Amazon’s influence in the distribution landscape is familiar to everyone in digital publishing, not least because it was on display throughout much of the past year during the e-tailer’s standoff with Hachette.
But Amazon occupies a slightly different–if no less considerable–position in the market for smaller publishers and self-published authors.
As Georgia McBride, founder of Georgia McBride Media Group, observes, those groups “are forced to choose an Amazon-only or Amazon-centric approach to pushing their ebooks into the market.” While Big Five publishers are working to establish additional distribution channels, others tend to have fewer options.
In McBride’s view, “It would serve us all well to gain a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of all-in traditional vs. hybrid self-digital distribution. Not exploring these options can be the difference between a big digital release and one that fails to meet expectations.”
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Four Changes in the Metadata Landscape (DBW)
Book metadata systems and technology are opening up new opportunities for authors and publishers, but it can be difficult determining how best to take advantage of them. Here are four to look out for heading into 2015.
Related: Get up to Speed on Metadata Essentials and Industry Best Practices
Bookmate Takes Subscription Ebooks to Asia (DBW)
The Moscow-based subscription ebook and social e-reading platform Bookmate launches in Singapore, in what the company’s founder Simon Dunlop calls “a significant first step in increasing Bookmate’s footprint in Southeast Asia.”
Related: What’s Next for Subscription Ebooks?
Amazon’s Plans for the Future of E-Reading (The Verge)
In a series of interviews with The Verge, leaders at Amazon’s Lab126, where the next generation of Kindle technology is being designed and tested, sketch out the company’s vision for the future of e-reading.
Is Walmart Eyeing Nook? (Seeking Alpha)
It depends who you ask. Some think it’s a ludicrous idea; others don’t. One analyst weighs the chances that Walmart will scoop up Barnes & Noble’s ebook business against the retailer’s broader ambitions at competing with Amazon on digital turf.
How Mobile Innovations Could Threaten Amazon (NYT)
From the looks of things now, it seems like a long-shot: that an ambitious start-up in the mobile space–where the Fire Phone has flopped–could become the next David to Amazon’s Goliath. Then again, that’s how disruption works.
First Glimpse at a New Children’s Tablet (PW)
A new Android-running tablet called the Fable aims to carve out a space in the children’s market with its “child-friendly, juice-proof” device, set to launch in March 2015. Fablet provides access to a catalog of digital content in English, Spanish and Portuguese, with some titles preloaded.
Related: The Latest Data on Children’s E-Reading at Publishers Launch Kids Conference at DBW15 | E-Reading Devices to Top Kids’ Gifts This Holiday Season
Budget E-Readers Curbing Quality, Competition? (Good E Reader)
In one industry watcher’s estimation, the major device makers’ efforts to push out affordable e-readers is causing a “race to the bottom” that “has not only limited consumer options, but…effectively edged out smaller companies that offer alternative e-readers.”
Humble Bundle Has a Good Year (PW)
The DRM-free ebook bundling platform that lets users contribute to charities of their choosing raked in $4.75 million in 2014, the bulk of which came from digital comics.