Barnes & Noble Outlasted Borders, But It's Still Bleeding Money

Plus: Stephen King's 'Under the Dome' is lined up for the Showtime miniseries treatment

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Today in book news: Barnes & Noble outlasted Borders but is still in tough financial shape, Steven Spielberg finally gets around to adapting Stephen King, and the authors of France rain on Google's digital publishing parade.

  • Barnes & Noble was the ostensible winner of the chain bookstore-and-biscotti Cold War over Borders, but according to the company's first quarter financial report, it posted a net loss of $56.6 million for the time period. That's actually an improvement on the $62.5 million loss it reported over the same time period last year. [The Independent
  • Showtime is developing a series based on Stephen King's 1,056-page best-seller Under the Dome about a geodesic dome that pops around a tiny Maine town and immediately exposes the citizenry's true, frequently murderous nature. King's book was long, but impossible not to gobble up in 200 page chunks. Variety's story from 2009 after Dreamworks TV and Steven Spielberg first optioned the rights to the book said the hope was to "set it up as a [limited-run] event series, likely for cable." Considering King and Spielberg's history of near-misses when it comes to adapting King's work, we won't believe the project is a go until we're invited to preview the first 15 minutes online. In 1984, Spielberg optioned King's novel The Talisman (co-written by Peter Straub) with the idea of directing the feature himself. He didn't, but held onto the rights. In 2007, TNT backed out of plans to turn the book into a six-part miniseries because of budget concerns. In the early 1990s, Spielberg bought King's haunted house script Rose Red in the hopes of directing before selling it back to King and producing The Haunting through Dreamworks instead. King's expanded script became an ABC miniseries in 2002. [Variety]
  • The French author's guild isn't quite ready to sign off on Google and publisher La Martinière's agreement outlining exactly which copyrighted texts the Internet can scan and make available to users, even though the deal all but let copyright holders pick and choose which titles would be available. Among the concerns of the Société des Gens de Lettres: the lack of mention of "direct or indirect authors’ pay" in the joint press release announcing the pact, and preserving the distinction between "unavailable and out-of-print books" to help authors keep their copyrights. SDGL and the French Publishers Association (SNE) both need to sign off on the pact for the joint lawsuit they filed against Google for unlawfully digitizing copyrighted texts to be settled. [The Bookseller]

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