Amazon’s new Kindle lending program causes publishing stir
Amazon has made it possible for some readers to share ebooks on the Kindle, the company announced with some fanfare Thursday. The new KindleOwners’ Lending Library is available to Amazon Prime members (an annual $79 fee), turning Kindles into a member-supported private library. Amazon announced in its press release:
With an Amazon Prime membership, Kindle owners can now choose from thousands of books to borrow for free — including over 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers — as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates. No other e-reader or ebookstore offers such a service. With an annual Prime membership, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is included at no additional cost. Millions of Prime members enjoy free two-day shipping, unlimited streaming of nearly 13,000 movies and TV shows, and now thousands of books to borrow for free with a Kindle.
Amazon’s move is causing consternation behind the scenes in publishing. The online retailer had approached publishers about participating in the program for a flat fee — and many turned them down. Much to their surprise, their books appeared as part of the program anyway. The industry newsletter Publishers Marketplace wrote Thursday:
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Could Amazon’s Lending Library End in Court?
As more information has come to light about the Lending Library program Amazon launched last week, the tenor in the industry has shifted from puzzlement to anger. Although Amazon initially said it reached a “variety of terms” with publishers to include their titles in the Lending Library program, which allows Amazon Prime members to borrow one title per month for free, PW has learned that the overwhelming majority of publishers with titles featured in the program did not reach any agreement with the retailer. Rather, these titles were taken without publishers’ knowledge or consent. Many publishers, who feel the program undercuts the value of their content and is something Amazon is doing to promote sales of its devices–a Prime membership costs $79 a year and also includes free shipping on products and access to streaming video content–are now consulting their contracts and their lawyers to see what, if any, legal action can be taken. PW has also learned that Amazon has been in talks with some agents who have expressed discomfort with the program.
As has been reported already, titles from the big six houses were not included in the Lending Library because these publishers sell on the agency model. The books featured in Amazon’s Lending Library are all either self-published, published by Amazon (under one of its imprints), or published by houses that sell on the wholesale model. Amazon was able to include publishers’ titles without their consent because the e-tailer is treating the borrowing process as a sale—each time a Prime user borrows a book, Amazon pays the publisher as if the book was bought.
No Maltese, thank you, Amazon tells publisher
One of the world’s largest online retailers, amazon.com, has rejected a Maltese attempt to publish e-books in the Maltese language.
Maltese readers anywhere in the world would have been able to read great fiction in Maltese by clicking on Amazon
Readers would have been able to download and read Maltese books on Kindle, Amazon’s electronic book device.
However, it all went up in smoke when, at the very last minute, amazon.com pulled the plug. Despite the fact that the language fully conformed to the Kindle publishing requirements, the US based company retracted its initial acceptance to publish in the Maltese language.
Chris Gruppetta, director of publishing at Merlin Publishers, said he approached amazon.com in July, expressing his interest and querying whether it was possible to publish Kindle e-books in Maltese. Mr Gruppetta was aware that till then they only published in six main languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and English.
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ABCi: Pubs bullish on mobile
North American newspaper and magazine publishers are becoming more confident in their strategic mobile plans as they roll out new offerings, according to a study released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations and ABC Interactive.
The group said 59 percent of publishers say they have a “well-developed” plan to support their mobile marketing efforts, up from 28 percent two years ago.
And 67 percent said it was important to their strategic future to earn revenue from both ads and subscriptions.
•A total of 85 percent of respondents said they produce content for mobile devices, with newspapers (88 percent) most likely to have mobile initiatives in place, followed closely by consumer magazines (83 percent) and business publications (79 percent).
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Publish Your Opus at Politics and Prose
The legendary Chevy Chase, DC, independent bookstore and coffeehouse takes bookselling to a whole new level—letting patrons publish their own manuscripts at a reasonable price.
For anyone who’s ever dreamed of publishing a book some day, that day has arrived.
Starting Thursday, Nov. 10 all it takes is a trip to Politics and Prose with a copy of your manuscript (saved to a thumbdrive or CD) in hand, and you, too, can be a published author in about 10 minutes.
(One caveat: You have to write the manuscript first.)
The famed Politics and Prose bookstore at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC, has been a Chevy Chase institution for over a quarter of a century. It has endured recessions, a change of ownership, the rise of bargain booksellers and e-books because it offers something unique to the community—an independent bookstore with a wide selection of books, nightly readings and coffee.
And now, it also offers Opus—and is one of only a handful of bookstores in the country to do so.
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