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S&S’s New E-book Pricing, BookScan Adds Walmart, HC’s Paper Includes Rain Forest Fiber, and 50 Shades Dominates

December 15, 2012

S&S Enters New e-Book Pricing Agreement with Retailers

Simon & Schuster is the third of the three publishers that settled on the Department of Justice collusion suit to unveil a new pricing structure. The new structure was required because of the DOJ settlement. It still follows the agency model, but gives retailers the ability to discount their prices to some degree. Retailers can sell books at a loss, but not a substantial loss. And separate contracts can be created to allow discounts for parts of a book’s shelf life. Hachette and HarperCollins have already unveiled their new pricing structures. The three publishers, along with Penguin and Macmillan, were included with Apple in a collusion suit filed by the DOJ. Penguin and Macmillan have not settled the suit.

What this means to you: Depending on the details of this pricing plan, it could allow for some discounting, without a significant devaluation of the value of books. Readers enjoy the deep discounts, while most writers aren’t fond of their work being offered for about what you’d pay for a bag of potato chips. The ultimate outcome of the battle between the Big Six…er, Big Five and Amazon is still an open issue, with plenty to root for and against on each side. It’s just one more step on the way to the new normal.

Neilsen BookScan Adds Walmart

Starting next month, Neilsen BookScan will include sales from 4,000 Walmart locations in the US and Puerto Rico to its locations used to track sales. According to Neilsen, this addition means their measurement will now cover 80% of the US retail book marketplace. The deal does not include BookScan monitors English-language book sales world-wide, monitoring more than 12,000 locations.

What this means to you: About a third of BookScan locations will now belong to Walmart. Given Walmart’s limited selection of books available, this change is likely to result in bigger numbers for the titles Walmart stocks, adding weight to its buyers’ selections.

Rain Forest Fiber Found in HarperCollins Children’s Books

The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has announced that fibers from rain forest trees have been found in some of HarperCollins children’s books. HarperCollins did not personally go out and cut down rain forest trees, but two of the companies that provide its paper–Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) and Asia Pulp and Paper Company (APP)–apparently do. Environmental groups have asserted that APP destroys rain forests in creating its products. Although RAN says APRIL and APP, rather than HarperCollins, are the main culprits, it also asserts that HarperCollins is the only one of the Big Five that still does business with the two companies.

What this means to you: It depends on your view of things. It may mean nothing or it may change some buying decisions.

50 Shades Dominates (get it?) Publishing News in 2012

Surprise! Here’s the link if you are interested.

How this affects you: If this were a different type of blog, we would solicit comments about that. (Actually, if you work for Random House, you got as much as a $5000 bonus this year, in part because of all the sales. Nice news in an industry segment that seems to be constantly shrinking.)

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