Go Read This | Repro buys printing operations of Macmillan India

Coming on the heels of their decision to offload MPS, this suggests that Macmillan are very keen to concentrate on publishing, at least in India. It’s funny though, it’s almost as if they were tidying up their look for something.

The acquisition, which includes MPIL’s printing operations in Chennai, with a deliverable capacity of about 6 million books annually, would strengthen Repro’s foothold in the South Indian market.

Commenting on the deal, MPIL Managing Director Rajiv Beri said: “Printing is not our core activity and we would like to focus on publishing growth. This is a strategic decision which will further consolidate our investments and energies in development and delivery of quality, need-based content.”

via Repro buys printing operations of Macmillan India.

Go Read This | Macmillan to sell Indian BPO – The Times of India

I don’t know if this is prompted by the sense that what MPS provides can be bought from other providers as easily as using an in-house outfit, or if the idea is to release an internally impressive unit from the constraints of a traditional parent. Whatever the logic, I’m intrigued by this:

Global publishing giant Macmillan Group is set to sell its Indian technology solutions and BPO firm MPS, said banking sources said. Macmillan holds 61% stake in MPS, which is listed on the domestic bourses.

The Bangalore-based MPS employs around 1,000 people and undertakes publishing services work for the UK-based parent as well as third party clients. Ernst & Young has been mandated to find a suitor for MPS.

via Macmillan to sell Indian BPO – The Times of India.

Unconvincing, Worth Reading Though | Boston Review — Onnesha Roychoudhuri: Books After Amazon

This reads like an extended complaint letter from publishers to Amazon. I’m unconvinced.

There’s nothing here that’s new or original, nothing that suggests anything other than an old order faced with a new one, and even that motif is tired.

I get no sense of what kind of ‘King’ Amazon will be, if indeed King it will be. I get no sense of where the reader fits into this little picture, nor the writers, nor even for that matter, despite the chatter in the piece about them, the booksellers, large or small?

In short it’s fun to moan about Amazon, but why are you moaning, who other than the publishers (and perhaps the booksellers, though that case is less clearly establish in this piece) is being hurt?

 

Publishers who once met directly with Amazon representatives find they can no longer reach anyone at the company, even by phone. Many publishers with distributors don’t even know the name of the person who buys their books at Amazon. The relationship is almost exclusively handled by the distributor. Indeed, of the 20,000 employees at Amazon, just one is tasked full-time with working as a liaison between the company and publishers.

Jeffrey Lependorf, Executive Director of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and of Small Press Distribution, suggests that the difference between Amazon and brick-and-mortar bookstores is most evident in how they market books: “I think even people at Amazon would say that it’s essentially a widget seller that happens to have begun by focusing on books. Many people, like me, will say you can’t sell a book the same way you sell a can of soup.”

At the heart of the soup-can analogy are the algorithms that Amazon uses to “recommend” books to customers. Most customers aren’t aware that the personalized book recommendations they receive are a result of paid promotions, not just purchase-derived data. This is frustrating for publishers who want their books to be judged on their merits. “I think their twisted algorithms that point you toward bestsellers instead of books that you might actually like [are] a shame,” Gavin Grant, cofounder of Small Beer Press, laments.

Algorithms can also affect how much customers pay for books. Individual customers may get different discounts on the same book depending on their purchase history. The practice is euphemistically called “dynamic pricing.” According to Roger Williams—the former sales director at Simon & Schuster, and one of the first salespeople to deal directly with Amazon—the complexity of the algorithms is such that, Amazon’s employees “sometimes don’t know themselves what is going to show up in some of the pages that appear.”

via Boston Review — Onnesha Roychoudhuri: Books After Amazon.

Go Read This | Macmillan Blog » Macmillan Response to Wylie Exclusive Publishing Deal

Its the undercurrent of anger that I just don’t get:

I said I would write here occasionally, when I felt it was important to do so. It is important now. Andrew Wylie has decided to become a publisher.

Welcome, Andrew. In today’s world job functions, channels of distribution, and age-old relationships are constantly shifting. Combining the functions of agent and publisher raises serious issues that I feel strongly about, but if Andrew wants to attempt to disintermediate publishers, that is his right.

via Macmillan Blog » Macmillan Response to Wylie Exclusive Publishing Deal.

Why not direct? WOT Ebooks From Tor

The covers are incredible

Notable news
Tor.com have announced the launch of the ebook of the second book of the epic (though perhaps a new word should be created to describe the scale) series, Robert Jordan’s, Wheel of Time, The Great Hunt:

We’re happy to announce that The Great Hunt, volume two in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, is now available as an eBook from the Sony eBook Store and other online retailers. This edition sports a new cover and has been re-typeset especially for ebook production.

But riddle me this?
Why do they not just sell it direct? The multi-publisher bookstore provides just the platform, they have created an incredible audience and the property is a very, very good one. I cannot understand this decision. Sure the rest of Macmillan also avoids ebook sales listing instead other sellers on their site bit surely teh selling of a digital download is not THAT difficult? Is it?

Eoin
PS: The covers are quite frankly fantastic for the ebook series, savvy to redesign them!