Book Biz: Penguin vs Libraries, Authors vs Amazon, Successful Publisher Closing, Professional Self-Publishing, Typewriter Brigade Posts, and more

Share this:

The day after I emailed my newsletter to my clients and vendors, I got an email about the short article I posted concerning Manroland’s (Germany’s third largest printing press manufacturer) bankruptcy filing. As it turned out, financing was arranged the day after we reported the bankruptcy so Manroland can attempt to resize itself for the new realities facing printers in the 21st century. Manroland’s presses are technological wonders; just watch the video below.

Penguin vs. Amazon, OverDrive & Libraries

Last September, Amazon announced an agreement with OverDrive, the nation’s leading multichannel digital book distributor supplying over 15,000 public and school libraries with eBooks, to make all of its digital titles Kindle compatible.

Penguin Group USA immediately announced it was halting all eBook sales to libraries and will forbid libraries to make any of its titles available in the Kindle format.

Amazon Prime

The six largest publishers in America have declined to participate in Amazon Prime the subscription based lending program which allows users to download Kindle compatible books and movies. The program is also under attack by the US Authors Guild.

China Shutters Paper Mills

China is attempting to produce paper more efficiently and with less environmental impact by closing older paper and pulp mills that currently supply around 9 billion tons of stock annually. Paper plants producing less than 56,000 tons per year will be closed.

Godin’s Domino Topples

Best selling author Seth Godin cut his ties with traditional publishers last year to much fanfare. He then founded the Domino Project, an Amazon imprint and “next generation publishing venture”. The project was so successful he’s declaring victory and ending the project.

Manroland Bankruptcy

Manroland, makers of perhaps the fastest large format, sheet-fed presses in the world, has filed for bankruptcy protection in Augsburg, Germany. A still evolving 21st century print industry and frozen international credit markets have decimated sales of top-of-the-line presses.

In 2009, merger talks between Heidelberg Druckmaschinen and Manroland collapsed over concern about Heidelberg’s financial stability.


Long Battery Life eReader

Qualcomm has introduced a new color eReader that uses its mirasol display technology which consumes far less battery power but refreshes as quickly as LCD displays. Korea’s largest bookseller, Kyobo, introduced the new reader in Seoul priced at $300.

Random House Helps Indies

To help independent bookstores balance inventories, yet not run out of certain titles, Random House is offering “2 Day Transit” through the holiday season to ensure its titles will be available by independent sellers.

Mark Cuban Self Publishes (with a little help from his friends)

Tech-boom billionaire and owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban has self published How to Win At the Sport of Business. Cuban bypassed the traditional publishing model, but hired a public relations firm to push the book and turned to Scott Waxman of Diversion publishing for assistance. Apparently self publishing has gone pro.

Classic Revival

Soho Books is releasing new editions of the Brontes’ Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights with covers redesigned to attract modern book buyers




Does YouTube Need a Literature Category?

While specific details are sketchy, the prospect of posting literature on YouTube sounds intriguing.

NaNoWriMo Typewriter Brigade

November was National Novel Writing Month, presenting an opportunity for the Typewriter Brigade to promote their belief in creativity without electricity. Their 29 page forum recaps the effort starting from late October.

Last Thought

He who lends a book is an idiot. He who returns the book is more of an idiot. Arabic Proverb ****************************************************************************

Past newsletters can be found at

About Wayne Johnson 69 Articles
I've worked in book manufacturing for over 30 years, closing my company Baker Johnson, Inc. in 2005. Currently I work freelance with a large group of publishers, advising them on the printing options available to them as the book industry endures major restructuring. My wife Cathy is a retired psychologist and spent most of her career working with the youth at Maxey Boys Training School. She is a small mammal rehabilitator with Friends of Wildlife. Our daughter Whitney is a PharmD working in the Denver area evaluating the pharmaceutical requirements of nursing homes. Our son Eliot lives in Waterloo and is an editor at Mathematical Reviews in Ann Arbor.