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November 5, 2011

Walmart Won’t Sell Daily Show Alum’s God ‘Memoir’: ‘I’m Not Sure Why They’d Sell Keith Richards’s Memoir But Not God’s’

The Last Testament: A Memoir, by David Javerbaum.

By: Mark Adams

This week, Simon & Schuster published the parody The Last Testament: A Memoir, in which God himself (or Himself) spills his life story to David Javerbaum, the former executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Not everyone is excited about the humor book: Several large retailers have declined to carry it, and Simon & Schuster’s U.K. imprint bought the rights but refused to publish it after seeing the final copy. Javerbaum isn’t a stranger to can’t-take-a-joke book blackballing: Walmart refused to sell the 2004 bestseller The Daily Show’s America: The Book, because its pages contained what were obviously fake nude photographs of Supreme Court justices. Javerbaum spoke to Vulture about the limits of funny free speech.

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November 4, 2011

Sci-fi/fantasy new frontier for publishers

Lauren Beukes

04.11.11 | Charlotte Williams

Mainstream publishers can “no longer afford to ignore” science-fiction and fantasy projects, with genre tropes now perceived as an “advantage” in general fiction, as a flurry of six-figure deals and chart successes point to a rising demand for the genre.

Last month, SFF stalwart Terry Pratchett’s latest novel, Snuff (Transworld), became the fastest selling adult hardback novel by a British novelist since records began, selling 31,094 copies in its first full week. SFF specialists Gollancz signed three six-figure deals, as well as a début fantasy novel on a pre-empt, while Headline appointed John Wordsworth as a dedicated SFF commissioning editor.

The hotly contested acquisition of Lauren Beukes’ latest novel, The Shining Girls—which has a time-travelling element—was won by HarperCollins, which paid a six-figure sum, shortly after Frankfurt. Simon & Schuster acquired The Age of Miracles, based on the conceit that the world begins to turn more slowly, for close to £500,000 earlier this year. Both deals indicate demand among publishers for “speculative” fiction with an SFF element.

Gollancz editorial director Gillian Redfearn said: “With Justin Cronin, Deborah Harkness and now Lauren Beukes, we’ve definitely seen mainstream publishers get very excited about what would usually be SFF projects . . . I think perhaps it’s a gamble which has paid off enough that publishers are starting to pay more attention to genre projects.” Orbit editorial director Anne Clarke said: “It’s no longer an area that publishers can afford to ignore.”

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Amazon Launches Lending Library Without the Big Six

By Calvin Reid with additional reporting from Rachel Deahl

As rumored for months, Amazon is getting into the digital book lending business, announcing the launch of Kindle Owners Lending Library for Amazon Prime members. Amazon Prime members—who pay $79 a year for free shipping on products and streaming movies—can now borrow one book a month for free. But there’s a hitch: none of the big six publishers, all of which use the agency model to sell their titles, are participating in the program.

Nonetheless, the model isn’t quite the all-you-can-eat lending subscription service many observers had rumored. Amazon Prime members can only borrow one book at a time, even though the service claims to have “no due dates” for finishing the book. While Amazon touts that the service offers “thousands” of books to borrow and at least “100 New York Times bestsellers,” none of the titles in the program are from the largest trade publishers–Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Hachette. The program features titles from a variety of mid-size houses that continue to sell their books using the wholesale model, including W.W. Norton, Scholastic, and titles by well-known self-published authors such as Seth Godin.
Publishers using the agency model have complete control over the pricing of their books and, as some have noted, the model does not allow for the price to be changed or discounted. With the wholesale model, publishers cannot dictate final retail pricing. Amazon’s statement in launching the lending program said it is either paying a flat fee to publishers to feature its titles, or paying the standard wholesale discount for each book that is borrowed.
Nevertheless, PW has learned that some non-agency houses have declined to be a part of the lending program. One mid-size publisher that sells wholesale said the “fee” Amazon mentions is a “lump sum” payment that the publisher must allocate to its authors. The fee is said to be determined by Amazon by looking at the 12-month sales history of the titles in question. And according to our sources, some agents are starting to complain about the payment plan.
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October 25, 2011

What Steve Jobs Thought About Digital Books


Buy this

By Jeremy Greenfield

In 2008,Steve Jobs reportedly  said the book business was “unsalvageable.” Two years later, Jobs unveiled his latest world-beating device – the iPad, a product that many major publishers hoped would help them grow their e-book business.

Today, less than a month after the death of Apple’s founder and long-time CEO, Simon & Schuster released the first of what should be many Steve Jobs biographies. Titled simply “Steve Jobs” and penned by Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy center, the biography is being reviewed as wide-ranging and full of juicy tidbits – both positive and negative – about Jobs’s life and work.

But what did the man who once pronounced the trade dead really think about e-books?

In September 2009, before the launch of the iPad, in an interview with David Pogue of the New York Times, Jobs said that Apple doesn’t see e-books as a “big market” and speculated that the Kindle wasn’t selling well. He also implied that the e-reader was a losing bet as a device since multi-function devices would be more popular and also serve as e-readers.



October 20, 2011

It’s war: Three big publishers announce plans to share sales info with authors … just like Amazon

      By Dennis Johnson

A Monday article in the New York Times by David Streitfeld about the threat Amazon‘s publishing company poses to the industry seems to have been the spark that finally ignited animated discussion, analysis, and maybe fear across the industry this week — and two days later, some dramatic reactions, as publisher after publisher announced on Wednesday that they were going to offer their authors access to live sales data, one of Amazon’s most talked-about offerings to authors.

As Julie Bosman reports in another Times report, the announcements came from Simon & Schuster, Random House, and the Hachette Book Group — S&S “announced the creation of an author portal, a Web site where authors and illustrators can check sales of their books, broken down by type of merchant and book format, including digital.” Random and Hachette announced they were underway with something similar that would be available soon. Random said its portal would also offer “marketing tools and related information,” while S&S’s portal “also features links to publishing news and instructional tips on using social media, blogs and videos to promote their books.”

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October 9, 2011

Another Steve Jobs Book Aims To Accelerate Publication By One Month

A book of Steve Jobs quotes aims to be available sooner than scheduled to meet demand.

By Elizabeth Woyke

A book consisting entirely of quotes from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is being sped to market as much as a month ahead of schedule to meet demand following Jobs’ Oct. 5 passing. The accelerated schedule mirrors that of other, higher-profile Jobs books also in the works, such as Jobs’ official biography by journalist Walter Isaacson. Publisher Simon & Schuster has said that Isaacson’s much-anticipated book, Steve Jobs: A Biography, will now be published on Oct. 24, up from Nov. 21.

The quotes book is a much simpler, unauthorized project that pulls together about 200 quotes from Jobs’ interviews and public appearances over the years. Called I, Steve: Steve Jobs In His Own Words, it was originally set to publish in March 2012. When Jobs resigned as Chief Executive of Apple, the publisher, Agate Publishing, moved publication up to Nov. 15, 2011. Now Illinois-based Agate is working to get the book to stores by the end of next week or the following week, which would be several weeks to a month earlier than the already-amended publication date.

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September 24, 2011

Arnold Schwarzenegger to publish ‘unbelievably true’ memoir

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Strange but unbelievably true. Photograph: Stephan Savoia/AP

Bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician plans to call the book Total Recall.

By Alison Flood

There were so many options for Arnold Schwarzenegger when the former bodybuilder and governor of California was deciding on a title for his just-announced new memoir, from Judgement Day to True Lies via Last Action Hero, but the actor-turned-politician is currently planning to call the autobiography Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story.

Acquired by Simon & Schuster for publication around the world next October, the memoir – which the publisher is calling “one of the most anticipated autobiographies of this generation” – will trace Schwarzenegger’s life from his journey to the US from Austria as a young bodybuilder through his career as an actor to his appointment as California governor. more

August 26, 2011

Jobs’ biography to include shock resignation

Steve Jobs

Apple c.e.o. Steve Jobs’ authorised biography, which is published by Little, Brown this November, is set to include the story of Jobs’ shock resignation from the technology company on Wednesday night.

The book, written by journalist Walter Isaacson, is set to release on 21st November, priced £25. Its US publisher is Simon & Schuster which told PCMag overnight that Isaacson “speaks to Jobs regularly and is still working on the final chapter of the book”. more

August 25, 2011

Balance of power continues to shift in the e-book wars

Filed under: Publishers — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 8:25 am


As we’ve written a number of times at GigaOM, the traditional book-publishing business continues to be disrupted, with some self-published authors such as Amanda Hocking making millions of dollars without using a traditional agent or publisher, by selling their own books through Amazon’s Kindle platform. In the latest sign of this disruption, author John Locke — who earlier this year became the first self-published author to sell a million ebooks — has signed an innovative deal with publisher Simon & Schuster that shows at least some players in the industry are thinking about how to adapt to the shifting balance of power.

According to the terms of the deal with Simon & Schuster, Locke — a 60-year-old former businessman who says he became fascinated by the e-book revolution and decided to start self-publishing fiction in 2009 — will continue to publish and sell his e-books himself, under his own imprint (John Locke Books), but printed versions of those books will be marketed and sold by Simon & Schuster through its distribution arm. No financial terms were released, but the structure of the deal makes it obvious that some publishers are prepared to hand over the keys to authors with market power.

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August 9, 2011

S&S in town, cult babycare book in tow

Delhi: The cult babycare book, `Dr Spock Baby and Childcare`, is being Indianised as international publishing house Simon & Schuster opens its Asian operations with a base here in mid-August.

“A team of editors is presently working to Indianise the S&S cult babycare primer `Dr Spock Baby and Childcare` to make it more relevant to Indian women,” Rahul Srivastava, the director of the company`s sales and marketing who will head the operations, told reporters in an interview.

The book was published in 1946 and is one of the biggest bestsellers of all time.

The publishing house, rated among the top four in the world with Random House, Penguin and Harper Collins, will offer Indian readers “rupee-priced books specially selected and formatted to appeal to Indian readers”, the official said.

“Publishing in India is the fastest growing market in the English language-speaking world,” Srivastava said.

“Reading habits are changing and Indian readers want to read more books by Indian authors or books relevant to them, as the bestseller lists indicate. This is a sign of a maturing market,” he added.

Srivastava said: “Simon & Schuster wanted to harness this strength of the country`s publishing industry, the growing retail bookstore presence and the deep-seated culture that prizes books and literacy.”

The publishing house is known for its children`s books, fiction, non-fiction, self-help and audio titles. It publishes 2,000 books annually under 35 imprints.

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