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In Brief

Just about a year ago today, Penguin and Random House merged to create the world’s largest book publisher. And HarperCollins announced in May that it’s acquiring Harlequin. Now the season of consolidation continues: The large independent publisher Perseus is being sold off in an unusual three-way deal, Publishers Lunch reported Tuesday, with Hachette Book Group acquiring Perseus Book Group’s publishing imprints and Ingram taking its distribution business. PL notes that the acquisition will bring Hachette’s annual revenues to around $700 million.

In Brief

Oyster android

The $9.95 per month ebook subscription service Oyster, which was previously only available on iOS, expanded to Android, Kindle Fire and Nook HD tablets Tuesday — thus removing one of the differentiating factors between it and rival service Scribd. New features include “read time” for books (there is a similar feature on Kindle e-readers) and the ability to turn a book’s pages using the volume buttons on an Android device. Oyster, which is based in NYC and launched in fall 2013, now has over 500,000 titles, with two of the big-five publishers — Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins — participating.

In Brief

Amazon responded to the ongoing controversy over its decision to limit availability of Hachette titles as the companies try to negotiate a new contract. Now Hachette has responded to that response: In a lengthy statement provided to Publishers Lunch (free) on Wednesday, Hachette said, “It is good to see Amazon acknowledge that its business decisions significantly affect authors’ lives.” It said over 5,000 titles have been affected by Amazon’s tactics (including delayed shipping and lack of pre-orders) and added, “By preventing its customers from connecting with these authors’ books, Amazon indicates that it considers books to be like any other consumer good. They are not.”

Amazon spoke out on its contract dispute with book publisher Hachette, saying it’s unlikely the parties will reach an agreement any time soon. The retailer also said it’s offered to fund half of an “author pool” to mitigate the impact on Hachette authors’ lost royalties. Read more »

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