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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Industry News

Welcome to Novel Rocket’s August column on industry news. In publishing, there's never a dull day. 

  • On Friday The U.S. Department of Justice released its proposal for injunctive relief against Apple for Apple’s role in the e-book price fixing conspiracy. This action comes after a federal judge found Apple and five major publishers violated antitrust laws in moving the e-book business to the agency model in 2010. Meanwhile, a hearing is set for August 9th when Apple will contest several details of the proposed order. For more info...
  • According to a recent filing, publishers have paid a total of $166,158,426 to settle state and consumer e-book price fixing charges, including an additional $3,909,000 to settle consumer claims in Minnesota. Pending a reversal on appeal, Apple will eventually have to pay to settle the state and consumer claims as well. For more info...
  • Blaming the challenging economy, Guideposts is disbanding its trade books program and suspending sales of its fiction and nonfiction through retail channels, effective spring 2014. Fiction and nonfiction will continue to be published, but will be sold only direct to consumer, as it had previously been until 2006. Guideposts’ Summerside Press imprint, has also been shut down.
  • LifeWay Christian Stores has acquired Johnsen & Taylor Bookstore. Terms of the agreement were not released.
  • Toronto-based Dundurn Press is acquiring Thomas Allen Publishing, the publishing arm of Thomas Allen & Son.
  • Apparently it’s war. is challenging Amazon by discounting 360,000 titles 10% below Amazon’s prices. Amazon’s response was to lower prices on thousands of bestsellers. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne says he plans to keep up the pressure on Amazon by continuing the deep discounts through midnight August 7. For more info...
  • Second quarter sales at Simon & Schuster held even at $189 million in the period ended June 30, 2013. E-book sales rose 39% in the quarter at S&S and accounted for 29% of total revenue compared to 21% in the second quarter of 2012.
  • Revenue fell 7% at Harlequin in the second quarter ended June 30. The decline is attributed to currency fluctuations, continued weakness in its North America book club business, and a deeper than expected decline in overseas sales. Print retail sales in North America were stable in the quarter and that e-book sales were up. Global digital sales were 24.5% of total revenue in the quarter compared to 20.4% in last year’s second quarter.
  • Amazon reports that total revenue rose 22% in the second quarter ended June 30, to $15.70 billion. Amazon’s 10 top selling products in the were all digital products—Kindles, Kindle Fire HDs, accessories and digital content. 
  • Bookstore sales fell 1.0% in May, to $953 million, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. May was the second consecutive month that bookstore sales declined and reflect in part the strong sales of the Fifty Shades trilogy last year. For the first five months of 2013, bookstore sales were nearly flat with 2012.
  • Despite being heavy technology users, most young Americans still read and borrow printed books from libraries, according to a new survey. The most recent poll by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, reports that 75% of young adults ages 16-29 said they have read at least one book in print in the past year, compared with 64% of adults 30 and older. For more info...
  • Books-A-Million jumped into the print-on-demand business with the Espresso Book Machine from On Demand Books. One EBM is planned for its Portland, Maine store, and a second will be added to a location that is still to be announced.
  • In a major blow to the Authors Guild, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit has vacated Judge Denny Chin’s 2011 ruling granting the organization class action status in its suit to stop Google’s library scanning project. More info...
  • Crossing Oceans by Novel Rocket founder Gina Holmes hit the ECPA bestseller list again three years after its release. (It's #9 on the fiction bestseller list). Way to go Gina!
  • Dan Balow, a 30 year veteran of the Christian publishing industry has recently joined The Steve Laube Agency as director of publishing development and literary agent.
  • Bryan Norman, associate publisher at Thomas Nelson, is leaving the Nashville publisher to become a literary agent with Alive Communications based in Colorado Springs, CO.

Megan DiMaria is Novel Rocket’s industry news columnist. An author and speaker, she enjoys cheering on writers and loves to encourage others as they journey through life’s demands and delights. Megan is the author of two women’s fiction novels, Searching for Spice and Out of Her Hands


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