Posts tagged ebooks

Ebooks accounted for 22.55 percent, or nearly a quarter, of U.S. book publishers’ sales in 2012, according to a full-year report released by the Association of American Publishers Thursday. That’s up from 17 percent of sales in 2011 and 3 percent in 2009. Ebook growth continued to plateau, however, suggesting that the industry is maturing.

A Book is Like a Lover

  • FJP: The Believer has a wistful Q&A with Maurice Sendak, most famous for his book, Where the Wild Things Are. Sendak died in May, 2012.
  • Believer: What do you think of e-books?
  • Maurice Sendak: I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book. A book is a book is a book. I know that’s terribly old-fashioned. I’m old, and when I’m gone they’ll probably try to make my books on all these things, but I’m going to fight it like hell. [Pauses] I can’t believe I’ve turned into a typical old man. I can’t believe it. I was young just minutes ago.
  • Believer: Is the problem with e-books partly a problem of color?
  • Maurice Sendak: Yes. Picture books depend on color, largely. And they haven’t perfected the color in those machines. But it’s not that. It’s giving up a form that is so beautiful. A book is really like a lover. It arranges itself in your life in a way that is beautiful. Even as a kid, my sister, who was the eldest, brought books home for me, and I think I spent more time sniffing and touching them than reading. I just remember the joy of the book; the beauty of the binding. The smelling of the interior. Happy.
  • FJP: The full interview can be read here -- bitly.com/Un2H91
The Humble eBook Bundle
Humble Bundle, a San Francisco based startup that allows buyers to set the purchase price for “bundles” of DRM free video games, albums and ebooks, has a new bundle for the offering.
The Humble eBook Bundle contains ebooks by Cory Doctorow, Paolo Bacigalupi, Lauren Beukes, Mercedes Lackey and Kelly Link. If you pay more than the current average price, you get two more books, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi and Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. Format is your choice of DRM free PDF, MOBI, and ePub formats.
We’ve seen this set-your-price model before, most famously with Radiohead’s download release of In Rainbows. What’s nice about Humble Bundles though is that not only do you get to name your price, you also get to set how the money is distributed between the creators (in aggregate), charity and to Humble Bundle itself.
Past charities have included Child’s Play, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, charity: water and the American Red Cross. The company claims they have sold over $19.2 million worth of Bundles since 2010 with $6.4 million of that going to charities.
Currently, the eBook bundle has over 31,000 sales, total payments of close to $380,000 and an average purchase price of $12.19.
Linux users, on average, are paying the most.
Image: Screenshot, the Humble eBook Bundle. Select to embiggen.

The Humble eBook Bundle

Humble Bundle, a San Francisco based startup that allows buyers to set the purchase price for “bundles” of DRM free video games, albums and ebooks, has a new bundle for the offering.

The Humble eBook Bundle contains ebooks by Cory Doctorow, Paolo Bacigalupi, Lauren Beukes, Mercedes Lackey and Kelly Link. If you pay more than the current average price, you get two more books, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi and Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. Format is your choice of DRM free PDF, MOBI, and ePub formats.

We’ve seen this set-your-price model before, most famously with Radiohead’s download release of In Rainbows. What’s nice about Humble Bundles though is that not only do you get to name your price, you also get to set how the money is distributed between the creators (in aggregate), charity and to Humble Bundle itself.

Past charities have included Child’s Play, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, charity: water and the American Red Cross. The company claims they have sold over $19.2 million worth of Bundles since 2010 with $6.4 million of that going to charities.

Currently, the eBook bundle has over 31,000 sales, total payments of close to $380,000 and an average purchase price of $12.19.

Linux users, on average, are paying the most.

Image: Screenshot, the Humble eBook Bundle. Select to embiggen.

Smutty Lit Saving Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble held an earnings call today and said that while overall revenues from its Nook e-reader are down, e-book sales are keeping its overall revenue streams afloat.

Via the Financial Times:

Barnes & Noble can thank the erotic series Fifty Shades of Grey for helping to boost traffic through its stores, lift sales of ebooks and narrow first quarter losses.

In the three months to July 28, the bookseller reported a net loss of $41m, or 78 cents per share, compared with a loss of $56.6m, or 99 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts had forecast a loss of 98 cents.

The EL James Fifty Shades series, dubbed “mummy porn”, occupies the three top slots on the New York Times best-seller list for ebook and print sales and had its origins in online publishing before breaking into traditional publishing.

Barnes & Noble’s introduction of Nook ebook readers has helped the company offset the slump in demand for printed books in the US while establishing a sizeable presence in the US ebook market.

And via The New York Times:

Nook sales, at $192 million, remained flat from the year before. Sales of digital content, which include books, newspapers, magazines and apps, increased 46 percent. Total college bookstore sales increased slightly to $221 million.

The company has poured money into its Nook business in order to compete with Amazon, Apple and other rivals in the crowded e-book market. Last week, it dropped the prices for its color tablets.

Takeaway: Hope there’s more breakout erotica in the upcoming months?

Fifty Shades of Romance Novels
Romance novels are a $1.4 billion industry and in this detail from a larger visualization of the genre we get a closer look at the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon.
The rise of e-readers is interesting. Twice as many people are satisfying their smutty pleasures with ebooks than with a printed book. Speaking of which, hats off to the 2,121 Minneapolis readers who’ve put a hold on the book at the library.
Image: Detail from The Evolution of the Romance Novel, via PBS/POV.

Fifty Shades of Romance Novels

Romance novels are a $1.4 billion industry and in this detail from a larger visualization of the genre we get a closer look at the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon.

The rise of e-readers is interesting. Twice as many people are satisfying their smutty pleasures with ebooks than with a printed book. Speaking of which, hats off to the 2,121 Minneapolis readers who’ve put a hold on the book at the library.

Image: Detail from The Evolution of the Romance Novel, via PBS/POV.

explore-blog:

The New Yorker’s answer to everyone pondering the future of reading.

FJP: The world needs more scrolls.

explore-blog:

The New Yorker’s answer to everyone pondering the future of reading.

FJP: The world needs more scrolls.

Designing books is no laughing matter. OK, it is.

In a recent TED talk, Chip Kidd walks us through the design process he used to produce iconic book covers over the last 20 years, from Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park to David Sedaris’ Naked.

His thoughts about digital books and tablets: “Much is to be gained by eBooks: ease, convenience, portability. But something is definitely lost: tradition, a sensual experience, the comfort of thingy-ness — a little bit of humanity.”

Bonus, Part 01: Has Kindle Killed the Book Cover? via The Atlantic.

Bonus, Part 02: Is the Book Cover Dead, via Technology Review

I think we’re on the cusp of a global literary renaissance. I think this is the best time for anyone to be a writer. The opportunities for writers to reach readers with their words have never been better. This is just a golden age, an incredible time. All of the traditional gate-keeping systems have fallen away, and power is shifting from traditional publishers to the authors themselves. We’re witnessing a confluence of multiple disruptive revolutions happening at the same time. We’ve got the rise of self-publishing, and the rise of e-books. So between these big events, now it’s possible for any writer, anywhere in the world, instantly publish a book at no cost.
Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, in a Q&A with Fast Company.
Freebie of the Day
O’Reilly is offering a free e-book called Planning for Big Data.
While not journalism specific, its ideas and concepts are ones any aspiring journogeek should get to know.
Or, as the book’s author Edd Dumbill writes:

Every revolution has to start somewhere, and the question for many is “how can data science and big data help my organization?” After years of data processing choices being straightforward, there’s now a diverse landscape to negotiate. What’s more, to become data driven, you must grapple with changes that are cultural as well as technological…
…”Planning for Big Data” is for anybody looking to get a concise overview of the opportunity and technologies associated with big data. If you’re already working with big data, hand this book to your colleagues or executives to help them better appreciate the issues and possibilities.

Topics range from data collection, ingestion and cleanup, to using tools such as Hadoop, to NoSQL to visualization — all in a tidy 72 pages.
Planning for Big Data is available here.

Freebie of the Day

O’Reilly is offering a free e-book called Planning for Big Data.

While not journalism specific, its ideas and concepts are ones any aspiring journogeek should get to know.

Or, as the book’s author Edd Dumbill writes:

Every revolution has to start somewhere, and the question for many is “how can data science and big data help my organization?” After years of data processing choices being straightforward, there’s now a diverse landscape to negotiate. What’s more, to become data driven, you must grapple with changes that are cultural as well as technological…

…”Planning for Big Data” is for anybody looking to get a concise overview of the opportunity and technologies associated with big data. If you’re already working with big data, hand this book to your colleagues or executives to help them better appreciate the issues and possibilities.

Topics range from data collection, ingestion and cleanup, to using tools such as Hadoop, to NoSQL to visualization — all in a tidy 72 pages.

Planning for Big Data is available here.

Why publishers should give away ebooks

Nicholas Carr writes that book publishers should follow the lead of a few record labels that give away mp3 downloads of an album when you purchase the vinyl.

Via Rough Type:

Buy the atoms, get the bits free. That just feels right - in tune with the universe, somehow.

There’s a lesson here, I think, for book publishers. In fact, bundling a free electronic copy with a physical product would have a much bigger impact in the book business than in the music business. After all, in order to play vinyl you have to buy a turntable, and most people aren’t going to do that. So vinyl may be a bright spot for record companies, but it’s not likely to become an enormous bright spot. The only technology you need to read a print book is the eyes you were born with, and print continues, for the moment, to be the leading format for books. If you start giving away downloads with print copies, you shake things up in a pretty big way.

Apple Launches iBooks Author
Via iTunes:

Now anyone can create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books, and more for iPad. All you need is an idea and a Mac. Start with one of the Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. Add your own text and images with drag-and-drop ease. Use Multi-Touch widgets to include interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, 3D objects, and more. Preview your book on your iPad at any time. Then submit your finished work to the iBookstore with a few simple steps. And before you know it, you’re a published author.

Caveat: Books may only be sold through the iBookstore; additional terms and conditions apply.
Comment: We hoped it would also publish standards-complient ePub formats for wider (read: non-Apple) distribution. But, we’re downloading and about to give it a run through.
Image: Template chooser when launching the iBooks App.

Apple Launches iBooks Author

Via iTunes:

Now anyone can create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books, and more for iPad. All you need is an idea and a Mac. Start with one of the Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. Add your own text and images with drag-and-drop ease. Use Multi-Touch widgets to include interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, 3D objects, and more. Preview your book on your iPad at any time. Then submit your finished work to the iBookstore with a few simple steps. And before you know it, you’re a published author.

Caveat: Books may only be sold through the iBookstore; additional terms and conditions apply.

Comment: We hoped it would also publish standards-complient ePub formats for wider (read: non-Apple) distribution. But, we’re downloading and about to give it a run through.

Image: Template chooser when launching the iBooks App.

Sex, Kink and Plagiarism

Adam Penenberg writes at Fast Company that Amazon’s erotica ebook section is rife with plagiarized works. Seems “authors” are simply cutting and pasting stories found elsewhere (such as from Literotica), putting pen names on the titles and passing them off as their own.

Via Fast Company:

Writing a book is hard. All those torturous hours an author has to spend creating, crafting, culling until nonsensical words are transformed into engaging prose. It’s a whole lot easier to copy and paste someone else’s work, slap your name on top, and wait for the money to roll in. This creates a strong economic incentive, with fake authors—Sharazade thinks it’s possible they are organized gangs based in Asia—earning 70% royalty rates on every sale, earning far more than a spammer could with click fraud. The new self-publishing platforms are easy to use and make it possible to publish a title in as little as 24 hours. There’s no vetting, editing, or oversight, and if your work is taken down you can always throw up more titles or simply concoct a new pen name and start over. There’s even a viral ebook generator that comes packed with 149,000 articles that makes it possible to create an ebook in minutes.

Penenberg’s proposed solution is to require those submitting ebooks to use a credit card that would be charged should the work infringe on existing copyright.

It sounds reasonable, but if there are “organized gangs” I’d imagine they could also get their hands on pilfered bank accounts.

His other solution is to run content through plagiarism detectors such as such as Turnitin and iThenticate before a book goes on sale. This would work somewhat like YouTube’s Content ID system where uploaded content is scanned to see if it matches existing, copyrighted work. Those that match get blocked until the copyright holder decides whether he/she/it wants the work to be published.

Can Amazon Lure Authors with $6 Million?

Via Slashdot:

Amazon just announced a $6 million pool of money that it plans to pay authors. All you have to do to get a share of the loot is commit to sell your ebook exclusively through the Kindle Store and agree to let your ebook be lent to Kindle Prime members. Amazon has already signed up a number of authors, including 31 of the top 50 self-published ones (J. Carson Black, Gemma Halliday, J.A. Konrath, B.V. Larson, C.J. Lyons, Scott Nicholson, Julie Ortolon, Theresa Ragan, J.R. Rain, Patricia Ryan, and more). It looks like Amazon launched this to support the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library that Amazon launched just over a month ago. When it launched it had around 5 thousand titles as well as some less than voluntary participants. But there’s a catch. Authors are required to give Amazon an exclusive on any title in the program. That means they’re giving up the rest of the ebook market. Would any authors care to weigh in on the deal?

Amazon’s press release announcing the plan is here.