The Mousetrap of Better Book Discovery

The Mousetrap of Better Book DiscoveryRemember ebooks? Those were the days, weren’t they? Those crazy few years when the fad of reading on a Kindle swept the nation. Now, of course, that fit of mass hysteria is behind us. Ebook sales are falling, down more than 10 percent in 2015—YA down 44 percent—while used bookstores are coming back. Yes, that’s right; print is regaining its regal primacy; ebooks are dead. Right?

You look suspicious. How strange. It’s almost as if you think that because those numbers come from the Association of American Publishers, they might indicate something rather different from the death of the ebook; they might be a signifier of the rise of smaller publishers not tracked by the AAP, and/or, the growth of online reading via, for example, Wattpad or Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.

Author Earnings argues that what we’re really seeing is that AAP publishers “have seen their collective share of the US ebook market collapse.” Mathew Ingram in Fortune adds, rhetorically, “Isn’t a drop in sales just a natural outcome of the publishers’ move to keep e-book prices high?”

Somehow I don’t think Amazon is running particularly scared.

Much more.

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A Manifesto for Container-Free Content (Futurebook)
The digital debate within the publishing industry has revolved around topics such as print vs. digital (“is print dead?” or “is ebook adoption slowing?”) and the merits and pitfalls of various digital formats, platforms and enhanced content. A fundamental question is being overlooked in this search for the optimal publishing strategy: what are the customer’s needs, and how can content be packaged and delivered to meet them?

How to Find and Work with Beta Readers to Improve Your Book (Jane Friedman)
No creative act is a solo endeavor. Editors, designers, marketers—it takes a team of professionals to help authors bring their novels to life. But lurking behind the contracts and cut checks is a valuable set of hands many authors fail to exploit: beta readers.

Oyster Turns Off the Lights Following iOS Update (Digital Reader)
On Friday the ebook subscription service Oyster released the final update to its app for iPad and iPhone, and used that update to quietly announce that it was shutting down. The three-year-old startup was acquired by Google last September, and had promised to remain open into spring 2016 as the staff transitioned over. Alas, that did not happen; instead Oyster started closing accounts in late December

Narrowing a Gap in the Sci-Fi Universe (NY Times)
Ashley Eckstein, a self-described sci-fi fangirl, believes women like her are often overlooked. So several years ago she started a company to sell apparel featuring brands like Doctor Who, Star Trek and Star Wars to other fangirls. Now, believing those same women need a voice, she is expanding into publishing. She said she got the idea after receiving unsolicited manuscripts at conventions. “Fans would hand me a book and say, ‘I wrote a story and could not get it published,’” she said. “I would come home with stacks of books.”

SpotlightWho Owns Data Analytics in Your Company? (Econsultancy)
As the data revolution impacts more of corporate America, one of the most important questions facing the data-maturing organization is, “Who owns the data?” Not surprisingly, the answer is, “It depends.” Personal experience leads me to believe there are at least four suitable potential models, each with its own pros and cons.

PRH UK Removes Degree Requirements from Job Applications (Bookseller)
Penguin Random House UK is removing any requirement for a college or university degree for all new jobs to attract a “more varied candidate pool” in order to “publish the best books that appeal to readers everywhere.”


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