How to Game Amazon Prime; Random House Consolidates in the Spanish Market

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Today in books and publishing: Bertelsmann buys full stake in Random House Mondadori; manipulating Amazon's new monthly subscriptions; overdue fees waived for canned goods; Macmillan ceases printing dictionaries.

Bertelsmann buys full control over Spanish publisher. Fresh off the announcement that they'll merge Random House and Penguin to create the world's largest publisher, German media giant Bertelsmann has purchased a full stake in Random House Mondadori. The publisher serves Spanish-speaking readers in Spain and Latin America. Random House Mondadori's history stems back to 2001, when Bertelsmann created the fledgling company with 50 percent share holdings. Those days of split ownership are over now, with consolidation fever running high in publishing these days. "Bertelsmann believes in the creative and commercial potential of the book business and, by maximizing its holding in Random House Mondadori, is embracing an opportunity to significantly improve both its position in the Spanish book market and its access to the growing Spanish-language markets of Latin America," says Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe (pictured above, on the right). [GalleyCat]

As long as Amazon's offering monthly Prime subscriptions, you might as well take advantage of it. The holidays are just around the corner, after all. The key perk of an Amazon Prime subscription is the free 2-day shipping. At only $8 dollars a month, you'd only have to buy a handful of books to make that fee worthwhile. If you intend only to get in, haul some discounted titles, and get out, do remember to cancel your account after one month's binge. The monthly fees go up to $17 per month after a honeymoon period. Whatever you do, don't feel too bad about gaming Amazon. If you need a refresher on how little they care about customers, read this horror story about a guy whose account was hacked to the tune of $560. (Spoiler alert: Amazon was not very helpful.)  [LifeHacker]

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Macmillan dictionaries to go fully paperless. So sorry to spoil the days of wordy book fetishists, but it's my duty to inform you that the final copies of Macmillan dictionaries are being printed as we speak. The publisher has decided to house its lexicon online only from here on out. Macmillan Dictionary Online has undergone "explosive growth" over the last three years, according to ditor-in-chief Michael Rundell, who says, ""The traditional book format is very limiting for any kind of reference work. Books are out of date as soon as they're printed, and the space constraints they impose often compromise our goals of clarity and completeness. There is so much more we can do for our users in digital media." Rundell is excited about the ability to add new words more regularly than once a year. [The Bookseller]

Library pardons dilly-dalliers in exchange for donated food. Taking stock of the books missing from their shelves—as well as ongoing problems with hunger in the area—a Chicago-area library came up with a plan to tackle both problems. For a week starting Sunday, Tinley Park Library has promised to waive fees on overdue books, as long as the offending patrons bring in canned goods for Sandy relief. Such amnesty-for-food programs have worked well in the past, with the exchange rate fixed at $1.00 of fees waived per every good can of food. The supplies will good to the Together We Cope food pantry. [The Chicago Tribune]

Penguin/Random House dominated e-book sales in the first half of 2012. Pouring over recent sales figures for e-books shows us just how monolithic Penguin Random House could be in the digital market. Forbes' Jeremy Greenfield wanted to know which publishers excelled in the e-book market this year, so he crunched the numbers from their e-book bestsellers list going back to summer. Random House came in first, with 85 appearances on the charts. And guess who came in at No. 2? Surprise, surprise—Penguin, with 62 showings. Of course, the sheer size of publishing houses isn't always enough to guarantee dominance on the charts. Scholastic isn't in the Big Six, after all, and it performed well thanks to Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games hits. [Forbes]

Top image by Noelas via Flickr

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