BTW News Briefs

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Google Launches Online Book Search Biz

On Wednesday, October 6, Google announced the launch of a new search technology designed to help publishers sell books online, as reported by Reuters. The company's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, plan to hold a press conference on Thursday, October 7, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which Reuters described as "an important showcase if the Internet search engine is to recruit the heavyweights of the book publishing industry."

The new service is called Google Print and will be built into Google search queries, Reuters noted. From launch, people using the service will see book excerpts alongside ordinary Google Web page search results, and these excerpts will carry a link to buy the book from a choice of online book retailers, the Reuters article noted. Google said it would not charge booksellers who would like their site listed alongside the search results. It makes money on the service by selling targeted ad links related to the search query. To entice publishers, it plans to share ad revenue with them.

Google Print, which is in beta testing, includes among the online book retailers listed as a purchasing option.

Former AMS Executive Pleads Guilty to Fraud, SEC Files Civil Charges

On September 29, in a plea deal, Marcy Wilson Roke, the former director of advertising of Advanced Marketing Services (AMS), pleaded guilty to criminal charges for participating in schemes to improperly inflate AMS's earnings. AMS is a San Diego-based wholesaler of general interest books that provides a variety of other services, including promotional and advertising services to publishers. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, these schemes cost the firm's customers nearly $7 million. On the same day, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced the filing of civil charges against Roke.

The SEC complaint alleges that AMS fraudulently overstated its earnings through two schemes. The first scheme involved the production of fewer advertising vehicles than AMS had contracted with publishers to provide. One advertising service that AMS provides to publishers is to print and mail advertising vehicles -- such as inserts, catalogs, and post-cards -- for books the publishers produce. Through Roke's involvement, AMS improperly recognized revenue on the full quantity of advertising vehicles it had agreed to distribute, because it did not in fact produce the agreed-upon number of vehicles. As a result, AMS recorded revenue for these services contrary to generally accepted accounting principles, and thereby improperly overstated its earnings. Roke profited from her participation in the fraudulent schemes from her receipt of annual bonuses and sales of AMS stock, which totaled more than $200,000. (For more on these charges, click here.)

Mid-South Announces Winners of Annual Children's Book Award

At its trade show in New Orleans this September, the Mid South Independent Booksellers Association (MSIBA) announced the winners of the annual children's book award. For the first time ever the award has been split into two categories of children's literature, a picture book award and a chapter book/teen book award.

The winner of the 2004 MSIBA Humpty Dumpty Picture Book Award is Diary of a Wombat, illustrated by Bruce Whatley (Clarion Books). The 2004 MSIBA Humpty Dumpty Chapter Book Award went to Shannon Hale for The Goose Girl (Bloomsbury Children's Books), a retelling of a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale.