Two deals announced yesterday reflect some of the changes afoot in the market for subscription ebooks.
Newcomer Playster, whose app is still in beta, adds 50,000 audiobooks to its subscription catalog through a partnership with the digital content distributor Findaway. And separately Scribd announces it’s acquired the social e-reading platform Librify.
Both moves can be seen as efforts to develop the most robust possible content offering and e-reading experience for subscribers in a market whose contours are shifting.
Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited rolled out a new royalty model just last week. Meanwhile, Scribd and Playster remain confident that multiple forms of media can coexist on the same platform, while competitors bet otherwise. Oyster, in the ebooks-only camp, has launched an ebookstore alongside its subscription catalog and added light-sensitive technology to improve night reading.
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Millennials Lag as Ebook Buyers (The Bookseller)
A recent Deloitte study of media purchasing and consumption habits among millennials in the UK suggests younger readers are among the least likely to buy ebooks despite consuming video and TV at a rapid clip. In a report based on the findings, researchers conclude that “authors, publishers and retailers must do more to appeal to younger audiences in order to remain commercially relevant.”
Related: More Research Points to Millennials’ Print Preferences
W. W. Norton Offers Ebooks to Libraries (Pub Lunch)
The publisher has reached separate agreements with the leading library distributors to make its complete trade and professional ebook catalogs available to U.S. libraries beginning later this year. The terms of those deals and the pricing models under which libraries will be able to lend Norton titles to patrons hasn’t been disclosed.
South American Countries Battle Amazon for ‘.amazon’ (WashPost)
U.S. lawmakers rush to the e-tailer’s defense amid an escalating push by several South American countries, including Brazil, Peru and Argentina, to prevent the company from acquiring a domain name they believe should remain more geographic than commercial.
“Don’t Stop Marketing” and Other Tips (Pub Perspectives)
The founder of a book marketing consultancy for authors says the days of a book launch–centered marketing strategy are over (something we’ve heard from other experts as well). Here are more tips and tactics geared to the current, crowded digital marketplace.
Related: How Audience Research Can Minimize Marketing Missteps
Angie’s List Sues Amazon Local (ABC News)
The new program Amazon launched this year in order to connect customers with local repair and home service providers now has legal trouble from Angie’s List, which charges Amazon with having “chosen the shortcut of surreptitiously accessing and misappropriating Angie’s List’s proprietary information” in order to set up shop.
Tough Love for Publishing Start-ups (Futurebook)
“It is very, very hard to make money,” says Bibliocloud founder and Digital Book World contributor Emma Barnes. There’s hardly a single publishing start-up around today that would disagree with that statement. The bigger question, though, is how to make money in spite of the many, sometimes overwhelming challenges to doing so. Recounting her own experience as a publishing entrepreneur, Barnes offers field-tested advice for other contenders.
Related: Publishing Start-ups Sound off on Failure, Pivoting and Failing to Pivot
About that German Erotica Curfew… (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Recent reports that Germany would begin enforcing a ban on selling adult-themed ebooks before 10pm appear to have overstated the case. While the law in question remains very much on the books, ebook retailers will reportedly only need to verify customers’ ages rather than restrict their sale of certain titles to after dark.
Penguin Consolidates Mass Market Lines (PW)
Berkley Publishing Group will absorb the New American Library, two Penguin divisions dedicated to mass market paperbacks, a category in which sales have charted a steady industry-wide decline in recent years.
Alibaba Expands Anti-Piracy Commitment (Tech News Today)
Building on an earlier agreement, Alibaba establishes a framework with a Chinese anti-piracy organization in order to improve the e-tailer’s procedures for identifying and eliminating digital content being sold on Alibaba in violation of copyright protections. Piracy remains a concern for global ebook publishers and distributors eyeing China’s vast book market.
Related: Weighing Opportunity in China