an “impassioned address,” (Publishers Lunch). The audience included John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan and David Young, CEO of Hachette Book Group, two of the houses that do not currently sell ebook to libraries for lending,

The other librarians were not in agreement with Marx’s suggestion that libraries should consider introducing more “friction” into the lending of ebooks to address publishers’ fears that library lending will destroy the nascent consumer market for ebooks. Raphael objected to his idea that libraries could stop lending ebook best sellers, focusing instead on “the backlist; on how we can promote people to read…. Books that might not be producing much revenue to your industry. As an educator, I know how much valuable information is stored there.” (Publishers Lunch)

Neal “vociferously opposed” Marx’s suggestion that NYPL would be willing to force users to come to the library to download ebooks (Publishers Lunch).

The reports don’t indicate if anyone pointed out that  library budgets already impose a great deal of “friction” into the process, limiting the number of copies of ebooks libraries can buy.

Library Journal reports that a lawyer in the audience noted that “anti-trust concerns might hamper publishers in collaborating to develop a business model and suggested that these could come from the library side instead; Raphael responded that ALA already had a working group in place to develop such options.”

Justice Dept. May Sue Over Consumer EBook Pricing

Monday, March 12th, 2012

The Justice Department has issued a warning to Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group, Macmillan and HarperCollins as well as Apple, that it may sue over the “agency model” for pricing ebooks to consumers, which Justice says may violate anti-trust laws.

The story was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Justice declined comment, but later confirmed to the Washington Post that “the matter is open.”

The “agency model” (publishers set the price and the seller takes 30%) was introduced to counter Amazon’s approach of selling ebooks for $9,99, often at a loss, which publishers regarded as an attempt to establish a monopoly. The publishers who adapted the agency model, then told Amazon that they would only sell them ebooks under that model.

Booksellers were also concerned about Amazon’s approach. As The Wall Street Journal notes,

William Lynch, chief executive of Barnes & Noble, gave a deposition to the Justice Department [last december]in which he testified that abandoning the agency pricing model would effectively result in a single player gaining even more market share than it has today, according to people familiar with the testimony.

HARRY POTTER eBooks Will Be Available to Libraries

Monday, February 27th, 2012

UPDATE: OverDrive just announced that the Harry Potter titles are available now for pre-order through Content Reserve.

At this point, none of the Harry Potter books are available digitally, but when they are, libraries will be able to buy them to circulate.

When J.K. Rowling announced plans for the web site, she also announced that it would be the exclusive seller of Harry Potter eBooks. Today, OverDrive announced that they have entered into a deal for both eBook and digitial audio distribution of the titles to schools and libraries.

In the press release, Charlie Redmayne, Pottermore’s CEO, underlined the company’s belief in the important role of libraries;

We are keen to support public and school libraries, and OverDrive, as one of the leading suppliers in this market, provides us with a global network that helps us achieve this, as well as encouraging the discovery of these amazing books across the world.

In addition, the books will be offered in several languages, beginning with English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.

The only hitch is that this won’t begin until, which is still in Beta, is launched. However, this announcement may be a signal that it is coming soon.

Penguin Decides Against Library Lending of eBooks

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Late last year, the Penguin Group suspended libraries’ ability to lend the company’s new ebooks and audio downloads, pending evaluation. The evaluation is now complete and the news is not good. Yesterday, the company announced that they have terminated their contract with OverDrive. For the titles that libraries have already purchased, Library Journal reports OverDrive is negotiating a “continuance agreement,” to allow ongoing access.

The Penguin Group imprints include NAL, Berkley, Dutton, Riverhead, Viking, Dial Young Readers, Philomel, Putnam, and Speak.

The LJ story concludes with this chilling scenario;

…publishers [may] demand a business model in which they will only make their ebooks available to public libraries if they are used in the library or if a patron is required to bring their device to the library and load the title onto the device in the library, then bring it home.


Random House Ebooks Still Available to Libraries

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Coming from RH/Knopf in April in print and ebook

Top executives from ALA visited New York publishers this week to present the case for making ebooks available for library lending. When librarians found out that Random House had asked to be included, fears grew that the one house that has stood firm in making their titles available was about to change that policy.

The rumor was completely unfounded, however. RH told both Library Journal and Publishers Weekly that they simply wanted ALA to know that, “Our commitment to libraries, as imperative to our momentum, if not to our existence as publishers, is greater than ever.”

One small hitch, however, a price increase will take effect March 1.

Librarian response has been positive, since this model is preferable to windowing (not making ebooks available until a year or more after release), limiting the number of circulations, or not making ebooks available at all. As a result, publishing news aggregator, Publishers Lunch “Automat,” commented in its link to the PW story, “It’s Interesting Times When Random House Raising Prices On Library eBooks Is Celebrated As Good News.”

Several libraries immediately placed orders on Random House titles to beat the price increase.

NBC Launches EBook Division

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

NBC News announced yesterday that it has created a new publishing division, NBC Publishing, to produce ebooks based on information from NBC’s news shows (including The Today Show and Nightline), archives and other divisions (NBC  Sports, Universal Pictures and Telemundo).

The head of the new division, NBC v-p Michael Fabiano, told Publishers Weekly that their first original e-book is coming next month, followed by about 30 titles over the  year. He also noted that NBC has the capability of distributing titles on their own.

He did not address whether titles will be available to libraries via OverDrive, but indications are hopeful. NBC has hired two people from publishing houses, both of which sell titles via OverDrive to libraries; Peter Costanzo from Perseus Book Group has been named as creative director and Brian Perrin, most recently with Rodale, is director of digital development. Also, an earlier enhanced ebook that NBC published with Running Press, From Yesterday to Today: Six Decades of America’s Favorite Morning Show (Dec., 2011), is available to libraries on OverDrive.

Reporting the story, the online movie news site, Deadline points out that ebooks are likely to evolve into a format separate from print books, with this quote from Cheryl Gould, NBC News SVP who is heading up the New York-based part of the new division,

As the tablet and e-reader markets continue to expand exponentially, and as the definition of “what is a ‘book?’” evolves, we see opportunities to bring readers a unique and immersive content experience. This business enables NBC to use video, audio, and current programming in creative new ways.

Taking it to the Public

Monday, January 16th, 2012

In a front-page article yesterday, the Washington Post highlights what librarians have been discussing for months; libraries can’t buy enough ebooks to meet demand, both because of “limited budgets” and because of “little cooperation from some publishers.”

Included is a chart that shows availability of best sellers in as ebooks in local libraries. Seven of the 20 titles are not available to libraries, most of the rest show heavy holds.



Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

An eBook-only title appears at No. 8 on the current the NYT eBook Nonfiction list. It is just the second e-only title to hit that list, (after Sarah Burleton’s self-pubbed abuse memoir, Why Me?), according to tracking by Publishers Lunch.

The book, The POLITICO Playbook 2012: The Right Fights Back, by Mike Allen and Evan Thomas, is an instant digital book, the first in a series of four titles about the 2012 election to be published in a joint venture between the political news site, Politco and Random House. It is billed as “the first in-depth look inside the 2012 Republican race to the nomination.”

As with other Random House titles, it is available for library lending via OverDrive, in Kindle, ePub and audio formats. However, relatively few libraries seem to have ordered it, raising the question of how libraries discover and buy e-only titles.

Co-author Mike Allen, the chief White House correspondent for Politico, has promoted the book on several national television shows, including PBS’s Charlie Rose Show and  CBS Face the Nation (bringing a tongue-in-cheek protest from the site that POLITICO’s constant promotion has reached the saturation point).

Penguin Kindle Title Restoration is Temporary

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

After OverDrive’s announcement that Penguin had decided to restore access to older titles for library lending via Kindle, Penguin released a statement that this will only be in effect through the end of the year, unless concerns about unnamed security issues are resolved (see last line)

Penguin USA took the decision yesterday [11/22] to withhold the supply of new digital titles from suppliers to US libraries until concerns about the security of the copyright of its authors have been resolved.

In addition, Penguin informed suppliers to libraries that it expected them to abide by existing agreements to offer older digital titles to libraries only if those files were held behind the firewalls of the suppliers.

Following receipt of this information, Overdrive, a supplier of ebooks to US libraries, removed “Get for Kindle” from its offering.

Penguin has subsequently been informed by Amazon that it had not been consulted by Overdrive about the terms of Penguin’s agreement with Overdrive. Amazon has undertaken to work with Penguin and Overdrive between now and the end of the year to address Penguin’s concerns. Penguin will, as a result, restore the supply of these titles until the end of the year in order to return the availability of older titles to all its digital customers.

Lending to Kindle of Older Penguin eBooks Restored

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

This just posted on the OverDrive site. Note that new titles will not be available:

November 23: UPDATE Penguin eBook titles for lending to Kindle restored

‘Get for Kindle’ for all Penguin eBooks in your catalog has been restored.  Penguin titles are available for check out by Kindle users and the Kindle format will be available for patrons who are currently on a waiting list for a Penguin title. This does not affect new releases, which remain unavailable.

We apologize for the inconvenience this caused for your library and patrons.

At this time, no further information is available. We hope to share more details in the near future.


Random House Still Selling eBooks to Libraries

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Now that Random House is the only publisher of the Big Six that sells ebooks to libraries without restrictions (HarperCollins limits the number of circulations to 26), we thought it was a good idea to check in with them, to see if they are standing firm.

In response to our inquiry, spokesperson Stuart Applebaum replied, “Random House, Inc. is maintaining our current position regarding digital sales of our books to libraries while actively reviewing our position.”

Now is a good time to show library support for RH titles. Early reactions about galleys can be a critical element in developing buzz. Publishers regularly hear from booksellers (particularly via the IndieNext program), but less so from librarians.

Here’s what you can do:

Get to know which titles RH is working to build buzz for. Read Random Revelations, the RH Library Marketing catalog and the Random Revelations blog. Pay particular attention to the debuts, such a Chris Pavone’s The Expats (Crown, March) or Thomas Mallon’s Watergate (Delacorte, Feb; more about it here; Digital review copies available from Edelweiss), and titles positioned as breakouts, like Defending Jacob, by William Landay (Delacorte, Jan; more about it here; Digital ARC on Edelweiss).

Let RH know what you think of specific titles, via comments on the blog, or by writing directly to the RH Library Marketing staff ( Tell them if reading a galley made you decide to order more copies, what audience you envision for particular titles, which ones you plan to use with reading groups. Give them quotes they can use in promo copy. This information is particularly helpful in the critical time before a book is published, the earlier, the better.

Random House, Inc. is a big company with many imprints and divisions. Get to know the players by studying the list on the RH site, which provides descriptions of each division and imprint, with links to their home pages.

Taking these steps will reinforce the point that libraries are key to building readership for books.