How Amazon pays authors for work included in Kindle Unlimited (KU) made headlines across the inter-webs recently. Ann Christy’s post “KU Scammers on KU – What’s Going On” even made it on to the homepage of Hacker News. The discussion raises many interesting questions about what reading data Amazon collects and how Amazon uses reader analytics.
First, a little background: Amazon introduced KU, its all-you-can-eat ebook offering, almost two years ago, not long after Oyster launched its much lauded, but now defunct, ebook subscription service. Authors were initially compensated by Amazon based on the number of ebooks downloaded, but that system was being abused by some clever folks who realized that short books, such as novellas, would earn the same amount of money as full-length novels, and that splitting a full-length book into multiple books would optimized payouts.
Readers did not like this practice, so Amazon changed its policy and introduced “pay by page” in June of last year.
However, enterprising souls once again quickly discovered another loophole, as the way in which Amazon measures pages read for KU is not what one might think.
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Why Is Text-to-Speech Only an Afterthought? (Joe Wikert)
I spend a lot of time commuting to and from work in my car, and I try to use the time wisely. I cycle through a playlist of podcasts every week, but I feel like I’m missing out on other types of content. Regardless of your daily commute, I’ll bet you’d feel the same way if you’d stop to consider the possibilities. I’m thinking mostly about short-form content, such as website articles, whitepapers and other documents. If someone sends me a link or I discover an interesting article online, it’s highly likely I won’t have time to read it immediately.
How Publishers Can Help Authors and Booksellers (PW)
Oh, publishers, you do love your promotional doodads. And we sometimes love them, too, but much of the time, they honestly don’t help us promote and sell your books. You might play to your strengths by helping where we need it most. Publishers have entire departments devoted to creating marketing and promotional materials, whereas we stores often have small staffs with varying levels of artistic ability.
Amazon Shows Glimmers of a ‘Good Neighbor’ (NY Times)
Amazon’s new urban headquarters — more than 30 office buildings and three towers that, once completed, will dominate a low-slung section of the city — are a gleaming symbol of boom times here. The tech giant has added 20,000 new jobs in Seattle and attracted other tech companies that want to rub elbows. Google plans to expand here as well, with four new buildings and perhaps 4,000 workers. Smaller start-ups dot old brick neighborhoods like Pioneer Square, and newer developments like South Lake Union, where Amazon is building.
New App in India Trying to Be the Netflix of Books (Mashable)
India has the second-largest and one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world. Yet, few of its 220 million smartphone users are avid book readers. A startup called Juggernaut is trying to get India to read more with its new e-books app.
How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Publications (DBW)
Scholarly publishing consultants Tracy Gardner and Simon Inger recently published the report, “How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Publications.” This report should be required reading for those in the scholarly publishing industry! The result of an impressive large-scale survey of readers of scholarly publications and their behavior in the discovery of journal articles and online books, this report provides a rich resource of user interaction and trends over 10 years.
Cassandra Clare Created a Fantasy Realm (NY Times)
One morning in early March, Kyli Ledesma, a 20-year-old barista from San Diego, woke up at 3:30 so she could drive to Los Angeles to secure a copy of Cassandra Clare’s newest book, “Lady Midnight,” which would be for sale at Barnes & Noble at the Grove, a high-end mall, when it opened at 9. Yet she was not the first at the door.
Indie Authors Business Guide (PW)
With the recent end of tax season, many self-published authors have likely done some thinking about whether they could be saving more money or better protecting themselves from IRS scrutiny. They may have heard from their accountant or other authors that they can do just that by formalizing their publishing work under a business entity.
Indie Author Finds Niche with Geek Cookbook (PW)
When I submitted my first Doctor Who cookbook, a few small presses sent me very kind rejection letters,” the indie author Chris-Rachael Oseland says of her first foray into publishing. The feedback from both cookbook and science fiction editors was that there was no market for “geek cookbooks.” To date, her self-published Dining with the Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook has sold more than 35,000 print copies. Oseland went on to publish a Hobbit-inspired cookbook (An Unexpected Cookbook) as well as one inspired by the Settlers of Catan board game (Wood for Sheep). Her books have been featured by Paste Magazine, Wired, Nerdist, and the Daily Dot. Kitchen Overlord’s Illustrated Geek Cookbook and its companion, Kitchen Overlord’s Colorable Compendium of Geek History, are her latest contributions to geek culture.
Medium: In Search of a Medium for Self-Publishers (BookWorks)
Since Twitter first launched in 2006, the 140-character limit quickly surpassed its initial small cult following to become part of our global zeitgeist and a major disruptor in the social networking space. Historically positioned as the “anti-Facebook,” its microblogging platform was its core differentiator, attracting everyday users as well as celebrities, sports figures, national leaders and even presidential candidates like Obama in 2008 and Trump in 2016.
Fair Author Contracts: Two Lawyer Weigh In (PW)
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Under the Dome (Bookseller)
As book fairs go, few could complain about London 2016. The show had all the hallmarks of a successful potboiler: sun, deals and parties. If publishing is dead* it’s going down in style. As ably recorded in The Bookseller’s show Dailies the five-day event was as busy as it was long, a testament to publishing’s twin pillars: optimism and indefatigability.
Translation in Myanmar (Pub Perspectives)
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Agents Look at Canadian Lit on the World Stage (Pub Perspectives)
Four literary agents from Canada answer questions about their home market, the authors they represent, and selling rights across international territories.