Following Amazon.co.uk's announcement of a policy requiring "price parity from all sellers," meaning that "no website--including eBay--or catalogue, third party platform or mobile applications, could undercut the e-tailer," booksellers have complained to the Office of Fair Trading, the Bookseller reported.
Booksellers Association CEO Tim Godfray told the Bookseller: "Amazon appears to be saying that the price of a book on Marketplace should not be higher than what appears directly--or indirectly--on the 'non-physical' channels of the other business. Booksellers are already concerned about pricing issues in the current free price environment, and we encourage the OFT to look into this."
In a guest blog on powells.com, Rebecca Skloot, who is mid-tour for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, wrote happily, "I am here to report: Book tours are not dead."
After visiting 20 cities, she continued, "I've read to thousands of people in classrooms, churches, community centers, cafeterias, bars, chapels, and many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many independent bookstores (a list that will soon include Powell's, where I'll read on April 12th!). Those events have been standing room only thanks to Twitter and Facebook, where I and many people spread the word about my tour stops, and to the countless print, radio, and online interviews I've done each day by phone....
"Every time I walk into a store and see people filling all the chairs and lining the walls and aisles, I want to hop up and down for joy because I'm struck by two exhilarating facts: First, all those people came out to hear an author read when everyone said they wouldn't. And second, in the midst of a steady stream of stories about the death of bookstores (particularly independents), and the death of books in general, every store I've visited has a thriving community of readers devoted to keeping those stores, and the books in them, alive. As a writer who just spent almost eleven years of her life working on one book, going into those communities and hearing how much they care about books is a much needed contrast to the flood of bad news. I'm not delusional enough to believe that this means the future of publishing is all hunky dorey now, but it certainly does make me feel like reports of its demise are premature. As are reports of the book tour's demise: They won't work for every book (more on that another time), but they're certainly not dead."
The post includes a video of the first week of her tour, made by Skloot's boyfriend.
Penguin cheerfully noted that Apple's new guided tour of the iPad features its Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard. See it here by clicking on iBooks.
Book video of the day (for the paperback edition, appearing in May): The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo (Unbridled).
In a blog post on the New York Review of Books that went beyond 140 characters, Margaret Atwood praised her experience on Twitter, saying, "Let's just say it's communication, and communication is something human beings like to do."
She said, "I'm well pleased with my followers--I have a number of techno-geeks and bio-geeks, as well as many book fans. They're a playful but also a helpful group. If you ask them for advice, it's immediately forthcoming.... They're sharp: make a typo and they’re on it like a shot, and they tease without mercy. However, if you set them a verbal challenge, a frisson sweeps through them...."
"They raise funds for charity via things like Twestival, they solicit donations for catastrophe victims, they send word of upcoming events, they exchange titles of books they like. Once in a while they're naughty: I did get word of a fellow who'd made a key safe by hollowing out one of my books. (Big yuks from his pals, one of whom ratted him out to me and even sent a pic.) But after I threatened to put the Purple Cross-eyed Zozzle Curse on him, he assured me that no disrespect was intended. (He was forgiven.)"
No word on whether Atwood's tweeting via LongPen.
Stephen King throws a change-up. Just in time for Opening
Day next week, indie publisher Cemetery Dance
will release Blockade Billy, a new baseball-themed novella by
the bestselling author, Entertainment Weekly reported.
have asked me for years when I was going to write a baseball story,"
King said. "Ask no more; this is it."
The book will be available
"in a few weeks," according to EW, which wrote that the first
copies will come with a baseball card featuring the protagonist.
Cemetery Dance's website also cautions that the "novella is not
scheduled to be reprinted in King's new collection due out this fall,
and we're only printing a small number of first edition copies compared
to what Stephen King's New York publishers print for a brand new book.
We'll be filling direct orders first and then distributors, online
stores, and the chains if there are copies left available after we've
taken care of our regular customers."
Wideman will self-publish his new book, Briefs: Stories for the Palm
of the Mind. The Los Angeles Times Jacket Copy blog reported
the author has "entered into an agreement with Lulu, the largest
self-publisher in the business. In addition to Briefs, a
collection of short shorts, or microfictions, his first three novels are
also being reissued through Lulu."
While Wideman "wants readers
to find focus in his micro-stories, his main concern ultimately is that
of a writer trying to take control of his own work," Jacket Copy noted.
people write because they want independence," said the author. "And
that independence is threatened when you have to kowtow to the means of