Macmillan becomes the second Big Five publisher after HarperCollins to team up with the Vancouver-based print and ebook bundling start-up BitLit.
Most of the nearly 3,000 titles Macmillan adds to BitLit’s content offering are DRM-free ebooks from Tor, the sci-fi and fantasy publisher.
BitLit offers readers free and cheap ebook editions of print titles they already own. Its currently catalog is just shy of 100,000 and is on track to more than double later this year, according to CEO Peter Hudson.
As ebook growth flattens out, Hudson sees more publishers experimenting with approaches that use “digital in support of print,” even though he says “it’s too early in the market” to know where the bundling model might gain the most traction.
For the time being, anyway, Hudson says it’s clear that “digital is not going to eat the world.”
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Ebook Sales Less Bad Than Previously Thought (Pub Lunch)
Last week’s January 2015 figures from the Association of American Publishers painted a portrait of flat trade sales overall and a sharp drop in ebooks. The organization has since revised that report, and things don’t look quite so bleak. Ebooks as a format are down about 8% but trade sales are up 5%. In any event, it’s still hard to say just how, or even whether, the return to agency ebook pricing might be impacting digital sales.
McGraw-Hill Education Might Go Public (Pub Lunch)
There’s some indication that McGraw-Hill Education could be taken public later this year, according to reported talks between the company’s owners and investors. The possibility of an IPO was last floated around a year ago.
Kindle Unlimited Dominating Subscription Ebooks? (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
While Amazon’s ebook subscription service continues to pay authors at levels some have found dissatisfying, the program appears to be more popular among readers than its top competitors, at least according to one recent consumer survey.
Related: Which Authors Do Subscription Ebooks Benefit Most?
Machine Learning in Ebook Discovery (Pub Perspectives)
Trajectory, the ambitious book discovery start-up that’s aiming to redefine and improve how algorithms surface recommended titles to readers, offers a peek inside its process, which relies on identifying keywords and even sentence structure from inside a text, rather than just drawing on titles and meta-descriptions.
Skyhorse Follows Growth with Reorganization (PW)
After a record year for the publisher in 2014, with sales up 23% over the previous year, Skyhorse kicks off a reorganization intended to keep that momentum going. The publisher makes a number of executive-level staffing changes and plans to expand its New York real estate.
Piracy Problems in Google Play Books? (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
One industry watcher tracks down multiple instances of what appear to be pirated ebooks on sale through Google Play Books. While the retailer has yet to comment, the apparent issue might raise questions about the effectiveness of its anti-piracy policies.
Why the Fire Phone Is Still So Pricey (24/7 Wall St.)
Amazon continues to retail its weak-selling Fire Phone at $449, a high price point relative to other, more popular smartphones on the market. In one observer’s view, that’s a sign Amazon hasn’t given up on the device and still has plans for a more successful, premium-grade iteration.
Google+ Takes a Page from Pinterest (Engadget)
Google+ adds a tool called Collections that lets users display and share customizable panels of multimedia web content in a way that calls Pinterest to mind. Will that help heighten Google+’s appeal to users and marketers? We’ll have to wait and see.
Related: How to Engage with Millennials on Social Media