Books

Simon & Schuster’s New Online Venture Is Sure to Be Another Expensive Failure

Part of a photo on 250 Words' Facebook page.

It comes as a surprise that Simon & Schuster is launching yet another new books site, called 250 Words. 

The publisher’s first foray into literary websites was Bookish, a book recommendation site started by the Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster and Penguin USA.

Last month, we learned that Bookish had been sold to the e-book retailer Zola. It seems it was unable to compete with huge sites with Amazon, and struggled to draw in readers since its significantly delayed 2013 launch. 

Our sources tell us the publishing groups sold Bookish, which had reportedly received $20 million in funding, at a pretty serious loss.

So the debut of 250 Words seems strange, given that the last attempt at a books site was hardly a best-seller. Mediabistro reported yesterday that the publishing company has just launched 250 Words, a site that aims to become “a hub for intelligent business thinking, with a focus on books.”  Read More

The Future of the Ebook

Could Amazon Interest You in a Used eBook?

(Photo: flickr.com/justbecause)

Oh boy, the big six are just going to love this: Geekwire reports that Amazon has secured a patent for a “secondary market for digital objects,” meaning anything from ebooks to mp3s.

That means Amazon has hammered out the basics of a system that would, according to the abstract from the patent application, let you transfer the ebooks you don’t want anyone into someone else’s Kindle library. In short, you can sell ‘em. Read More

The Future of the Ebook

O Pioneers! Twitter Launches a Virtual Fiction Festival to Help Storytellers Get Experimental

Awaiting the future of fiction. (Photo: Plympton, via Instagram)

Still more evidence that Twitter means business about its positioning as a media brand: In an event today at the New York Public Library, head of editorial programming Andrew Fitzgeraldannounced a Twitter Fiction Festival, a wholly virtual event that’ll run November 28 to December 2.

The goal, according to Mr. Fitzgerald, is to “push the outward bounds of what people thing of when they think of content on Twitter.” Read More

The Future of the Ebook

One Direction Fan Fiction Now the Fastest Route to a Book Deal

(Photo: Penguin)

In the old days, back before single-serving Tumblrs and pithy Twitter accounts, you had to be talented or rich or well-connected to nab a book deal. Now, with the democratization power of the Internet, you need a wifi connection and a slightly unhinged obsession with raunchy BDSM sex or a boy band. Welcome to 2012, you guys. Aren’t you just so proud of how far we’ve come? Read More

Pinteresting

Here’s an Idea: Let’s Turn Pinterest Into a Massive Graphic Novel

Yup, sounds like a teenager to us. (Photo: Screencap)

We tend to think of Pinterest as being pretty straightforward: See pretty picture/thing we want, pin it, repeat ad infinitum. Hence the free-and-clear path to monetization.

But the Daily Dot reports that a particularly aggressive “transmedia” publisher, BeActive, wants to use the platform as a storytelling medium. The company is taking Beat Girl, a novel, and turning it into: Read More

Legal Troubles

DOJ Alleges Stylishly Shady Collusion To Fix Ebook Prices

Mr. Bezos.

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): Read More

In Tablet We Trust

Qwiki Cracks the App Store Top Ten, Considers Killing Website Altogether

doug imbruce

Qwiki turned heads last September when it won the top prize at TechCrunch Disrupt. The service pulls information from around the web to create multimedia presentations on over 3 million people, places and things, a sort of Wikipedia composed of miniature documentaries.

Last week the service launched its iPad app, and within a few days had broken into the top ten list. “We may just end up killing the website altogether,” said Qwiki co-founder Doug Imbruce, only half joking, during a visit to Betabeat’s offices on Friday. Read More