Bookstore owners already loathe Amazon for gutting the cost of books online and driving so many brick and mortar shops out of business. Now, the online retailer is both beating them and joining them, with the opening of its first physical bookstore in Seattle.
Amazon Books, as the new store is called, will be like any other Main Street bookstore (remember those?), except that Amazon will use the troves of data it collects from its online customers to stock the shelves. That means its book displays will feature real Amazon book reviews, and the store will showcase books that have amassed the most pre-orders online. The books will also come with Amazon’s trademark low price tags.
It can afford those cut-rate prices, of course, because Amazon Books is as much a bookstore as it is a billboard. Amazon’s not suddenly betting big on the bookstore business, and it certainly doesn’t need the store to be a success in order for Amazon to succeed. It’s better to think of Amazon Books as a giant advertisement. If it makes a little extra money for a $294.7 billion company, all the better.
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The Optimized Publisher: Heading Tags (DBW)
In a blog post for Digital Book World, Murray Izenwasser discusses the importance of heading tags for a publisher’s website. “Heading tags are an HTML navigational element in your code that adds style to your pages,” Izenwasser writes. “Ranging from H1 (the page header and the most important tag on the page) to H6 (the tag of lowest importance), these tags are the outline of the content that the user sees when your page comes up in the browser.”
Amazon to Open Bookstore in Seattle (Pub Lunch)
Amazon is indeed opening a 5,500-square-foot bookstore, carrying a modest 5,000 to 6,000 titles— all face out—in Seattle’s University Village on Tuesday, with 15 employees under the direction of Amazon Books Vice President Jennifer Cast. Store stocking is based on “data with heart,” Cast tells the Seattle Times. “We’re taking the data we have and we’re creating physical places with it.” That data includes such categories as top pre-orders and “most wished for cookbooks.” And “below each book on the shelf is a card with either a review or a rating from the site.”
Amazon Proves Software Isn’t Taking Over (Bloomberg View)
The opening of Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar store on Tuesday proves that software is not really “eating the world,” as venture capitalist Marc Andreessen put it in 2011. Retail stores are still not strictly necessary, and yet Amazon now has one in Seattle. That’s because the book market has proved less one-dimensional than publishers and sellers feared in 2010 and 2011.
Amazon Expands Paid Maternity Leave (Pub Lunch)
After mixed results from trying to show what a great employer they are by discrediting former employees with details from their personnel files, Amazon is taking a more productive tack in providing a better work environment. According to an internal email, the company is expanding its leave for new parents—offering up to 20 weeks of paid leave for birth mothers, and a new six-week leave for all new parents.
Google Abandons Plan for NYC Store (Crain’s NY)
Google has abandoned plans to open its first-ever retail store in New York City. The company is trying to sublease a 5,442-square-foot SoHo space it leased last year, and wants $2.25 million annually in rent for it. The decision to abandon its retail store came after the Internet giant spent $6 million renovating the 131 Greene St. location. The outpost was supposed to be one of Google’s first stand-alone stores in the U.S., putting it in direct competition with Apple, which has a host of brick-and-mortar shops that showcase and sell its products in the city, as well as other tech firms with a retail presence. Just last week, Microsoft opened its flagship store on Fifth Avenue.
Apple Thinks It Can Win Its Supreme Court Case (Fortune)
It’s no accident that the petition Apple submitted to the Supreme Court last week begins with a reference to Leegin Creative Leather Products, a manufacturer of fancy cowboy belts. Or that the case known as Leegin v. PSKS comes up 81 times in the 250-page document. Apple’s appeal rises or falls on Leegin. And Leegin, it turns out, is a precedent this Supreme Court knows well.
15 Authors Running Fantastic Book Promotions on Instagram (BookBub)
If you think Instagram is worth testing out, here are some great examples of authors who’ve been able to successfully build an audience and publish content that has connected with many followers. We’ve included a variety of authors, both traditionally and independently published, who write in all different genres. Hopefully this will help give you inspiration for what kind of photos and content to publish on your own Instagram.
Could North Korea Join the International Publishers Association? (Pub Perspectives)
It sounds like a joke, doesn’t it—a sort of book trade equivalent of that Seth Rogen film The Interview in which a cheesy U.S. talk show presenter is offered an interview with the North Korean leader. But why not? There may even be those among who—paradoxically—would argue for it, on the basis that Saudi Arabia and China are already in.
ClubsGalore and Open Road Launch ‘Ebook of the Month Club’ (DBW)
ClubsGalore and Open Road Integrated Media have launched ClubGalore.com’s “Ebook of the Month Club,” a curated list of ebooks aimed at the holiday season.
You Will Always Read Like a Child, According to Science (Gizmodo)
Why is the word “meen” different from the word “glack?” A 1971 experiment showed that you will linger over the first and dismiss the second. But maybe it’s a bit more complicated. If you think you’ve gotten over the practice of sounding words out, you’re probably wrong. Although people watching you read will see you read silently and without moving your lips, part of you is still sounding out the words.
Publishers Wake Up to Limitations of Growing Too Much Too Soon (Digiday)
More publishers are waking up to the reality that they can’t do everything—and that they’re much better served doing less. New Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait, for example, sent out a memo in September detailing the company’s decision to concentrate on its strengths, which meant that it would stop covering topics such as sports and education. The rationale: “People don’t turn to us for news on schools and baseball,” he wrote.