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Introducing DBW Spotlight

Digital Book World is proud to announce the launch of DBW Spotlight—a new way for you to dive deeper into the issues that are important to your business. Starting in September, our editors will devote each month to putting the spotlight on a topic essential to successful digital publishing. Over the course of the...

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How Publishers Can Have Better Websites

“When you compare the online traffic of a news website against that of a publisher’s website, who do you think gets the most visitors?” DBW blogger Rob Eagar asks. “To almost no one’s surprise, it’s not even close: the news sites get much more traffic.” Both groups, though, create massive amounts of content that...

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Authors United Asks DoJ to Investigate Amazon

Authors United has made a formal request to the Department of Justice (DoJ) that it investigate Amazon for monopolistic practices and anti-competitive behavior. The group has been pushing this case for some time, along with a number of other groups representing authors and publishers, arguing that Amazon controls a giant share of the ebook...

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Companies Look to Transform Reading in the Classroom

“Companies that aspire to transform old-fashioned reading into an interactive media experience are on the rise, and they are increasingly looking to schools as a promising market,” writes Ainsley O’Connell in Fast Company. One of the companies pursuing this burgeoning market is Booktrack, “which sells digital books that pair text with music and ambient...

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Authors’ Social Media Marketing Must Be Sustainable

As an author, “if you have an aversion to social media, it probably stems from an aversion to marketing in general,” writes Chris Syme in a blog post for DBW. Marketing research, though, tells us social media plays a key role in buying decisions, with 71 percent of consumers saying they’re likely to make...

Publishers and the Fear of Data

“Change leads to anxiety, and there has been a lot of change in publishing in recent years,” writes Jellybooks Founder Andrew Rhomberg in his latest blog post for DBW. “There is one trend, though, that is striking more fears in publishers’ minds than any other. And that is the fear of data.” Rhomberg writes...

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Jeff Bezos: ‘I Don’t Recognize This Amazon’

In the aftermath of the New York Times’s expose of Amazon’s white-collar working conditions, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sent a memo to Amazon employees acknowledging that the “anecdotes” in the article displayed “shockingly callous management practices.” Yet while Bezos doesn’t refute any specifics in the Times report, he says that its overall portrait of...

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Inside Amazon’s ‘Bruising Workplace’

“At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are ‘unreasonably high.’” That was from the New York Times’s lengthy piece on Amazon’s neverending...

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Publishers Need to Manage Expectations

When managing a publishing business, or any business for that matter, there’s always a lot that can go wrong. There are two “looming dangers,” Emma Barnes writes in her latest DBW post: the fact that staff, suppliers and customers can often let you down, and that the money you spend on any infrastructural changes...

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Why Publishers Are Wrong About Social Media

In his latest blog post for DBW, Rob Eagar writes that he sees “too many publishers placing too much importance and assigning dubious grades to authors based on the strength or weakness of their social media following.” According to Eagar, there is little correlation between the amount of social media followers an author has...

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How Ebooks Are Changing the Way We Read

“With the coming of ebooks,” writes Paul Mason in The Guardian, “the world of the physical book, read so many times that your imagination can ‘inhabit’ individual pages, is dying.” One of the key ways that ebooks have shifted our reading habits is that they have helped to shorten our attention spans. Moreover, for...

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Where Does Book Publishing Go from Here?

“This is not a zero-sum game and it isn’t simple,” writes Mike Shatzkin. “It’s Rubik’s Cube complicated.” In Shatzkin’s latest deep dive, he analyzes a slew of factors that are propelling the publishing industry into rapid change, including the return to agency pricing, declining ebook sales, the rise of subscription services, and, perhaps biggest...

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How YouTube Can Help Self-Published Authors

New York writer Teymour Shahabi wanted to self-publish his novel. But how would he do so without the necessary push, judgment and intimidation that an editor from a traditional publisher might give him? As Shahabi writes, “Enter YouTube.” Shahabi, an admitted self-publishing novice, turned to the video-sharing platform and spoke into the camera about...

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The Life of an Ebook Developer

“Finding community as an ebook developer is a weird challenge,” writes Laura Brady, as “some of us work in complete isolation in our remote offices.” So where do these people go to commiserate with like-minded folks? To get help and to ask questions? To find that community? “Believe it or not, Twitter.” The social...

Why the Future Is Freelance

Smart outsourcing, according to John Bond, “helps bring about effective change as and when you need it, and it empowers your internal team.” Bond, the CEO of whitefox, a UK network of publishing freelancers, argues in this DBW post that when it comes to keeping everything in-house, “this particular ship has already sailed. The...

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...

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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...

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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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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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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...

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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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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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Penguin Random House and Amazon Reach New Ebook Deal

The world’s largest trade publisher today confirms it’s reached a multi-year agreement for Amazon to distribute its print and digital titles in the US and U.K., becoming the final Big Five publisher to do so. A spokesperson for Penguin Random House, speaking to Publishers Weekly, declined to give further details about the terms of the...

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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...

Amazon Refreshes Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader

The latest version of Amazon’s popular Kindle Paperwhite e-reader is available for preorder starting today. The device retails for $119 and will ship on June 30. The new Kindle Paperwhite improves on the screen resolution of its predecessor, with a 300 ppi display featuring twice the pixels of the earlier model. It also utilizes Bookerly, Kindle’s recently designed default...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...