Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been reporting on observations that Jellybooks has made about readers after collecting data about when, where and how they read. Do readers rant or rave about books? Do they read fast or slow? Do they even finish the books they begin reading?
One of the more unique phenomena we observed was that there are books that sell well but are not read, or at least they appear not to be read by many of the people who buy or otherwise acquire them. Our first reaction was to ask, “Can we trust the data?” But we then came to the conclusion that, indeed, we could (more on data integrity, sampling bias and statistical validity in a future post).
Having convinced ourselves that the observations were genuine, we started wondering as to the reasons and started thinking in more depth about the question, “What motivations do readers have for buying specific books?” Below, we outline some of our thinking on this topic, which is also a manifesto of sorts for future research.
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The Benefits of an Amazon Giveaway for Kindle (DBW)
Amazon Giveaways are now available for Kindle ebooks. No, I’m not talking about KDP Select free promos. I’m talking about Amazon Giveaways—contests hosted by Amazon on Amazon.com which until now have only been available for print books and other physical products. But now you no longer need to have a print edition to run an Amazon Giveaway.
Shifting Thoughts on Agency Pricing: Shatzkin’s Pivot (Pub Perspectives)
“Amazon demonstrated dazzling marketplace power,” writes Mike Shatzkin, in what he presents as a new narrative on relations between the retailer and the Big Five.
Sales for Trade Books Increase by 0.5% in October 2015 (DBW)
The Association of American Publishers released data revealing that trade book sales from January to October 2015 were up 0.5 percent compared to the same time last year.
Is Amazon Behind the Return to Agency? (Digital Reader)
It was widely assumed that when the Big Five (and later other publishers) secured agency ebook contracts in late 2014 and 2015 that the publishers had pressured Amazon into giving up control of the retail price of the ebooks. Some might find it hard to believe that this secret could have been kept for 14 to 15 months. This detail is so juicy that I myself had trouble believing it, but as it sank in the idea began to make more and more sense.
The Rhyme of the Agency Publisher (Bookseller)
Back in 2010 a publishing executive gave me a background briefing about agency pricing. It was during the height of the terms tussle, the moment when the big publishers were still negotiating agency deals with Amazon and before the US Department of Justice worked itself up into an investigation into publisher collusion. “Do you know,” I recall the executive telling me, “Amazon quite likes the agency model.”
Is Open Access the Answer to Expensive Textbooks? (Conversation)
For university students, textbooks have been both a savior and a bane. Having most of the essential readings in a single volume enables students to access resources easily. Despite mostly being used for short periods of time, they come with a hefty price tag—and weight. With the price of textbooks increasing—in the decade to 2013, the price of textbooks worldwide increased by 82percent, roughly triple the price on inflation—they are becoming less accessible to students. In Australia textbooks cost hundreds of dollars each. For administrative law, a student might spend $123.95 on a single textbook. A big investment for one course.
Playster Subscription Service: A Review (Ebook Evangelist)
For the last few weeks (from 1/23/2016 to 2/18/2016), I have been using the 30-day free trial of the Playster subscription service. With the current membership changes at Scribd, other options for subscription services become even more important. Here’s my review of the service.
Amazon to Open New Unstore at UT Austin (Digital Reader)
Amazon announced on Wednesday that it will shortly be opening its eighth retail location on or near a US college campus. The new unstore will be located on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin, in Gregory Gymnasium, and it is scheduled to open in summer 2016.
‘Launch Kids’ at DBW ’16 Looks at Children’s Book Publishing (DBW)
The 5th annual Launch Kids, a one-day symposium during the Digital Book World Conference + Expo, features top companies and executives discussing the future of the children’s book publishing business. The event—programmed by Lorraine Shanley of Market Partners International—takes place on the first day of DBW, March 7-9, 2016 at the New York Hilton Midtown, New York.
Headline Makers on Stage Next Week (Pub Lunch)
With the main Digital Book World conference less than a week away—Tuesday March 8 and Wednesday March 9—many of our featured speakers come straight from the latest headlines. Whatever the final disposition of the Perseus distribution companies, it will alter the distribution landscape, and the long-term transformation of Ingram Content Group as told by John Ingram is highly relevant.
Dr. Jessica Sänger on Global Implications of Changing Copyright Law (Pub Perspectives)
Ahead of Digital Book World 2016, Dr. Jessica Sänger of the German Booksellers and Publishers Association gives some context to discussions about changing copyright laws.
Jonathan Taplin, USC Media Studies Professor: A Q&A (TeleRead)
Jonathan Taplin produced Mean Streets, Martin Scorsese’s first film, and has also worked with Bob Dylan and George Harrison. Prof. Taplin’s movies have won Oscar and Golden Globes nominations and been selected five times for The Cannes Film Festival. These days, however, as a media studies professor at the University of Southern California, he has been working on a different kind of book—Sleeping Through a Revolution: The Secret History of Internet Power, set to appear from Little Brown in spring 2017.