This is an exceptionally busy week here at NRP, so blogging will be sporadic at best. This is what happens when everyone gets sick the end of the month. It makes the first week of the next month even more hectic than usual. But enough of that. There are a couple of stories that caught my interest browsing the internet that I want to share.
Let’s start with what is probably the biggest news of the week so far. The last of the major publishing houses to hold out against the agency model has finally given in. Random House has announced it will be adopting the agency model of pricing starting this month. In other words, RH will set the price for e-books instead of the retailer. What this means is that we very well may see an increase in price for their e-titles because Amazon, B&N, etc., will not be able to discount the titles as they have in the past. Will this mean a slow down in the number of e-books purchased? Probably not. It will mean an increase in gnashing of teeth and cursing of publishers on the different discussion boards. While it will — supposedly — even the playing field between the major sites like Amazon and BN and the independent retailers, that remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen if this change will mean a higher margin of profits for the retailers as RH claims. Note, they don’t say a word about how this will impact the authors — surprised, anyone?
What is truly interesting is that RH is not going to the agency model in the United Kingdom. It is clear from this link that RH is more worried about how the UK courts will rule on the agency model than it is on how the various investigations into the agency model will turn out here in the US.
Barnes & Noble is looking at its third-quarter postings and trying to figure out how to balance the print and digital side of its business. They have also announced that they don’t plan, at this time, to close any additional stores beyond the few it has already announced. In fact, it may actually move into some of the locations being shut down by Borders. Hopefully, this means they are taking a hard look at their operations and trying to adapt to the changing marketplace.
Finally, here’s a link for “The eBook User’s Bill of Rights” sent to me by one of our authors, Taylor Lunsford. I have to say, Librarian in Black pretty much hit the nail on the head. Most publishers need to figure out that readers want to be able to read their e-books on any device and not be hampered by DRM. They want to be able to loan an e-book like they do a real one and to be able to give it away. I’m not sure about the resale but, but that’s only because I haven’t taken enough time to really think that one through. But an e-book is a book as much as a printed book it. A book is the product that is produced by the author. The rest is just window dressing.