Apple Accused by Chinese Writers of Online Piracy
A group of prominent Chinese writers have demanded millions of dollars in compensation from technology giant Apple Inc. for allegedly selling unlicensed versions of their books in its online store, a lawyer said Monday.
The case is a departure from the usual pattern of U.S artists or companies going after Chinese copycats. Trade groups say illegal Chinese copying of music, designer clothing and other goods costs legitimate producers billions of dollars a year in lost sales. Three separate lawsuits have been filed with the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court on behalf of 12 writers who allege 59 of their titles were sold unlicensed through Apple’s iTunes online store, said Wang Guohua, a Beijing lawyer representing the writers.
Pegasus Goes International
New York independent publisher Pegasus Books will begin publishing its titles in the U. K., Australia and New Zealand with the launch of their spring-summer list, the company said this morning. Titles will be made available through Pegasus’ distributor, W. W. Norton, and their international distribution affiliates. "We will make a concerted effort to continue to acquire titles with world English rights that will appeal to the global market in light of this new step," according to Jessica Case, a senior editor at Pegasus. Some upcoming highlights in the spring list overseas include - The Last Great Ape: A Journey Through Africa and a Fight for the Heart of the Continent by David McDannald and Ofir Drori; Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine by Lisa Wong, MD; and Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy by Paul Murphy.
Scholastic Liable for Club Tax in Connecticut
Following a ruling from the Connecticut Supreme Court that it is liable for sales tax on sales made through its book club subsidiary in the state, Scholastic has revised its earnings for the fiscal third quarter and nine month period. As of February 29, 2012, Scholastic raised its sales tax accrual by $11.6 million, a change that led to the company’s net loss rising to $10.3 million for the quarter from $3.2 million. For the nine months, revised earnings were $45.4 million compared to the reported $52.5 million. A spokesperson for Scholastic said the publisher “disagrees with the decision and is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.” The ruling by the Connecticut high court had reversed an earlier trial court decision.
The Hunger Games Opening Week
Promoting The Hunger Games adaptation, actors Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson visited New York City’s Barnes & Noble Union Square. Fans camped out 24-hours before the event, vying for special bracelets that allowed them to get autographs from the stars. The Hunger Games movie has already sold more than one million pre-sale tickets. According to Deadline, the movie could bring in as much as $125 million at the box office during its opening weekend.
Pottermore Pre-Sales Suspended for Libraries
In a post on its blog, OverDrive officials this week said that they have “temporarily suspended” pre-sales and displays of Harry Potter e-books and digital audiobooks for library lending. While there was no official word on the Pottermore site, OverDrive officials said the postponement was “part of the process of coordinating launch plans” with Pottermore. “We’re working with Pottermore to introduce this compelling series,” the post reads. “This is only a postponement, and libraries will soon be able to resume pre-ordering the titles in preparation for launch in April.” In late February, OverDrive announced an agreement with Pottermore, J.K. Rowling's official site for Harry Potter e-books, to distribute digital audiobook and e-books to public and school libraries. Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne said Pottermore was “keen to support public and school libraries,” and pre-orders for all seven books in the series were available to libraries, with all orders placed before March 31 coming with a 10% discount.
Book Deal for Amanda Knox’s Ex-Boyfriend
Amanda Knox’s former boyfriend will be the first to tell about the Italian murder trial that made them famous worldwide.
Twenty-seven-year-old Raffaele Sollecito has a deal with Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books for a book scheduled to come out this fall. The publisher announced that “Presumed Guilty: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox” would cover his relationship with Knox, their arrests and imprisonment in Italy for murder and their eventual release last fall after the convictions were overturned.
Original Programming for Netflix Brings Book Adaptation Deals
With the rise of Netflix original programming, getting a book adapted to Netflix is a new channel for authors looking to expand the options on their work. Author Brian McGreevy‘s upcoming novel Hemlock Grove is being adapted into an original series for Netflix. McGreery has even been involved in the production.
Dystopian Novel Explosion
Goodreads has created a dystopian fiction inforgraphic, mapping the popularity and variety of books published in this bleak genre. The inforgraphic explores books about characters living with repressive governments, a genre that covers everything from The Hunger Games to 1984. Wikipedia has a handy primer and list that can help you find more books. Check it out: “Dystopian fiction is more popular than it has been in more than 50 years. Whether it’s the result of political turmoil, global financial crises, or other anxieties, readers are craving books about ruthless governments and terrifying worlds. The new breed of dystopian novels combines classic dystopian themes of cruel governments and violent, restrictive worlds with a few new twists—heroines and romance.”
Apple Already Sold Over 3 Million New iPads
Apple revealed that it sold three million new iPads since the updated version was released last Friday. Will this translate to more iBooks readers? Senior VP of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller had this statement: “The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold―the strongest iPad launch yet.”
Police Intercept Shipment of Marijuana to St. Martin’s Press
Two shipments of marijuana destined for the New York City offices of a major book publisher were intercepted this month by federal agents after postal workers detected a “suspicious odor” emanating from the Express Mail parcels, according to court records. The packages, containing a total of more than 11 pounds of pot, were bound for St. Martin’s Press, which is headquartered in the landmark Flatiron Building on lower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Both packages were addressed to “Karen Wright,” which appears to be a fictitious name. A company phone operator said that nobody by that name works at the company, which is one of the country’s largest publishers. Apart from seizing the marijuana--which, depending on its quality, could have had a street value approaching $70,000--federal agents do not appear to be seeking to determine whom at St. Martin’s was expecting to receive the pot. While not attempted, a “controlled delivery” of the parcels could have identified “Karen Wright,” who was clearly intending to traffick the marijuana (and not smoke all five kilos).
Amazon to Acquire Kiva Systems
In a $775 million deal, Amazon will acquire Kiva Systems, a company that creates robotic tools for warehouses. The Fast Company video embedded above illustrates how Kiva robots work in a warehouse. Will these new tools cut jobs? In his chilling essay, “Robots in 2015,” author Marshall Brain sees this new generation of robots as causing major unemployment problems in a few years. ~