Author Archives: Rich Bellis

Rich Bellis

About Rich Bellis

Rich Bellis is a former senior editor of Digital Book World.

ebook publishers book discovery readers Goodreads

Steering Discovery with Readers in the Driver’s Seat

By some accounts, the book discovery landscape is much more fragmented and reader-driven than it’s ever been. And by certain measures, it’s also more difficult for authors and publishers. “Millions of books are now published every year,” Goodreads co-founder and CEO Otis Chandler acknowledges. “Mass media, already the preserve of the rarified best-selling book...

mobile e-reading Google Amazon customers publishers

Mobile Putting New Focus on Customer Relationships

There’s reason to believe the major tech companies understand a lesson outside publishing that’s steadily reshaping the rules of the game within it. Google recently took steps to sharpen its e-commerce edge against Amazon among mobile users. Yet few observers believe Google wants to become an e-tailer itself. Rather, the race is for relationships...

genre fiction ebooks digital publishing Full Fathom Five

New Combinations for Digital Fiction

With ebook growth flattening out, publishers “can’t afford not to think more creatively about how they acquire new content,” one independent publisher argues. “Genre fiction in particular risks becoming a victim of its own success,” explains Samatha Streger, Director of Publishing at Full Fathom Five. Standing out in an “over-saturated” market is no longer...

Sigil ebook production XML oXygen coding EPUB3 EPUB

Screwdrivers, Hacksaws and Other Ebook Production Tools

Every ebook developer has a favorite set of tools, but according to one expert in the space, not every ebook developer remembers to ask why they use the ones they do. As Keith Snyder puts it, “On deadline, we choose the devil we know.” But one largely neglected software, in Snyder’s view, is a...

DBW In Brief digital disruption ebook publishing

Digital Disruption: When, Whether, Whence?

Is the worst of the digital transition over? Some expect mostly smooth sailing for publishers in the next few years, while others say more change is coming that few are prepared to weather. Rather than referee that debate, Digital Book World is putting it under the microscope. Our latest issue in the “DBW In...

Macmillan Scribd Oyster subscription ebooks

Macmillan Wades Deeper into Subscription Ebooks

What began at Macmillan as a tentative (and even downright reluctant) experiment with subscription ebooks early this year is now steadily expanding. The publisher adds more than 1,000 additional back-list titles apiece to both Scribd and Oyster’s subscription-based catalogs, expansions that roughly double its offerings on the two platforms. A portion of both new batches...

Matt MacInnis Inkling book publishing digital publishers innovation

Training to Win as the Publishing Game Changes

Inkling’s Matt MacInnis has had some strong words for publishers lately. He’s argued that their key product—the book—is losing its value to consumers and that, as a result, “the software industry is eating publishing for breakfast.” But by his own account, there’s more to that story. “Every established publisher has pockets of innovation,” MacInnis...

indie self-published authors book reviews Amazon marketing discovery

Friction as Book Reviews’ Roles Widen

Book reviews’ importance to discovery is arguably growing, and Amazon has taken note, cracking down on fake reviews and launching a platform to surface more relevant reviews to customers over time. Yet the e-tailer’s approach to book reviews is causing friction with some indie authors who say their reviews of other writers’ books are...

indie self-published authors book reviews Amazon marketing discovery

Do Amazon’s Book Review Policies Meet Authors’ Needs?

A self-published author says a review she posted on Amazon for a fellow writer’s book was removed because, according to the e-tailer, she knows the author personally. The author, Imy Santiago, has challenged that assertion with Amazon’s customer review moderators, which she says Amazon told her it determined based on her “account activity.” Reviewing...

ebook typograhy Kindle Bookerly Literata

Why New Ebook Fonts Fall Short

There’s been much ado recently about Bookerly and Literata, the two newly designed default typefaces for Kindle and Google Play Books, respectively. But according to expert ebook developer Laura Brady and top digital typographer Charles Nix, neither new ebook font is all it’s cracked up to be. That’s because “the ebook environment challenges the...

Ronald Boire Barnes & Noble Nook retail bookstores

Barnes & Noble Beats a Path Back to Retail

Barnes & Noble names a new CEO to help steer the company back toward its roots as a bookstore chain after the spinoff of its college division is completed this summer. Ronald D. Boire, the head of Sears Canada, comes to Barnes & Noble with executive-level experience in retail and consumer technology, with a...

Scribd

Scribd Adjusts Subscription Model under Strain

Scribd cuts an unspecified number of romance and erotica ebooks from its subscription-based catalog, apparently because paying its content partners based on readers’ activity in the genre is becoming too burdensome. “We’ve grown to such a point that we are beginning to adjust the proportion of titles across genres to ensure that we can...

Apple ebook antitrust price-fixing Denise Cote

Apple Loses Antitrust Appeal

An appeals court yesterday affirmed Judge Denise Cote’s 2013 verdict finding Apple guilty of violating antitrust laws by conspiring with publishers to fix ebook prices. The majority opinion in the two-to-one ruling finds Cote’s judgment in the case “amply supported and well-reasoned.” But a dissent from the third judge on the panel lays the...

Disney Publishing Worldwide children's books interactive digital media

Disney Rethinks Publishing in a Tech-Driven Market

The Walt Disney Company combines two divisions into a new Consumer Products and Interactive Media segment, in response to what the company calls “changing consumer preferences in a marketplace increasingly influenced by technology.” Disney Publishing Worldwide will now be housed within the combined segment, which Disney says will be better positioned to utilize its...

Emma Barnes Bibliocloud coding ebook publishers

What Programmers Can Teach Publishers

“If publishers had zero tolerance for repetition and boring administrative tasks,” Bibliocloud CEO Emma Barnes asks, “what would the industry look like? And how would publishers’ organizations reflect that internally?” Barnes learned how to code only after founding a small press, and she says the experience has since made her a better publisher. Programmers,...

Playster Librify Findaway Scribd subscription ebooks audiobooks

New Deals around Subscription Content

Two deals announced yesterday reflect some of the changes afoot in the market for subscription ebooks. Newcomer Playster, whose app is still in beta, adds 50,000 audiobooks to its subscription catalog through a partnership with the digital content distributor Findaway. And separately Scribd announces it’s acquired the social e-reading platform Librify. Both moves can...

W3C MathML STM publishers web standards markup language

Do Standards Help or Hinder Innovation?

Many trade publishers fall asleep at the mention of standards. Support for EPUB3—just to name one—is still far from universal, and there are few signs that that’s changing quickly. But outside trade publishing, standards arguably garner more urgent attention from digital content developers, distributors and their partners. W3C, a web standards group, secures the...

ebook developers digital production Joshua Tallent`

Understanding Ebook Production (and Why You Might Want to)

With the ebook market basically stuck in neutral, some ebook developers are doing a bit of soul-searching. In one view, the profession may be losing some of its appeal as publishers pare back their investments in digital production and talented coders seek fatter paychecks in other industries. And it doesn’t help that acquiring professional-grade...

book marketing Goodreads discovery ebooks

Focused Book Marketing in a Fragmented Market

“The key change authors and publishers need to embrace—and it’s a change that’s both an opportunity and a challenge—is that the book discovery landscape is fracturing,” Goodreads co-founder and CEO Otis Chandler says. Some see that shift leading to readers exercising more control over how content is curated and discovered. For publishers, Chandler explains,...

Penguin Random House Amazon ebooks agency pricing

Penguin Random House Inks Amazon Deal

With Penguin Random House announcing a new multi-year distribution contract with Amazon, all Big Five publishers have now come to terms with the e-tailer. What those terms consist of, though, remains to be seen in the case of the world’s largest trade publisher, which declined to confirm whether it, too, had agreed to a...

Oyster Lumin ebook e-reading Kobo Kindle Paperwhite

Oyster Ups the Ante on E-Reading Experience

If the e-reading experience were better, would more people pick up the habit? Oyster is hoping they might. Much as Kobo aims to convert print devotees with its latest e-reader, Oyster intends a new feature to make e-reading “more comfortable and enjoyable for our existing users” as well as to court “readers who might...

Inkling digital publishing start-ups innovation Matt MacInnis

How Book Publishers Can Outlast Book Publishing

“The book was a very sensible solution to a lot of problems for a long time, until it wasn’t,” says Inkling founder and CEO Matt MacInnis. “Today it increasingly isn’t.” MacInnis is among those who believe the traditional publishing model is under threat from “fast-changing customer expectations” to which publishers can’t always adapt quickly...

Gareth Cuddy Vearsa data digital publishing innovation disruption ebooks

Data, Innovation and Future-Proofing

“Between the rise of the self-published author and more efficient methods of content creation and distribution,” Vearsa CEO Gareth Cuddy says, “the value of being ‘published’ is diminishing year by year.” If that’s the case, though, Cuddy doesn’t believe it dooms publishers to obsolescence. “I think a lot of publishers are beginning to focus...

copyright office American Library Association ALA digital libraries

Copyright Crises and Controversies

The American Library Association (ALA) blasts a bill pending in Congress that would bring the U.S. Copyright Office out from under the auspices of the Library of Congress. According to ALA President Courtney Young, the legislation, called the CODE Act, “does not address the longstanding problems facing the agency,” whose technological resources Young says...

ebook developers digital production Laura Brady

Do They Still Make Ebook Developers Like They Used to?

Are talented ebook developers getting harder to come by? Some in the field believe that they are. Digital production expert Laura Brady says there are probably several, interconnected reasons for that. For one thing, acquiring the necessary skills can be time-consuming and costly, and candidates who possess them can usually expect higher salaries in...

AAP Association of American Publishers StatShot ebook sales

New Data, Same Slow Ebook Market

Ebooks grew modestly in 2014, a year that saw a 4.6% uptick in revenue overall, according to new full-year figures from the Association of American Publishers (AAP). But while the nearly 1,800 U.S. publishers who participated in the AAP’s latest survey say their ebook sales rose 3.8% on balance last year, the bigger story...

IPR License NetGalley global rights global publishing

Greasing the Gears on Rights Deals

If you’re a big publisher already, one way to pursue growth amid a sluggish ebook market is to get bigger. That’s the approach HarperCollins has adopted (among others) in the roughly ten months since it acquired Harlequin. Another is to ramp up on content licensing. As Tom Chalmers of IPR License sees it, revenue...

Emma Barnes Bibliocloud ebook publishing production editorial workflows IT

The Publishing Problems Technology Can’t Solve

With ebook growth flattening out, many publishers are doing a bit of housekeeping. It’s smart think about investing in automated production-editorial workflows and other digital solutions, Bibliocloud CEO Emma Barnes observes, but the reason many publishers “think they need a system is usually because of problems with process, not data,” she says. For someone...

Publishers Launch Kids children's ebooks publishers

Whither the Children’s Market?

By some recent measures, children’s and young adult titles have powered a level of growth that few other categories are able to match. At the same time, though, research paints a complicated and sometimes uncertain picture of the ways kids interact with ebooks. As more digital natives enter the market, children’s publishers, authors, app...

mobile apps book publishers responsive web design

Are Mobile Apps for Publishers Overrated?

Not long ago, many publishers thought rising to the mobile challenge meant building apps. But as smartphone use expands and that first phase of experimentation recedes, “many publishers are finding that the revenue apps generate hardly ever covers the costs of development, let alone the overhead,” Felix Wenzel of Librios writes. At the same...

Actively Learn HarperCollins ebooks e-reading learning K-12 education publishing

Getting Trade Ebooks into More Classrooms

Actively Learn, a digital content library and e-reading platform for K-12 students, adds “thousands” of popular titles published by HarperCollins, including classics like The Bridge to Terabithia. The platform lets students and school districts rent individual ebooks for limited periods, typically for less than it would cost to buy those titles in print or...

Full Fathom Five digital publishing genre ebooks readers

The New Digital Acquisitions Playbook

Do editors’ strategies for acquiring new digital titles need a refresh? One publisher thinks so. As the ebook market slows down, Full Fathom Five Digital’s Samantha Streger says that “many of the hit-making formulas acquiring editors and indie authors developed just a few years ago are bringing diminishing returns.” Genre fiction in particular has...