Archive for Digital Publishing News
The PA Digital Sales Monitor, new report from the UK-based Publishers’ Association, showed that ebook sales are on the rise for the first quarter of 2014. This report, which showed a 10.5% increase in digital sales, comes at a time when the debate around ebooks and their viability from different angles is starting to make waves again.
According to a press release issued on the first quarter sales, “The growth in sales was also spread across all recorded categories. In the consumer sector digital sales of fiction increased 8%, with a 10% rise in sales of adult non-fiction. Digital sales of children’s titles meanwhile enjoyed a particularly strong performance, with a 33% rise.
“In the educational/professional sector the largest growth was seen in Scientific Technical and Medical (STM) books, where sales increased by 16%, however, there were also strong performances by schools/English Language Teaching (ELT) sales which grew 14%, and social sciences/humanities which saw an 11% rise.”
eBooks as a viable source of industry revenue for both traditional publishing and indie has been called into question in the past, especially given the fact that critics love to indicate the plateau that ebooks seem to have hit with readers. While their growth had seemed to slow in recent years, they remained steady with e-reading fans. This growth indicates a forward movement in the format, giving even more credence to the disputes currently taking place between retailers and publishers regarding sales agreements, and between publishers and their authors over royalties.
Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, said, “The Publishers Association Digital Sales Monitor shows the continuing development and growth of digital publishing in the UK. Increases in digital sales in both consumer and non-consumer sectors shows how publishing as an industry has embraced digital technology and continued its strong track record of innovation and service delivery.”
Every single day there are 60,000 cruise, cargo and oil rigs in operation globally. The vast majority of staff that keep these operations running properly are workers from the Philippines, Malaysia, Russia and India. Many of the corporations that bankroll everything are putting a new emphasis on crew welfare and retention. This has opened up a new market for digital publishing companies to keep the staff entertained and use it as perks to keep trained personnel from going to the competition.
Maritime operations, whether its a cruise ship, oil rig or cargo vessel often do not have reliable internet access. The companies often deal with satellite internet providers such as VSAT and IMTECH. Internet access is purchased in blocks, where ships have very specific limits on how much data is available. In order to download eBooks, magazines or newspapers they have to be accessed in off-peak hours, when the internet is more reliable and not congested.
Cargo vessels and oil rigs often have staff that are on the vessel for up to six months at a time. Keeping them entertained is a top priority to keep them loyal and happy. This has opened up a tremendous niche in the marketplace where some companies are taking advantage of the sparse options currently available.
Vancouver based PressReader currently has a catalog of over 2,000 newspapers and magazines. They have developed a new offline system that will allow vessels to download content in non-peak hours and distribute it to smartphones and tablets via a shipwide WIFI network. Maritime companies are starting to select publications that are relevant to the nationalities of their workers and getting the top three or four titles from those countries. This would allow a boatswain from the Philippines to get free access to the Manila Times, UNO Magazine, and Daily Inquirer to read at their leisure. Providing perks like free newspapers and magazines gives workers and officers a taste of home, without having to spend any of their own money, its the corporate cash after all that pays for it.
Getting your staff to read safety guides, regulations, weather reports and orientation information is a trial and tribulation. The print editions are often destroyed in the heat and humidity or lost amidst the huge vessels. This has warranted digital distribution, and PressReader Offline supports the ability for companies to upload their documents in PDF form, to be downloaded to tablets and phones on-demand.
PressReader offline has been in a year long pilot project and the system was co-developed by Silver Seas Cruises. It was trialed on a number of vessels to get feedback on how it could be integrated, using existing systems and the limitations of satellite internet. The offline capabilities have been a big hit and is now being used on vessels globally.
Established satellite internet providers are also leaping at the oportonity to fill this burgeoning entertainment niche. InfoSat is currently developing a new system that will allow vessels to have unlimited satellite internet access and offer a wide array of media. Maps, music, Videos, Newspapers, magazines and eBooks will be a top priority for the global launch.
If you are a crewman on a military submarine, your options to access leisure content is severely hampered. Internet access is non-existent, due to security reasons, which traditionally made reading eBooks unfeasible. This has prompted the US Navy to partner with Findaway World for the NERD e-Reader. It comes with 300 eBooks and audiobooks and has no USB port or WIFi internet access. In essence, it is a tremendously low security risk and provides an alternative to movies or the XBox.
I think this is the perfect time for the maritime industry to embrace audiobooks, ebooks, magazines and digital newspapers as an avenue to retain staff and keep everyone entertained. After all, most just rely on mindless activities such as video games, movies or sports. Reading gives them a taste of home and a widened mind.
One of the largest book publishers in the world, HarperCollins, has announced they are starting a pilot project to give away the digital version of a book when you buy the printed version.
HarperCollins has partnered with BitLit, a Canadian based startup that get the eBook of a print book you already own. As long as you own the book, you can use BitLit to download the eBook for FREE or highly discounted. There are over 20,000 titles that are available through BitLit as bundled eBooks from publishers.
Claiming your free or heavily discounted book is quite easy, simply take a photo of your book cover. Write your name on the book’s copyright page and take a photo. Once you have your eBook, you can read it on any and all of your devices: Kobo, Nook, Kindle, or iPad.
HarperCollins is the largest publisher to date to get attracted to BitLit platform. Smaller companies like Angry Robot Books, Baker Publishing, Barrett-Koehler, Chicago Review Press, Coach House Books, Echo, Greystone, Kids Can Press, Morgan James Publishing, Nimbus Publications, O’Reilly Media, Orca, Other Press, Poisoned Pen Press, Roaring Forties Press and TouchWood Editions all do business with BitLit.
The pilot project is starting with only six titles, Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, Jeaniene Frost’s Halfway to the Grave, Kim Harrison’s Black Magic Sanction, Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles, and Andrew Gross’ 15 Seconds. Each eBook will only cost $1.99 to $2.99 if you have the physical version.
Verdict: 5 Stars
This is a book entirely about love: love between spouses, love between siblings, love for nature and the land. When the author’s wife lost her brother to suicide, he had no way of bringing her out of her pain other than through the thing he loved, hiking. Having just completed the 2000-mile Appalachian Trail himself, he turned around and lured his wife on a more than 200-mile journey along the entire John Muir Trail with the purpose of helping her work through her grief while raising awareness about the depression that cost her brother his life.
The book details every aspect of this kind of adventure. Everything from mundane descriptions of how they ate, bathed, slept, and survived, to descriptions of the more harrowing encounters with wild animals, grueling conditions, and uncertainty were outlined in the book.
Avid fans of adventure titles and non-fiction travelogues may find themselves disappointed in this book because it’s not meant to be a title about hiking or about the geography. While those factors play an important role in the story, that’s not the focus of Alt’s title. This is a book about healing through pushing oneself farther than anyone ever thought possible, and refusing to stand by helplessly while a loved one is in pain.
Four Boots One Journey is available now.
Decentralized technologies like BitTorrent allow people to share books, films, music and pictures. The essence is software allows people download a file for multiple sources at the same time. The more users you have sharing the same file, the faster the downloads are for everyone. There are many companies that have their own clients for different operating systems, but the spirit of the software is uniform. Over the past few years one of the original pioneers, Bittorrent, has offered paid downloads and bundes. This has piqued the interest from the digital publishing world, as an avenue to sell audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, newspapers .
Bittorrent has a free and paid system to distribute your digital content. It is tremendously customizable an artist can use to deliver their songs. Instead of paying web-hosting fees or arranging a complex relationship with a streaming service, Bitorrent makes good business sense. Lets say I have a music album, I can give select tracks away for free and offer a few that are paid.
Bittorrent also runs a bundling solution, where companies can offer a few movies, television shows or showcase different artists. Since bundling launched in 2013 free and paid downloads have reached over one hundred million, this is attractive to publishers.
Monthly Bundle site visitors have increased from 2.1 million, to 25 million (+1,095%). 25% of visitors share the content with their network across some social channel. And fans are coming back, over and over again. 75% of Bundles site traffic is coming from returning users.
Bittorrent makes distributing legitimate content fairly compelling. Of the 7,500 films made in 2014, only 100 will ever be seen. Netflix took down 1,800 titles in 2013, and another 470 in January. Things look pretty dire, even if you’re in a position to have your content played. They’re worse if you’re looking to get paid. Youtube, the world’s largest streaming platform, offers artists $1,750 in exchange for a million streams. Being able to tap into an ecosystem for hundreds of millions of people in a global market to distribute copyrighted work is fairly awesome. Moby. Madonna. Cut/Copy. De La Soul. Diplo. Death Grips. Werner Herzog. Hundred Waters. Lee Scratch Perry. Lucy Walker. Joshua Oppenheimer. Gabe Polsky. Public Enemy. Amanda Palmer have all gave away free tunes or charged for it.
Many people are obviously wary that Bittorrent as a distribution method, somehow thinking that it is a haven of piracy and not an avenue for real content. This has resulted in the development of a new system called Pay Gate. Movie Studios and artists use it to monetize their content. Once payment is received using Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Amex or PAYPAL, the Bundle is unlocked and downloading will begin.
Publishers have been the one segment who have not gravitated towards the concept of distributing royalty free content, DRM-Free or otherwise on Bittorrent. Authors such as Tim Ferriss and Megan Lisa Jones both employed torrenting their own books to build awareness on new titles. Publishers on the other hand, have not thrown done on the system yet, but some are in a prime position to make it work.
There are plenty of imprints such as science fiction specialized TOR. They sell their books with no encryption, which makes it perfectly viable to load it on your phone, e-reader and tablet. Pottermore, the publishers behind Harry Potter also do not employ DRM, and instead use digital watermarks.
Digital book sellers have been disappearing in the last few years and major publishers are trying to find away from exclusively relying on Amazon to distribute their books. Publishers can sell their EPUB and PDF books with DRM, and their customers can read them with their favorite e-reader or tablet via Adobe Digital Editions.
There are a ton of gossip in the digital publishing and e-reader sector that transpires every single week. Most of these short snippets simply wouldn’t do as a singular article. Today, we look at all of the little tidbits we have gleaned from interviews and research.
Zinio is at a crossroads in the digital magazine sector. The company has fired most of the staff in their California office. This is where most of the app development and research and development occurs. Most high level staff have now abandoned the company as they try and rekindle some of the success they had when the iPad first came out.
ImCoSys imcoV6L e-reader never really took off in North America, due to FCC certification really coming really late, and the official launch has been continuously delayed. The company has been selling them in Europe for a few months and has attracted investment capital. imCoSys has confirmed they will present a successor model, as well as another world novelty at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. They also said “In the US we are in exclusive discussions with big partners for the successor of the imcoV6L.”
Barnes and Noble will be putting together an announcement in mid-August about the two new Nook Tablets, done in conjunction with Samsung. Likely a media event will happen towards the end of August, where they will do something at Union Square in New York.
PressReader, the Vancouver based digital newspaper company is unveiling PressReader Offline. It is a solution for airplanes, oil rigs, cargo vessels and cruise ships. It basically uses satellite internet in non-peak hours to download newspapers from the internet and then allow anyone on the vessel to download them to their smartphone or tablet via WIFI.
Netherlands based e-reader company Icarus is going to be releasing a six inch and 9.7 inch Open Android ereader around August. It will be running Android 4.2, which is way better than what Onyx is using.
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves met with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last week to talk about eBooks. There is no definitive word on whether it was the early stage talks on a new contract, something to do with Kindle Unlimited or some sort of bargain about the possible outcome of the Hachette dispute.
On July 22, Flickr will be removing the option to sign in with a Facebook or Google account. You must have a Yahoo account in order to sign in to Flickr.
JK Rowling has said that writing seven more Robert Galbraith is a “no brainer”, describing the Harry Potter novels as “six whodunits and one whydunit” – and admitting her “dirty secret” – that she never reads fantasy.
Pocketbook will be releasing the Ultra e-reader in a few weeks. This e-reader has a camera that they are billing as a tool to make scanlation copies of books and read it on your device. They just made the first waterproof e-reader, the Aqua, available last week.
Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo self-publishing platforms have started to crack down on erotica featuring Sasquatch, minotaurs, aliens, and boar gods.
Most people don’t think of copyright law when they think of gripping drama and suspenseful twists and turns, but the truth is copyright is actually quite fascinating. Of course, no one is more fascinated right now than the litigants in a case involving copyright over Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes characters.
To understand the ramifications of a case that is currently working its way through the courts, it’s important to know the history behind a new book by American crime writer Leslie Klinger. Klinger, a known expert on Sherlock Holmes and other classics, has a new book potentially entitled In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, but the heirs to the original author’s estate are contesting the use as it falls under copyright restrictions.
Here’s where it gets fascinating: under copyright law, a work enters the public domain after a set period of time, roughly one hundred years following publication. Muddying the waters somewhat is the distinction between when Sherlock Holmes was published in the UK versus the US. Further confusing the issue is the fact that the Sherlock Holmes novels and stories were published over a multi-year time span, meaning some of the stories are currently in the public domain, and others still are not; the final ten stories, for example, will not become public domain until the end of 2022.
Just to make it even more confusing, lower courts have already ruled on this specific case, and the result of the ruling is actually very interesting. Essentially, modern authors can use any settings, characters, and specific characteristics of the characters that appear in works that are already out from under copyright restriction, but cannot use any details that are still under copyright without permission and paying a licensing fee to the estate. For example, in one of the later works that is still under copyright restriction, it is revealed that Dr. Watson had played rugby for a specific team when he was younger. This little detail comes out in conversation with Holmes, and is not part of the action of the story, however that detail was only revealed in a later work. Therefore, a current author is allowed to use the character Dr. Watson, for example, but cannot state where he played rugby or allude to an old rugby injury.
Conan Doyle’s estate is attempting to overturn the lower courts’ rulings and sought an “emergency petition” from the Supreme Court, but the court refused to hear arguments in the case, presumably citing that there was nothing in the lower court’s ruling that required a new review. Lawyers for the estate have said they will still move forward with their request for a review, but one of the issues that will be determined in court is who has to foot the bill for this legal battle. As it stands, Klinger (and presumably his publisher) has had to engage his own attorneys to represent him against the suit, and the responsibility for paying his legal fees will also be decided by the court.