PRH/S&S Merger Doomed

The proposed merger between Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster has unraveled. On November 22, 2022, S&S parent Paramount Global filed with the SEC and confirmed they were terminating the agreement. Paramount is entitled to a termination fee of $200 million.

PRH parent company Berteslmann issued a press release that says, “Bertelsmann will advance the growth of its global book publishing business without the previously planned merger of Penguin ...Read More

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Arizona Recognizes Speculative Poetry Day

Governor Douglas Ducey has declared November 30th Speculative Poetry Day in the state of Arizona.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) spearheaded the effort, and seeks to “highlight the vibrant legacy and extraordinary achievement of speculative poets,” as well as “introduce communities to the delights and benefits of reading and writing speculative poetry.”

For more information, see the SFPA post.

While you are here, please take a moment ...Read More

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Judge Forbids PRH/S&S Merger

Judge Florence Pan has ruled in favor of the Department of Justice, blocking the proposed merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster.

According to Reuters:

Judge Florence Pan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said in a brief order that she had found the Justice Department had shown the deal may substantially lessen competition “in the market for the U.S. publishing rights to anticipated ...Read More

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B&N Ordering Controversy

In mid-Au­gust 2022, an outcry arose on Twitter among middle-grade and YA authors, agents, and others in the industry, alleging that Barnes & Noble had changed their policies for stocking those books. Numerous authors, including Kalynn Bayron, reported the discovery that their hardcover new releases wouldn’t appear on Barnes & Noble shelves at all.

According to Publishers Lunch, Barnes & Noble told publishers that middle-grade hard­covers were not selling well, ...Read More

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Roberts Helps Save a Library

Author Nora Roberts, 71, who also writes as J.D. Robb, contributed $50,000 to a fundraiser to keep the Patmos Library in Jamestown Township MI open. The library lost its taxpayer funding in August 2020 when its staff refused to pull LGBTQ-related titles from the shelves. Roberts’s donation was part of a total of $245,000 raised in crowdfunding efforts to save the library, with over 4,000 indi­vidual donors. Roberts said in ...Read More

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PRH and S&S Merger Trial

The lawsuit filed by the US Department of Jus­tice to stop the proposed merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster went to trial on August 1, 2022, with Judge Florence Pan presiding. The trial included expert testimo­ny from a wide variety of authors, agents, and publishing professionals. Closing arguments took place on August 19. A ruling is expected in November. The fundamental question is wheth­er the merger will ...Read More

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B&N Obscenity Case Dismissed

Book Riot is reporting that an obscenity case brought against Barnes & Noble in Virginia has been dismissed, with the judge saying neither of the books named met the legal definition of obscenity.

As we previously reported, the suit was brought by Virgnia state delegate and lawyer Tim Anderson and Republican Congressional candidate Tommy Altman, who sued Barnes & Noble in Virginia Beach Circuit Court to stop sales of fantasy ...Read More

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Internet Archive Lawsuit

The lawsuit brought by four publishers against the Internet Archive is slowly moving forward. The suit, brought in 2020 by HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, and Wiley, alleges “willful mass copyright infringement” by IA’s “National Emergency Library”, which offered unlimited borrows of over a million ebooks. Both sides submitted mo­tions and requested summary judgment in July 2022. The actual trial is expected to begin this fall.

IA claims ...Read More

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Salman Rushdie Stabbed

Salman Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses and other works of genre interest, was stabbed Friday, August 12, 2022, just before giving a lecture in upstate New York.

Rushdie, 75, is still hospitalized with serious injuries, including a damaged liver, severed nerves in an arm, a seriously damaged eye he might lose. He was taken off a ventilator over the weekend and is “on the road to recovery,” according ...Read More

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DoJ vs PRH Trial Begins

The lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice to stop the proposed merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster has gone to trial this week.

Publishers Weekly has been covering the case: Monday featured opening arguments and testimony by Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch for the government, giving an overview of the book business and discussing how the merger would have a deleterious effect on competition.

Tuesday’s proceedings ...Read More

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Amazon News

Amazon has stopped selling Kindle ebook readers in China, and will stop sell­ing ebooks there in June 2023. The Kindle app will be removed from Chinese app stores in 2024, and readers who previously purchased Kindle ebooks will no longer be able to access their libraries. Customers who bought a Kindle reader this year may receive refunds. Amazon is reportedly “ad­justing the strategic focus of its operations,” and will continue ...Read More

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Legal News

Book Riot has reported that Virginia state delegate and lawyer Tim Anderson and Republican Congressional candidate Tommy Altman are suing Barnes & Noble in Virginia Beach Circuit Court to stop sales of fantasy A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas and Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe, calling passages that include sexual language “obscene.”Anderson claims the court found “probable cause that the books… are obscene to ...Read More

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HarperCollins Union Sets Strike Date

As previously announced, the HarperCollins Union has voted to go on strike if their concerns are not addressed. They’ve now announced their one-day strike date as Wednesday, July 20th.

The employees of HarperCollins have been unionized for over 80 years, and are part of Technical, Office and Professional Union UAW Local 2110. They have been negotiating with management since December 2021, when their contract was due to expire (after a ...Read More

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HarperCollins Union Threatens Strike

The HarperCollins Union has voted to go on strike if their concerns are not addressed:

Unionized employees of HarperCollins Publishers voted by 99% to authorize a strike if the publisher does not agree to a fair contract.

The union, Local 2110 of the UAW, represents 250+ employees in editorial, sales, publicity, design, legal, and marketing departments. The union is bargaining for higher pay, improved family leave benefits, a greater commitment ...Read More

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Fireproof Edition of The Handmaid’s Tale Auctioned

Sotheby’s auctioned off a copy of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale specially made of fireproof materials, raising $130,000 for PEN America’s efforts to oppose book bans.

To raise awareness about the proliferating book banning and educational gag orders in American schools nationwide, and to raise money to support PEN America’s crucial work to counter this national crisis of censorship, Margaret Atwood and Penguin Random House have partnered with the creative ...Read More

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Glukhovsky On Russia’s Wanted List

Popular Russian SF author Dmitry Glukhovsky has been added to a wanted list by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, according to multiple news organizations. Russian outlet Pravda said, “The writer is charged with committing a crime under Article 280.3 (‘Public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation’) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.” The law carries sentences up to ...Read More

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B&N Sued In Virginia

Book Riot is reporting that Virginia state delegate and lawyer Tim Anderson and Republican Congressional candidate Tommy Altman are suing Barnes & Noble in Virginia Beach Circuit Court to stop sales of fantasy A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas and Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe, calling passages that include sexual language “obscene.”

Anderson claims the court found “probable cause that the books… are obscene ...Read More

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#DisneyMustPay Writes Open Letter to Disney

The previously reported #DisneyMustPay movement has written an open letter to Disney, signed by “The #DisneyMustPay Task Force, Neil Gaiman, Tess Gerritsen, Lee Goldberg, Mary Robinette Kowal, Chuck Wendig.”

The letter states:

You’ve paid some authors what you owed them. But there are other creators that you don’t want to talk about. And, because you did not take our advice, new creators are coming forward who are owed money, too. ...Read More

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Manuscript Thief Caught

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Filippo Bernardini, a 29-year-old Italian junior rights manager at Simon & Schuster UK, on January 5, 2022, charging him with wire fraud and ‘‘aggravated identity theft.’’ He was apprehended when his flight landed at New York’s JFK airport. Bernardini is allegedly the person behind a series of baffling crimes, in which he impersonated other publishing professionals and set up fake websites in order to ...Read More

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Legal News

New York’s governor Kathy Hochul vetoed a State Assembly bill that would have forced publishers to license ebooks to libraries. She said:

While the goal of this bill is laudable, unfortunately, copyright protection provides the author of a work with the exclusive right to their works. As such, federal law would allow the author, and only the author, to determine to whom they wish to share their work and on ...Read More

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Tolkien News

The Tolkien Estate took legal action to stop the development of a new cryptocur­rency called “JRR Token.” The cryptocurrency was launched in August 2021 with the slogan “The One Token That Rules Them All”, along with a commercial featuring actor Billy Boyd, who played Pippin in the Lord of the Rings films. The cur­rency’s creator said, “Saruman was trying to unify Middle Earth under centralised rule whereas the fellowship wanted ...Read More

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Sebold News

Author Alice Sebold, who wrote fantasy The Lovely Bones (2002), has been in the news recently because a man who went to prison based on her testimony was released and had his conviction overturned. In Sebold’s 1999 memoir Lucky, she described her sexual assault and the trial of alleged perpetrator Anthony J. Broadwater. Broadwater, 61, spent 16 years in prison and was a registered sex offender after his release, ...Read More

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PRH Responds to DoJ

As we reported last month, the United States De­partment of Justice filed a lawsuit on November 2, 2021 to stop the proposed merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, citing concerns that the deal could lessen competition, lead to a highly concentrated publishing market, and reduce advances for authors, especially of “anticipated top-selling books.”

PRH filed their initial response in December 2021, countering that the DoJ “invents a ...Read More

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Book Piracy Lawsuit

Penguin Random House, Amazon, and a number of authors including Sylvia Day, RL Stine, Stuart Woods, and John Grisham, have been awarded a total of $7.8 million after suing Ukrainian ebook pirate site Kiss Library.

They sued the site after copyrighted works were made available at discounted prices without permission, and without the publishers or authors receiving payment for the sales.

The judge said, “Given the extent of the piracy ...Read More

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New Zealand Library Controversy

In July 2021, the National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ) made the controversial announcement that it would donate more than 400,000 books to the Internet Archive “so they can be digitised and preserved, ensuring future access for New Zealanders and global researchers.” The books are those being culled from the library system’s Overseas Published Collections “so we can make room to continue to grow our Māori, Pacific and New Zealand ...Read More

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Federal Writers’ Project

Congressional Democrats Ted Lieu (California) and Teresa Leger Fernandez (New Mexico) have introduced a new bill, “The 21st Century Federal Writers’ Project”, which proposes $60 million in funding to non-profit organizations, libraries, news organizations, and writing-related unions to sup­port writers who lost income during the pandemic. The proposed legislation is inspired by the Federal Writers’ Project from 1935, which employed thou­sands of writers during the Great Depression. One goal of ...Read More

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Beagle Regains IP

Peter S. Beagle and newly formed ownership group SHP, LLC have regained the rights to much of Beagle’s intellectual property in a sale recently approved by the US Bankruptcy Court.

Beagle filed a lawsuit against his former business manage, Connor Cochran, in 2015, winning a total of $332,500 in damages. Related lawsuits against the Avicenna De­velopment Corporation and Conlan Press, Inc., were stayed when Cochran filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy for ...Read More

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Legal News, March 2021

The law firm of Hagens Berman is suing Amazon and the Big Five publishers in a class-action lawsuit, alleging that the publishers conspired with the online retailer to illegally fix ebook prices. Their initial complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York on January 14, 2021, and only named Amazon as a defen­dant, with Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster listed as co-conspirators. The ...Read More

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Foundry Lawsuit

Literary agency Foundry Literary + Media dissolved in September 2020, and some authors had trouble getting paid, with reports of checks bouncing as early as last No­vember The Authors Guild got involved, and some authors were subsequently paid by wire transfer, but others were not. The agency’s found­ers, Yfat Reiss Gendell and Peter McGuigan, split up to form their own separate agencies last year, YRG Partners and Ultra Literary.

Gendell ...Read More

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Legal News, January 2021

The litigation between Chooseco (which holds the trademark for “Choose Your Own Adventure” books) and Netflix regarding the latter’s interactive movie Black Mirror: Bandersnatch has ended. The two companies informed their judge in November 2020 that they’d reached a settlement, though terms were not disclosed. Chooseco argued that Netflix appropriated their protected imagery and terminology without permission.

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a ...Read More

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Amazon News, December 2020

The European Union’s European Commission is continuing its antitrust investigation of Amazon.com, announcing a “preliminary view that [Amazon] has breached EU antitrust rules.” The Commission alleges that the company engages in “the abuse of a dominant market position,” and that Amazon competes with the third-party sellers hosted on the site unfairly by using proprietary data. The Commission has opened a second investigation into whether Amazon gives illegally unfair treatment to ...Read More

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Legal News, December 2020

Former B&N CEO Demos Parneros has settled his lawsuit against the company. An agree­ment was reached less than a week before a planned pre-trial conference. The settlement terms were not disclosed, but each party will pay their own court costs and fees. Parneros sued for breach of contract and defamation of character in August 2018, and added additional claims later that year. He was fired on July 3, 2018 for ...Read More

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