The Last Few Weeks in Books 5/20/13

by | May 20, 2013 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

Brooklyn Heights. Photo by me. I’m on Instagram here.

Lots and lots of links stored up from the past few weeks, let’s get to them!

It hasn’t been long since the courts rejected a settlement between the Authors Guild and Google over Google’s bookscanning project, which many people characterized as far too generous to Google. Well, now the Authors Guild is taking a different tack. They’re suing Google for $3 billion (disclosure: link is to CNET, I work there).

Fear of Amazon’s role in the future of books has really crystalized in some sectors of the book world, and agent Andrew Zack had a post recently in which he expressed that perspective. I don’t totally agree with the post, and expressed that in the comments, but it’s a very good counter-perspective.

What’s the difference between a wholesaler and a distributor? Self-publishing Resources explains.

Even in the age of self-publishing there are still many benefits to having an agent (I still have one!). Agent Rachelle Gardner details these advantages.

Macmillan’s Tor imprint switched to non-DRM e-book sales a year ago. The result? No discernable increase in piracy.

HarperCollins announced the formation of a digital-first mystery imprint, called Witness. Which had agent Kristin Nelson wondering: Why can’t publishers pay e-book royalties on a monthly basis?

And speaking of imprint formation, The Atlantic launched a new e-book division focusing on singles and curated collections. Expect to see more and more non-publishers with a platform launch e-book programs, which is further evidence of the atomization of publishing and a reduction in the necessity and advantages of traditional publishing.

Lots of talk about F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby now that the new movie version is in theaters. The Guardian argues that Jay Gatsby has nothing on F. Scott Fitzgerald himself.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed by authors against self-publishing outfit Author Solutions, which is now owned by Penguin.

Are you ready to be a published author? Are you sure?

The trailer for the Enders Game movie was released.

What’s the optimal price for a self-published e-book? $3.99, says Smashwords.

Hilary Smith, née The Intern, has advice for the parents of writers.

Need to fire your agent? Sometimes it’s necessary. Agent Jenny Bent has advice for you.

In non-book news, I found this article provocative: What if the Tsaranaevs had been the “Boston shooters?”

And finally, Google I/O was this past week, which brought a whole slew of interesting new things. My friend Sharon Vaknin breaks down Google Now voice search vs. Apple’s Siri:

Have a great week!


  1. Anonymous

    What Nelson fails to mention is that some small e-presses actually do pay royalties on a monthly basis, so it's doable. And it's a very nice thing, too, for authors. But I guess she wouldn't know that.

    The 3.99 deal with Smashwords is very one-sided. The entire article is something that I would love to see compared to something written by Amazon on the same topic. Many authors will say most sales come from Amazon, not Smashwords. So they don't usually focus on Smashwords all that much. And I love Smashwords. I'm not snarking them. I just think that info could be debated by Amazon.

  2. Kate Cone

    Thanks, Nathan:

    I tried to find some info about the Harper Collins Witness Impulse imprint. Any info on how to approach them to publish a first novel?

  3. Mira

    That picture is just stunning. I'd pay money for that, Nathan. You are so talented.

    Great set of links. Appreciate Kristin Nelson taking an advocacy role. Good for her!

    I loved your comment on Andrew Zack's blog, I thought that was very well said. As for me, I'm just shaking my head that anyone is still defending the idea that Publishers should be allowed to commit a felony for any reason whatsoever. It's sort of mind-blowing to me. All the arguments don't matter – I really don't care what benefits or problems people imagine might ensue in some projected future that hasn't happened yet, it is simply not okay to break the law by colluding to control the marketplace.


    Find another solution.

    Speaking of which, good luck to the authors suing Penguin! Good for them! I heard the ones suing Harlequin have also returned to the table.

    Agents critiquing them, the DOJ after them, authors suing them, Publishers need to get their act together.

  4. Doug

    Re Authors Guild and Google: this isn't a new lawsuit. It's on-going maneuverings in that infringement suit that dates back to who-knows-when (CNET says 2005).

    As you probably know, after the Appeals court kicked the case back down to the District court, the AAP (publishers) settled with Google, but the Authors Guild didn't. Unfortunately for the Authors Guild, at about that same time it was held in a different case that the Authors Guild has no standing to bring a copyright-infringement lawsuit on behalf of its members. Such lawsuits must be brought by the copyright holders, which the Authors Guild isn't.

    So, the Authors Guild is trying to convert the case over to a class-action with authors as plaintiffs. This latest news is that Google is challenging that particular move.


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Hi, I’m Nathan. I’m the author of How to Write a Novel and the Jacob Wonderbar series, which was published by Penguin. I used to be a literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. and I’m dedicated to helping authors chase their dreams. Let me help you with your book!

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