Monthly Archives: October 2012

The phoney war is now over, digital is here

31 October 2012

From FutureBook:

The Penguin Random House story suggests that the phoney war is now over, digital is here, it is driving our thoughts and strategies, and will come to dominate this content led business as it has other content sectors.

The next 12 months are likely to be among the most tumultuous this sector has ever witnessed. Barnes & Noble, Microsoft, Apple, Kobo and Google need to find a way to break Amazon’s e-book market share, while the growth in tablet devices indicates that publishers are going to have to redouble their efforts to make both immersive reading and non-immersive reading attractive for those billions of users who do not have e-ink readers, but who will want to interact with content that used to come in books on their tablet devices.

. . . .

[T]raditional players in whatever area of the book business they operate without a digital play are going to feel increasingly worried. The figure for the bit of the book business that will remain forever analogue is getting slimmer.

Link to the rest at FutureBook

U.S. Supreme Court Debates Copyright ‘Gray Market’ Case

31 October 2012

From Bloomberg:

The U.S. Supreme Court raised questions about the multibillion-dollar trade in goods outside authorized distribution channels, hearing arguments in the case of a graduate student sued for selling foreign-edition textbooks in the U.S. at discount prices.

The copyright dispute may restrict the so-called gray market, with ramifications for publishers, retailers, entertainment companies, manufacturers and consumers. Retailers that offer gray-market products, led by eBay Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp., are seeking limits on copyrights. The motion picture, music, software and publishing industries say the gray market illegally undercuts their U.S. sales.

The high court case concerns Supap Kirtsaeng, who was ordered to pay John Wiley & Sons Inc. $600,000 for importing the publisher’s copyrighted textbooks from his native Thailand and selling them in the U.S. for a profit.

Allowing copyright holders to sue over such importations would give them “endless, eternal downstream control over sales and rentals” of their goods, Kirtsaeng’s lawyer, E. Joshua Rosenkranz, told the court. That would give companies an incentive to send their manufacturing overseas, he said.

. . . .

Justice Stephen Breyer asked Wiley & Sons’s lawyer Theodore Olson whether a ruling for the publisher would mean that someone who bought a Toyota that included copyrighted sound and global- positioning systems couldn’t sell the vehicle without getting permission from the copyright holders.

Olson said that in some cases an implied license, or “fair use” doctrine, would protect people.

. . . .

The dispute turns on a legal doctrine that says a copyright holder can profit only from the original sale of a product. In 1998, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the so-called first-sale doctrine applies to U.S.-made products that are sold overseas. The ruling meant that purchasers could bring those goods back into the U.S. to sell or distribute even if the copyright holder objected.

The question now is whether that same reasoning applies when companies manufacture goods abroad. The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it doesn’t, siding with Wiley and upholding the jury award.

. . . .

Kagan told Rosenkranz that a copyright isn’t “one right that applies everywhere in the world.” Instead, she said, “You have your U.S. rights and you have your Chinese rights, and you have your rights under each jurisdiction’s law.”

“Your position is essentially to say that, when I sell my Chinese rights to somebody, I’m also selling my U.S. rights to that same person, because the person who has the Chinese rights can just turn around and import the goods,” Kagan said.

. . . .

Taken to its logical extreme, elimination of the first-sale doctrine for foreign-made goods would prevent libraries from lending books, bar consumers from reselling items and even stop museums from displaying artwork in violation of the copyright owner’s rights, those critics say.

Link to the rest at Bloomberg

VAT charges on e-books could be dropped

31 October 2012

From AccountancyAge:

VAT levied on e-books may have to be dropped by the government if a legal challenge in the first-tier tribunal by law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner proves successful.

BLP is challenging HM Revenue & Customs on behalf of an unnamed client in a tribunal over its decision to apply the standard 20% VAT charge on e-books when their paper counterparts are zero-rated.

. . . .

When the UK joined the European Union, it was afforded a transitional provision to keep a zero rating on books if the rating was already in place in 1991. That provision did not allow for the extension of the zero rating, and it is HMRC’s position that incorporating the e-books would do just that.

Alan Sinyor, BLP head of VAT, said that the word ‘book’ in VAT legislation should refer to both physical books and e-books and, failing that, should qualify under fiscal neutrality as both products meet the customer’s needs in the same way.

“The subtle but vital point is that this is not an extension. It is a correction of a misinterpretation,” Sinyor told Accountancy Age. “The word ‘book’ has been misinterpreted and it needs to be put right and recognise the fact that e-books are also included.” 

Link to the rest at AccountancyAge and thanks to Tony for the tip.

Amazon Life

30 October 2012

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to

30 October 2012

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.

Frederick Douglass

Google Unveils $399 Nexus 10 Tablet

30 October 2012

From The Wall Street Journal:

Google Inc. on Monday unveiled a new $399 tablet and smartphone powered by its Android mobile operating system, as the Internet giant continues its quest to crack Apple Inc.’s grip on the tablet market and keep other rivals at bay.

Google said the devices are part of an expansion of its line of “Nexus” devices, which Google sells through its online store and co-develops with hardware partners to show off the latest version of Android.

. . . .

The Nexus 10 tablet, manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co. comes with a 10-inch screen and is priced at $399 for 16 gigabytes of storage. The device will be Google’s most serious attempt to compete with Apple’s latest, full-size iPad, which sells for $499.

The Nexus 10 will go on sale Nov. 13 through the Google Play online store.

. . . .

In the tablet market, Android has made some gains. Research firm Gartner projected that Android-powered tablets would capture 40% of global tablet sales this year, up from 30% last year, thanks to the Nexus 7 and Amazon Inc.’s Kindle Fire tablet.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

The Humble eBook Bundles and Authors

30 October 2012

If you don’t know/remember about the Humble eBook Bundle, click here and you’ll understand the following much better.

From author John Scalzi:

People are naturally interested in how much money I and other authors will make from the Bundle. Well, for the first week at least my default cut was 7.9% of money coming in (my default cut was in there independent of the fact that my book has considered a bonus book for people who paid more than the average). I didn’t check after the first week when the Web comic books were added but I suspect my default cut went down a bit, probably to something like 5%. Let’s say for the sake of easy math that when all is said an done my default amount of the bundle  was something like 6.5%. That would mean that my default gross cut of the Bundle would be something on the order of $78,000.

Now, here’s why I won’t get that much in net. One, while the Humble Bundle had default percentages, people could change those defaults and probably did. I assume that if they did change the defaults, they were not in my favor (I am assuming they would be in the favor of the non-profits, which would have been just fine with me). So the likelihood I’ll get that that total $78k seems small to me. Additionally, Old Man’s War is published by Tor, which has the rights for electronic versions of the book, and which will take its (totally fair) cut of the proceeds.

When all is said and done, if I end up with $20,000 (before taxes) then I figure I will have done well.

. . . .

So, basically, if I gross what I expect to gross from the Humble Bundle, I’ll be taking a roughly two thirds cut in my income per unit than what I usually do.

. . . .

Does this mean I’ve gotten ripped off by participating in the Humble Bundle? Of course not. One, I don’t usually sell 42k copies of Old Man’s War in two weeks, so I’m having volume compensate for per unit sales, and it doesn’t seem to have had a negative impact on OMW’s weekly sales in any event (i.e., it’s additive, not subtractive). Two, Old Man’s War is the first book in a series, and many of the people getting OMW in their bundles haven’t read it before. If they read it and like it, the additional books in the series are going to get bought and I get full freight on those, and otherwise it raises my profile as a writer.

Link to the rest at Whatever and thanks to Andy for the tip.

E-books, star authors, and lawsuits: Six reasons Penguin and Random House make more sense together

30 October 2012

From Quartz:

Penguin and Random House’s merger combines the defensive and the offensive.

Technology provides publishers with a golden opportunity to revitalize a product, which has been in the doldrums for years. But the same opportunity presents huge challenges, which perhaps only publishers with real scale can effectively address.

. . . .

1. A new kind of hard cover. From January 2011 to January 2012, sales of adult e-books grew by 49%, while sales of children’s and young adult e-books grew by 475%, according to the Association of American Publishers. At a fundamental level, the publishers’ product is changing. In the same way that BluRay discs now come with multiple extras (think actor commentaries, extra scenes, behind-the scenes-footage) the same will be true of e-books. The skills required to market books are changing, as are the manufacturing and distribution system. Publishers with scale will be better placed to invest in the technology required to address this dramatic transition

. . . .

4. Star power. For some time now, the book market has become increasingly hit-driven with star authors/celebrities earning escalating advances from publishers. The merger gives the new company the scale to compete more aggressively for hot authors while effectively removing a competitor (and therefore some of the heat) from the market

Link to the rest at Quartz and thanks to Abel for the tip.

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