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Saturday, October 29, 2011

E-Books Bestseller Lists

The New York Times and USA Today saw the handwriting on the wall and recently initiated publishing e-book sales figures and e-books bestseller lists ... Now The Wall StreetJournal (bringing up the rear) announced they will also publish an e-books bestseller list.

 has this to say in Mashable Business:

Wall Street Journal to Launch Bestseller Lists for Ebooks

The Wall Street Journal‘s bestseller rankings will now include ebook sales, the publisher announced Friday.

Beginning this weekend, the Journal will display four lists charting book sales: combined ebook and hard copy sales of fiction, combined ebook and hard copy sales of non-fiction, ebook-only sales of fiction, and ebook-only sales of non-fiction.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Google are among the retailers that have agreed to release ebook sales numbers to Nielsen, which powers the Journal‘s rankings.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Amazon and the Underbelly of the Internet Economy

Amazon had a BIG drop in third quarter operating income ... To be exact, a whopping 71% drop over the same time last year!

The drop is mainly due to such business practices as expansion  and new products (Kindle Fire) designed to sell for a loss in order to boost sales of other tangental Amazon products such as e-books, videos and music.

When all the economists and business analysts delved into the reasoning for the Amazon third quarter decline they also found that the Amazon Behemoth had a dark side ... or underbelly if you will.

Ahhh yes, when sales are high the Greed Monster takes over and it pushes and pushes workers and equipment harder and harder until something, or someone, breaks!

What a horrible, stifling, stressful merry-go-round to be caught up in.

Here's more by David Streitfeld in the New York Times:

Amazon Suffers Big Drop in Income

Investors shrugged off Amazon’s warnings this summer that its third quarter would be weak.


Moments after the retailer reported Tuesday that operating income for the quarter had fallen 71 percent from 2010, the high-flying stock sank $25 in after-hours trading. Add the $10 that Amazon had lost before the earnings report, and its market cap shriveled in one day by about $16 billion.

If the past was weak, Amazon was cautious about the future, too. Despite the new Kindle Fire tablet’s selling so well that it was already increasing production, Amazon said it might lose as much as $200 million in the fourth quarter.

“There are times when investors shoot first and ask questions later,” said Scott Devitt, an analyst with Morgan Stanley. He remains a believer. “Does the company still have a strong ability to grow? I think the answer is yes.”

Revenue for the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, came in largely on target. As customers swarmed to boxes of dried cherries, “Pirates of the Caribbean,” downloads of the Sims video games, diagnostic code readers for cars and the latest “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” — all Amazon best sellers in their categories — sales rose 44 percent to $10.88 billion.

Amazon has been stressing recently, as it has so often over its 16-year history, that it is investing for the future, not seeking immediate profit. With revenue rising about 40 percent each quarter, it simply needs more capacity. In a highly competitive and fragile retailing environment, that is an enviable problem to have.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Publishing Genie Is Out Of The Bottle ...

... And it appears that even established authors are having trouble thinking outside the box. Some renowned authors are so used to a certain structure (a rather restricted and stingy one at that) they can think only in terms of the old publishing model and can't visualize the possibilities in modern publishing. Can't handle the new freedom in the publishing landscape.

It's sort of like when a dictator-driven country is suddenly liberated and the citizens just don't know what to do or where to turn ... at least at first.

Warren Adler, author of The War of the Roses, Random Hearts and the PBS trilogy The Sunset Gang, is also a pioneer in digital publishing. But, even with his digital experience, his musings in the following article show his latent bewilderment and uneasiness with the current publishing landscape ... and just how new authors will be discovered.

At least that's my take on it.

Simply, authors today will have to do the exact same thing they did under the traditional publishing model, except they will have to do it more vertically ... Put another way, they are now empowered to do many of the tasks that had to be done for them before ... at great monetary and time expense.

Here then is the renowned Warren Adler with some great insight on the new Amazon publishing imprint and other musings:

The Publishing Civil War

So, Amazon is to become the official publisher of its own books. It was, of course, bound to happen, too tempting to resist. After all, it does represent a large chunk of the retail book business and does operate its own production and distribution facilities both through its Kindle and print sites.

In effect, it now competes not only with its suppliers (meaning other publishers) large and small, but also with other authors, both traditionally published and a giant wave of self-published authors.

As a pioneer in the eBook juggernaut when it was a pipsqueak possible spinoff of publishing in the early days of Internet sales, I viewed this development as an inevitability. It is by no means a surprise.

The upcoming phase in what is clearly a civil war between the traditional publishers and a powerful arm of its distribution system is what will happen next. The fact is that Amazon has been skirting around the edges for years, and in some ways has been its own publisher, offering titles exclusive to its sites.

Read and learn more

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Writing 'Big House' Publishers Out of the Loop

“Publishers are terrified and don’t know what to do”

Amazon is on the move again! Agressively signing up authors in direct contracts that cut out the traditional publishers, agents and critics.

This from The New York Times by  :

Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers.

Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres, in both physical and e-book form. It is a striking acceleration of the retailer’s fledging publishing program that will place Amazon squarely in competition with the New York houses that are also its most prominent suppliers.

It has set up a flagship line run by a publishing veteran, Laurence Kirshbaum, to bring out brand-name fiction and nonfiction. It signed its first deal with the self-help author Tim Ferriss. Last week it announced a memoir by the actress and director Penny Marshall, for which it paid $800,000, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said.

Publishers say Amazon is aggressively wooing some of their top authors. And the company is gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide.

Several large publishers declined to speak on the record about Amazon’s efforts. “Publishers are terrified and don’t know what to do,” said Dennis Loy Johnson of Melville House, who is known for speaking his mind.

“Everyone’s afraid of Amazon,” said Richard Curtis, a longtime agent who is also an e-book publisher. “If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out.

“It’s an old strategy: divide and conquer,” Mr. Curtis said.

Amazon executives, interviewed at the company’s headquarters here, declined to say how many editors the company employed, or how many books it had under contract. But they played down Amazon’s power and said publishers were in love with their own demise.

“It’s always the end of the world,” said Russell Grandinetti, one of Amazon’s top executives. “You could set your watch on it arriving.”

Read and learn more 

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pre-Funding E-Books! An 8 1/2 Minute Revelation on Self-Publishing Book Marketing

Jim Kukral, an internet marketer of sorts, became a writer to enhance his sales ... and has met with good success with marketing his e-books.

Today, in the digital self-publishing era, writers must become marketers (and really a jack-of-all-trades in all book logistics) to grab success in bookselling in the digital clouds of the internet.

What struck me about Jim Kukral is that he came up with an idea that uses crowdsourcing to pre-fund publication of e-books (getting paid before you write the book). He is currently working on a series of books where he has raised over $20,000 so far through 'crowdsourcing'...

Neat concept, but I need more info on how to gather the crowd to source from!

Anyway, here is a video interview with Jim:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monitoring E-Book Trends Internationally

If publishers could quickly research e-book growth in other countries ... such as Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America ... based on digital device adoption, attitudes, and purchasing habits of e-book consumers, they would have a gold- mine of a service. A real mother load to help them make timely business decisions and maximize market share in developing countries.

The Bowker Company, you know - the one who assigns the ISBN's, but which is also one of the book industries leading business intelligence researchers, is about to instigate an annual report that monitors e-book trends internationally ... thereby providing that subject book intelligence goldmine :)

From PRWEb.com:

Bowker Launches International e-Book Monitor

Comprehensive survey on four continents will track e-book growth and consumer attitudes giving publishing industry hard data on a dynamic new format

Bowker, the leading provider of market research information and business intelligence on book markets in the U.S., through BML Bowker, in the U.K., will launch a major study that will assess and track device adoption, attitudes, and purchasing habits of e-book consumers in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North and South America. The study, commencing in January 2012 and repeating annually, will enable comparisons between e-book markets in countries experiencing different growth patterns and arm the publishing industry with a comprehensive range of qualitative and quantitative data.

“Being able to track the growth rates of e-books on a global level as countries make the shift to digital books is significant,” said Kelly Gallagher, vice-president of publishing services for Bowker. “This landmark effort will provide the international publishing industry with key metrics in understanding digital opportunities as they emerge.”

The project will map the current state of e-book use and acceptance around the world, creating a benchmark from which to track trends during subsequent studies. The research will target representative samples from the U.K., U.S., Germany, France, Spain, India, Australia, Brazil, South Korea and Japan. Consumers from these countries will be surveyed on their purchases of digital content versus traditional formats in multiple settings and contexts. The study will also explore the use and ownership of devices, from dedicated e-book readers to tablets.

The e-book monitor will be supported by key international publishing industry participants, who will have a unique opportunity to collaborate on the creation of the survey instrument and provide expertise in the interpretation of the results.

“We are delighted that the key organizations we identified to work with us on this project are on board, representing as they do different perspectives on the industry and offering a wealth of experience that will help provide valuable context for this study,” said Jo Henry, Managing Director of BML Bowker.

The list includes A.T. Kearney, the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), Pearson and Tata Consultancy Services.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Digital Era = Third Age of Publishing.

As most realize by now, digital will be chomping off the major share of the publishing market in the future ... But, there still remains a very healthy demand for the printed word at present ... and a somewhat lesser degree of demand will always exist.

Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press (CUP), Stephen Bourne, has this insight on the digitalization of the publishing industry, especially textbooks becoming digital in the near future with pictures, music and videos of learning material:

'Publishing industry moving towards digitalization'

Thiruvananthapuram: The publishing industry worldwide is fast moving towards digitalization and there is a strong future for publishers in the digital medium, Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press (CUP) Stephen Bourne said here on Saturday.

"The digital era is actually the second industrial revolution and third age of publishing. However, print publishing will continue for many years as there is good demand for it also," he told a meet-the press programme organised by the Press Club here.

John's Note: If the digital era is the third age of publishing, does anybody know what the first two ages of publishing might be? A good homework assignment for those interested :)

CUP's revenue from digital medium was two percent a decade ago, but has touched 20 percent now and is expected to go up to 40 percent by 2020, said Bourne, who took charge as CEO of CUP in 2002.

On digital medium in education, he said textbooks would become digital in the near future with pictures, music and videos of learning material, he said.

CUP was also committed to support innovation in learning and teaching, he said, adding that CUP publishes without boundaries, ensuring its resources are accessible across the globe, in print, digital and online formats'.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

E-Books Published With Wide Distribution

Perseus Books Group says they will offer marketing and distribution services for self-published e-books; allowing authors to keep 70% of revenues.

One catch: they will only take on authors who are represented by an agency who has signed an agreement with Perseus!

Julie Bosman of The New York Times has this to say:

The Perseus Books Group has created a distribution and marketing service that will allow authors to self-publish their own e-books, the company said on Sunday.

The new service will give authors an alternative to other self-publishing services and a favorable revenue split that is unusual in the industry: 70 percent to the author and 30 percent to the distributor. Traditional publishers normally provide authors a royalty of about 25 percent for e-books.

The service arrives as authors are increasingly looking for ways to circumvent the traditional publishing model, take advantage of the infinite shelf space of the e-book world and release their own work. That’s especially the case for reviving out-of-print books whose rights have reverted back to the author.

Bloomsbury, a publisher based in Britain, said on Wednesday it had created a new publishing arm that would release digital-only titles. Companies like Open Road Integrated Media have successfully published digital editions of backlist books whose rights were not held by a publisher.

The new Perseus unit, called Argo Navis Author Services, will be available only to authors who are represented by an agency that has signed an agreement with Perseus. David Steinberger, the president and chief executive of the Perseus Books Group, said that the company had made an agreement with one major literary agency: Janklow & Nesbit Associates, whose authors include Ann Beattie, Anne Rice and Diane Johnson. Curtis Brown Ltd., which represents Karen Armstrong and Jim Collins, is also close to signing an agreement to make Argo Navis available to their authors. Perseus is in discussions with more than a dozen other agencies.

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