Its distribution contract up for renewal, HarperCollins is said to be refusing the terms Amazon has put on the table.
According to a Business Insider report based on an unidentified Amazon source, the publisher has been offered “the same contract recently signed by Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan.” If the impasse can’t be resolved, HarperCollins titles will cease to be sold through Amazon “very soon,” the source says.
There’s reason to suspect there’s more to this story, though.
During its dispute with Hachette, Amazon took its case case to the public in order to pressure the publisher to accede to its terms. And since Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider, some wonder whether yesterday’s story is a similar maneuver.
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What to Make of Amazon’s Dash Button (Vox)
There are many who believe physical retail has plenty of life left in it, not to mention indications that Amazon is itself inching in that direction. At the same time, the e-tailer is building out an Internet of Things strategy, buying IoT start-up 2lemetry last month and this week unveiling its Dash Button, which lets users order refills on home goods at the literal push of a button. One observer sees it as a measure “of how the plummeting cost of computer chips can change how people interact with computers.”
Smartphone Ownership Hits 64% (DBW)
The mobile wave is rising swiftly. In 2011, just 35% of U.S. adults owned a smartphone. That figure is now at 64%, according to a new Pew study, and millennials are among the most heavily dependent on the devices.
Related: How to Engage with Millennial Readers on Social Media
Mattel Forms Publishing Division (PW)
The toy and game company establishes an in-house publishing team to create digital content, including ebooks and apps, for the publishers who license with Mattel brands. Mattel wants to play a stronger hand in developing narratives with broad appeal across its global customer base while leveraging its partnerships to tailor that content to local markets.
Related: Picture Book Apps and the Case of the Vanishing Author
Inside the Recent Author Solutions Litigation (Pub Lunch)
The embattled and much disparaged publishing services company is the subject of multiple lawsuits filed by the same firm, more than one of them seeking class action status. The law firm explains its rationale for pursuing legal claims against Author Solutions in the company’s home state of Indiana as well as in New York.
Publishing Start-ups Face Obstacles in UK Schools (Pub Perspectives)
Recent newcomers in the education publishing and ed-tech spaces are struggling to gain a foothold in the UK. Not only are established players tough to shoulder aside, the difficult task of driving awareness and interest among teachers, to say nothing of budgetary restrictions, is also making progress hard to come by.
How Agents Defend Authors (HuffPost)
The role of agents in the publishing ecosystem has been called into question by the rise of ebooks and self-publishing. But one author explains how “good agents watch out for their clients in ways authors don’t even know,” especially as authors who are facing more ways to monetize their work than ever before sort out which ones are in their best interests.
Related: How the Author-Publisher Relationship Evolves in a Changing Market
The Library of Congress’s Digital Travails (WashPost)
In a report based on a year-long investigation, the Government Accountability Office faults the Library of Congress for falling behind on the digital transition, saying part of the problem stems from the library lacking the level of “leadership needed to address [its] IT management weaknesses.”
Amazon Makes Authors Obsolete (HuffPost—April Fool’s)
Smashwords founder Mark Coker plays the joker on April Fool’s Day, imagining the launch of a product called “Kindle Author,” which takes Amazon’s zeal for putting its customers first to an extreme by algorithmically generating entire novels based on readers’ indicated preferences. Then again, some robots have begun learning to write…