When the rumors late last year that Amazon would be opening physical stores didn’t materialize in time for the holiday season, few expected that would be the end of it.
Recent reports now say the e-tailer is talking with RadioShack about moving into some of its stores as the gadget retailer totters toward bankruptcy.
Some suspect Amazon still wants physical locations in order to better promote its devices, like last year’s Fire Phone, which may have struggled to gain traction with consumers in part because there was no way to try it out in person.
RadioShack maintains over 4,000 locations in the U.S. but plans to sell as many as it can before closing the remainder. Should Amazon snag a portion of them, the company may be better positioned to square off against Apple on consumer electronics.
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Amazon Opens Staffed Bookstore at Purdue (TechCrunch)
Amazon opens a Purdue University location, its first permanent physical retail operation to be staffed by Amazon employees. Customers can purchase inventory online then pick up their orders at an Amazon-run counter. That may not count as an actual “store,” but the model could give some hints as to what it might do with the RadioShack locations it’s said to be pursuing.
Amazon Launches Paid Ebook Conversion Tool (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Though not intended for commercial use, Amazon’s new conversion tool, Kindle Convert, is its first ebook app to come with a price-tag. Priced at $19 and available to U.S.-based users only, the app turns scans of printed material into Kindle ebooks. The resulting files can’t be put on sale in the Kindle Store, but the tool does show Amazon experimenting afresh with paid ebook services on the heels of its better-than-anticipated earnings last week.
Perseus Restructuring Finally Concludes (Pub Lunch)
The private equity firm Centre Lane Partners takes control of Perseus LLC, including the assets of Perseus Book Group, bringing to an end the publisher’s restructuring odyssey. Here are the details.
Fourth Quarter Tablet Sales Shrink (Business Insider)
New research suggests global tablet shipments in the fourth quarter of 2014 tallied 76.1 million units, for a year-over-year drop of 3.2%–the first such decline since 2010. Of all the major tablet manufacturers, Amazon looks to be the hardest hit.
To Resurrect a Mockingbird (Pub Lunch)
The original manuscript of the unpublished novel that gave rise to Harper Lee’s landmark To Kill a Mockingbird was rediscovered last year. Called Go Set a Watchman, the book is in Lee’s words “essentially a sequel” to her best-known work and will be published by HarperCollins this July–leading one publisher to remark, “We can close the book on the best-selling novel of 2015.”
Book Veterans Launch Publishing Start-up (PW)
Andy Hunter and Elizabeth Koch, the co-founders, respectively, of Electric Literature and Black Balloon, team up to launch Catapult, a new publishing start-up that subsumes Black Balloon as an imprint and brings in former Little, Brown editor Pat Strachan as editor-in-chief.
Ebook Sales Down in November (Pub Lunch)
For a second month running, ebook sales declined in November 2014, according to the latest monthly figures from the Associate of American Publishers. Children’s and young adult ebooks fell nearly $5 million, but Publishers Lunch points out the category is “likely returning to more normal levels, with a difficult comp to late 2013 when Veronica Roth’s ebooks were taking off.”
Digital Book World 2015 Presentations Released (DBW)
Miss out on the Digital Book World Conference + Expo last month? Seventeen presentations from some of the event’s key sessions are now available here. For more, check out this roundup of conference coverage.
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