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Using APIs to Publish More Efficiently

“Application programming interfaces, or APIs, aren’t easy to talk about,” writes Bibliocloud Founder and CEO Emma Barnes. “You can’t have a debate about whether or not APIs are a good idea. That would be like arguing over whether the Internet is a good idea.” APIs are already deeply enmeshed in the digital publishing ecosystem,...

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Penguin Random House Joins Scribd on Audiobooks

When Hachette and Penguin Random House joined in the launch of Oyster’s ebookstore last week, both made it clear they have no intention of putting their ebooks on the subscription model. But who said anything about audiobooks? Adding 9,000 digital audiobook titles to Scribd’s catalog, Penguin Random House deepens its collaboration with the major...

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HarperCollins Signs Amazon Deal, Widens Global Reach

Resolving the apparent impasse where HarperCollins and Amazon found themselves earlier this month, the two parties sign a multi-year print and digital distribution contract. Officially, that’s the whole story. Neither HarperCollins nor Amazon have so far confirmed whether the deal rests on terms similar to those three other Big Five publishers have agreed to,...

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Nielsen Puts Global Ebooks in Sharper Focus

Partnering with Openbook, a China-based book sales tracking service, Nielsen aims to help publishers and distributors get a better handle on global markets. In a deal announced yesterday, Nielsen will support Openbook’s research into the Chinese book market and offer that data to Nielsen subscribers around the world. In exchange, Openbook will distribute Nielsen’s...

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Penguin Random House Puts Ebooks on Trains

A new partnership brings a selection of more than twenty popular Penguin Random House ebooks to Amtrak’s Acela Express passengers. The commercial rail operator rolls out a new digital content platform where travelers can read free excerpts of the publisher’s titles, then purchase any of them with the click of a “buy” button. HarperCollins...

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Video Marketing for Publishers: How, Whether, When?

Video may have killed the radio star, but its impact on the book world is still buffering. Book trailers are by now a familiar if limited presence in the marketing landscape. And while some publishers have built video into their marketing and content offerings, those experiments are still in their early days. So what...

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Oyster Opens Ebookstore

With all Big Five publishers on board, Oyster launches an ebookstore that puts it into closer competition with major retailers like Amazon. Readers can still sign up for the start-up’s subscription program, which offers unlimited access to over 1 million ebooks for $9.95 a month. But now, all of those titles plus about 100,000 more...

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Kobo Takes Aim at Kindle Voyage

Unveiling its newest device, the Glo HD, Kobo makes a play for the top shelf of the e-reader market. Retailing for $70 less than Amazon’s premium e-reader, the Kindle Voyage, the Glo HD boasts comparable specs, including six-inch, 300 ppi E Ink touchscreen, 1GHz of processing power and approximately two months of battery life....

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Print Habits Die Hard

It’s difficult to fault publishers for focusing their production workflows around print content. For one thing, it’s a reflection of the current market. With ebook growth slowing down and print holding strong, “typesetting for print is still a primary skill-set publishers need to maintain,” says leading ebook developer Laura Brady. But ebooks too often...

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Three Stats on the Mobile Future

If publishers are inching toward mobile by fits and starts, consumers are barreling forward. Here are key pieces of the emerging mobile picture: 1. It’s dominated by smartphones, ownership of which just hit 64% in the U.S., rising from 35% in 2011. 2. It’s no country for old men, who can get by more easily...

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What Publishers Pay to Change Strategy

Adjusting to the digital market means continuously recalibrating investments to support strategic goals and the organizational resources for pursuing them. Bibliocloud founder Emma Barnes sees those costs as amounting to a “strategy tax” publishers and booksellers shoulder in order to compete. But more than just the “toll a business must pay in order to set the...

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Amazon-HarperCollins Contract Talks Sour

Its distribution contract up for renewal, HarperCollins is said to be refusing the terms Amazon has put on the table. According to a Business Insider report based on an unidentified Amazon source, the publisher has been offered “the same contract recently signed by Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan.” If the impasse can’t be...

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Closing the Gaps in Readers’ Sales Journeys

Few publishers have marketing programs in place at every stage of a reader’s path toward making a book purchase. That’s partly because most publishers are still figuring out how to build meaningful relationships directly with their readers. But as marketing expert Murray Izenwasser and others have recently argued, a great discoverability strategy no longer...

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The Kids Are Alright without Enhanced E-Reading

For all the time millennials are spending on digital platforms, they aren’t dropping everything in order to read on them. The numbers tell a pretty clear story. While e-reading is popular and growing among younger readers, two recent studies both find they’re still about twice as likely to read a print book as an...

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How to Reach Millennial Readers

For book publishers, millennials can be a tricky bunch. They appear to favor print as well as offline, word-of-mouth book recommendations on the one hand, while driving an enormous share of social media activity on the other. Meanwhile, publishers’ marketing resources remain limited, and many are struggling to build relationships with readers where such...

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Global Ebook Opportunities Rising

A recent Pew study hints at growing opportunities for ebook publishers and retailers to reach more English-language readers around the world. Not only are rates of Internet use are higher among younger, more affluent, better educated members of the 32 developing countries Pew surveyed, those users also tend be social media savvy and read or speak...

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Few Children’s Authors Writing for Apps

“Many children’s book authors aren’t huge fans of the so-called ‘picture book apps’ or ‘story apps’ entering the children’s market at ever increasing volumes,” an expert in digital children’s content observes. “One reason why is because they aren’t authoring them.” According to Sandy McDowell, who studies the growing market for picture book apps, developers...

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Holding out on EPUB3 Gets Harder as UX Gets Better

To hear one leading ebook developer tell it, EPUB3 is still greeted with obstinance by a sizable handful of publishers and distributors. But holding out is getting ever harder to justify, especially as digital production specialists become more adept at utilizing EPUB3’s features to improve the user experience. “If for no other reason, I...

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Rakuten Buys OverDrive

The company that Kobo’s former head once called the “Amazon of Japan” significantly enlarges its ebook business by scooping up OverDrive in a $410 million deal announced yesterday. Acquiring the library distributor is Rakuten’s latest major push into the digital content space, one of three key growth areas the Japan-based company says it’s targeting....

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Keeping up with Digital Natives

By some accounts, young readers don’t behave much differently than older ones do; some studies find only tepid interest among digital natives in ebooks and other digital content. But the latest report based on an ongoing research project between PlayCollective and Digital Book World paints a more nuanced picture of children and families sorting...

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Don’t Optimize Alone

Over a year ago, Jellybooks founder Andrew Rhomberg took the stage at Digital Book World 2014 to make the case for publishers partnering with start-ups and other service providers. Nodding to the ratio between resources and ambitions, Rhomberg urged two things on publishers: “Don’t try to do everything in-house” and “Try a lot but...

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Lego Builds Ebook Line at Little, Brown

A deal announced yesterday brings Lego-branded content to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in print and digital formats. Aimed at readers ages six to eleven and based on three popular Lego product lines, the first titles will be full-color digital comics and trade paperbacks available in time for 2015 holiday shoppers. The partnership...

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When the Indie Math Doesn’t Add up

There’s little argument that most self-publishing platforms offer authors a far greater share of the income from their work than traditional publishing contracts often do. But there’s usually more to the equation. One key variable no route to publication can ever guarantee is sales. And in many cases if authors find they’re unable to...

ebook discovery

What Drives Discovery the Best?

That’s a question publishers, start-ups and ebook retailers have been testing answers to for years. Two recent discovery initiatives don’t so much stake a new ground as offer a sense of how much of it stands between them in the current field. Going where a number have gone before, Penguin Random House earlier this...

Lagardere Hachette ebook publishing

Lagardère Profits Shrink

Sales at Hachette Book Group fell 4.9% in 2014 from the previous year, according to the publisher’s parent company Lagardère, which finds its full-year profits down 11.7% during the period. In the U.S. Hachette weathered a difficult 2014, which included an acrimonious dispute with Amazon over ebook margins. The publisher attributes the 3% drop...

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Google Pushing Publishers to Go Mobile

If many publishers have yet to catch up with where their readers are, Google plans to pressure them to. A few weeks ago, Google made a rare announcement of a change set to weight mobile-responsive websites more favorably in searches. “It’s a push to make mobile responsiveness the new normal for everyone (including publishers),”...

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HarperCollins Expands Spanish Offering

Continuing to widen its international profile, HarperCollins launches two new divisions devoted to Spanish-language publishing. With HarperCollins Español and HarperCollins Iberica, the publisher plans to increase the volume of titles available for Spanish-language readers worldwide. The first of those is to be a translation of Harper Lee’s forthcoming Go Set a Watchman. HarperCollins CEO...

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Getting to Know What Readers Go After

While “understanding searchers’ intentions and aligning marketing content with their queries” is fairly common outside the book world, according to marketing expert Peter McCarthy, it’s not yet a major part of publishers’ search engine optimization (SEO) practices. But identifying readers’ interests is in some ways easier than many might believe. That research starts with...

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European Court Rules Ebooks Aren’t Goods

Ebook readers in the European Union will soon have to spend more. An EU court deems ebooks “electronically supplied services” rather than products, preventing them from being taxed at the lower rates print books can. The standard value-added tax (VAT) rates in EU member states varies, but in Luxembourg and France, it’s 17% and...

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Why Small Publishers Must Go Global, Too

Traditionally, being a global publisher has meant being a big publisher. Sandy Grant, CEO of the Australian publisher Hardie Grant, says until recently, independent publishers “often saw ourselves as unable to compete with the multi-nationals for global distribution and thus for global authors.” Especially now that ebooks have leveled off, the need for publishers...

digital marketing ebooks discoverability SEO

How Duplicate Content Dooms Book Marketers

No matter their size, virtually all publishers struggle to allocate limited marketing resources to many deserving titles. Sometimes that means taking a few shortcuts. One of the most common can also be the most dangerous to discoverability: recycling bits of marketing copy that leads to them appearing in multiple places across the web. “Relevance,...