Publishers, Who’s Your Customer?

shutterstock_179066192That’s the salient question the past year’s events pose for publishers, according to author and founder Seth Godin.

“Is it the bookstore? The New York Times? Amazon? The reader?”

If the bitter contract dispute between Hachette and Amazon pushed that question to the fore, the standoff didn’t exactly answer it. Both companies made impassioned arguments on behalf of readers, but it was clear from the start there were more than just readers’ interests at stake.

As Godin sees it, “it’s a no-brainer” that Amazon’s influence will continue to grow, which could impact how publishers answer the crucial customer question.


Related: Seth Godin Joins DBW15 to Discuss What Comes Next in Digital Publishing

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CBS Head Praises Simon & Schuster’s Amazon Deal (PW)
Leslie Moonves says the new contract Simon & Schuster inked with Amazon, which restores the publisher’s  right to set ebook prices, is “much more reasonable” and better for authors overall. And on the question of mergers and acquisitions, Moonves also added, “We’re not looking to buy or sell.”
Related: How Simon & Schuster’s Amazon Deal Changes the Math

Amazon Developing Mobile Games (The Verge)
Expanding its push into original content, Amazon partners with major game studios to develop premium mobile games. Why? According to one observer, “Amazon wanted its own big, flashy games to help showcase its latest tablets.”

Teen Ebook Buying Lags (DBW)
Nielsen finds teens aren’t picking up ebooks as much as older readers are, even though children’s and young adult titles continue to drive growth overall in the publishing industry. There are a number of possible factors at play, but one area it appears publishers may still have some work to do is in leveraging social media to drive discovery.
Related: Rethinking Social Media in Book Marketing | Inside the Children’s and YA Markets at DBW15

Capstone Bundles Kids’ Ebooks (PW)
Capstone Young Readers partners with ten independent bookstores to launch a pilot program offering select bundles of the publisher’s print and digital titles.

Revenues up at Wiley (The Bookseller)
John Wiley & Sons reports half-year revenue is up 5% over last year, but the publisher expects restructuring costs to be reflected in its third quarter results.

Google Takes Rental Ebooks to South Korea (The Digital Reader)
To put it mildly, the market for rented ebooks hasn’t quite taken off, but some are continuing to experiment with the model nonetheless. In the latest move in that direction, Google Play expands its rental offering to South Korea.

Where to Sell Foreign Ebook Rights (Pub Perspectives)
The global licensing landscape is shifting, and determining which markets to devote limited resources to can be a challenge for ebook publishers. Here’s why, according to one industry insider, Brazil and Asia are worth watching closely.

Sony Updates Digital Paper E-Reader (Good E Reader)
Sony gives its large e-paper e-reader a firmware update, improving existing functionality and adding a range of new capabilities.


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