Publishing News: Penguin settles, Macmillan holds its ground

Apple and Macmillan stand alone against the DOJ's ebook lawsuit, PressBooks opens up, and Amazon may be inviting disruption.

Here are a few stories from the publishing space that caught my attention this week.

And then there were two

In headline news this week, the Penguin Group announced it had reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice. Jim Milliot reports at Publisher’s Weekly that the “[t]erms are nearly identical to agreements reached with Simon & Schuster, Hachette and HarperCollins, but according to the government, if the Random House-Penguin merger is approved the newly formed company must abide by the agreement.” Milliot notes that as Random House is not involved in the DOJ lawsuit, it can continue conducting its ebook business under the agency agreement in the meantime.

Laura Hazard Owen reports at PaidContent that “Penguin is discussing a similar settlement with the European Commission and that the DOJ’s case will continue against remaining defendants Apple and Macmillan.

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Publishing’s “open” future

Today's closed models will give way to tomorrow's open platforms

If I had to summarize the future of publishing in just one word, I’d say “open.” We’re living in a very closed publishing world today. Retailers use tools like digital rights management (DRM) to lock content, and DRM also tends to lock customers into a platform. Content itself is still largely developed in a closed model, with authors writing on their word processor of choice and editors typically not seeing the content until it’s almost complete. Then we have all the platforms that are closed from one another; have you ever tried reading a mobi file from Amazon in an EPUB reader, for example?

Given these examples of our closed industry, why do I think the future will be different? It has to do with some of the early indicators I’m seeing through start-ups and other trends. My TOC colleagues and I are in the enviable position of getting to cross paths with some of the most forward-thinking people in our industry. We share many of these encounters via our website as well as at our in-person events. I’d like to share some of the more interesting ones that are currently on my radar, including a few featured at TOC Frankfurt last week.

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Resistances to DOJ Argue the Public Doesn’t Want the Settlement

Is the settlement really in the best (long term) interest of consumers?

Yesterday was the deadline for filing statements in opposition to the proposed settlement in the price fixing case between the Department of Justice and three publishers:  Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster.  The focus of the resistances by the publishers Macmillan and Penguin were that the DOJ had failed to provide economic analysis in support of the settlement.  Macmillan argued that the DOJ should be required to prove that the settlement won’t send the ebook market back into the control of Amazon. Penguin asserted that the underlying allegation of the DOJ – that prices have increased under Agency pricing – has not been proved by the DOJ and that the DOJ should be required to provide economic analysis of its allegations.

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Publishing News: You may not own what you think you own

Publishing News: You may not own what you think you own

Two lawsuits address digital content copyright, Macmillan puts its money where the future is, and publishers experiment with QR codes.

Courts are establishing copyright laws regarding digital media resale and tweet content ownership, Macmillan is funding the business that will replace it, and QR codes help publishers market and collect consumer data.