Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Amazon Publishing Launches New Website


Amazon Publishing recently merged their east and west coast operations and now runs it out of New York, spearheaded by Larry Kirshbaum. It basically takes all of their imprints and houses them under one roof, making the entire process less fragmented and easy to manage. Today, Amazon unveiled a new website devoted to all of their imprints and you can visit it HERE.

Amazon originally launched their publishing program in 2012 and has seen great success with luring established authors to publish books with them. Often, these books get the audio and eBook treatment, alongside their printed counterparts, which are sold in retail stores.

In the last few months they launched two new imprints, that fill a gap in the publishing industry. Little A, is centered around literary fiction and provides a home for works that have previously just been considered Amazon Publishing titles. The second is digital-only Day One, which functions as a launchpad for debut authors to publish, but will also host a much-needed home for short story authors. While long form journalism and e-novellas have taken off thanks in large part to digital publishing, short story authors are still feeling the frustration of being relegated to anthologies or trying to swim their titles in the sea of other 99cent-ebooks without a platform for discovery.

These two new imprints join Montlake for romance, Thomas & Mercer for mysteries, Encore for reintroduced out-of-print titles, Crossing for internationally translated works, and 47 North for science fiction, fantasy, and horror titles.

The new website Amazon has unveiled basically is a centralized portal that allows bookstores, authors, writers and the media to gain a deeper understanding of what their publishing program is all about, and what differentiates it from CreateSpace, Kindle Singles and Kindle Direct Publishing.

Amazon Publishing Launches New Website is a post from: E-Reader News

Kobo Experiences Massive Digital Growth in Q1 2013


, one of the leading hardware and eBook companies has just posted their first quarter financial results for 2013. They have experienced double-digit year-over-year growth across its device and content sales resulting in a 98% growth in revenue. In the first quarter, the company grew its user base by 2.5-million Readers bringing its total registered users to 14.5-million with 15 percent of its new user base coming from the US. At the same time, Kobo’s customers are reading 34 percent more in Q1 compared to the same time period last year. They have also added over 500,000 new comics, graphic novels, eBooks into their ecosystem in the first few months of the year.

“This is a massive $250-billion market and still in the early days of a 25-year transformation,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. “At Kobo, we’re focused on people who are passionate about reading, who love books, who want an experience that lets them get lost in words. Our commitment to delivering the best content, devices and overall experience anywhere in the world is attracting more Readers than ever before.”

One of the big proponents to Kobo’s continued growth is their aggressive international expansion. In the next six months they intend to expand to India, China and Russia. Kobo is estimated by publishers to represent up to 50% of digital sales in established countries like Canada and 20% in new markets such as France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.

New countries or established ones, we go where the readers are. That’s what drives us,” said Michael Tamblyn, Chief Content Officer, Kobo. “And in each country we enter, we strive to give them a reading experience filled with the best local authors and publishers, in partnership with the best retailers, constantly pushing the boundaries of what reading can be.”

With its e-Reader devices available across North America at www.kobo.com, Kobo’s experience is further made accessible with its iOS and Android apps. In Q1, the Kobo Android app was downloaded millions of times resulting in a 378 percent increase year over year. The company expects to appease many users of the Blackberry 10 OS, by releasing an official app in June.

Kobo Experiences Massive Digital Growth in Q1 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

Apple Approves Sequential Digital Comics App for UK Store; US to Follow


Apple has given the green light to Panel Nine, the digital publisher whose works include Eddie Campbell’s Dapper John and David Lloyd’s Kickback, for a multi-comic app, Sequential, that will feature work from an array of British and American comics creators. The app goes live in the UK and Ireland Apple stores tomorrow and the U.S. release will follow shortly.

The Panel Nine apps stand out from the crowd because of their sleek, uncluttered design and smooth operation. The only way to describe it is that Panel Nine comics feel like the digital analog of an expensive art book. Adding to that is the fact that each of these apps featured a single work, or the work of a single creator, with a main-course comic and added features (notes, covers, sketches, etc.), making a very nice, deluxe package. Panel Nine is also the digital distributor for the UK children’s comic The Phoenix, which they package in a similar, but more kid-friendly, format.

Sequential is a departure in that it will be a storefront for a variety of comics, which can be purchased in-app. The Facebook page lists some of the titles that will be available: Hugo Tate, by Nick Abadzis; The Accidental Salad, by Joe Decie; Science Tales, by Darryl Cunningham (the U.S. title is How to Fake a Moon Landing); and the much-acclaimed anthology Nelson. Why yes, those are all British comics, but if you squint at the teaser image above, you will see some American titles, too, including Drawn Together, by the husband-and-wife team of Robert and Aline Crumb.

The app will include two free titles on launch day, Cherish, by ILYA, and Fictions, by Terry Wiley and Russell Willis (who is also the publisher of the app).

Sequential is available only for iPads, at least initially, and it will have a panel-by-panel view feature, Sequential Mode. Here’s the description:

Fictions is an example of what we are calling Sequential Mode, where instead of moving panel by panel, one screen replaces another, with either one or multiple panels on it. It’s an amazing way of telling stories with sequential art, and we think people are going to love it.

While comiXology and the Kindle, Nook, and iBooks stores carry a range of indy graphic novels, Sequential is the only app that is completely dedicated to them, in both design and contents, and in that regard, it is opening up a new niche in the digital-comics world.

Apple Approves Sequential Digital Comics App for UK Store; US to Follow is a post from: E-Reader News

Tablets to Outsell Desktops in 2013, Sub 10 Inch Segment Emerging More Popular

iPad Mini, iPad Hero

Research firm IDC has come up with some new findings that confirm what an earlier survey had revealed; tablet PC shipments will outpace that of notebooks in 2013. The survey also revealed that shipments of tablets will surpass all forms of computing, including desktops and notebooks by 2015. Shipment of tablet devices are expected to grow at 58.7 percent on a year-over-year basis in 2013, so that there will be no less than 229.3 million tablets shipped in 2013, a healthy increase over the 144.5 million units shipped in 2012. The above mentioned figure for 2013 is a bit less than the 256.5 million units that DisplaySearch believes will be shipped this year. However, a few million units here and there apart, what is clear is that tablet devices represent the future of personal computing, while desktops are a dying breed.

"Tablets surpassing portables in 2013, and total PCs in 2015, marks a significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and the applications and ecosystems that power them. IDC continues to believe that PCs will have an important role in this new era of computing, especially among business users. But for many consumers, a tablet is a simple and elegant solution for core use cases that were previously addressed by the PC," said Ryan Reith, Program Manager for IDC's Mobility Trackers.

The survey has also revealed that the 7 inch category has emerged as the preferred tablet size that consumers are increasingly buying. The segment has already outsold the 10 inch tablet category, and diminishing prices are expected to further boost sales in this category. As per the IDC finding, the average selling price of the tablet is expected to shrink 10.8 percent to $381, while the same for a PC is likely to double to $635. That's another solid reason for consumers to adopt tablets in a bigger way.

Then, of course, there is the issue of the functionality that a tablet brings. As Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst for the Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, says, “Apple’s success in the education market has proven that tablets can be used as more than just a content consumption or gaming device… These devices are learning companions, and as tablet prices continue to drop, the dream of having a PC for every child gets replaced with the reality that we can actually provide a tablet for every child.”

Tablets to Outsell Desktops in 2013, Sub 10 Inch Segment Emerging More Popular is a post from: E-Reader News

Rumor: Apple Launching 12.9 Inch iPad Maxi in Early 2014


Apple has had wild success with the iPad and the iPad Mini. So how about an iPad Maxi next? That's the latest rumor, if you can stretch your imagination enough to believe it. The rumor has its origins at the Korean site ETNews.com, and no matter how outrageous it might seem right now, the site does have a reputation of being fairly accurate in its predictions with Apple devices.

The site is claiming Apple is in talks with display manufacturers to supply it with screens that measure 12.9 inches diagonally. The tablet is expected to be launched in the first half of 2014 and will allow the California based company to have better leverage against the emerging crop of ultrabooks and touch based notebook devices. Apple intends to take on these with the iPad Maxi which, it is believed, will offer better portability and battery life.

Meanwhile, while consumer preference seems to have shifted towards smaller screen sized tablets (as is evident in the 7.9 inch iPad Mini overtaking the regular iPad in sales), there also has been a clamor for a bigger iPad.

Apple had earlier launched a 128 GB iPad aimed primarily at the professionals and business community. Maybe, the iPad Maxi is a clever ploy on part of Apple to help cash in on the popularity of the iPad range to gatecrash into the ultrabook segment. Or it could be just one of those rumors that you need to ingest with a rather generous dose of salt. Time will tell.

Rumor: Apple Launching 12.9 Inch iPad Maxi in Early 2014 is a post from: E-Reader News

Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite Now Available in Time for Summer

I’ve seen waterproof cases for the Kindle and other ebook readers and tablets before, and I’ve even heard of people putting their Kindle in a Ziploc bag to keep out moisture in watery venues, but now there is a company called Waterfi that is selling fully waterproofed Kindle Paperwhites out of the box. A waterproof [...]

Vook, NYT Release Original Content eBook


Vook, an award-winning ebook development platform, has worked with some of the biggest names in journalism to bring aggregated ebook content to readers and to help some of the country’s major newspapers bring their archived content to the ebook arena. But today, Vook announced its first original ebook title released from the New York Times.

Written by veteran NYT writer Barry Meier, the book, A World of Hurt: Fixing Pain Medicine's Biggest Mistake, explores one of the little-known criticisms of the current state of prescription medications, namely, that some of the pain medications that were widely prescribed only a few years ago were not as safe as once believed.

“Authors have the talent and the craft to write the original book—but they need support and creative services to bring the best possible ebook version of their vision to market,” explained Matt Cavnar, VP of Business Development at Vook, to GoodEReader. “At Vook, we provide cover design, copy editing, marketing support and merchandizing relationships with the distributors—as well as all the communication and management that goes into bringing an important book to readers—and our technology platform makes these pieces easy to manage. We handle the complications; authors and companies can stay focused on creation.”

This latest collaboration with the Times is only the latest project that Vook has taken on with a media or publishing outlet. Other partnerships have included content production with Simon & Schuster, The History Channel, Google, and Newsweek Daily Beast.

A World of Hurt is currently available for $1.99 from Amazon and iTunes.

Vook, NYT Release Original Content eBook is a post from: E-Reader News

OverDrive Brings Its eBook Station to BEA


OverDrive, known for its comprehensive catalog of digital content for libraries, will unveil this week at the BookExpo America event its newest concept in book discovery, the OverDrive Media Station. Designed as a touch-screen kiosk to be placed in retail stores, the Media Station is a fully customizable location to engage readers while still branding the retailer’s interests in the book market.

"Publishers and authors are very excited to support retail booksellers to supplement their print book sales by enabling them to sell ebooks to customers in their stores," said Erica Lazzaro, Director of Publisher Relations at OverDrive, in a press release today.  "It's one more way to broaden digital content discovery and bring publishers and retailers closer together, which ultimately creates a richer experience for readers."

The Media Station will be on display at the OverDrive booth in Javits Center this week, allowing customers and retailers the opportunity to see how consumers can find and interact with books for in-store purchases. The Media Station stands to make a rather large impact on brick-and-mortar bookstores, especially those independent stores who are struggling to keep their customer bases in the era of online book retailing.

The in-store stations are designed to be wall-mounted or free standing, and allow customers to browse, read sample chapters, and make point-of-sale purchases.

OverDrive will also be speaking at this year’s BEA on the current state of its Big Read initiative, which invited patrons from over 7,500 public libraries to simultaneously access the same title, The Four Corners of the Sky by Michael Malone, in order to track the impact that ebook lending can have on the market for a title.

OverDrive Brings Its eBook Station to BEA is a post from: E-Reader News

The Big Library Read Facebook Chat with Michael Malone

Did you miss the Facebook chat with author Michael Malone Thursday evening? We thought we'd share a recap of Mr. Malone's insights with those who were unable to attend.


Some of the longtime fans of Mr. Malone raved about his other titles as well—especially "Handling Sin". If you don't own his other books, you might want to add them to your collection as soon as possible so that those who enjoy "The Four Corners of the Sky" can go on to read his other titles.


Mr. Malone shared with the group that "The Four Corners of the Sky" is loosely based on "The Wizard of Oz". Jack is the elusive wizard. Cuba is the Emerald City. Annie is Dorothy, of course, and her soon-to-be ex-husband is the Cowardly Lion, while her mother is either the Wicked Witch of the West or the Good Witch from the East; Annie is on a quest to find out which. She has her little dog with her, and while searching for her father, runs into the zany Cuban guitar-playing Scarecrow, and eventually falls in love with The Tin Man.


The author also shared insight into the lengthy writing process for this novel. To accurately portray the occupation of the main character, Annie, he did a great deal of research into current naval training and deployment, as well as the history of women pilots. Additionally, it took time to arrange the story clearly and ensure character consistency, due to time shifts and the interlaced structure of the novel.


Finally, he offered advice to aspiring writers: "Only write if you have to! And if you have to, don’t let anything stop you."


Thanks Michael Malone and Sourcebooks for hosting this chat! Keep the conversation going on Twitter as you wrap up "The Four Corners of the Sky" with the hashtag #BigLibraryRead.


Cindy Orr is a Digital Collection Advisor at OverDrive.

What Daily Deals Can Mean for Authors, Books


There is still some confusion among readers and writers about what free can mean for books in terms of ebook pricing. A New York Times article yesterday explained how the algorithms that go into book ranking can be affected in ways that can result in a greater readership and therefore higher sales, even at the risk of losing initial sales.

According to the article, offers like the Kindle Daily Deal and the Nook Daily Find offer a means to promote a book, even in large enough outcomes to send it to the bestseller lists. This has proven especially helpful for books who were published years ago, and more importantly, to introduce readers to an author who has a new title coming out soon.

But what too many self-published authors fail to capitalize on is the potential for building a devoted fan base. Opportunities to be promoted via mass email from Amazon or Barnes and Noble aren’t usually offered to lesser known authors, but the potential to increase one’s following by sharing content–such as through the popular story sharing site Wattpad or by posting sample chapters on writers’ blogs–can lead to increased sales and readership.

Instead, many authors take issue with the basic principle: “You want me to GIVE my book away?!”

The New York Times article demonstrated key sales figures on authors like Stephen King and recounted how one of King’s older titles sold 30,000 copies during one day of reduced-price promotion, but that’s not typical of self-published books. What is more common, though, is an exponential increase over typical sales.

Other authors have taken issue with the concept of reducing the price of a book as they feel it lessens the recognition that books have value. Rachel Thompson, bestselling author of three titles, including the award-winning Broken Pieces, shared a criticism from an author who argued that one writer discounting his own book means other authors’ works will be ignored. While the fallacy of that statement is ludicrous, that by saying readers will only base their book reading decisions on price rather than content, her post about the critical exchange received a fair amount of support for the angry writer’s view point.

It is interesting that the wild fluctuations in price and the short-term promotional discounting have become very popular with ebooks. Without having a price actually printed on a cover, and with the realization that a discounted copy of a digital edition did not involve taking a financial loss on printing and shipping a physical book, authors and publishers are become very creative with their experimentation on ebook pricing.

What Daily Deals Can Mean for Authors, Books is a post from: E-Reader News

Pinterest Offers Authors Unique Social Media Portal for eBook Discovery


It’s not just for storing pictures of high heeled shoes or for newly engaged girls to save pictures of how their dream weddings will look. At least, not anymore. Of all the social media tools out there, Pinterest may have actually been the most useful in terms of storing links to found images on the internet. As the name implies, users “pin” pictures that they want to be able to browse later without having to hunt online for them; it’s just a bonus that users can also have followers who can see their different themed boards.

While authors and publishers have begun to scratch the surface on how Pinterest can work for books, mostly in the form of pinning interesting book covers, an Italian publisher is now using the phenomenon of pinning to share not only book covers and titles, but the actual ebook samples as well, allowing users to click on the book to enjoy a percentage of the finished product, something akin to Amazon’s Look Inside! feature.

RCS Libri, the second largest publishing group in Italy, has a collection of nearly 100 titles on sixteen different Pinterest boards. It is these titles, which go much farther than just displaying a dynamic cover thumbnail, that allows readers to sample the ebook through Pinterest.

In a post for Futurebook by Marcello Vena, he explained, “Even independent bloggers have started using our pins in their own boards. We have got the very first preliminary signs already, that this service might potentially provide values not only to readers and authors but also to bloggers, journalists and other stakeholders. It is still to be seen if this will be the actual case. The future will tell.”

RCS Libri first exploded onto the possibilities of ebooks by bringing digital publishing to consumers on high-speed trains throughout the country, encouraging passengers to read ebooks while traveling with the impression that these passengers would then purchase the book upon arrival in order to continue reading. For now, RCS has no way of knowing with accuracy how effective a technique Pinterest will prove to be as it translates into sales, but as more and more authors and publishers are finding out, the minimal investment of social media can have far reaching implications.

Pinterest Offers Authors Unique Social Media Portal for eBook Discovery is a post from: E-Reader News

Reddit: what do people use their Pis for?

A thread about Raspberry Pi ended up on the front page of Reddit today, and it’s a doozy. There are thousands of people taking part, and some Pi projects mentioned that we’d never even imagined people taking on. Some of them made our little hearts swell with pride. Teaching machines for schools in Ecuador, prosthetic knees in the USA, musical instruments controlled by eye movements for disabled people, solar flare detection, wood engraving, pocket-money analyser – there’s something here for everyone.

You guys are brilliant. With your ideas and our tiny computer, we could get together to rule the universe. Bags I get to wear the hat with the diamonds.

(Update to add: Incidentally, the guy who says his friend disassembled a Pi and built a better one, so we gave him a job? Big fat liar.)