Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Russian eBook Market Is Hampered by Rampant Piracy


The digital ebook market in Russia is growing according to the Russian Association of Online Publishers. The ebook market has almost doubled over the course of 2012 with $8 million in sales. This is a dramatic increase from the $4.1 million generated in 2011. However, ebooks still represent just 1% of the total Russian book market, which is on par with the digital publishing net worth in Vietnam.

Vladimir Kharitonov, the executive director of the Russian Association of Online Publishers, recently said, “The total number of e-readers in Russia is estimated $20 million.” Many industry insiders agree that their footprint will significantly increase over the next several years. Most Russian digital readers tend to live in Moscow and St. Petersburg, while the number of people reading ebooks in the Russian provinces remains fairly insignificant. It is very fair to say that the majority of people buying electronic readers and ebooks live in major urban centers.

iMobilco is currently one of the most notable digital bookstores in Russia and currently has 20% of the market. The largest entity is LitRes, which is the most dominant and controls 60% of the market. Sergei Anuriev, the general director of LitRes, believes that by 2015 the entire ebook segment will increase to 5%, which will be equivalent of $90 million in sales.

One of the main reasons digital sales are so paltry is because of piracy. Eksmo, Russia's largest publishing house, recently commented that 95% of all ebooks are pirate copies. This results in close to $120 million in losses for the entire digital publishing industry. It is currently estimated that between 100,000-110,000 titles are available as pirated editions, compared to just 60,000 available legally.

The publishers in Russia are fighting back against piracy and encouraging people to buy legitimate books via new marketing campaigns. It seems to be working as the government and publishers in the last two years have invalidated more than 25,000 links to pirated ebooks and over 100 sites have been shut down.

The Russian eBook Market Is Hampered by Rampant Piracy is a post from: E-Reader News

Digital Comics Best-Sellers: July 14, 2013


Here’s a look at the digital comics best-seller lists, as taken directly from the distributors’ websites on Sunday evening.


1. The Walking Dead #112
2. Injustice: Gods Among Us #26
3. Justice League #22
4. Batman #22
5. Superman Unchained #2
6. Hawkeye #12
7. Uncanny X-Men, vol. 3 #8
8. Superior Spider-Man #13
9. Batman ’66 #2
10. Young Avengers, vol. 2 #7

Marvel’s digital-first comic Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted Infinite Comic #1 didn’t make the list—it was number 11—which doesn’t bode well, because this should be the natural habitat for this comic. It’s not like it will sell much better anywhere else; in fact, I don’t think it’s available anywhere else.

Also, the answer to the question “What does it take to dislodge Injustice: Gods Among Us from the top spot?” seems to be “A new Walking Dead comic.” No surprise there.

As in previous weeks, all the top ten comics were released in the past week.


1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #1
2. Superman #1
3. The Walking Dead (collected edition), vol. 1
4. Injustice: Gods Among Us #3
5. The Walking Dead, vol. 2
6. Injustice: Gods Among Us #2
7. Cable & Deadpool, vol. 1: If Looks Could Kill
8. Injustice: Gods Among Us #6
9. Injustice: Gods Among Us #5
10. Injustice: Gods Among Us #4

We’re seeing the long tail here, with lots of people picking up first issues and first volumes of comics that have been out for a while. This list suggests that Kindle comics readers are not the Wednesday fanatics, but more casual readers who are sampling things their friends, or the blogs they read, have been talking about. That Cable & Deadpool book makes me wonder a bit. It’s not new—it came out last December—and they aren’t the most popular characters, so there can’t be that many people reading this book. For it to chart two weeks in a row suggests that the raw numbers might not be very high—that comics may not be selling that well on Kindle, so a few purchases will push a book up into the top ten. Since nobody releases raw numbers on digital comics, of course, there’s no way to check that. It’s just a guess.


1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #23
2. Injustice: Gods Among Us #25
3. Bleach, vol. 57
4. Injustice: Gods Among Us #26
5. Interview with the Vampire (free preview)
6. Superman: The Man of Steel #1
7. Superman (by John Byrne) #1
8. Batman: Earth One (free preview)
9. Fathom: Dawn of War Beginnings
10. Neozoic #1

Well, here’s something: Nook readers are starting to spend a little money. Last week, the Nook list was dominated by freebies; this week it’s … less dominated by freebies, with four paid comics instead of just two. And the one that should stand out is Bleach, which is making its first appearance in the Nook top ten. In fact, it’s the first manga to show up in any digital top ten list in the past few weeks. Aside from that, all the paid comics, even past the top ten, are issues of Injustice: Gods Among Us and collected editions of The Walking Dead.


1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #26
2. My Little Pony: Micro Series #6: Apple Jack
3. The Walking Dead #112
4. The Walking Dead, vol. 18 (collected edition)
5. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #9
6. Injustice: Gods Among Us #25
7. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #1
8. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #8
9. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #7
10. Saga, vol. 1

The ponies are strong in this one. One is tempted to make snarky comments about Bronies, but knowing how many kids mess around on their parents’ iPads, I’m guessing that a lot of kids are reading these. Overall, this list is an interesting mix of new releases and older comics. It’s like it’s halfway between comiXology and Amazon, only with My Little Ponies all over the place.

It’s interesting to see, after a couple of weeks of doing these lists, how consistent they are. Clearly the digital comics most people are buying, across all platforms, are Injustice: Gods Among Us and The Walking Dead. Not coincidentally, both are tied to other media, a game and a television show, respectively, and they may be drawing in new readers via those media rather than from the traditional comics-shop crowd.

Digital Comics Best-Sellers: July 14, 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

Audiobooks Are More Popular in Germany than eBooks


Digital book adoption rate is growing in Germany with many people now own a dedicated e-reader or at least are considering buying one. In a recent annual survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute, one very interesting factor is evident: Germans consume more audiobooks than ebooks.

In the last twelve months, close to five million customers have purchased an audiobook, which accounts for 7% of the overall population. This is one of the hottest segments currently operating in Germany and ironically gets the least amount of attention. The bulk of mainstream media tends to focus on digital books and this segment is also growing. It is approximated that 4% of Germans over 14 years of age have an e-reader, equating to about 3.66 million people. A further 3.5% or 2.5 million people plan to purchase a reader within the next two years. According to Media Control, in 2012 close to 12 million ebooks were purchased.

People in Germany obviously love to read! Three million people have read more than twenty books in the last year and over five million people read ten to nineteen. Over fourteen million people have read at least a few books. Price really matters and it tends to play a major role in Germany.  Nearly one-third of all book sales are paperbacks. This could, in the future, sway more people to pick up the digital edition sooner, due to the low prices and fast availability.

Digital reading should increase in Germany due to the sheer amount of major players entering the market and launching promotional campaigns. Kobo and Amazon are both firmly entrenched and local companies, such as Txtr, are seeing record sales. Major initiatives are being launched by Deutsche Telekom and Thalia to sell e-readers at the retail level and also ebooks.

Audiobooks Are More Popular in Germany than eBooks is a post from: E-Reader News

eBook Review: Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan


Verdict: 4 Stars

It’s really hard to rate this book. On the one hand, I can appreciate its story merits and its journey from self-published title to its release from Skyscape, Amazon Publishing’s children’s book imprint. But as a new adult title, I also want to slam the covers shut and say, “This is completely implausible, this never happens.”

But I can’t. While I’m a decidedly more mature reader than Rebecca Donovan’s intended audience, I am also a veteran teacher with sixteen years’ experience in ignorantly turning the other way while students in my classroom suffered in silence the way Donovan’s heroine Emma does.

On the unbelievable front, it’s tempting to dismiss this series (of which books one and two are available, with a third book on the way). Too often, writers incorporate a tragic character who lives in unspeakable abuse without ever speaking up. In Donovan’s case, the scenario is even more appalling, as Emma’s best friend is the daughter of a prominent judge. If anyone on the planet was suited to help Emma, it’s Sara. But she, too, does nothing, despite being aware of the abuse Emma suffers from her custodial aunt and uncle.

But as a discerning reader, I have to come back to this question: if these themes are so common as to be almost eye-rollingly overdone, doesn’t that speak to the fact that young adult readers are desperate for characters and story lines like this, books with which they can identify? What if this book isn’t a tired-out plot about a silent Cinderella who cannot let anyone find out her secret? What if it’s actually so shockingly common that teens snap up these titles, looking for hope? It is us “mature” and “discerning” readers who might actually be the villains for not seeing these readers for ourselves.

While the writing and language weren’t necessarily the most stellar that I’ve read, again, Donovan wasn’t picturing me and my literary tastes when she puts word to paper. This book, like those of authors such as Ellen Hopkins, Cheryl Rainfield, Dave Peltzer, and Cyndy Drew Etler, stands to be so much more than just a story to some young reader who knows Emma’s situation all too well. What it might lack in writing compared to some great books today it more than makes up for in importance. Its existence on school library shelves is vital.

Reason to Breathe (Book One in the Breathing Series) is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and more. Barely Breathing is also available.

eBook Review: Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon Giving Away 8 Productivity Android Apps Today Only, Valued at Over $50

Today is a good day to download some free productivity apps from Amazon’s appstore that normally cost over $50. Here’s the link to the complete list of free productivity apps at Amazon. These are some really good, highly rated apps that can be very useful. I use a couple of these all the time, as [...]

JK Rowling Publishes Crime Novel Under Pseudonym


Several months ago, GoodEReader interviewed an author about her unlikely foray into self-publishing. Already the author of eight published books, Patti Davis, daughter of the late former President Ronald Reagan, had trouble finding a publisher for her recent fiction title, When Human Voices Wake Us. The problem? She was too famous. Davis was known for political tell-alls and edgy, controversial books.  With her more literary work, she opted to self-publish, despite suggestions that she write it under a pseudonym, stating that she shouldn’t have to change her name just to share a story.

But sometimes, that pseudonym can mean creative freedom, at least in the case of one of the most famous contemporary authors. JK Rowling, who closed the door on her initial success with the Harry Potter empire and published a decidedly different title to critical failure last year, wrote and released a book under a male pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. The book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, sold only about 1,500 copies following its April 2013 release from Little, Brown, and Co.’s UK-based imprint Sphere.

Until news of her pseudonym broke, that is.

An update to a piece for HuffPo states that once news of the pen named novel broken on Harry Potter fan site The Leaky Cauldron, Amazon sales of the title increased by 150,000%. The author herself, who has a second book coming out in the Robert Galbraith detective series, is a little sad that her identity was revealed.

"I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name,” she said in an article for the Sunday Times of London.

The need for privacy as it relates to a sense of noveling freedom is certainly understandable. The hype surrounding A Casual Vacancy, her first book since completing the Harry Potter series and one that was undeniably not in the same vein as the boy wizard titles, led to much build-up but low marks from book reviewers, including this site. The Cuckoo’s Calling, meanwhile, received a highly favorable review from Publisher’s Weekly before its author’s identity came to light.

Authors like Stephen King and Nora Roberts have enjoyed a very open claim to their pen names; instead of hiding their identities, they are simply used as a means to let readers know that this title may not be what is expected from their beloved author. In Rowling’s case, however, fans of her previous work–and the industry, apparently–couldn’t let her put the wand down long enough to branch out. Hopefully, even with Galbraith’s identity out in the open, readers can simply enjoy the book on its merits.

JK Rowling Publishes Crime Novel Under Pseudonym is a post from: E-Reader News