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EBook Bits and Bytes

DynamicBooks, a new subsidiary of Macmillan, unveiled a new digital publishing platform that allows instructors to freely customize and modify textbooks.  Once instructors “publish” their custom book, students can choose to purchase either a fully featured digital text or a printed version of the new book.  The digital textbook package includes online access; a downloadable version; and an iPhone application.  The instructor will copyright all original content and original multimedia additions.  DynamicBooks will be available for purchase at the DynamicBooks Website and college bookstores August 1st.  Business Wire, February 22, 2010, http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20100222006373&newsLang=en.

The Authors Guild has begun sending notices to its members advising them to carefully review letters that have been sent by Random House and HarperCollins seeking amendments to contracts regarding e-book rights that would lock in royalty rates at 25% of net receipts.  The Guild notes that it believes 25% of net receipts is too low and should be closer to a 50/50 split.   Publishers Weekly, March 19, 2010, http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/453656-Authors_Guild_Warns_Again_on_e_Book_Royalties.php?rssid=20796.

The tipping point for digital reading is 18 months away and publishers should prepare by starting a parallel business to their print one, according to media futurist Gerd Leonhard, who was speaking to an audience of publishing CEOs and digital directors at Books 2.0, a London event organized by business law firm Olswang.  If publishers do not prepare, said Leonhard, then venture capital-backed start-ups “will eat your lunch.  This is not going to be linear and gradual.  Once people have the devices, it will flick the switch. I’m not saying that publishers will become redundant — the opposite is true!  It creates more pressure, you’ll need more people, but you may need fewer buildings or trucks.”  TheBookseller.com, March 23, 2010, http://www.the-bookseller.com/news/114921-digital-reading-tipping-point.html.rss.  

E-books overtook audiobooks in 2009 with sales reaching $313 million in 2009, up 176.6%.  Press Release, April 7, 2010, http://www.publishers.org/main/PressCenter/Archicves/2010_April/BookSalesEstimatedat23.9Billionin2009.htm.

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