Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

06/24/2011

E-Books … A Major Shakeup is Coming … Stirred By the Wizard


The Wizaed Cometh

A crossp0st today from my Writers Welcome Blog  (WWB)… One I feel is interesting and important enough to promulgate to those that may not follow WWB:

Pottermore.com is coming! … And bringing with it a real time, online lab that should flush out issues like e-book pricing, eliminating digital booksellers (i.e. Amazon) as the middleman, acceptance of a common format (i.e. ePub) acceptable to all devices across all platforms.

Phewwww! What a statement. Sounds like rocket science when it’s only common sense.

This strategically, ingenious concept will force a faster solution to many bottlenecks created by the various device manufacturers and digital booksellers trying to kidnap the market for its own exclusive profit.

This could only be brought by something so popular and powerful unto itself that it would lend itself to an exclusive sales site, with its own rules, that would draw people away from the status quo.

That power is Harry Potter!

This from paidContent.org by Laura Hazard Owen:

Three Ways Pottermore.com Could Change Book Publishing

After a suspenseful buildup, J. K. Rowling has announced that Pottermore.com will be an e-bookstore, exclusively selling Harry Potter e-books and digital audiobooks. Pottermore could shake up digital publishing as much as the Harry Potter books first shook up print publishing over a decade ago. Here’s how.

Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) will be cut out as the middleman and could be forced to open up the Kindle to new book-publishing formats. Pottermore.com does not officially launch until October, and right now many details are still unclear. But we know that the site will be the only place to buy Harry Potter e-books and that they will be compatible with a range of devices. Rowling stressed that selling the books directly “means we can guarantee people everywhere are getting the same experience and at the same time,” and Pottermore CEO Rod Henwood told The Bookseller, “We want to make sure anyone who buys it can read it on any device. We are talking to the Kindles, the Apples, the Googles, Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) to make sure they are compatible. We set the pricing, we maintain the policy of making them available to as many readers as possible.”

We don’t know if that means that Pottermore.com will be selling multiple editions of the Harry Potter books—in the Kindle format, say, alongside formats like EPUB—but it seems more likely that the site would sell e-books in just one format, probably EPUB. Right now, the Kindle doesn’t support the EPUB format. But if any author could get Amazon to change its policy, it’s J. K. Rowling. The Kindle has the largest market share of any e-reader in the U.S.—it’s believed to be between 60 and 65 percent—and it would be an incredibly dumb move for Amazon not to allow the Harry Potter e-books to be read on its device. The company would risk losing users to the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Kobo, and other devices that do support EPUB.

In fact, rumors that Amazon is going to start supporting EPUB have been floating around for awhile now, mainly in association with the news that the Kindle will support library lending this fall. Amazon should probably get on the EPUB train by July 31, when Pottermore.com is going to be opened up to a select million users.

Interesting experiments with pricing. Since Rowling is selling the e-books directly, she can do what she wants with pricing. Her UK publisher, Bloomsbury, and her U.S. publisher, Scholastic, are getting a cut, but these books are being …

Read and learn more 

 

 

03/14/2011

Limiting E-Book Circulation – A Librarians point of View


Harper Collins  has initiated limited access licenses to e-content for library circulation purposes. A new model meant to retain old print and ink attritions renewal profits. Appears publishers are having a hard time giving up an old print profit process that is simply no longer required in the new “E” world…I guess you can’t blame them.

Christopher Platt, director of collections and circulation operations at the New York Public Library, has some trade-offs from the library’s viewpoint that make a lot of sense and should make the adjustment to library ebook circulation much smoother.

Christopher Platt writing in Publishers Weekly:

The Happy Reader Equation: A Librarian on HarperCollins’s E-Book Pricing Model

HarperCollins generated a lot of controversy and debate with its new pricing model for e-books capping usage. In this week’s issue of PW, Connecticut librarian Kate Sheehan weighs in on the issue, and in PW Daily today we offer another piece by NYPL’s Christopher Platt, who takes a slighter different tack.

Recently, Harper Collins announced a new pricing model for e-books that caps usage, after which it would require a library relicense the title again for another set of uses. They further clarified that by mimicking the hardcover-to-paperback replacement purchase model, the price of the title would come down as it ages.

 

It has been a momentous few years for publishers and libraries. The economic downturn hit publishers hard, forcing cost-cutting, downsizing, and a review of business models. During all of this, the rapid advance of e-reading became the bright spot on publishers’ balance sheets, and now they are focusing intensely on ways to provide interesting content, engage new readers, and generate revenue in that arena.
 
Libraries were hit hard too, many of us enduring major fiscal challenges that strained our resources in the face of skyrocketing use. Libraries have downsized, cut back spending and services, and in some cases even closed during a time when their communities needed them the most. For many librarians, the announcement of e-book use limits from a major publisher must have felt like yet another in a long line of punches to the gut. 
HarperCollins is a publisher that has worked hard to build up a great track record supporting libraries, and I know they are a team of dedicated individuals who recognize the value we bring to the table. They, like many of us, are tasked with the difficult job of revising long-held models to stay profitable and relevant. As content and demand have grown in the e-book retail market, publishers have been revising e-book pricing models, and it’s no surprise they are now looking at the library market. I know the other trade houses are watching with great interest, and I applaud HarperCollins for being courageous enough to make the first move. This call for understanding is directed to all trade publishers and my respected library colleagues.
 
Librarians: public libraries are valued institutions. Remember that we are just one portion of the formula that gets titles to readers, and the only step that is not-for-profit:
Author + Publisher + Wholesaler + Library = Happy Reader

 

Read and learn more

Remember, Good People, you can get this wonderful blog right on your Kindle here

03/20/2010

Amazon Wrangles Publishers as iBookstore Grand Opening Looms

Filed under: Amazon,Apple,eBook costs,iBookstore,iPad,Kindle Reader,publishing — gator1965 @ 6:25 pm

With both Apple and Amazon pressuring publishers for deals on content for their digital devices, what will happen to consumer prices for digital books, magazines, games, etc?…Gee shitski, don’t you just LOVE the intrigue? Whatever does happen, this writer can’t help but think it will be be good for all concerned!

Kindle looks over after taking a deep drag on his cig, stares deeply into iPaddy’s eyes and whispers “Was it good for you, too, you Digital Tiger,you?”

Katherine Noyes of MacNewsWorld writes on this intensifying subject:

Apple’s newest charmed pair, the iPad and the iBookstore, will amble onto the publishing scene in just a couple of weeks, and Amazon is justifiably fearful. Its popular Kindle may quickly become a has-been, and it could lose hard-won ground in the e-book marketplace. What’s a giant to do? Twist a few arms. If publishers bow to Amazon’s latest terms, will e-book prices rise or fall?
With an unwavering focus on Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) forthcoming iBookstore, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) has begun pressuring e-book publishers to sign three-year contracts that ensure no competing retailers will get better prices or treatment.

That’s according to a recent report in The New York Times, which cites two industry executives with direct knowledge of the discussions.

The new tactics come hard on the heels of Amazon’s conflict with Macmillan earlier this year over the publisher’s switch to an agency model, whereby retailers such as Amazon act as agents of the publisher and earn a 30 percent commission on publisher-set prices. Those prices, Amazon asserted, were “needlessly high.”

Amazon’s stock tumbled following that well-publicized conflict, in which the e-tailer even stopped selling Macmillan books temporarily in protest.

The titles were soon restored to Amazon’s virtual shelves, but the latest round of pressure tactics raises the question of how far the company would be willing to go to compete with Apple’s iBookstore, which will launch in the United States with its iPad device on April 3.

Five of the ‘Big Six’ for Apple

Apple, in fact, has been applying similar pressure to publishers participating in its iBookstore, The New York Times reported, including five of the “big six”: Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, HarperCollins and Penguin.

Only Random House has not yet signed on, The Times said.

Such publishers will use the agency model for iBookstore sales , allowing them to set prices as long as they pay Apple 30 percent. Typical prices under that model are $12.99 to $14.99 for most newly released titles.

Apple does stipulate, however, that publishers must not allow other retailers to sell their e-books for less than their iBookstore prices, according to The Times.

Whereas Amazon ultimately agreed to let Macmillan set its own prices, it has typically tried to keep its titles at $9.99.

“My sense is that consumers have been very happy with the pricing model Amazon has established,” Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst with Parks Associates, told MacNewsWorld.

“It’s very easy to compare an Amazon digital title with hardback or paperback, and I think that’s part of the reason why Amazon has had the success it has had,” he added.

‘Publishers Will Have More Power’

Amazon’s business and reputation both suffered as a result of its conflict with Macmillan, Susan Kevorkian, program director for IDC’s mobile media and entertainment service, told MacNewsWorld.

So, if it chooses to limit access to the works of publishers who won’t sign its contracts, it will be hurt even more, she predicted.

“As the e-reader market grows, publishers will have more power in the marketplace because they control copyrighted work and can dictate payment terms for it, and because more retailers — and options for consumers to buy digital books — will emerge to challenge Amazon and Apple,” Kevorkian explained.

Amazon is “still in the content business,” she noted, so it “needs to offer as wide and deep a selection of content as it can in terms of physical and digital books — the latter to keep Kindle competitive.”

Going forward, retail price competition in digital books is “more likely to be at the expense of retailers’ margins than publishers’ revenue and profits,” Kevorkian concluded. “The takeaway here is that publishers will set digital book prices, and retailers will need to follow suit with their pricing, rather than dictating retail prices to consumers.”

Amazon on Thursday also launched its new Kindle for Mac, a free application for reading Kindle books on Macintosh computers.

Neither Amazon nor Apple responded by press time to MacNewsWorld’s requests for comment.

12/08/2009

Self-Publishing Question: Print or eBook?

Filed under: eBook costs,Kindle Reader,Nook Reader,self-publishing,Wordpreneur — gator1965 @ 7:12 am

Eldon Sarte, creator of Wordpreneur, has hit upon a subject I have discussed in past posts: self-publishing…but from a little different perspective that made the old lightbulb turn on in my overworked brain (what I have left of it).

His article on using self-published eBooks to test the market first before doing a possible print version is short but thought-provoking:

After observing the consumer ebook market with the seeming success of the Amazon Kindle and the upcoming Barnes & Noble Nook, I think this brings up an interesting question for self-publishers. Namely…

Instead of first doing a “print” edition and then releasing an ebook version as an afterthought (the usual M.O.), why not do a Kindle/Nook edition first, test market the book on the dirt cheap, and then decide whether a print edition is worth the time and expense?

For many scenarios, this seems to make oodles of sense. The market certainly seems ready for this kind of approach, for most niches I care about anyway.

Hmmmm…

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