Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

11/04/2011

B&N’s Nook Tablet to Compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire


"Take That, iPad!"The Amazon and Barnes & Noble e-reader market is morphing into the tablet computer market … and bringing with it advances and features that should have Apple iPads shaking in their digital boots! … AND at a lighter weight and cost!

I just love it when the competitive intrigue goes exponential in a new industry market 🙂

This from Crain’s New York Business by Matthew Flamm

Barnes & Noble plays with Amazon’s Fire

The bookstore chain will introduce a new Nook tablet to compete with the e-tailer’s Kindle Fire. The new device will be available on Nov. 15.

The battle for the e-reader market isn’t over yet. Little more than a month after Amazon Inc. announced the launch of the Kindle Fire, its souped-up tablet that becomes available Nov. 15, archrival Barnes & Noble Inc. is getting set to roll out its new Nook.

The Nook Tablet, which will show movies in addition to displaying magazines, newspapers and books, will be introduced to the press on Monday morning at the Barnes & Noble Union Square store. It will be priced at $249, making it $50 more than the Fire, but will offer twice the memory of Amazon’s tablet, according to tech blog Engadget, which posted details about the new device and other updates to the Nook family of e-readers on its site Thursday evening.

In addition to its new tablet, Barnes & Noble has enhanced its Nook Color to include access to the subscription video hub Hulu Plus, and cut its price by $50 to $199. The touch-enabled Nook that launched last May with a price tag of $139 has been renamed the Nook Simple Touch and will be priced at $99. That makes it slightly more expensive than the $79 Kindle, but unlike Amazon’s device, the Nook won’t display ads.

Read and learn more

Related article on Amazon’s Kindle Fire

This blog is available on Kindlle :)))

 

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09/26/2011

Amazon Jumps From Passive E-Readers To Active Tablet Computers With ‘Kindle Fire’


 

Throw Some KINDLE on that FIRE!

Amazon has decided to do battle with Apple in the tablet computing world … “A” vs “A” so to speak 🙂

In an effort to stay more relevant in the rapidly changing tech universe, and not to fall prey to obsolescence (as did AOL), Amazon is trying to go more 3-dimensional by stretching from the digital retailing/e-reader biz into the more active and multifaceted tablet computing arena.

David Streitfeld  in The New York Times:

Amazon Has High Hopes for Its iPad Competitor 

SAN FRANCISCO — One after another, like moths to a flame, technology companies have been seduced into entering the market for tablets. Apple made it look so irresistible, with 29 million eager and sometimes fanatical consumers snapping up an iPad in the device’s first 15 months.

But neither Samsung nor Motorola nor Acer could beg or borrow any of Apple’s magic. Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, said it shipped only 200,000 of its PlayBooks in three months — about what Apple sells in three days. Hewlett-Packard, which flopped this summer with the TouchPad, was the latest to get burned.

Now comes a final competitor, the best-placed challenger of all: Amazon.com. The retailer is on the verge of introducing its own tablet, analysts predict, a souped-up color version of its Kindle e-reader that will undercut the iPad in price and aim to steal away a couple of million in unit sales by Christmas.

A competition between Amazon and Apple tablets will be a battle that pits the company that created the first popular e-reader (and set off a still-unfolding revolution in how books are consumed) against the company that created the first popular tablet (and set off a revolution in progress about how entertainment and other media are consumed).

Both companies are riding high, racking up record revenues and seeing their stock market valuations cruise to new peaks. Each has ample resources to enjoy a pitched struggle for people’s attention and their wallets.

Whichever company triumphs, said the Barclays analyst Anthony DiClemente, “the consumer is going to be the winner.”

“The fact that Amazon is making such a huge investment might make Apple come back into the market at a lower price point,” he suggested. “What’s to prevent them from slimming down the iPad?”

Most tech companies like to keep their cards close to their vests, but Amazon, like Apple, strives to render the whole deck invisible. It has, though, scheduled a news conference in Manhattan on Wednesday, and the speculation on technology blogs and among analysts is that the tablet will be unveiled.

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04/24/2011

The Next Generation of Kindle Begins…Powered By You!


Direct Publishing to the Kindle Store

This is a cross-post from my other blog: Writers Welcome!…A John Austin Blog

How would you like to directly publish your works to the Amazon Kindle Store whenever the mood strikes? Eliminate any middleman immediately…

Pretty cool, right?

Well Amazon is introducing a ‘Direct Publishing’ model that will allow authors and publishers to independently publish their books in the Amazon.de Kindle Store that will be available in  Germany, Austria, the U.K., U.S. and over 100 countries!

Damn, they’re making publishing awfully easy! Now if they would only make the marketing just as easy…

Wonder how they will funnel the scripts into proper formats? That would be interesting to understand. I guess the only way to find out is to go ahead and direct publish something on Kindle using the new model, huh?

Anyway, these details are by Ray Willington from HotHardWare.com :

Amazon.de Allows Self-Publishing To Kindle E-Book Store

Read and learn more

Remember to get this blog right on your Kindle here

04/23/2011

The Hackers Quarterly…and the Apple And Amazon Continuing Subscription Debacle


 

2600 Magazine - The Hackers Quarterly

For those who have not been properly introduced to 2600, the hackers quarterly magazine…I am formally presenting this mag to you tonight.

Along with the introduction is a dissertation on how they are expanding their online publishing platforms (read that as formats)…and how they are championing the elimination of DRM (digital rights management)…which they feel is an anti-consumer restriction/regulation.

What do you think? I admit I’m still puzzling over the DRM details!

By the way, DRM is defined as the use of software or other computer technology to manage the conditions under which copyrighted material in digital form can be accessed.

From 2600.com :

2600 EXPANDS ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING PLATFORMS 

The saga of our electronic publishing endeavors continues. We’ve grown weary of waiting for Amazon and Apple to work things out between them so that subscriptions can be available on the iPad, so we’ve bypassed their stalemate and made individual issues available for those devices. We’ve also made them available for the Barnes and Noble Nook. More is on the way.

The price of the current issue is set by Amazon – we have no control over this. We’re trying to get them to make it available for less and we’ve already managed to do this for back issues. Your support at this time gives us more leverage and will help to set the standard for the entire electronic publishing world.

We’re also fighting to have any DRM restrictions removed from our publications. Please stand behind us on this as it’s our chance to show other publishers that non-DRM is the way to go and that publications can indeed prosper in this environment without implementing crippling and anti-consumer regulations. If you’re annoyed by a policy or restriction of Amazon, etc., posting a negative review actually gives us LESS leverage as it’s seen as a reflection of 2600, not Amazon. Before Amazon accidentally removed Android compatibility, we were #1 in customer service on the entire Kindle Magazine section. The complaints against Amazon that came in after their blunder pushed us way under and were likely not even seen by those in charge. So if you’re happy or unhappy with what WE’RE doing, tell the world via the feedback option. If something annoys you that we’re not directly responsible for, let us know in an email (webmaster@2600) and we’ll look into it.

We’ve made a lot of progress in a relatively short amount of time but we know there’s a great deal more that needs to be done. We find ourselves at a very historic juncture, not just for us but for the whole publishing world.

This is where we stand at the moment:

Read and learn more

Kindle lovers!…Go here to get this blog on your Kindle.


04/04/2011

Exactly What is E-Book Distribution?


E-Book Distribution?

Many may already know the answer to this question…but, don’t realize they know the answer. So we are going to put things into focus with this post.

I was reading a piece about the coming launch of a new, and first, e-book distribution company in Brazil. Seems they are a few years behind us in this endeavor. Anyway, the news piece raised some questions in my mind as well as giving me an insight into how publishing companies think through establishing new formats and business models to keep up with the changing technology in publishing.  

Six big Brazilian publishers: Objetiva (partially owned by Santillana), Record, Sextante, Rocco, Planeta and L&PM — teamed up to launch an e-book distribution company called Distribuidora de Livros Digitais (DLD)…Which simply means Distributor of Digital Books in English.

The main question that flew into my mind while digesting this news was: ‘Hey, what the hell is involved in digital distribution?’ There’s no old- fashioned shipping and placing physical books in various, geographically separated bookstores and other outlets through contacts and contracts, etc…All that is involved is uploading your digital book for download to buyers, right?

Well, there is a little more involved, but not much. For instance, these e-book distributors must develop a platform to protect your e-book from piracy downloads, etc.

Go Publish Yourself gives a good initial definition of e-book distribution.

Now, just who are the e-book distributors in the good old U.S.A.? Anybody know off-hand? Again…many may already know the answer to this question…but, don’t realize they know the answer.

Author Wallace Wang, whose site’s mission is ‘meant to help potential authors understand how to self-publish, market, and ultimately profit from their books while avoiding traditional book publishers, stores, and distributors altogether’, has the answer…PLUS additional information and resources. 

Onward to the news article in Publishing Perspectives by Carlo Carrenho that churned all this in my mind (including an interview with Roberto Feith, Objetiva’s CEO and Chairman of DLD’s board):

Brazil’s DLD E-book Distribution Platform Opens For Business

A year after six Brazilian publishers launched the DLD e-book distribution platform, it opens for business today.
 
In March 2010, six Brazilian publishers –- Objetiva (partially owned by Santillana), Record, Sextante, Rocco, Planeta and L&PM — teamed up to launch an e-book distribution company called Distribuidora de Livros Digitais (DLD). The business model has several similarities with that of Libranda , in Spain –- though it’s a distinctly Brazilian enterprise. The company officially launched in August under the leadership of CEO Roberto Vaz Moreira. Since then the team has been working hard, albeit discretely, to launch the platform.

Still, it’s not uncommon in Brazilian publishing circles to hear the suggestion that DLD is little more than a good idea, one that is likely to remain vaporware…

In this exclusive interview, originally published in Portuguese at PublishNews, Roberto Feith, CEO of Objetiva and DLD’s chairman, openly reveals the actual plans, expectations and launch schedule of the new e-book distributor.

Please note that, at present, Brazil lags some three or four years behind the US in terms of digital development. Currently Xeriph is the only function e-book aggregator in Brazil, and Singular Digital is finding its way to becoming digital distribution hub for publishers. DLD, when it launches, will probably compete with both companies.

PublishNews Brazil: When will DLD launch its operation?

Read and learn more 

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03/21/2011

Is Amazon Becoming Too Amazonian?


Will Amazon slay writers in the future?

There are a lot of signs out in publishing land that indicate Amazon is positioning itself in a pretty complete vertical business structure ( acquiring both print-on-demand Booksurge and e-book tech software company Mobipocket as well as building and selling the e-reader Kindle) to become the dominant player (read that as monopolizer) in the current materializing publishing industry.

That, in and of itself, is not threatening…and they are playing somewhat fair (so far) with the true lifeblood of the industry: the content creators (writers and authors)…

But BEWARE! Do not let Amazon go completely unfettered or unchallenged because human nature and greed, being what they are, will succumb to complete dictatorship and the abuse of the content creators…Mark my words! Remember how out of whack traditional publishing became before being brought down.

There are other online entities and booksellers such as Apple’s iPad, Smashwords, Lulu, Barnes&Noble , etc…but, none have as complete a vertical package to go from publishing to reader as Amazon.

Let’s hope, for the sake of maintaining healthy competition and remuneration for all in what can be a great industry, that some of these other online enterprises (and complete newcomers) build their own self-contained verticals to save Amazon from itself and attract, nurture and grow great writers!

At least that’s the way this humble writer sees it.

Now, this by Anna Richardson from TheBookseller.com

Amazon could phase out publishers

Forbes.com looks at “how Amazon could change publishing”.

The first major technology-enabled change in the books industry came when digital print-on-demand presses started becoming affordable, but for authors looking to gain serious readership, the big question still remains unanswered: How would they market and distribute their books?

“Enter Amazon.com,” writes entrepreneur Sramana Mitra. “Some surveys suggest that online booksellers could become the largest channel for book sales by 2009, and Amazon is certainly the 800-pound gorilla in that market–it’s the largest bookseller in the world” and “what really keeps customers coming back is the outstanding user experience”, in great part due to its recommendation system.

In addition, in 2005, Amazon acquired the print-on-demand company BookSurge and Mobipocket.com, an e-book software company, and in November, it launched the e-book reader Kindle. According to Forbes, Amazon is now poised to revolutionise the book printing business through vertical integration.

Read and learn more 

01/31/2011

Amazon (Kindle store) Trumping Apple (iPad store) in eBook AND Print Sales


Amazon is still king of the book-sales world, both e-books AND printed books…and shows no sign of slowing down!

Amazon had a respectable market share of printed-book sales in the pre-Kindle era. In the post-Kindle era, sales of e-books went ballistic, as expected…but, strangely enough, Amazon held on to the same per centage of printed-book sales also, despite the supposed decline of print!

This article bt Jim Milliot of Publisher’s Weekly offers a clear (with graphics) analysis of the Amazon and Apple book sales market share… with explanations by Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the Codex Group, an industry study and analytical group:    

Amazon Ups Its Edge
Apple notwithstanding, trends point toward more market power for the e-tailer

Apple caused a stir last week when it announced that it sold 7.3 million iPads in the quarter ended December 25, bringing the number of devices it has sold since it released the iPad last April to nearly 15 million. But even as the iPad gains traction among book buyers, the clear winner in the first stages of the book industry’s digital transition is Amazon. A survey of 6,250 frequent book buyers conducted by the Codex Group in early November found more book buyers acquiring their e-books for the iPad from Amazon’s Kindle store rather than through Apple’s iBookstore, with the Kindle store accounting for 40% of e-book sales for the iPad and the iBookstore 29% (one factor limiting sales through the iBookstore is that Random House e-books are not directly available there because RH is not using the agency model). John’s Note: I have posted on this and other issues with Random House on my Writers Welcome Blog (WWB)  

While Apple has already sold over three times more iPads in just nine months than Amazon is estimated to have sold Kindles in three years, the sale of Kindles has had a huge impact in increasing Amazon’s “share of wallet” among book buyers, the Codex survey found. Before acquiring a Kindle, book buyers made about 14% of their unit purchases at Amazon, a figure that tripled to just over 37% after they bought a Kindle. “It’s the most amazing retail share growth strategy I’ve ever seen,” said Codex president Peter Hildick-Smith, who has also worked extensively in developing retail growth strategies for stores ranging from Wal-Mart to Harrods. The increase in market share came entirely from book buyers’ added purchase of e-books, with 28.1% of all unit buys of frequent book buyers coming from the Kindle store. But Hildick-Smith said it was equally impressive that Amazon was able to hang on to almost the same market share of book buyers’ print purchases even as buyers were substantially increasing their e-book purchases.

While e-book purchases do not appear to be cannibalizing print sales at Amazon, the Kindle store has to be taking sales away from somewhere, and Hildick-Smith believes it is from bricks-and-mortar stores. With the decline in the number of bookstores, publishers are losing not only the top sales channel but the most important showcase for their new titles. According to the Codex survey, bookstores remain, by far, the most important way book buyers learn about new books: 28% of all book buyers said they learned about the last book they bought by browsing in a bookstore or through a bookstore display, while 14.5% were discovered through a friend’s recommendation. Even among iPad users, 32% of device owners learned about their last book purchased through digital sources (an e-bookstore, author Web site, and other sources), but 23% discovered the book they bought at a bookstore.

Read and learn more

07/01/2010

Kindle Has App for Android, But…

Filed under: Amazon Kindle,Kindle app for android — gator1965 @ 2:54 pm


You can now download Kindle formatted books to your Google Android smartphones and other devices using the Google Android operating system…But, the Kindle app for Android comes with some kinks (the little deviant)…Maybe you should hold off a little longer purchasing one until Kindle irons out the bumps!

Brent W. Hopkins, PC World, reported this review:

Kindle for Android provides another way to access and read your purchased Amazon Kindle e-books, but it lacks key features and is awkward to set up.

When Amazon released its proprietary Kindle e-reader, it transformed the publishing industry. Then the company delivered a version of its e-reader for the iPhone. Now Android users get a slice of the e-book action with the new Kindle app for Android. This app allows you to access and read your purchased (or free) Kindle e-books on your Android smartphone, and it automatically bookmarks the page where you left off reading.

To use this app you must first log in to your Amazon account. If you don’t already have one, you need to leave the app and create an account in a Web browser, which is unfortunate; it’s an indicator of poor design when the user must leave an app to take advantage of core functionality.

But wait, you’re not ready to return to the app yet. First you need to configure your 1-Click settings, and then you can browse the Amazon catalog and select your book(s)–with your Web browser, not with the Android app. Boo, hiss!

You can create bookmarks as you go, and jump to a specific location in the text. Unfortunately, the locations don’t correspond to print-version page numbers; they are local and specific to your Android device. And though the menu has an entry for Go To My Notes & Marks, the app gives you no way to make notes, and no method to sync your Android bookmarks between devices. You can’t search the text, either.

That last omission is a pity, because a search function would have been convenient for following along as your English class covers Great Expectations or one of the other expired-copyright classics of literature available for free on Amazon. In its current iteration, Kindle for Android provides a way to access and read your Kindle e-books, but it lacks key features and is awkward to set up.

06/30/2010

Kindle Offers 70% Royalty for Self-Publishers

Filed under: 70% royalty,Amazon Kindle,Kindle DTP,Kindlestore — gator1965 @ 5:37 pm


When was the last time an author made $6.25 per book on an $8.99 hardcover book?… NEVER!

But, self-published authors CAN realize that kind of money today…on Kindle DTP (Digital Text Platform)…A little improvement in the usual chickenfeed for authors.

I have been devoting some past posts editorializing about the eBook vs printed book race and the growth of the digital book market share…and I feel this press release from the Financial Post further demonstrates the burgeoning self-publishing digital book world (and the publishing-player-field-leveler, if you will):

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced that the 70 percent royalty option that enables authors and publishers who use the Kindle Digital Text Platform (DTP) to earn a larger share of revenue from each Kindle book they sell is now available. For each book sold from the Kindle Store for Kindle, Kindle DX, or one of the Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, PC, Mac and Android phones, authors and publishers who choose the new 70 percent royalty option will receive 70 percent of the list price, net of delivery costs.

Delivery costs are based on file size, and pricing is set at $0.15/MB. At today’s median DTP file size of 368KB, delivery costs would be less than $0.06 per unit sold. For example, on an $8.99 book an author would make $3.15 with the standard option and $6.25 with the new 70 percent option. This new option, first announced in January 2010, will be in addition to and will not replace the existing DTP standard royalty option.

In addition to the 70 percent royalty option, Amazon also announced improvements in DTP such as a more intuitive “Bookshelf” feature and a simplified two-step process for publishing. These features make it more convenient for authors and publishers to publish using DTP.

“We’re excited about the launch of the 70 percent royalty option and user experience enhancements in DTP because they enable authors and publishers to conveniently offer more content to Kindle customers and to make more money from the books they sell,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content.

DTP authors and publishers are now able to select the royalty option that best meets their needs. Books from authors and publishers who choose the 70 percent royalty option will have access to all the same features and be subject to all the same requirements as books receiving the standard royalty rate. In addition, to qualify for the 70 percent royalty option, books must satisfy the following set of requirements:

•The author or publisher-supplied list price must be between $2.99 and $9.99.
•The list price must be at least 20 percent below the lowest list price for the physical book.
•The title is made available for sale in all geographies for which the author or publisher has rights.
•The title will be included in a broad set of features in the Kindle Store, such as text-to-speech. This list of features will grow over time as Amazon continues to add more functionality to Kindle and the Kindle Store.
•Under this royalty option, books must be offered at or below price parity with competition, including physical book prices.

The 70 percent royalty option is for in-copyright works and is unavailable for works published before 1923 (a.k.a. public domain books). The 70 percent royalty option is currently only available for books sold to United States customers.

DTP is a fast and easy self-publishing tool that lets anyone upload and format their books for sale in the Kindle Store (www.amazon.com/kindlestore). To learn more about the Kindle Digital Text Platform, visit http://dtp.amazon.com/ or e-mail dtp-support@amazon.com

Kindle is in stock and available for immediate shipment today at http://www.amazon.com/kindle.

06/20/2010

How to Publish a Blog on Kindle

Filed under: Amazon Kindle,publishing blogs on Kindle — gator1965 @ 8:07 pm


How would you like to publish your blog in the Kindle Store? This will automatically monetize your blog by having Kindle readers pay a small subscription fee (usually 99 to 199 cents/month of which you will get 30% royalties).

Stephen Windwalker described the steps to publishing your blog/s on Kindle on a past post on his Kindle Nation Blog (which I believe has been replaced by his weekly Kindle Nation Newsletter)…I pulled this information off of Publetariat.com:

21 Steps: How to Publish a Kindle Blog (And Why You Might Want To….)
This post, from Stephen Windwalker, originally appeared on his Kindle Nation Daily blog on 11/15/09, and is reprinted here in its entirety with his permission.

Kindle, how do I blog thee? Let me count the ways….

In the past few months I’ve had numerous writer-blogger-publisher friends and colleagues ask me how to publish their blogs and other content as Kindle Blogs.

•Or how to take the short stories or social commentary that they have been writing for other media and make it come alive on the Kindle.

•Or, in the case of some very talented people who write everything from business marketing material to political content to community organizing campaign literature, how they could re-purpose the publications that they or their organizations are already doing as Kindle blogs so that they could begin to reach a wider audience.

•Or how to take those steamy stories they’ve been writing for years and connect them with the thousands of Kindle readers who appear — from Kindle sales rankings — to have an appetite for erotica and like the fact that the Kindle does not require a brown paper bag.

•Or how to turn Kindle owners on to the wonderful services or products that their businesses provide to the public.

Those of us who tapdance on the keyboards come in so many different shapes, sizes, and settings.

At first, back in June when I had just begun to make Kindle Nation Daily available as a Kindle edition blog, I might have answered, “Don’t bother.” Although I had plenty of independent confirmation of wide and growing readership, I was skeptical that significant numbers of people were going to pay for the goat when I was already giving away the goat’s milk for free.

With monthly summaries that show up a couple of weeks after the end of each month, Amazon is slower to report Kindle blog subscription and revenue data to its publishers than any other of its formats, which generally report in something close to real time when they are working. But based on the data that I could gather, it seemed that very few Kindle blogs were thriving. When my own numbers began to come in — with 7 subscriptions in May and even with 150 for June and 201 for July — well, it was nice to have some paying readers, but at 30 cents a pop as my monthly royalty for each 99-cent-a-month subscription it certainly did not seem like a business model. I now have over 7,500 people reading my posts each week in their several free formats, and I certainly don’t expect the number of paid readers ever to catch up with the number of free readers.

But as the “installed base” of Kindle owners has continued to grow dramatically each month, and promises to keep growing, I’ve changed my mind about the usefulness of the Kindle blogging format, and I would no longer say “Don’t bother” to anyone with useful information or creative work to share. Granted, the number of Kindle owners who subscribe to Kindle blogs remains very small: my educated guess is that there are somewhere south of 10,000 regular Kindle blog subscribers among roughly 2 million Kindle owners at present. My own subscriber numbers keep growing — from 201 in July to 346 in August, 494 in September and 778 in October — but while the percentages of increase are astonishing, the actual numbers and revenue figures are tiny. It’s great to be the #1 blog in the Kindle Store this morning, but the fact that somewhere in the ballpark of 99.96% of Kindle owners do not read my blog certainly constitutes a cold splash of reality.

Or should I see it as opportunity?

Read the rest at http://alturl.com/ins2

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