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ValoBox introduces ‘pay as you go’ books

Last year at Publishing Now, we were intrigued by Anna Lewis and Oliver Brooks, and their plans to launch Valobox, a platform to allow bite-sized purchasing from books. A year later and they have just announced that they are working with O’Reilly in the US and Profile, Guardian Books, Constable & Robinson and SnowBooks in the UK. Exciting times for Valobox. Anna Lewis explains their model and how it works.

Last week I was really happy to announce the official launch of ValoBox.

Like a ‘YouTube for books’, with an iTunes purchase model ValoBox makes books available on demand through your web browser, and lets you buy individual chapters or even pages.

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Censored “Night Before Christmas” lights up debate

Parents, lock up your kids: The Guardian brings news of the latest apparent threat to their wellbeing, and this one hasn’t been dead and buried in a golden coffin for nearly a year. Stopping just short of pleading for someone to think of the children, Canadian publisher Pamela McColl has drawn flak from anti-censorship groups for her new edition of Clement Moore’s venerable yule log in rhyming couplets A Visit From St Nicholas (more commonly known as “T’was The Night Before Christmas”), in which two lines referring to dear old Sandy Claws puffing on a pipe have been removed, along with an illustration of same.

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Nominees for ‘Best of Best’ James Tait Black Prize Announced

Following on the heels of some ostensibly more low-key prize announcements, Britian’s oldest literary award has revealed the shortlist for its ‘best of the best’ award. The James Tait Black Memorial Prize, awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh to the year’s best in the fields of fiction and biography, will celebrate 250 years of the study of literature at the seat of learning by naming the greatest book to have won the prize since its inception in 1919, in a manner similar to the ‘Best of the Booker’ award only with 100% less Salman Rushdie victory guaranteed, so really, everyone’s a winner.

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Mergers and Acquisitions: Random House and Penguin

“The two companies have not reached agreement and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction.” I think it’s safe to say it is far too early for us to be predicting what colour hair children of a union between Penguin and Random House would lead to, given they themselves haven’t committed to anything more than a date with one another, but when has the lack of a concrete announcement of something stopped media speculation in the past? Still, I feel I’d be remiss to ignore it, given the second most exciting publishing news last week was the appearance of Kindle in bookshops. [Author note: it is not too early. They have finalised the details of the merge this morning, but I’m leaving this paragraph in. News moves fast.]

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At Halloween Stand Up For Books [EVENT]

This is a guest post from Helen Joanna Youngs. She is currently working for an independent niche genre publisher.   Alongside her day job Helen is also on the Society of Young Publishers committee organising events to promote the industry, and furthermore freelancing as a fabulous marketeer.

 

At Halloween you should stand up for books. Not only has there been some terrific literature that has scared us senseless and sent shivers down our fragile mere mortal spines, but there is more tingling, menacing stuff being created and at Halloween, we should scream and be frightened out of our minds with some good writing.

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Lower Ebook Prices Does Not Equal More Readers

Last week saw the declaration by Amazon that the dissolution of agency pricing in the US was a “big win for customer” and that they look forward to lowering prices on more ebooks in the future. It’s slightly surreal for me to read that lower ebook prices is something anyone would ‘look forward’ to, given how much effort publishers are making (not across the board, but certainly in some places) to ensure the price of ebooks stays at a level that encourages a sense of worth for the format. Testament to Amazon’s place in the market, however, the news was not received badly.

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