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Dianna Dilworth

Dianna Dilworth is Editor of Mediabistro's digital publishing blog AppNewser and a contributor to GalleyCat. As a freelance writer, she has been covering technology, design and digital marketing for the last decade for publications including: The Architectural Record, The Believer, Businessweek, California Home & Design, DMNews, Dwell and PRWeek. She is also the author of the upcoming book, Mellodrama: The Mellotron Book, from Bazillion Points, a book that will change the way you hear the flutes at the beginning of The Beatles' song "Strawberry Fields Forever."

Apple Buys Book Recommendation Startup BookLamp

booklampApple has reportedly purchased the book recommendation engine BookLamp, in a deal whose terms were not disclosed.

Apple confirmed the acquisition to TechCrunch, stating: ”Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

BookLamp.com did not confirm the acquisition, but left a thank you message for its community on the site. “As of today, though, the BookLamp.org site – which has served as a technology demo for the Book Genome Project – will no longer be available as our company evolves its mission.”

The Book Genome Project helps readers discover new books based on similar titles. If it is adopted into iBooks, the tool could help Apple’s eBook platform improve its recommendation experience.

Simon & Schuster Forms Distribution Partnership With Regan Arts

reganartsSimon & Schuster has formed a sales and distribution partnership with Judith Regan’s new imprint Regan Arts, a new division of Phaidon.

Under the terms of the agreement, Simon & Schuster will take care of the world-wide sales and distribution for Regan Arts titles in both print and electronic media. Regan Arts spent the spring hiring staff and working on new titles and is gearing up to launch its first books this fall.

“We are delighted to welcome Regan Arts and its authors to Simon & Schuster,” stated Steve Black, Vice President, Client Services for Simon & Schuster.  ”Our sales and distribution infrastructure are poised to provide them with the best possible service and help them to reach the widest possible audience.  We look forward to a very productive partnership.”

Liberio Lets You Make an eBook From Google Drive

liberioWant to make an eBook based on files in your Google Drive? A new eBook conversion tool called Liberio has hit the market that lets you do just that.

The platform, which is free with a Google account, allows you to turn any text-based document into an ePUB file directly from Google Drive.  The tool will keep your text format, fonts and images as they are in the Google file. There is even a tool to design your own cover or use a template cover.

Check it out: “We want to make the publishing of eBooks easy for everyone.No matter if you are a teacher, student, designer, artist,engineer or tinkerer, creating and publishing your own booksis now only a push of a button away.”

Judge Not Satisfied With Apple eBook Settlement

doj304U.S. District Judge Denise Cote is not satisfied with the settlement that requires Apple to pay $450 million to  put an end to the eBook price fixing case.

Reuters has the scoop: “…she found ‘most troubling’ a clause requiring Apple to pay only $70 million if an appeals court reversed her finding that the company is liable for antitrust violations and sent it back to her for further proceedings.”

Apple was found guilty of eBook price fixing in July 2013. The company agreed to the settlement to avoid a trial after losing a number of appeals.

Anti-Porn Group Calls ’50 Shades of Grey’ Film Deceiving

Fifty Shades 200Morality in Media, a anti-porn watchdog, has launched a campaign against the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey. The film’s trailer was released yesterday and the criticism comes in response to the release.

The organization claims that the film “deceives the public with a visually appealing melodramatic love story that romanticizes and normalizes sexual violence.”

Here is more from the organization’s statement: “A warning to the women lining up to see this film: There is nothing empowering about whips and chains or humiliation and torture. Women as a group will not gain power by collaborating with violent men. Women would be serving only as an agent to further their own sexual degradation, handing themselves on a silver platter to exactly the sort of men who want to use and abuse them, and take away their power.”

Amazon Reports Net Sales Up 23% in Q2, Operating Loss $15M

amazon304Amazon’s net sales reached $19.34 billion in the second quarter of 2014, up 23 percent from  $15.70 billion which the company reported in the second quarter of 2013.

The company also repaired that its operating loss was $15 million during Q2, as compared to an operating income of $79 million in Q2 2013. In addition, Amazon’s net loss was $126 million in the second quarter as compared with a net loss of $7 million in Q2 2013.

Here is more from the financial release: “Operating cash flow increased 18% to $5.33 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $4.53 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2013. Free cash flow increased to $1.04 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $265 million for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2013. Free cash flow for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2013, includes cash outflows for purchases of corporate office space and property in Seattle, Washington, of $1.4 billion.”

Stephen Colbert Interviews Hachette Author Edan Lepucki

As part of his battle with Amazon, Stephen Colbert has been promoting the book California by first time novelist Edan Lepucki.

His goal was to help Lepucki land on The New York Times bestsellers list – a rare occurrence for a first time novel – even though the book was not available for sale on Amazon due to fierce negotiations with her publisher Hachette. The push worked and the title has landed the third spot on the list, despite not being available through the nation’s largest online book site.

To celebrate the success, Lepucki was on The Colbert Show last night to discuss her success. On the show, she recommended the debut novel Sweetness No. 9 by Stephan Eirik Clark, another Hachette book that is currently not available on Amazon. We’ve embedded the clip above for you to enjoy.

Jack White is Getting Into the Book Business

thirdmanbooksWhite Stripes frontman Jack White has launched a book publishing company called Third Man Books.

The imprint launches with a poetry collection entitled Language Lessons, co-edited by Chet Weise and Ben Swank of Third Man Records, White’s record label. Poets that contributed work to the collection include: Dale Ray Phillips, C.D. Wright and Adrian Matejka. The title consists of a book, 5 broadsides of poems intended for framing, along with two vinyl records. The records feature musical recordings by artists including: William Tyler, Destruction Unit, Ken Vandermark and Sampson Starkweather.

According to the publisher’s website: “Third Man Books, Like Language Lessons, will be fearless, imaginative, and eclectic. We hope to be a welcome addition to what is already a very compelling and thrilling independent American literary landscape.”

Scholastic’s Revenue Grew 2% in 2014, 8% in Q4

Scholastic LogoScholastic’s total revenues for fiscal 2014 reached $1.82 billion, representing a 2 percent increase from $1.79 billion in 2013. The company also revealed that its fourth quarter revenues for the year were $549.3 million, up 8 percent from the $506.9 million in revenue that the company brought in during the fourth quarter of 2013.

The company also revealed that its Book Clubs revenue rose 12 percent during 2014 and that its  education technology sales grew by 9 percent during the year.

The publisher expects their momentum to continue into 2015. Here is more from the press release:

In fiscal 2015, Scholastic expects revenue growth and enhanced profitability across the majority of its businesses and channels.  In its children’s book businesses, the Company’s outlook reflects expectations for continued growth in its re-positioned book clubs and increased revenue per fair in its book fairs unit.  Scholastic also expects the recent success of Minecraft to continue, with two additional titles and a boxed set scheduled for release later this year, as well as new titles in many of its bestselling series, like Captain Underpants and Star Wars: Jedi Academy.

Oyster Now Available on Web & Mobile Browsers

web_reader_2eBook subscription service Oyster has expanded beyond apps and is now also available on the web and mobile browsers.

The news comes a week after Amazon revealed that it was getting into the eBook subscription business, steep competition for Oyster who so far has been leading the way in the Netflix-for-books business. According to Oyster, June was the company’s biggest month during which its total subscriber base grew by 35 percent. The company also revealed that there are more than 3 million pages read on Oyster a day.

The new platform will help make it more accessible to readers that do not have smartphones or tablets to read on.
“Knowing that about a third of ebook readers regularly read on the web, we’ve had our sights set on this launch for some time,” explained Eric Stromberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Oyster, in a statement. “This marks an important next step on our mission to provide the best product on as many devices as possible.”

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