Category Archives: Uncategorized

Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press

David Gaughran

NookPressAuthorSolutionsNook Press – Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform – launched a selection of author services last October including editing, cover design, and (limited) print-on-demand.

Immediate speculation surrounded who exactly was providing these services, with many – including Nate Hoffelder, Passive Guy, and myself – speculating it could be Author Solutions. However, there was no proof.

Until now.

A source at Penguin Random House has provided me with a document which shows that Author Solutions is secretly operating Nook Press Author Services. The following screenshot is taken from the agreement between Barnes & Noble and writers using the service.

NookPressAuthorServicesBloomingtonopt

You will see that the postal address highlighted above for physical submission of manuscripts is “Nook Press Author Services, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, Indiana.”

Author Solutions, Bloomington, Indiana. Image courtesy of Wikimedia, uploaded by Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0 Author Solutions, Bloomington, IN. Image from Wikimedia, by Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0

There’s something else located at that address: Author Solutions US headquarters in Bloomington…

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The Author Exploitation Business

David Gaughran

penguin (1)Writing is a glamorous occupation – at least from the outside. Popular depictions of our profession tend to leave out all the other stuff that comes with the territory: carpal tunnel syndrome, liver failure, penury, and madness.

Okay, okay, I jest. I love being a writer. Sharing stories with the world and getting paid for it is bloody brilliant. It’s a dream job, and like any profession with a horde of neophytes seeking to break in, there are plenty of sharks waiting to chew them to bits.

Publishing is a screwed up business. The often labyrinthine path to success makes it much easier for those with nefarious intentions to scam the unsuspecting. But it doesn’t help that so many organizations who claim to help writers, to respect them, to assist them along the path to publication are actually screwing them over.

Before the digital revolution made self-publishing viable on a…

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A List of Things Scott Turow Doesn’t Care About

David Gaughran

turowquoteScott Turow woke up from his slumber recently to bark nonsense about Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads on the Authors Guild blog, before being thoroughly eviscerated in the comments.

Undeterred, Turow sought out the considerably larger platform of the New York Times’ Op-Ed pages on Monday to decry The Slow Death of the American Writer.

On reading the latter, my first thought was: if Scott Turow didn’t spend so much time hating Amazon and pretending self-publishing didn’t exist, maybe he wouldn’t be so depressed.

It’s easy to poke fun at Scott Turow’s views. A child could de-construct his arguments, while laughing at how a practicing lawyer is unable to grasp the definition of the word “monopoly.” If you want a proper debunking of his Op-Ed, Techdirt do a good job, but I think there’s no real point attempting to engage Turow on this issue. His hatred of Amazon and…

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David Gaughran

author_solutions-penguinRegular readers of this blog will know all about Penguin’s purchase last July of the universally reviled Author Solutions – a company infamous for overcharging writers, doing a terrible job of publishing their books, and forcing ineffective and expensive marketing services upon those authors when their books (inevitably) fail to sell.

My posts on the topic have been leaning heavily on the tireless work of Emily Suess – a writer and blogger who has been documenting this racket for some years now.

At the time of the purchase, many in the publishing community expressed a hope that Penguin would clean up Author Solutions, or at least tone down some of their scammier tactics.

I was more than a little skeptical, and invited Emily Suess to give us an update. Here’s Emily:

One Racket to Rule Them All

Did you notice that skeevy self-pub racket, Author Solutions, is accumulating brands as…

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David Gaughran

Chronic under-funding of school libraries has led to the tragic spectacle of empty shelves, leaving children with nothing to read; but a new initiative called Fill The Shelves hopes to change all that.

This story starts in a Pennsylvania K-8 school called Pittsburgh Manchester, where the librarian – Sheila May-Stein – decided to do something about the empty shelves in her own school (pictured left – that was the entire Fiction section of Manchester’s school library).

Last month, Sheila posted that photo to the Facebook wall of University of Pittsburgh professor Jessie Ramey, who then wrote about the problem on her education blog Yinzercation, along with ways that people could help – including ordering books from an Amazon Wish List.

Then things went a little viral. That Facebook photo spread like wildfire. They got coverage from their local newspaper. CBS Pittsburgh came out and did a story. Neil…

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David Gaughran

The anti-Amazon stories seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment. Salon posted an article on Sunday written by Alexander Zaitchik called Amazon’s $1 million secret which contained the sensational allegation that Amazon donates $1 million to various literary and non-profit groups.

A more complete list of beneficiaries is here, but it includes the Brooklyn Book Festival and PEN; journals like The Los Angeles Review of Books, One Story, and Poets & Writers;826 Seattle (a tutoring program aimed at kids) and Girls Write Now (a mentoring program for girls); as well as various other associations such as Lambda Literary (supports LGBT literature), Words Without Borders (international literature), and Voice of Witness (human rights).

Wait. Hold on one second. This sounds like a good thing! Even the Salon piece says:

At a time when independent publishing is struggling to survive, in part due…

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Not able to put in a new post this week, so I thought you all would enjoy one from the archives.

Cheers.

Daedalus Press

It was quite the evening yesterday. My wife and I spent the majority of it cleaning/gutting/reorganizing the garage. “Why?” you may ask yourself. Uh… “Cuz we’re dumb” would be the knee-jerk answer, but in this case, we were looking for…something…a while back and couldn’t find it. We knew it was in the garage, specifically in one of the boxes or tubs and so we spent–

Really? Do you care? You just want to know about the Parrot Walk and Spider Assassin. It is what drew you here in the first place, right? It’s all about clever title, you know. Marketing. Grab their attention. “Flash Before Cash” was the motto of a successful coffee house I used to work in years back. That place was awesome. It was–

Holy crap, I’m doing it again.

Coffee has no effect on me. Nope. None at all.

So. Where was I?

Right. The garage.

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A lengthy, but worthwhile, post refuting Scott Turow’s letter regarding a pending antitrust lawsuit against five publishing houses and Apple.

David Gaughran

On Thursday it was reported that the U.S. Justice Department was preparing to sue five of the largest publishers, and Apple, for (allegedly) colluding to fix e-book prices. Despite the shock expressed in some quarters, this is hardly a bolt from the blue.

It’s almost a year since the European Union raided the offices of several publishers in France, Italy, and Germany, kicking off their own Europe-wide anti-trust investigation – later folding into that probe a similar move by the Competition Authority in the UK to examine the Agency Agreement.

It was also widely reported late last year that a U.S. Justice Department investigation, along similar lines, had commenced.

On top of that, it’s over six months since the law firm of Hagens Berman announced a class action suit against the same five publishers, and Apple, for the (alleged) price-fixing of e-books. (Interestingly, the same firm which launched a…

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Daedalus Press

A month? It’s been a month? Well, I suppose any excuse I have is inexcusable so I won’t bother making excuses.

Well, except for a couple of excuses that I’m pretty excited to talk about:

1) This last month I’ve been putting my efforts into finishing a very special project that I’m proud to be a part of. Back in October of 2011, I was given the opportunity to collaborate with a film director and work on a new film project. I was flown to New York City and put up in a 5-star hotel (or, at least I was able to make peace with the cockroaches. Ironic that they love Twinkies; probably the main reason they could both survive a nuclear blast). I spent five 10-hour days locked away in a tiny studio somewhere in a…colorful…part of Brooklyn and only breaching for food and caffeine. During that week I…

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