What Drives Discovery the Best?

ebook discoveryThat’s a question publishers, start-ups and ebook retailers have been testing answers to for years.

Two recent discovery initiatives don’t so much stake a new ground as offer a sense of how much of it stands between them in the current field.

Going where a number have gone before, Penguin Random House earlier this week launched a web vertical called Brightly, hoping to lead parents to age-appropriate children’s titles through editorial content about raising readers.

Shirking all such forms of “editorial whim,” a UK start-up instead offers to put readers in control of recommending great titles to one another.

Others in the publishing world say those two approaches can coexist, and at least one wagers discovery itself isn’t the real problem.

Much more.

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Traditionally Published Authors Satisfied, with Caveats (Futurebook)
Preliminary results from an ongoing survey of traditionally published authors finds broad satisfaction with publishing partners, but shared points of criticism suggest there’s more publishers can be doing to shore up their sometimes shaky relationships with authors.
Related: Accounting for Authors, Publishing’s Forgotten Customers

HarperCollins Tries Multimedia Subscription Service (Talking New Media)
HarperCollins has already gotten on board with the subscription ebook model, and now it make its titles available on a subscription platform offering a range of other multimedia. Playster, which also offers music, games and video content, is currently in beta with plans to launch publicly this summer.

Amazon Buys Tech Start-up (VentureBeat)
Some view Amazon’s acquisition of 2lemetry, a start-up whose technology manages and analyzes Internet-enabled devices’ data, as a move toward developing an Internet of Things strategy.

How Tencent Is Growing Its Ebook Ecosystem (Pub Perspectives)
Tencent Literature recently reached a two-way ebook distribution partnership with Trajectory to bring more Chinese-language ebooks to North American readers and English-language titles to China. That’s just the latest piece of Tencent’s ambitious strategy, based around acquisitions and licensing deals, to grow its digital content business.

Alibaba Steps up U.S. Hires (Fortune)
The China-based e-commerce company is recruiting developers and engineers on the West Coast of the U.S. from Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft. Alibaba has a staff of less than 300 in the States so far but appears keen to grow it.

Google Tests Physical Retail…Again (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Google dips its toes into physical retail with a new shop nested inside an electronics retailer in London, where customers can test out Google devices. One observer points out the company tried a similar initiative in 2011.

Kindle Voyage to Launch in India (Techtree)
Amazon is reportedly preparing to make its Kindle Voyage available in India later this year, furthering its pursuit of the country’s growing share of ebook readers.

Microsoft Selling Cheap Tablets in China (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Microsoft seems bullish on getting its devices into the hands of Chinese users, at least from the looks of the Windows 8 tablet currently selling for about $48.


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