Round up #114: Update swarm, Agency Model EU

Round up #114: Update swarm, Agency Model EU 

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Agency Model preliminary assessment in EU

When the Agency Model, in which publishers set consumer prices for e-books and former retailers become merely “sales agents”, first arose, many people on both sides of the Atlantic thought it sounded legally suspect.

Investigations of the legality happened both in the USA (with the Department of Justice) and in the European Union (with the European Commission).

Rather than continue on in a legal battle which is costing them large amounts of money (even showing up in their financial reports), some publishers have settled with the USA (and with a civil action brought by 49 states and four other American entities).

Today, in this

press release

the European Commission says:

” The Commission has concerns that this switch may have been the result of collusion between competing publishers, with the help of Apple, and may have aimed at raising retail prices of e-books in the EEA or preventing the emergence of lower prices.”

Interestingly, four publishers and Apple appear to be making “commitments”:

“In the proposed commitments, the five companies offer to terminate existing agency agreements and refrain from adopting price MFN clauses for five years. In case any of the four publishers would enter into new agency agreements, retailers would be free to set the retail price of e-books during a two-year period, provided the aggregate value of price discounts granted by retailers does not exceed the total annual amount of the commissions that the retailer receives from the publisher.”

The reason why this is particularly intriguing, is that Apple and Macmillan, which have not agreed to settle in the USA, appear to be going along with this EU action.

Penguin, which is, of course, on its home turf (um…ice? Tundra?) in Europe, has not yet reached an agreement.

People have a month to comment on it, and then I think it would go into effect pretty quickly. We’ve seen (so far) HarperCollins’ prices drop in the USA (with Hachette and Simon & Schuster likely to follow soon), and this should result in lower prices in the EU as well.

Tradpubs updating many books?

Smokey Ramone, in this Amazon Kindle Community Forum thread

a lot of available updates by the big publishers today

reports finding a lot of updates from major publishers (traditional publishers…tradpubs) being made available at

I’ve written before about the process in getting one of my own books updated.

Honestly, I think this is one of the best things about the Kindle store…the fact you can get an updated book at no additional cost.

I didn’t see a bunch of tradpub updates available to me, but we don’t buy a lot of those (although we do buy some).

You can see which updates are available to you.

Go to that MYK page above.

In the


dropdown at the top of the page, switch it from

All Items


Available for Update.

I think if you don’t have any, you may not have that option.

If you did the update, it used to be that it would wipe out your annotations (notes, highlights), but it now says:

“Before clicking update, please be sure the wireless and Annotations Backup settings are turned on for each of your devices. Doing so will retain any highlights, notes, and furthest page read. You can check and adjust your Annotations Backup settings by navigating to the settings menu on your device. For further help with modifying settings, go to and check the help pages for the devices or applications you are using.”

That’s a big improvement!

I think what may be happening here is publishers updating their books to KF8 (Kindle Format 8), which has a lot more capabilities and is becoming available on more devices over time.

Amazon asks not to share clippings?

According to this

gigaom article

Amazon asked to stop sharing clippings from Kindle books.

The article seems surprised that the publishers would do that…don’t the clippings help sell books?

That, to me, seems naive. The big publishers, in order to protect their rights in their view, often make decisions that would seem to be a negative for sales: blocking text-to-speech and not allowing lending, for two obvious examples. Both of those features would seem to facilitate sales.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all that publishers would tell Amazon that their system, which was being utilized by, might be infringing on their rights. Amazon tends to go with the publishers’ desires in those cases…that may change if the e-tailer’s efforts in traditional publishing become big enough.

Books written while you watch


TechCrunch article

alerted me to a fascinating experiment.

You can “watch” author

Sylvia Hartmann

write The Dragon Lords as a public (uneditable by others) Google document


When I was writing something, I think I would find that disconcerting. For me, writing feels like a pretty private activity…just me, and whatever characters I’m creating…well, and maybe pets. I can blog with my Significant Other in the room, but I when I write more long form, I tend to do that in isolation.

Watching somebody else write? That might be fun. 🙂

FastCompany: “Why Books Are the Ultimate New Business Card”

I thought this was a fascinating


It’s not really a new thing, especially for non-fiction writers, but the basic idea is that authors write the books as a stepping stone to really making money by doing lectures, personal appearances, and so on.

It’s often been true that you made some money for the book, but you made the real money when it was sold to the movies or TV. Yes, some authors wrote the book with that in mind.

Certainly, I could name some authors who made money by doing, say, the college tour…even speaking hundreds of times in a year.

Will having written a book still have that cachet when just about everybody has written one? 😉 As the barriers to getting publish dissolve, will that also reduce the ease of getting into the “speaking market”? It will be interesting to watch.

What do you think? Are you happy with the EC commitments (especially if you live in the EU)? Are you seeing a lot of updates? Are you going to check out the book in progress? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

3 Responses to “Round up #114: Update swarm, Agency Model EU”

  1. Dave Says:

    365 books, mostly tradpub. 3 updates available. Updated one, total locations went from 7277 to 7305. I’m not going to re-read it to try and find the fixes or changes though. 🙂

  2. Tom Semple Says:

    I had 2 ‘update available’ titles, neither was a ‘tradpub’ book:
    – Hangman’s Daughter (Amazon Crossings)
    – Wool Omnibus Edition (KDP)

    I think both already had KF8 formulations but at least ‘Wool’ was seriously broken: text was about 3 or 4 notches smaller than normal. That’s been fixed. I’ve seen this problem with several other titles (they look okay on Fire and other KF8 capable apps). So I think some of the earlier KF8 conversions (from all sources) had problems (probably used ‘beta’ tools) and they are now getting around to fixing those (don’t know if ‘they’ are the publishers, or Amazon).

    I don’t remember seeing a similar problem with HD, so that may just be to fix some typos.

    I used the ‘Report Content Error’ (that arrived with the KF8 update for Kindle Touch) to report the problem with Wool. It is a cathartic exercise if nothing else, but I trust this feedback actually does have an effect. As you are probably aware, submitted corrections can be viewed on your page. I checked ‘Wool’ and it said the correction had been ‘Processed’. I checked other corrections and most were still in ‘Received’ status. I found another title that said ‘Processed’ but I haven’t gotten an ‘update available’ notice yet for it.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      Thorough, as always. 🙂

      I wouldn’t guess that “Processed” means the change has been integrated into the book…just that it has been reported.

      I do think it may make a difference, though…even though you are right that it may be there partially for the emotional impact. I always remember the voice system at SouthWest. I heard something like, “If you’ve been on hold for more than five minutes, press the 8 key. It won’t do anything, but it will probably make you feel better.” 😉

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