Digital Book World has been hosting a discussion over the last two weeks about the effectiveness of authors using Facebook to try to sell their books.
Mark Dawson, a best-selling self-published author, is firmly in the former camp, writing in a blog post for DBW that when he started using Facebook ads, he “immediately saw a massive spike in business.”
“I now use Facebook as a fundamental part of my marketing system and I know firsthand that the platform can be used to sell,” Dawson writes. “In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Facebook advertising is the single most powerful marketing and promotional tool that is available to authors, be they traditionally or self-published.”
To get all the ebook and digital publishing news you need every day in your inbox at 8:00 AM, sign up for the DBW Daily today!
Barnes & Noble Has Soft Sales, Bigger Loss and Falling Stock (Pub Lunch)
Barnes & Noble reported fiscal 2016 first quarter sales, through August 1st, on Wednesday morning. Even with the high-profile summer releases, sales at the retail bookstores declined $16 million (or 1.7 percent) to $939 million for the quarter. “Core” Nook-free sales inched up 1 percent, and same-store sales rose 1.1 percent. “Comparable sales in books slightly declined,” the company said in their investor conference call, with toys and games still the growth star for the company, up 17.5 percent in the quarter.
BN Education Grow Sales and Store, But Not Earnings (Pub Lunch)
Barnes & Noble Education issued its first quarterly report as an independent company, though it covers results only through August 1st; BNED became a separate entity on August 2nd. First quarter sales of $239 million rose $13 million, or 5.9 percent, compared to a year ago, but they had a bigger EBITDA loss of -$35.2 million ($1.2 million more than a year ago), “due primarily to higher expenses associated with new store growth in the non-rush first quarter and continued investments in digital education.”
Amazon Appoints Director of Social Responsibility (PCWorld)
Amazon has appointed a director of social responsibility at a time when the online retailer faces mounting criticism over its business practices. The new hire, Christine Bader, is an advocate for the idea that large corporations like Amazon can be a force for good. The author of The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil, Bader worked on social responsibility issues for BP for nearly a decade, leaving two years prior to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Her hiring comes as Amazon is facing increased scrutiny over how its policies affect the outside world.
Amazon’s Kindle Scout Publishing Platform Expands Internationally (DBW)
Amazon announced that it is expanding Kindle Scout, its reader-powered publishing platform, to more authors and readers around the world. Now, in addition to the U.S., authors in locations such as Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, India and more may submit never-before-published, novel-length English-language manuscripts and be considered for publication in 45 days or less under Amazon’s digital publishing banner Kindle Press.
Amazon’s Fire Phone Is Finally Finished (Verge)
Amazon’s poorly received Fire Phone is no longer available to buy from either Amazon or AT&T. Amazon tells The Verge that it has sold through its entire Fire Phone inventory and that it has no plans to replenish that inventory at this time.
Publishers Explore Direct-to-Student Marketing (Inside Higher Ed)
In an effort to increase awareness and sales of digital course materials, publishers are pitching and selling their products directly to students. The ongoing transition from print to digital in the textbook world is providing publishers an opportunity to learn more about students as consumers and, over time, gain greater control of how course materials are sold, analysts say. Several of the major textbook publishers, including Cengage Learning and McGraw-Hill Education, have already begun that process by expanding the scope of their marketing.
Ingram Partners with BitLit to Offer Ebook Bundles (Bookseller)
BitLit and Lightning Source have struck a new agreement allowing publishers using Ingram’s CoreSource Plus program to offer ebook bundles to readers. This means more than 200 new publishers have been signed by the Vancouver-based company, adding more than 15,000 new titles. Readers take photos of their books’ spines on their shelves and send them to BitLit via an app, called Shelfie. The BitLit system then reads the spines and determines which books are available to the reader, either free or for a discounted price, as set by the publisher.
Instagram Expands Availability and Capabilities of Ads (Social Times)
Instagram opened its advertising platform to brands of all sizes and extended it to more than 30 countries, with a global launch set for September 30th. Some of the new capabilities include the availability of landscape photos and videos, the ability for video ads to now run up to 30 seconds, the launch of Marquee, “a new premium product that helps drive mass awareness and expanded reach in a short time frame,” and new delivery and optimization tools.