Acme Book News
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Clueless in Washington
Forget e-Books. Online publishers believe the biggest challenge to the "paperback in your pocket" will come from publishing on demand. Chris Middleton reports. [read more]
Anti-Copy Bill Hits D.C. by Declan McCullagh
Everyone's linking to it
Sen. Fritz Hollings has fired the first shot in the next legal battle over Internet piracy.
The Democratic senator from South Carolina finally has introduced his copy protection legislation, ending over six months of anticipation and sharpening what has become a heated debate between Hollywood and Silicon Valley.
The bill, called the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA), prohibits the sale or distribution of nearly any kind of electronic device -- unless that device includes copy-protection standards to be set by the federal government. [read more]
The Social Life of Paper by Malcolm Gladwell
...Paper is tangible: we can pick up a document, flip through it, read little bits here and there, and quickly get a sense of it. (In another study on reading habits, Sellen and Harper observed that in the workplace, people almost never read a document sequentially, from beginning to end, the way they would read a novel.) Paper is spatially flexible, meaning that we can spread it out and arrange it in the way that suits us best. And it's tailorable: we can easily annotate it, and scribble on it as we read, without altering the original text. Digital documents, of course, have their own affordances. They can be easily searched, shared, stored, accessed remotely, and linked to other relevant material. But they lack the affordances that really matter to a group of people working together on a report. ... [read more]
Framing Papers from the Conference on the Public Domain held at Duke Law School, November 9-11, 2001
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Scholastic Tries Branding with eBooks by Erin Joyce
The book is dead, long live the book
The market for e-books is an enduring conundrum for publishers: a necessary investment while they wait out a mass market for digital books that has yet to, and may not, materialize.
But children's publishing and media company Scholastic Inc. sees its latest e-book project as a branding and marketing opportunity to help drive book sales. Plus, if the younger set warms up to e-book formats on mobile devices in the future, the company is taking no chances with positioning now.
The New York-based publishing giant plans to release 19 best-selling titles in e-book format, including its popular Dear America, Royal Diaries, Remnants and Scholastic Question & Answer book series. [read more]
Book Sales Total $25 Billion in 2001
Publishers take a stand for open government
US book sales totaled $25,356,500,000 billion in 2001... [read more]
Publishers Seek to Overturn Bush Executive Order on Presidential Papers
Independent bookseller struggles
The U.S. book publishing industry today urged a federal court to nullify President Bush's executive order limiting access to presidential papers and to order the National Archives to administer the Presidential Records Act of 1978 as Congress intended.
In an amicus brief submitted this morning to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Association of American Publishers, leading a distinguished coalition of organizations representing publishers, authors, journalists, and historians, called the Bush Order a "real, substantial, and immediate threat...to the integrity of the historical record and to the public interest." [read more]
Book Lovers Fight to Keep Store Open
Independent Apple Book Center Struggles for a New Lease on Life
Sherry McGee may be in her last days as an independent bookseller. After signing yet another loan, dumping her 401(K) fund into her beloved Apple Book Center, and facing debts totaling $300,000, she told her staff in late February that she would close the doors this month.
What happened next was a surprise to the former staffing company executive who has a passion for literature. Customers begged her not to close, and they started fighting for the store's survival, mounting a "Save Apple Book Center" campaign.
"It is actually catching on," McGee said. "It's the most wonderful thing."
McGee blames last year's economic recession for causing the store's problems. "For a company that already has no cash cushion, we just got wiped out after Sept. 11," said McGee. "We're just completely out of gas and out of cash." [read more]
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Seems kind of extreme
Rowling Bars Swedish Radio From her Books
J.K. Rowling, author of the popular Harry Potter series, has prohibited Swedish radio from reading excerpts from the books on the air, a lawyer said.
Rowling apparently was upset that a radio announcer had read passages from Harry Potter books during a children's program without asking her permission.
Under Swedish law, radio and television stations can broadcast readings of published works without approval from the author, as long as they pay royalty fees afterward. But if authors explicitly say they don't want their books read on the air, the broadcasters must abide, Swedish radio lawyer Gunhild Frylen said Thursday.
The conflict started when radio officials contacted Rowling's agent with questions on where to send the royalty money, Frylen said.
"They were very upset and said, `What do you mean you've read our books?' It was very hard for them to understand that this is the law here." [read more]
Amazon settles Barnes & Noble patent suit
Hooray for the small press
Amazon.com has settled its controversial patent-infringement lawsuit against rival bookseller Barnes & Noble's online unit.
Amazon, the Internet retailer, would not disclose terms of the settlement, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Tuesday.
In a lawsuit filed in October 1999, Amazon.com argued that Barnes & Noble's Web site uses technology that was too similar to Amazon's patented "1-Click" system.
That system stores billing and shipping information so online customers don't have to re-enter data each time they buy.
Barnes & Noble's online subsidiary, barnesandnoble.com, uses a similar system, called "Express Lane." [read more]
Is Quality King? In My Book It Is! by Amy Phillips
More on copyright extension
I'm tired of hearing that smaller publishers don't put out quality books. I'm tired of hearing it because it simply isn't true.
Yes, there are small publishers who are new to the game and who fail to notice the subtle details that seasoned professionals can spot a mile away. But in my opinion, small publishers are getting a bad rap. There are plenty of independent publishers out there who have a keen eye for detail, who know how to present well-written material in a book that is visually appealing. I can't tell you how many small publishers I've met who consider their work a labor of love. They know books, they care about books, and they put a lot of time and money into producing quality titles.
I have never met a reader who put a book down because they were unfamiliar with the publishing house. I have met readers who put down books because they noticed typos on the back cover or noticed hickeys when flipping through the pages. It doesn't matter who published the book: a shoddy job is a shoddy job. [read more]
Opposing Copyright Extension
The Official Web Site of The National Library, India