Trade Revenues Sag Under Weight of Absent Titles

Graphic by Todd Goldstein.

Graphic by Todd Goldstein.

Wondering why ebook growth in 2013 seems so sluggish after years of explosive gains? Blame books that aren’t there.

So far in 2013, there hasn’t been a title or series to match last year’s huge sales of The Hunger Games or Fifty Shades of Grey — and nobody is afraid to say so.

Earlier in August, Barnes & Noble blamed its poor performance on the two series. Bricks-and-mortar competitor Books-A-Million did the same this week (below). The AAP mentioned the young-adult series in its monthly report on book sales revenue, underscoring a nearly 50% drop in children’s ebook revenue for the year through April.

It just goes to show that disappointment is relative. Read more.


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Kobo Launches Fleet of New Devices (DBW)
International ebook retailer and device-maker Kobo has launched a new fleet of e-reading and tablet devices along with an ebook store for children and a partnership with content aggregator Pocket — all aimed at helping Kobo win the fight for “people who have reading at the center of their lives,” according to Kobo chief content officer, Michael Tamblyn.

Amazon Launches in-App Purchasing (DBW)
Amazon has launched in-app purchasing for its app market, meaning that developers will now be able to integrate sales of Amazon goods into their apps. Related: New Ebook Sales Channel — Selling in Games Through Stores.

Barnes & Noble Retail Chief Sells Shares (Pub Lunch)
Mitchell Klipper, Barnes & Noble’s head of its retail division, has sold about two-thirds of his stake in the company for nearly $6 million. On the one hand, he’s done it before throughout his B&N career. On the other, the timing isn’t great considering the company’s recent woes. Related: Does Barnes & Noble Leadership Still Believe in the Business?

BAM Slammed (DBW)
Books-A-Million saw its earnings dwindle in the second quarter as it failed to come up with replacement revenue and profits in absence of The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey.

Another Publisher Goes Bundle (PW)
Following Oakland, Calif.’s PW Press, small publisher Morgan James Publishing will start to bundle an ebook with every print title it sells, starting in mid-September.

McGraw-Hill Education CEO Retires (WSJ)
After only 18 months on the job, McGraw-Hill Education CEO Lloyd Waterhouse will be retiring. The company said his departure is due to “a combination of personal and professional reasons.”


Kindle Paperwhite Out of Stock (The Digital Reader)
Supplies of the Kindle Paperwhite are “running low,” which may indicate that Amazon intends to launch an upgraded version of the popular e-reader when it comes out with its new line of devices this fall. Or it could be phasing out the Paperwhite altogether.


Digital Art Books Still Struggle (PW)
You might file this under the “dog bites man” header, but art books still haven’t found much of a footing in the digital publishing world.


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