In publishing, increasingly the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but as in the game of Clue, one needs to keep a scorecard handy to figure out who is the friend, and who the killer, in the Library versus the Conservatory.
One of the thinly disguised fault lines in the Google Book Search settlement was the latent tension between the authors, represented by the Authors Guild, and the publishers. The thorny issue of which party has prevailing digital rights to older backlist titles published at a time when contracts either neglected to mention, or weakly addressed, the future revenue possibilities of ebooks has consistently failed to be brought to ground. The conflict has spawned some of the most incestuous conflicts in publishing in recent years, either between traditional publishing groups and new publishing companies, e.g., Random House v. Rosetta Books, or between authors’ agents and publishers, e.g. Wylie v. Random House. In the Google Book Search settlement, arbitrating a distribution of revenues between authors and publishers from the books was such a cornerstone that it earned a pole position as the first appendix.
Therefore, it is no surprise that the primary authors groups – the National Writers Union (NWU), the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) – have united with the Authors Guild to decry the recently announced settlement between publishers and Google, which effectively ends the McGraw-Hill et al. lawsuit against the Google Books Library project. There is a touch of dark humor lurking, as the three groups making this announcement – the NWU, ASJA, and the SWFA – were vociferously in conflict with the Authors Guild through their participation in the Open Book Alliance while the Authors Guild was a party to the settlement proposals. Now that the settlement has been dashed, they are free again to common cause against the publishers. Continue reading →
In what surely represents a big coup for the indie publisher, Seven Stories Press has acquired North American rights to an as-yet-untitled memoir by Eva Gabrielsson, the life-partner of the late Stieg Larsson, author of the internationally bestselling Millennium Trilogy. The book, which is being translated into English by Linda Coverdale, is slated for June 2011 publication.
The memoir, which will be published in French, Swedish and Norwegian in January 2011, recounts Larsson and Gabrielsson’s 30-years together, traces sources of episodes and characters in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, discusses Larsson’s sudden death in 2004, and describes the ongoing saga of the lost fourth book. It’s sure to be a huge seller among ravenous Larsson fans.
Kindle vs. Google: According to the Bookseller, Amazon has cooked up a version of its Kindle for the Web that will allow indie booksellers to sell Kindle e-books through their Web sites, just like Google’s platform.
Amazon Goes to the Movies: Amazon is launching a new business bent on finding new talent in the film industry and producing movies. [Press Release]
Franzen and Moore At the Y: Jonathan Franzen and Lorrie Moore gave a reading at the 92 St. Y earlier this week, and the NYT‘s Papercuts blog was there to cover the event with a humorous flair.
iPad For Sale At Sam’s Club: After Walmart got the iPad, it was only a matter of time before Walmart’s discount store got it too. The base model is $11 cheaper at Sam’s (though the difference is made up for by membership dues in the club). From TUAW.
Country star Brad Paisley has signed a book deal with the Howard Books imprint of Simon & Schuster. The book, his first, is called Diary of a Player, though it’s not what it sounds like–this ain’t a book by a Jersey Shore cast member, after all. No, according to Jonathan Merkh, Howard Books’ publisher, “It is a love letter to the guitar,” which, Paisley says in a press release, is his salvation “when life gets intense.”
The book is slated for May 2011 and will be co-written with Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild.