RH Modifies Digital Contracts

Reacting to criticism from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and other groups about the terms for its new digital imprints, Random House has made changes to its contracts. The most significant change is that prospective authors for the Hydra, Alibi, LoveSwept, and Flirt imprints will now be able to choose between two models--the original profit-share deal and a more traditional advance-plus-royalty deal.

Judge Fast-Tracking Indie Suit

Federal Judge Jed Rakoff set an aggressive schedule in Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza Inc. et al. v. Amazon.com Inc. et al., in which indie booksellers are suing Amazon and the big six publishers over their exclusive Kindle agreements. Rakoff gave the plaintiffs until March 21, 2013, to file an amended complaint, and gave the defendants just over two weeks to file any motions to dismiss, now due April 1. A trial could take place in October.

January Bookstore Sales Up

Preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show that bookstore sales hit $2.13 billion in January, up 5.5% compared to January 2012.

Medallion Releases E-reader App

Medallion has released the MMG Sidekick app, an e-book–reading app that will allow consumers to buy and read Medallion Press titles as well as DRM-free titles. The app also comes installed with Medallion Press’s TREEBook technology.

Quarto Sees Transitional Year

Total revenue at Quarto Group slipped 2.8% in 2012 to $180.9 million and EBITDA dipped to $11.4 million from $12.1 million in 2011. Last year saw a changing of the guard at the U.K.-based publisher, when cofounder Laurence Orbach was replaced as chairman by Tim Chadwick; Marcus Leaver, formerly head of Sterling Publishing, took over as chief operating officer in April and was named chief executive in December. Leaver said he will focus on Quarto’s fundamentals in 2013 ahead of building up the company in 2014.

Sylvia Day Lands Seven-Figure Deal

Harlequin will kick off a new e-book program in conjunction with Cosmopolitan called Cosmo Red Hot Reads. The program will launch on August 15 with Afterburn by Sylvia Day; Cosmo Red Hot Reads will also publish another Day book in November called Aftershock. The two-book deal with the bestselling author was made for seven figures.