Microsoft buy portion of B&N’s Nook

Just a few months ago it was rumored that B&N would no longer develop the Nook, and Nook owners were worried about the fate of their devices. Today, it was announced that Microsoft have bought a 17.6% stake in the company, and plans are to integrate the Nook into the Windows operating system. On the surface this seems like exciting news, but with the advance criticism of Microsoft’s Windows 8 already making the rounds, it will be interesting to see how lucrative, if at all, this deal is for B&N. Read More …

Where does agency pricing go from here?

The Associated Press has reported that the U.S. Justice Department and 15 states filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Apple Inc. and Holtzbrinck Publishers, doing business as Macmillan, and The Penguin Publishing Co. Ltd., doing business as Penguin Group. The federal government reached a settlement with three of the publishers, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Shuster, but Apple and the other two Big 5 publishers refused to settle. What is most interesting about this is that, as the article states: According to court papers, the settlement agreement reached with three publishers Read More …

Agency pricing war of words heats up

A recent news article by paidContent.org reporting on the ongoing Attorney General investigation into Apple and the Big Five publishers’ conspiracy to fix the price of ebooks, as well as an ongoing civil class action suit, suggests a war of leaked words is the latest strategy to force a settlement. However, what is missing from these articles is that the act that triggered agency pricing — the decision by Amazon to sell ebooks at a loss — is also illegal. Called predatory pricing, it is illegal for a retailer to Read More …

Important reading for anyone considering an indie publisher

On the website Writer Beware is an interesting guest blog by Victoria Strauss on the failure of many small publishers. These are not the established small, independent presses that usually specialize in a narrow market, but the new crop of indie author-publishers who see an opportunity for a secondary income by becoming publishers of other indie authors (though technically they would cease to be “indie” authors at that point). These new publishers, with little or no business sense — and usually even less money — are creating big headaches for Read More …

Will Amazon lose indie authors to Apple?

Following on my recent post about Apple’s EULA, I thought it might be interesting to look at this latest corporate manoeuvre in light of its origins in the Apple–Amazon fight for dominance that has been going on for some time now, and what these new developments might mean down the road for indie authors. Amazon own and use a proprietary format for their ebooks, the azw file. The azw file is a variation of the mobi file, or prc file, first developed by Mobipocket Creator, who licensed their code to Read More …

Why I don’t aspire to be the next James Patterson

In a recent article in The Guardian, novelist James Patterson is heralded as the world’s “best paid writer.” But this is a misnomer. Patterson doesn’t write all (or any?) of his books anymore. He isn’t the world’s best paid writer; his is the world’s most successful fiction factory. The article’s use of the term “brand” is more appropriate than perhaps the writer intended. James Frey is doing the same thing. (See this New York Magazine article.) His Full Fathom Five publishing house recruits desperate, unknown writers, mostly MFA students drowning Read More …

The perils of failing to read the fine print

Author and blogger Kristine Kathryn Rusch has written what is the most comprehensive blog I’ve read to date on what happens to writers who fail to read agency and publisher contracts; and in particular how our traditional advocates — our agents — are often electing to serve themselves and their agencies at the expense of their clients. It’s a harrowing read and one that confirms my decision to self-publish. Rusch’s blog reminded me of another contract-related issue that bears adding to the conversation: different clauses in a contract can contradict Read More …

Why I chose to self-publish

The first thing you learn as a writer is that writing is the easy part; getting published is the long slog. When Amazon embraced ebook technology and opened their format to self-publishers, ebooks exploded into popular culture, taking the publishing world by storm — and many by surprise — with its rapid growth. New writers see in the ebook format a way to bypass the gatekeepers and build their own audience; established publishers see a new revenue stream with minuscule manufacturing costs. But the decision to self-publish shouldn’t be a Read More …