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Amazon Makes Play to Win Over Hachette Authors

The confrontation between Hachette and Amazon took an unusual turn this week with Amazon proposing that 100 percent of revenue resulting from Hachette e-book sales through the online vendor go directly to the books’ authors while the two companies try to hash out a deal, the New York Times reported. Hachette and Amazon are continuing to work through a dispute that has led to Amazon delaying shipments and removing the preorder button of popular Hachette titles.

The proposal was offered by Amazon executive David Naggar, who penned a letter to several writers and to Hachette itself. In a statement rebuffing the proposal, Hachette said, “We believe that the best outcome for the writers we publish is a contract with Amazon that brings genuine marketing benefits and whose terms allow Hachette to continue to invest in writers, marketing, and innovation. “

Amazon is looking to secure better e-book terms from Hachette, said the Times, but this recent effort by Amazon is an attempt to get authors to pledge their allegiance to the retailer rather than their publisher.

Authors from Hachette and beyond — including Douglas Preston, Stephen King, John Grisham, and Malcolm Gladwell — are publicly speaking out against Amazon online and through a petition, though some of Amazon’s writers and readers have also created their own petition.

Roxana Robinson, president of the Authors Guild, called the proposal “a short-term solution that encourages authors to take sides against their publishers. It doesn’t get authors out of the middle of this — we’re still in the middle.”

Refuting claims that Hachette has refused to negotiate, an executive at the publisher said, “We made an offer in April that was the largest we’d ever made any retailer, and in May made another that was higher still,” with both proposals being rejected.

HarperCollins Launches New Website

HarperCollins Publishers has launched a new website through which it can sell print books, e-books, and audiobooks directly to consumers.

All e-books from HarperCollins U.S. will be available for purchase by consumers wherever the publisher holds rights; print books and audiobooks are available only to U.S. consumers at the moment. Additionally, HarperCollins authors will be able to use the technology to sell their books from their own websites, the company said.

Forbes called the new site a defense against Amazon, as the site offers the same items for purchase as the online retailer, and with Amazon being HarperCollins’ top retailer, it is now the publisher’s top competitor. By creating its own sales channel, said Forbes, “it will be less reliant on others, like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and therefore will be in a stronger negotiating position when it comes time to renew contracts with those retailers.” Its contract with Amazon is rumored to be up for negotiation in about six months.  

Macmillan Donates to Kids’ Right to Read Project in Memory of Nancy Garden

Macmillan Children’s Publising Group is donating $2,500 to the Kids’ Right to Read Project in honor of Nancy Garden, the prolific author of Annie On My Mind, Endgame, and The Year They Burned Books. Garden, whose works included LGBT themes and were met with challenges, became an advocate for First Amendment rights for young readers. She died on June 23.

Recognizing Garden’s contribution to literature, National Coalition Against Censorship Executive Director Joan Bertin said, “We are grateful to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for remembering Nancy in this way, and for supporting a cause that meant so much to her.”

SIBA 2014 Book Award Winners Selected

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has announced the 2014 SIBA Book Awards, selected by a panel of booksellers for their showcasing of the finest tradition of southern storytelling:

  • Children’s: The Girl From Felony Bay by J.E. Thompson (Walden Pond Press)
  • Cooking: Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some by John Currence (Andrews McMeel)
  • Fiction: Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall (Gallery Books)
  • Nonfiction: Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink (Crown)
  • Poetry: The Collected Poems of Cathy Smith Bowers by Cathy Smith Bowers (Press 53)
  • Young Adult: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (Viking Juvenile)

Midwest Booksellers Choice Awards Announced

Independent booksellers in the Midwest have selected their picks for the 2014 Midwest Booksellers Choice Awards. The authors will be honored at the Heartland Fall Forum on September 30. The winners are:

  • Fiction: Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Nonfiction: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Milkweed Editions)
  • Poetry: What the Heart Knows by Joyce Sidman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Children’s Literature (YA and Middle Grade): Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick)
  • Children’s Picture Books: This Is a Moose by Richard T. Morris, Tom Lichtenheld (illus.) (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Gallery Books, Simon & Schuster Partner with Omnific Publishing

Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, has entered into a co-publishing partnership with Omnific Publishing, an independent publisher of romantic fiction. Effective July 7, Gallery Books and Pocket Books will co-publish a select number of titles in print and electronic form with Omnific. Simon & Schuster will serve as the executive distributor of all other Omnific titles.

“Omnific have been innovators in both their editorial approach to romantic fiction, and in their publishing and business philosophy,” said Louise Burke, president and publisher of Gallery Books. “We have been greatly impressed with the high-quality and market success of many of their books, and look forward to a partnership that can take readership for their authors to new levels.” 

Zest Books Launches “Pulp” Imprint for New Adults

San Francisco teen nonfiction publisher Zest Books, distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has announced the launch of Pulp, an imprint for new adults. The publisher, which was established in 2006, will publish three Pulp titles in both the spring and fall of 2015. Pulp will publish contemporary and narrative nonfiction, specializing in memoirs, graphic novels, and art and humor books.