In a lawsuit filed August 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, former Barnes & Noble CEO Demos Parneros has charged the retailer with breach of contract and defamation of character. The suit contains numerous unflattering revelations about the inner workings of B&N, and includes the bombshell news that a deal to sell the company to another “book retailer” fell through in June.
Parneros was abruptly fired from B&N on July 3, for unspecified violations of company policy. He was let go without severance. In his suit, Parneros claims that the nature of his firing, coupled with the current employment environment, left the public to assume he was guilty of sexual harassment. He denies, however, that this was the case.
Claims in Parneros’s suit indicate that his relationship with B&N chairman Len Riggio began to sour after an unnamed book retailer withdrew its offer to buy the company in June. According to the complaint, the retailer withdrew its offer after completing due diligence.
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Launching a partnership announced earlier this year, Walmart and e-book retailer Rakuten Kobo detailed plans to offer an array of e-book content, reading services and devices via Walmart stores and cobranded iOS and Android apps.
The new service, Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo, launches today and will deliver a newly organized digital books and services catalog to Walmart consumers based on Kobo’s e-book inventory of about six million e-book titles.
The e-book retailing partnership will also feature a monthly audiobook subscription service for $9.99 a month (for access to one audiobook per month); digital book cards (with download codes) for more than 40 titles will go on sale at 3,500 Walmart stores; and Kobo tablets and digital e-readers will go on sale in about 1,000 Walmart stores,.
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The announcement last month that Macmillan’s Tor division (perhaps the world’s best-known science fiction publisher) has instituted a four-month embargo on new e-book titles for libraries is an unwelcome development. Tor officials say the change is designed to test whether library lending is affecting retail e-book sales. Librarians, however, see the move as an unwarranted restriction that will needlessly impact science fiction fans, some of our most avid readers.
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Looking to offer indie authors access to a booming audiobook market, Smashwords, the self-publishing platform and e-book distributor, is teaming with Findaway Voices, an online production platform and distributor of audiobook content, to create a turnkey solution.
In a blogpost, Smashwords CEO Mark Coker said the new partnership would give authors and publishers “greater control over pricing and distribution.” The deal, he said, will make it, “more economically feasible for authors and publishers to invest in audiobook production for shorter books, or books that might carry lower prices.”
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