Justice Department to Sue Over E-Book Pricing
The U.S. Justice Department has told Apple and five publishers that have adopted the Agency Model for e-books that it is planning to sue them for collusion in raising prices, according to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal. The five publishers — Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group (USA), Macmillan, and HarperCollins — have denied claims that they acted together to raise prices, and have told investigators that the shift to agency pricing enhanced competition in the industry by allowing more electronic booksellers to thrive.
WSJ noted the several of the publishers are in talks to settle the antitrust case, but other parties are not. “It isn’t clear if the talks will lead to a settlement or how many of the parties would sign on,” the paper said.
Google Creates One-Stop Shop for Digital Content
In what the Los Angeles Times characterizes as a “bid to better compete with Apple and Amazon.com,” Google has created Google Play, a one-stop shop where consumers can buy and download digital books, music, movies, and games.
Visitors to Google Music, Google Books, and Android Market are now be redirected to https://play.google.com/store, where there are tabs for the different categories of digital content. “This is a smart move to position itself as a content provider. Google now has an offering that can rival iTunes,” SearchEngineLand.com editor Danny Sullivan told the L.A. Times.
The Times noted that Google plans to release a home entertainment device later this year to stream music and, in the future, other types of digital content such as video, and it is working with media companies and others to create original programming for its online video sharing site, YouTube.
Scholastic Launches Beta Version E-Reading App
On Tuesday, Scholastic launched a beta version of Storia, an app for children ages 3 - 14 that currently offers about 1,300 mostly Scholastic e-books and multimedia e-books. The free app is being promoted to teachers and families who buy through Scholastic Book Clubs and other Scholastic sales channels, according to an Associated Press report in the Washington Post. The app is now available for PCs, with an iPad version to launch soon and other versions to come by the fall.
The app download comes with five free books, including two multimedia selections. E-book prices are expected to range from $1.95 to $20.
Lulu.com and NACS Media Solutions in Self-Publishing Partnership
In an agreement announced this week at Campus Market Expo (CAMEX), Lulu.com and NACS Media Solutions (NMS), the technology research and development subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores (NACS), are partnering to offer community-based self-publishing solutions for college stores.
At the March 2 - 6 trade show in Salt Lake City, the two companies presented a new beta version of a Lulu.com application that provides stores serving the educational market with free, customizable, print and e-book solutions. The pilot program, which launches this month, includes Montezuma Publishing at San Diego State University, Jayhawk Ink at the University of Kansas, and Odin Ink at Portland State University. More information is available at lulu.com.
OverDrive Acquires Australian E-Book Company
OverDrive has acquired Australian e-book company Booki.sh, the developer of a cloud-based platform for distributing, selling, and reading e-books from anywhere via a web browser. Booki.sh founders and principals will work with OverDrive to expand the global distributor’s publishing, library, and school initiatives.
Booki.sh e-books do not require the user to first install software or an app. Users with PC, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, Android, and other mobile devices can access protected titles for both online and offline use. OverDrive plans to expand the Booki.sh distribution and digital bookstore platforms as well as integrate Booki.sh and EPUB reading technologies into OverDrive library and school services.