North American booksellers Barnes & Noble, Indigo Books and Music, and Books-a-Million are waging a “cold war” against Amazon following the announcement that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish print editions of Amazon Publishing East Coast titles. The brick-and-mortar stores refuse to stock Amazon’s print titles. Jaime Carey, chief merchandizing officer of Barnes & Noble, said in a statement that “[Amazon’s] actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content. It’s clear to us that Amazon has proven they would not be a good publishing partner to Barnes & Noble as they continue to pull content off the market for their own self interest.”
This is an interesting story to keep tabs on. Publishers have always had a perilous symbiotic relationship with Amazon, and I wonder of HMH partnering with them will illicit reaction from the “Big 6” publishers. According to Paul Biba, the Big 6 could take steps to boost competition, such as offering exclusive deals to Kobo and B&N during the initial release of expected ebook best-sellers.
- Star Trek and Reading Rainbow star LeVar Burton delivered an inspiring and nostalgic keynote address at Tools of Change.
- A number of articles have popped up in the blogosphere criticizing the Big 6 and other publishers for making it difficult for libraries to distribute their eBooks. This issue was first raised to my attention by Monique Sendze, Associate Director of IT for Douglas County Libraries, who, at a Digital Book World panel, pleaded with publishers to sell eBooks to her library.
- ICv2 estimates that digital comics sales tripled in 2011 to $25 million.
- Jason Boog at Galleycat reports a new site called StoryBundle will offer DRM-free, pay-what-you-choose, bundles of eBooks for any eReader.