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Good News, Bad News For Self-Publishing

The book world this week is full of news from the ranks of “indie” or self-published authors: Good news for one children’s author, and bad news for several who feel cheated. And for another, the news is definitely in shades of grey. “A potential class action lawsuit alleging fraudulent business practices against Author Solutions has […]

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Digital Age Not Golden For Writers, Artists

On Sunday in The New York Times Magazine, author Steven Johnson pointedly asked, “How is today’s creative class faring?” His own analysis of available data drew Johnson to conclude that the much-threatened “creative apocalypse” hadn’t materialized. That contrarian conclusion might be expected from a writer who has also argued that pop culture fosters complex thinking […]

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Best of BTB: Altmetrics Under The Microscope

Scientific research seeks answers to questions large and small – from the composition of atoms to the age of the universe. While scientists, funders and institutions may value research for its own sake, they are practical, too. The answers that research yields can lead to professional advancement, and sometimes, to commercial success. In addition, scholarly […]

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“Secretive” Amazon Brings Out The Worst

What do the capitalist titan Jeff Bezos and communist kingpin Kim Jong-Un have in common? Very likely, they have absolutely nothing in common, but we will never know because both Amazon and North Korea are kingdoms of secrecy. This week, owing to a lengthy New York Times article that documented “Dickensian” workplace practices at the […]

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A Textbook Case of Copyright Infringement?

Three leading education publishers have brought a copyright and trademark infringement suit against a U.S.-based textbook reseller for allegedly importing and selling “pirated” foreign editions of popular textbooks in the U.S. market. Filed in Massachusetts federal court by Cengage Learning, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson Education, the suit accuses a trio of textbook “arbitragers” – individually and […]

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Mystery Author Flees Publisher

Authors discontented with their publishing deals are nothing new. Mark Twain enjoyed jabbing at publishers like a kid tossing stones. He said once that robbery of a publisher wasn’t a crime and was even rewarded in heaven with two halos. This week, a particularly discontented author just didn’t like the way the game was being […]

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Authors Reject “Forever” Contracts

True love, if you’re lucky enough to find it, lasts forever. So do diamonds, and even some tattoos. And for trade book authors, there are the contracts they sign with publishers. Earlier this week, the Authors Guild released the fourth installment of its Fair Contract Initiative, “A Publishing Contract Should Not Be Forever.” Typical book […]

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More Books From Harper Lee, Please

In a week when Go Set A Watchman broke sales records, the book business might want to celebrate. Then again, it might not. Harper Lee’s second novel lay unpublished for more than 50 years. When it finally appeared, readers swooped upon the tale of Scout and Atticus Finch in print and digital forms. “Watchman sold […]

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Watchman Heats Up Summer Sales

Many bestsellers are surprise hits, appearing almost out of nowhere to dominate and saturate. The latest blockbuster, though, was a guaranteed smash from the day this past winter when its publisher announced the title. Go Set a Watchman is only the second novel from author Harper Lee; its predecessor, To Kill A Mockingbird, has sold […]

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Appealing Apple Loses Again

Courtrooms figure prominently yet again in the latest book world news, while one innovative online service struggles to balance costs and customer demand. In New York City, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, by a 2–1 margin, affirmed Judge Denise Cote’s 2013 finding that Apple had orchestrated a 2010 conspiracy with five major publishers to […]

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