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HarperCollins in E-book Bundling Pilot Program

On Monday, HarperCollins launched a pilot program with BitLit, a free app that allows readers to purchase an e-book edition at a discounted price when they already own the print book. To claim their e-book, readers must write their name in ink on the print book’s copyright page and snap a photo using their smartphone. BitLit will use computer vision technology to verify authenticity, without the need for receipts or point-of-sale records, to allow readers to retroactively bundle their books.

“BitLit offers readers another way to engage with the books they’ve purchased so they can read in various formats as they choose,” said HarperCollins Chief Digital Officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi. “It provides added value to consumers at a discounted price, and additional sales for our authors.”

Titles included in the pilot program will be promoted through the HarperCollins Bookperk newsletter and on for a month, with one new title each week ranging in price from $1.99- $2.99. BitLit can be downloaded for iPhone and Android.

S&S to Sell, Distribute Regan Arts

Simon & Schuster has signed a sales and distribution agreement with Regan Arts, the new publishing imprint and multimedia venture founded by Judith Regan. S&S will handle worldwide sales and distribution for all of the imprint’s print and electronic editions, which are expected to begin publishing in fall 2014.

MIBA and GLIBA to Honor Kate DiCamillo

The Midwest Independent Booksellers Association and the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association will present the Voice of the Heartland Award to author Kate DiCamillo during September’s Heartland Fall Forum.

DiCamillo will accept the award, honoring those who uphold the value of independent bookselling and have made a significant contribution to bookselling in the Midwest, on September 30 at the forum’s Book Awards Reception at The Depot in downtown Minneapolis.

Book Industry Charitable Foundation Reveals Survey Results

The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation has released the findings of its brand awareness survey, conducted this past spring. Booksellers who took part in the survey acknowledged the need for the safety net provided by Binc, offered suggestions for making the foundation even more useful to the booksellers it serves, and encouraged the organization to continue raising awareness of its services.

Binc Executive Director Pam French said, “The feedback was valuable in many ways, particularly in reinforcing the need for continued and expanded efforts to raise awareness of Binc, and that those in the industry are very willing to support the foundation through volunteering their time and making donations.”

Based on survey feedback, Binc recently expanded its programs to offer matching grants, homelessness prevention grants, and grants for funeral expenses, and said that it will continue to analyze the data to see if other program expansion is relevant in the future.

The foundation has also added the option of reoccurring payroll donations, corporate donations, and in-store fundraising suggestions to its website for those who wish to lend their support to the organization’s efforts.

John Green’s Looking for Alaska Challenged in Wisconsin

The Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP), co-sponsored by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, has joined with other organizations in expressing concern over a request for a district-wide ban on John Green’s novel Looking for Alaska in Waukesha, Wisconsin, schools.

In a letter this week to the Waukesha superintendent and school board, KRRP explained that, though the parent who requested the ban is entitled to her opinion about the book, “her opinion does not provide adequate grounds to justify the book’s removal,” especially since this is a book that “has substantial educational and literary value for high school students, meets the district’s criteria for educational material, and should be retained.”

Because the Waukesha school district has committed to following its complaint and review policies, the groups said that the “process is more likely to yield results that are consistent with educational and First Amendment principles.”

This is the second book by John Green that KRRP has defended this summer. Paper Towns was summarily removed from the eighth grade summer reading list in a school in Pasco County, Florida. After KRRP and its allies protested, the book was quietly reinstated.

2014 Man Booker Longlist Announced

The first Man Booker Prize to admit novels from across the globe as long as they are written in English announced its longlist on Wednesday, July 23. The list features 13 titles, whose authors include four Americans, six Britons, two Irish writers, and one Australian.

Former Man Booker winner Howard Jacobson is on the longlist along with two previously shortlisted authors, Ali Smith and David Mitchell. American writers on the list are Richard Powers, Siri Hustvedt, Joshua Ferris, and Karen Joy Fowler. See the full list here.

 Until this year, only British and Commonwealth authors were eligible for the prize, which awards £50,000 to the winner. 

The longlist of 13 will be reduced to a shortlist of six titles on September 9, and the winning novel will be revealed at a black-tie dinner in London’s Guildhall on October 14.