FYI, the power is out at BEA HQ so all of our servers are down (obviously!) if you are trying to reach me or any BEA team member via email the messages ARE NOT going through. Please resend tomorrow! Sorry for the trouble.....
Monday, April 30, 2007
FYI, the power is out at BEA HQ so all of our servers are down (obviously!) if you are trying to reach me or any BEA team member via email the messages ARE NOT going through. Please resend tomorrow! Sorry for the trouble.....
I attended the Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng reading Friday night (a Pen American World Voices program) and what a truly exceptional evening it proved to be. For starters, the light and sublime; as Mrs. BEA and I stood in line outside the New York Public Library prior to the event I saw a very David Byrne looking fellow head to the front of the line only to get sent to the back. After a second pass, I found it actually was David Byrne who coincidentally ended up sitting next to us. Being a nerd (on oh so many levels) I sent my brother an email via the Blackberry saying I was sitting next to David Byrne, and his advice was “Start muttering ‘same as it ever was, same as it ever was’ and see if he punches you.” He didn’t punch me. Also in the audience was Sarah Vowell (Assassination Vacation and Steal the Cannoli) Ishmael Beah (A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier), Uzodinma Iweala (Beasts of No Nation). In the collective opinion of Mr. and Mrs. BEA Beasts of No Nation and What is the What are two of the better fiction books of the last year or so.
Celebrity sitings aside, the event was truly inspiring. For those not familiar, What is the What is Eggers slightly fictionalized retelling of Achak Deng’s youth during a time of war in Sudan, or more accurately, genocide involving the deaths of over 2 million Sudanese. The conversational format between the author and subject was equal parts illuminating, sobering and inspiring. It was fitting that Valentino had just gained his U.S. citizenship the day before the event. Do you know when the constitution was written? He did, he had to. It’s hard to sum up Valentino’s story here, so you’d be best served by reading the book or listening to the Pen podcast of the event. The evening was proof positive that the written word and author-to-reader connection is still, and in my opinion will remain, a powerful force for social illumination if not actual change in our culture. Valentino ended the evening by talking about the fact that his story (and the stories of Beah and Iweala as well) are not those of war, but of experience and childhood that all can relate to and that all, especially in this country, should know.
McSweeney’s has launched a new book series in the spirit of What is the What to give voice to human rights suffers called the Voice of Witness book series. Check it out.
Lastly, my shameless plug for a good friend and talented playwright whose reading we skipped tonight to see Eggers and Deng. We caught up with the cast after the reading at a watering hole on 9th Ave, but dear reader, if you have always desired to produce theatre in New York, or simply enjoy seeing an artists work evolve from concept to reality, please spend some time looking at Alec Duffy and his latest work, Me and Marie Curie: In this magical drama, Madelyn, a 16-year old science whiz, competes to be selected by NASA for the first "manned" mission to Mars. To help her, she enlists the aid of Marie Curie, who exposes her to the idea that science may ask for more of a personal sacrifice than one bargained for.
Posted by Lance Fensterman at 1:30 AM
Friday, April 27, 2007
A little nerdy birdie alerted me to the fact that some lit bloggers were finding it difficult to get press passes for BEA. Fret not, journalists off all kinds, are welcome at BEA and I would wager you’ll have no problem at all if you contact BEA’s crack PR man, Roger Bilheimer. Roger does verify all members of the press prior to issuing a credentials, but he’s great about following up with everyone – which is no small task. We do not, as a rule, offer rubber stamp press passes as we’ve found that is sometimes abused, so this is why Roger prefers the personal touch.
For bloggers (or any press for that matter) we have added a host of T1 drops to the press room to ease your blogging duties from the Javits Center. We wanted to provide the press with wireless access, but cost and antiquated Javits logistics have made that all but impossible. Please get in touch with Roger via email or this handy link to our press page and do be prepared to offer up a url to your blog to verify your blogginess. You may also have to fill out a request form, but it's pretty painless.
We’ve tried to make BEA more blogger friendly this year, so please drop me an email (or a post here) if you have suggestions on how we can accomplish this.
Lastly I want to give a quick plug to the writing program we offer at BEA. If you are an aspiring writer or have a manuscript to pitch, give it a look. The conference is good and the connections are even better: The BEA Writers Conference. In a perfect world, this program should help writers become authors and then next year they are at BEA flogging the next great novel….
Thursday, April 26, 2007
I got a nice invite from Pen American to attend this evening’s kick off of the World Voices program at Town Hall and a lovely party afterwards at the Roger Williams Hotel. Nothing like rubbing elbows with the likes of Don DeLillo, Neil Gaiman, Nadine Gordimer, et al to make you love working in the book industry. Thanks to Pen for the gracious invite. I was disappointed I didn’t make it to the Soft Skull party, which Richard Nash was nice enough to throw in honor of Alain Mabanckou, but hey, that Metro North ride back to Borwalk is a killer……
I'm extremely impressed with the World Voices program Pen has created. I would love to see a part of BEA evolve in this fashion; a collection of authors of international scope interacting in various formats at venues around the city over a few days. I was also struck by the number of people under 30 in attendance at the event tonight. Do make time to attend at least one of the World Voices programs between now and Sunday, you won't be disappointed.
myBEA is now open for business and you really should check it out. The usability is a bit challenging at first but once you get the hang of it I think you’ll agree it’s a great new feature for the show. You can see a running list of nearly every event happening at BEA at any given time, easily add them to your own personal day planner and click on the events to see who else is attending them. And that’s just the beginning, you can search products, people, booth locations, job boards, schedule appoinments and it’s a lot of fun so please so check it out and create your profile: myBEA.
We’ve got a new Book Industry Character featured on the BEA web site and it’s none other than Mr. Craig Popelars of Algonquin Books. Check out the picture of “him” it’s really quite stunning, and if you know Craig, it’ll scare you. He’s sporting a look that I could only describe as the “South Beach Jedi” look. Then again, perhaps he’s got a body double. Craig is in incredible marketing guru with a great passion for his books – when he says he loves a book you know he means it and it’s probably a book and should go to the stop of the stack on your nightstand. He also has a great story about hanging out on the Florida bayou chasing pigs with Mr. BEA, but that’ll have to wait for another blog.
Lastly, someone asked for a Colbert event update and it looks like at his Saturday breakfast appearance he’ll be showing a short video clip and doing a Q&A with the audience. This should prove to be entertaining……
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The BEA podcast program is up and running. Visit BookExpo Cast to sign up for the rss or iTunes feed or you can listen from your desktop or opt for email delivery – there is no excuse to miss the great digital content! Currently you can hear an interview with me talking about a few of the new developments we've put together for you at BEA this year. As a fun contest see if you can count how many times I say the word "excited". For someone that works in the book industry you'd think a better vocabulary would've rubbed off on me somewhere along the way.
Scheduled for interviews on BookExpo Cast in the next few weeks include: Khaled Hossenini, Lisa See, Alice Sebold, Jonathan Karp, Russell Simmons, Nancy Pearl, Will Schwalbe, Ken Burns, plus some great programming from the AAP (American Association of Publishers) annual meeting.
We'll release about 2 podcasts a day, about 3 days a week until the show. I've got a few surprise interviews up my sleeve as well.
Sign up at BookExpo Cast, I'd be embarrassed if my Mom was the only one who listened to my pod cast.
Cliffs Notes: Thanks to poster DB Ferguson for links to Colbert Report video (a la a previous post I made). They don’t have the PSA send up on National Library week with Sebastian Junger, but they do have a good interview with Russell Simmons who will be at BEA and interviewed in a BEA pod cast in the next few weeks. Also on Colbert, I don’t have a lot of news about his appearance at BEA, but his new book is called I Am America, And So Can You. I guess you’ll have to come and see for yourself. Also on Junger, if you find yourself downtown Junger is part owner of The Half King restaurant which has awesome burgers and even better imported beers on tap. I would highly recommend the joint in spite of (or because of!) his tongue in cheek send up of librarians. Lastly, I don’t watch a lot of TV (my BEA teammates chastise me for never having viewed Heroes, Lost, or any of the like) but I did recently find repeats of The Wonder Years on some random cable channel and I must say I love that show!
Posted by Lance Fensterman at 2:35 AM
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Stick with me on this digression if you will: One of my BEA teammates is Steven Rosato (who is also my frequent partner on long BEA road trips) who has an uncanny ability to create an analogy for nearly any situation. Much like when I worked in bookstores I found that booksellers struggled to communicate without using a Simpsons reference, Steve would be mute without the ability to create analogies. I’ve absorbed this skill (curse?) through osmosis and now find myself communicating through analogies in meetings, presentations, at home, the doctor’s office, you get the idea.
I did an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle a few weeks back on the subject of Christian Fiction and who or what might fill the void left be the end of the Left Behind Series. They ran the article on Sunday and in it I don’t sound too ignorant, until the last sentence of the article in which I compare the loss of Left Behind to the retirement of Johnny Carson. Read the Chronicle article and judge for yourself on the subject, the article and my ham handed analogy.
And yes, I blame Steve.
Posted by Lance Fensterman at 2:00 AM
Monday, April 23, 2007
I took an unannounced vacation from blogging last week and thank God I’m not on a page count or I’d be in serious trouble of losing my advance for this blog. I was in London all last week and could not find the time or the energy to blog at the end of my days. Very unlike me and I offer no excuses just humble apologies to my readers…..
I was extremely impressed with my first trip to the London Book Fair and struck by how BEA is a dramatically different fair from LBF. My hats are off to Emma House the Fair Director and her boss Alistair Burtenshaw who put together a well organized fair after a dramatic off season and a challenging fair last year. I always heard that LBF was a rights fair, but I did not grasp just how rights driven the activity was. The fair was literally hundreds and hundreds of (mostly) prearranged business meetings. The rights center was buzzing with activity from beginning to end and a thing to marvel at. However, books, booksellers, librarians and authors were few and far between. If your business was rights you had best be in London. I often lament what BEA is not, but sometimes forget all that BEA is and if you read my previous post (The Swedes Are Coming) you’d see that what is truly astounding about BEA is all that it IS.
So on to BEA, and as of writing this we have 38 days to go and things are going to get busy. I’ve got several announcements pending for this week alone (stay tuned as you always get first word of anything going on right here) and my Saturday’s are all now free so I can be at work getting things ready. Just a couple of blog worthy items:
A super cool original BEA comic Strip from Unshelved: Our friends at Unshelved make a very funny comic strip set in a library. It's a big hit among librarians, booksellers, and everyone else who (a) loves books and (b) has ever had to deal with the public. We asked them to make a comic about BEA, and they came up with this wonderful romp. Check it out, send it to your friends and marvel at the genius that springs from the mind of Gene and Bill (aka The Unshelved Boys) in this BEA Original Comic. Check out the Unshelved site and you can sign up for the daily comic there. The Boys will also be doing a conference session at BEA called A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Library.
Meet the BEA Team Via Podcasts.: We’ve done so much with our podcasting program this year that I wanted the BEA team to really understand the power of this emerging medium. So much to their chagrin I asked them all to make their own podcasts which are now posted on the BEA.com Contact Us page.
The Party Season Begins: Our friends at Galley Cat have announced some details around the party they plan to throw at BEA. Being the hip cats that they are they’ve secured the hippest debut author of the spring to headline, check out the details of the Galley cat BEA Party.
Colbert: Did you catch The Colbert report this week? There is no YouTube footage that I can link to due to silly stuff like copyrights and intellectual property, but he had a funny bit with Sebastian Junger. Junger did a public service announcement in “support” of National Library Week asking viewers to buy his book instead of checking it out or else he can’t fund his manly international adventures. Colbert is funny, he should write a book – of yeah, that’s right……….[insert shameless plug for Colbert’s appearance at BEA in support of his forthcoming book here]
Whew, it’s good to be back and expect regular posts this week…..
Posted by Lance Fensterman at 1:33 AM
Friday, April 13, 2007
This week I met with the Swedish Booksellers association during their planned visit to NYC. I earned instant credibility when I told them Mrs. BEA was Norwegian and I hailed from Minnesota, the land of 10,000 Anderson’s. Once that novelty wore off we discussed bookselling and publishing trends in the U.S. and my views on the erosion of national and geographic borders in the movement of books in our the global marketplace. To that point, I found myself equally as interested in Swedish bookselling trends and we had a great discussion about bookselling on both sides of the Atlantic. Interestingly, the top 3 online booksellers in Sweden are Amazon and two sites owned by the major Swedish publishers. In their home country publishers have become booksellers. Additionally, they all agreed wholeheartedly that English language reading and publishing was rising dramatically in Sweden (a global-wide trend to be further examined in BEA’s Global Market Forum). When I asked the Swedish booksellers to identify where they felt the sales of English language books were coming from, the room of 20 almost in unison answered, “Amazon.com”.
Sure, this evidence is anecdotal but is also the identical answer I heard from Dutch booksellers and publishers while in Amsterdam. This seems to point to the erosion of national boundaries in the rights distribution system our industry seems to have clung to for quite some time. The “read inside” widgets that Random House has rolled out, social networking sites based on books (such as Shelfari, Library Thing, Gather, etc), and digital content sharing from Google all speed the flow of information (and commerce) across national and geographic borders in ways we’ve not seen before. None of this news is new but the reality seems to be hitting home in the book business.
A recent article in Shelf Awareness regarding rights at the Bologna Book Fair is further support of the change in our information and commerce patterns. A BEA teammate asked me if it was a harsh article for Bologna, but I took it more to reflect the harsh reality for fairs that consider themselves primarily rights driven have encountered. Agents, scouts, publishers and authors no longer need a business-to-business fair to buy and sell properties. Of course the players will sometimes hold a deal to announce it during such a gathering, but far less frequently are deals actually consummated at such fairs. This development makes me feel more confident in the future relevance of a multi-headed fair such as BEA. BEA is a rights fair, author gathering, bookseller fair, international sales portal, marketing show, librarian gathering spot, film rights venue and on and on. I think the point I have arrived at is that BEA is all about expanding boundaries – see our latest press release to that point. What BEA is all about is cutting across the many boundaries we now face in our business, gathering that information and principals in one place and then disseminating that information in relevant formats. The effort we've put in this year to social networkring (myBEA) Podcasting (BookExpo Cast) and Blogging, to name a few are all variations on the theme of expanding boundaries......
Whew, that was quite a rant for the day, and to think it all came from a few hours with a collection of Swedish booksellers!
Posted by Lance Fensterman at 2:45 AM
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
After a rough day yesterday when we announced that Bon Jovi would not be performing at BEA today was a nice win. Borders CEO George Jones will be speaking at BEA on Thursday afternoon as part of our Upfront and Unscripted series. This will be the first BEA with Jones at the helm of Borders and in light of the new strategy he has just outlined for the bookseller it will be enlightening to hear his thoughts on the state of both Borders and our industry. I’m extremely pleased that we’ve been able to arrange this and a special thanks to Ann Binkley, Borders communications whiz for the help in making it happen and for being an all around good book person.
Upfront and Unscripted is a series we launched last year that puts industry leaders on the proverbial hot seat for a intimate interview that is facilitated by an equally provocative interviewer. Chris Anderson (of Wired mag and author of The Long Tail and accompanying blog) will be interviewing Ken Lombard President of Starbucks Entertainment in this same format. We’ve yet to chose an interviewer for Jones, but we’ll tap a good candidate, I promise.
BEA finally made Gawker and I was halfway to getting a mention myself and seeing a self indulgent dream fulfilled. The New York media insider, too cool for me (and that’s a compliment), blog picked up on the Bon Jovi story and mentioned BEA. They made suggestions for fill in’s for Bon Jovi and offered N’Sync’s Lance Bass. Upon seeing “Lance” I got all a flutter, and not because I’m a boy band groupie, but because for a fleeting moment I thought maybe my name would grace the hallowed digital pages of Gawker. Alas, it was not to be. But perhaps if I keep blogging with reckless abandon and reaching for clever quips one day I may be Gawker fodder.
Until then, I remain humbly yours,
Cliffs Notes: The full BEA conference program (to date) is now live online. After much struggling and cajoling our IT guys (really just one, Garen - thanks buddy!) have come through and we no longer have to rely on PDF's to relay info via the web! Check it out! BEA's Conference Program At A Glance
Posted by Lance Fensterman at 3:01 AM
Monday, April 9, 2007
I had to cancel the Bon Jovi concert at BEA for Saturday night. Really, after Bon Jovi pulled out, I didn’t have much of a choice! Bon Jovi's book through Flying Dolphin Press (an imprint of Doubleday) has been delayed by a year or more, which means he will not make himself available for BEA's Saturday night fundraiser. You have no idea how disappointed I am by the development, but at the same time, I know that Flying Dolphin is even more disappointed.
We decided not to stage the event with only Amy Grant (another Flying Dolphin author) as staging a musical event is quite expensive. It was not realistic for one book to shoulder those kinds of marketing costs or for our charitable partners to have a diminished return.
This came completely out of the blue late last week and I think the publisher was just as shocked as we were by the development. I feel terrible for everyone that was looking forward to hearing the band so please accept my apologies. In ten years I don’t think BEA has had an incident where we had to cancel an event in this fashion – my point is, it was bound to happen at some juncture and no one is at fault here it’s just the way our business works from time to time.
So what now? I issued a formal release to the media this afternoon so you’ll read all about it tomorrow in the trades. Anyone who bought tickets will be automatically refunded within 30 days. I have decided to keep our lease on Town Hall for a few weeks and see if any other marquee performers emerge as a late add to a fall list. BEA has done a pretty good job of creating great events on Saturday night, so the bar is set high, but publishers have a track record of dropping big names onto the fall list at the last minute.
Besides our customers I also feel ad for letting down the ABFFE and Get Caught Reading, the recipients of the proceeds from the event. The good news is that the Rock Bottom Remainders on Friday night at Webster Hall that will support the same causes (all proceeds from our autographing program also support ABFFE and Get Caught Reading).
Sorry for the bad news everyone......
Posted by Lance Fensterman at 4:22 PM
Sunday, April 8, 2007
Happy Easter....Did you hunt for eggs this weekend? I spent Sunday in Brooklyn at a friend's house with a group of playwrights and stand up comedians. It was an odd but funny Easter full of self promotion and YouTube references.
Speaking of self promotion, I was honored to be invited as a speaker at the Publishers Lunch Club last week. The Publishers Lunch Club, founded 75 years ago by Henry Holt meets monthly at The Yale Club. Over the past two years, luncheon speakers have included Malcolm Gladwell, David Brooks, Sam Tanenhaus, David Remnick (the head of Ingram), Jim Kelly from Time, Inc, and Cathie Black, the President of Hearst.....and me. Yeah, but no pressure. I thought perhaps the invitation to speak that came from Steve Ross, Publisher at Crown, was all a set up - but no, it was legit, and a great time. I spoke to the group of publishers about my plans for the 2007 BEA and how they fit with my vision for BEA for years to come. However, before I spoke I lunched next to Ursla Springer, the former owner of Springer Publishing, and she was a hoot (that's a very Midwestern phrase, sorry!). She has since sold Springer, but prior to selling entertained many offers to which her response was "You can buy me lunch, but not my company". After each luncheon she takes home the leftover chicken or salmon as a treat for her cat. You have to love this business; I sat unsuspected eating my lunch and who know that the former head of Springer sitting next to me was stashing food for her sweet 20-year-old cat. Thanks to Amy Ross from Watson Guptill and Steve Ross at Crown for inviting me.
I got a call early last week from Karen Grigsby Bates at National Public Radio wanting my opinions on Christian fiction. I mentioned to her that the fastest growing genres in fiction are erotica and Christian fiction. She misunderstood me to say Christian erotica, which lead to some funny jokes offline about a pictural bible. Ultimately she interviewed me about the final installment of the Left Behind Series and how it has made christian fiction more mainstream. Click here for the interview on NPR:
Cliffs Notes: The Big Market Villains (aka The Yankees) invade the Metrodome tonight for a 3 game series with my Small Market Heroes (aka The Minnesota Twins). Office bets and bragging rights among the BEA team are sure to ensue! BEA Update: So far registration is up 30% over NYC in 2005 and the show floor is almost sold out. The ABA Hotel is 95% sold out, the BEA hotel block is 85% sold out and the Librarian Hotel is sold out for the first time history. The 2007 show is shaping up to be the biggest in a long long time. Book your hotel now!
Posted by Lance Fensterman at 10:55 PM
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Two quick notes of interest: The Bologna Book Fair has announced it’s dates for next year – March 25-28. Why is this of note? With London Book Fair moving it’s dates for this year, Bologna has been in a tough position being only 7 days away from LBF. This has caused children’s publishers to choose between the two fairs as Bologna is predominantly a children’s book fair. This is good news for both the industry and Bologna as it will create a solid 3 weeks between the two fairs.
Bologna is the only book fair that attendees and exhibitors of BEA rate higher than BEA. Point being, people love the Bologna Book Fair and it would be a shame to see it diminished due to a scheduling issue. Additionally, the Show Director, Roberta Chinni has become a friend and she deserves nothing but good things, and the fair grounds (which also owns the show) was hesitant to provide alternative dates for the fair due to it’s own scheduling – bottom line, this seems to be good for all involved (book fairs, publishers and customers). However it does mean that yet again the international book fair landscape will shift which means the entrenched patterns of buying and selling of international rights will shift yet again.
Lastly, The Hold Steady, a band that has been NYC rock critic darlings of late are in fact a band that sprang from the fertile Minnesota music scene (I myself sprang from the fertile Minnesota literary scene!). They have recorded a version of Take Me Out to the Ballgame exclusively for my Small Market Heroes (aka the Minnesota Twins). Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn admitted that, "Fifty percent of my waking thoughts are about the Twins."
Click here for an MP3 version of The Hold Steady’s version of Take Me Out To The Ballgame.
Posted by Lance Fensterman at 2:29 AM
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
826 Valencia (an offshoot of McSweeney’s to foster creative writing skills in kids age 8-18 on the West Coast) has sold rights to Holt for it's first ever "guide" style book series; one on writing memoirs and another on fiction. Dave Eggers will of course do an introduction and contributions will come from a pretty nice line up of writers including Anthony Swofford, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jonathan Ames, Phillip Lopate, Tobias Wolff, and others.
I may be biased but nothing associated with McSweeney's, loosely or otherwise, has disappointed me. Think about the lineup of writers that have been incubated by that loose knit organization not even counting Eggers himself (Benjamin Kunkel, Sean Wilsey, Stephen Elliot, John Glassie , David Rakoff just to name a couple).
On a related note, the Rock Bottom Remainders will be doing a concert at BEA on Friday night with proceeds going to support 826 NYC (in addition to Get Caught Reading and ABFFE), 826 Valencia's sister organization on the East Coast. Tickets are available at the Rock Bottom Remainders web site.
And to balance out the literary, I also spotted that the film rights have been sold to the crazed astronaut, love triangle story of Lisa Nowak to Granada America. No date on when you'll be able to watch this one at your local movie theatre, but no doubt you'll want to race to the theatre without even stopping for a bathroom break.
On that note.........
Posted by Lance Fensterman at 1:59 AM
Monday, April 2, 2007
Busy weekend due to a parental visit, so forgive the Cliffs Notes version this morning (somehow I think you'll get over it).......
Check out the Shelfari sidebar to the right. I've written about Shelfari before and as of Friday have struck a deal with them to form a cool BEA litblog-based event. Check this blog for further details to be announced in the coming weeks. Or better yet, join me on Shelfari today! And, as you can see, you can add your shelf to a blog. On my shelf is a random selection of a few books old and new that I like - use the scroll feature to see more. I haven't yet taken the needed 3 days off to upload all of my "shelf" but check out ABA's Len Vlahos's shelf - he's stacked (not that he took 3 days off, he's probably just more efficient than I am)! Stay tuned for an exciting online-based event soon to be launched by BEA and Shelfari and until then, flip through my virtual pages.
Good luck to Dave Weich of Powell's who starts shooting the groundbreaking film based on Ian McEwan's work this week. The film will be simultaneously screened around the country this summer, at over 60 participating bookstores. I had lunch with Dave on Saturday (more precisely, I ate and he watched) and we discussed possibly screening the film at BEA and doing a panel talk. It should be cool as McEwan will already be speaking on one of our author panels. This project is quite exciting. It was invigorating to hear Dave discuss a few of the online initiatives he is working on at Powell's, the film being not the least of the schemes.
The news out of Paris from the Salon du Livre book fair is that European publishers are deeply enmeshed in their own battle over the future of content in the emerging digital world. With Google and it's European 'Vice-Roy' Jens Redmer who are not surprisingly in the middle of it all (and now planning a visit to the Prague Book Fair) but certainly not alone in the fray. The French are planning their own scanning program as is a German initiative from Boersenverein but both are finding somewhat limited support. Some publishers in Europe such as VHPS and Random House are electing to go their own way on the issue while Springer has elected to work with Google. What does all this mean? The European battlefield over digital content is just as messy as the one in the States.
Oddly enough, Amazon's Search Inside seems to have stayed out of the fray - at least for now. Interesting that this has become a very "European issue" even though the central player (Google) is a distinctly American company. I'd love to find an angle for BEA to tackle this issue in discussions across national and corporate lines. Hey, I've still got 9 weeks, maybe we can pull something together!