Skip to content

Industry News: Piracy Sites Shuttered, AG Blasts Amazon, Tool of Change Conference Reinvisions Libaries and Indies

February 18, 2012

Publishers Win Cease-and-Desist for Two File-Sharing Websites

It’s one thing to offer free copies of others’ intellectual property. It’s an entirely different thing to make millions of dollars from it. An international publishers’ alliance has won a cease-and-desist order for two websites that offer more than 400,000 book titles for free, garnering more than $10 million in ad and subscription revenue for their operators. The websites, and, are for domain names based in the Pacific island of Niue and Italy, respectively. The servers attached to those domain names–that is, the computers running the websites–have been moved from Germany to the Ukraine. In light of the defeat of the SOPA bill, Tom Allen, the president of the Association of American Publishers, said this case shows the need for a legal remedy that will help publishers fight international piracy.

Authors Guild Blasts Amazon

The Authors Guild has published a detailed indictment of what it views as predatory business practices by Amazon. Its posting lists three main complaints: Amazon’s decision to remove the buy buttons from MacMillan books in a price war (which Amazon eventually lost), selling its e-books at a loss, and its proprietary e-book format. The posting also references Amazon’s decision to create its own imprint and lure authors away from existing publishers, its decision to route library borrowers to its commercial site, and compelling publishers to participate in free book-of-the-month promotions. The AG says that without Barnes and Noble, the experience of physically browsing a bookstore would be a thing of the past.

The AG’s fears have merit, but Amazon wouldn’t be able to lure top authors if the publishers’ business model was better. It wasn’t able to prevent the agency model for e-book pricing. And the failure of Borders as the other major brick-and-mortar chain had as much to do with Borders’ actions as Amazon’s. There’s plenty to be legitimately concerned about with Amazon’s activities, but the industry needs to do more than complain about it. They need to take a fresh look at their business model and use their combined power to fight Amazon. Barnes and Noble has started with the Nook.

Tools of Change Conference Adds Grist on e-Books, Libraries, and a Potential New Model for Indie Bookstores

O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change conference covered many of the top issues in the industry. Barbara Genco of Library Journal said that library power patrons could be some of publishers’ best patrons, and that publishers aren’t engaging them as well as they should. Libraries spent nearly a billion dollars on books last year. Another discussion referenced the battle between Penguin and Overdrive, which resulted in what Penguin says is a temporary halt to sales of its e-books to libraries. Still another discussion centered on the Kepler 2020 model for the future of independent book stores, calling for an embrace of technology, creating cultural foundations in Indies, and offering services along with books. For a complete recap of the conference, click here.

New Tools Make e-Book Publishing Easier

This USA Today article is a high-level review of existing tools, but it’s worth checking out if you want to play with them.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: