Archive for Top News
B&N just released sales figures for the nine-week holiday period ending December 29, 2012. The company’s retail segment, which is made up of B&N bookstores and BN.com businesses, had revenues of $1.2 billion, decreasing 10.9% over the prior year. The decrease was because of an 8.2% decline in store sales, store closures, and lower online sales. Sales of NOOK products in the retail segment declined during the holiday period, as well.
The NOOK segment, which makes up the company’s digital business—including readers, digital content and accessories—had revenues of $311 million for the holiday period, decreasing 12.6% as compared to a year ago. However, digital content sales increased 13.1%, while NOOK device unit sales declined compared to the prior year. Digital content sales include digital books, digital newsstand, and the apps business.
From the press release: “We entered the holiday with two great new products, NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, both highly rated media tablets of phenomenal quality,” said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “NOOK device sales got off to a good start over the Black Friday period, but then fell short of expectations for the balance of holiday. We are examining the root cause of the December shortfall in sales, and will adjust our strategies accordingly going forward.”
As a result of the poor NOOK sales, B&N expects NOOK Media revenues of about $3 billion and NOOK segment to run a loss.
On January 16th and 17th, the annual Digital Book World conference takes place in New York. It’s always an excellent event and this year we should have coverage by Mercy Pilkington and Paul Biba.
Stay with us and get all the info from this excellent event. Among the speakers will be the Digital Director of the Obama campaign, the President of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, CEO of Sourcebooks, a VP of Barnes & Noble, the Chief Digital Officer of HarperCollins and representatives from Wiley, Random House, Hachette, Bloomsbury Press, Scholastic, Dutton, Penguin, Open Road Integrated Media, Random House, St. Martins Press and more.
Should be a blast! Stay tuned to our website as we will be the difinitive source for this event! We will cover ALL of the sessions and bring video interviews with all the major digital publishing players.
The Internet Archive is one of the most important, if not the most important, digital archives on the planet. If you haven’t gone to their site and poked around I suggest you do so—if you want to lose the rest of the day! According to their blog, they raised $1 million in contributions last year. With that, they are going to purchase 4 petabytes of storage.
In 2012 they brought readers 50,000,000,000 web pages, 1,000,000 hours of television, 370,000 new audio/music items, and 100,000 new videos. In addition they launched the TV News Search & Borrow service, making almost 400,000 TV news programs searchable and made all of Balinese literature available online. Looking at their front page I see that they make available 1,111,430 movies, 110,485 live concerts, 1,475,402 audio recordings, and 3,782,168 texts.
All one can say is Wow!
So says Macmillan Chief Executive John Sargent in an open letter posted on his company’s website. Sargent said that new retailer ebook contracts will allow retailers to discount certain titles priced at $13.99 and above by 10%. As Global Finance points out, those retailers who have settled their antitrust case will allow discounting on all their titles.
Sargent says that Macmillan will continue to fight the Justice Department because, as he says in a post on the Tor website:
There are two reasons we decided not to settle. First, it is hard to settle when you have done nothing wrong. Much as the lawyers explain to me that settling is completely standard business procedure, it still seems fundamentally flawed to me somehow. Call me old-fashioned. The second reason is the more important one. Since the very beginning, the government’s demands have never wavered in all our discussions. They still insist on the two year discounting regime that forms the heart of the agreement signed by the three settling publishers. It was our belief that Amazon would use that entire discount for the two years. That would mean that retailers who felt they needed to match prices with Amazon would have no revenue from e-books from five of the big publishers (and possibly the sixth) for two years. Not no profit, no revenue. For two years. We felt that few retailers could survive this or would choose to survive this. Simultaneous discounting across the major publishers (you could think of it as government-mandated collusive pricing) would lead to an unhealthy marketplace. As we heard of each successive publisher settling, the need to support retailers, both digital and bricks and mortar, became more important.
Of course, part of this makes no sense at all. Sargent conveniently omits mention of the fact that before Agency Pricing was put into effect, Amazon was free to discount as much, or as little, as it liked. This did not result in the death of ebook retailers. It’s brick and mortar retailers who are in trouble and discounting isn’t the thing that is causing this. Sargent, and most of the industry, doesn’t understand that the overwhelming convenience factor of online ebook purchasing is what is causing the problem for booksellers. Why go to the store to buy a book when you can get it from your couch? The difference in price of a dollar or two is not going to make much difference when this convenience factor is so strong.
Isn’t that fantastic? Here is what Aldiko says on its blog: “Earlier this year, we announced that the Aldiko Book Reader free version has reached 5 million downloads. Hooray! We’re excited to announce that we have just passed another pretty big milestone. As of this Wednesday, the Aldiko Book Reader free version passed 10 million downloads! It has been an impressive 2012 for us. Aldiko users have more than doubled and over 20 million books have been read within the Aldiko Book Reader. We have users from over 200 countries and the Aldiko Book Reader has been translated to more than 20 different languages.”
How about a bit of history: Aldiko started up in 2009 and on June 2nd of that year, the company announced its product. It developed one of the first e-readers to support EPUB and started out with a partnership with Feedbooks. According to a review of the new reader published in The Gadgeteer on June 4, 2009, the developer said that the name is loosely based on the Swahili word for book, andiko.
I searched back in my Gmail account and found the announcement email from co-founder Tiffany Wong, which I received, on June 2, 2009, when I was writing for Teleread. It reads as follows:
My team has been working on an ebook reading application for the Android platform over the last few months. I am excited to announce that we are officially releasing our app today; it is available for download directly from the Android market.
We have full support for the EPUB format, including table of contents and full CSS styling. The reading experience is fully customizable (font/background color, font type, margin, night mode, etc.).
Also, we worked closely with Feedbooks to provide seamless access to their huge catalog of free content right from the app. We support the emerging OPDS distribution protocol, which means we’ll be able to add a vast collection of catalogs from other sources in the future, and we are working hard on making that happen!
We’ve all been closely following Teleread for a while now and would love to hear feedbacks from you and your readers.
For more details regarding our app, please check it out on our website: http://www.aldiko.com
For the official announcement: http://www.aldiko.com/blog/?p=9
Co-Founder – Aldiko
The website contains 3.5 million objects and is the result of a project that started 16 years ago. It contains listings and pictures of paintings, sculptures, ornaments, crucifixes altarpieces, and other items belonging to Italy’s 63,733 churches and 216 dioceses. It is an ongoing project which will be continually updated. Eventually the database will include the Church’s architectural heritage and literary archives. Search can be by artist, subject matter, object, diocese, and date range.
According to The Art Newspaper: “Tomaso Montanari, an art historian at Università Federico II in Naples, says ‘It’ll be years before this task is complete.’ He believes the search engine and navigation need much fine-tuning. ‘It’s an enormous job and it’s still rough around the edges, but anything that promotes the knowledge and preservation of the Church’s artistic heritage can only be good for the country,’ he says, adding that ‘catalogued items will now be harder to sell on the black market.’ He is not surprised at some of the gaps in the database. ‘The heritage [in Florence and Naples] is so vast it’s no wonder they haven’t finished cataloguing it yet,’ he says.”
I’ve poked around the database a bit (I was an Art History major in college, after all) and it’s pretty interesting. However, the site is primarily in Italian and it is not easy for an English speaker to navigate. Initial funding of the project, which is a collaboration of the Church and various arms of the Italian government, was set at €51.6 million.
Thanks to infoDOCKET for the link.
The Good e-Reader News App for Android has finally been released, and has been few months in the making! This latest iteration of our news app was designed exclusively with tablets in mind. You can catch up with the latest e-reader, ebook, digital publishing, book reviews, and industry news. You can also listen to our radio show, browse our image gallery, and watch all of our video reviews! One of the best aspects about this news app is that you can read all of our articles offline, once you synced all of the new content. So if you are outside of a wi-fi area, you can still read all of the daily news.
A year or so ago, we unveiled our first news app, but the staff at Good e-Reader was never happy with the finished results. Most of the code was broken and the UI looked like something from an old TRIPOD website. After awhile, the RSS feeds were completely broken and wouldn’t even fetch anything (yikes!). The new app was built from the ground up and doesn’t look too shabby. Although it is optimized for high resolution tablets, it still looks very solid on smartphones. You can download it for free from the Good e-Reader App Store and Google Play!
Download the Good e-Reader News App for Android or download it from Google Play.
Atlantic Media publishes, among other things, the 150-year-old magazine The Atlantic. It has just released its third ebook and is “…planning a lot more on this score, including original long-form content …” says the press release. The new ebook, The Best Writing From the Atlantic’s Technology Channel, is available on the Atlantic website for free until the end of the year, at which time it will go on sale at major ebook retailers for $1.99.
Previously the company has published The Obama Presidency, Explained, by James Fallows and The Civil War. Both books are available in normal ebook channels. The press release goes on to give a nice listing of those non-book-publishing companies that have jumped into the ebook fray:
“… USA Today published USA Tomorrow, a collection of expert predictions about the future of America. Harlequin and Cosmopolitan magazine inked a deal to publish several ebooks a month together. Newsweek/Daily Beast entered into a partnership with Vook to publish ebooks. Playboy launched a series of shorts for the Kindle, the Washington Post announced an ebook program, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, a trade publication focused on the higher education field, launched an ebook business. Other notable companies to jump into the space are magazine publishers Conde Nast and Hearst and NBC News, a division of NBC Universal. And the Wall Street Journal has recently rejuvenated its ebook program.”
AbeBooks specializes in rare and collectible books and it has just published a listing of its most expensive sales in 2012. This is something that you will never find in the ebook market! Here they are:
At $47,729, a copy of Johann Bayer’s 1603 celestial atlas with 48 tables of the constellations. According to AbeBooks, this was the first star atlas to cover the entire celestial sphere and introduced a new system of star designation.
At $46,000, is a first edition of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale that was inscribed by Fleming.
At $30,000 is Franz Kafka’s novel Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) in the original German edition.
The AbeBooks listing goes on to list the most expensive books in 12 categories. For science fiction fans, a first edition of The Day of the Triffids went for $14,500 and in children’s books a first edition of Where the Wild Things Are went for $25,000.
Hat tip to infoDOCKET for the link.
EPUB3 is out there, but not all of its new features are supported by current readers. As a matter of fact, most of the new features are NOT supported at all (see above chart). Now comes Helicon Books with the Gyan Reader, which they claim will support all the new EPUB3 features, including:
- Full support for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) including animated SVG.
- Displaying mathematical formulas using W3C MathML standard.
- Support for RTL languages including page progression direction.
- Support for Media overlay (speak aloud as called by Apple) for audio books or mixed text and audio.
- Support for fixed layout mainly for comics and children’s book.
- Support for integrated video
Apple has released its top sellers for 2012 in the iBookstore:
Fiction: Kill Shot, Vince Flynn; Reflected in You, Sylvia Day; The Innocent, David Balducci; The Racketeer, John Grisham; Games of Thrones, Goerge Martin; The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson; The Help, Dathryn Stockett; Defending Jacob, William Landay; The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson; The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson; Where We Belong, Emily Griffin; A Dance with Dragons, George Martin; Guilty Wives, James Patterson; 11/22/63, Stephen King
Nonfiction: The 17 Day Diet; Bossypants; Outliers; Eat to LIve; In the Garden of Beasts; American Sniper; The Vow; Lone Survivor; Proof of Heaven; The Amateur; Heaven is for Real; The Power of Habit; Wild; Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man; Killing Kennedy; American Sniper; Killing LIncoln; Unbroken; Steve Jobs; No Easy Day
Free: Yellow Submarine; Baby Animals; Avengers Disassembled; 35 Tips on Saving Money; 101 Best Jokes; iPhone Users Guide; Great Expectation; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Always Know What to Say; Sloppy Seconds; Three Little Pigs; Married by Mistake; 15 Ab Exercises; Learn French; Twas the Night Before Christmas; King James Bible; UnEnchanted; A Little Bit of Everything for Dummies; Frankenweenie; Nursery Rhymes
Baker & Taylor, a major distributor, has announced the launch of a new mobile platform that will sell audiobooks on the Android and Apple platforms. The new platform, called Acoustik, is now available on the App Store and on Google Play. It is powered by Findaway World’s platform and currently provides access to 40,000 titles. Baker & Taylor intends to launch Acoustik as part of the Axis 360 digital media platform for libraries. The Acoustik site has free samples to allow you to do a “test listen.”
Interestingly, the platform will be available through other retailers, as well. For example, Michael’s Bookstore is offering a selection of Acoustik audio books. The consumer downloads the Apple or Android platform and can then download books from their Michael’s account. Go independent bookstores!
A historian in Denmark has found a previously unknown fairy tale by Andersen that is thought to be the first story he ever wrote. It was found in a box and was evidently written for a vicar’s widow, leading scholars to believe The Tallow Candle was written as a gift. According to the Melville House blog, Andersen’s works are second only to the Bible in their amount of translations. The story has been published by the Danish newspaper Politiken and it’s quite short. Since the translation into English is copyrighted, I can’t reprint it, but you can find it here. The story is addressed “To Mme Bunkeflod from her devoted H.C. Andersen.”