Competitions, collaboration and competitiveness

A few pieces of news via the Bookseller (9 Feb edition).

The wiki novel by Penguin is apparently getting more than 100 edits an hour, by 7 February having mushroomed into at least 3 separate novels. The project began on 31 January so heaven knows what it is like now, although the site is now being closed for a few hours each day to avoid overloads. I don’t think I can bear to go and look.

National Book Tokens has opened a "not yet published" competition, open to all unpublished booksellers in the UK and Ireland who are aspiring authors. Submissions must be no more than 10,00o words and the deadline is 29 June 2007. The prize is a publishing contract with Faber. If you are an Amazon marketplace seller, I wonder if you are eligible? If so, it will increase the potential number of entries rather dramatically.

Writing of Amazon, the company is under fire for selling US editions of books through its UK site. Publishers are upset at this practice because it violates their international rights agreements. It seems that it is Amazon marketplace sellers who are to blame, rather than Amazon itself, and a digital solution is being sought (I didn’t fully understand it but get the drift). I am not sure what I think of this; the law is the law of course, but  it is very frustrating to have to wait a year for a mass market paperback to be published in the UK when it is already available on the US Amazon site, and can legally be purchased if you are prepared to pay the same price in international postage as the cover price of the book and wait 4-6 weeks.  I  can’t believe that a huge number of sales happen via US editions being sold on the UK Amazon site; I suspect the purchasers are a relatively small number of  enthusiasts that is not going to dent the sales figures of a UK launch of a title.  No figures are given in the Bookseller article.