Talking Ebooks with Apple and Amazon

ebooks Amazon iBooks Kindle AppleFor three days every year, the Digital Book World Conference + Expo brings together industry leaders to address the latest challenges and opportunities in digital publishing.

But the event kicking off next week will be even more unique than in past years, thanks to the unprecedented number of keynote speakers representing the foremost players in the book world today.

Two in particular, Russ Grandinetti, SVP of Kindle, and Keith Moerer, Director of Apple’s iBooks Store, represent a rare opportunity to hear directly from the two leading digital booksellers. Grandinetti and Moerer will each reflect on the often disputatious past year and share their expectations for what lies ahead.

Trade conferences are sometimes criticized as rituals that reinforce mainstream thinking. But if 2014 proved anything, it’s that there’s little agreement as to what constitutes ‘business as usual’ in digital publishing–making these headliners two highlights in a lineup you won’t want to miss.


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Smashwords Increases Ebook Output (Smashwords)
Self-publishing platform Smashwords saw significant growth both in the number of authors using its services and in the volume of titles published through it.

Are There Just Too Many Ebooks? (The Shatzkin Files)
Pointing to the very chart Smashwords recently published to illustrate its growth, one observer wonders whether “glut” in the ebook market is reaching a tipping point. Kindle Unlimited has taken much of the flack lately for allegedly driving down authors’ earnings, but DBW15 Conference Chair Mike Shatzkin wagers the subscription service “is simply the straw that broke the camel’s back” in a broader supply-and-demand problem.

Scribd Raises $22 Million (Mashable)
Scribd closes a new round of funding to help grow its ebook subscription platform. The company recently added audiobooks to its unlimited-access catalog, and just before the holidays Macmillan indicated it would begin working with subscription services like Scribd.
Related: Scribd Co-founder Jared Friedman to Speak Live at DBW15

Nook’s 2015 Forecast (Good E Reader)
Now that Barnes & Noble has bought both Microsoft and Pearson out of their respective shares of Nook Media, the bookseller heads into 2015 ready to spin it off. Recapping the latest changes at Nook, one observer sizes up the business’s strengths and offers his expectations for the coming months.

Google Sees Growth in Its Ebook Business (PW)
Google Play has grown swiftly this year, especially on Android-running devices, but it’s hard to know how much of that is thanks to its ebook segment. Google now confirms its ebook revenues are increasing worldwide as the company establishes a surer footing in market.

UK Ebook Prices Hold Steady (The Bookseller)
After a new tax law went into effect last week in the European Union, many expected ebook prices to rise dramatically. But publishers and retailers in the UK appear to have successfully cushioned the blow, at least in the immediate aftermath of the law’s implementation.
Related: Strategies for Navigating Global Ebook Markets at DBW15

Young Readers Straddling Print and Digital Outside U.S. (Techvibes)
One analyst points to research in Canada and the UK indicating a similar trend to what Nielsen recently found in the U.S.–that younger readers so far aren’t leaving print behind and taking up ebooks in droves.

Print Rebounds as Ebooks Stay Flat (PW)
The latest BookScan figures show print sales rose 2.4% last year, suggesting the format is gaining steam even while ebooks remain stubbornly stuck in neutral. Here’s a look at the numbers.


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