Amazon and Publishers: Tense Exchanges

shutterstock_23462992Another day in court at the U.S. vs. Apple et al trial, another day of revelations of the true nature of the relationships between big publishers and big retailers. 
 
Amazon’s Russ Grandinetti has now testified at the trial, presenting a reversal of roles between Amazon and publishers compared to what has been reported in the past. In early 2010, when publishers were renegotiating contracts with Amazon following signing with Apple, they called Grandinetti one by one offering ultimatums on their ebook contracts. 
 
While Amazon pushed back, even threatening to reevaluate overall relationships (code for, “maybe we don’t have to sell any of your books”), the publishers (and Apple) ultimately got what they wanted. 
 
Much more on the courtroom saga at the bottom of the newsletter. 
 


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The rest of the day’s top news:
 
Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins Amp up Collaboration (DBW)
In advance of a spinoff that will see HarperCollins, Dow Jones (publisher of the Wall Street Journal) and other newspaper properties separated from the glitzier side of News Corp, the two companies are working more closely together than ever. Expect more throughout the rest of the year.
 
Barnes & Noble Follows Amazon (DBW)
Barnes & Noble has launched its own short-form content play, Nook Snaps, following Kindle Singles.
 
HarperCollins Hacker Central (DBW)
Building on the success of the publishing hackathon held last month, HarperCollins has launched its own software development contest.
 
What Does Discovery Really Mean? (The Digital Reader)
Discovery might mean one thing to readers, another to publishers, and a third to third parties who want to sell publishers “discovery” solutions. 
 
Educators Want Flexibility in Ebooks (DBW)
When it comes to digital content, teachers have a problem: money. School budgets are not exactly filled with pork, and teachers need to be careful about how they spend their small allotment. Allowing them to buy slices of books might be a solution they can live with. 
  
Ebooks Hit Broadway (DBW)
A new ebook release of an old book long out of print is helping to market a new Broadway musical. The musical, in turn, is helping marketing the ebook and both the publisher and producers are working toward these mutual goals in new and interesting ways. 
 
Snapplify Partners With SPI Global (DBW)
Content store app firm Snapplify is now offering its services to SPI Global customers – and visa versa. This is part of a larger trend of publishing services providers consolidating to offer full-service solutions to clients.
 
HMH Adapts (DBW)
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is partnering with educational technology firm Knewton to produce software that adapts to each child as they learn.
 
DOJ/Apple: Bullet Points (paidContent)
Bullet points of recent events in court.
 
DOJ/Apple: Amazon and Apple, More in Common Than You Think (AllThingsD)
When it comes to ebooks, both tech giants have been fierce negotiators.
 

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