Monday, 30 April 2012

Kobo to launch self publishing platform

Kobo will launch its self-publishing platform this quarter and plans on expanding to “a dozen” new countries in 2012, the company’s c.e.o. Mike Serbinis has told The Bookseller.

Serbinis also revealed that thanks to the acquisition of Kobo by the giant Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten, Kobo now had its own “nuclear deterrent” should Amazon begin to cut e-book prices aggressively.

Kobo launched in the UK last year with W H Smith as its main retail partner, and has since built up a “double-digit market share”, according to Serbinis. “It’s been climbing since then. We think we are taking share off Amazon, but we have also seen some of the local players drop out, while Waterstones does not have an e-reading solution at present.”

Kobo previously announced that it would launch a self-publishing tool, similar to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes & Noble’s PubIt, but Serbinis said the business had been focused on expanding internationally, launching its tablet device, and closing the sale to Rakuten. But he promised the platform would launch “this quarter” before the summer. “We are currently fine-tuning our offer,” he said.

Read more: Kobo reveals big plans: ..

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Independent Bookshop up for sale in Torbay

 The owners of the Torbay Bookshop, the Paignton based independent bookseller, have put the shop up for sale after almost 20 years trading. Co-owner Matthew Clarke said it was the right time to sell the business, with he and co-owner Sarah Clarke wishing to concentrate on their buy to let business. He said he was seeking around £470,000 for the business, including the building.

He said: "A number of years ago, we employed a business coach to help improve our business and was intrigued by one of his observations in running an independent business. His recommendation was as soon as you open your business, you should make plans or have some idea of when you are going to sell it.

"An exit strategy is something Sarah and I had never considered but with most independents closing because of ill health, retirement or going bust, the advice made great sense. So 2012 was chosen and we've been working towards that date to leave the business for the next owner in a healthy state."

The Torbay Bookshop opened in the Devon town in 1993 before relocating to new purpose designed premises in 2002. The shop won the Bertrams Independent Bookseller of the Year award at The Bookseller Retail Awards in 2006.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

New Literature Prize could coincide with the London Book Fair

The Literature Prize is to be awarded in the spring of each year, with founder Andrew Kidd saying it will take place for the first time in 2012 if the necessary funding is secured by the end of this year.

Kidd said the prize would be awarded "after the Costa, before the Orange, and some distance from the Booker". Since the Costa is usually awarded in January, and the Orange in May, this means the prize may be awarded close to London Book Fair, which takes place next year on 16th to 18th April.

Kidd said: "It had occurred to us that we might coincide [the award] with the London Book Fair, though of course it's too early to make a decision on that. Ultimately, though, this is a prize for readers, and the book fair is an industry event."

Books eligible for the prize must have been published in the UK in the 12 months of the calendar year prior to the spring ceremony, and must have been written initially in English. Therefore, if the prize were to take place in 2012, all six of this year's Man Booker-shortlisted titles would be eligible.

Kidd, an agent at Aitken Alexander, said it would be "absolutely fine" if the prize ever shared a winner with the Booker, saying it "inevitably might happen".

Prize money is still to be confirmed, but Kidd said it would be in the same league as other major literary prizes. The Booker Prize awards £50,000 to its winner, the Orange Prize awards £30,000 and the Costa Prize gives £35,000. He said a £1m launch pot would be "an exaggerated figure in terms of getting a prize off the ground", but added: "Obviously long-term funding would be significant."

 Read more

Literature Prize could coincide with LBF:

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Worrying times for authors, Public Lending Rights 'not given in volunteer run libraries'

Public Lending Right registrar Jim Parker has said that under existing legislation, PLR payments to authors for their library loans will not apply to books loaned by volunteer-run libraries which are no longer run by local authorities.

In a response to a query from Lewisham library campaigners, Parker said: "Under the PLR legislation, PLR only applies to public libraries administered by local library authorities as defined by the Public Libraries Act (1964). This, therefore, would exclude library branches no longer run by the local authority and taken over by voluntary groups." However Parker said it would be a "grey area" in locations where local authorities were allowing volunteers to run branches while still remaining under their umbrella.

Parker added that wider questions were also raised wider questions about what should be done about remuneration for authors in such cases. "My understanding is that under the UK's copyright legislation book lending is a copyright act and a licence may be needed - except where PLR applies. In the past all public library lending was covered by PLR. But if we are to see more branch libraries dropping out of the statutory service and being reconstituted as privately-run libraries the government may want to look again at the existing legislation," he said.

Nicola Solomon, general secretary of the Society of Authors, said: "If PLR isn't being paid by a library then the library has to pay for that use of copyright in another way or it is infringing copyright. If we saw libraries that weren't paying PLR, we'd want them to be paying something analogous as recompense to authors. We'd have to do think about how to do it and how to enforce it."

Monday, 2 April 2012

Flashbang Writing Contest sponsored by CrimeFest and the chance to win two weekend passes

The Flashbang writing competition is now open. Just write a story in 150 words or less and you could win two tickets to CrimeFest in May.

Here's some information from the official website:
Flashbang is a new crime writing contest, sponsored by CrimeFest, who are providing the first prize of two weekend passes, as well as the second prize of DVD boxed sets of The Killing (plus its new novelisation). Hersilia Press is sponsoring the third prize: four of their Italian crime books. Comma Press is kindly providing five copies of MO: Crimes of Practice to runners up.

As well as terrific prizes, Flashbang is free to enter and gives eight lucky writers the chance to be published on websites read by crime buffs the world over. Deadline is midnight BST Sunday 15 April.
More information on the rules and prizes