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Re: Legal Battles Over E-Book Rights to Older Books

And today the Times reports that bestselling author Stephen Covey 
has taken the electronic rights for some of his books from Simon 
& Schuster and is publishing them exclusively with Amazon, which 
has promised a huge promotion:


For publishers this is half-scary (It's "Nightmare on Elm 
Street," not "The Shining").  Covey still has a publisher, 
Rosetta Books; he is not working directly with Amazon, which is 
the ultimate terror for publishers.

This topic may appear to be far from the concerns of the 
academy--Stephen Covey, after all, is not Harold Varmus.  But the 
precedents will be rippling through the industry in the coming 
year or two.  We can expect to see:

*Amazon will continue its assault on bricks-and-mortar bookstores 
by challenging them on pricing, primarily with subsidized Kindle 
books.  We could lose a third of independent bookstores in 3 
years (from 15% to 10% of trade business).

*More deals between mega-retailers and authors (it's not 
generally known outside the industry, but Barnes & Noble is the 
tenth largest trade publisher in the U.S.)

*More attempts at direct marketing by publishers.  This will 
mostly be direct-to-consumer (or to researcher), but there also 
are a growing number of attempts by book publishers to sell 
directly to libraries, bypassing Baker & Taylor and Ingram.

*And a proliferation of ebook devices and formats.  Yes, the time 
has finally come for the ebook.  Watch especially for Google 
Editions on Android phones.

(Pssst!  Click here for a special deal on a crystal ball.)

Joe Esposito

On Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 6:10 PM, B.G. Sloan <bgsloan2@yahoo.com> wrote:

> "...the question of exactly who owns the electronic rights 
> to...older titles is in dispute, making it a rising source of 
> conflict in one of the publishing industry's last remaining 
> areas of growth."
> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/business/media/13ebooks.html
> Bernie Sloan