Archive for Amazon
Amazon revealed that as many as 25 out of 100 of its best-selling titles in 2012 were from indie publishers. This should serve as a measure of the growing clout that the indie publishers and authors have come to wield. Also, lest anyone have any doubt about what exactly “indie” refers to or whether it would include publishing via any of those other than the big six publishing house in the US, an Amazon spokeswoman clarified by saying: “This figure is referring to Kindle books on Amazon.com in 2012, with ‘indie’ meaning books self-published via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). So a quarter of the top 100 bestselling Kindle books on Amazon.com in 2012 were self-published via KDP.”
Experts believe the share of authors preferring to publish their own books is fast catching on, so the percentage of indie authors is expected to rise further in the coming years. As Orna Ross, director of the UK Alliance of Independent Authors, which is a representative body of self-published authors, said: “We are in the middle of a major change. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we reached a situation where the majority of the top books are author-published. I don’t see what would stop that.”
Another trend is self-published authors who make it big ending up landing lucrative deals with conventional publishers. Paul Pilkington, a lecturer in a university in the UK, signed up with the UK-based publisher Hodder & Stoughton after two of his novels went on to sell more than 150,000 copies, other indie authors who got picked up by conventional publishers include the likes of Kerry Wilkinson and Beth Reeks. Kerry Wilkinson signed up with Pan Macmillan after success with his crime series which he had initially self-published. Beth Reeks, the nineteen-year-old student of physics, has been picked up by Random House after her romantic fiction, The Kissing Booth, which she had published at the storytelling site Wattpad, created a fan following of over 19 million.
However, not everyone is impressed with the development. As independent publisher Colin Robinson of Or Books cautioned: “It’s possible that some of the publishers I’ve never heard of are in fact imprints set up by the author of the book but, especially as several appeared with books by more than one author (or at least one author’s name), it seems unlikely that more than a few are. Disney and Little Brown are doing great. So are joke books.”
There has been a recent furor when erotic or adult themed novels ended up being listed alongside children’s titles, pointing fingers at self-published authors of those works. The booksellers blamed this on the rampant increase in indie authors who often would publish such stories to gain publicity or earn money.
One of the most potentially useful features of digital publishing was the ability of authors to publish their short stories without the tedious process of anthology selection. In the past, authors who pen short stories had to submit their stories to collections publishers, and those anthologies are typically only published periodically; barring that, the author could try to submit a full collection of his own works, of which few are traditionally published and almost never from a debut author.
Digital publishing and self-publishing threw open the doors to short story publication, and a resurgence in the genre has been enjoyed by readers of short form literature. Companies like Vook, Atavist, and Now & Then Reader have contributed to the renewed interest in the essay or pamphlet publishing of centuries ago, and today, Amazon Publishing announced its effort to bring short stories to the forefront of publishing.
StoryFront, the company’s short story imprint, not only will focus on publishing high quality short fiction, but will also be the source of a weekly digital literary journal that will specifically feature short stories and poetry from new and veteran authors.
“Based on the continued success of short fiction on Kindle as well as the enthusiastic response to Day One—we received thousands of subscriptions in the first week—we know readers are hungry for short stories and excited about exploring new genres,” said Daphne Durham, Publisher of Adult Trade and Children’s Group. “With StoryFront, we’re feeding that enthusiasm by offering a wide range of stories curated by a team of editors who are committed to the craft.”
StoryFront already has quite a number of stories released from several bestselling authors, including works that are closely tied to existing novels but that didn’t require another full-length novel in order to share with readers. The platform is also bringing translations of well-known international short stories to US reading audiences.
Amazon has relaunched its reader-centric promotion from last year’s holiday season, Twelve Days of Deals. Each day, different titles will be steeply discounted in both ebook and print editions. The promotion kicks off each day at 12:01 PST, and runs for twenty-four hours.
Today’s deals are titles that were selected from Amazon’s Best Books of 2013, so features the following titles:
• Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch—$2.99 (80% off the list price)
• Philipp Meyer’s The Son—$2.99 (82% off the list price)
• Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites—$2.99 (77% off the list price)
Print book deals will be discounted throughout the day (8 am PST – 8 pm PST) in four hour increments. Today’s deals in print books are:
• Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch—$8.99 (70% off the list price)
• Philipp Meyer’s The Son—$12.99 (53% off the list price)
• Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling—$11.99 (54% off the list price)
“We’re so excited to include our pick for the best book of the year, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, in 12 Days of Deals, and we have many great books lined up for every day of this promotion,” said Sara Nelson, Editorial Director of Books & Kindle at Amazon, in a press release today. “We think giving the gift of reading is always thoughtful, whether you’re wrapping a book for under the tree or gifting a Kindle book.”
For more information on the specials, click HERE.
Last month, Amazon’s traditional publishing arm and its host of imprints at Amazon Publishing announced a new incentive to get people reading on their Kindles: Kindle First. Each month, the editors at Amazon Publishing will select several titles from a variety of genres to be released a month early to Kindle users and Prime members. While these titles will be pre-released for $1.99–or free, for those Prime members–readers can select only one title each month to have at the steep discount and early date.
Today, Amazon Publishing announced the list of Kindle First titles for December, which include:
• Soy Sauce for Beginners, a beautiful debut novel about family bonds and personal identity by Kristin Chen,
• The Widow File, a political thriller of industrial espionage and military intrigue by SG Redling,
• Sweet Nothings by award-winning romance author Kim Law, which tells the story of a bachelorette baker and the man who convinced her of true love,
• Timebound by Rysa Walker, a fantastical novel about a 16-year-old time traveler that won this year’s overall grand prize as the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
Inclusion in this selection may be especially poignant for Rysa Walker, as this year’s young adult ABNA winner who eventually won the grand prize as well. Originally a self-published title, Walker didn’t think much beyond her indie roots when she entered the contest. As she explained to Good e-Reader at the time of the announcement in June, “I self-published because the traditional publishing industry wasn’t working for me. I tried for a year to get attention from an agent and in almost every case I didn’t even get an email back from them saying why they weren’t interested or even that they’d gotten my email with the attached file.”
Are customers really responding to the opportunity to be the first to read a book? Possibly, as last month’s Kindle First titles all became number one bestsellers in their respective categories, as well as held spots in the Top Ten for all books. To find out more about Kindle First, click HERE.
Many US-based retailers and business owners came into the holidays this year in a state of pre-panic, which was understandable given that this year’s holiday calendar means there are six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But early reports on how businesses fared during the recent holiday shopping frenzy show that this year’s sales via e-commerce remained solid and even surpassed last year’s sales.
The 2013 Black Friday holiday weekend sales figures (at least as up-to-date as current standings) show $20.6 billion were spent online via retailers’ websites, from consumers who used desktop computers. There was a sixteen percent increase in shoppers who used websites for their holiday discount shopping, possibly due to the growing backlash over both the out-of-control behaviors reported in physical stores and of retailers requiring their employees to work during what many feel is a family time.
Sixty-six million shoppers purchased items through retailers’ websites via computers, as opposed to the growing number of shoppers who are shopping online via mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
According to the data, released by comScore, Amazon was the top visited website during these holiday spending days beginning on Thanksgiving, followed by eBay, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target. The last three stores have traditionally been associated with some of the more notorious reports of physical violence and injury during Black Friday sales, and it’s refreshing to see that more shoppers are choosing to stay out of the physical stores while still benefiting from the steep discounts.
Many retailers are continuing the discounted offerings today, which has come to be known as Cyber Monday in recent years due to the online specials, and hope that any deficits in projected holiday earnings can be made up for with online shopping.
Part of the increase in Amazon traffic may be attributed to its admitted growth in Prime membership and the resulting free two-day shipping option, as well as its heavy advertising of Black Friday specials leading up to the actual shopping day. Despite being the most visited retailer, however, comScore reported that apparel and fashion were the top selling categories for the holiday weekend, followed by computer hardware, then consumer electronics.
One of Amazon’s greatest strengths has been the massive expansion of their warehouses and fulfillment centers all over the world. They are spread out geographically so when you order a product, its shipped from the nearest one in your State or one close by. Shipping out packages quickly and effectively has won the Seattle based company acclaim and one of the benefits of a $79 per year Prime membership is free two day shipping. In the near future, customers may get packages 30 minutes after ordering them with their futuristic program called Prime Air.
Amazon is employing a new fleet of aerial drones that are similar to the quad helicopters we see on the consumer level. The intention is to have the drone pick up a package at a fulfillment center and navigate the city or country via advanced GPS, right to your door.
CEO Jeff Bezos channeled the showman spirit of Steve Jobs when announcing this new initiative to the show 60 minutes. ”The hardest challenge in making this happen is demonstrating to the standards of the FAA that this is a safe thing to do. This is years of additional work at this point,” Bezos said.
Amazon is betting on the future of shopping to be delivered by drones. They fly above the city streets, do not get stuck in traffic and go right from the conveyer belt to your front door. ”I know this looks like science fiction — it’s not,” Bezos said. “It will work and it will happen. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
During the holiday season Amazon is processing over 300 orders a second. The drone based delivery could be operational by 2015, but it is firmly up to the FAA to approve for the use of drones in the public sector.
Amazon has officially opened a series of pop-up stores in retail malls in San Francisco. This is the first time the online e-commerce giant opened a physical location. There are a number of Kindle e-Readers and Tablets on display to give transient shoppers the ability to play with the devices and buy them on the spot.
Walmart, Target and a number of other big box retailers in the USA have dropped the entire line of Amazon branded devices because they did not want to become “showrooms” for the company. The only retailer to stock the Kindle is Best Buy, but Amazon is very concerned with the ability of customers to play around with the hardware. When you sell tablets in an online environment it is hard to get that tectonic visceral experience.
An Amazon spokeswoman said the temporary stores are in a handful of malls as part of a marketing campaign. The majority of them are only in operation for two weeks.
A few years ago we broke the news that Amazon had firm plans to open a retail store, once their new corporate headquarters was completed in Seattle. Architecture draft plans had a cafe and bookstore, where it is thought that the books Amazon publishes with their New York imprints will be available to purchase. It is unlikely we will see a full on retail store until 2015.
Amazon has unveiled another of its popular services, Instant Video, in Japan as it attempts to match up to the local player Rakuten. On offer will be more than 26,000 films and TV shows that are either of foreign origin or sourced locally. Of these, about 15000 are in HD and are available for streaming or download on compatible devices. Movies or TV shows can be rented for 100 yen for 24 hours, though this applies largely to the older titles. Newer films such as Monsters University, can be picked up on rent for $5 or outright purchase will cost $25. Apart from its Instant Video service, Amazon also offers ebooks and music services in Japan.
The timing of the launch of the Instant Online Video service is interesting in that it comes just a day ahead of the official launch of the Kindle Fire HDX in that country, slated to happen tomorrow. So it’s hardly surprising the tablet that has been priced will also accompany a 2000 yen (about $25) coupon to entice buyers into trying the service instantly. Amazon also stated there is a single 100,000 yen coupon as well to be picked up.
However, with the debut of its Instant Video platform, Amazon will be up against some established like Hulu, Apple, and Google. There are also several domestic companies offering video services that Amazon will have to contend with. These include GyaO Corp, Tsutaya TV and NotTV.
Shochiku Co. and Toho Co will serve as Amazon’s content partners while NHK and Fuji TV will be the local broadcasters.
Amazon acquired the eBook social community website GoodReads back in March for $100 million dollars. The intent behind the purchase was to integrate social reviews and book discovery experience into the Kindle Fire and Paperwhite e-Readers. Today, almost a full month after the new Kindle tablets have been out, Amazon has announced a new firmware update that gives users new GoodReads interface.
The free OTA update will give Kindle Fire HDX users a number of new abilities, such as; Effortlessly capture and share favorite quotes with Goodreads friends from inside the book, See what friends are reading with the Goodreads updates feed and add books to your want-to-read shelf, making choosing a new book easier than ever, Rate and review a book you’ve’ve just finished and immediately share it with Goodreads friends and Import all of the books you’you’ve purchased from Amazon—print and Kindle books—into your Goodreads account.
Goodreads was founded in 2007 and currently has over 16 million members and over 30,000 bookclubs. Users have added 530 million books to their shelves and written more than 23 million reviews. Authors are attracted to the GoodReads ecosystem, mainly because this is where the users are and the entire interface is fairly intuitive. Over 74,000 authors are registered in the system, actively engaging in Q/A and addressing questions from their fan base. James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, John Grisham, Nicolas Sparks, E.L. James, and Neil Gaiman are a few examples of the more active names.
SEATTLE—November 18, 2013—(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon today announced that Fire OS 3.1, a free software update for the new Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX, is now available. This free, over-the-air update will be delivered automatically in the coming weeks, or you can visit www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates to download and install the update starting today.
“The response to our new family of Kindle Fire tablets has been fantastic, and we’re excited to add new features we think our customers will love,” said Peter Larsen, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “This free, over-the-air Fire OS update brings new features like Goodreads integration, Second Screen, Cloud Collections, enterprise support, wireless printing, and more.”
Fire OS 3.1 brings deep integration with Goodreads, the world’s largest community of book lovers, making it even easier to find great books and have engaged discussions about them. For the first time, Goodreads is integrated directly into the reading experience, so there’s no need to leave a book and open a Goodreads app. With Goodreads, you can:
- Effortlessly capture and share favorite quotes with Goodreads friends from inside the book
- See what friends are reading with the Goodreads updates feed and add books to your want-to-read shelf, making choosing a new book easier than ever
- Rate and review a book you’ve just finished and immediately share it with Goodreads friends
- Import all of the books you’ve purchased from Amazon—print and Kindle books—into your Goodreads account
Fling TV shows and movies from your tablet to your big-screen TV. Second Screen turns your TV into the primary screen and frees up your Fire HDX to provide playback controls, a customized display for X-Ray, or simply a place to email, browse the web, and more while you watch a movie. Second Screen is available for PlayStation 3 and Samsung TVs, and will be available starting later this year for PlayStation 4.
Enterprise and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) Support
Fire OS 3.1 delivers the ability to connect to secure enterprise Wi-Fi networks and access corporate apps, documents and resources like SharePoint; native VPN client for instant access to corporate networks; and a native SCEP (Simple Certificate Exchange Protocol) client to retrieve digital certificates for secure resources. Fire OS also now supports Kerberos authentication, which enables the ability to browse secure Intranet websites from the Silk browser. The new Kindle Fire tablets also include Kindle-specific device management APIs that integrate with existing mobile device management (MDM) systems to make it easy for IT departments to manage Kindle Fire.
Additional new features of Fire OS 3.1 include:
- Cloud Collections helps you organize your books, newspapers, magazines, and apps in customized collections for easy reference, and Amazon’s Whispersync technology synchronizes the collections across your Kindle devices and reading apps so they’re available on all of your devices.
- Voice dictation converts your speech to text—available in all languages when online; offline support available in US English.
- 1-Tap archive which frees up space on your Kindle Fire by identifying items that have not been recently used and provides a 1-tap option to store them in the Cloud for later retrieval.
- Wireless printing of photos, PDF, e-mails, contacts, calendar and docs.
- New accessibility enhancements that enable blind and visually impaired customers to save a separate accessibility profile for children in Kindle FreeTime, scroll lists automatically when swipe navigating, hear enhanced sound feedback and screen orientation changes announced, and have more control when editing text and navigating web content.
- Dozens more new features, performance and battery life improvements, and bug fixes.
Fire OS 3.1 is available on the new generation of Kindle tablets, including the $139 Kindle Fire HD, the 7” Kindle Fire HDX, and the 8.9” Kindle Fire HDX. Learn more: www.amazon.com/hdx.
Auckland University Press has released more than 240 classic books from the region in ebook format. This can be considered a significant development considering many of the books that have been launched in digital format have ceased to be in print for long. Not only do the literary works get a new lease of life, the newer generations too get the chance to get acquainted with past works of literature. This has been made possible thanks to the efforts of Creative New Zealand, the country’s national arts developmental agency, Copyright Licensing New Zealand and the Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Development Fund at the University of Auckland.
Among the titles that has been released in ebook format include ‘Keith Sinclair’s Origins of the Maori Wars and M. P. K. Sorrenson’s three-volume, collected letters of Apirana Ngata and Sir Peter Buck, Heather Nicholson’s award-winning story of knitting The Loving Stitch, Ian Wedde’s Spells for Coming Out and Roger Horrocks’s superb biography of Len Lye.’
“Over a hundred of the titles were published long before PDFs, so we sent hard copies off to India for conversion and then checked them back in New Zealand. For many of the old books, our information on the author and the title was shaky. Finding covers, updating websites, contacting authors and their estates – all of this work allowed us to get to know again the amazing depth of the Auckland University Press list,” the press release revealed.
Auckland University Press also stated all of their ebooks are available with major ebook retailers, which includes Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, Apple, Whitcoulls and so on.
“Along with our US distributors IPG, we have been fortunate to partner with Faber Factory who handle our digital distribution outside North America. Rooted in one of the world’s great publishing houses, the Faber Factory team have developed innovative ways to make sure ebooks get out to multiple retailers in multiple formats around the world, to monitor availability, sales and pricing in real time, and to promote ebooks to readers,” the press release stated.
The ebooks are available in epub and mobi ebook format along with PDF for many of the titles.