The company that Kobo’s former head once called the “Amazon of Japan” significantly enlarges its ebook business by scooping up OverDrive in a $410 million deal announced yesterday.
Acquiring the library distributor is Rakuten’s latest major push into the digital content space, one of three key growth areas the Japan-based company says it’s targeting.
Rakuten bought Kobo in 2011 for $315 million.
Announcing the deal yesterday, Rakuten highlights the global scope of its ambitions, saying the purchase positions OverDrive to “take advantage of the global reach, scale and technologies” Rakuten boasts worldwide.
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Executive-Level Reshuffling at Nook (Good E Reader)
Now that it’s planning to hang onto Nook Media, Barnes & Noble is instituting a number of changes in the ebook business’s leadership. Here’s one observer’s take on how some of those recent exits and appointments might bode for Nook’s future.
Why Barnes & Noble Might Still Sell Nook (The Motley Fool)
One analyst believes the bookseller’s business is stronger than others suppose, or is at least currently on track to becoming “a decently profitable, cash-generating business.” In this view, it still makes sense for Barnes & Noble to sell Nook Media “at some point in the not too distant future.” You be the judge.
EU Push for Lower Ebook Tax Rate Intensifies (Reuters)
As expected, certain European Union countries continue to press their case for that a recent ruling disqualifying ebooks from the lower tax rates reserved for print books must change. France, whose tax rules were under review in the cases, is joined by Italy, Germany and France in pressing for new legislation that supports a fairer “digital economy.”
Publishers Sound Alarm on Authors’ Needs (PW)
Among the broader social and civic issues publishers weighed at a recent Association of American Publishers gathering, one expert also zeroed in on an urgent responsibility within the industry: adding more value to publishers’ partnerships with authors.
Related: Accounting for Authors, Publishing’s Forgotten Customers
A Developer’s Five Digital Marketing Tips (Pub Perspectives)
Atavist’s Derrick Schultz suggests five ways publishers can fine-tune their approaches to digital marketing, based on his experience as an ebook and software developer, where testing innovations and abandoning what doesn’t work is key to succeeding. Schultz also emphasizes that becoming fully mobile is now mission critical.
Why Mobile Is Equal Parts Content and Marketing
UK Funds Library Wi-Fi (The Bookseller)
The UK’s new national budget reserves £7.4 million to bring wi-fi to the country’s public libraries, less than half of which currently offer it to patrons. Among other services the expansion of wi-fi connectivity will enable is on-site access to digital content like ebooks and audiobooks.
Amazon Shutters E-Commerce Platform (Re/code)
Amazon Webstore, the service Amazon offers small and midsize business for running online stores, will close in 2016 after current clients transfer to alternative platforms. Competitors like Shopify and Bigcommerce are making more aggressive plays for the market.
Related: To Go Direct, Publishers Must Mean Business
Amazon Expands One-Hour Delivery (VentureBeat)
Prime subscribers in Baltimore and Miami are the latest to receive Amazon’s one-hour delivery service, which launched as a pilot in New York last December. Amazon expects to add new locations to the program’s roster over the course of this year.