Top US/UK Trade Talk: More Google Confusion, Gaming Amazon, B&N Gets Bigger

In Global Trade Talk, News by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Last week William Morris Endeavor (WME) said it was advising its clients to opt out of the Google Settlement because they objected to the seemingly indefinite royalty terms their clients would be bound to accept. This week, the Author’s Guild – one of the organizations leading the initial fight against Google – says that WME is wrong, reports Rachel Deahl in Publishers Weekly. The Authors Guild says the agreement is actually terminable at will and the only reason to opt out is if they intend to sue Google. As Deahl adds, “WME’s stance on the settlement, and the Guild’s reaction to it, points to the confusion and hesitation among authors and agents about the agreement and what it means.”

Andy Kessler, author of Wall Street Meat, became obsessed with his Amazon.com sales rank and spoke with MSNBC about what he discovered: “I’ve done the best after a week or two of decent PR followed by an e-mail newsletter (from a third party with a big, big following) with a link to click. The former sets up a base, and the latter spikes the sales within a few short hours or over the course of the day.” The result was he got his book boosted as high as #4, a benefit which he admits is nebulous. Kessler surmises that the system is weighted between recent and past sales, something an Amazon spokesperson all but confirms: “We base rankings on all-time sales, as well as recent sales that are weighted more heavily than older sales, so that our lists are timely and aren’t always dominated by all-time best-sellers like Harry Potter.”

Also in the US, dominant bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. is being reunited with its sibling company Barnes & Noble College Stores, which is owned by B&N founder Len Riggio. The price for the whole shebang, which includes 624 college bookstores, is going for “$569 million, or $460 million after including B&N’s cash on hand,” says PW. Part of the impetus of the purchase was the advent of digital publishing, which is already having a greater impact on the college and textbook market than the trade market. Last fiscal year’s sales for the college stores topped $1.8 million with comp store sales growing 1%.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.