Friday, May 12, 2017

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news covers 4/28-5/11/17.

Publishing News

 The new Amazon "feature" that allows third parties to "win" the buy box draws ire from publishers, booksellers, authors, and more. Parties who "win" the box become the default purchase option (the books must be offered in "new condition" to qualify, and usually are lower prices than the publishers retail); other sellers are still present but get pushed further down the list, sometimes not automatically shown without clicking for more options. 

The Authors Guild and the Independent Book Publishers Association issue statements against the new Buy-Box policy, pointing out that as customers become by default more likely to buy from third-party sources, authors and publishers lose revenue if the books are obtained from suspect sources (and many parties worry this is likely the case). There are worries that the move also cuts deeply into authors' backlist profits, and the AG and the IBPA speculate (albeit without evidence) about possible future preferential treatment for Amazon's print-on-demand services.

A bookseller sues the state of California over a new law that requires all autographed items sold and valued over $5 to have a certificate of authenticity, with the paperwork backing it, or face liability of substantial penalties, on the grounds that the law makes selling autographed books a substantial burden and violates the First Amendment.

The European Commission introduces new laws on e-book sales in the EU. Amazon must drop its "most favored nation" clause from European contracts; countries can set VAT for e-books to lower levels; geo-blocking is banned (which prevented a customer from buying an e-book from another country to get around licensing restrictions). The first two are lauded by booksellers, while the latter is being considered a matter of concern.

The latest proposed U.S. budget includes increases in the budgets for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities--a complete reversal of the previous proposed budget to eliminate them.

Industry Blogs

More coverage, analysis, speculation, and reactions about the Amazon Buy-Box policy from Huffington PostPublishing Perspectives, Books & Such,(which all decry the move as being bad for authors and worse), and the Digital Reader (which blasts the other articles and offers a counter perspective that the move is pro-consumer and pro-competition).

On Writer Beware, Strauss covers the felony charges brought against the CEO and founder of Tate Publishing & Enterprises, a known vanity publisher, for fraud, extortion, and more. Authors who have complaints with Tate who have not been contacted yet or submitted complaints can still do so.

Agent Nephele Tempest posts writing links for 4/28 and 5/5. Of particular suggestion is Aerogramme Writers' Studio opportunities for writers for May and June. Oh, and a reminder that writers write, but published authors finish.

Author Nathan Bransford posts a This Week in Books for 4/30 and 5/5. He also posts some interesting analysis of query acceptance stats.

Agent Jessica Faust defines synopses and blurbs. She also asks if you really need that prologue--and why there are books still get sold with prologues, even though agents all claim to hate them (hint: it's because yes, they really needed the prologue; and also the prologue really worked).

Agent Janet Reid answers questions and gives advice. If an agent requests a pitch for a book they've previously turned down, should you send it? (Yes.) You've got an offer and you're at the point of asking clients about the agent to see if you'd get along--what do you ask and how do you ask it? (Ask agent for best contact info, but probably e-mail; and how agent is to work with.)

Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch talks branding.

On QueryTracker, the difference between "And then!" plots and "And therefore" plots, and why to avoid the first.

Writing a medical romance (or a novel of any genre in a medical setting)? On the FF&P, suggestions for getting your details right and writing a hospital setting correctly.

Publishers Weekly looks at the success of women in the indie publishing industry, compared to traditional publishing.

What other major publishing news have you encountered in the past couple of weeks?


  1. This is really an informative newsletter. Thanks, Becky. Hope you're doing fine. Jo Ann

    1. Thank you! Glad you found it useful. Doing well, hope you are too!