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Above the Treeline in New Partnership to Provide Digital Galleys

Above the Treeline, a provider of web-based interactive publisher catalogs, and Firebrand Technologies, a provider of digital galleys, announced this week that NetGalley services will be integrated with Edelweiss digital catalogs to allow publishers the option to provide electronic galleys to selected retailers, reviewers, and other professional readers.

Edelweiss publishers will be able to use NetGalley's functionality to offer digital galleys, with or without DRM, directly from their Edelweiss catalogs. NetGalley supports a broad range of dedicated reading devices and platforms, and publishers can select reading options and security features based on their specific needs. For NetGalley publishers with Edelweiss catalogs, this additional functionality will come at no additional charge. Edelweiss publishers who are not currently using NetGalley will be able to purchase the NetGalley add-on on a per-title basis for their Edelweiss catalogs through Above the Treeline. The first electronic galleys provided by NetGalley will appear in Edelweiss in the second quarter of 2010.

SBA, Dell Launch Video Series to Help Small Businesses Grow, Create Jobs

The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Dell corporation this week launched an online video series offering tools and strategies to help small business owners recover from the recession and expand and create jobs.

Strategies for Growth: Advice for Expanding Your Business includes real-world insight, solutions, and advice from small business owners who have succeeded, in good and bad economic times. Additionally, the series draws on the expertise of counselors, policy makers and others for accessing resources and tools available to small business owners. Topics include Planning for Growth, Government Contracting, Team Building, Marketing, Technology, Exporting Opportunities, and Disaster Recovery, as well as a Profiles of Success segment spotlighting two successful entrepreneurs.

Rights to Backlist Books in E-book Format in the News

Although e-book plans for frontlist titles have been the main focus of recent news reports, the New York Times and others media outlets this week reported on a letter sent by Markus Dohle, chief executive of Random House, to dozens of literary agents. Dohle's letter made clear the company's position that "the vast majority of [its] backlist contracts grant [Random House] the exclusive right to publish books in electronic formats, as well as more traditional physical formats." Dohle further clarified: "Accordingly, Random House considers contracts that grant the exclusive right to publish 'in book form' or 'in any or all editions' to include the exclusive right to publish in electronic book publishing formats."

Backlist titles are crucial to publishers due to their potential for revenue long after their release, but authors and agents are concerned that publishers are not offering sufficient royalties for e-book editions, the New York Times said. And some authors and agents are thinking about taking digital rights elsewhere. Already, some publishers have forged agreements with authors or their estates to publish digital editions, but "with only a small fraction of the thousands of books in print available in e-book form, there are many titles to be fought over," the article explained.

On December 15, the Authors Guild posted a response to Dohle's letter that stated: "A fundamental principle of book contracts is that the grant of rights is limited. Publishers acquire only the rights that they bargain for; authors retain rights they have not expressly granted to publishers. E-book rights, under older book contracts, were retained by the authors."

In related news, the Times reported this week that Stephen R. Covey recently moved e-book rights to two of his bestselling books from his print publisher, Simon & Schuster, a division of the CBS Corporation, to a digital publisher that will sell the e-books to for one year.

Adam Rothberg, vice president, corporate communications for S&S, declined to comment directly on Covey's moves, but told the Times, "Our position is that electronic editions of our backlist titles belong in the Simon & Schuster catalog, and we intend to protect our interests in those publications."