Tuesday morning publishing news

Yesterday, I had that oh-so-wonderful experience of having to take my car in for repairs. That meant I spent several hours in the waiting room while they checked it out before coming to tell me just how much lighter my wallet was going to be. That gave me time to do two things: people watch and think about a couple of projects I’m working on right now. The former is always fun and often provides fodder for my writing. Yesterday was no exception. There are at least two “characters” who will be making appearances in my writing. As for the latter, well, that’s something else. I finally figured out what has been bothering me about two of my current projects. That’s the good thing. The bad thing is that it means my brain is focusing on what I figured out and doesn’t want to work at anything but finishing the projects. That means blogging today is suffering as a result.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things going on in the publishing world we need to be aware of.

First off, if you haven’t already heard, Fictionwise is finally doing what many of us have anticipated for a long time. It is closing its cyber-doors. The last day it will allow sales of any titles still listed there will be December 4th. The last time you will be able to download any titles you’ve bought will be December 21st. If you have a Fictionwise account (or ebookwise.com or ereader.com accounts), you should have already received an email about what is going to happen. You can opt in through a link in the e-mail which will transfer your titles to your Barnes & Noble account. I’ll admit that I haven’t done this yet and I’m not sure I will. I only have a few books I’ve purchased through Fictionwise and I’ve already got them downloaded to several different locations and, yes, I will be downloading them all again just to be sure.

The reason I said this is something many of us have anticipated is because of what’s happened with Fictionwise since it was purchased by Barnes & Noble back in 2009. There was a time when Fictionwise had many of the same books you could find at Amazon for the kindle. Then B&N purchased it and suddenly titles disappeared from Fictionwise and authors who had been easy to find there were no longer to be found. In other words, B&N was routing those authors and publishers that were selling well over to their main site and leaving Fictionwise to be the poor second cousin, nose pressed to the window looking in.

It has been a slow death for Fictionwise but not an unexpected one. Gone is an outlet for authors and an easy interface for readers.

Penguin Books has announced it will be expanding its e-book lending program to libraries. Now, before you get excited and start thinking this means you’ll soon be able to download your favorite e-books, what this means is that if you are a part of the Los Angeles Public Library system or the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) library system, you won’t be included. But, looking at this from the glass half full side, it is an expansion. I’m not holding my breath, especially since we have yet to see exactly how the merger between Penguin and Random House will cause things to fall out.

For more on libraries, publishers and e-book lending, check out this post I wrote on how Kansas State Library is taking their fight with the publishers to social media.

And in the WTF department, Apple now has a new patent. That in and of itself isn’t that earth shattering. But this particular patent is one of those you just have to shake your head at and wonder what the patent office was thinking when they granted it. Apple has been granted a patent for  a  “design patent, titled, ‘Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface,’ gives Apple the exclusive rights to the page turn in an e-reader application.” As the author of the article notes, this means Apple now has the patent for the page turn. Supposedly there is an algorithm included in the patent application that makes the Apple page turn different from all other page turns on all other e-book readers. However, color me skeptical. I see this — and the other 38 patents it was granted at the same time — as yet another step in Apple’s war to rule the tablet and smartphone world. I may be wrong, but Apple’s scorecard in this area isn’t the greatest.

If you haven’t already read it, check out Kris Rusch’s post on Agents and Money. It is, as are almost all of her posts, a must read.

Well, that’s it for now. The novels are calling for me — as is the smell of coffee. Happy Thanksgiving a couple of days early to everyone. Have a safe and fun-filled holiday.


7 thoughts on “Tuesday morning publishing news

  1. Oh joy. Just as I am about to get an e-reader, Apple storms in and starts making noises. Oh rapture. Whee. Thpppppth.

    1. Well, this is Apple. I have visions of them trying to get a copyright on the fruit and then trying to get royalties from every grocer, every roadside fruit stand, etc. And I see your “thppppppth” and raise you a “grrrrr” when it comes to Apple and it’s attempt to grab everything that has anything to do with smartphones and tablets.

      1. Fictionwise didn’t “just die”. It was killed by B&N. It was obvious to me that B&N only wanted the e-book format that Fictionwise owned. Once they had that they had no reason to keep Fictionwise alive so they slowly killed it.

        The “funny” thing is if Amazon had done something similar, people would be screaming about it. [Sad Smile]

        1. Absolutely, Paul, which is why the “no one wants our formats” explanation rings hollow. Someone did want the format — BN. You’re right, as well, about what would happen if Amazon did something like this. But, since BN has a physical store presence, it can do no wrong. Sigh (rolls eyes).

          1. Well, B&N later switched from Fictionwise’s ereader format to a modified epub format. B&N’s DRM is the same type of DRM that the ereader format used.

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