Kindle Unlimited Hits the Rest of North America

Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription ebooksJust a couple of months after expanding to France and Brazil, Kindle Unlimited comes to Canada and Mexico.

Amazon has moved swiftly to give its ebook subscription service an international edge since launching in the UK in September 2014, just two months after the program’s U.S. rollout. It’s now also available in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

Despite ongoing concerns that Kindle Unlimited compensates authors unsatisfactorily, Amazon has said it’s as committed to growing the model as it is to making it pay well for content creators.

In the meantime, other subscription providers are looking beyond traditional ebook readers for continued growth. Scribd added digital comics earlier this week, helping bring its own content catalog to 1 million titles, rivaling that of Oyster, which also plans to expand overseas this year.


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How to Make Money from Digital Comics (PW)
An expert in the field offers an insider’s look at the unique economics of the digital comics market. Scribd’s addition of 100,000 such titles to its subscription-based platform is the latest bid to bring new audiences to the format. There’s some speculation that comiXology may soon launch a new discovery mechanism to do much the same.

Would-Be Amazon Rival Gains $140 Million in Funding (NYT), a start-up founded by Amazon veteran Marc Lore, is valued at some $600 million after raising $140 million in new funding as of this week. The e-commerce site, which will launch on a limited basis next month, says it can offer the lowest prices by identifying the lowest-cost options at each stage of the fulfillment process. For instance, “Every time a customer adds something to their shopping basket,” Lore says Jet will “reoptimize and reprice every item in the basket.”

To Markup or Markdown? (DBW)
Some publishers and digital production experts see HTML5 becoming an increasingly valuable tool not only for outputting digital content but for authoring it as well. “I’m not so sure,” says Joe Lennon, Chief Technology Officer at ePubDirect. Here’s Lennon’s case for using the much simplified Markdown as an alternative authoring medium in ebook production.

Morgan James Partners with Aerbook to Sell Direct (PW)
The independent publisher whose model draws on aspects of self-publishing platforms teams up with Aerbook to distribute free previews and transact sales through social media channels.
Related: Why All Publishers Can and Should Go Direct-to-Consumer

Adobe Upgrades Digital Editions for Multimedia (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
The latest version of Adobe Digital Editions includes better audio and video functionality for users plus elements the EPUB3 the platform hasn’t previously supported, like MathML.

What’s Behind the Tablet Slowdown? (The Motley Fool)
Recent research suggests the tablet market is projected to grow only 1% in 2015. With the larger-screen iPhone 6 likely cutting into Apple’s tablet sales, one analyst surmises that the rise of the phablet is contributing to declining demand for tablets and wagers the “global tablet market could certainly be at an inflection point.”

Publishers Mourn Jon Stewart’s Departure (Christian Science Monitor)
Mark Zuckerberg’s newly launched book club may soon bring some promotional clout to a lucky handful of books, but it’s uncertain how much that venture will allay publishers’ disappointment that Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show later this year. The kind of boost Stewart helped give to many nonfiction titles won’t be easily replicated elsewhere. Turns to Short Fiction (iO9)
The sci-fi and fantasy publisher’s web publishing program is launching a line of ebook novellas, which Tor sees as “an old form with a new lease on life” in the digital age.

Another Internet Bubble Ahead? (The Street)
One analyst puts it starkly: “The first Internet bubble burst less than fifteen years ago, and we seem to be at it again. Companies like Amazon, Twitter, Uber and Lending Club are all materially overvalued, and it’s probably only a matter of time before investors realize this.”


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