How Kobo Kicked Google’s Butt

koboIn the first month of selling ebooks with Kobo, indie bookstores sold more ebooks than in two years selling them in a similar partnership with Google.
The key to Kobo’s success? Devices, say about a dozen bookstore owners we interviewed for this story. Having a device to sell in the store makes it easier to explain and then sell ebooks for the indie booksellers.
There’s a problem, however, a big problem. While Kobo ebooks way outsold Google ebooks, the overall numbers aren’t inspiring. The most successful bookstores have sold a few hundred devices and a few hundred ebooks. At the profit margins Kobo is offering bookstores, that doesn’t add up to enough profit to pay bills or salaries.
Still, booksellers are optimistic. Selling ebooks with Kobo gives them a fighting chance to succeed in the ebook revolution rather then be swept away by it.
Read much more.

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The rest of the day’s top news:
Kobo CEO: Doubling Down on E-Readers (DBW)

Kobo CEO Mike Serbinis told us that his company is now the No. 2 seller of e-readers in the world behind Amazon. The reason is that the company focused on moving the devices as its competitors transitioned to tablets. Read much more in this wide-ranging interview, including what advice Serbinis would give Barnes & Noble.
Shift From E-Readers to Tablets Continues (DBW)
For the first time ever in the closely watched Consumers Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey, more respondents reported preferring to read ebooks on tablets than those who reported preferring to read ebooks on e-readers. This trend is set to continue.
Ebook Retailer BooksOnBoard Suspends Service (The Digital Reader)
Small ebook retailer BooksOnBoard has “temporarily” shut down its service while it retools its business plan in the face of competition from Amazon and others. Publishers had also complained of non-payment, which is usually not a good business practice.
Bella Andre: Retaining Ebook Rights (DBW)
Hugh Howey grabbed headlines this winter when he signed a massive deal with Simon & Schuster for just the print rights to his Wool series. It was a much-ballyhooed deal but it wasn’t the first of its kind. Best-selling author Bella Andre sold the print rights to her Sullivan series to Harlequin in Oct., beating Howey’s Dec. deal by just a few months. Hear her story here, as told by the author herself. Related: Why Hugh Howey Didn’t Sell His Ebook Rights.

The Problem With Ebooks Today (Gizmodo)
Ebooks are great and stuff, but they’re in a very early stage, according to Kane Hsieh at Gizmodo. The next level is ebooks that have user experience innovations – and he’s probably talking about more than just swiping to turn a page.  
Department of Duh: Royalties Driving Open Road-HarperCollins Lawsuit (PW)
The higher royalties that Open Road offered to pay Jean Craighead George to publish Julie of the Wolves as an ebook is at the center of the Open Road-HarperCollins lawsuit over the ebook rights for the title. So, the lawsuit is, ultimately, about money.
EU Okays Penguin-Random House Deal (Pub Lunch)
The last boulder in the Random House-Penguin mega merger has been obliterated as the EU has signed off on the deal. Next up in news about the deal, layoffs?
Apple Does China’s Dirty Work (CNet)
Bowing to pressure from the Chinese government, Apple has removed an ebook app from its store. The app allows users to download and read ten classic Chinese books in ebook format, three of which are by a controversial author in the eyes of the authorities.  
Ebook Averse France to Digitize 60,000 Out-of-Print Titles (The Digital Reader)
Despite resistance by the French people to ebooks, the country’s institutions won’t be left behind. The national library of France will be digitizing 60,000 out-of-print titles. However, the move doesn’t come without controversy. There are those in France who believe the law that made the move possible is unconstitutional.
Good, Cheap, Quick Ebooks (Pub Perspectives)
The idea of a la carte ebook-buying has been around for a while but nobody has been able to figure out how to make it a viable business. Start-up Slicebooks is taking another cut at it.

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