Tag Archives: Amazon

publishing news graphic

The Literary Oscars, Amazon Strikes, and Inspire!

Toronto Welcomes a New Book Fair

Toronto is set to launch Inspire! a new international book festival next November.  Plans for the festival have come together quickly, gathering excitement and anticipation along the way.  Unlike Word on the Street, the September book festival Toronto plays host to, Inspire! will be held indoors at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and organizers are hoping for a complementary relationship, rather than a competitive one.

Amazon Prepared for German Worker’s Strike

Verdi, The German service sector union is preparing for a full worker strike against Amazon, effecting the retail giant’s central Germany facility.  The union is hard fighting for the wage raise of its distribution centre workers, as currently, they are being paid less than the standard wages for distribution work.  While Amazon is claiming to be “well-prepared” the story is one of many surfacing about sub-par wages and working conditions:

The National Book Award Goes To…

The American Nation Book Awards were hosted this week at the This year’s winners include:

  • Maya Angelou, for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community
  • E. L. Doctorow for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
  • James McBride won the Fiction award, for his book, The Good Lord Bird
  • George Packer won the  Non-Fiction award for his book, The Unwinding
  • Mary Szybist won for Poetry, for her collection, Incarnadine: Poems
  • Cynthia Kadohata won for Young People’s Literature, for her book, The Thing About Luck

World’s Biggest Bookstore To Close Its Doors

The World’s biggest bookstore will close up shop in February 2014, Toronto Star reports. Developers who have bought the land have no current plans for the location.  Toronto has been the happy home of the Indigo owned building for thirty-three years, and will not be the only historic bookshop closing it’s doors in the near future: Indigo will be closing it’s Runnymede chapter’s location, built inside a heritage theatre.  That bookstore will be replaced by a Shopper’s Drug Mart.

Diary of Malcolm X Remains Unpublished 

The publication of The Diary of Malcolm X has been postponed by a restraining order, requested by  X Legacy LLC.  The corporation representing  the heirs of Malcolm X claim that the publishers of the diary, Third World Press, lack the rights to publishing it.  The diary was written by Malcolm X in 1964, documenting his activities in Africa, and has been co-edited by his daughter Ilyasah Al-Shabazz, and  journalist Herb Boyd.

The Word of the Year Is…

Finally,  the word of the year for 2013 is selfie, a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

What’s your favourite publishing story from this week?  Tweet it to us @sumbolacosi!

publishing news graphic

Amazon Source, Gaiman’s New Resume, and Contraversial Poetry

“It’s Not a Partnership”

No sparks seem to be flying between American indie  booksellers and the new Amazon Source program, according to Publisher’s Weekly.  The decision on Amazon’s behalf to allow indie bookshops to sell their Kindles, not only came as a surprise this Wednesday to all but two shops, but also was designed solely by the e-commerce giant.  While a few hundred bookstores have signed on to the arrangement, others remain disinterested and offended.

Neil Gaiman’s Busy Week

Neil Gaiman has accepted a five year position as a professor of the arts at Bard University in New York.  Gaiman announced on his twitter account,  I’ll be teaching a course in reading & writing fantasy at Bard in April #professorMe”.  More can be found on The Guardian online.

It has also been announced that the novelist and screen writer will be the author of the final short story in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary series.  Gaiman will be writing his story with the most recent doctor, Matt Smith’s character, in mind, and including a  new villian “The Kin”.  The short story will become available as an e-book at the end of November. The BBC has the full story.

Teen Poet Sparks Outrage in Denmark

An 18-year old poet named Yahya Hassan has received twenty seven death threats for reciting a poem critical of Islam on a Danish TV station. The controversial poet is determined to speak out despite the harsh reaction Hassan anticipated.  His self-titled book of poetry which was published this past October sold 32,000 copies over the course of two weeks.

The “Do Not Read” List

Jimmy Fallon shared Autumn edition of the “Do Not Read”List, a creepy and unsettling collection of books of questionable content.  While last nights version isn’t yet available for Canadian viewers, the Fallon’s  Summer “Do Not Read” list  is available to get you through your Friday.

Did we miss one of your favourite publishing stories from the past week?  Let us know by tweeting us!

The Benefits (and the Beware) of Book Bundling

Earlier this week, Amazon announced Their Kindle Matchbooks program to launch this October: a book bundling system that will allow Amazon customers to order e-book copies of their purchased print books at a discount: some e-book copies will be free with this program, and the highest cost?  $2.99.

The Upsides

The immediate benefits of bundling are obvious for the consumer:  the convenience of an additional reading platform, the added value and the element of social reading, while still retaining the tactile joy of a physical copy.

For authors, bookstores and publishers, the benefits are easy to see as well:  Their customers aren’t forced to choose between digital or print.  Bundling also offers promotional value and increases discoverability.  Going one step further, it goes towards building a relationship with the reader.

Also notable is that most news outlets that announced Amazon’s Matchbook program added the telling descriptive “finally”.  Bundling has of course, been a long standing and promotion for films, music or video games: why not books?  In the past 18 months, several publishers and authors have become the testers and the trailblazers of this idea, with respectable levels of success.  Perhaps Amazon was waiting to observe their competition before developing their own bundling system, a cautious but seemingly cost-effective strategy.  

The Downsides

With all the benefits for both the buyers and sellers of books, what could possibly go wrong with Amazon’s Matchbook?

Firstly, there is intrinsic, monetary value attached to both the print and digital copy of the book.  As TechDirt pointed out last August, some publishers are concerned bundling could “leave money on the table“.  There is additional concern of buyers gifting their purchase, while retaining either the print or digital version for themselves.

Secondly, (and more importantly) the first point bears repeating: there is intrinsic, monetary value attached to both the print and the digital copy of a book.  Amazon’s Bookstore has been known to discount even their best sellers by nearly half their cover price; their prices were even further slashed in a price war with the e-commerce company Overstock.  While celebrated authors tied to one of the big five publishers may have little to worry about, most books on Amazon already sell for less than $4.00.  Amazon’s Matchbook risks further devaluing the work of a lesser known author by enforcing the premise that a digital edition should be cheaper, or free.

Is Amazon intentionally enforcing this idea?  Not likely.  The problem with Amazon is that they’ve built themselves on being able to provide consumers with the product for the least amount of money. They have been rewarded for this, but their focus is on instant gratification of the buyer, not the effect on the author or the publishing community.

As Dustin Kurtz argues, costs of producing a book have very little to do with the paper it’s printed on.  The value of an e-book shouldn’t be diminished simply because its digital.

Book-Bundling is an exciting new stage in in the ever-changing world of publishing, and a great opportunity for authors, publishers and readers alike.  Hopefully what we pursue in our passion for reading, writing or sharing is a healthy appreciation for a great bargain, while remembering how valuable our storytellers are.

What do you think of this issue?  Let us know by leaving a comment, or tweet us @SumbolaCoSI.



publishing news graphic

Just Jake, Ron Burgundy and a Price War

Amazon’s Battle with Overstock Continues

Popular e-commerce site Overstock went after Amazon last month, discounting their books 10% lower than Amazon’s prices.  Determined not to be undersold, Amazon went on to discount some of their best sellers by as much as 64%.  Described by Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, the discount was created to reward loyal customers “without adding undue pricing pressure on independent bookstores”. It is unclear how the e-commerce giants intend not to harm independent bookstore sales, as even Barnes & Noble, Wal-mart and Target are sitting this battle out.  For the original story available on Publisher’s Weekly, click here.  For Monday’s update: click here.

Thirteen Year Old Offer Signed to Penguin’s Grosset & Dunlap

Thirteen year old Jake Marcionette has topped off a year of school, lacrosse, and annoying his older sister by being signed to Penguin’s Grosset & Dunlap group.  Just Jake, the story of sixth-grader Jake Ali Mathews, offers an authentic and humorous voice on the excitement and troubles of being a kid. President and Publisher of Grosset & Dunlap, Francesco Sedita  said he was “blown away” upon learning that Jake Marcionette was only 12 years old when he wrote Just Jake.  Now in seventh grade, Marcionette’s first novel in two book deal with an option for more will be published February 2014.  See the full story here on CBC Books.

Ron Burgundy’s Autobiography: “I cried like a baby, and you can take that to the bank”

Looking for a glimpse into the life of Will Ferrell’s alter ego?  Look no further than Ron Burgundy’s autobiography, Let Me Off At The Top!: My Classy Life And Other Musings. Burgundy shied away from proclaiming it the world’s greatest autobiography stating that he’s “too close to the work”.  You can find the story here on Independent.ie- the book will hit shelves both physical and digital November 2013.