For the first time, the majority of Canadian publishers now sell ebooks directly to readers, a new study by BookNet Canada finds.
66% of the publishers surveyed have direct sales programs in place, a figure that’s shot up from 42% in 2013.
Publishing ebooks is now the norm, with most publishers releasing print and digital editions simultaneously. But it’s less easy to say the same of direct-to-consumer ebook retail, despite the growing number of publishers experimenting with it.
That’s because even though two thirds of Canadian publishers offer direct sales, the BookNet Canada study confirms ebook retailers overwhelmingly remain the primary distributors of the format, which still accounts for just 10% or less of most publishers’ revenue.
Yet it could be those very imbalances in the distribution landscape and the ratio of formats that are encouraging more publishers to explore direct sales.
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Ebook Sales Down at Hachette (Pub Lunch)
Overall sales fell more than 12% at Hachette Book Group in the first quarter of 2015, with the share comprised by ebooks shrinking to 28% from 34% during the same period of 2014. While Arnaud Nourry, CEO of Hachette’s parent company Lagardère Publishing, cautions that it’s “too early to draw some conclusions from these changes,” the company acknowledged the retreat of deep discounting around the time it returned to agency ebook pricing may have contributed.
Related: Is the Return to Agency Hurting Ebook Sales? Tough to Say
Barnes & Noble Lets Microsoft, Pearson Exit Nook (Pub Lunch)
The bookseller files with the Securities and Exchange Commission to let Microsoft and Pearson out of their combined 5.2% stake in Nook Media. Rather than spin off Nook as it had originally planned, Barnes & Noble chose in February this year to turn its college division into an independent education company.
HarperCollins Digital Imprint Hits 3 Million in Sales (PW)
Avon Impulse, the digital-first romance imprint established by HarperCollins four years ago says it’s now sold 3 million titles. Since then the division has doubled its rate of output, from releasing four ebooks each month to eight, prompting the imprint’s publisher to comment, “We see digital publishing as a vital component in strategically growing new authors, and extending the visibility of our existing author base.”
Strides in Online Bookselling in the Middle East (Pub Perspectives)
The Jordan-based e-tailer Jamalon is pushing to increase the prevalence of ebooks in the Arab world. It currently sells 10 million English- and Arabic-language titles and offers logistical workarounds other e-commerce companies might find forbidding, offering a cash-on-delivery system and by using mobile numbers where postal addresses aren’t available. When it comes to Arabic ebooks, founder Ala’ Alsallal says, “The font was an issue but our team has solved it…The real problem with ebooks in Arabic is the lack of them.”
Booksellers and Librarians Press for Privacy Law (PW)
The Campaign for Reader Privacy, an organization consisting of retailers, librarians, authors and others, lobbies the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to move forward with the USA Freedom Act, legislation that supporters say will curtail the government’s ability to collect data under the by now notorious Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
Amazon Launches YA Book Club (GalleyCat)
Amazon editors introduce a young adult book club to highlight one title each month and encourage readers to submit questions to the author. A designated discussion section around the chosen YA title will also run concurrently on Goodreads.
Flipkart Hits Bookselling Milestone (Gizbot)
The India-based e-tailer Flipkart says it’s sold 30 million books as of last month. As the Indian ebook market evolves, Flipkart aims to fend off competition from the likes of Amazon by cementing its position as “an engagement platform for book lovers.”
Related: Why BookBub Is Bullish on Ebooks in India
Now There Are Two LCD/E-Ink Smartphones (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Until recently the only smartphone manufacturer to produce a model featuring an LCD screen on one side and an e-ink screen on the reverse was Yotaphone. Now the Chinese device maker Huateng debuts a dual-screen gadget of its own.
STM Publishing to Become More Streamlined? (PW)
Evaluating at a recent study of the scientific, technical and medical publishing sector, IPR License founder Tom Chalmers says he expects “publishing platforms will be increasingly convergent with respect to content type (i.e. hosting journals, books and data equally), and neutral as to business model” as global growth continues.
Related: What Trade Publishers Can Learn from STM Publishers