“Have you ever had a good homebrew beer?” ebook developer Joshua Tallent asks in a blog post for Digital Book World. “I have a neighbor who is into home brewing, and every Saturday he spends at least a few hours (actually, most of the day) puttering around in the garage, working on the system, starting a new batch, and often working hard to finish off batches from previous weeks.”
“Homebrew beer can be pretty good stuff if it is done right,” Tallent continues, “but the process of creating it is not normally very efficient. I can’t imagine my neighbor suddenly opening a brewery and putting his best batches up for sale. Also, he sometimes messes up a batch, with some pretty awful results that are not usable for anything more than feeding the garden.
“In publishing, homebrew metadata management has some similar limitations. These systems commonly come in one of a few flavors.”
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DBW Free Spotlight Webinar on Publishing Processes
Automation in the Publishing Process: From Prepress to Digital Distribution
Digital Book World’s Spotlight topic for November has been publishing processes, and TODAY at 1pm EST we’re hosting our next webinar on the subject. Featured on the webinar will be Larry Bennett, Executive Director at Nord Compo, who will discuss template-driven workflows in the prepress process, and Carmen Lamb, Sales Representative, Digital Publishing Services, at LibreDigital, who will discuss the role of automation in digital channel management, with a particular emphasis on customizing metadata for different accounts.
Click here to register.
Kindle Unlimited Payment Drops Below Half a Cent Per Page (Pub Lunch)
Amazon announced their retroactive pool of money to compensate their exclusive, self-published authors for titles read through the Kindle Unlimited subscription program in October. The company allocated $12.4 million—up from $12 million in September—but pages read grew more than dollars allocated, so the payment per page dropped to $.004809. As KU authors quickly noted online, the payment per page has declined every month since Amazon switched to paying by pages read rather than books borrowed. The payments started at $.005779 per page for July. The total pool of money paid out has grown $900,000 since July (+8 percent)—while pages read have gone from 1.99 billion up to 2.58 billion (+30 percent).
Kindle Unlimited: Global Expansion and Impact (Chris McMullen)
When we finally see some long-term stability, that will be nice. I think we’ll get there. The drop from September to October has a simple explanation: Amazon expanded Kindle Unlimited globally, introducing it to India. The subscription price is much cheaper in India (around $4 US per month). This global expansion pulled more readers into Kindle Unlimited, which is a good thing. But the lower subscription price in India effectively lowered the pages read rate by 5 percent. That’s about to change. Starting in November, Amazon will pay different pages read rates in different countries. So pages read in India will likely pay less than pages read in the United States, for example. Does that mean the US pages read rate will rise back up to $0.005 per page? Good question! Maybe it won’t go up, or up much. Maybe it will. But hopefully it won’t drop as much next month, if at all.
Direct-to-Consumer and Changing Buyer Behavior (Joe Wikert)
I recently visited a mid-size publisher to discuss direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategies with their sales and marketing leaders. Toward the end of the session, I was asked the most important question of the day, and it’s something publishers pursuing a D2C solution need to carefully assess: can we really change buyer behavior? The point is that most consumers are trained to buy from Amazon. Further, those same consumers don’t want to bother with multiple bookshelves and accounts. Once you start buying from one ebook retailer, you tend to stick with them.
Germany Antitrust Office Investigates Audible and iTunes (Pub Lunch)
Following a complaint lodged by Germany’s Publishers and Booksellers Association in September, the country’s Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) announced on Monday that it “has initiated administrative proceedings against the Amazon subsidiary Audible.com and Apple Computer Inc,” regarding their “long-term agreement” that has Audible as the exclusive supplier of audiobooks to the iTunes Store.
Academic Print Books Are Dying. What’s the Future? (Digital Reader)
The print-format scholarly book, a bulwark of academia’s publish-or-perish culture, is an endangered species. The market that has sustained it over the years is collapsing. Sales of scholarly books in print format have hit record lows. Per-copy prices are at record highs. In purely economic terms, the current situation is unsustainable. So what does the future look like? Will academia’s traditional devotion to print and legendary resistance to change kill off long-form scholarship? Or will academia allow itself to move from print-format scholarly books to an open-access digital model that could save, and very likely rejuvenate, long-form scholarship?
Want to Succeed in Self-Publishing? (PW)
Author Beth Revis had been following the self-publishing trend for a while, so when it came time for her to jump in herself, she already had a stockpile of information. However, Revis admits there were a few snags in the editorial process and thinks that if she had educated herself a little more, she would have been able to handle the book’s interior design. In the end, Revis was surprised and encouraged by how much she enjoyed self-publishing her book—particularly having total control over the product from cover to design to marketing.
‘Quantum’ Conference Replaces LBF’s ‘Digital Minds’ (Bookseller)
The London Book Fair (LBF) is replacing its digital conference, traditionally held on the Monday before the fair opens, with “Quantum,” a data-driven overview of the industry. LBF said the new Monday conference, organized in association with the Publishers Association, will offer delegates “an unmissable blend of new insight, research and networking in a new context where digital and physical coexist harmoniously.”
A Manifesto for the Open Book (Futurebook)
Open access is yet to come of age where the humanities and social sciences (HSS) are concerned. While the journals market is seeing significant growth for open access publication—43 percent growth in articles published in fully open access journals from 13,500 in 2013 to 18,000 in 2014—it’s a much less certain future for monographs. More and more publishers, including new university presses, are now investigating new models for open monographs. The likelihood is that open access will continue to become a more established part of the HSS publishing ecosystem, but one size cannot fit all. We’ve a long way to go before open long-form scholarship becomes mainstream.
Innovation Is the Only Way to Increase Ebook Sales (Pub Perspectives)
If publishers hope to grow ebook sales, they must find ways to innovate in actionable, tangible ways that will increase sales, argues Sol Rosenberg.
Rodale Books Launches Week-Long Online ‘Greatness Summit’ (PW)
The health and wellness publisher has partnered with The School of Greatness author Lewis Howes to offer free online content from 28 experts in subjects ranging from career to family to personal health.
Related: DBW Interview with Mary Ann Napes