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Briefs: Emeritus Pope Benedict's 'Last Testament'; Rakuten Takes Minority Stake in getAbstract; and More

Forthcoming Bloomsbury will publish Emeritus Pope Benedict's Last Testament worldwide in November, in which the retired pope will formally break his silence after being the first Pope to resign from his position in 750 years. Bloomsbury says Pope Benedict will address "controversies and reveals how at his late age, governing…

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Announcements: PRH Pairs with InstaFreebie, Amazon Gets Permission to Test Drone Functions In UK

The Random House Publishing Group has joined HarperCollins in working with InstaFreebie to promote pre-publication book excerpts. (Harper acquired The Midlist, a deals email newsletter run by InstaFreebie's parent company, last October.) InstaFreebie currently reaches approximately 300,000 consumers and delivers excerpts via email, providing optional social DRM -- which RHPG is using…

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Briefs: Johnson's Book on Shakespeare Delayed or Cancelled, and More

Newly appointed UK foreign secretary and Brexit campaign leader Boris Johnson's forthcoming book on Shakespeare, scheduled for release on November 15 from Hodder & Stoughton and Riverhead, will not be published this year, and may not be published at all according to the Daily Mail. They report Johnson "is believed…

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Briefs: Amazon's Inspire; Nook Press's Print Platform

Attentive readers will remember that back in February we were the first to write about Amazon K-12 Education, a unit working on "improving the education of students with services for teachers, students and parents." Those efforts were focused on "building a large discoverable library of open educational resources for K-12 teachers…

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Briefs: Empresa's New Books Division; Amazon Updates Kindle; and More

Czech media conglomerate Empresa has launched a books division, Publishing Perspectives reports. The company released its first three titles this month and expects to publish 15 titles by the end of 2016. Empresa already owns an online bookstore which sells more than 170,000 titles by over 4,000 publishers. Amazon released…

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Hachette UK Acquires Neon Play

Hachette UK announced they have acquired Neon Play, a British-based mobile games development company. Co-owners Oli Christie, Mark Allen and their team will continue to be based in Cirencester running Neon Play as a stand-alone business under the Hachette UK umbrella, reporting to Richard Kitson. Hachette UK ceo Tim Hely…

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People, Etc.

Meghan Deans will join Ecco on June 13 as marketing director. She has been at Little, Brown, most recently as director of social media. At Clarkson Potter, Kim Tyner has been promoted to assistant production director. Harper Christian reports that longtime employee and vp of custom product development Joseph "Scott" Harvey, 52, died…

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Macmillan Acquires Pronoun (FKA As Vook, Plus Booklr and Byliner)

Macmillan announced on Thursday that they have acquired Pronoun, the pivoted version of the company that began life as Vook (originally creating ebooks with embedded videos) in 2009 and over the years incorporated Booklr and Byliner. In its latest incarnation, Pronoun's focus has been an ebook distribution platform for authors that has…

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Briefs: BookBub to Offer Paid Ads; Applebaum, Potash Honored; and More

Initiatives BookBub, which promotes selected ebook price deals as paid promotions, is now starting to add paid advertisements as well. (Advertised books do not need to be discounted, or subject to BookBub's other criteria for editorial filtering.) Pricing is based on CPM auctions. Awards The annual UJA-Federation of New York…

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Waterstones Exits eBooks and Digital Audio; Transfers Customers to Kobo

Waterstones is giving up on ebooks again and -- perhaps more importantly in the long-term, also walking away from the still-growing digital audio market. The company told their digital media customers by email and posted site notice that "the Waterstones digital download store is closing," and digital files are no…

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