Welcome to this week’s news post and it is pretty jam packed with the announcement of talks of merging with two Big 6 Publishers, more amazon news and the usual book news and books to watch out for!
Yesterday my Twitter feed came alight with the surprise admission between Penguin and Random House that they are in talks to merge into one mega company. This led to some hilarious tweets about the new name which this new publishing company will be named after such as Random Penguin. But on a serious note this is pretty surprising because Penguin is deemed to be the biggest publisher whilst Random House’s output is quite large and if there was ever a merger it would have been from the other Big 6 companies such as Simon and Schuster and Harper Collins whose parent companies have both separated their publishing arms from their main entertainment businesses. However there is no guarantee that the talks may actually lead to a merger but it is definitely another sign that the world of publishing is heading in major shakeup mode and big publishing corporations seeking consolidation is a way to head off and ride the changes they are facing.
Last weekend a report emerged that Amazon has used a tax loophole in Europe because of local laws in Luxembourg that allows to bypass paying the full VAT (Value Added Tax) in the EU by only paying 3% which is the amount of VAT paid for ebooks in that country. At the same time, Amazon is forcing publishers to pay for 20% VAT for ebooks whilst getting a bigger discount they would normally get in selling an ebook. Well it seems that the EU is not happy with the fact that this loophole is being practised in Luxembourg and have ordered them to tighten the laws. But at this moment, if the EU manages to succeed in closing this loophole, which could take years, but Amazon in the meantime will be taking advantage of this and it will give them an edge over their UK and European counterparts who aren’t based in Luxembourg.
And talking about Amazon, another story emerged this week of a Norwegian Amazon customer found her Kindle library was locked out and had her access removed because she was accused of breaking her terms of conditions. Although Amazon never gave her a reason why even though she requested the reason why because she didn’t understand why her account was closed and she lost her access to her Kindle books that she legitimately bought. This caused a stir online, and it was only a few days ago that Amazon has now relented and has granted her access and have stated via their PR that customers will not be closed off from their library. But this isn’t the first time this has happened, there have been a few cases where people have been locked out of their accounts and in one case books removed directly from their Kindles when Amazon had mistakenly allowed sales of 1984 which had geo restrictions from one publisher in the US led to an uproar and a lawsuit. Amazon has stated that this will never happen again although I do think it is best to back up your files because ebooks are licensed due to DRM – and Amazon isn’t the only company especially with Wi Fi accessible readers.
The Ipad Mini was unveiled this week which boasts a 7.9 diagonal screen and a retina screen to much applause although I am feeling a bit meh over the price for the cheapest models: There will be three versions, a Wifi basic 16 gig model ($329), and for a 32GB ( $429) and finally a 64GB ($529). There is an option for a LTE capability but customers will have to pay an extra $139. There is also plans for another Ipad to be released next year and with the price point of its big brother being close to the smaller screen, I am not sure if this will be successful especially with increased competition and a lower price for other tablets. There is also rumours that the Google nexus is going to release more tablets with their press conference next week which is rumoured to have a ten inch screen and a 7 inch 32 gig tablet that will compete with Amazon’s HD Fire.
News in Brief:
Robert E. Howards’ most famous barbarian, Conan, is going to revisit the Silver Screen again! And the surprising news is that Jason Momoa who played him 2011′s outing wont be picking up his sword again (damnit!) – but it will be Arnold Swarzenegger! Universal has signed a deal with the actor for him to play the battle-scarred warrior for a third time! I have to admit though – I prefer Mr Momoa’s moobs over Arnie’s any DAY!
Authors Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman are teaming up for a serialised novel on Wattpad. The serial book, will be called, The Happy Zombie Sunrise – and they will each contribute a chapter alternately. The first three chapters have already been posted on the site and there will be a total of 13 chapters when the story ends in January.
And now books to watch out for!
This caught my eye and even though I am a bit burned out on the whole Fifty Shades premise, I am a sucker for it - Release Me by J. Kenner is slated for release in the new year.
For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You comes an erotic, emotionally charged romance between a powerful man who’s never heard “no” and a fiery woman who says “yes” on her own terms.
He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist.
Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.
Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.
But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.
I am a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong and she has posted the cover and blurb of her brand new series, Omens and Shadows, - Omens is out next August and it looks gurrrrrd!
Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.
But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.
Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.
Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home, and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.
Now how could you resist a book which is described as X-Men meets The Godfather? Me neither and I think the premise sounds fantastic! – Transparent is out next June.
X-Men meets The Godfather; in which an invisible girl has to stop her dad—an infamous crime lord—from ruining her life.
On the run from her mind-controlling father, the infamously invisible Fiona McClean hides in a small town, hoping to finally rid herself of the crime world she has always known. But playing at “normal life” with a mother she hates, a brother she can’t trust, and a boy she can’t stand proves more difficult than she ever imagined. Soon her father is hot on her heels, and it’s up to Fiona to protect not only her family, but the friends who’ve taught her that life doesn’t have to be as lonely and cruel as she thought.
So what do you think of Amazon’s use of closing a customer’s account – was it fair and their right if the customer was in the wrong or do you think that this is a big scary move on their part? And what do you think of any of the other stories I highlighted today? And who is your favourite man mooby type hero?