Today's a sad day for any old school graphic adventurer (such as myself) who grew up wandering every inch of Maniac Mansion looking for that damned can of gas, and then finally finding it on Mars while playing Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. For those of you who know what the hell I'm talking about, understand we're a dying breed of gamer, but I digress. The real story here is in the headline. Disney, less than five months after prying Lucasfilm from George Lucas' hands for $4.05 billion, has decided to close the LucasArts game studio. Go ahead and tip your grog glass over the pavement.
Books published within the last 15 years have clearly defined e-book publishing rights, but for the billions of titles published before this, the rules are not so clear cut. The battle being waged now between book authors and publishers is over who owns the digital rights, and more importantly, who gets the lion share of the revenue generated from the sales.
It is in the best interest of authors to self publish e-books themselves since the cost of doing so is relatively small, and they wouldn’t need to share the revenue with the publisher as an added bonus. A 2002 ruling by a Manhattan judge ruled in favor of authors claiming that “e-books are separate from books”.
We can reasonably expect this to be a decision which will be appealed all the way to the top court, but until then the debate rages on. Are e-books separate from their dead tree brethren? If this turns out to be true, and the future is recorded in e-ink, it doesn’t bode well for the publishers. What do you think?
Amazon's Kindle is the hottest selling item across the company's entire site, and Barnes & Noble can't make enough Nook readers to satisfy demand. It would appear that e-book readers are poised to become as popular as netbooks, and that's good news all around, right? You would think so, but there are a handful of publishers playing the part of Scrooge this holiday season.
Simon & Schuster, for example, has decided to delay by four months the electronic book editions of some 35 leading titles coming out in 2010. Why? Because the publisher's not happy with the low $9.99 pricing of e-book best sellers. And they're not alone. Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group is taking a similar stance, the Wall Street Journal reports.
"The right place for the e-book is after the hardcover but before the paperback," said Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster, which is owned by CBS Corp. "We believe some people will be disappointed. But with new readers coming and sales booming, we need to do this now, before the installed base of e-book reading devices gets to a size where doing it would be impossible."
That's a perplexing statement, considering it probably won't be long before the install base balloons anyway. Albert Greco, a professor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Business who studies the book industry, predicts that the e-book retail sales could climb as highs as $201 million next year, up from $150 million this year.
"In the Internet age you don't enjoy the same degree of control," said Eric Garland, CEO of BigChampagne, LLC, an online media measurement company in Beverly Hills, California. "You can't create artificial scarcity by withholding content in one form and making it available in another."
Toronto, eager to offset some of the losses in its manufacturing sector, has lured Ubisoft to set up shop north the border by offering the game publisher $263 million. Ubisoft has published such hits as Assassin's Creed, Call of Juarez, Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, Far Cry, Prince of Persia, and many more across all gaming platforms.
The $263 million deal, which comes in the form of a tax credit, keeps Ubisoft in Canada for at least 10 years and is expected to create 800 jobs. For Ubisoft's part, the publisher plans to invest upwards of $500 million. Ubisoft reportedly made $1.7 billion last year.
While the tax break is significant, the government said it plans to make the money back through jobs created, tax revenues, and spin-offs, The Inquirer reports.