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Belling The Amazon Cat

The lawyers amused themselves and their courtroom audience with a variety of picturesque, even playful images to describe the behavior of global leaders in technology and media. Apple’s encouragement of illegal price-fixing by publishers, said the US Deputy Solicitor, was like someone who chauffeured drug dealers to their deals – making the iPad manufacturer as […]

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The Battle For Media Democracy

Under the United States Constitution, the First Amendment protects free speech from government restriction or interference. Yet government has a significant oversight role for a variety of media. In his new book, America’s Battle for Media Democracy, Victor Pickard asks how well public policy has served the public interest or only protected private business. In […]

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What Apple Wants From Santa

When lawyers for Apple enter the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan next week, they will carry a brief that in its content is as hopeful as a child’s extravagant holiday wish list. Indeed, the attorneys for the computer and smartphone maker would seem to believe in Santa Claus – even if just a […]

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HarperCollins CEO Is “Person of the Year”

As December opens and the year approaches its end, ‘tis the season – for awards. In the publishing industry, Publishers Weekly is handing out the latest round of ribbons and medals. The magazine’s list of notables for 2014 in the book trade includes Fiona McRae, director for two decades at the leading indie house Graywolf […]

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LeGuin Shakes Up Book Awards

Presented with a plaque for “lifetime achievement” in writing at the National Book Awards on Wednesday, Ursula LeGuin replied with a jeremiad on the state of publishing. The audience applauded – “bravely,” she noted. Clearly, the 85-year-old novelist of science fiction and fantasy relished the chance to see that more than cocktails were shaken at […]

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Terms Reached For Hachette, Amazon

On the same week that the New York Times reported he gave up a lavish private office for a 6-foot X 7-foot cube in an open-plan office, Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch announced conclusion of an e-book sales deal with Amazon. He says the deal is “great news for writers,” but he also says he doesn’t […]

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Happy Days For Debut Novelist

In 2014, some things about the book business are as long gone as the days of Mad Men. Three-martini lunches, of course, as well an urban landscape dotted with bookstores. Also among the missing, or so we thought, were the hefty advances that signal the imminent arrival of a new “big book” or the opening […]

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Publishers In No Hurry For Amazon Antitrust

Over the summer, as Amazon and Hachette clashed on e-book pricing levels, calls were heard for the federal government to undertake antitrust action against the e-retailing giant. Distraught booksellers and outraged intellectuals alike have challenged the Department of Justice to take on Amazon as a monopolist, even as publishers look the other way. “The Seattle Times […]

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The Amazon Problem

Linus van Pelt, the resident intellectual of the Peanuts comic strip, once articulated his philosophy of life as, “No problem is so big or so complicated that it can’t be run away from.” For many years, one could argue, such was the view of book publishers when it came to Amazon. Yet the Amazon problem […]

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Library Free For All?

“Built by the People and Dedicated to the Advancement of Learning.” So reads an inscription on the Boston Public Library façade that summarizes the aspirations of the American public library. The 19th-century BPL is as nearly a palatial edifice as any in Boston, yet above the central entrance, three words also remind all comers that […]

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