DBW Weekly Roundup: 9/3/10

DBW News 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:

Sony’s latest e-readers: Understanding the trade-offs and global strategy
Larry Dignan, ZDNet

Sony’s situation won’t be that dire. Sony will be a player in the U.S., but the real win will be in places like Russia, Brazil and China. Why? Sony’s brand carries a lot of weight. And Sony has the retail partnerships that wrap around the globe. Meanwhile, Amazon and Barnes & Noble will be hard-pressed to replicate Sony’s global reach. If the global trend is to move away from paper to bits of data the e-reader market worldwide is just beginning. Sony can be everywhere its primary rivals can’t. Meanwhile, Sony’s real rivals—companies like Samsung—don’t have e-readers or the content that needs to ride shotgun. Sony’s store is comparable to the others and has seen its 10 millionth book download.

Worth fighting for?
Tom Tivnan, The Bookseller

The colourful Burkle—he’s a close pal of Bill and Hillary Clinton and is the godfather to P Diddy’s two children—has launched a proxy fight to unseat the three directors up for re-election at B&N’s AGM in late September, including Riggio himself. To shore up his position, Riggio last week bought almost one million B&N shares, to the tune of $16.8m. Exciting stuff, if you’re into blood-on-the-boardroom-carpet shenanigans. In a strange way, though, I am rather cheered at the animosity: it means at least two people think that a bricks and mortar bookseller is worth fighting for.

Minnesota’s Reading Frenzy Set to Open
Shannon McKenna Schmidt, Shelf Awareness

The interior of the nearly 1,600-sq.-ft. space, which was unfinished so that it could be built for the occupying business, has been transformed into a booklovers’ haven with a reading nook and decorative touches like tables adorned with painted images of book spines. “We really want the store to be a hangout, which our community desperately needs,” said Olson. Ready Frenzy is the only bookstore in Zimmerman, which is about 40 miles northwest of Minneapolis. And yes, there is a connecting door to the coffee shop.

Groupon for Publishers & Bookstores
Jason Boog, GalleyCat

Watermark Books and Cafe, a bookstore in Kansas, used Groupon to create a special deal. In June, they promoted the “pay $10 for a $20 coupon” offer on Groupon–banking on the idea that at least 10 customers would take advantage of the deal. Hundreds of other customers ended up taking advantage of the Groupon offer. Read this retail case study to find out how it works. Maybe publishers could cut unique coupon deals for bestselling books as well? Here’s more about the Watermark Books deal: “Though an online book glows in the dark, it can’t be shredded to make a papier-mache wig or taped to a shoe to replace an ice skate. Peruse useful reading material with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of books, drinks, and sandwiches at Watermark Books and Cafe on Douglas Avenue. This Groupon is valid for in-store purchases only and is not valid toward magazines, newspapers, or gift cards.”

What science fiction writers can learn from the flood of SF lit novels
Charlie Jane Anders, io9

And that brings me to the third thing I’ve noticed about a lot of these books — in comparison to the earnest, heartfelt works of the mid-2000s like The Confessions Of Max Tivoli and The Time Traveler’s Wife, the dominant mode of science fictional literary books is satire — and dark satire at that. Whether you’re looking at the would-be captains of the technological near future (as McEwan does) or its hapless victims (as many other authors seem to) a jaundiced look at human failings seems to be a key ingredient. The only way to navigate the bewildering, horrible future is with irony and satire. And copious amounts of weirdness — a lot of these books lavish a lot of description on some jarringly odd situations, from McEwan’s protagonist’s penis getting frozen to his zipper in the Antarctic to two of Moody’s characters getting groped by a severed hand — not to mention his lengthy zero-gravity gay sex scene. So it’s finally come true — the literature of the future has become the future of literature.

A video game made of paper: Les Editions Volumiques
Andrew Webster, ars technica

They describe their company as “a publishing house focusing on the paper book as a new computer platform.” Prior to forming Les Editions, Duplat and Mineur did everything from designing games and websites to creating game development tools. Eventually, the two decided to see what would happen if they merged some of their passions together. “We both loved books and video games and we wanted to reconcile the two!” the pair told Ars via e-mail. The result was an actual video game made out of paper.

Tweet of the Week

Jason Pinter on Mockingjay

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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