DBW Weekly Roundup: 10/29/10

DBW Weekly RoundupDigital Book World presents a weekly round-up of some of the most interesting news, commentary and tweets related to publishing that you may have missed, from all over the digital book world:

Mystery and crime fiction is bloody booming!
By Alan Rinzler, The Book Deal

Top literary agents in mysteries confirm an upsurge in the genre. “I started in 2009 and my business has only increased—with sales evenly split between hardcover and paperback,” Decker said. She’s one of most successful agents for mystery books over the past 12 months, according to Publisher’s Marketplace.

Acquiring book editors agree. “Mystery publishing at Thomas Dunne Books is thriving,” says Associate Editor Toni Plummer, who’s the #1 dealmaker on PM’s list for signing up mysteries. “We’re serving a huge community of mystery readers.” Terri Bischoff, the acquiring editor for Midnight Ink Books, says the mystery business is so good, they’re expanding.

The New York Times bestseller list confirms all this. Of the top ten books on the hardcover fiction list last week, five were mysteries. And last week’s Nielsen’s BookScan reports that for bestsellers in all categories or formats, eight of the top ten were mysteries. BookScan also reports that unit sales for mysteries were greater than for titles in romance, science fiction, and action adventure.

Texas Sends Amazon a $269 Million Sales Tax Bill
By Sarah Weinman, Aol DailyFinance

The company defended its lack of sales tax collection by saying Amazon doesn’t actually own the distribution center. It’s owned by a subsidiary, Amazon.com KYDC LLC, which is technically based in Kentucky. Assigning the distribution center to a different holding company, by Amazon’s logic, means it doesn’t have nexus there — and that’s why it feels it’s off the hook. Of course, Texas disagrees, having estimated it loses $600 million a year from untaxed online sales. With a bill sent to Amazon, that opens the door to long-expected litigation between the two parties as well as to the possibility that other states will jump on the collection bandwagon. It may also hamper the retailer’s plans to open several more distribution centers around the country because the prospect of sales tax collection may prove too much — and too costly — of a headache.

Amazon wins fight to keep customer records private
by Declan McCullagh, cnet

The Tar Heel State’s tax collectors have “no legitimate need” for details about the literary, musical, and cinematic habits of so many Amazon customers, Pechman wrote. “In spite of this, [North Carolina] refuses to give up the detailed information about Amazon’s customers’ purchases, while at the same time requesting the identities of the customers and, arguably, detailed records of their purchases, including the expressive content.” Amazon has provided the state tax collectors with anonymized information about which items were shipped to which ZIP codes. But North Carolina threatened to sue if the retailer did not agree to divulge the names and addresses linked to each order–in other words, by providing personally identifiable information that could be used to collect additional use taxes that might be owed by state residents.

Waterstone’s halts overseas e-book sales
By Victoria Gallagher, The Bookseller

Waterstone’s spokesman Jon Howells said the stop had been very recently brought in and had come into force last week. “It is basically due to rights of controlling where we sell books to,” said Howells. He said from now on customers will need to have a UK billing address in order to purchase e-books. “This is not a temporary move,” said Howells. A letter sent out to customers said: “We regret that as of 20th October 2010, we are no longer able to sell e-books to customers placing an order from anywhere outside of the UK and Ireland. We have had to take this action to comply with the legal demands of publishers regarding the territories into which we can sell e-books.”

Takedown Notices? Antipiracy Weapon or Exercise in Futility? Part 2: What the DMCA Means to You
By Richard Curtis, E-Reads

That same safe harbor is accorded to websites that carry pirated e-books. Title II prescribes the arduous takedown procedure that aggrieved authors and publishers must follow. Infringers that ignore or defy that procedure may be subject to prosecution under DMCA. But what happens if, after an infringer complies with a takedown notice, the material pops up again? Is the claimant helpless in what Ms. Bear describes as ” the whack-a-mole world of illegal downloads”? Here there is hope for the Astrid Bears of this world. Some lower-court decisions have ruled against websites that re-post infringing content after having been enjoined from doing so.

Interview With The Guy Who Embraced The ‘Pirates’ Of 4chan
By Mike Masnick, Techdirt

The moral of the story was not “gee, ‘piracy’ is good.” The moral of the story was that engaging your fans in intelligent and meaningful ways, often where and how they want to engage can help you do much better than you would have otherwise. It doesn’t mean “engage and you’re an automatic success.” It doesn’t mean “engage and you’ll never have to work again.” It means “engage and you’ll do better than you would have otherwise.” Lieber’s case is a clear example of that. He admits that when he first heard about his work he had “the usual knee-jerk irritation,” assuming that there was just some massive datadump of links to downloads. But when he went to 4chan, he realized it was something different…

Tweet of the Week

Tweet of the Week: Samantha Francis on digital opportunities for literary authors.

That’s just a taste of what you may have missed this week. To stay on top of the most interesting news, commentary and tweets related to publishing, keep in touch via our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, join your publishing colleagues in our LinkedIn group, and connect with the broader DBW Network.


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