Today in books and publishing: The e-books of Shakespeare; Richard Russo's homage to print; an e-bookstore for Macmillan's Tor/Forge; Apple's e-book price-fixing trial date set.
Alas, poor printed book, I knew it well. Starting Monday, the Folger Shakespeare Library editions, "one of the most popular and accessible editions of Shakespeare’s works" (featuring all of your favorite tragic heroes!) are available as e-books. Downloading your electronic Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and those star-crossed lovers will run you $5.99, e-books available through a collaboration with Simon & Schuster. Dusty hardbacks, we bite our thumbs at you. [New York Times]
Richard Russo's tribute to print. The Pulitzer-prize-winning author of Empire Falls has a new work out. It's called Interventions, "a collection of four separate volumes that are packaged in a slipcase, each work coming with a postcard-sized color print of a painting by Russo's daughter, Kate. The collection, three short stories and a novella, is published on high-quality sustainably harvested paper." Russo, who admits to reading books on his iPad, intends it a jab back at e-books and online bookselling, with the purpose of giving people what he calls a "book book" experience. [AP]
Macmillan's sci-fi division to open an e-bookstore. In an appropriately futuristic move, Tor/Forge Books will open an e-bookstore, making Macmillan the first mainstream publisher to do such a thing. They'll also be the first major house to remove anti-piracy software from their e-books, meaning readers can access books on any device and also share them; this is a pretty big deal, done, perhaps, to counter the hold of Amazon. "Rather than being locked into the Kindle platform, Kindle owners will be able to buy Tor's new John Scalzi novel, for instance, at Tor.com, not at Amazon." [Tor]
Related, Macmillan remains involved in a price-fixing suit in which the government alleges that they, along with four other publishers, colluded with Apple to raise e-book prices to combat Amazon. (More below.) [Crain's]
Trial date set for price-fixing suit. As for the above, the trial date for that U.S. government suit accusing Apple and several publishers of conspiring to fix e-book prices has been set for June 3, 2013, which is shaping up to be one of the more exciting, and monumental, legal moments in recent years of publishing. Macmillan and Penguin are the two publishers fighting the case (the other three settled) along with Apple. Apple argues that "its foray into e-books has actually fueled demand for e-books by forcing Amazon and rivals, including Barnes & Noble Inc, to compete more aggressively, including by upgrading e-reader technology." [Thomson Reuters]
Martin Amis <3s Brooklyn. If you haven't already, read what Amis has to say about the charms of Cobble Hill. Shout it from the brownstones: Très Brooklyn! [New York Times]