How Facebook Could Become the World’s Largest Bookstore

facebook, amazon, bookstores, ebooks, e-readingA month or so ago, Facebook reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2015, and let’s just say they crushed the ball. Knocked the cover off. Pointed to the bleachers and then hit it out of the park.

The big moneymaker was its burgeoning video ad business. Facebook states that people are watching 100 million hours of video per day on its social platform. More than 500 million people watch Facebook video every day. Just let that sink in. Facebook isn’t simply a video discovery platform; it’s becoming the video discovery platform. And it’s still growing.

(Worth noting, YouTube is still the market leader and gets roughly 4 billion views per day, but much of the discovery of the new videos is happening on Facebook).

While people in the publishing industry may find this interesting, most won’t find it particularly relevant. To ignore this news, however, would be a monumental mistake.

Much more.

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Wattpad Sets Its Sights on Hollywood (TechCrunch)
Wattpad, a popular site where authors can share stories with readers, is announcing its broader ambitions with the launch of a new division called Wattpad Studios. The company describes Studios as a way for Wattpad to partner with the entertainment industry, and it said the new division will operate like the multi-channel networks that work with online video creators.

Ebook Sales Declined in 2015; Digital Audio Continued Growth (DBW)
The AAP released its latest sales numbers today, for January through December 2015. Overall sales were up 0.8 percent to $7.2 billion compared to $7.1 billion in 2014. Overall publisher revenue for 2015, however, was $15.4 billion, down 2.6 percent from the previous year. A couple key takeaways: ebook sales declined in 2015; digital audio continued to grow in popularity; trade publishers did better than educational and scholarly publishers; adult books performed better than other trade categories.

Amazon Kindle Oasis Review: ‘Something Special’ (Guardian)
Amazon’s latest high-end Kindle breaks with the mold of the basic e-reading experience to become a luxury item in a class of its own. The new Oasis – Amazon’s biggest step forward towards its goal to creation paper 2.0 – is a whole new entry in the Kindle range. It takes technology from the others, refined and placed into a thinner, lighter and rethought design.

Amazon FreeTime Unlimited Adds New Content for Kids Ages 9-12 (DBW)
Amazon today announced the addition of thousands of new pieces of content to the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited content subscription, all aimed at children ages 9-12. The new additions include books, videos, educational apps and games. Additionally, Amazon introduced FreeTime Smart Filters, a new feature that gives parents more control over what content their children can see.

Gojimo Launches Tutor App (Bookseller)
Education software company Gojimo has launched Gojimo Tutor, a new app that offers one-to-one support to GCSE and A-level students. Gojimo Tutor allows students to connect with an anonymous tutor over instant messaging for support at any time for students in maths, biology, physics and chemistry.

On Publishing in India: ‘21,000 Retailers Sell Books Here’ (Pub Perspectives)
Nielsen’s data “suggests that an extraordinary 21,000-plus retailers sell books here.” Vinutha Mallya’s essay this month describes India’s market as a place of many strengths and many challenges.

Frankfurt’s The Markets: A Snapshot of the United Arab Emirates (Pub Perspectives)
Estimated at a value of €250 million, the UAE’s book industry is among the world’s most intriguing emerging stories, a fast-gainer in the lineup of The Markets: Global Publishing Summit in October at Frankfurt.

Ingenta and Kudos Partner to Drive Discoverability of Academic Content (DBW)
Ingenta and Kudos today announced a new partnership to make the Kudos service available to publishers hosted on the Ingenta Connect platform. Kudos works with academic publishers to help scholarly authors increase the visibility and impact of their published articles. The service provides a platform for creating information to help searching, for sharing information to drive discovery, and for measuring and monitoring the effect of such activity.

Traditional Media to the Rescue (USA Today)
Maybe digital media isn’t too big to fail. Last week, The New York Times, itself invested in a make-or-break bet on migrating its business into digital media, began to sound an official-like alarm about the digital future. It noted that modest worry on the part of publishers — in fact, the Times’ enthusiastic coverage of digital media had generally missed the modest worry stage — was turning into “borderline panic.” In this regard, I might reasonably claim the title of Dr. Doom. Last year, I outlined in my book Television is the New Television how ever-falling digital ad rates would limit digital media’s profitability, and why the digital world would gravitate to still-lucrative television, a trend the Times also noted last week with some surprise.


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