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ePublishing Week in Brief – December 10th to December14th, 2012

ePublishing NewsePublishing Week in Brief – December 10th to December14th, 2012

In Europe, Publishers Dealt a Setback Over e-Book Pricing

BERLIN — The European Commission settled its antitrust case against Apple and four book publishing groups over e-book price fixing on Thursday, in what was described as a victory for the leading online seller, Amazon, and a setback for publishers fighting for the ability to set prices for electronic literature in the digital marketplace.

The European Union’s competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, said he was ending his office’s investigation after Apple and the publishers — Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Holtzbrinck, the owner of Macmillan — agreed to end their attempt to set prices for e-books through a series of preferred selling agreements.

Under those agreements, made in 2010, publishers could set their own prices on e-books, with the retailer acting as an agent taking a commission. Apple championed this agency model.

Simon & Schuster to publish bestselling e-book phenomenon WOOL by Hugh Howey

The New York Times and USA Today ebook bestseller WOOL by Hugh Howey will be published in hardcover and paperback from Simon & Schuster in March 2013. Karyn Marcus, Senior Editor, acquired the North American rights from Kristin Nelson at the Nelson Literary Agency.

Originally a self-published short story, WOOL was first released in July 2011. Within months, word of mouth turned this small piece, never marketed, into an ebook sensation. Reviews poured in and readers demanded more, inspiring Howey to continue the story. Howey published the next four sections of the book in installments, growing his fan base with each new release. WOOL has gone on to sell over 300,000 ebooks and is now being translated into over eighteen languages. Century Fox recently acquired film rights to the book with Ridley Scott’s production company partnering with Steve Zaillian for this option. has described the book as “the sci-fi version of Fifty Shades of Grey,” referring to the lightning speed at which this self-published phenomenon found an audience. WOOL is the thrilling story of a post-apocalyptic world in which a community lives in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. Inside, men and women live within a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them from the toxic outside world. But a new sheriff is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how deeply her world is broken. The silo’s inhabitants are about to face what their history has only hinted about and never dared to whisper: Uprising.

Digital Publishers inAustraliaTend to Reach Customers Directly

Digital Publishers in North America are at a crossroads. Many of the most longstanding companies such as Baen Books are shuttering operations and gravitating towards Amazon for expanded distribution channels. Other companies, such as Fictionwise, are moving their entire collection of books into Barnes and Noble.Australia is an anomaly in the digital publishing sector with 57% of companies selling ebooks directly to customers.

A recent report surveyed 90 digital publishers inAustraliaand 57% of them said that they sell ebooks on their own website. Meanwhile, Amazon and Apple iBooks accounted for 35% of their retail distribution channels. The other most responses were Kobo with 28%, Google with 25%, and Barnes and Noble with a paltry 17%.

So how profitable is selling ebooks directly to customers, rather than venturing down the most commonly tread path with Amazon? Interestingly enough, selling ebooks from their websites accounted for 43% of total sales. Amazon still was able to maintain the second spot at 22%. All of the other companies accounted for single digit sales with Apple being the lone-wolf at 14%.

The survey wrapped up by asking publishers what their biggest concerns about the state of digital publishing inAustralia. Piracy was the most common factor with 60%, followed by the emerging domination of Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Kobo with 53%. Obviously, digital publishing is one of the newest segments and technical aptitude plays a huge role. 45% of all publishers inAustralialamented that they are hampered by their technological prowess and lack of digital marketing skills at 44%.

The Wrong War Over eBooks: Publishers Vs. Libraries

Libraries and big six publishers are at war over eBooks: how much they should cost, how they can be lent and who owns them. If you don’t use your public library and assume that this doesn’t affect you, you’re wrong.

In a society where bookstores disappear every day while the number of books available to read has swelled exponentially, libraries will play an ever more crucial role. Even more than in the past, we will depend on libraries of the future to help discover and curate great books. Libraries are already transforming themselves around the country to create more symbiotic relationships with their communities, with book clubs and as work and meeting spaces for local citizens.

Top 10 Trends in Children’s Books in 2013 from Scholastic

Here they are in short (scroll down for explanations):

1. Bullying is THE Timely Topic in Kids’ Books.
2. 2013 Will be a Lucky Number for Science Fiction Fans.
3. Intriguing Nonfiction.
4. Novels-in-Cartoons.
5. Kid Lit on the Screen.
6. War.
7. Tough Girls.
8. Survival Stories.
9. Spotlight on Diversity.
10. Nature Runs Amok.


The editors at Scholastic have been publishing, curating and distributing award-winning books for children for decades, and have become experts at predicting exactly where kids’ book interests will go next. Today, the editors of Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs, along with editors in the Trade Publishing group, present their list of top ten trends in children’s books for the coming year.

“Publishing trends are truly driven by a vital community of readers – our kids,” David Allender, Editorial Director for Scholastic Book Clubs. “We see readers get excited about books, talk about them, and share them with their friends. Before you know it a book is trending, more and more kids are vying to read it, and they can’t get enough of it.” Hear more from David Allender.

China investigating Amazon’s e-book business

Within a day of the launch of Amazon’s Kindle Store inChina, local authorities have started investigating the company’s right to sell e-books in the country.

A Sohu IT report Friday said the General Administration of Press and Publication of China (GAPP) has launched an investigation looking into Amazon and its Chinese partner,, and whether they have violated regulations in selling digital publications.

Citing Wang Qiang, director of digital publishing at the GAPP’s Technology and Digital Publishing Division, the report said the division is investigating Amazon’s use of’s e-book sales license. On the Kindle Store homepage, Amazon stated: “ is providing operation support for the Kindle Store”, which the news agency interpreted to mean was using its Chinese partner’s license to operate.

‘Fifty Shades’ dominates publishing in 2012

NEW YORK — The story of 2012 in publishing was the story of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” in more ways than one.

E L James’ erotic trilogy was easily the year’s biggest hit, selling more than 35 million copies in theU.S.alone and topping bestseller lists for months. Rival publishers hurried to sign up similar books and debates started over who should star in the planned film version. Through James’ books and how she wrote them, the general public was educated in the worlds of romance/erotica, start-up publishing and “fan fiction.”

But the success of James’ novels also captured the dual state of the book market — the advance of e-books and the resilience of paper. In a year when print was labeled as endangered and established publishers referred to as “legacy” companies, defined and beholden to the past, the allure remained for buying and reading bound books.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’: Peek inside the steamy novel

James already was an underground hit before signing in early 2012 with Vintage Books, a paperback imprint of Random House Inc., the house of Norman Mailer and Toni Morrison, a house where legacy is inseparable from the brand. She could have self-published her work through, or released her books from her own website, and received a far higher percentage of royalties.

“We had a very clear conversation back in January about the need for a very specific publishing strategy,” says Vintage publisher Anne Messitte. “We talked about distribution, a physical format, publicity. And she was basically clear that she needed what we did as publishers to make that happen.”

Filed under: Journal

2 Responses to "ePublishing Week in Brief – December 10th to December14th, 2012"

  1. Susan A. says:

    Great summary of all the publishing news. I’m always trying to keep up with it all.

    1. Patricia says:

      Thanks Susan, thought I might as well save other people’s time, since I am doing the research anyway 🙂

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