×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Booked Solid

Three giants expand their e-publishing horizons

An ecclectic array of e-publishers has blossomed online in recent years. But until last week, no major traditional house has trotted out a full line of e-books.

On July 31, Random House, whose pursuit of the e-books market has, until now, been limited to investments in such Web publishing firms as Xlibris and Audible.com, announced the creation of a full-blown e-books imprint, AtRandom.

The next day, Time Warner Trade Publishing, which introduced its e-books arm, iPublish.com, in May, struck back with an announcement of its own.

IPublish will issue a raft of books online-many of them likely bestsellers in hardcover. It’s the most formal roster of e-books to date, providing prices (some are free, some cost as much as $14.95), and release dates timed, whenever possible, to coincide with each book’s hardcover publication date.

The iPublish list includes:

  • Sandra Brown’s new thriller, “The Switch,” which will appear both in hardcover and in electronic formats. Her previous bestseller, “The Alibi,” will also make its debut as an e-book.

  • Nicholas Sparks’ “The Rescue,” due in hardcover and digital format, along with the release of Sparks’ entire backlist online.

  • David Foster Wallace’s nonfiction account of John McCain’s primary campaign, “Up, Simba!,” which will appear only online.

Next year’s news

AtRandom will launch a few months later. Starting in early 2001, under the stewardship of Random veep and senior editor Jonathan Karp, AtRandom will publish new work by well-established writers exclusively in electronic form. Each book will also be sold in paperback, print-on-demand format, but won’t be shipped to bookshelves in a traditional ink-and-paper package.

AtRandom’s list includes:

  • “Out There: One Man’s Fearless Search for the Funniest Person on the Internet,” by humorist Henry Alford;

  • “The Secret of Life: Common Sense Advice for Uncommon People” by “Prozac Nation” author Elizabeth Wurtzel;

  • “Lost in Mongolia: Travels in Hollywood and Other Foreign Lands,” by New Yorker writer Tad Friend;

  • “Men Seeking Women: Love and Sex Online,” a collection of short fiction about Internet relationships, by such writers as Po Bronson, Richard Dooling and Gary Krist.

Random House also unveiled plans to launch the Modern Library online in the fall. The house plans to make 100 books bearing that distinguished imprint available for the first time in downloadable form.

The AtRandom and iPublish lists will be downloadable in different formats from a range of online retailers, but the number of consumers willing to view these books online remains to be seen.

* * *

‘Starship’ Troopers

Showtime has inked a deal with Necaster Icebox.com to license “Starship Regulars,” an animated comedy series about the lives of ordinary men and women aboard a military spaceship. It will air on the cable network and later be developed into a live action strip.

“Starship” is the first Internet series to make the transition to traditional television.

Show was created by Rob LaZebnik (co-executive producer of “The Simpsons,” “Empty Nest” and an Icebox co-founder).

Next June, Showtime will turn the strip into a 13 half-hour live action series to be produced by Icebox and exec produced by LaZebnik.

Icebox will receive rights payments, producing fees and backend revenues.

Showtime execs spent the last few months combing through Icebox’s unproduced scripts, concept drawings and unaired pilots, as well as already streamed shows.

* * *

Universal Feeling Blue

Universal Music Group has begun trials of a digital music format called Bluematter which will offer Netizens music files and informational content over the Web.

Songs in the Bluematter format come with enhanced content, such as biographies, photographs, lyrics and credits. Users can access files with RealNetworks’ RealPlayer software. InterTrust Technology will provide encryption software that prevents the songs from being pirated.

The label will initially offer 60 songs from artists including Blink 182, 98 Degrees and Smash Mouth, with more songs to be added over time. Users will receive $4 credit when they log on the site to download the songs.

The trial service will be available through select music and retail sites and will allow UMG to test strategies for future businesses. Universal becomes the third of the five major labels to offer part of their catalog online.

* * *

Short People

Netcaster iCast.com has purchased indie film site Shortbuzz.com, increasing its library of shorts by 400 titles.

Shortbuzz was founded last year for filmmakers who want to Netcast shorts without being tied down by an exclusivity agreement with any one Web site.

ICast recently inked a syndication deal with FX skein “The X Show” under which films from the site will be featured on the program.

ICast is in a strategic partnership with AMG under which the two companies will produce content together while AMG will get a first-look deal at talent that appears on the site.

Netcaster was founded by incubator CMGI, which is also funding search engine AltaVista and auction site uBid.com.

* * *

Toons on Demand

Animation vets David Burke and Eli Balser have bowed StickyFlicks.com, a site that will feature Webtoons developed by Bill Schwab (“Beavis and Butthead,”) Kelly Armstrong (“Ren & Stimpy”) and Greg Emison (“Cow and Chicken”)

Burke, founder of Plum Loco Productions, and Balser, formerly of MTV Animation and Klasky-Csupo, founded the Netco in February after receiving $700,000 in funding from Chris Anderson, founder and CEO of Imagine Media.

Webtoons on StickyFlicks will be under three minutes in length and will be bowing at a rate of one per week by the end of August.

Included on the site are “Vi & Marge,” a tribute to the cross-country trucker lifestyle; “Tasteless Joke Theater,”; “Jarnak — The Jive-Ass Jerk From Jupiter” and “Mr. Pants.”

Interactive games will also be available on the site.

More Digital

  • Telemundo to Launch English-Language Newscast With

    Telemundo to Launch First English-Language Newscast on YouTube (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBCUniversal’s Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo is developing its first English-language newscast in collaboration with YouTube in a bid to tap the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic youth demographic. Borne out of a YouTube grant aimed at awarding journalism projects that “elevate quality journalism, evolve business models to drive sustainable growth, and empower news organizations through technological innovation,” Telemundo News’ [...]

  • Wall Street Journal Site Hacked With

    Wall Street Journal Site Hacked With Pro-PewDiePie Message

    PewDiePie’s ongoing battle to keep his channel’s YouTube subscriber count No. 1 ahead of India’s T-Series took another bizarre twist: A branded-content section of the Wall Street Journal’s website was hacked with a fake message apologizing to PewDiePie and urging people to subscribe to his channel. A spokeswoman for Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the [...]

  • YouTube - Comcast Xfinity X1

    YouTube 4K Content Goes Live on Comcast's Xfinity X1 Set-Tops

    Comcast television subscribers can now enjoy YouTube in ultra-high definition: The Google-owned video service is now serving up 4K videos on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 set-top boxes, the cable company announced Monday. X1 owners who also happen to have a X1 voice remote can get access to a curated selection of 4K content by asking the [...]

  • Google - 315 Hudson Street

    Google Plans to Spend Over $1 Billion on New York City Campus

    Google has set plans to dramatically boost its footprint in New York City: The internet giant said it will invest more than $1 billion to establish a new 1.7-million-square-foot campus, Google Hudson Square, in Manhattan. The move is a major part of Google’s expansion plans in the city that will let it more than double [...]

  • Colin Kroll Dead Vine Obit

    HQ Trivia and Vine Co-Founder Colin Kroll Dies at 34

    Colin Kroll, co-founder of the Vine video app and the HQ Trivia game, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment early Sunday of an apparent drug overdose, Variety has confirmed. He was 34. New York Police Department officers responded at 12:18 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, to a call by a woman concerned about Kroll’s well-being. [...]

  • Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA Signs Gaming Influencers Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA has signed two popular live-streaming battle royale gamers — Nicholas Amyoony, better known as Nick Eh 30, and David Steinberg, aka StoneMountain64 — for representation. CAA said it will work to create opportunities for Nick Eh 30 (above left) and StoneMountain64 (above right) in all areas, including TV, motion pictures, touring, digital distribution and [...]

  • Amazon Adds NBA League Pass to

    Amazon Adds NBA League Pass Live-Streaming Games to Prime Video Channels

    Amazon is bringing pro hoops action to Prime Video Channels: The ecommerce giant now offers NBA League Pass as part of its lineup of 150-plus subscription options for Prime members in the U.S. It’s the first U.S. live-sports subscription service on Prime Video Channels. Prime members can subscribe to NBA League Pass via Prime Video [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content