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Industry News: Amazon loosens sales rules, The Writer is saved, Collusion settlement terms released

September 1, 2012

Amazon Announces Deal to Let Competitors Sell Some of Its e-Books

Amazon has reached a deal with Ingram that would allow some of its e-books to be sold through competitors, such as Barnes & Noble and Apple. The deal would allow owners of devices other than a Kindle to read the e-books released through Amazon’s NY-based publisher, including forthcoming books from Timothy Ferriss and Penny Marshall. Amazon’s west-coast publisher is not included in the deal. At this time, there’s no word whether Barnes & Noble will agree to sell Amazon’s titles. B&N has refused to sell Amazon’s hard copy books because they cannot sell the e-books.

What this means to you: It’s unknown at this time. Until B&N, Apple, Kobo, and others determine if they will sell Amazon titles, it’s too early to tell if you’re shut out of Amazon titles if you don’t own a Kindle. This is a total guess on my part, but it seems possible, Amazon could be getting some DOJ attention of its own, and may be trying to minimize that attention by making fewer of its titles proprietary to the Kindle format.

The Writer is Saved

Just weeks after an announcement that The Writer would go on hiatus after its October issue, a buyer has been found. Madavor Media has purchased it from Kalmbach Publishing, and will run it from Boston, its original home. The purchase includes all rights to print, online, and digital properties. The publication has been in print for more than 125 years, started in Boston by Globe reporters William H. Hills and Robert Luce. The Writer recently featured a story about the Florida Writers Conference, which was obviously a large factor in Madavor’s decision to purchase it.

What this means to you: In a time when everything that was old-guard seems to be falling by the wayside, one of the old guard survived. The future of the magazine is still not completely assured. It will have to perform for its new owners, but for now, at least, it’s safe.

Collusion Settlement Terms Determined for Three Publishers

If you bought an e-book from Hatchette, HarperCollins, or Simon & Schuster, you could get a piece of a $69 million pie, based on an agreement the three publishers reached with the Justice Department. The publishers, who still deny the collusion, must also pay $7.5 million in fees and costs to the states which sued them. The three publishers must also terminate their agency pricing model, where they set the price and entities like Amazon and Barnes & Noble get a fixed piece of the final cost. Amazon had been selling e-books at a loss, which made it harder for competitors to…well, compete. The agency model brought the price of books up from $9.99 to $12.99 or more.

What this means to you: You may get a whopping 25 cents to $1.32 per book. But you will probably save on future books, though Amazon has sent mixed signals about returning to its previous pricing model. Overall, while the publishers and Apple may have colluded, it is undeniable that Amazon benefits greatly from a push away from the agency model. The fears that Amazon will crush competitors has a degree of legitimacy. In this case, perhaps both sides are right. And wrong.

Fourth 50 Shades Book may be in the Works

According to this story, there may be a fourth helping of whips and chains and other utensils for EL James fans. She is planning a fourth installment of the 50 Shades of Grey series.

What this means to you: This is a PG-rated blog. You’ll have to figure this one out for yourself.

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