We covered the big news yesterday, which is that several of the big publishers announced that they are delaying the e-book release of some of their upcoming titles, even though according to reports they aren’t actually making less per e-book copy than with hardcover copies. Mike Shatzkin speculates that this all about taking a stand against a company whose name starts with an “Ama” and ends with a “zon,” though what precisely they are hoping to achieve vis a vis Amazon remains somewhat unclear.
Amazon apparently reacted to the news by slashing the prices of the delayed e-books even further, to $7.99. Which, again, doesn’t mean publishers receive less money per copy, it just means Amazon loses $2 more per copy sold. So……. yeah.
Kassia Krozser at Booksquare broke out the crystal ball and made some interesting predictions for 2010, including: International rights and territorial control will be a hot issue in the e-book era, $9.99 will become a (sorta) standard, and publishers will begin to experiment with e-book first/then-print publishing. Definitely worth a read.
Mike Shatzkin (have I mentioned how much I love his blog?) also got a look at a new e-book experience via Baker & Taylor’s upcoming e-book platform, which features virtual bookshelves, all kinds of options for styles and functionality, and, very intriguingly, a sync option for the audio version of the book.
Reacting to the immense popularity of the late Stieg Larsson’s mystery series, some enterprising independent bookstores took it upon themselves to import and sell the UK edition, which has already been released. Only one problem with this plan: it’s illegal. Indies, I know times is tough, but let’s not turn into bootleggers, hmm?
Jacket Copy has a roundup of the latest rumors on the Apple Tablet: 10″ iPhone like screen, $1,000 price point (youch), but perhaps most intriguing of all: a rumored 70% to publishers/30% to Apple nonexclusive distribution arrangement, compared to (according to the article) a typical 50/50 split with Kindle. As Mr. Burns would say: Innnnnnnteresting.
The fallout from Harlequin’s announcement about their new self-publishing line continued to fall out, as the Mystery Writers of America took the step of de-listing Harlequin from their approved publishers list, meaning Harlequin books and authors with contracts signed after 12/2/09 are, among other things, no longer eligible for the Edgar Awards.
In “E-books Are Going to Destroy Writing” news, an article in the Guardian UK wonders if great writing will end because Don Delillo wrote on a typewriter, attention spans are shortened because of distractions, and a host of other fears. Lord knows nothing good has been written on a computer! (Though, in all seriousness, while I don’t share the essay’s sense of immense doom/pessimism, it has some interesting speculation that the disconnect from real life and removal from the dangers of in-person discourse afforded by computers results in an elevated and falsely enhanced sense of self-importance. Which isn’t a bad theory actually.) (via Combreviations)
In agent news, several blogging agents have announced that they are taking query holidays between now and January 15th: Jennifer Jackson, Upstart Crow, and Rachelle Gardner/Word Serve. I am really intrigued by this idea and ask that people avoid querying around the week before and after Christmas, but am currently too OCD about possibly missing out on something to take a full-fledged query holiday myself.
Almost finally, The Rejectionist offers writing advice inspired by Terminator:Salvation.
And finally, finally, while East Coast Bias will likely preclude Toby Gerhart from winning the Heisman Trophy tomorrow (despite ahem leading the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns while also carrying a 3.25 GPA at Stanford), I’d just like to present Exhibit A through Z for his candidacy. Go Gerhart!!
Have a great weekend!