Amazon Counts Year-End Gains

Amazon Prime Kindle Fire e-readerAmazon reports it has added over 10 million subscribers to its Prime program this holiday season.

While a chunk of those new members will likely drop off after their 30-day free trials expire, most signs indicate that Prime continues to be one of Amazon’s fastest growing products heading into 2015.

The past year saw a battery of new Amazon devices hit the market as well, including the lackluster Fire Phone. But the e-tailer reports that sales of Fire tablets were up three times over last year’s holiday shopping season, and its Kindle e-readers saw a nearly fourfold increase.

As one analyst points out, these strides are critical for Amazon “because, much like Prime subscribers, people who own Amazon devices spend more with the retailer.” The company is likely hoping that will encourage investors after what many saw as a disappointing fourth quarter.


Related: Where Amazon Goes from HereThe Full Forecast at DBW15

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More Amazon Customers Go Mobile (Denver Post)
Amazon says just under 60% of customers placed orders using the company’s mobile app during the holiday shopping rush, more than double the number of those who did so last year.
Related: E-Commerce and E-Reading Going Mobile–Exploring Opportunities at DBW15

Assessing Authors’ Kindle Unlimited Qualms (NYT)
The dissatisfaction voiced by certain authors lately with respect to the payout from Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s ebook subscription service, seems to be growing. In response, Amazon recently added to the pool from which authors are compensated. But as one industry watcher sees it, the bigger question is whether subscription ebooks are cannibalizing title-by-title sales in the market overall.
Related: Look Out for the Latest Data on Authors at DBW15

Kobo Aims to Upsell Erstwhile Sony Loyalists (Good E Reader)
Kobo is reportedly working with the screen manufacturer Wacom to design a new touchscreen display for its next line of e-readers. Considered a key selling point of certain Sony devices, like its professional-grade Digital Paper, Wacom technology could become a tool for Kobo to attract the former Sony customers it acquired when the latter exited the ebook market this year to purchase new Kobo hardware.
Related: Nathan Maharaj, Director of Merchandising at Kobo, Joins DBW15

Apple Widens iBooks Return Policy in EU (Techspot)
Customers in the European Union can now receive refunds on digital content from iTunes, iBooks and the App Store within fourteen days of purchase. Previously, all such sales were final upon the delivery of the content. The change in policy is in response to an EU “Consumer Rights Directive” issued earlier this year.

Wattpad Adds Cover Design Tools (The Digital Reader)
The storytelling platform updates its cover-creation app, which lets authors create mostly rudimentary cover designs for their content.
Related: Hear Live from Wattpad’s Head of Content Ashleigh Gardner at DBW15

OverDrive Passes Digital Checkout Milestone (Teleread)
The number of public libraries that each lent out digital content through OverDrive more than one million times this year may not be staggering: just ten. But last year only six libraries cleared that bar. More year-end stats from OverDrive.
Related: Libraries Push to Widen Digital Lending

Russia Launches National Digital Library (Good E Reader)
Russia says it will roll out an initiative to modernize public libraries across the country next year through a National Digital Library connecting patrons to a much wider selection of digital content and resources.

Librarians Adapting to E-Readers’ Needs (NPR)
Librarians are the original search engines, and in many ways the rise of Google and e-reading haven’t so much diminished their roles as redefined them. Here’s a look at how librarians today are helping driving title discovery as well as offering ad hoc tech support to e-readers.


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