The Costs of Low-Cost Ebook Conversion

shutterstock_166102289When publishers first turned their back-lists over to cheap digital conversion houses, “they did the right thing for the wrong reason,” according to one industry insider.

“It allowed them to enter a new market quickly and with low initial investment,” software engineer and ebook developer Benjamin Denckla writes for Publishing Perspectives. But publishers must think of ebooks as software, and all software needs to be updated.

That need grows more glaring as e-reading technologies develop, while many of the earliest ebook files remain hampered by the limitations of first-generation e-readers.

It’s a problem that involves fixing lingering typos but encompasses much more, and, as Denckla sees it, it’s a first step toward the pushing the entire ebook business forward.

Much more.

Related: Raising the Bar on Digital Content: Q&A with DBA Program Director Anne Kostick

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Amazon Publisher Departs (PW)
Daphne Durham will leave her role as as publisher of adult trade and children’s at Amazon Publishing next month, an exit that comes a month after the departure of senior editor Ed Park for Penguin Press. Durham is to be succeeded by Amazon Publishing’s head of global marketing.

Jumping to Conclusions About Kindle Unlimited (The Digital Reader)
There’s been considerable criticism in recent weeks–notably by best-selling author H. M. Ward–that Amazon’s subscription-based Kindle Unlimited service is shrinking authors’ paychecks. While that may turn out to be true, The Digital Reader points out why it could be too soon to tell whether Kindle Unlimited is actually the culprit.
Related: Subscription Ebooks Enter Act Two–Weighing the Model for Authors and Publishers at DBW15

Ebook Series Still Paying off (DBW)
As ebook publishers continue experimenting with discoverability solutions, one model seems as reliable as ever. Book series are as old as books themselves, but at least from the looks of the Ebook Best-Seller List, the model is still among the most effective ways to keep readers coming back in the digital age. Nearly half of this week’s top-25 ebooks belong in a series.
Related: Facing Discoverability Challenges Head-on at DBW15

YouTube Authors a Dead End for Publishers? (Vice)
It’s hardly shocking to learn that YouTube star Zoe Sugg relied on a ghostwriter for help on her debut book with Penguin Random House. The real issue for publishers is whether tapping into talent from the video world is an effective way of reaching younger readers. Here’s a skeptic’s take.

BookBaby Ends Free Distribution (The Digital Reader)
Ebook distributor BookBaby ends a year-long experiment in distributing certain titles free of charge, opting instead for a new package starting at $299.

Library Ebook Lending Looks Ahead (DBW)
Librarians and publishers are still working to bring more ebooks to library patrons, but obstacles remain, with pricing models chief among them. The American Library Association met separately last week with three Big Five publishers to confront some of those issues. The ALA’s Alan S. Inouye reports back.
Related: Simon & Schuster Moves to Widen Library Ebook Program

Amazon: Go on and Haggle! (Time)
Amazon adds a “Make an Offer” button allowing customers to negotiate prices with sellers of certain items, getting in on a game eBay has stood at the center of for years.

Europe Girds for Ebook Pricing Changes (Good E Reader)
Italy and Malta are the first two countries in the European Union to head off changes resulting from a new tax law that will otherwise make ebooks more expensive for many readers. Both reduce their VAT rates on ebooks to single-digits.


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