Amazon

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...

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...

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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...

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...

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Amazon Hit with Ebook Antitrust Probe in Europe

Expanding its regulatory scrutiny of the biggest U.S. technology companies, the European Commission (EC) today opens an investigation into Amazon’s ebook contracts with publishers in the European Union. A key area of concern are clauses requiring publishers to inform Amazon of terms with its competitors that may be favorable, a practice the EC says may “make it...

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The Publishing Problems Technology Can’t Solve

With ebook growth flattening out, many publishers are doing a bit of housekeeping. It’s smart think about investing in automated production-editorial workflows and other digital solutions, Bibliocloud CEO Emma Barnes observes, but the reason many publishers “think they need a system is usually because of problems with process, not data,” she says. For someone...

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‘Easy’ Publishing Is Hard

There’s no shortage of digital products and solutions on the market aimed at streamlining publishers’ processes and making their businesses more efficient. But as Bibliocloud’s Emma Barnes points out, the most innovative new systems are only as good as their most rickety integration points with existing ones. “If you’re not very careful,” Barnes cautions,...

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Why the Amazon Question Is Also a Mobile One

Not long after upgrading its search algorithm to give pride of place to mobile-optimized sites, Google develops a plan to add ‘buy’ buttons to certain search results appearing on mobile devices. The move is reportedly aimed at stemming the tide of shoppers who get irritated trying to make purchases through retailers’ cumbersome mobile sites...

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One EPUB to Rule Them All?

There are those who question whether EPUB is the optimal format for publishers to adhere to in producing digital content. Indeed, some argue that standards themselves hold back innovation. In the meantime, there’s disagreement among ebook developers who work in EPUB whether to generate an individual file to deliver to all retailers or to...

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Amazon Launches Cloud Computing Education Program

Amazon Web Services introduces a program designed to help secondary and higher education students gain skills and training in cloud computing technology. Called “AWS Educate,” the program offers a slate of resources to instructors and institutions to incorporate cloud-related content into their coursework. Amazon cites the growing demand within many industries for skilled workers with training in...

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How Not to Innovate

One thing standing in the way of innovation at most big publishers? Finance departments. That’s according to Matt MacInnis, Founder and CEO of the digital content platform Inkling. In larger organizations, finance departments strive to optimize businesses in ways that aren’t typically conducive to seeding innovations. Nevertheless, MacInnis believes publishers are still likely to...

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Penguin Random House Revamps Web Presence

Most publishers, it’s been noted, don’t have especially strong relationships with their readers. Penguin Random House unveils a unified consumer-facing website designed to change that—in the words of CEO Markus Dohle, “one author, one book, and one reader at a time.” Like other recent editorially driven discovery efforts, the new site combines information on...

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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,...

HarperCollins Signs Amazon Deal, but Details Scarce

Earlier this month, it looked like HarperCollins and Amazon were at loggerheads over provisions in the distribution contract Amazon had proposed to the publisher. Now the two have come to terms. As of two weeks ago, those terms, according to a Business Insider story that some viewed a move by Amazon to put pressure on HarperCollins,...

oyster

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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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...

Amazon-HarperCollins Negotiations Peek into Public View

Amazon’s contract negotiations with HarperCollins have come to a something of an impasse, according to an anonymous source Business Insider reports as knowledgeable about the matter. It’s the first time the public has gotten any indication—however limited and hard to corroborate (HarperCollins has declined to comment)—that the publisher’s talks with Amazon may not be going smoothly. HarperCollins’s distribution contract...