Apple, publishers, may face antitrust suit over ebook prices: Justice Department investigates ‘collusion’ against Amazon
In what may turn out to be a huge victory for Amazon and its “wholesale pricing” model for selling books, the federal government has told Apple and the Big Five publishing houses that they cannot enter into an agreement about ebook pricing.
The accusation, as reported by the Wall Street Journal today, is that America’s biggest publishing houses (Penguin, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Hachette) are essentially colluding with Apple to keep prices on e-books.
That might well be cause for antitrust action by the government against the publishers and Apple, which yesterday introduced the latest version of its iPad. According to the Journal, some of the publishers are contemplating a settlement, which could endanger their positions in a digital book market that accounted for $970 million in sales last year, according to the Association of American Publishers. (Photo: Bloomberg)
This is only the latest development in a long-standing battle between the literary establishment and Amazon, which has generally sought to charge $9.99 or less for most of its e-books – and recently removed 4,000 from its Kindle store because publishers wanted higher prices than Amazon.
In the wholesale pricing model that the publishers have vigorously fought, Amazon bought books from publishers and then charged what it wanted for them, knowing that virtually no other outlet could compete with its low prices. It did not mind losing money on the e-books themselves – as long as costumers bought the Kindles necessary to read them, as they have done by the millions.
More about ebook prices and antitrust
Simba Information: Global Professional Publishing Industry to Grow 3% in 2012
Publishing forecast firm Simba Information reveals the global market for professional publishing products and services, led by the legal, science/technical and medical (STM) segments, will grow 3% through 2012, reaching $41.4 billion. According to a recent report by the firm, print and electronic books were the leading delivery method, closely followed by online services and abstracting/indexing.
Print books still dominate the landscape for professional publishing, representing the largest chunk of revenue from the top ten leading publishers. Additionally, the report finds double-digit growth for e-books. Mobile and internet applications have also experienced significant growth recently, as publishers have stepped up production efforts.
“Publishers are investing millions in electronic books, especially in iPad textbook production,” said Dan Strempel, senior analyst at Simba Information. “In 2010, 13.1% of the top ten professional publishers’ book revenue was generated by e-books sales.”
More about ebook prices and antitrust
PayPal sparks furor over limits on “obscene” e-books
(Reuters) – PayPal, the online payments arm of eBay Inc, has sparked a furor in the publishing world by asking some e-book distributors to ban books that contain “obscene” themes including rape, bestiality or incest.
PayPal sent an email on Feb 18 to Mark Coker, founder of e-book publisher and distributor Smashwords, saying it would “limit” the company’s PayPal account unless Smashwords removed from its website e-books “containing themes of rape, incest, beastiality and underage subjects.”
PayPal sent similar warnings to online publishers and booksellers including BookStrand.com and eXcessica, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit that supports free speech, privacy and other individual rights in the digital world.
A PayPal spokesman confirmed that the company sent such notifications to companies but declined to identify specific recipients.
EFF and other groups including the Authors Guild, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the Association of American Publishers are planning to send a letter to PayPal on Wednesday asking the company to reverse its policy.
PayPal “is now holding free speech hostage by clamping down on sales of certain types of erotica,” the groups said, according to a draft of the letter sent to Reuters. “We strongly object to PayPal functioning as an enforcer of public morality and inhibiting the right to buy and sell constitutionally protected material.”
More about Paypal and obscene ebooks
Elsevier Announces Publishing New Journal in Collaboration with the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announces that it will publish the new journal of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine (FPM), Health Policy and Technology.
In March FPM will launch the first issue of the cross-disciplinary journal focusing on past, present and future health policy and the role of technology in clinical and non-clinical national and international health environments. The journal will publish relevant, timely and accessible articles and commentaries to support policy-makers, health professionals, health technology providers, patient groups and academia interested in health policy and technology.
Topics covered will include: health technology, including drug discovery, diagnostics, medicines, devices, therapeutic delivery and eHealth systems; cross-national comparisons on health policy using evidence-based approaches; health technology assessment (HTA) methods and tools for evaluating the effectiveness of clinical and non-clinical health technologies; stakeholder engagement with health technologies (clinical and patient/citizen buy-in), Regulation and health economics (full aims & scope available online).
“We are delighted to be launching Health Policy and Technology in collaboration with Elsevier,” Professor Donald Singer, President of the FPM and Chairman of the Advisory Board said of the launch. “Health Policy and Technology, will provide an additional way for FPM to continue to make important international contributions to the development of policy and practice within medicine and related disciplines, and is therefore an excellent complement to our first international publication, Postgraduate Medical Journal.”
More about Elsevier New Journal
Publishing Professionals to Convene in NYC for the Largest Publishing Event of Its Kind
Thousands of publishing executives from the book and magazine publishing industries will convene at the New York Marriott Marquis, Times Square, on March 19-21, 2012, for the Publishing Business Conference & Expo—North America’s largest conference and expo of its kind.
The conference—produced by Publishing Executive and Book Business (industry-leading business magazines)—will feature more than 40 sessions and nearly 100 speakers, including:
- David Carey, president, Hearst Magazines;
- Josh Tyrangiel, editor, Bloomberg Businessweek;
- Josh Quittner, editorial director, Flipboard;
- David Carr, columnist and reporter, The New York Times;
- Deborah Forte, president, Scholastic Media;
- Marcus Leaver, president, Sterling Publishing Co. (owned by Barnes & Noble);
- Michela O’Connor Abrams, president, Dwell Media (who is also the conference chair);
- Maureen McMahon, president/publisher, Kaplan Publishing;
- Peter Meirs, vp, production technologies, Time Inc.;
- Matt Bean, avp, mobile, social and emerging media, Rodale Inc.; and
- Christopher McKenzie, vp & director, institutional sales, Americas & EMEA, Wiley InterScience Sales, Wiley.
“This is the one conference where leaders and innovators from book and magazine publishing companies get together as an industry to share challenges, ideas and opportunities for thriving in today’s media world,” says Noelle Skodzinski, Publishing Business Conference program director, and editorial director of Publishing Executive and Book Business magazines.
More about Publishers and NY Event
Chinese publishers, writers to be featured at London Book Fair
China will take the stage as the Market Focus of the London Book Fair in April, a senior Chinese official announced in the city on Wednesday.
The 41st London Book Fair, one of the world’s top three book fairs, also falls on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United Kingdom.
The tradition of Market Focus started in 2004 and offers an opportunity for the chosen country to promote its business and culture to a world audience.
The Chinese delegation will bring more than 600 publishers and 57 leading writers to participate in various forums, seminars, cultural events and writer activities at the book fair, which will be held from April 16 to 18, Zhang Fuhai, general director of the international exchange and cooperation department of China’s General Administration of Press and Publication, said at the news conference.
The China Market Focus 2012 Program, titled China: New Perspectives, New Concept, also includes four professional publishing forums, 10 high-level dialogues and 11 culture and art exhibitions.
“We hope that our participation will promote closer cooperation between the Chinese and English language book markets, as well as raising the profile of China’s published works and cultural products in the global cultural market,” Zhang said.
According to Zhang, the Chinese delegation will stage more than 300 events, with 181 Chinese publishing houses participating.
More about Chinese Publishers in London
Publisher and Author Andrew Breitbart Dead
Andrew Breitbart, the conservative Internet publisher and blogger, died early this morning at age 43.
A statement posted on his website said that Breitbart died “unexpectedly from natural causes” this morning.
The Los Angeles Coroner’s Office confirmed to ABC News Radio that Breitbart died shortly after midnight at UCLA Medical Center.
Breitbart was walking near his house in California’s Brentwood neighborhood shortly after midnight when he collapsed, his father-in-law the actor Orson Bean told the Associated Press.
Someone who saw Breitbart fall called paramedics and revival attempts were made, the AP reports. He was taken to the emergency room at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in L.A.
“I don’t know what to say. It’s devastating,” Bean told the AP.
Breitbart had apparently suffered heart problems a year ago, but Bean did not know what had happened.
The following statement was posted on Breitbart’s website today:
“With a terrible feeling of pain and loss we announce the passing of Andrew Breitbart. We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.
Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love.
More about Andrew Breitbart