It’s been a season of surprises. Balmy breezes when there should’ve been icicles. Snowflakes falling on flowers. Winter socks in June. But it doesn’t end there. The twists and turns have crept into digital publishing with Amazon suing its own sellers, authors fighting what seems to be a losing battle against copyright infringement, the birth of a ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ website for books, and much more. Here’s the latest…
Amazon Starts Suing Its Own Sellers Over Fake Reviews
In its escalating fight against fake product reviews, Amazon has for the first time started suing its own sellers instead of just going after other websites that promise to write five-star recommendations for cash.
Stealing Books in the Age of Self-Publishing
In the world of self-publishing, where anyone can put a document on Amazon and call it a book, many writers are seeing their work being appropriated without their permission. Some books are copied word-for-word while others are tinkered with just enough to make it tough for an automated plagiarism-checker to flag them.
Hail and Farewell to the Google Books Case
“The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied. Justice Kagan took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition.” With that two-sentence order, the Supreme Court brought the long-running Google Books case to a close on April 18. After ten years, two lawsuits, one failed settlement, a parallel case against Google’s library partners, and five landmark copyright decisions there is nothing more for the courts to say. Google Books is legal. Full stop.
You May Soon Binge Books Just Like You Binge Netflix
Genre fiction, like TV, increasingly depends upon serialized long-arc storytelling; it’s rare these days to see a science-fiction or fantasy novel that isn’t part of a trilogy (or longer). Yet, the book world historically has been unable to match the comparatively rollicking pace of television. But publishing company Farrar Straus and Giroux believes the TV model can lend momentum to a book series.
Major Publishers are Lowering E-book Prices
Major publishers are fed up with the constant decline of e-book sales and are doing something about it. They have lowered the price of a bestselling e-book by three dollars in most major markets and discounted debut authors to complete against indie authors.
Indie Authors Left in Limbo after Booktrope Closing
The news that hybrid publisher Booktrope was closing its doors at the end of May came as a surprise for many authors who worked with the Seattle-based startup.
Goodreads Offering Personalized Daily e-Book Discounts
Goodreads, Amazon’s reading and book recommendations site, has launched Goodreads Deals, a daily promotional program offering its members discounted e-books personalized to the books listed in their shelves.
Amazon and GoodReads are Killing e-Book Discovery
There are a number of websites out there that let you build virtual bookshelves of the titles you own or have read, and also rate, review, tag, and discuss your favorite books. These sites are being negatively impacted by the millions of dollars Amazon has pumped into GoodReads and many of them are being driven out of business.
Amazon Lands Major Account: New York City Public Schools
Amazon has struck a major deal with the New York City public school district, the country’s largest, to provide e-books to its students. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the deal, worth $30 million, will see the e-tailer selling titles through an internal marketplace. The agreement will not see students using Amazon’s hardware, such as its suite of Kindle devices.
HarperCollins Launches Daily Facebook Live Program Featuring Authors
Authors, get ready for your close-up. HarperCollins Publishers is launching a daily Facebook Live program that enables readers to interact with its writers through real-time video and written questions, helping authors expand their reach beyond local bookstore events.
Literary Hub Launches Book Marks: A ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ Site for Books
The new sub-site on Lithub.com has been created to encourage professional criticism and increase visibility for literature gaining positive feedback. The principle is the same as that for the site Rotten Tomatoes except the media being evaluated is literature, not film.
What digital publishing surprises have you come across lately?