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How Authors Should Market Themselves Online

A website, according to industry guru Mike Shatzkin, is an “anchor”—”it is the only web presence the author knows s/he will always control.” Yes, authors must have a presence on other sites, including GoodReads, Library Thing, Amazon, Google+ and more traditional social media, but the personal site is the only “real estate an author...

New York to Partner with Amazon on Ebooks

New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) is set to approve a $34.5 million contract with Amazon to create an ebook marketplace for the city’s 1,800 public schools. Amazon will provide the school system with contracted content, such as widely used textbooks, as well as with non-contracted content, largely books and texts that individual...

Can Enhanced Ebooks Make a Comeback?

“Just as the print market has accommodated the ebook,” writes Philip Jones of Futurebook, “so the enhanced ebook might yet carve out a space outside of what may be a robust but largely established e-ink market.” Ebook sales among the big five publishers have increased 5.3 percent in the first six months of 2015,...

Don’t Outsource Your Publishing Business Away

When a task needs to be performed for your business, you have two options: you can either do the job in house or you can outsource it to another party. In the long run, writes Emma Barnes, founder and CEO of Bibliocloud, the better choice is option number one. Not only do you and...

Digital Downloads Fueling Strong Audio Sales

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) released the results of its annual sales survey, and based on data collected, the APA estimates that audiobook sales in 2014 totaled more than $1.47 billion, up 13.5 percent over the previous year. The APA credits industry growth to the increasing popularity of digital downloads as well as the...

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Amazon Doing More for Authors than Publishers Are

“Most of Amazon’s success is due to their own stellar performance: innovating, investing, executing, and having a vision of what could happen as they grew,” writes Mike Shatzkin. Moreover, most of what Amazon has done to boost its business has “benefited most publishers and helped them grow their sales and their profitability.” These two...

Is Peer-to-Peer Content Distribution on the Horizon?

What if you could instantly see a list of the popular ebooks being read around you, and if you were interested in one of them you could pull up a sample directly from someone else’s device onto yours? That’s just one of the questions Joe Wikert asks in his essay that considers the possibilities...

Booktrack Gets Another $5 Million to Add Soundtracks to Books

The New Zealand-based startup Booktrack, which creates soundtracks for e-books that sync with the reader’s pace, raised another $5 million, bringing its total funding to $10 million. Booktrack released its first tracks two years ago, and today has a library of 15,000 tracks available for its 2.5 million users. Book publishers are able to...

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...