“Most of Amazon’s success is due to their own stellar performance: innovating, investing, executing, and having a vision of what could happen as they grew,” writes Mike Shatzkin. Moreover, most of what Amazon has done to boost its business has “benefited most publishers and helped them grow their sales and their profitability.”
These two points, according to Shatzkin, cannot be ignored by those who criticize Amazon’s business practices.
And with Amazon’s new feature allowing authors to better connect with their readers, Shatzkin says the company is continuing to innovate and do more for authors than publishers currently are.
In Shatzkin’s view, “the single most important thing an author would want to tell his/her fans is ‘I’ve got a new book coming’ and Amazon has handled that.”
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Amazon Posts Unexpected Profit, Stock Takes Off (New York Times)
Amazon reported a rare profit for the second quarter–19 cents a share–and its stock immediately took off. The company’s revenue also shot up, increasing 20 percent to $23.19 billion. One key reason for Amazon’s recent success is its cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, whose revenue rose 81 percent from a year ago.
Amazon Refunds Customers After Ebook Antitrust Settlement (CNBC)
Some customers who bought ebooks through Amazon received credits to their accounts on Thursday. The credits, which were the result of a 2013 antitrust legal settlement over alleged ebook price fixing, were funded by the publishers involved in the case, including HarperCollins, Hachette and Penguin.
Barnes & Noble’s Yuzu App Adds New Features (The Digital Reader)
Yuzu, Barnes & Noble’s digital textbook app, received an update this week with a host of new features, including cross-device syncing and editable notes. Barnes & Noble launched Yuzu in April of last year, and this week’s update is the app’s first significant upgrade.
University of Iowa Libraries to Digitize Fan Fiction (Library Journal)
In the last few years, the University of Iowa’s libraries have received numerous collections from lifelong sci-fi fans and avid collectors, amounting to thousands of volumes of both professionally produced titles as well as fan-made content. Now, the UI libraries are working to preserve those works by digitizing them and creating a searchable database.
Pearson Will Sell FT Group to Nikkei (Pub Lunch)
Pearson announced that it will sell the FT Group to Nikkei for £844 million, or about $1.3 billion. The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter. According to Pearson CEO John Fallon, “Pearson will now be 100 percent focused on our global education strategy.”
UK Booksellers to Get Digital Proofs (The Bookseller)
Through a new partnership with the Booksellers Association and NetGalley, UK booksellers will receive access to digital proofs from over 50 publishers, including Bonnier, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House and Pan Macmillan. According to Meryl Halls, head of membership services at the BA, digital proofs “are an easy, fast and efficient way for new titles to be previewed as early as possible” and will help “drive discovery and sales on the shop floor.”
Educational Technology Going Forward (Library Journal)
“If we want academic librarians to benefit from ed tech then they need training, support, and the opportunity to make ed tech discoveries,” writes this expert in a detailed commentary on the current state of educational technology.