Dog-Eared and Dispatched: March 22, 2015
Welcome to another edition of “Dog-Eared & Dispatched”! This week we look at digital content giant … Rakuten, which just acquired OverDrive. We also look at Amazon’s latest doings (some things are up in the air), and round things out with a diverse collection of footnotes ranging from award mentions to copyright feuds. Ready? Set? Read!
Library ebook distributor OverDrive has been acquired for $410 million by Japanese digital content company Rakuten, which bought out Kobo in 2011. As the press release notes: “Kobo, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, and OverDrive will work together to enhance their abilities to deliver world-class digital content and reading technology services. The acquisition is expected to close in the next thirty days […] Rakuten has identified digital content as one of its three key pillars of global growth, alongside e-commerce and finance. The acquisition represents a strategically significant addition to Rakuten’s eBook focus, alongside eReading company Kobo to its overall portfolio of digital content businesses.” The move will allow more direct integration of OverDrive library services with Kobo device and app users, and is probably aimed at establishing Rakuten as a real rival for Amazon. [OverDrive, BBC, Digital Book World, MobyLives!]
Amazon has had a busy week this week. Not only have they expanded their Amazon Publishing operations into France (despite not being profitable at home), hiring Clément Monjou as senior editor, original manuscripts (charged with the task of finding works to publish and/or translate), but they have also gotten permission from the FAA to test drone deliveries. There’s a catch of course, as the FAA’s press release notes: “Under the provisions of the certificate, all flight operations must be conducted at 400 feet or below during daylight hours in visual meteorological conditions. The UAS must always remain within visual line-of-sight of the pilot and observer. The pilot actually flying the aircraft must have at least a private pilot’s certificate and current medical certification. The certificate also requires Amazon to provide monthly data to the FAA. The company must report the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions, any deviations from air traffic controllers’ instructions, and any unintended loss of communication links.” In other words, Amazon can test their drones in circumstances that are completely unlike what they would require to make deliveries. It does sort of look like a publicity stunt, doesn’t it? [The Bookseller, MobyLives!, PopSci, FAA, MobyLives!]
- HarperCollins is trying to make money on Twitter.
- After being lost for around four hundred years, the grave of Miguel de Cervantes may have been found in Madrid – although DNA confirmation is unlikely.
- Salinger estate proves that international copyright law is a tricky business.
- The PEN/America 2015 Literary Award longlist has been announced.
- Louise Erdrich honored with Library of Congress award.