Penguin and Macmillan File Responses to DOJ Lawsuit
Penguin Group USA and Macmillan filed responses in U.S. District Court in New York this week not only denying Justice Department charges that they conspired with Apple to fix e-book prices “but also taking direct aim at Amazon,” according to a New York Times report, which noted that, “in its 74-page response, Penguin called Amazon ‘predatory’ and a ‘monopolist’ that treats books as ‘widgets’” and asserted that Amazon, not Penguin, was the company engaging in anticompetitive behavior.
Macmillan’s 26-page response to the DOJ suit asserts that “absent any direct evidence of conspiracy, the government’s complaint is necessarily based entirely on the little circumstantial evidence it was able to locate during its extensive investigation, on which it piles innuendo on top of innuendo, stretches facts and implies actions that did not occur and Macmillan denies unequivocally.”
Apple filed its response to the lawsuit last week, denying that it was part of a conspiracy.
Three of the publishers in the DOJ case — Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Hachette —have denied violating antitrust laws but agreed last month to settle with the government.
The American Booksellers Association is urging booksellers to make their opinions known to DOJ regarding the agency model consent decree during the public comment period, which ends June 25.
IPG and Amazon Come to Terms
Last Friday, it was announced that Independent Publishers Group (IPG) had agreed to new terms for sale of its e-books via Amazon.com. On February 20 2012, in a dispute over terms, Amazon.com stopped selling e-books from publishers distributed by IPG.
On the IPG blog, Gone Publishing, the company’s CEO, Curt Matthews, wrote, “As of Friday, May 25, the 5,000 IPG Kindle titles that were taken down in late February have been put back up on the Amazon site, plus an additional 500 new Kindle titles prepared by IPG over the last three months have been added. To help make up for the lost e-book revenue suffered by its client publishers, IPG will distribute Kindle editions at no charge to publishers for the period from June 1 to August 31, 2012.”
Terms of the new agreement were not made public.
Movement Aims to Save University of Missouri Press
On May 24, Timothy M. Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri system, announced that the 54-year-old University of Missouri Press would be shut down, its funding withdrawn on his authority at the end of June. The University of Missouri’s provost, Brian Foster, said that the university is hoping to find new ways to invest in scholarly communications, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
A movement to save the press has launched on Facebook. “Save the University of Missouri Press” has drawn comments from Missouri residents, university professors, and book lovers from every part of the United States.
Skip Prichard to Leave Ingram
Last Friday, David (Skip) Prichard, the president and chief executive officer of Ingram Content Group, announced he would be leaving the company effective June 8.
Prichard joined Ingram in 2007. Under his leadership, the Ingram businesses were reorganized and in 2009 fully integrated into a new company called Ingram Content Group Inc.
Ingram Chairman John R. Ingram, who will be assuming the duties of CEO, said, “Skip rebranded and refocused our efforts within Ingram Content, and through a well designed strategy, hard work and energetic leadership repositioned our companies to succeed in the fast changing publishing environment.”
Prichard said, “With solid positions in all of our markets yielding terrific results, I feel I have accomplished what I set out to do. I now will do some consulting and then look for a new role that will consume me as much as this one has. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time at Ingram.”
Prichard will continue his online blog, “Leadership Insights,” on which he shares leadership principles and interviews thought leaders, after he leaves Ingram Content Group.
Chase and Living Social Sponsor Small Business Grants
Chase and LivingSocial are sponsoring “Mission: Small Business,” a grant program awarding up to $3 million to small business owners nationwide.
The program invites small business owners who have been in business for at least two years and have less than 100 employees to apply for a grant for their business. Applicants will be required to tell the sponsors why their business is unique, outline a proposed plan for utilizing the grant to grow their business, and describe how the business is involved with its community. Twelve grants of $250,000 will be awarded.
Consumers are encouraged to get involved by clicking a “Support” button at missionsmallbusiness.com and voting for their favorite registered small businesses. Each time a consumer clicks to support small business, Chase will add five dollars to the grant pool, up to a maximum of $3 million. Each registered small business must receive at least 250 votes to be considered for a grant. The voting period is open from May 7 through June 30, 2012.
At the end of the voting period, small business applicants that have received 250 votes will have their applications evaluated and grant recipients will be chosen. The winners will be announced on or before September 15, 2012.
OverDrive Introduces Browser-based E-Book Reader
OverDrive has announced plans to launch a new e-book reading platform, “OverDrive Read,” based on open standards HTML5 and EPUB, later this year. “Unlike e-book apps or devices, OverDrive Read enables readers using standard web browsers to enjoy e-books online and offline without first installing any software or activating their device,” a company statement said. OverDrive will demonstrate its new e-reading platform at Book Expo America and at the American Library Association’s June conference in Anaheim, California.
Madeline Miller Wins Orange Prize
American author Madeline Miller has won the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction for her debut novel, The Song of Achilles (Bloomsbury). The announcement was made on May 30 at an awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Miller received the £30,000 prize and the ‘Bessie’, a limited edition bronze figurine.
2012 marks the 17th year of the Orange Prize, which is awarded to the best novel of the year written in English by a woman.