Late last week, Macmillan and the U.S. Department of Justice agreed on a settlement to resolve the issue of alleged collusion and ebook price-fixing between Macmillan, four other U.S. publishers and Apple.
The settlement was basically the same as those signed by HarperCollins, Hachette, Penguin and Simon & Schuster except for two key differences:
1. It allows for retailers to start discounting Macmillan ebooks before they even have new contracts with the publishers (and discounting could start as early as this week).
2. It allows for a slightly shorter “cooling off” period in which Macmillan has to have a new and different relationship with its retailers. Other publishers that settled had to wait two years from when they signed their agreements. Macmillan will have to wait roughly 23 months.
So, what does it mean for all other publishers? Likely, more ebooks will be sold at lower prices, putting downward price pressure on all ebooks. Publishers should be preparing for a very different pricing environment than they’re used to – and fast.
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The rest of the day’s top news:
A Middle Ground Between Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing (DBW)
Signing with a big publisher or doing everything alone aren’t the only two options for authors who have the choice. There is a middle ground for hybrid authors that could bring them both the services seasoned publishing professionals as well as the flexibility of self-publishing.
Audience Development: A New Marketing Role at HarperCollins (DBW)
Taking a cue from magazine and news media, HarperCollins has hired a director of audience development. Jim Hanas is the new hire. He previously filled a similar role at the weekly culture and gossip newspaper The New York Observer. He will report to chief marketing officer Angela Tribelli.
Sony Enrolling (The Digital Reader)
Sony is trying to get its Xperia tablets into classrooms. It’s part of the company’s K-12 Education Initiative and will include a nationwide community of educators led by Sony-affiliated teachers and IT specialists. Another step in the long slog to get students to like digital textbooks.
When Publishers Behave Stupidly (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
More than two years ago, a university librarian published a disparaging blog post about a certain small publisher that we will not name here (it’s in the article). Two years later, that publisher has filed a lawsuit claiming damages. Problem is: first, the blog post is no longer online, so this is bringing fresh attention to something that had been dead; second, that the librarian in question’s current employer (named in the suit) is not the employer he had when he published the post; and third, do stones bleed now?
Eye Strain Myth (The Digital Reader)
Now that tablets are quickly overtaking e-readers as the dominant ebook reading device sold, is anyone concerned about eye strain? A new study suggests we shouldn’t be because, apparently, reading on LCD screens may not be worse for your eyes than e-ink.
How to Sell More Ebooks (A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing)
Outspoken indie author and critic of big publishers J.A. Konrath has now sold one million ebooks, he writes in his blog. Here he lists the secrets to his success.
Closed Door = Open Window? (L.A. Times)
As Barnes & Noble shutters physical store locations, it may mean new independent bookshops sprouting up.
Excerpts Made Easy (DBW)
A new ebook discovery tool makes it easy for authors and publishers to create well-formatted ebook excerpts to entice readers to buy.
How to Find the Word-of-Mouth Holy Grail (Pub Perspectives)
When it comes to book marketing, a title that spreads by personal recommendation is the holy grail. But what does it take to get people to recommend a book to their friends, family and colleagues? Is it more about clever marketing or just a really great book?
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