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Penguin sues authors for advances. Books are a business.

Cash it in‘I don’t get up in the morning and say: Am I inspired? …No, I’m not. I won’t work. ‘cos, God, how often would I ever work, you know?’

These words were spoken last week by one of the world’s most prolific authors, J.K. Rowling, and summed up quite nicely something I think many people want to forget about literature: books are a business; writing is work. Our explosive amnesia surrounding the b-word was highlighted again after reading the incredible reaction to news that Penguin US decided to sue a few authors after the books they were paid to write were not written.

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5 questions for Rebecca Smart, CEO of Osprey Group [INTERVIEW]

Rebecca Smart

The Osprey Group is an international publishing group with a digital success record that many larger publishers would envy. They publish under three brands: Osprey Publishing, Shire Books and Angry Robot. FutureBook award-winning Rebecca Smart, their CEO, has been recognised for her pioneering attitude and her leadership skills – now she shares some savvy thinking with BookMachine.

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Did you hear JK Rowling has a book out today? No, really!

In news that has gone so far from the definition of ‘news’ that it has circled back round upon itself to become newsworthy again, today sees the publication of JK Rowling’s first post-Harry Potter novel, the adult-orientated The Casual Vacancy. I know, it caught me utterly unawares too. Take a minute to regain your composure and lift your jaw off the floor, why don’t you.

Little, Brown is the company currently looking at its logo on the spine of the book, then looking at the rest of the publishing world, then looking at the Harry Potter series’ sales figures, then looking back at the rest of the publishing world and pointing and laughing.

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A Publisher’s Most Valuable Property: Their Website

The internet has changed a lot in the last ten years. Well, even in the last two. Maybe even in the last week. Ok, so it’s ever-changing. New languages are being developed and perfected all the time, and the rise of apps plus innovative web design means users expect a different browsing experience. With more people than ever before buying and browsing books online, publishers have a real opportunity to go head to head with other retailers (should they so wish) by investing a massive amount in their web presence. And no, I’m not talking about setting up a Twitter account that auto-Tweets links to Amazon.

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4 questions for Caroline Crofts, UK Rights Manager for HarperCollins [INTERVIEW]

With Amazon announcing in early September that they were looking at novel serialisation, we got to wondering what goes into getting the content to you, in a non book form. I mean, would you really have read John Major’s exploits if you hadn’t picked up a paper in your local, mid Sunday roast lull? Here, Caroline Crofts, UK Rights Manager for HarperCollins, talks seriously about serial…

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Your online presence: Reach, Trust and Discovery [PREVIEW]

The Galley Club

We’re really chuffed that we’ve been invited to speak at the Galley Club this Wednesday. The Galley club is a social organisation for all involved in publishing and book production.

So what are we going to talk about? Well, there’s so much more to your online presence than simply running a Twitter account, setting up a Linkedin page and building a Website.

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Kevin Costner lands book deal, inevitable film

In a piece of news that we somehow missed in the whirlwind of prescient cats and Philip Roth-baiting that has been the past fortnight, none other than Kevin Costner has landed a deal with Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books, and not for a cash-grab memoir either. Costner will ‘produce and develop’ the illustrated, serialised adventure novel The Explorers Guild, about the titular ‘clandestine group of adventurers who seek out the places where light gives way to shadow, and reason is usurped by myth’, so I dunno, maybe it does contain elements of memoir after all.

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Stephen King to publish Shining sequel featuring ‘prescient cat’

As has been promised/threatened for some time now, the distressingly prolific Stephen King has made official his plans to release Doctor Sleep, a sequel to his much-loved The Shining, some time next year. A page for the new novel has gone live on King’s website, complete with plot synopsis that you should avoid if you want to go in unspoiled, either in terms of what’s going to happen or in terms of what has already happened that has made you love The Shining so much to begin with.

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Cory Doctorow & Charlie Stross release novel for free download

As he has in the past, Boing Boing co-editor Cory Doctorow yesterday posted his new novel – co-written with British sci-fi author Charlie Stross – online for free download under a Creative Commons License. In a post on Boing Boing Doctorow provided a link to his own site, Craphound, which is hosting HTML and PDF files of The Rapture of the Nerds, and asked that those who enjoy the novel ‘buy a personal hardcopy at your local bookseller, or from your favorite online seller, or donate a copy to a library or school’, adding ‘if you’d like to reward us for our use of Creative Commons licenses, and reward Tor Books for its decision to drop DRM on all its ebooks, we hope you’ll buy an ebook at your favorite ebook retailer.’ The link was accompanied by further links to both physical and digital retailers.

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