Still reeling from record losses and a continuing drop in sales in the third quarter, the Borders Group announced that it is delaying payments to some publishers. PW has learned that at least one of the “big six” New York houses has suspended shipping books to Borders, a troubling sign for the company as it attempts to find lenders to refinance its debt and provide enough liquidity to get the national book retail chain through to early 2012.
Borders carries about $450 million in trade payables on its balance sheet and many publishers are anxiously waiting to see which houses will be paid and which will not be. Battered by weak adult trade sales, the rapid growth of e-book sales (and it’s own delayed effort to enter the e-book market) and the closing of more than 200 stores, Border’s dismal third quarter saw drops of 12.6% in store comp sales. While the company has faced crises over its debt service in the past and managed to find financing, the current crisis looks to be Borders’ toughest challenge ever.
The tablets are coming: Electronics manufacturers are planning to show off at least 70 tablet devices (likely to be potential reading devices) during the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
DIY book publishing: The WSJ looks at self-employed professionals who use POD to self-publish books and generate prestige, new clients and “invisible” income.
Amazon on the NookColor?: Intomobile.com shows how to hack the NookColor, install the Android Market app and read Amazon’s Kindle e-books on B&N’s color digital reader. Tricky but cool!
The giving spirit: The estate of the late and renowned cartoonist Will Eisner, author of the acclaimed graphic novel, A Contract With God, and creator of The Spirit, has donated $250,000 to the Cartoon Library and Museum at the Ohio State University.
Talking and Thinking about the Book: The LA Times also profiles Bob Stein and the group of programmers, philosophers and all around deep thinkers he’s collected at his Institute for the Future of the Book
Getting History Wrong: The Washington Post looks at the controversy around errors found in history textbooks published by Five Ponds Press and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
e-books and p-books: William Petrocelli, owner of Book Passage in Northern California, muses on the arrival of Google eBooks at his store, balancing the utility of e-books against the enduring power of print.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has declined to dismiss a lawsuit filed against Barnes & Noble that claims the bookseller stole the design of the original Nook digital reading device. U.S. District Court Judge James Ware ruled that Spring Design, which produces the Alex eReader, a dual screen digital reader much like the original Nook, can pursue a suit charging B&N with misappropriating trade secrets, breach of contract and unfair competition.
In its suit, Spring Design says that it met with B&N prior to the release of the Nook to discuss a partnership with the retailer around the Alex eReader. However, after the release of the Nook in late 2009, Spring Design filed suit, claiming that B&N violated a nondisclosure agreement and copied the Alex eReader’s features for use in the Nook. Both devices feature a b&w e-ink screen and smaller color backlit screen and both run on Google’s Android operating system.
Digging out from the blizzard, we found some publishing news.
A Kids’ Book Club for Adults When Gretchen Rubin embarked on her “Happiness Project,” which became a bestselling book and is on its way to becoming a television series, she realized how much she loved children’s literature. She decided to form a Kidlit book group to share that appreciation with others.
Scholars Recruit Public for Project
Editors have leveraged, if not the wisdom of the crowd, then at least its fingers, inviting anyone to help transcribe some of the 40,000 unpublished manuscripts from University College’s collection that have been scanned and put online.
Here are a few book/ publishing/ writing-related links from around the Web today that we thought you might find interesting.
Remembering Lucille Clifton: The NYT magazine took a series of intimate looks at notable people who died in 2010. One of them was the beloved poet Lucille Clifton, who is remembered in this lovely essay.
iPad Writing Tips: Maybe you just got an iPad for Christmas. If so, maybe you’re thinking about how to use it to write that bestselling book. In that case, TUAW has some tips for turning your iPad into a writing machine.
Nook Servers Down: Did you get a B&N Nook for Christmas? If so, are you experiencing problems connecting to the Nook servers to set up your device and download content? SlashGear reports that lots of new Nook owners are.
More holiday sales news is in, this time from e-reading service Kobo, which broke company records for the number of e-book downloads. This Christmas, more than one million people connected to Kobo, and, says the company, “hundreds of thousands” of Kobo Wireless eReader devices have been activated each day since Christmas Eve.
Compared to the holiday weekend in 2009, Kobo has seen e-book purchases multiply by 50; and compared to the previous biggest weekend (also in December), purchases have multiplied by five. Customers from more than 130 countries bought e-books via Kobo this holiday, and some of the biggest gains came from markets outside the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K., including Germany, the Netherlands, and Singapore.
“Earlier this month we predicted that Christmas would be a record breaker for Kobo, and we have exceeded our expectations driving several e-book downloads per second since Christmas Eve, or an equivalent number hardcover books stacked as high as 50 Empire State Buildings,” said Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis.
Kobo’s top three most popular e-books gifted this holiday were Stieg Larsson’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, as well as Room by Emma Donahue.
Well, the gift-giving holidays are over. You’ve ripped through the wrapping, stuffed your tummy, and lazed about all weekend with family or friends. Or your holidays unfolded some other way. No matter what, they’re over, and we’re curious, whadja get? Specifically, what books–print or digital–did you get? Take the little survey below, in which you can anonymously list some of the books you got or gave as gifts. Let’s see if we can come up with a kind of zeitgeist of this season’s gift books…
One of the first postmortems on the 2010 holiday shopping season is out, and it’s from Amazon. The company today announced that the third-generation Kindle is the bestselling product in company history, outselling even book seven in the Harry Potter series.
Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos suggested that people bought Kindles even when they already owned LCD tablets: “Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies, and web browsing and their Kindles for reading sessions,” he said in a press release. “They report preferring Kindle for reading because it weighs less, eliminates battery anxiety with its month-long battery life, and has the advanced paper-like Pearl e-ink display.” Bezos also cited Kindle’s $139 price point as a key factor in getting tablet owners to also buy the device.
The company said its most-purchased and most-gifted Kindle book on Christmas Day was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Of its top 500 most popular Kindle books, titles in The Dork Diaries children’s series saw the greatest gain in popularity on Christmas. And Amazon’s bestselling Kindle books from November 14 through December 19, based on units ordered, were The Confession: A Novel by John Grisham, Decision Points by George Bush, and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.
Christmas Gifts May Help E-Books Take Root: January could be the biggest month ever for e-book sales, as possibly hundreds of thousands of people are expected to download books on the e-readers that they receive as Christmas gifts.
Sixteen groups of teens across the nation belong to a galley review program started by the ALA’s Young Adult Library Services Association. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/26/AR2010122602447.html
The top 12 Civil War Books Ever
One great book for each month of 2011, the sesquicentennial of the War Between the States