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Bill to Limit Amazon’s Advantage Moves Forward in France

On Thursday, BBC News reported that France has approved a bill that will restrict web-based retailers, like, from offering the maximum five percent discount on books in addition to free delivery. France has 3,000 independent bookstores, which have relayed the message to the government that they are struggling to compete against online retailers. The bill was approved by the lower house and is going to the Senate. Amazon maintains that the practice of offering free delivery with the discount is legal under the European Union’s single market rules.

Reading Group Choices’ 2014 Guide Out Now

Reading Group Choices has released its 2014 list of the best book club picks, just in time for the October celebration of National Reading Group Month.

The 20th anniversary edition of the guide, Reading Group Choices 2014: Selections for Lively Discussions, features 55 titles ideal for book club leaders and advisors and includes ideas for conversation starters in addition to author and publisher information, where to buy the book, key themes, and notable author information for each title. The guide is available for purchase now ($6.95 plus shipping) from Reading Group Choices and will soon be available for download via the free Reading Group Choices iPad app.

National Survey Details Reading Habits

The 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and released by the National Endowment for the Arts, illustrates how American adults engage with the arts, including books, movies, and performing or visual arts.

On the book front, the survey uncovered the following:

  • 58 percent of U.S. adults participated in voluntary reading in the preceding 12 months.
  • The increase in literary reading rates between 2002 and 2012 has reversed, with 46.9 adults reading a novel, short story, or play in 2012.
  • The percentage of adults reading any type of book has remained constant.
  • Adults with the highest rates of literary reading are between ages 65 and 75. This group also increased the most in book reading of any type.

NRF Predicts Modest Growth During Holidays

The National Retail Federation is expecting November and December sales to increase 3.9 percent. The forecast is based on consumer confidence and credit, disposable income, and past monthly retail sales, and it factors in the growth in the U.S. housing market and increased purchasing of big-ticket items. has forecast a 13 to 15 percent increase in online sales during the holiday season, also based on consumer confidence and credit, disposable income, and past monthly retail sales. The U.S. Department of Commerce said that Q4 2012 saw an increase of 15.5 percent in online sales.

Seasonal employment is expected to amount to between 720,000 and 780,000 hires.

Consumers Use Smartphones, Tablets to Shop

The Partnering Group and comScore released a report revealing that in June of this year, 55 percent of time spent online with retailers originated from smartphones or tablets, while the remaining 45 percent came from desktop devices.

The 2013 Social & Mobile Commerce Report also included the following details:

  • Mobile commerce dollars amounted to 8.6 percent of total U.S. e-commerce dollars in Q2 2013.
  • Mobile commerce grew 24 percent between Q2 2012 and Q2 2013, whereas e-commerce grew 16 percent as a whole.
  • In June 2010, 17 percent of Internet retail time came from smartphones, rising to 44 percent in 2013.
  • From June 2012 to June 2013, the content category of retail grew 49 percent on smartphones.
  • Fifty-seven percent of smartphone users reported using them to visit a company’s website or app while in the store, with 59 percent looking for coupons or discounts. Forty-three percent accessed another company’s site or app, with 92 percent looking to compare prices.

California Bookstore Day Website Live

The website for California Bookstore Day, which falls on May 3, 2014, is now live at Updates and additions to the site will be made over the coming months.

At this week’s NCIBA trade show, California Bookstore Day plans to reveal the first of the limited-edition, word-based items that will be available exclusively to CBD customers the day of the event. Also at the trade show will be CBD decals, canvas book bags, and t-shirts, available for purchase by individuals or by stores for resale.

NCAC in New York Times Sunday Dialogue

National Coalition Against Censorship Executive Director Joan Bertin penned a letter to the editor of the New York Times on September 20, 2013, addressing a recent Times article that argued that exposure to media violence is linked to violent behavior.

Bertin’s response noted that even the Supreme Court found no compelling evidence to link consumption of violent media with violence in real life situations; she also argued that crime rates have actually decreased in spite of growing media consumption. The editor invited responses to Bertin’s letter, which were published in the New York Times Sunday Dialogue on September 28. Readers reacted with a mix of support for and opposition to Bertin’s position.

Thurber Prize Goes to Dan Zevin

Dan Zevin has been named the winner of the 2013 Thurber Prize for American Humor for Dad Gets a Mini-Van: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad (Scribner). The national nonprofit literary center Thurber House presents the annual award in recognition of the art of humor writing.

Runners up included Shalom Auslander for Hope, A Tragedy (Riverhead) and Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel for Lunatics (G.P. Putnam’s Sons).

Penguin Random House Merges Audio

Penguin Random House announced on Tuesday that it has formed a company audio group that will work with both the Penguin and Random house audio lists, reported Digital Book World

Leading the group will be Amanda D’Acierno, senior vice president and publisher, Penguin Random House Audio, Fodor’s, and Living Language. Also on the team are Patti Pirooz, senior executive producer, Penguin Random House Audio, and Dan Zitt, vice president, content production, Penguin Random House Audio.

Audio titles will continue to be sold by Penguin and Random House sales reps and the audio marketing, library sales, and publicity departments of Random House’s former audio group will support Penguin’s audio list.

HarperCollins Joins Scribd’s E-Book Subscription Service

HarperCollins announced Tuesday that it will be making its backlist titles available on Scribd as part of the site’s e-book subscription service, the New York Times reported. Scribd offers users access to a catalog of e-books for a flat monthly fee. While Scribd lists titles from several smaller publishers, HarperCollins is the first big publisher to join the service.

Chronicle Books Goes Green

Chronicle Books has announced the results of its green publishing initiative to support the preservation of endangered forests on a global scale. The company will provide annual updates identifying how it continues to remain sustainable and environmentally conscious.

In 2013, 100 percent of Chronicle’s standard children’s books (and 45 percent of its total publishing) were made from paper certified to Forest Stewardship Council™ standards, which protect forests, workers, and indigenous populations. Additionally, Chronicle monitored paper weight and trim size to reduce waste and used paper bleached without harmful chemicals.

BISG Announces New Mission Statement, Industry Awards Winners, F+W Media Partnership

The Book Industry Study Group unveiled its new mission statement at its annual meeting on September 27: “BISG’s mission is to facilitate innovation and shared solutions for the benefit of all companies and practitioners that create, produce, and distribute published content and the organizations that support them.” Ken Michaels, BISG chair and global COO for Macmillan Science and Education, said that the statement encompasses BISG’s goal to be an organization that serves all aspects of the changing industry.

Also at the annual meeting, the winners of the group’s first annual Industry Awards were announced. The winners are:

  • Industry Innovation Award: Edelweiss (Above the Treeline)
  • Most Valuable Committee Participant: Laurie Stark, vice president, publishing operations support, Penguin Random House
  • Friend of the Industry: Phil Madans, director of publishing standards and best practices, Hachette Book Group
  • Disruptor Award: Allen Lau (Wattpad)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Wendell Lotz, vice president, metadata, Ingram Book Group

Additionally, Book Industry Study Group and F+W Media are partnering to produce BISG and Digital Book World’s event Making Information Pay for Higher Education. The event focuses on the change from print to digital publishing in the higher education world. Under the partnership, BISG will develop the conference content and Digital Book World (owned and operated by F+W Media) will handle the conference logistics. The groups will work together on marketing and sponsorship.