Week 44/19 – week ending 1 November

Audible looks to end Captions copyright lawsuit in US

Lawyers for Audible say the legal action against its Captions programme could soon be over after making a proposal that could “moot” the ongoing lawsuit brought against it by seven US publishers, in a letter to the court.

US publishers, including Association of American Publishers (AAP) members Chronicle Books, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster, launched a lawsuit in August against Audible’s Captions programme, which allows US customers to read along to their audiobooks.

The publishers argue the speech-to-text feature violates copyright law, and also called for a preliminary injunction to stop their works from being used in the feature, which Amazon’s audiobook company had planned to roll out in September.

Now lawyers for Audible have asked the court handling the lawsuit to suspend considering two pending motions in the case until the end of the month, saying they believe their proposal “moots” the publishers’ lawsuit.

The letter states: “Audible has made a proposal to plaintiffs concerning a potential final resolution of the lawsuit. Audible believes this proposal moots the lawsuit. Plaintiffs are considering that proposal but have not yet responded. Accordingly we respectfully request that the court suspend consideration of the pending motions for a week in order to preserve the status quo pending the parties’ discussions. We will advise the court of the progress of the of those discussions on or before October 30, 2019.”

Earlier this month, judge Valerie Caproni rejected Audible’s request for a settlement conference to be overseen by a federal magistrate judge. In September, Audible insisted the court should reject the copyright lawsuit, arguing it is a contract issue instead.

The AAP declined to comment further but told The Bookseller the proposal is “under discussion” and they do not believe it will “moot the suit”.

Bertram rolls out new virtual inventory project

Bertram Group, the global book wholesaler, has rolled out a new virtual inventory project, that aims to give customers access to more titles held by its supply chain partners.

With its Norwich warehouse stocking around 1.5m books and up to 18m books in its catalogue, Bertrams will now showcase its full catalogue from supply chain partners online. Customers will still be able to order from Bertrams in exactly the same way; whether that be through bertrams.com, a direct product feed, or through the Bertrams instore retail system, ‘Bertline’.  Stock held by Bertrams’ supply chain partners will appear as ‘Extended Range’ titles across all distribution channels.

The initiative was developed in response to growing demand for better stock availability, clearer delivery information, increased range and competitive prices.

Bertram Group c.e.o. Raj Patel said: “Our single stock holding solution isn’t always able to meet the ever-growing needs of our customers. I know our customers demand a greater range of titles which are competitively priced.  In recognition of this, alongside other warehousing., purchasing and logistics efficiency projects implemented earlier this year, we’ve now created an extended range of titles using stock held by our supply chain partners, available seamlessly through our own sales order platform.  Our vision, to be the ‘Global Bookseller of Choice’, means offering customers the best possible buying choices for their business.”

Hackney bookshop Telling Tales moves into canal boat

Independent bookshop Telling Tales has moved aboard a purpose-built canal boat to roam through London’s canals and beyond.

Work started on the boat in summer 2018 and then the store and and specialist in illustrated children’s books left its premises Hackney, London earlier in the year. The 60x12ft widebeam boat was launched earlier this month and will operate as a roving trader licensed by the Canal & River Trust (CRT). There will be a focus on Telling Tales home borough of Hackney and neighbouring boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Islington, mostly travelling along the Regents Canal, Paddington Arm, Limehouse Cut and Lea Navigation. There are also plans to travel north to Hertford and as far west as Bath or Bristol.

The store aims to use the boat to share passion for illustrated books with a wider audience and hold various activities including craft workshops and cinema screenings.

The boat has been designed specifically for the purpose of bookselling, Telling Tales said. “It offers an adaptable space to convert from shop, to workshop and event space. The hull has been crafted by expert boat builders and has been fit-out by The Fitout Pontoon, an industry leading team whose 15 years boat building experience is supported by backgrounds in product and furniture design as well as shopfitting.”


The store added: “The design of the boat provides built-in shelving to showcase books at child height, additional headroom, a roof window and reading nooks for children. Materials such as Birch plywood have been chosen to provide a modern and light environment which is welcoming to both children and their parents. The boat is fitted with a kitchen and Espresso machine and serves great coffee.”

Telling Tales’ visual identity was developed by agency NotOnSunday with the logo of the boat by turning the S of “Tales” into a wave.

Telling Tales was founded and is independently run by Daisy Hollings. It is also part of Line, a digital studio which has worked with authors and publishers since 2002. Line’s publishing related ventures include Another Read, a platform to promote children’s authors and illustrators.

Visit tellingtales.com or lineindustries.com for more information.