“At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are ‘unreasonably high.’”
That was from the New York Times’s lengthy piece on Amazon’s neverending push to expand, innovate and dominate, and the “bruising” working conditions it imposes on its white-collar workers as a result.
The Times interviewed more than 100 current and former Amazon employees for the piece, including “members of the leadership team, human resources executives, marketers, retail specialists and engineers who worked on projects from the Kindle to grocery delivery to the recent mobile phone launch.”
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The Book Is Dead, Long Live the Book (BBC)
At one point it seemed as if the rise of ebooks at low prices and ereaders like the Kindle and the Nook posed an existential threat to book publishers and sellers. But contrary to expectations, the printed book is still surviving alongside the ebook, and technology is helping publishers and retailers reach new audiences and find new ways to tell stories.
Hummingbird Offering Ebook Retailing Option (PW)
According to Publisher’s Weekly, Hummingbird Digital Media (HDM) is the latest company to try to develop a system that gives booksellers the opportunity to sell ebooks and digital audio directly to consumers. A division of the wholesaler American West Books, HDM has created “a turnkey program that features both an app and customized storefront” that will allow consumers to browse the titles available for sale and then purchase them through the web-based storefront.
Kindle Unlimited Paid Authors Half a Cent Per Page Read in July (Digital Reader)
The Digital Reader has a breakdown of how much authors were paid in July from Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. The funding pool, which “is used to pay authors and publishers who had submitted their books to [Kindle Direct Publishing] Select and agreed to give Amazon a digital exclusive for the month,” was a record $11.5 million. The pool is then divvied up and gives the publisher and the author a share for each page read from one of their books.
Amazon Invests in Who What Wear (TechCrunch)
Who What Wear, the shoppable fashion site with 3.8 million unique visitors, announced the close of an $8 million Series B round with participation from Amazon and other companies. The investment from Amazon, according to TechCrunch, “is notable but not unexpected. Amazon has been beefing up its fashion-related products, opening a massive photography studio in London last month and hiring Suki Waterhouse as Amazon Fashion brand ambassador.”
Russia Establishes National Electronic Library (Publishing Perspectives)
The CEO of LitRes, Russia’s largest ebookseller and aggregator, estimates the share of illegal ebooks in that country’s market to be 95 percent. One initiative that may help bring down that number, according to Publishing Perspectives, is “the establishment of the National Electronic Library (NEL), a state resource for ebooks. According to contracts, which were recently signed between authors (both foreign and domestic) with NEL, the Library has already received rights for 34,000 ebooks. At the same time it is expected that this figure will increase up to 1.62 million books by 2018.”