In reading DBW’s recent interview with Hugh Howey, I was surprised that he never mentioned audiobooks even though he obviously believes in the format. Howey has 37 audiobook titles on Audible.com, and he published at least 16 of them personally.
Howey’s remarks about Amazon made me think about the company’s tremendous influence on the audiobook market. In the interview, Howey said, “Amazon has vastly increased the access to books. They have also vastly increased every author’s access to the market… For a very long time, most aspiring writers had no hope of expressing themselves and having access to consumers. Amazon almost single-handedly changed that.”
Those statements are equally true of indie authors who have audiobook editions. However, most people don’t realize that Amazon has systematically acquired companies and innovated technologies in order to push audiobooks into mainstream entertainment.
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Everything You Need to Know to Begin Self-Publishing Successfully
What are the best services for self-publishing? How much money does it cost to produce a good-quality ebook? And what are some of the most effective marketing strategies? Self-publishers can now get all their questions answered in a 90-minute webinar with writing and publishing guru Jane Friedman. The webinar will take place on June 28 at 1pm ET.
If B&N Goes Out of Business, It’ll Be a Disaster for Book Lovers (New Republic)
There’s more than a little irony to the impending collapse of Barnes & Noble. The mega-retailer that drove many small, independent booksellers out of business is now being done in by the rise of Amazon. But while many book lovers may be tempted to gloat, the death of Barnes & Noble would be catastrophic—not just for publishing houses and the writers they publish, but for American culture as a whole.
Apple Ebook Refunds to Begin June 21 (PW)
The book business is about to get a summer boost. Attorneys today confirmed that $400 million in refunds due readers following the end of the Apple ebook price-fixing settlement case will begin flowing into customer accounts on June 21—with refunds for New York Times bestsellers approaching $7 per purchase.
Inside and Out (Bookseller)
The last time The Bookseller took a measure of the trade’s attitudes to the European Referendum (February 12), the business was firmly in the “remain” camp (71 percent), and the possibility of Brexit (the term given to an exit from the EU) seemed a distant possibility. We couldn’t find a single trade voice to advocate for “leave”; in truth, it was difficult to fathom what, if any, the impact would be on publishing either way.
It Didn’t Have to Be This Way (Gene Doucette)
Hollywood had near-total control over movie distribution from the dawn of the medium until quite recently. When a new distribution channel appeared in the form of home video, the studios could have reacted the way they did—oh, look, a new source of income!—or they could have seen it as a threat to their film distribution hegemony.
Reader’s Legacy Is World’s First Hybrid E-Commerce Book Club (DBW)
ReadersLegacy.com announced that since its launch in February 2016, it has attracted more than 40,000 users to its hybrid e-commerce book club.
HMH Kicks Off ‘Curious World’ Summer Tour (DBW)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced the launch of the Curious World Tour, which kicks off Sunday, June 26, at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The tour will stop in eight cities over the summer. In each area, HMH will work with local nonprofit organizations to donate books and resources.
German Publishers Pooling Data to Compete with Google and Facebook (Digiday)
Google and Facebook are now commanding 85 percent of incremental digital ad spending, with publishers left to fight it out over the leftovers. That’s why German publishers have put aside traditional rivalry and gone all-in on a major data-pooling initiative.
Bookshops – The Reader’s Most Reliable Curator (Bookseller)
When I recently interviewed James Daunt, MD of Waterstones, at the Quantum Conference at the London Book Fair, he ventured the interesting opinion that while publishers seemed willing to let Waterstones fail in 2010, now they might not be. The change of attitude in those six years speaks to the survival and, more recently, flourishing of a revitalized, if smaller, book trade and the market for printed books.
Knowledgemotion Gets Funding from Ingram; Makes Deal with Pearson (DBW)
Knowledgemotion announced that it has received a “strategic investment” from ICG Ventures Inc., which is part of Ingram. In a separate announcement, Knowledgemotion said it has entered a multi-year “supply and services agreement” with Pearson.
Textbook Controversy in Japan Involves Free Study Materials (Pub Perspectives)
Free distribution of study materials by publishers in Japan is seen as an attempt to influence schools’ choices of textbooks.
Update from Down Under (Pub Perspectives)
With a federal election looming on July 2, the Australian creative industries, including publishing, are roiled by the Productivity Commission’s draft report on intellectual property, with copyright terms, fair use, and parallel import restrictions in debate.
You Can’t Ask Customers What They Want (Seth Godin)
… not if your goal is to find a breakthrough. Because your customers have trouble imagining a breakthrough. You ought to know what their problems are, what they believe, what stories they tell themselves. But it rarely pays to ask your customers to do your design work for you.