This Week in Publishing: July 6th, 2015

by Allison Bucknell

Will Apple Take it All the Way?

In early 2012, during what was probably one of the most high-profile publishing debacles in recent years, the DOJ took up an accusation against Apple and the Big Five for price collusion. Apple, along with two of the big publishers, did not settle and went to court concerning this issue.

Now, three years after, it was announced on July 1st that Apple lost their antitrust appeal. According to an article in Digital Book World, “An appeals court… affirmed Judge Denise Cote’s 2013 verdict finding Apple guilty of violating antitrust laws by conspiring with publishers to fix ebook prices.”

If the defense given by Judge Dennis Jacobs is any indication, though, Apple is going to take the issue to the furthest extent of the law before paying what they owe in settlement credits– up to $400 million dollars worth. If Apple takes this to the U.S. Supreme Court, the final decision made there will certainly set a precedent for any future pricing battles.

Check out this in-depth discussion of the dissenting judge’s reasoning here.

New CEO at B&N

On July 2nd, Barnes & Noble announced the appointment of Ronald D. Boire, the current head of Sears Canada, as CEO of Barnes & Noble retail division. This shift in leadership is a result of B&N’s new college division, which separates the trade retail from college business.

There is hope that this shift will allow the retailer room to focus on retail and the Nook business. According to Digital Book World, “One of Boire’s top challenges will be to redefine Barnes & Noble’s digital strategy, including its approach to the ebook market, as Nook is wound down.” Perhaps B&N will thrive under the new leadership as it looks to narrow its vision and step into the potential that could bring it back up to the top.

Bookstore reinvention—necessary?

There’s a lot of discussion on whether or not the bookstore needs to be reinvented in order for it to survive. Are there ways to change how a bookstore operates so that they can serve the customers the way customers want to be served? Some propose bookstores with spaces that can be rented out for any variety of reasons, which is an idea that smaller indie bookstores might implement if they were well off… but what about the big retailers like Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble?

Joanna Cabot over at TeleRead wrote a response to an article (which was a response to another article), in which she proposed a few tactics that bookstores could employ to create more value for potential customers. With greater numbers of sales moving online, it’s important that bookstores create a space where people can take part. One of the suggestions in Cabot’s article is to focus on events… but not just author readings, but more interesting events that transgress the status quo.


Any publishing stories you think we should have covered? Mention them in the comments below and we’ll give you a shout-out next week! We mean it!

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About Blog Editor

The Women’s National Book Association was founded in 1917 by female booksellers who weren’t allowed in the men’s organizations. Nearly 100 years later, the WNBA is still supporting women in the book industry through literary events, networking, literacy projects, workshops, open mic nights, book clubs, and many other entertaining programs throughout the season!

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