Archive for Hachette
While US lawmakers continue to debate the merits or lack of justification for in-flight bans on electronic devices, Australian airlines Qantas is taking a different approach by commissioning a series of paperback books that are the perfect length for an extended flight. The series, called “A Story for Every Journey,” will be published by Hachette and feature some of the more popular genres based on typical airport sales like thrillers and non-fiction.
“It occurred to us that, in this world of Kindles and iPads, the last bastion of the humble, paperback novel is actually at 40,000 feet,” said Droga5 Sydney Creative Chairman David Nobay in an interview with Advertising Age. “Just take a look at the bulging shelves at any airport bookstore. But, for all its relative clumsiness, there’s an unmistakably reassuring charm about thumbing through a good book as you recline amongst the clouds.”
These flight-length titles will be created with the purpose of allowing passengers to finish their books just as the flights land, even allowing for time for passengers to sleep or stop reading for meals on longer flights. The estimates on book length are actually calculated based on average reading speed.
“According to our literary friends at Hachette, the average reader consumes between 200 and 300 words per minute, which equates to about a page per minute,” said Mr. Nobay. That idea was applied more specifically to the shorter novels and flights, but “for the longer flights, we accommodated some napping time and meals,” Mr. Nobay said. “After a few hours with a fine Qantas in-flight meal with Australian Shiraz, most people need a break from reading.”
If this concept in reading takes off (pun intended) and if lawmakers insist on holding to strict regulations on the use of mobile devices during air travel, there is potential for a surge in not only print-reading, but also a shift towards more books being written with an intentional audience already in mind.
Hachette Book Group has publicized its Q1 financial results and digital is on the rise within the company. eBook sales from Hachette now account for over 34% of the company’s entire revenue stream, and tangible books increased by over 14.9%. These increases were partly attributed to a number of their titles hitting the bestseller list, including James Patterson, David Baldacci, and Brad Meltzer.
Not only is Hachette making strong gains in the digital sector in the US, but its international efforts are also paying dividends. In the United Kingdom, ebook sales now account for over 12.4% of sales, up from 9.5% a year ago.
In France, net sales were up significantly (General Literature up 40%) mainly due to the release of the last two installments of EL James’ Fifty Shades trilogy. In the UK and Commonwealth, sales were down slightly (-0.2%), with strong literature sales in the UK offsetting a challenging bookseller retail environment in Australia and New Zealand.
Hachette is seeing strong growth due to the number of bestselling titles in their portfolio. The company actually leads all major USA publishers in having over 80 titles on various bestseller lists for the year so far. Obviously the company has a sound digital strategy, but one of their architects Maja Thomas, senior vice president of Hachette Digital, announced she was leaving the company.
The 3M Cloud Library Service has just inked a new deal with the Hachette Book Group that rounds off their relationship with all six major publishers. This will make available all titles from James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks for patrons to borrow from the library. Hachette Book Group’s full eBook catalog will be available to libraries with no delay on new titles.
“3M Cloud Library aspires to achieve the breadth and depth of the best public libraries’ collections, to ensure that readers of all tastes find the perfect book,” said Tom Mercer, marketing manager, 3M Cloud Library. “We continue to build a diverse, multi-language collection with relevance, balance, and richness for all readers.”
Currently 3M is starting to be a force to be reckoned with in the US and now offers eBooks from over 300 different publishers. The great thing about the new distribution deal with Hachette, is that all titles are available. Some publishers only make available older books or backlist titles, libraries will benefit tremendously due to the fact they can buy all the latest bestsellers.
Hachette’s United Kingdom division has seen a copious amount of digital downloads on Christmas and Boxing Day. The publisher sold over 250,000 ebooks from its website and various resellers. This marks a 86% increase over the same period last year and is a testament to the dramatic surge of digital publishing.
The head of Digital Marketing at Hachette UK, George Walkley, told the Book Seller that these numbers should increase further, as more stores report in. Bestselling titles included The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart, Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin, and The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling.
The Hachette Book Group has reached a new agreement with Barnes and Noble and Amazon. This paves the way for immediate discounts on first run ebook titles and the online retailers are able to discount the prices as they see fit.
Hachette joins HarperCollins and other big six publishers in disbanding the agency model. The justice department investigated Apple and all the major players in the publishing game on price fixing. Rather than battle it out in court, many of the publishers decided to settle. This benefits your average customer who just wants a more affordable price for their ebooks.
Some of the discounts are quite striking, such as J.K. Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy. It was originally sold at $19.99 and now is available for $12.00 on Amazon.
Hachette Digital has announced that the company is deploying new initiatives with ePub3. This new format allows greater flexibility to authors producing enhanced content, including interactive covers, embedded multimedia and interactivity, pop-up screens for end-notes, and melded audio and text, as well as improved navigation of reference content, creating a high-quality digital reading experience.
Hachette has publicly started that it will release twenty different ebooks in the next five months with the new ePub3 format. We will see titles by Po Bronson, Elton John, William Poundstone, and James Patterson. The real kicker is that these books are all a sign of what’s to come. Hachette intends on using the ePub3 format with ALL ebooks, starting March 2013.
Hachette Book Group President and COO Ken Michaels said “HBG’s goal is to get our authors’ works out to consumers as broadly as possible, with the most engaging experience for readers regardless of device or platform, along with high quality aesthetics and entertainment. To do this in a world of rapid technological change, the industry needs standards like EPUB3 that enable a wider range of publishing creativity in handling complex layouts, rich media and interactivity capabilities. This EPUB3 release is an exciting step forward in our publishing program and will greatly benefit our readers as the industry fully recognizes the potential and fully adopts this important standard.”
Hachette has released its 3rd quarter sales figures today and digital revenue is on the rise. The company has seen an increase of over 20%, mainly stemming from ebooks.
Hachette Livre delivered net sales of €626M, up 4.2% from 2011. A ton of success was found in the General Literature department, which rose sharply in France (+12.4%), the UK (+17%), and the US (+7.3%), thanks to the release of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy on September 27. This solid performance by General Literature helped offset the slowdown in the company’s education business in France, Spain, and the UK. Digital continues to grow within the publishing division, accounting for 20% of total third-quarter Adult trade book sales in the US and 20% in the UK, representing 6.4% of total net sales for Hachette Livre.
At Hachette Book Group, net revenues were up 6% in the third quarter, but on a year-to-date basis, HBG’s sales are still below the prior year. Digital sales at HBG increased 3% compared with the third quarter of 2011. Digital represents 20% of HBG’s net sales, consistent with last year. In 2011, ebooks represented 21% of HBG’s net sales, which is up from 9% of net sales for Q3 2010. Overall in 2011, the company experienced 134% growth over total ebook sales in 2010.
The increase in digital sales for Hachette mirrors the highest earnings report by Simon and Shuster. They have also seen a 20% increase in ebook sales for the 3rd quarter.
One of the mainstay sources of famous quotations has long been the Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, but with its eighteenth edition, a digital facelift was in order. While the much-loved and revered print edition is still the definitive guide, the Bartlett’s app, available from iTunes for $3.99, is still filled with over 2,500 quotes from modern day notable people, in addition to the more than 20,000 historical quotes that Bartlett’s is known for compiling.
In addition to the quotes, the app allows users to share apps via their social networking sites, take photos through the Quoto feature in order to create backgrounds behind meaningful quotations for sharing, and more.
The Bartlett’s website explains the draw of both the print and digital editions of quotation references:
“More than 150 years after its original publication, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations has been completely revised and updated for its 18th edition. With thousands of new quotes chosen for their literary power, intellectual and historical significance, originality, and timelessness, Bartlett’s is a more valuable resource than ever before for the lover of language and literature.”
A complete guide to what’s new with an old favorite can be found at bartlettsquotes.com.
Overdrive reported last week in an email to libraries that ebooks provided by publisher Hachette were going to increase by 220% this October. This is going to dramatically increase the costs for libraries to stock the ebooks in their catalogs. Overdrive reached out to Good e-Reader today to clarify that the 220% increase was an error, and instead it is only 104% (or 2.04 times) the current price.
Examples of the new pricing include Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer will increase from $22.99 to $34.99; 4th of July by James Patterson will go from $13.99 to $20.99; and David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day will go from $14.99 to $37.99.
For all Hachette Digital ebook orders placed before 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, Sept. 30, libraries can add Hachette titles at current pricing. This includes orders that are currently in your Content Reserve work queue, as well as any new orders you create during the remainder of the month of September. Any orders with Hachette ebook content remaining in your Content Reserve work queue and submitted after Sept. 30 will be processed under the new pricing.
When it comes to the big six publishers, most of them don’t allow their ebooks to be borrowed from the public library or, if they do, charge exorbitant amounts. Simon & Shuster and Macmillian both do not support digital libraries at all, while HarperCollins has imposed a 26 limit checkout before libraries are forced to repurchase the items. Penguin, for the most part, allows unbridled access but does not support the Kindle. Today, Hachette has informed Overdrive and various other libraries that the company will be increasing costs on its ebooks by over 220% on October 1st, 2012.
Hachette does not sell frontlist titles to Overdrive and other library partners. This new price change will affect close to 3,500 ebooks that are available for libraries to purchase. If you are an existing library doing business with Overdrive, I would encourage you to make your purchases now before they go up in October.
Digital Book World managed to get an official comment from Hachette regarding the price increase. “As part of an experimental pilot to find out more about the digital library marketplace, we revised ebook prices earlier this year. HBG notified all our public library distributors (including OverDrive) that we would be selling ebooks to them under new terms. We believe these terms fairly reflect the value to the library customer, that the ebooks will not need periodic replacement as do print copies, and there is no limit on amount of borrowing activity per ebook copy. Our new pricing was sent electronically to accounts as part of our regular data feed (ONIX). Due to an internal systems issue at Overdrive, for the limited number of backlist titles they carry, they failed to ingest the proper data until recently. We are working with libraries, Overdrive, and several other partners to gather information and explore various options for making HBGs ebooks available to readers in a rapidly changing digital world.”
Many big name publishers had their settlement approved by the Justice Department case against price fixing. The agency pricing that allowed publishers to set the price on ebooks is gone and we enter a new age of discounted digital content. Today B&N and Amazon are reducing prices on ebooks as new contract negotiations are currently underway.
eBooks by Hachette and Harpercollins are seeing price reductions and Amazon has changed the wording of its pricing. It used to say “Price Determined by Publisher” and now it simply lists the publishers name. Many books are reduced in price for USA and international customers. Not to be outdone, BooksOnBoard sent out a email today giving people massive discounts on ebooks published by HarperCollins.
Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble have been preparing for the eventuality that the industry would abolish the agency pricing scheme throughout North America. We spoke with B&N’s legal team a few weeks ago and they told us exclusively that initiatives were underway to re-negotiate the prices on ebooks from the major publishers.
Has anyone noticed significant price drops? One reader said that the ebook American Sniper is priced at $10.94 on Amazon and $12.99 on B&N, making it the first time there’s been in a price difference from a major publisher in years!
HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster have settled with the Justice Department in the Apple ebook collusion case, and it may really benefit customers. Today these three companies reached a settlement of $69 million dollars that will be distributed to 49 States in the USA. This will give people who bought ebooks in the past from these publishers partial refunds on their original purchases for around $1.00 to $2.00.
Penguin and Macmillan are the only two top six publishing companies that are refusing to settle with the Justice Department. The entire case stemmed from a government probe on Apple price fixing the landscape of ebooks when it first launched the iBooks service. In order to launch successfully they had to compete against Amazon, which is firmly entrenched as one of the top content distribution platforms. Instead of competing with low prices, Apple had convinced the top six publishers to set their own prices on ebooks instead of allowing Amazon to buy them in bulk and then undercut the competition.
“This action sends a strong message that this sort of anticompetitive behavior will not be accepted,” said Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, who led the states’ investigation into ebook pricing along with the state of Texas. “Through our ongoing litigation, we hope to provide additional restitution to consumers. Additionally, I’m especially proud of the exemplary bipartisan cooperation on both the state and federal level on this matter, which involved 54 states and jurisdictions working together on behalf of consumers across the country.”
When the settlement is officially approved there is the question of how customers will be paid. Baltimore’s ABC News reports that “in most cases, consumers may choose to receive the value of their restitution by check or by crediting the amount to future purchases of ebooks. eBook retailers Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo have agreed to identify and contact each eligible customer by email. Retailers Google and Sony will also notify affected customers. Sony will inform customers that checks will automatically be issued. Google customers will be directed to submit a claim on a settlement website.”
Hachette UK drew a few double-takes and even more responses this week as the publisher stated that its current model of selling ebooks with DRM (Digital Rights Management) and fair prices was “working very well.” Specifically, the statement drew a “chastising response” from author Cory Doctorow on Publishers Weekly’s Columns and Blogs post.
To be fair, the statement from Hachette UK was made in a letter sent to an author whose published books (some through Hachette’s imprints and some with Tor Books) were recently acquired. The statement warned that Tor’s no-DRM policy “will make it difficult for the rights granted to us to be properly protected.” Hachette also suggested that the author insist that Tor use DRM on the titles in question.
Doctorow, a firm advocate of DRM-free eBooks, read the letter released by Little, Brown U.K. CEO Ursula Mackenzie and had no problem responding. “Let’s just say that Hachette has balls the size of Mars if it thinks it can dictate what other publishers do with titles in territories where it has no rights.”
In addition to Doctorow’s striking metaphor, his response also attacked the logic of DRM as effective protection for the publisher and author. His key points are that DRM or no, pirated ebooks are still easily found and DRM does nothing to stop pirates from scanning or retyping books. He also mentioned that Cracks are widely available on the internet to remove DRM. His final key point was that honest people BUY ebooks, but may experience problems accessing the purchased book on multiple devices.
And here’s the big kicker: “DRM is not a selling point. There’s no one who’s ever bought a book because it had DRM. People buy DRM e-books because they have no choice, or because they don’t care about it, or because they don’t know it’s there. But DRM never leads to a sale.”
This all leads right back to Doctorow’s outrage at Hachette’s play to push authors into accepting DRM, and he closed with a very relevant caution about platform switching and potential issues with DRM. “The phone is fast becoming an e-reader of choice, and readers usually cycle out phones with their cellular contracts every 12–18 months. This is going to be a hell of a ride.”