Kindle Head Gives Publishers the View from Amazon

Amazon Kindle Unlimited DBW15 Russ Grandinetti subscription ebooks“We treat authors the same way we treat buying customers,” Kindle SVP Russ Grandinetti said yesterday on Digital Book World 2015, speaking about concerns among authors that Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program is reducing some authors’ payouts.

Stressing that the subscription-based platform is only six months old, Grandinetti asked for patience as Amazon adjusts the model, affirming that the company is “highly motivated” to make it work for authors.

At the same time, he ventured that the subscription model is here to stay, saying that on balance, “more approaches to publishing is pretty healthy.”

“In every single digital media category, subscriptions are succeeding at some level,” Grandinetti said. In his estimation, books won’t be an exception.”

Much more.

Related: Macmillan Tries Subscription Ebooks as Major Players Stake New Ground

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2015 Digital Book Award Winners Announced (DBW)
Recognizing quality and innovation in digital publishing, the 2015 Digital Book Awards named this year’s winning titles across fifteen categories, in a gala dinner hosted last night by Ira Wolfman. Here’s who won.

Digital Change Downshifts (Pub Lunch)
As Conference Chair Mike Shatzkin put it at Digital Book World 2015 yesterday, “the nature of digital change is itself changing.” In a later conversation with Kindle’s Russ Grandinetti, Publishers Lunch’s Michael Cader mused that the newest round of contracts struck between three of the Big Five publishers and Amazon could usher in several years of greater stability.

Why Publishers Must Crunch More than Numbers (DBW)
Most publishers aren’t equipped to undertake large-scale data analysis, and since the kinds of data on hand are so limited, they wouldn’t learn everything they need to even if they could. Instead, New York Times Director of Analytics James Robinson recommends a much more qualitative, holistic and targeted approach to gathering insights.

Ebooks Aren’t Frying Kids’ Brains (The Street)
But even if they are, children appear to be gravitating toward them anyway–and exercising much more decision-making power in the process. In the meantime, many of the latest studies to suggest screen-based reading pales next to print when it comes to literacy and engagement don’t take into account how e-reading stacks up against no reading, which as one observer points out “is what children’s book publishers–and Amazon–see as the reality.”

What We Still Don’t Know about the YA Market (The Bookseller)
The children’s and young adult segment is one of the biggest growth drivers in the industry, and yet certain insights shared at the Publishers Launch Kids conference at Digital Book World 2015 hint at a few things publishers may still need to figure out about that market. For one thing, if 80% of YA books are bought by adults to read themselves, is there a branding issue afoot? And since that readership skews so heavily toward women, why aren’t boys and men reading more?

Ebook Checkouts Rise 33% on OverDrive (Library Journal)
The library ebook platform says its digital content circulation was up 33% in 2014 over last year, driven largely by a boost in demand from mobile users.

Five Predictions for the Academic Market (Publishing Technology)
From open access to start-up activity, academic publishers face a unique set of challenges and opportunities heading into 2015. Here’s one industry insider’s take on what to look out for.

College Students Still Clinging to Print? (TNR)
Despite research last year indicating a strong and rising demand among college students for cheaper, digital alternatives to print textbooks, a new study suggests a majority still prefer print. In an interview, the lead researcher speculates about why.

24symbols Partners with Facebook (The Bookseller)
The Spain-based ebook subscription service enters Facebook’s project, an initiative designed to bring Internet access to regions around the world that don’t have it. 24symbols will offer an unspecified percentage of its 200,000-title catalog free of charge through the platform.

Header image courtesy Ken Wolter /


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