In 2013, I bumped into mega best-selling author Tim Ferriss at a hotel in Amsterdam. I’ve known Tim — who sometimes writes for Betabeat sister site New York Observer, as well as being an occasional subject 0f their fascination — and worked with on several occasions. We were both speaking at the same conference. But I was there for another reason: a few days later I would be heading to Rome to put the final touches on my book about stoicism, The Obstacle Is The Way.
I showed Tim the book, as a friend. He read it that night and approached me the next day: He was starting an audiobook publishing venture and would I want to be one of the first authors to participate. Of course, my answer was YES, YES, YES.
The Future of the Nook
When we stopped by the publishing industry trade show Book Expo America midday on Wednesday, the “Digital Discovery Zone” was essentially deserted, except for the people attempting to sell enterprise software solutions from small booths. Amazon’s editorial arm had a serious footprint and all the galleys you could carry, but the end result wasn’t that much more impressive than, say, the Scientologists’ presence. Plus, it was off center, out of the way of the big boys. Rival ebook retailer Kobo (now owned by Rakuten) had an objectively better location, square across from Random House, one of the busiest booths.
Things have been looking awfully upbeat for Amazon lately, with the DOJ taking exception to the $9.99-price-point-busting agency pricing model, which was designed in part to give publishers more leverage with the online bookseller. But for once, this morning brings some potentially positive news for a beleaguered competitor: Barnes & Noble will partner with Microsoft in the creation of a new subsidiary formed from its digital and College businesses. What’s MSFT bringing to the table? Cash money, honey.
It’s long been a thorn in the side of ereader owners, but major publishers–one eye fixed firmly on the fate of the recording industry–have insisted that ebooks come fully loaded with digital rights management technology. But that’s starting to crack. Today Macmillan subsidiary Tom Doherty Associates (home to beloved scifi imprint Tor Books, as well as Forge, Orb and others) announced its entire ebook catalog will be DRM-free by July 2012.
In a statement at the company blog, president and publisher Tom Doherty tipped his hat explicitly to future-enthused fans and authors:
A Vook Book for Your Nook
Ever since the advent of the agency model for ebook pricing–the oh-so-valuable wedge publishers needed to fight Amazon’s $9.99 price point–it’s been the big question: Are they actually going to get away with this? Today we have our answer: Not if the Department of Justice has anything to say about it! Alleging collusion to fix prices the agency has filed an antitrust suit against Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Apple itself.
The allegations are awfully cloak-and-dagger. If true, they suggest the publishing industry has carried over a certain old-world stylishness into the digital age. From the filing (courtesy of the Verge):
Hate to break it to you paper purists, but it looks like creating and publishing e-books just got a whole lot easier with Vook’s new visual editor. Today, the e-book publisher launched a new platform that allows you to create, edit and publish your e-books across multiple devices, no code knowhow required.