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Amazon is one of those companies that never divulges specific dollar amounts or how many eBooks they have sold. During the holiday season last year they strayed from the normal PR blackouts and proclaimed that tens of millions of members were members of Prime. This got annalists salivating, and we now have potential figures that give us an accurate portrayal of Amazon Primes worldwide numbers.

RBC Capital conducted a research note yesterday and Mark Mahaney said RBC is now estimating that 30 million and 40 million in the U.S. and 40 million to 50 million globally are members of Amazon Prime. Most of this data comes from a new survey that RBC conducted from 4,000 Amazon customers  and found that 37% were current Prime members.

According to a recent survey by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners  The Amazon Prime has become a significant drivers of Amazon sales, even in light of the recent Amazon Prime price increase from $79 to $99.  That means by 2016, the $20 price bump could generate incremental revenue of as much as $1.7 billion. “Prime members spend twice as much, as the rest of Amazon’s customers,” said CIRP co-founder Mike Levin.

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Barnes and Noble has just removed the ability to download eBooks that you have bought from the online Nook Store. They did this so users could not download purchased content locally on their PC and either strip it of the encryption or use a 3rd party reading app.

The Barnes and Noble customer care division has sent out a tweet, letting people know that this is their new policy and not a bug. “The ability to sideload NOOK purchased content has been discontinued. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

If you own a Nook e-reader or tablet, you will continue to enjoy purchasing and reading books right on your device. Ditto for people who use the official Nook app for Windows, Android or iOS. This issue mainly affects people who use an internet web-browser and accesses their Nook Library. In the past, a download option would appear, but now this has been removed.

There are some rare cases where select eBook titles still have the download button, but include the text “We’re working on making this title available on NOOK for Web. In the meantime, read it on our free NOOK Reading Apps.” I also confirmed that graphic novels still have the download button, because they are currently incompatible with the Nook for Web HTML5 based e-reading app.

The elimination of downloading titles to your PC will mainly effect the “power users” that tend to use 3rd party e-reading apps for their mobile devices or strip the DRM completely and bypass Nook security.

Barnes and Noble is currently in the process of totally revising their website for purchasing content and also the way Nook books are presented. In early 2015 it will be formally unveiled and likely this change to downloading content is likely a precursor to reading everything exclusively online.

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Nook Press is the self-publishing system that Barnes and Noble developed to allow authors to submit eBooks and sell them online. It has been a US exclusive since its original launch, and only recently expanded to the UK. In order to better promote Nook Press as a viable alternative to Kindle Direct Publishing and Kobo Writing Life, Barnes and Noble has partnered with The Bookseller on a New Preview Section for Self-Published Authors in the UK.

NOOK Press will sponsor the new section and will be the exclusive source of self-published titles for preview consideration through April 2015. Each month, beginning in October, The Bookseller will select approximately 10 NOOK Press titles to feature on the new section. Authors simply have to be published on NOOK Press, or sign up and publish their works, to have the opportunity to be featured in The Bookseller’s Independent Author Previews.

“Our goal with this new section is to discover the best new books published independently and made available to customers in the UK and we’re thrilled to have partnered with NOOK Press, one of the leading self-publishing platforms, to exclusively deliver this content through next April,” said Philip Jones, Editor at The Bookseller. “This is a new spin on what we have been doing for more than 100 years, and recognizes that some of the best new writing now comes through non-traditional channels. The Bookseller’s job remains the same, however, to shout about these books and bring them to the attention of our audiences. I know we’re all excited to read some of the great new publishing being made available through NOOK Press in the UK.”

“We are constantly looking at new ways to help NOOK Press authors get the exposure they deserve, which is why we’re thrilled about this new partnership with The Bookseller. It will give our self-published authors a new outlet to showcase their work, while giving NOOK customers another resource to discover their next great read,” said Colin Eustace, General Manager, Barnes & Noble S.à.r.l. “We also encourage self-published authors who are not yet on our platform to sign up today to be considered for this great opportunity and discover all of the great promotions available to NOOK Press authors.”

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Amazon has updated their Kindle e-reading app for iOS and added a ton of new features to take advantage of the new iOS 8 that was released yesterday. It makes reading multiple books easier with the handy Kindle Today Widget. Customers also get the ability to copy passages from their books and paste them into text messages, e-mail, and other applications on iOS outside of Kindle. Readers who encounter words or phrases in other languages can quickly comprehend the author’s meaning with a convenient translation feature.

New Features

Kindle Today Widget (iOS 8 only) – Multi-book readers can now surf between books from anywhere on the device by pulling down the ‘Today’ view and tapping on one of the three titles in the Kindle Widget. They can choose from their most recently opened library titles, like the ‘jump’ function on a TV remote.

Copy & Paste – Customers asked and we listened. Version 4.5 includes the ability to copy passages from your books and add them to the iOS clipboard for pasting into a text message, e-mail, social media, or other iOS applications outside of Kindle.

Smart Lookup Translation Card – Authors often include phrases in other languages to add depth or meaning to a story. Readers can now get a full understanding by selecting the word or phrase and viewing the translation card.

iOS 8 support, bug fixes, and stability improvements.

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The summer season is winding down and many people are wondering about the next great read. You might want to check out the offerings from twelve Canadian writers, who are all contending for the the richest fiction prize in Canada – the $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

These authors are vying for the grand prize of $100,000, up from $50,000, and the remaining finalists will receive $10,000, up from $5,000. It is certainly not all about the money though, if you are looking for a new eBook, one of these might fit the bill.

Waiting for the Man by Arjun Basu (ECW Press)

The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis (HarperCollins Canada)

American Innovations by Rivka Galchen (HarperCollins Canada)

Tell by Frances Itani (HarperCollins Canada)

Watch How We Walk by Jennifer LoveGrove (ECW Press)

Us Conductors by Sean Michaels (Random House Canada)

Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab by Shani Mootoo (Doubleday Canada)

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill (HarperCollins Canada) ·

Paradise and Elsewhere by Kathy Page (John Metcalf Books/Biblioasis)

My October by Claire Holden Rothman (Penguin Canada)

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews (Knopf Canada)

The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan (Random House Canada)

Categories : E-Book News
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Television and Radio programs often have to rely on sponsors and public donations to keep everything running smoothly. Bookshout is pioneering a new eBook program that can be used to give literary rewards to donors and philanthropists.

How exactly does this new program work? Jason Ilian the CEO of Bookshout spelled it out out. ” Existing radio and television stations that do fundraising campaigns are normally in touch with Forest Incentive.  Forest has integrated the Bookshout API,  so free eBooks can be given out with the campaign.  The station will work with Forest to choose which book(s) they want  and a special link is set out to the receipt via phone or email. The link will take them to a branded one-time redemption page where all they have to do is enter a username and password. Then the donor will be reading the ebook on BookShout.  They can use the iOS, Android, or web app at any time for their ebooks.”

Publishing giants such as HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan, Open Road Integrated Media, Simon & Schuster, Wiley, Workman Publishing, and numerous others have committed to participating in the program. “HarperCollins is honored to provide our great content to all public broadcasters via the BookShout!/Forest partnership,” said Chantal
Restivo-Alessi, the Chief Digital Officer at HarperCollins. “We believe this will be a powerful new sales channel for our ebooks and authors.”

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The European Court of Justice has just concluded that EU member states are free to charge differing rates of VAT on eBooks and paper books. This will allow all countries in Europe to basically change their VAT on all books and not break ‘fiscal neutrality’, an EU concept whereby markets for the same goods are distorted by varying tax rates.

There have been major disagreements between member states and the European Commission on this subject over the past three years. Luxembourg dropped eBooks from the standard 15% VAT rate to 3% in 2012. France then followed suite with a drop from the then standard French VAT 19.5% to 5.5%.

Most countries in Europe have different VAT prices on digital content and were remiss to change their policies because they did not want to get smote by the European Court of Justice. With their new ruling, member states are now totally free to change the taxes on eBooks, without worry.

The 3% VAT based in Luxembourg was very advantageous to Amazon, Apple, Google and Kobo as an entry point to Europe. By basing their operations there, they could sell books in most European countries at a reduced VAT rate. This really helped them penetrate the lucrative UK market, where the established VAT rate is 20% on digital content.

Publishers, bookstores and small presses have been lobbying the UK government for change. They found that being based in the United Kingdom was inherently disadvantageous, because they had to charge 20% VAT, while Amazon could get away with 3%. This has prompted the EU to change their legislation in early 2015. Ebook companies will have to charge VAT at the rate where the customer is who buys the e-book, rather than at the rate where the servers of the e-book business are based.

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Kobo has announced that they have formed a new partnership with Bol.com, the largest provider of eBooks in the Netherlands and Belgium. Starting today, customers will be able to order the entire Kobo Arc line of tablets and modern e-readers like the Kobo Aura and Aura HD directly on the Bol website. This agreement though, goes far beyond e-readers and may be a blueprint of how Kobo forms relationships with eBook retails going forward.

Bol.com introduced digital reading in the Netherlands and Belgium five years ago, and since then has experienced amazing growth. In addition to the 1.2 million eReaders sold in the Netherlands, customers can also read their eBooks digitally via tablets and smartphones. The selection of eBooks has grown enormously over the past few years. One in seven non-fiction books sold in the Netherlands is digital.

Every so often, a Kobo press release hits the Good e-Reader offices, and it normally involves them establishing new relationships with booksellers to get their e-readers in as many retail channels as possible. One specific element on the official press release piqued my interest “Over the next few months, bol.com and Kobo will launch innovations to make digital reading even more user-friendly.” What exactly does this mean?

I talked to Pieter Swinkels, Vice President, Publisher Relations & Merchandising at Kobo. He stated “Starting today we are combining our libraries to offer the widest selection possible in the Netherlands and Belgium. This takes some time; the transition has begun and should be complete very soon. As well, customers will be able to buy books across the two platforms (bol.com store, Kobo store, Kobo device store, apps stores) and be able to access them through one cloud-based library (the Kobo library), they will have the full regular Kobo experience, including Reading Life, Notes and Bookmark Synchronization. We will continue to have the Dutch version of the global Kobo apps for all platforms, but also in coming weeks expect to launch a special bol.com-Kobo app.”

He went on to specifically address Sony users “Customers using a Sony device from bol.com will continue to have the experience they have now, so they’ll buy on the bol.com site and download their purchase with Adobe DE or Watermark. They will also be able to access those books on Kobo devices and apps, with their bol.com or Kobo account. In other words, we’re completely connecting the two platforms and creating one, seamless experience of searching, buying and reading. This is a tremendous departure from the previous bol.com experience, which was, as you write, basically a side loading experience.”

So what we are seeing now with the Bol partnership is Kobo willingly including another retailers digital library into their own. This might appeal towards other online booksellers such as Txtr.

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HarperCollins has introduced new digital watermark technology that will be very appealing towards customers in Europe. Digimarc Guardian watermarks are fully compatible with DRM solutions. The tractability they provide remains fully effective even in cases where the DRM layer has been removed by users, using 3rd party tools.

Digital watermarking technology caught on a few years ago when the entire Harry Potter eBook collection adopted it, instead of going the traditional DRM route. This allows users to seamlessly load their purchased content on as many devices as they wish, without the need for bulky third party programs or apps.

Digimarc’s cloud-based platform offers easy-to-integrate API support for most e-book formats, including EPUB, PDF and MOBI. For each transaction, the platform generates a unique, traceable digital watermark and embeds it throughout the e-book. The imperceptible digital identifiers are extremely difficult for pirates to locate and remove. Adding Digimarc Guardian
Watermarks takes just seconds and is invisible to the end customer.

Digimarc’s anti-piracy service then crawls the web 24×7 searching for watermarked content. When a watermark is detected, Digimarc provides the unique identifier to the publisher to match against its own transaction records. Digimarc Guardian Watermarks do not contain any user information; the Digimarc Watermarks contain only anonymous digital IDs.

HarperCollins confirmed with Good e-Reader that watermarks will have a very gradual roll out, and not all new titles will have this technology. They also neglected to mention if specific markets will have this feature introduced first, such as Europe, where watermarking is the current rage.

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Barnes and Noble wants to change how they are currently selling books online by a massive effort to rebuild their website. They have been working at a feverish pace to insure the new design will make discovering and buying content easier than ever.

In the latest quarterly filings, B&N cut its overall net loss to $28.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, down from $87 million in the same quarter last year, with $50 million in cuts coming from downsizing the company’s Nook segment. Cuts alone won’t return profitability to the ailing e-reader and tablet brand, but selling digital content will.

Barnes and Noble is betting that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook will lead to more digital consumption. They have really been hyping the additional $200 worth of free eBooks, magazines television shows and movies you receive from buying the tablet. You can think of it, as showcasing all of the different type of materials that can be purchased in the Nook ecosystem.

If you don’t have a dedicated Nook device, your options to purchase digital content from the largest bookstore chain the USA is questionable. You can have to rely on a slew of apps, with no single app acting as your all-in-one solution. Take Android for example, if you want videos, you have to download Nook Video, the main B&N app just works with eBooks, graphic novels and magazines. If you want kids books, there is a dedicated one for that too, but keep in mind, its US and UK only, whereas Amazon and Kobo are basically global.

Will a new website that focuses on search, discovery and a responsive design be received well in the online world? This type of undertaking consumes lots of money and resources, with no clear indication that it will lead to an influx of sales. There is no denying that the US is completely saturated with Apple, Amazon, Kobo, Netflix, Zinio and a host of others all offering specialized content. It remains to be seen that a new website will magically solve all of the forces that work against Nook.


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There is a vast segment of Kindle owners that download pirated eBooks from the internet. It is estimated that up to 20% of eBook downloads stem from bit-torrent or pirate sites. There is a new online threat that is targeting Kindle owners, that may hijack your entire Amazon account.

Digital Books have a great deal of metadata that assists online retailers and publishers in understand reading habits and key metrics. Most of this data is harmless and can be equated to cookies, when you visit internet websites. A new vulnerability has been discovered, that targets pirated eBooks and key metadata in the header or authors name can run external scripts and compromise your Amazon account.

Here is how the vulnerability works. Hackers have been injecting links to external websites in the book’s title or in the field reserved for the name of the author, or in both. The script is triggered when you visit the Amazon Kindle Management page and have used the Send to Kindle Plugin. The Kindle Library takes whatever is inside the book’s title or author fields and inserts it into the Kindle Library web page. As a result, if the title or author fields contain HTML code, this code becomes part of the Kindle Library web page and is treated as if it had originated from Amazon’s server.Send to Kindle remains a very popular function, Amazon has an official version and many 3rd parties have developed alternatives for Android, Chrome, Firefox or iOS. It basically allows you to send documents and eBooks directly to your Amazon account to be read by a Kindle e-Reader, tablet or official reading app.

Piracy has been running rampant ever since the Kindle was first released. The Publishers Association issued 115,000 legal threats to websites to stop free pirated books in 2011, a rise of 130% on 2010. Many websites and file sharing services allow anyone to download them, and the person who cracked it normally just wants to give it away. This new vulnerability should give you pause, that a free eBook may come with a catch.


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The United Kingdom is facing a literacy crisis of epic proportions as 1.5 million youth are unable to read properly. 11 year old’s were the focus of a new study and it proclaims that unless drastic action is taken, by 2025 the UK will be in dire straights. 

A report by “Read on. Get on.” said England is now one of the developed world’s most unequal countries in reading, with the gap between the strongest and weakest equivalent to seven years of schooling.

The problem is acute in low-income groups, in particular white British boys, where 45% reach 11 are unable to read well. A total of 40% of poorer children are not proficient readers – almost double the rate of their better-off peers. The proportion of children reading well by 11 has dropped by 1% in five years since 2008. Even with an average annual improvement rate of 0.5
%, an estimated 120,000 pupils a year will fail to reach a proficient level of literacy – a total of 1,440,000 children between 2013 and 2025.

When children grow up, the ramifications of not reading regularly are having an adverse effect on the economy and higher learning. According to a recent OECD report, it proclaims that three-quarters of UK university graduates do not have high levels of literacy and there are currently  8.5 million adults in England and Northern Ireland with the numeracy levels of a 10-year-old. Basically, the lack of reading comprehension is costing the UK economy £32 billion.

There are various initiatives that are seeking to remedy this situation, such as the Barnes and Noble sponsored “Get London Reading” campaign.  Last year there was a read-a-thon take-over of Trafalgar Square which saw a number of West End shows such as War Horse, Billy Elliot and Matilda perform in front of a mesmerized audience of around 20,000 people. B&N also donated 1,000 Nook e-readers to schools and they all included free eBooks from Hachette UK, HarperCollins and Penguin Random House.

Building on the success of the Get London Reading campaign, Barnes and Noble has just announced they are throwing down with the Best Play Award at the prestigious and star-studded Evening Standard Theatre Awards. They will be leveraging this new arrangement to have  actress Cush Jumbo, winner of the Burberry Emerging Talent Award at the Evening Standard Theater Awards 2013, to visit a series of schools to read to children.  It was also announced that a number of other high profile actors will be reading to students all over London.

Its certainly nice to have e-readers, eBooks and publisher donated books to lower income children to build the foundation of reading, but what can really be done to solve the problem? Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said the research highlighted the vital role parents and carers played in reading with children, even for short periods. “They don’t need to find big chunks of time,” he said. “Parents, carers, grandparents and anyone with a child in their life can make a huge difference by reading for just 10 minutes a day.”

Categories : Bookselling, E-Book News
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HarperCollins has struck new partnership with JD.com and China National Publications Import and Export Corporation. Starting today, over 800 backlist eBook titles will be available in English.

The Chinese publishing industry generated an astounding $42.89 billion in 2013 and should reach $57.74 billion in 2014. This is the first time HarperCollins has entered the market in a digital capacity.

Some of the titles available include; The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Divergent by Veronica Roth and several titles from bestselling authors C.S. Lewis, Lemony Snicket, Beverly Cleary and Neil Gaiman. Additional titles will be rolled out in the coming months.

“JD.com has been a key partner in selling HarperCollins print books in China for years and we are happy to work with them on our e-book business,” said Chantal Restivo-Alessi, Chief Digital Officer for HarperCollins Publishers. “By expanding our international e-book distribution we’re opening up a new market for our authors’ works.”

“The e-book market in China is poised for tremendous growth. We’re excited to bring great content from HarperCollins to our readers,” said Haifeng Yang, Head of Books, Audios and Videos from JD.com.

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