Thursday, March 13, 2008

News From Overseas

I've decided to enhance my reputation. Maybe work on being more cosmopolitan.

Toward that end, today's post contains stories from overseas--courtesy of The Bookseller.

  • France is preparing to challenge Google's Book Search program. The Paris Book Fair opens on March 14th. Gallica 2 will be unveiled at the Fair. The new program will offer over 60,000 digitized works from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF), which plans to add another 40,000 books. Another 2,000 books came from fifty other publishers, some of which were subsidized for participating. Copyrighted books supplied by publishers are "expected to quickly exceed 10,000. Authors welcomed the Gallica 2 project, according to Alain Absire, president of the 6,000-member French writers union (SGDL) . . .[and it] will offer publishers and e-tailers several possibilities, such as selling or renting out books, or giving access to only one or several chapters."

  • Almost a year ago, I did a post here about a scammer defrauding booksellers in Seattle. Now The Bookseller has a story about crooks from Ghana ripping off booksellers in the UK. The con artist claims to be Mark Donald, an employee of the Robinson Library at Newcastle University. He uses a stolen credit card to purchase medical textbooks, which he then has shipped to an address in Accra, Ghana. The Robinson Library has received complaints from seventeen booksellers, five of whom actually shipped the medical books. The library is trying to alert small independent booksellers who seem to be the prime target.

  • And, finally, yesterday I referred to Orbit Books, an imprint of Little, Brown, which is owned by Grand Central Books (formerly Time Warner Books). Grand Central is owned by Hachette Livre of France, which also owns The Mysterious Press. Hachette is, in turn, owned by the mega-corporation Groupe Lagardere. Hachette has announced its 2007 results, saying its operating profit margin rose 11.2% in 2007. "The group stated that all operating segments contributed to the profit growth. France had a good year, thanks largely to Education and Larousse, which benefited from the remedial measures taken in 2006. The United States (strong performance by bestsellers) and Spain (good year in Education) also stood out."

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