E-Book News - Part 2

Archive for E-Book News

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BookBaby is a company that specializes in digital publishing and allows their authors to distribute their content to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Copia, Kobo, and Scribd. The have built a large following partly because of their inexpensive and free account options. They also provide ease of use for your own e-Book files. Starting December 9th, Bookbaby will be suspending all of their free options.

Right now Bookbaby offers a free option for self-publishers if they already have their e-Book available in EPUB and MOBI formats.They will distribute it to major bookstores and take a 15% royalty. The lowest paid option they have is $99 and they will convert your digital book from a Microsoft Word document and optimize it. They also provide proofs to insure that the final product is flawless.

We have it on good authority that Bookbaby is suspending the free and $99 tier on December 9th. They are reworking their packages and likely the entry level cost will be $299. This will allow authors to keep 100% of the royalties and be able to tap into the support network Bookbaby has established and they also give discounts on cover art.

The big advice I would give to indie authors looking to self-publish is NEVER pay anyone to do it for you. Writing a book is an art, and no amount of hand holding will get your book done any quicker. Why would you want to rush the distribution process and pay someone hundreds or thousands of dollars to send it to places that have free submission? It is important to learn how to market and distribute your book, yourself.

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Kobo has opened up a digital bookstore with over 4.2 million titles and started to sell their latest generation e-readers in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Kobo is selling the Kobo Touch, Kobo Aura and Kobo H2o in 34 stores in the G.C.C. region in the Dubai Duty Free Stores, Virgin Megastores and Xcite. If you feel like forgoing the holiday crowds you can opt into purchasing them online at  Modvito, Souq.com and Jado Pado.

“Digital reading continues to rise across the globe and we’re thrilled to be entering G.C.C. countries to offer readers with best in class E Ink eReaders and eBookstore,” said Jean-Marc Dupuis, Managing Director of EMEA, Kobo. “The Kobo Touch, Kobo Aura and Kobo Aura H2O offer different capabilities and price points, so there is definitely something for every reader. G.C.C. countries are still in the early adoption stages of reading digitally and we are pleased to lead the transformation of this market.”

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Book discovery is a pressing issue in the print and digital world. Major online stores are hard pressed to keep up with the sheer amount of new content being published on a daily basis and the brick and motor locations tend to focus on bestsellers and adult content. Kids have the hardest time in discovering new authors and new books to read because no one exclusively caters to their needs.

I remember when I was a kid most of the books that I found where part of the Scholastic Book catalog that my parents would order and when the book fair came to my school, they would all be waiting for me. My literary pursuits did not go beyond the latest Hardy Boys mystery or what the local grocery store had in the young adults section. There was certainly no blitz media campaigns that modern books enjoy, such as the Hunger Games, Maze Runner, or Harry Potter, which most kids have read.

The books listed above are all fine examples of the types of content that kids are devouring at a record pace. It helps that Hollywood as loaned the assist by turning these all into amazing films that even adults have seen in droves. The big problem is where do kids go next after reading the books or watching the films? Will they discover Ender’s Game or read the Divergent series? Online stores have very basic recommendation engines “if you liked this, check out these titles”, but brick and motor stores don’t make it easy at all.

Scholastic is trying to make sense of the concerns that kids aged 6-18 are facing when trying to find the next great read or what they look for in books. 73% of this demographic said I would read more, if I could find more books that I liked, while 70% want books that make me laugh.
In early January Scholastic intends on releasing a massive reading report on children’s reading habits, that should give bookstores an idea about their needs and desires.  In the meantime, here is a small infographic that gives a bit of a clue on some of their findings.

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The global e-Book market has been valued at $14.5 billion dollars and is expected to reach more than $22 billion by 2017. These figures are courtesy of Kobo who published their inaugural Book Report.

“The advances that we’re seeing year-over-year are incredible, with more publishers, users and new technology changing the face of the industry at an unprecedented pace,” Kobo chief content officer Michael Tamblyn said in a statement.

What type of e-Books are customers reading the most globally? Overall, Canadians find romance to be the most engaging genre, with 62%completion, followed by fantasy (60%) and mystery (59%).  Romance is also the most engaging genre in Italy (74%), the Netherlands (67%) and Great Britain (62%), while the French (70%), Australians and New Zealanders (64%) and Americans (44%) prefer a good mystery.

What’s more, according to Kobo’s data, Canadians love nothing more than to curl up with a good book in the cold winter months. Over the 2013 holiday season, they read almost 300 million virtual pages. 16 million of which were read on Christmas day alone.

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Barnes and Noble announced at a recent earnings call that they have ended their partnership with Microsoft. The nations largest bookseller will pay Microsoft $120 million in cash and stock.

In 2012 Microsoft invested $300 million for a 17.6% stake in Barnes and Noble, to aid the ailing Nook division. The initial plan was to assist the bookseller in spinning off the Nook from the bookstore chain into two separate entities. Microsoft also wanted to integrate the Nook reading app into all Windows 8 devices and provide a valid eBook experience on Windows phones.

Barnes & Noble said Thursday that its split with Microsoft would provide “a clearer path” to split the two businesses, which it said could take place by the end of August 2015.

During a conference call with investors, Michael P. Huseby, Barnes & Noble’s chief executive, said that ending the company’s partnership with Microsoft would help clear the way for the split, and possibly invite new Nook partners. “This transaction gives us the flexibility to bring in a substantial partner in Nook,” he said. Who exactly that partner is, or what they could bring to the table, remains to be seen.

Barnes and Noble is trying to re-energize the company by axing most of the executive team that has been been with Nook from the very beginning. They are also trying to solve the consistent string of financial loses by closing under performing stores and have turned to Samsung to design and manufacture the Nook hardware, instead of doing it internally.

Traditionally Barnes and Noble has not been doing that well during the nine week holiday season and has been offering a smorgasbord of promotions. To draw in book lovers and shoppers for Black Friday, Barnes & Noble stocked up on 500,000 signed copies from 100 prominent authors. The bookseller has also launched a Nook Trade in program that will give a $30 credit on a new Samsung 4 Nook tablet in exchange for the Nook 1st generation, Nook Color or Nook Tablet. Finally they have launched a specific Christmas Store in the US and UK to provide reading recommendations and holiday gift ideas.

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Findaway World has developed a severely locked down e-reader that they have been marketing to the US armed forces. The big selling points is that there are no USB ports or wireless internet access to limit security breaches. Instead, the readers are loaded up with bestselling books and shipped out to submarines and other vessels. Today, Findaway World has announced the Aero e-reader that is going to be distributed to the US Air Force.

Findaway World secured the contract from the Air Force back in October and they received close to $500,000 for the e-reader and all of the books that were preloaded. The Aero will be delivered to 19 Air Force libraries, including locations overseas where access to English reading material is often limited. Locations include Italy, Turkey, Germany, South Korea where servicemen/women and their families are stationed.

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The entire concept of a used eBook store will be determined on December 23rd 2014. This is the date that a Netherlands court will make its decision whether the publishers or online store Tom Kabinet is in the right. The future of used eBooks hangs in the balance of this upcoming judgement.

The Amsterdam District Court ruled in July that Tom Kabinet can stay open for business during a legal battle against the Dutch Publishers Association. The publishers believe Tom Kabinet infringes on copyrights and they may  have a point. Their own research points to 90% of all eBooks listed on TC are pirated and that criminals are reselling books they download from torrent websites.

The big argument that Tom Kabinet is employing is a  2012 decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which ruled in a dispute between Oracle and UsedSoft that the trading of “used” software licenses is legal and that the author of such software cannot oppose any resale.

The entire European publishing industry is likely hyper aware of the upcoming judgement. If the court rules in favor of the website, it could start a boom  period in which hundreds of companies spring up, offering used eBook sales. This might be beneficial to the publishing industry as a whole, since many mom and pop used bookstores have been closing at an accelerated rate in the last few  years.

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Barnes and Noble has unveiled a new program for their United Kingdom online Nook bookstore. It primarily focuses on the curation and editorial aspect of book discovery, ensuring that you will find your next big great read quickly.

The Nook Online Christmas Shop features curated book lists and great offers to help customers discover the best books for the Christmas season. The site features a special Christmas sale, with prices starting as low as 59p on a wide range of select popular books, as well a list of the NOOK Editor’s Choice of the Best 100 Books of 2014.

“Christmas is a busy time for everyone so this year we really focused on making the NOOK Christmas Shop the only place readers need to visit to find all of the best books at fantastic value,” said Colin Eustace, General Manager, Barnes & Noble S.à.r.l. “We’re also thrilled to head into this Christmas shopping season with our critically acclaimed new NOOK GlowLight eReader, which will make the perfect present for everyone in the family and is available at a great value of only £89 at our retail partners nationwide.”

Check out the full press release below, it has six different lists of some really great books. I have read at least 15 of them, so you could likely by five at random and feel amazing.

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Many people in the publishing industry claim that the primary reason Penguin and Random House merged was to not only account for 1/4 of all books printed in the world, but to have better negotiating power with Amazon. We have all read the stories about the feud between Amazon and Hachette and this is a situation that will likely never occur with the new publishing juggernaut.

Penguin Random House are in the perfect position now to try new things, without disrupting their traditional business model of selling both print and eBooks. One new initiative that formally launched at the beginning of November was a Cloud Reader app, that allows readers to check out of eBooks and read them online. The primary benefit behind this program is to be able to read books on any internet browser on a PC, smartphone or tablet, without having to download an app.

Pelican Books is UK based educational imprint that was discontinued in the latest 80’s, due to sagging sales. It was relaunched this year as an imprint that both prints paperback books and also digital content. There is only a handful of titles that can be read online at this point, but this project enjoys  ‘startup’ status within Penguin Random House  and allows for more risks to be taken with it. And specifically digital risks, which is exactly what traditional publishers need to be doing.

Currently the Pelican browser experiment involves just five digital titles, and more are planned for next year. There is mind boggling title on economics, one on human evolution, another on the brain, plus the history title of the Russian revolution and a book about Greek and Roman political ideas.

Readers visiting pelicanbooks.com on any device can sample one of the books by reading a chapter for free online. If you dig the sample, there is an option to pay £4.99 to be able to read the entire book in the browser.

Reading eBooks in the cloud is nothing new. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Overdrive all offer similar services. The main difference between what they are doing is that those guys are retailers and booksellers, while Penguin is the publisher. I think this is a very interesting program and developing and maintaining a cloud reader is more cost effective wihhout the need to develop and maintain a fleet of apps for Android, Blackberry, iOS or Windows.

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BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music have sued Cox Communications for music piracy. They did this because the internet service provider did not do enough to punish 200,000 users who downloaded illegal music. These two companies are clients of Rightscorp, a copyright enforcement agent whose business is based on threatening ISPs with a high-stakes lawsuit if they don’t forward settlement notices to users that Rightscorp believes are repeatedly infringing upon a copyright. Are eBooks next?

In April 2014, Rightscorp announced their intention of entering the plans to expand its copyright monetization services into the consumer book publishing market. Rightscorp has been signing up a slew of clients, which include authors and publishing companies. Their main selling point is the monitoring of their digital assets and bringing in extra income by suing private citizens and internet service providers.

Sales of eBooks reached $3 billion at the end of 2012, up from $68 million in 2008 according to a recent article posted on Yahoo! Finance. The article also cited that Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, said that “Kindle owners buy more books now than they did before they owned an e-Reader”. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates “consumer eBooks will drive $8.2 billion in sales by 2017, surpassing projected print book sales, which it thinks will shrink by more than half during that period.”

Rightscorp is trying to establish a precedent with suing Cox Communication.  If a judge finds Cox liable for the actions of users on its network, it will have major implications for the company, the cable industry and any ISP in the future who neglects to punish eBook pirates.

Cable companies right now are in the habit of bundling services, such as phone, internet and television. Some customers spend well over $100 each month and Cox could be losing a copious amount of money if it terminated over 200,000 accounts. There is currently no idea right now if they plan on fighting the case, but recently YouTube spent over $100 million dollars fighting a case brought against them from Viacom.

eBook piracy is becoming a large concern for many nations and their publishers. According to research by Dutch firm GfK, only 10% of all eBooks currently on e-readers, smartphones or tablets is actually paid for. Meanwhile a survey conducted by Book Industry Study Group found that during the Spring 2013 semester, 34% of college students in the United States illegally downloaded course materials from unauthorized websites. In 2010, the percentage of textbook piracy 20%. According to figures published by Russia: Beyond the Headlines, 70% of Russians read eBooks, nearly a quarter more than the number who did a year ago. Yet 92% of those readers download their books from pirate websites.  eBook piracy resulted in €350 million ($467.1 million) in lost revenue for the €3 billion Spanish publishing industry in 2012.

Rightscorps entry into the lucrative piracy industry for eBooks could not have come at a better time.  Many publishers simply don’t see piracy as a big issue right now and fail to embrace countermeasures in a meaningful way. If  the Cox Communications precedent can be established, we could see a spike in publishers going after large companies who provide internet access. This could be a long dark road filled with witch hunts and extortion.

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O’Reily is best known for their large library of technical eBooks and the fact they are all DRM-Free. This allows users to copy them to all of their devices, without the need of the unwieldy Adobe Digital Editions. If you are in the market for books about programming in Android, HTML5, Java or C++ you are in  luck. All eBook and video tutorials are 50% off until December 2nd for everything that is listed on the site.

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National Novel Writing Month is an annual tradition for writers looking to compete a body of work within one month. Former winners have actually secured lucrative publishing contracts and its an interesting way to force yourself to write a torrent of prose everyday. Last year, a small alternative movement has been gaining momentum called NaNoGenMo, for National Novel Generation Month.

The premise of NaNoGenMo is to spend all of November writing code that will allow a 50,000 page novel to be automatically generated by a computer program. Organizer Darius Kazemi started the project, not knowing how many people would find this idea strangely compelling. “I got a ton of people responding saying ‘Oh my god, I’d totally do that,’” Kazemi says. The next day, he opened up a repository on Github where people could post their projects.

Twide and Twejudice is one of the most interesting projects. It basically is a rendition of  Pride and Prejudice, but with each word of dialogue substituted for a word used in a similar context on Twitter. The result is delightfully absurd, a normal-seeming Austen novel where characters break out in almost-intelligible gobbledegook. For instance, here is Mr. Bennett telling Mrs. Bennett that plenty more wealthy young men will move to town for their daughters to marry.

I think this idea is very interesting, but the idea of a computer generated novel is nothing new. These sort of automated bots have been writing scientific research reports for years and likely you have received a Blackhat SEO email to you inbox that that has a story, that does not make any sense at all. Maybe one day authors can sit back, enter a few plot points, establish the dynamics of the heroes journey and just kick back and play video games all day.

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Ebookezvous is a French distributor who has been involved in the eBook space since 1999. The company has just opened up a digital store in the US with over 170,000 titles from 400 different publishers.

The new store is available online and has a English and French UI, to allow prospective patrons to browse their selection of books. You can read them by using Adobe Digital Editions to load them in your Kobo or Nook e-reder, but is currently incompatible with the Kindle. The company has also issued a new Android App, which can be used to buy and read. Word has it, a iPad variant is under construction and will likely be available in the new year.

According to Denis Zwirn, President of Numilog “Ebookezvous is designed to be a digital ambassador of French literature. I hope this site and associated reading applications allow many Americans, French or Francophone cultures lovers, to finally have immediate access to a supply of very large selection of French books.”

There is a large selection of eBooks in eBookezvous catalog. It has thousands of classics, all the way to the latest bestsellers. The companby is betting that they can find a place in the French Immersion programs at private and public schools all over the US. The bookseller also intends on rolling out English translations of French authors within the next year.

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