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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...

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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,...

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Why Print Still Matters

E-reading may be growing in popularity, but most publishers today know to expect more incremental gains than ebooks first met with during their early boom years. In the meantime, print books are doing just fine. A recent study of authors’ publishing choices and outcomes finds that “despite the focus in much current debate on authors’...

Barnes & Noble Nook college bookstores

Barnes & Noble Spins off College Division

The bookseller announced yesterday it will separate its retail and ebook businesses from its college books business, with plans to set the latter up as a standalone education company by the end of August. That raises the question of whether Barnes & Noble’s plans for Nook Media have changed. While the company has said...

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When Discoverability Arrives Too Late

‘Discovery’ and ‘discoverability’ are the twin watchwords of book marketing today, and for good reason. In an intensely competitive market, ensuring the right mechanisms are in place to allow readers to find what they’re after—and to recommend something similar to what they’re after—is critically important. But those efforts may still fall short in some...

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What Are Authors Worth?

If many authors today are better at figuring out exactly what their publishers are worth to them than the other way around, it’s largely out of necessity. One reason few publishers can assign a dollar value their authors, according to marketing expert Murray Izenwasser, is because they tend not to factor authors into the...

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Android, Apple and Ebooks

Apple’s success with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has been extraordinary by any measure. And after bundling the iBooks app with iOS 8 late last year, Apple reported bringing in 1 million new customers a week through the holiday season. But the extent to which those gains indicate an increasingly Apple-dominated ebook universe...

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HarperCollins Expands Bookmate Offering

Many of the leading ebook subscription services are growing, both in terms of content and reach. Amazon brought Kindle Unlimited to Mexico and Canada less than two weeks ago. And earlier this month, Scribd added 10,000 digital comics to its subscription-based platform. Now Bookmate brings its total catalog up to 250,000 titles after adding...

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Kindle Unlimited Payouts Low Despite Growth

The total sum Amazon reserves for Kindle Unlimited authors is growing alongside the subscription program, which arrived in Mexico and Canada last week. But the size of the individual payouts authors receive every time their titles are borrowed isn’t keeping pace. Publishers Lunch puts that figure at nearly $1.38 for January, about 5 cents...

direct-to-consumer ebook publishers

The Business Case for Publishers Going Direct

Many publishers agree direct-to-consumer strategies are critical for building a brand identity and connecting with customers in novel ways. In other words, the marketing case for going direct is pretty widely understood. But fewer publishers are as convinced they can establish revenue streams on their own that are substantial enough to compete with the...

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For Publishers’ SEO, Divide and Conquer

Book publishers wanting to optimize their web content to drive discovery should approach it as a battle waged on two fronts: the elements they control, and the ones they don’t. Off-site content, like book reviews, fall into the latter category, but what marketing expert Murray Izenwasser calls the “mechanicals” of publishers’ own sites can be tailored to...

enhanced ebooks media tie-ins American Sniper

Can the Movies Save Enhanced Ebooks?

It depends who you ask. The recent success of the enhanced ebook edition of American Sniper–which has reportedly sold over 166,000 copies, besting its unenhanced analog in the iBooks Store–has some asking whether a winning formula has been found at last. Film adaptations are well understood to boost the performance of the ebooks they’re...

kindle unlimited amazon subscription ebooks

Kindle Unlimited Hits the Rest of North America

Just a couple of months after expanding to France and Brazil, Kindle Unlimited comes to Canada and Mexico. Amazon has moved swiftly to give its ebook subscription service an international edge since launching in the UK in September 2014, just two months after the program’s U.S. rollout. It’s now also available in Spain, Italy...

readers customers direct-to-consumer publishers

How to Know Your Readers Better

First, head down to your local grocer. Small neighborhood shops tend to intuit something about cultivating customer relationships that other businesses, including many publishers, often miss. To be fair, it’s only quite recently that that’s begun to change. As digital marketing expert Murray Izenwasser recently pointed out, most publishers experimenting with direct-to-consumer strategies are...

Scribd digital comics subscription ebooks

Looking Beyond Ebooks, Scribd Bulks up

Scribd has doubled its content offering over the past six months, hitting the 1 million mark after adding 10,000 digital comics yesterday. In the course of that expansion, the label typically used to describe Scribd’s main program–“ebook subscription service”–has become a bit of a misnomer. Scribd expanded into audiobooks last November, adding 30,000 titles...

Apple iOS 9 iBooks mobile

Apple Shifts Focus for iOS 9

One of the biggest developments for ebook publishers when Apple launched iOS 8 last September was the company’s decision to bundle the update with its iBooks app. At Digital Book World last month, iBooks Store Director Keith Moerer estimated 1 million new customers had flocked to iBooks each week between the iOS 8 rollout...