Readersforum's Blog

April 15, 2014

Students Reading E-Books Are Losing Out, Study Suggests

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June 12, 2013

Independents flock to NBT’s e-book shop

Patrick Neale

Patrick Neale

| By Lisa Campbell

More than 130 independent booksellers have signed up to the new Indie eBook Shop already, with the figure expected to increase to around 400.

National Book Tokens (NBT) launched the service at the London Book Fair in April, giving independent booksellers 17.5% commission on e-book sales through the site, which is powered by Gardners.

NBT’s managing director Alex de Berry said he was impressed with the encouraging reaction from booksellers to the proposition so far. He told The Bookseller: “It’s going really well—we continue to get good feedback on it, even though it is still relatively early days. We have sent emails to 850–900 indies, and now we are about to start the chase-up process, talking to people about how it might work.”

The Indie eBook Shop offers 430,000 titles, which are all in the EPUB format and can be read on all e-readers apart from Amazon’s Kindle.

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May 16, 2013

The E-Book Piracy Debate, Revisited

By David Pogue

The other day, I saw an interesting announcement from Tor Books UK, a publisher of science fiction and fantasy.

One year ago, the company tried a remarkable experiment: it dropped copy protection from its e-books.

Now, there are two batches of common wisdom. Most publishers, of course, think that strategy is insane. If you’re a publisher, copy protection is all that stops the pirates from freely circulating your goods. Your revenue will crash. Maybe you’ll go out of business.

But there’s another school of thought, which says that nobody pirates software except cash-poor kids who wouldn’t have bought it anyway. This school maintains that if your books are fairly priced and conveniently sold, people will happily pay for them.

Some in this school even maintain that removing copy protection leads to more sales, because your customers get a taste of your wares. They learn just how good your stuff is — and next time, they pay.

But in general, all of this is just opinion badminton. There have been very few experiments to test which camp is correct.

Which brings us to Tor’s announcement. The crucial line: “We’ve seen no discernible increase in piracy on any of our titles.”

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May 14, 2013

RNIB hails Kindle app ‘breakthrough’

amazon | By Joshua Farrington

A new Kindle app from Amazon will help blind and partially sighted people to access 1.5m titles.

The app works with the in-built magnification and speech functions of iPhones, iPads and some other Apple devices, while also creating an electronic Braille display.

Amazon consulted with blind and partially sighted people in the UK to help develop the app, which has previously been impossible due to compatibility issues with Apple’s own accessibility features.

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April 24, 2013

Turow on Amazon/Goodreads: This is how modern monopolies can be built

Amazon’s garden walls are about to grow much higher. In a truly devastating act of vertical integration, Amazon is buying Goodreads, its only sizable competitor for reader reviews and a site known for the depth and breadth of its users’ book recommendations. Recommendations from like-minded readers appear to be the Holy Grail of online book marketing. By combining Goodreads’ recommendation database with Amazon’s own vast databases of readers’ purchase histories, Amazon’s control of online bookselling approaches the insurmountable.

“Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads is a textbook example of how modern Internet monopolies can be built,” said Scott Turow, Authors Guild president. “The key is to eliminate or absorb competitors before they pose a serious threat. With its 16 million subscribers, Goodreads could easily have become a competing on-line bookseller, or played a role in directing buyers to a site other than Amazon. Instead, Amazon has scuttled that potential and also squelched what was fast becoming the go-to venue for on-line reviews, attracting far more attention than Amazon for those seeking independent assessment and discussion of books. As those in advertising have long known, the key to driving sales is controlling information.”

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April 5, 2013

Amazon Buys Goodreads

By Rachel Deahl and Jim Milliot

Amazon has acquired Goodreads.com, a Web site featuring user-generated reviews of books. The purchase comes amid mounting rumors that Goodreads, which CEO Otis Chandler launched in 2007, might start selling books directly from its site.

Goodreads, which is one of the most popular among a raft of sites created as a book recommendation engine–members are directed to titles by seeing what their friends are reading, or have recommended–does not currently sell any books, but many in the industry saw it as an ideal sales outlet.

The details of the purchase, which is set to close in the second quarter of 2013, were not disclosed by Amazon, but the retail giant confirmed that Goodreads will remain headquartered in San Francisco. The site currently has over 16 million members, averages 37 million unique visitors a month, and has over 30,000 book clubs.

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March 27, 2013

Why ebooks are a different genre from print

Filed under: e-tailers — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 10:43 am

The differences in format are beginning to change the nature of what we’re reading, and how we do it

By Stuart Kelly

Most readers, I think, will by now have seen the “Medieval Helpdesk” sketch from Norweigan TV, where an exasperated monk requires assistance to start working with a new-fangled and daunting “book”. It’s fun – if loopily anachronistic, the codex having been around since the 1st century AD. But it does rest on a presumption that I’m increasingly beginning to question: that technological changes to the way we read affect only the secondary, cosmetic and non-essential aspects of reading. There is a kind of bookish dualism at work. The text is the soul, and the book – or scroll, or vellum, or clay tablet or knotted rope in the case of quipu – is the perishable body. In this way of thinking, the ebook is the book, only unshackled from paper, ink and stitching. If the debate about the ebook is to move on from nostalgic raptures over smell and rampant gadget-fetishism, it’s time to think about the real fundamentals.

There are two aspects to the ebook that seem to me profoundly to alter the relationship between the reader and the text. With the book, the reader’s relationship to the text is private, and the book is continuous over space, time and reader. Neither of these propositions is necessarily the case with the ebook.

The ebook gathers a great deal of information about our reading habits: when we start to read, when we stop, how quickly or slowly we read, when we skip pages, when we re-read, what we choose to highlight, what we choose to read next. For a critic like Franco Moretti, the author of Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History, this data is priceless. For publishers, it might very well come with a price tag.

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March 25, 2013

Amazon tax petition hits 100,000 signatures

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition calling on the online retailer to ‘pay their fair share of tax in the UK’

By Alison Flood

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition launched by an independent bookseller calling on Amazon “to pay their fair share of tax in the UK” and warning the online retail giant that “the unfair advantage that your tax dodge gives you is endangering many UK high street businesses”.

Booksellers Frances and Keith Smith, who count the MP Margaret Hodge and the author Charlie Higson among their supporters, are now planning to deliver their appeal to 10 Downing Street, accompanied by a large crowd of authors and other allies.

Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, was one of the MPs to lay into Amazon over its tax affairs last year, when the online bookseller – alongside Starbucks and Google – was accused of diverting hundreds of millions of pounds in profits to tax havens.

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March 21, 2013

How Many Copies Does It Take To Be an Amazon Bestseller?

Filed under: e-tailers — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 12:06 pm

Not So Much

By Gabe Habash

Amazon, the biggest bookseller in America, is also famously one of the most tight-lipped. Sales rankings are available on the Web site and are updated hourly, but the company doesn’t provide information on how many unit sales it takes to make a title an Amazon bestseller.

Like everyone else, PW couldn’t get sales numbers from Amazon, but by studying the print bestseller list for a two-week period, we were able to determine that a title in Amazon’s top five averages 1,094 print copies sold across all channels, including other retailers, on a typical day. And because the general industry thinking is that Amazon accounts for about 30% of print sales, that means it likely takes around 300 copies per day to reach Amazon’s top five, depending on the day of the week and the time of year.

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March 18, 2013

Apple rejects Vancouver publisher’s vintage gay graphics book

Lust_coverBy Craig Takeuchi

A book of vintage gay erotic drawings has been rejected by Apple. Ironically, Vancouver’s Arsenal Pulp Press received the news during Freedom to Read Week.

The book in question is Lust Unearthed by university professor Thomas Waugh (first published in print in 2004). The 320-page book features over 200 images from the private collection of Hollywood costume and set designer Ambrose DuBek.

Arsenal Pulp Press associate publisher Robert Ballantyne said by phone that after inquiring why the title was delayed in being uploaded as an eBook, they received a response from Apple on March 1.

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