BTW News Briefs

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Amazon Acquires Avalon Books’s Amazon Publishing has acquired the publication rights to more than 30,000 Avalon Books backlist titles, predominantly in the Romance, Mystery, and Western categories. Avalon books will be published under the West Coast imprints of Amazon Publishing.

Amazon Publishing’s West Coast Group includes imprints AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, Montlake Romance, Thomas & Mercer, and 47North. Amazon Publishing’s East Coast Group publishes adult trade, children’s, and young adult titles that are distributed outside of the Amazon platform by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s New Harvest imprint.

Authors Guild Says DOJ Proposal Needlessly Imperils Bookstores

In a statement posted on its website on June 4, the Authors Guild said the proposed settlement of the Justice Department lawsuit alleging that five large publishers and Apple colluded in introducing agency pricing for e-books was “bizarre, and without precedent,” and the group called on its members to make their opinions known to DOJ before the comment period ends on June 25.

The Authors Guild view “in a nutshell” is that “the proposed settlement is not in the public interest, because it needlessly imperils brick-and-mortar bookstores while it backs an online monopolist and discourages competition among e-book vendors and e-book device developers. The settlement needs to be rethought, and substantially modified.”

The Authors Guild continued, “The Justice Department’s proposal, which would permit Amazon to resume using the frontlists of three major publishers for anticompetitive purposes, appears to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the market for trade books, particularly the interplay between the online market for print books and the e-book market. Amazon, which has long commanded 75 percent of the online market for print books, clearly understands that relationship well. The story of the introduction of the Kindle is largely a story of Amazon exploiting its dominance in the online market for print books to gain control of the e-book market.”

The full statement can be read here.

Lambda Literary Award Winners Announced

The winners of the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards were announced on Monday night at a gala in New York City that brought together more than 400 attendees, sponsors, and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature. Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City books, and feminist Kate Millett were honored with Lambda’s Pioneer Award.

Lammy Awards were presented in 24 categories. Among the winners are:

  • Lesbian Fiction: Six Metres of Pavement, by Farzana Doctor (Dundrun Press) 
  • Gay Fiction: The Empty Family, by Colm Tóibín (Scribner)
  •  Lesbian Debut Fiction: Zipper Mouth, by Laurie Weeks (Feminist Press)
  •  Gay Debut Fiction: Quarantine: Stories, by Rahul Mehta (Harper Perennial)
  •  Lesbian Memoir/Biography: When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love & Revolution, Jeanne Córdova (Spinsters Ink)
  •  Gay Memoir/Biography: The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood, by Glen Retief (St. Martin’s Press)

The complete list of winners is available on the Lambda website.

Oprah Book Club Returns

Oprah Winfrey is reviving her book club next week after a two-year hiatus, according to a report in the New York Times. The club’s first pick is Wild, by Cheryl Strayed (Knopf), the number one Indie Next List pick for April.

The July issue of O, The Oprah Magazine will highlight the new book club on its cover and will feature an interview with Strayed.

Though the new club is being called Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, the Times noted that it will feature many of the markers of its first incarnation, including the Oprah Book Club sticker on the jacket of print books. However, “in a nod to the millions of readers who have abandoned print books for e-books,” the book club will have digital and social-media elements, including e-book versions of the selected book with margin notes from Winfrey highlighting her favorite passages.

Winfrey is expected to make several book selections each year.