Tag Archives: Simon & Schuster

Barnes & Noble vs. Simon & Schuster

Authors published by Simon & Schuster are crying foul.

According to The New York Times, the big box retailer Barnes and Noble has cut orders from Simon & Schuster. Simon & Schuster authors claim the company is also limiting their display space and  in-store book tour appearances.

Why Barnes and Noble is allegedly doing this is still unclear, as Leslie Kaufman explains.

While neither side will specify exactly what new terms Barnes & Noble is seeking, a senior executive familiar with the negotiations said that the bookseller wanted to pay less for books and receive more money for giving titles prominent display in its stores. Such display spots are coveted because they are thought to be critical in helping customers discover new books.

Whatever the reason, authors under the Simon & Schuster umbrella claim their sales are hurting, particularly lesser-known authors. And until an agreement is reached, it doesn’t look like this will stop any time soon.

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Self-Published Book About to TV Picked Up by Major Publisher

It’s rare when a self-published book is sought out by a major publisher for distribution. But that’s what happened with TV critic Alan Sepinwall’s book, The Revolution Was Televised.

According to The New York Times, Sepinwall, who’s currently a TV critic for the web site hitflix.com, shopped his book around early last year but only got one offer — which he didn’t think was very good. Instead of goin that route, Sepinwall self-published the book. In it, he explains the impact that a select group of TV executives and TV shows — The Sopranos, Mad Men, Friday Night Lights, Lost — had on the television industry and the long-form drama.

Now the Touchstone imprint of Simon & Schuster has picked it up, with plans to release it in paperback in the early spring and in e-book format possibly earlier.

Released late last year, the book has been very successful — though Sepinwall won’t reveal specific sales numbers. He did, however, tell David Itzkoff:

“I like the idea that the book could exist in brick-and-mortar stores, could be on college syllabi,” he said. “I was pleased with the idea of being able to go back to the very beginning of the project.”

The book also received a lot of praise from The New York Times.

I’m almost as a much of TV nerd as I am a book nerd, so I’d really like to read the book. It will be interesting to see how much money the book will bring in, now that it will be so much more accessible.

Don’t want to wait? Get The Revolution Was Televised in paperback now for $16.99..

Or get it on your Kindle for just $6.99.

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Amazon, B&N Notify Customers About E-Book Settlement Refunds

It’s been months since the e-book pricing lawsuit began. Now that some parties have reached a settlement agreement, people are starting to receive emails from Amazon and Barnes & Noble about receiving e-book refunds.

According to The Telegraph, Amazon was first to send out the emails, explaining that those who purchased e-books that appeared on The New York Times Bestseller List between April 2010 and May 2012 from the web site would receive $1.32 per book. Non-bestsellers would be worth 30 cents in refunds. The refunds aren’t expected to come in until early 2013.

I personally received a similar email from Barnes & Noble about the refunds. Here’s an excerpt:

Although we are required to notify you now of the settlements, there is nothing you need to do to receive the credits as you will receive them automatically in the form of an electronic gift certificate sent via email. Once the settlements’ claim period ends, the Attorneys General will calculate the amount of your credits. If the Court gives final approval to the settlements, we expect to be able to send you your gift certificate in the first half of 2013.

Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster will be compensating for the refunds, since they agreed to the settlement. Penguin Group, Macmillan, and Apple will be taken to court.

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$69 Million E-Book Pricing Settlement Reached

A few months ago, I told you about a possible lawsuit involving a number of publishers who allegedly raised e-book prices illegally. I then reported that three of those publishers had reached a settlement. Well now, we know the details of that settlement.

According to the L.A. Times, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster have agreed to pay a total of $69 million. The lawsuit was brought about when publishers started setting the prices of e-books, instead of retailers; thus, giving themselves a good portion of the sales. Despite the settlement, they don’t admit they’ve done anything wrong, stating “their actions were merely parallel, unilateral, or justified by market forces and completely legal.”

So how does this affect you? It means that if you bought an e-book anytime between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012, you’ll get some money back. However, it probably won’t amount to very much, as Carolyn Kellogg explains.

Publishers will payconsumers $1.32 for each bestselling title they purchased, 32 cents for books that were less than a year old but not bestsellers, and 25 cents for older e-books. Even devoted readers won’t wind up with much more than the cost of a new e-book or two. Conveniently, refunds will appear in e-book buyers’ online accounts on iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Readers who purchased e-books through Google or Sony’s storefronts will receive a check, and others can opt to. They can also opt not to receive any rebate at all.

I’m thinking I’ll probably get some money back, but based on what Kellogg says, I likely won’t even realize that anything’s been deposited back into my account. What do you guys think? Do you think these publishers have coughed up enough dough? Or not as much as they should have?

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New Bob Woodward Book Coming This Month

In case you haven’t heard enough about the current state of the U.S. economy, journalist Bob Woodward is publishing his 17th book this month, which will focus on America’s economic condition over the last three-and-a-half years.

According to The New York Times, Woodward’s The Price of Politics is due out on September 11th. Simon & Schuster says it is “an intimate, documented examination of how President Obama and the highest profile Republican and Democratic leaders in the United States Congress attempted to restore the American economy and improve the federal government’s fiscal condition over three and one half years.”

Woodward, who’s one-half of the dynamic Woodward and Bernstein Watergate duo, is the associate editor for The Washington Post, which will also run an excerpt from the book.

Will you guys be reading?

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Bad Timing for Now Outdated Joe Paterno Biography

When sportswriter and biographer Joe Posnanski started writing a book about Penn State football’s former coach Joe Paterno this past January, it began as a story about college football’s winningest coach, who was forced to deal with a massive scandal toward the end of his life.

But six months later, the story of Joe Paterno has changed dramatically, and yet Posnanski’s biography of the coach, entitled Paterno, is still set to come out next month. According to The New York Times, publisher Simon & Schuster is now limiting its press for the biography, cancelling events from the tour and interviews with the author.

After all, most of the information in the Paterno biography is now out of date. Earlier this month, the Freeh report, released by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh, found that Paterno failed to report accusations of child sex abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky as far back as 1998. As a result, the Joe Paterno statue was removed from the outside of Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, and PSU suffered a number of sanctions, including vacating Paterno’s wins from the past 14 years — meaning Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in college football.

But with Simon & Schuster already acquiring the book for $750,000 and printing 75,000 copies , it’s too late to make any changes. Simon & Schuster is now defending their decision to move forward with the book, as Julie Bosman explains.

If Simon & Schuster were to lose close to $1 million on the book, it would be an unpleasant but not particularly significant sum for an imprint of its size.

[Simon & Schuster publisher Jonathan] Karp heatedly defended his author, pointing out that the book had been under a strict embargo and that review copies had not been distributed. Few people, he said, have read it.

“I will say this — I think there has been a lot online about this book,” Mr. Karp said. “And I’m amazed by some of the vitriol with regard to Joe Posnanski, who is a truly gifted writer. People can pass all the judgment they want about Joe Paterno, but Joe Posnanski deserves a chance to be read.”

According to the article, however, some smaller bookstores have already decided not to carry the book.

This is not the first time a quickly-written bio has faced bad-timing issues. Earlier this year, a number of Jeremy Lin books were written, prior to his trade from the New York Knicks. Those books were soon outdated.

Will Simon & Schuster be able to take the blow? Probably. But it’s not going to do much for Joe Paterno, except for remind people of the scandal that has stained his career.

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Folger Shakespeare Collection Now Available as E-Books

One of the most popular and accessible versions of Shakespeare’s work is now available in e-book format. According to The New York Times, Folger Shakespeare just converted the collection a few weeks ago, featuring scene summaries and notes in the e-books.

Simon & Schuster collaborated with Folger Shakespeare to put plays like Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and The Merchant of Venice for $5.99 each.

I’m sure Shakespeare himself never expected people to be taking notes and studying his work, let alone reading it in a digital format. I would love to see how the notes and summaries play out in e-book format. Though I’ve never thought of Shakespeare in such a modern format, I think the interactivity of an e-book would only further encourage students — adults for that matter — to read his work.

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E-Book Pricing Lawsuit Now Officially Underway

Last week, I reported that Apple and a number of other book publishers faced a lawsuit over collusion for e-book pricing. Yesterday, that lawsuit was made official by the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to this article by The New York Times, the DOJ is suing Apple, alleging that the company lowered its e-book prices in the iBookstore in 2010 as a means to fight Amazon’s low pricing. Julie Bosman explains.

At the time, Apple with its blockbuster iPad was trying to challenge Amazon’s hold on the e-book market. Amazon, the online retail giant, had become a kind of Walmart for the e-book business by lowering the price of most new and best-selling e-books to $9.99 — a price meant to stimulate sales of its own e-reading device, the Kindle.

Publishers, looking for leverage against Amazon, saw Apple as their white knight.

Three of the publishers — Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins — that faced suits have already agreed to settlements. But the fight is far from over. Either way, the Justice Department is looking to ensure that e-book prices are lowered for everyone because “E-books are transforming our daily lives, and improving how information and content is shared.  For the growing number of Americans who want to take advantage of this new technology, the Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that e-books are as affordable as possible.”

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Apple, Other Publishers Face E-Book Pricing Lawsuit

As the popularity and success of the e-book industry continues to grow, so do the prices of the books, according to a number of readers and more importantly, the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to this article by The Huffington Post, Apple and a number of other top publishers are facing a possible lawsuit regarding collusion, for allegedly raising e-book prices. In addition to Apple, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group and Macmillan also faces possible charges.

U.S. and European officials allege Apple and the others raised prices as a means to block rivals like Amazon from being able to offer cheaper books. The “agency model” that was in adopted in 2010 gives publishers the right to set their own e-book prices, giving Apple 30% of the cut. This model eliminated the “wholesale model,” which gave retailers the ability to set their own e-book prices.

And in addition to the new possible Apple is already under fire, dealing with a class-action lawsuit filed by consumers with similar allegations.

I personally haven’t noticed raised e-book prices, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some illegal collusion was going on behind the scenes. What do you guys think? Have you notices a price increase for e-books?

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Children’s Books by Washington Wives

It’s everywhere lately, and it’s only going to become more prominent: politics. In this big political year, the men — and women — of Washington are doing what they can to inform the people. But those people also include children. Now children’s books written by the wives of the politically powerful men in Washington, D.C. are all the rage, the newest political trend.

According to this article by The New York Times, former Vice President Joseph Biden’s wife, Jill, is publishing Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops under Simon & Schuster. The profits from her book will go toward charities for military families.

But Jill Biden isn’t the first to touch on this seemingly strange, but actually brilliant form of political campaigning. Laura Bush and Hilary Clinton have both written children’s books. So have Callista Gingrich, Lynne Cheney, and Carole Geithner, Timothy Geithner’s wife. And for that matter, it’s not just wives who are jumping on the bandwagon; it’s also daughters like Jenna Bush and Caroline Kennedy.

Most of the books have political undertones, which is why this election year, there seem to be more “Washington Wife Children’s Books” than ever. It’s all part of the process as Pamela Paul explains.

“Picture books and books for tweens are always a great way to put complex issues like politics into a context that young children can understand,” [HarperCollins Children’s Books editor-in-chief Kate Jackson] said. “They get the conversation going.” For Washington wives, writing a children’s book has become almost an expected spousal counterpart to the politician’s campaign tract or argument book. “Spouses have one mandatory obligation — ‘First Do No Harm’ — and one optional assignment: provide a positive magnifying force,” Mary Matalin, editor at large for Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster, and a former member of Dick Cheney’s staff, wrote in an e-mail. “Children’s books fulfill both.”

Not all the books are political — like Carole Geithner’s, for instance. But for those that are, it’s a smart move because it not only teaches children about politics in an understandable way; it also gives children something to talk about with their parents. And that makes those voting adults think even harder about who they’re voting for, and what those people represent.

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