All stories relating to Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster, the last of the Big Six multinational publishers to venture into ebook library distribution, will make its entire ebook catalogue available to libraries in New York City. A one-year trial will begin at the end of April at New York and Brooklyn public libraries and by mid-May in Queens. There’s no word on Canadian distribution yet.
S&S did not disclose details about ebook rates, though it stipulated fairly generous conditions compared to other publishers. Unlike HarperCollins, S&S won’t limit the number of times a book may be checked out. However, S&S has stipulated that titles may be checked out only one user at a time.
Unlike Penguin, which instituted a six-month lending delay after titles go on sale in stores and online, new titles will become available for purchase upon publication.
Ebook titles will be available to libraries for a one-year term. Following the lead of Penguin, the one-year expiration date is designed to mimic the shelf life of print books. Titles will also be available for purchase through libraries, presumably to patrons who don’t want to wait on the hold list until the book becomes available.
It’s no secret that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is an avid hockey fan, and has been diligently working on a historical examination of Canada’s national sport for years. Today it was officially revealed that Simon & Schuster will publish the PM’s untitled manuscript about the history of hockey. Publication in the U.S. and Canada is slated for November.
According to a press release issued by S&S, the book tells the “intriguing, little-known story of the origins of professional hockey, where strong personalities and philosophies battled to define not only how the game would be played on ice, but by whom.” The comprehensive book, which draws on “extensive archival records and illustrations, early hockey histories, and newspaper archives,” will examine “early quests for the Stanley Cup, the rise of professional hockey,” and – good news for beleaguered Maple Leafs fans — the “ascent of Toronto teams and players that have long been forgotten.”
The press release notes that prolific author and journalist Roy MacGregor is offering “editorial services” for the book. In January, MacGregor told the National Post the PM has not employed a ghost writer. “I can guarantee you there’s no ghost,” he said during the interview. “I’m sure it would come up. The reason it would come up is I know of his stated determination that no matter how long it took, he wanted to be the one that did it. He had research help but it was going to be him plucking away at the computer keys.”
In the press release, Harper says, “Canadians from all walks of life enjoy cheering on the great heroes of our national game, but it wasn’t always that way. The early days of professional hockey featured outsized personalities who fought pitched battles to shape the game we know and love today. Writing this book has taught me a lot about hockey and a great deal more about Canada. I hope all who read the book enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the experience of writing it.”
Kevin Hanson, president of Simon & Schuster Canada, says in the release: “Everyone knows that Canadians are zealous about our national sport, and who better to write about the history of hockey and our love of the game than Stephen Harper.”
All author royalties from the book will go to a fund administered by the Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services that provides emergency financial assistance to military families.
Three of the world’s biggest publishers have formed an Avengers-style partnership with today’s launch of Bookish, a new consumer e-commerce website.
Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Group are behind the site, which is described in a statement as a “one-stop, comprehensive online destination designed to connect readers with books and authors.”
Run by a separate editorial team led by CEO Ardy Khazaei, Bookish offers 2 million titles (print and digital) from 19 publishers, promoted through a recommendations engine, author profiles, stories, interviews, and first-chapter previews. The site launched with original material from Elizabeth Gilbert, Michael Connolly, and the parody website The Onion. Upcoming contributors include Jamaica Kincaid, Oliver Stone, Susan Orlean, and Rachael Ray. Like its competitor GoodReads, reader reviews will be encouraged.
Consumers can purchase directly from the website, or through links to third-party affiliates, including Kobo, Amazon, and Apple’s iBookstore. According to Publishers Weekly, which provides review content for Bookish, North Carolina distribution company Baker & Taylor is handling order fulfillment and setting prices.
Bookish was announced in 2011 but faced several technical and legal delays. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a suit against Apple and five publishers (including the Bookish partners) for allegedly conspiring to increase ebook prices.
Hachette CEO David Young told the Associated Press: “We received clearance for Bookish, but every time any of us talk about something we have to conform to the DOJ rules. We aren’t behaving any differently than we were before, we just have to make sure that formal procedures are followed, like writing up a log after any meeting.”
S&S has created a separate house called Archway Publishing, in partnership with Author Solutions, one of the U.S.’s largest self-publishing companies. Author Solutions will staff the operation, which will have a broad focus on fiction, non-fiction, business, and children’s books.
In a statement, S&S president and CEO Carolyn Reidy says, “Self-publishing has become a viable and popular route to publication for many authors, and increasingly a source of content for traditional publishers, including Simon & Schuster. We’re excited that we’ll be able to help more authors find their own path to publication and at the same time create a more direct connection to those self-published authors ready to make the leap to traditional publishing.”
In addition to editorial, design, and distribution services, Archway aims to differentiate itself by offering customized packages, which include access to a video department for book trailers, inclusion in wholesale catalogues, and a speaker’s bureau. According to The New York Times, the service won’t come cheap: prices range from $1,599 to $24,999.
The partnership puts S&S in close relation with rival Penguin. In July, Penguin’s parent company, Pearson, purchased Author Solutions for $116 million.
HarperCollins owner News Corp, which had previously expressed interest in purchasing Penguin, is said to be in talks with S&S’s parent company, CBS. Although talk of a deal is still speculative, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch is planning to spin off his publishing assets into a separate company next year.
According to the Financial Times, “Two people familiar with the situation cautioned that News Corp had expressed interest but that there had been no formal negotiations between the two companies, and another warned that a deal may not happen.”
If HarperCollins and S&S do merge, the new entity will become the world’s second-largest trade publishing company, after Penguin Random House.
Wade Davis was awarded the £20,000 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction for his book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest (Vintage Canada) at an award ceremony in London, U.K., last night.
Into the Silence, which recounts English mountaineer George Mallory’s attempt to climb Mount Everest in the 1920s, was also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for English-language non-fiction, The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, and the Boardman Tasket Prize for Mountain Literature.
Davis is the author of 15 books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow (Simon & Schuster), an anthropological investigation of Voodoo culture’s place in Haitian history. He is currently an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.
This fall, in an effort to boost newsletter subscriptions, Simon & Schuster will feature QR codes on the back of every new book jacket.
Scanning the code will lead consumers to an author page on S&S’s website where they are encouraged to sign up for email alerts, watch video interviews, and find out more about the author’s other works.
Tech website Mashable Business quotes Ellie Hirschhorn, executive vice president and chief digital officer at S&S:
The QR code is a way to use the distribution of our physical books as a means to build our [subscriber] database. This direct-to-consumer relationship then enables us to market future books and authors more cost-effectively.
For now, the codes will only be featured on hardcover and trade paperback books, and will be accompanied by a URL so those without smartphones or QR code scanners can access the author’s page on the S&S website. The codes will be added to other formats later, based on their performance.
Despite the recent announcement of the idea, it has already been met with skepticism by some industry publications (including Paid Content, Mashable Business, and The Digital Reader), which say the QR code trend hasn’t fully caught on in North America, and that URLs are still the better option, as they can be accessed by all browsers.
Book links roundup: Hard Case Crime acquires new Stephen King novel, Kensal Rise Library raided, and more
- Hard Case Crime to publish new Stephen King novel, Joyland
- Historic Kensal Rise Library to be sold or rented after overnight raid
- Simon & Schuster U.K. buys first YA titles from best-selling romance writer Kresley Cole
- Sneak peek at the film adaptation of Stephanie Meyers’ The Host
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe hits the stage
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s home saved from redevelopment
- Robert Coover to publish sequel to The Origin of the Brunists after 45 years
- Morris Gleitzman’s short story tips
- Summer reading lists have arrived
- The Guardian recommends erotica reads, other than Fifty Shades trilogy
- Literary critics choose the winners of the lost 2012 Pulitzer Prize for fiction
- Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Star returns as ebook imprint
- Five up-and-coming comic artists discovered at TCAF
- Can the Internet save book reviews?
- Penguin apologizes for Nick Robinson error in Dial M for Murdoch
The Globe and Mail is reporting that several lawsuits have been filed in Canada alleging that, like their counterparts south of the border, the Canadian subsidiaries of foreign publishing houses conspired to lower the prices of ebooks.
While there are, as yet, no reports of representatives from Canadian firms meeting in high-end restaurants to fix prices, the Globe reports that the publishers named in the lawsuits “included” the defendants implicated in similar cases in the U.S. and EU – namely, Apple, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster, as well as their Canadian subsidiaries.
So far, lawsuits have been filed in three provinces. The Globe has details from the B.C. case:
A proposed class-action lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court by the Vancouver firm Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman alleges that Apple Inc. and a number of publishers engaged in a “conspiracy” to lessen competition and “fix, maintain, increase or control the prices of e-books.” It is the most recent of at least five such suits filed recently in courts in Ontario, Quebec and B.C.
It also alleges that the defendants or their representatives communicated secretly, in person and by phone, to discuss and fix e-book prices, in the lead-up to the introduction of Apple’s iPad, which can function as an eReader, in April of 2010.
In addition it alleges that the growing Canadian eBook market is highly concentrated, making it more susceptible to collusion.
The lawsuits appear to imply that, like U.S. consumers, Canadians were victimized by the slight rise in ebook prices when agency pricing was introduced in 2010; they don’t appear to allege that Canadian firms were actively involved in a parallel conspiracy. Still, it’s hard not to be struck by the irony of the last line quoted above, since the introduction of agency pricing actually made the Canadian ebook market less “highly concentrated,” not more.
But if U.S. consumers are getting their day in court, so should Canadian consumers, at least according to the lawyers involved in the suits:
“The U.S. case isn’t going to cover Canadian consumers. So it’s the same underlying facts, it’s the same consumer protection agenda, but it is for different consumers in a different country,” said lawyer Reidar Mogerman, who filed the suit in B.C. Supreme Court last week on behalf of plaintiff Denise E. McCabe, a non-practising Kamloops lawyer who has purchased a “significant” number of e-books.