Dog-Eared and Dispatched: June 14, 2015
This week’s books news takes us over the pond, where the European Commission is investigating Amazon’s e-book practices, and a small literary press has decided to publish women only in 2018. Will any of their examples drift over here? Only time might tell—ready? Set? Read!
The European Commission has opened an investigation into Amazon’s e-book practices. In their formal announcement, the EC emphasized that their investigation will focus on clauses “which seem to shield Amazon from competition from other e-book distributors, such as clauses granting it: the right to be informed of more favorable or alternative terms offered to its competitors; and/or the right to terms and conditions at least as good as those offered to its competitors.” Says Digital Book World, “Known as ‘most favored nation’ clauses, those terms were at the center of the antitrust ruling against Apple and five major U.S. trade publishers in 2013.” The U.K. trade has welcomed this announcement, where Amazon’s e-book market share is pegged at 90% to 93%. [Publishers Weekly, Digital Book World, The Bookseller]
A U.K. Press has opted to publish no men in 2018, in answer to Kamila Shamsie’s provocation to have a year of publishing—at all presses, big and small—female authors only. Shamsie’s call was to directly fight gender bias in the publishing industry. And Other Stories, the small press who has so publicly responded, is a literary press based in England. And Other Stories is the first press to accept the challenge, and publisher Stefan Tobler commented, “We’ve realized for a while that we’ve published more men than women. This year we’ve done seven books by men and four by women…. We have a wide range of people helping us with our choices, and our editors are women…. and yet somehow we still publish more books by men than women.” [Shelf Awareness, The Guardian, And Other Stories]
- After dire predictions from a number of sources that book publishing as we know it will be on the wayside by 2020, respected publishing professional Mike Shatzkin delves in deep to discuss why the most disruptive times for publishing have already passed.
- Audiobooks.com is promoting Audio Book Month by giving away a free download every day during June.
- Bestselling author Paolo Coelho tested a “pay as you wish” model by putting free e-copies of two of his books on his website, entreating readers to “please buy [the e-book if you like it]—so we can tell the publishing industry that this idea does not harm the business.”
- Publishers have applauded a Congressional proposal to establish the U.S. Copyright Office as an independent agency, but the plan has met some resistance.
- Reader’s Legacy has launched a new social media platform for book lovers, and 5% of the site’s annually redeemed virtual currency (LitCoins) will be given to literature-oriented charities and programs.
- Follett Corporation has added 200 college stores after purchasing Neebo from the Nebraska Book Company.
- Type designer and calligrapher Hermann Zapf died on Thursday at age 96.