Friday, August 12, 2011

Short & Sweet

Class Action suit filed against Apple and numerous "big 6" NYC publishers for the agency model, over the pricing of e-books, claiming Apple & the pubs are "in voilation of a variety of federal and state antitrust laws, the Sherman Act, the Cartwright Act and the Unfair Competition Act". I was fairly sure it would only be a matter of time . . .why do I sense Amazon's presence lurking behind the scenes? Being it is a "class action" suit anyone who bought e-books for what they consider to be an unfair price are invited to join in. I sense yet another judicial donneybrook looming.

Valiant author Leslie "L.A." Banks succumed to cancer. Her imagination and beautiful smile and soul will be missed.

Washington Post has eliminated their book editor. The book section will remain, WP says. Oh really? We'll believe it when we see it. I'm holding out faint hope that they do - and that the last bastion of book review in newsprint, the NY Times, doesn't follow suit.

Borders has gotten court approval to auction off their intellectual property. Guess you don't need a shopping bag, huh?

Books A Millions has open arms for Borders employees, an upbeat note for all those ladies and gents now scrounging for work.

The bestseller list game is a wild and wooly one. Every list is put together from different sales sources. USA Today has added Costco book sales to their compilation which also includes Amazon, B&N, BAM, as well as Sony Reader Store and Kobo. Since non-traditional book sellers are the new big thing, it will be interesting to see who follows suit, especially with Borders now out of the picture.

For those romance authors who did not attend RWA's 2011 National Conference in NYC, or who didn't sit in on the Spotlight on Avon, Avon spent the entire session focused on their bright and shiny new e-imprint, Avon Impulse. The digital only line has attracted a lot of attention from would-be authors for Avon, one of the largest publishers of romance among the big traditional houses. Be forewarned however, if you submit to Avon, you will either get a response that they are interested - or you'll get nothing. If they are not interested, there isn't going to be a response at all. This smacks of disrespect, in the publishing business, where I'd like to think we are equal partners in the process. Guess I'm alone in that thought. I've heard rumors of another house doing similar, but haven't gotten a confirm on who that might be.

In addition to Carina Press (HQ digital imprint), and Avon Impulse, Ballantine Dell has an e-imprint launching too. Seems like they've got their finger in the wind and are climbing on the e-book wagon.

"The Help" will be the subject of a court hearing next week when they hear the case of the woman who claims she is the model for the maid in the book. This will be an important case both for authors and the film community - since the movie based on the book opened Wednesday to glowing reviews. Will that mean $ in compensation? Will it mean authors need to be more diligent in disguising those characters drawn from real life? We'll wait and see!

What's the hottest genre going? YA paranormal. Can I borrow somebody's teenager? (Don't rush the podium, parents!).

And speaking of RWA - Romance Writers of America for those unfamiliar with the largest non-profit organization for authors and aspiring authors of romance fiction - the jungle drums are beginning to beat from chapter to chapter and loop to loop with grumbling of dissatisfied members. Rising prices for membership, hints of changes of member status and the ongoing debate over the validity of authors' digital publication are apparently particular bones of contention. Some members are opting to give up their membership in National, despite their fondness for local and on-line chapters, because they simply can't see they are getting their money's worth. With luck RWA will address these concerns, particularly the new President stepping up in October.

Oh, and one last thing. If you have been following the market, it's obvious the world is in flux, financial speaking. But while the publishing industry is watching the numbers crawl downwards for every aspect of print, what's not going down? You got it. Digital.

The numbers are in for e-books: 2010 saw $838 million in sales. And that ain't chump change, folks.

And on a personal note, I'm looking forward to attending the NYC Chapter of RWA's Golden Apple Awards in September. The chapter is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year and at the September 15 event we are honoring: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lifetime Achievment Winner (and moving National Conference speaker); Author of the Year, Elizabeth Kerry Mahon, author of "Scandalous Women", Editor of the Year Leah Hultenschmidt of Sourcebooks, Publisher of the Year - Grand Central and Agent of the Year Kate Folkers.

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