Another Contender to Knockout Heavyweight Amazon?

We’ve heard about several new e-bookstore start-ups that promise to challenge Amazon.
To name a few: Zola (launched in Oct.-Nov.); reKiosk (launched in August); Booksliced (launched in June); and Bookish (yet to launch). None of them have reported to us great success in the endeavor, yet.
And then there’s Kobo, which is trying to out-expand Amazon internationally; Barnes & Noble, which is doing battle with it in the U.S. (though not terribly successfully, by recent accounts); Apple, which hasn’t dazzled publishers with its e-tail strategy; and Sony and Google, which are thought to have a very small slice of the U.S. ebook market – one that isn’t growing.
And now we have another: German start-up Txtr, famous here for its $13 e-reader, has linked up with ReaderLink to create a new e-bookstore platform for retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco, among others. The pair also plan on offering an e-reading device that the retailers can sell in their stores to spur ebook buying.
It sounds promising, the bricks-and-mortar retail giants of the U.S. entering the ebook marketplace, making it more dynamic. It remains to be seen whether they can actually pull it off.

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The rest of the day’s top news:
Meanwhile, Amazon’s Stock Price Hits All-Time High (The Verge)
Investors sent Amazon stock soaring yesterday as it hit an all-time high and closed just hair below it.
Amazon Making UK Indie Authors Rich (DBW)
In its short time in the UK, Amazon has made eleven UK indie authors fairly wealthy through its Kindle Direct program. Still, the numbers are much more modest than some we’ve seen in the U.S.
New COO at Macmillan (PW)
Andrew Weber, Macmillan’s new global trade chief operating officer, has experience in both the publishing industry and e-commerce. He effectively replaces Brian Napack, who left the company over a year ago, and will report to CEO John Sargent.
Related: Napack is now a senior advisor at private-equity firm Providence Equity Partners. Hear him speak at DBW 2013 on 1/16 at 11:40 A.M. about investing in the publishing industry.

Countdown to Settlement (PW)
A timetable for Penguin to enter into its settlement over alleged ebook price-fixing with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Building Ebook ‘Lines’ (DBW)
RosettaBooks is experimenting with ebook “lines,” defined to by a single source of rich content from an established brand – a series. Here’s some advice from Rosetta’s founder on what makes a successful “line.” Related: Harvard Health Teams up With RosettaBooks on Ebook Series

McGraw-Hill’s New ‘SmartBook’ (WSJ)
A new kind of digital textbook from McGraw-Hill adapts to its readers by asking them a series of questions throughout the text. It is meant to design learning experiences for unique to individual students.
Elsevier Acquires Knovel (PW)
Scientific, technical and medical publisher Elsevier is beefing up its offerings with Knovel, a digital reference service for engineers that aggregates content from some 800 publishers.
A Digital Solution for Illustrated Publishers? (Forbes)
One interesting game plan for digital illustrated publishers puts their books in a proprietary store/library app, giving them control of their distribution channel as well as customer data. There are definite drawbacks, however.
Ebooks in Croatia (DBW)
The ebook market in Croatia is small. Government and industry are trying to grow it but there are many hurdles. That said, the small, Eastern European country is, like the rest of us, on the inexorable march toward e-reading.
If Liz Lemon Blurbed Books (BookRiot)
Liz Lemon, the main character in TV’s 30 Rock (played by Tina Fey), has a sharp wit. If only she would use her powers of eloquence for blurbing books….


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