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...

Don’t Outsource Your Publishing Business Away

In the debate over whether to rely on outsourcing or develop skills in-house, I come down firmly on the side of learning skills yourself. A major reason for this is personal satisfaction: competence and capability make you feel good about yourself. And by extension, a happy, motivated workforce makes for better publishing. Another motivation...

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...

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The Benefits of Direct-to-Consumer Marketing for Publishers

Imagine the pressure of trying to walk on a tightrope. It’s scary enough just attempting to keep your balance. But, what if maintaining your balance isn’t your biggest worry? What if you’re afraid that the tightrope itself might break? This anxiety represents how many of my publisher clients can feel in today’s economy. Not...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

DBW In Brief Digital Book World digital disruption innovation

The Industry’s Latest Thinking on Disruption and Innovation

With the digital transition slowing down, many publishers may find themselves with more breathing room than they did just a few years ago, when ebooks were growing at a rapid clip. That’s leading some to make important adjustments to core processes, while others are seeking growth opportunities through acquisitions. But for all those who welcome the stability...

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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...

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Macmillan Doubles Ebook Offerings on Scribd and Oyster

In an expansion of the partnerships with the leading subscription ebook platforms it kicked off in January this year, Macmillan doubles its offerings on both Scribd and Oyster, adding roughly 1,000 titles apiece to the two platforms. Both of those contributions cover popular back-list fiction and nonfiction ebooks, which Scribd says includes best-selling titles by Grace Paley, Hilary Mantel, John McPhee and...

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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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How to Win at Publishing

As founder and CEO at Inkling, I’ve spent nearly six years working across the publishing industry at every level. In my first two posts in this three-part series, I discussed changing customer expectations then turned to examine the corporate culture challenges many publishers face. In this third and final post, I’ll explore the strategies that...

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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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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...

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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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Fonts and Nonsense: What Bookerly and Literata Get Wrong

There’s been a lot of hoopla lately about two recent typographic improvements to major e-reading environments, Kindle’s new Bookerly typeface and the Literata font for Google Play Books. Commentators have tossed around celebratory remarks like, “the Kindle finally gets typography that doesn’t suck” and “e-readers rejoice!” But many of us in the cheap seats—that is to...

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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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Barnes & Noble Selects New CEO to Refocus on Retail

The bookseller appoints Ronald D. Boire, the current head of Sears Canada, to serve as CEO of Barnes & Noble’s retail division beginning in early September. He is set to continue at the helm of the bookstore business that will remain after Barnes & Noble spins off its college division this summer. Boire will succeed Michael Huseby, who will become Executive...

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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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Scribd Culls Romance Ebooks from Subscription Platform

The subscription content platform Scribd alerts its publishing partners that it’s dropping an undisclosed number of romance and erotica titles from its ebook catalog. The news, shared late yesterday by Smashwords CEO Mark Coker, renews questions about the viability of the subscription model for ebooks at a time when Amazon has overhauled its  compensation model on Kindle...

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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...

Apple ebook antitrust price-fixing Denise Cote

Court Rejects Apple’s Appeal of Ebook Price-Fixing Ruling

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals today upholds the 2013 ruling of Judge Denise Cote that found Apple guilty of conspiring with leading trade publishers to fix the price of ebooks, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The two-to-one decision requires Apple to begin issuing settlement payouts to customers, a sum that’s been estimated...

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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...

Disney Publishing Worldwide children's books interactive digital media

Disney Folds Publishing into New Interactive Media Division

The Walt Disney Company combines the division that houses its children’s publishing business with its interactive media division, in a move the company frames as a reaction to “changing consumer preferences” in a tech-driven market. Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media will be overseen jointly by the heads of the two categories it brings together—Leslie...

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Tipping the Editorial Apple Cart

As founder and CEO at Inkling, I’ve spent nearly six years working across the publishing industry at every level. In my first post in this three-part series, I discussed a few key ways the market has changed. In this second post, I’ll share my tech-centric perspective on the challenges publishers face in transforming themselves. In...