We’re talking about censorship: deliberately making a book hard or impossible to get, ‘disappearing’ an author,” Ms. Le Guin wrote in an email. “Governments use censorship for moral and political ends, justifiable or not. Amazon is using censorship to gain total market control so they can dictate to publishers what they can publish, to authors what they can write, to readers what they can buy. This is more than unjustifiable, it is intolerable.

Literary Lions Unite in Protest Over Amazon’s E-Book Tactics - NYTimes.com

These sanctions have driven down Hachette authors’ sales at Amazon.com by at least 50 percent and in some cases as much as 90 percent,” reads the letter from Authors United, which currently has around 1,070 names attached. “Because of Amazon’s immense market share and its proprietary Kindle platform, other retailers have not made up the difference. Several thousand Hachette authors have watched their readership decline, or, in the case of new authors, have seen their books sink out of sight without finding an adequate readership. These men and women are deeply concerned about what this means for their future careers.

Nearly 1,100 Authors Say Amazon Feud With Publisher Has Hurt Sales By Up To 90% – Consumerist

In 1943, in the middle of the Second World War, America’s book publishers took an audacious gamble. They decided to sell the armed forces cheap paperbacks, shipped to units scattered around the globe. Instead of printing only the books soldiers and sailors actually wanted to read, though, publishers decided to send them the best they had to offer. Over the next four years, publishers gave away 122,951,031 copies of their most valuable titles. “Some of the publishers think that their business is going to be ruined,” the prominent broadcaster H. V. Kaltenborn told his audience in 1944. “But I make this prediction. America’s publishers have cooperated in an experiment that will for the first time make us a nation of book readers.” He was absolutely right. From small Pacific islands to sprawling European depots, soldiers discovered the addictive delights of good books. By giving away the best it had to offer, the publishing industry created a vastly larger market for its wares. More importantly, it also democratized the pleasures of reading, making literature, poetry, and history available to all.

Publishers Gave Away 122,951,031 Books During World War II - The Atlantic

Scientific, Technical, and Medical (STM) publishing is big business. It generates $19 billion in revenue per year, the majority of which is earned by a few powerful publishers that enjoy profit margins of up to 40 percent. Inflated subscriptions sold to academic libraries keep them moving ahead because the librarians feel they have no choice but to buy. These companies add little value to the actual publishing product but they are entrenched. Many forces are now at work to change the status quo which has existed for more than 100 years.

How The Digital Revolution Can Fix Scientific Publishing And Speed Up Discoveries | TechCrunch

In order to help secure a healthy future for both university presses and print books, scholars and deans must embrace the digital as a legitimate and credit-worthy format for quality scholarship.

Deans Love Books – The Conversation - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education

In an interesting post, writer Claude Nougat estimated the total number of books on Amazon – about 3.4 million at last count (a number that could include apps as well) and then figured out how many books were added in a day. Nougat noticed that the number rose by 12 books in an hour, which suggests that one new book is added every five minutes. And, most likely, it’s probably an indie book.

There Is One New Book On Amazon Every Five Minutes | TechCrunch

“We’re trying to create an island, I hope, of economic and literary sanity,” Mr. MacArthur said. He feels he is no longer alone in that endeavor. “The world is coming back in the direction of paywalls, and of print,” he said. A number of publishers have indeed been drawn back to glossy pages and the smell of ink. “It is the joy of being at an intimate, nice dinner, where the table is well set, and six or seven people are having an informed and elegant conversation, instead of being in a gym with 10,000 people yelling,” said Tyler Brûlé, the publisher of the international culture magazine Monocle, which makes about 70 percent of its money from print. A magazine, Mr. Brûlé said, is a contemplative experience, perhaps best enjoyed in physical form, untethered from the need to charge batteries. It is also a label, he said, to be displayed proudly, like designer luggage.

Harper’s Publisher Standing Firm in His Defense of Print and Paywall - NYTimes.com

Keep in mind that books don’t just compete against books. Books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.

Amazon Spells Out Objectives in Hachette Negotiation (via jonathan-deamer)

(via jonathan-deamer)

Mr. Armato says he frequently hears from scholars that they turn to Amazon for the books they need, especially when interlibrary loan proves too slow or cumbersome. The downside is that “this has gone hand in hand with the decline of library sales for the university-press monograph,” he says. Scholars might buy fewer books through Amazon if their libraries were buying more of those books in the first place. University presses also wonder to what extent libraries are buying books directly from Amazon as well as through the distributors that traditionally deliver scholarly books to the library market. Amazon doesn’t really share customer data, so “we just don’t know where those books are going,” Mr. Armato says. “We have no idea who the final purchasers are.” (Ms. Darksmith at California’s press says that, as a retailer with a focus on customer service, Amazon isn’t really “set up to feed back that kind of information” to the suppliers whose goods it sells.) For its part, Amazon considers university presses “an important and growing business for us, and we appreciate the role they play in disseminating research and education content,” a company spokeswoman says via email. “We don’t comment on our business terms, but we always work to develop strong professional relationships with publishers, including university presses, so together we can deliver low prices and a great experience for our customers.”

Around Retail Giant Amazon, University Presses Tiptoe and Whisper - Publishing - The Chronicle of Higher Education

We can now say that self-published authors earn more in royalties than Big 5 authors, combined. This may reverse itself by the time February rolls around, but it adds weight to a recent story in The Guardian about the unsustainability of traditional publishing if authors continue to earn less while their publishers earn more. It bears putting a number here and stressing what we are seeing: Self-published authors are now earning nearly 40% of all ebook royalties on the Kindle store. The days of looking at self-publishing as a last option are long gone. A lot has changed in six months.

July 2014 Author Earnings Report – Author Earnings