Book Expo America and Other Publishing News From May 24 – 29, 2010

There were lots of news stories this past week in the book/publishing world, especially with Book Expo America taking place in New York. We also saw the conclusion to the battle between Amazon and Penguin for ebooks on the Kindle. Lastly, while Apple’s iPad launched internationally near the end of the week, Apple made it easier for self/independent publishers to use the iBookstore to sell their works.

Book Expo America
Reuters and USA Today had recaps of Book Expo America, the biggest book event in the United States for publishers and authors.  The big story this year was the effect of ebooks in the publishing world and the rise of ebook readers, and is explored more in depth by the Reuters article. The bottom line was that most publishers see ebooks as another revenue stream, but are wary of having their works locked up by DRMs into specific platforms or devices. There’s also some discussion of adding more multimedia content to ebooks, a trend we are starting to see in vooks (video-books). USA Today’s article focused on the hype surrounding Sarah Ferguson’s speaking engagement at BEA in the midst of her latest scandal back home in England.  There was also significant buzz around Room, a new novel by Emma Donoghue coming out in September that has been favorably compared to another recent hit The Lovely Bones.

Amazon / Penguin Feud Resolved
The other big news of the week was the resolution of the dispute concerning the pricing of ebooks between Amazon and Penguin.  It was important for Amazon to get a deal on pricing ebooks from one of the big publishers like Penguin, but Penguin also had incentive to seek resolution, since 150 of their titles were unavailable on Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader.  Although details on the agreement haven’t been released, it’s very likely that pricing model will be similar to the current agency model that Penguin and most publishers have with Apple for their iBookstore. 

Apple Opens Up iBookstore to Self Publishers
Speaking of the iBookstore, MacLife reports that Apple has begun to recruit independent and self publishers to use their store to sell their ebooks. From the details in the article, authors wishing to get their works published will need an ISBN and a US Tax ID, but Apple will help you with the rest or direct you to an aggregator.  This is an interesting move considering that the week before Barnes and Noble announced PubIt!, a service to help independent and self publishers sell their ebooks through Barnes and Noble.

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