Baen eBooks are now available on the main Barnes and Noble website and can be purchased there or directly on your Nook e-Reader. Baen struck deals with Amazon, iBooks and Sony earlier in the year and this move should give more exposure to the brand.
Baen was founded in 1983 by Jim Baen and Simon & Schuster, where it became one of the major publishers in the science fiction field and an industry leader in innovation. Baen was one of the pioneers in electronic publishing, starting with a BBS and then with a website and chat room. The company then adopted ebooks, making it one of the earliest proponents of the medium. All Baen books were, and still are, DRM-free. In another first, Baen started Webscriptions, which were serialized versions of its books at reduced prices, which were sold 3 months in advance of print publications. Baen again was a pioneer when it introduced promotional CD-ROMs, which could be purchased or downloaded for free, containing all of an author's works. If you can think of an innovative way to distribute ebooks, Baen probably did it first.
The company realizes they have to go where the customers are and not everyone is going to visit their website to buy books. The move to deal with Barnes and Noble gives them a wider audience in the US and UK.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
United Kingdom bookstore WHSmith made waves last week about suspending all self-published eBooks. The company decided that it was better to not carry them at all, then try and weed out the good from the bad. Today on the Good e-Reader Radio Show, Michael Kozlowski and Mercy Pilkington discuss the right to self-publish and the bookstores responsibilities.
This is a great show if you are an indie author, publisher or agent. The landscape of self-published eBooks is poised to undergo a tremendous shift as Kobo is setting the standard of offering bookstores who deal with them the ability to “turn off” self-published books. Is this the great call? Is Amazon and Barnes and Noble doing enough to upgrade their meta data and search engine results so only relevant searches pop up? Should they make a “Safe Search” program that parents can opt into so Erotica does not show up? We discuss everything in today’s show.
Here’s our weekly look at the best-selling comics on four different digital platforms. The lists are constantly being updated; this is a snapshot of what they were Sunday afternoon.
1. Uncanny X-Men, vol. 3 #13
It’s the usual here, Big Two comics that came out this past week, except for The Walking Dead, which is the rare comic that has the staying power to linger on the list for two weeks.
1. Stephen King’s N
Amazon shoppers are a mixed bag. On the one hand, the two bargain books, Astonishing X-Men and Spider-Man: Big Time, both made the chart. That almost never happens on comiXology, where the charts are dominated by new releases at full price. I’m guessing the Fables numbers were beefed up by earlier buys (it was on sale a few weeks ago). On the other hand, they snapped up the latest issue of The Walking Dead, and they are pre-ordering the first issue of The Sandman: Overture, which, at $4.99 for 19 pages, is the opposite of a bargain. With the new season of The Walking Dead just under way, it’s a good sign that the first two volumes of the collected edition are selling well. That means new people are coming into the series, presumably after watching the show.
1. It’s a Dog’s Life, Snoopy!
Nook readers, on the other hand, are reliably cheap. Free books outnumber paid in their top sellers list by a ratio of almost 5 to 1; that second volume of The Walking Dead was 49th on their list. Of course, Nook is the only platform that commingles free and paid downloads, so it’s the only one where we can see this phenomenon. Still, it’s a pretty static list; it’s all cartoons, The Walking Dead, and Injustice, and that pattern continues after the top ten. If the sales are cumulative over time, that means no one is buying much these days.
Incidentally, that issue of Sandman is the older series, not the one that folks are pre-ordering at Amazon.
1. The Walking Dead #115
As usual, it’s ponies and zombies over at iBooks, except for one new Star Trek comic. And the comics are pretty fresh: That issue #12 of My Little Pony is actually a pre-order, as it doesn’t come out till the end of the month, and the Star Trek comic is just out this week. It’s interesting to see folks reading the last two single issues of The Walking Dead and the latest volume as well as the first two volumes of the trade. That means iBooks is capturing both newcomers and regular readers looking for the latest fix.
The day before New York Comic Con, ComiXology invited the press to their offices to hear some statistics about its users—and then to hear from the users themselves, as they brought in a group of five comiXology customers to talk about their comics reading habits. We’ll summarize the stats in this first post and look at what the users had to say in the next one.
According to the company’s research, comiXology users are primarily male. The typical guy who uses the service is 27-36 years old and has been reading print comics for over 15 years. They have at least some college education, and 18% work in technology. They get their comics news from CBR, IGN, and Bleeding Cool; their favorite TV shows are The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Big Bang Theory; their favorite (non-comics) websites are IGN, Reddit, and ESPN, and their favorite apps are Comics by comiXology, Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Kindle
Women make up 20% comiXology’s user base (up from about 5% at its launch). They are somewhat younger (17-26 years old) than the typical guy and have only been reading print comics for one to five years. They also have some college education, and 23% are students. They get their comics news from CBR, Comics Alliance, and IGN; their favorite TV shows are The Walking Dead, Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Who; their favorite websites are Tumblr, BBC, and CNN, and their favorite apps are Comics by comiXology, Facebook, Twitter, and Kindle.
Some other stats: The average comiXology user spends $100 per year on the app, but 25% of users spend more than $400 per year, and one big spender has racked up $63,000 in purchases. In terms of the devices they use, 80% of customers read comics on a tablet, 44% read on a computer, and 42% read on a smartphone. Two-thirds of them read their comics at night, and 55% admit to reading in the bathroom.
The users surveyed were enthusiastic about comiXology’s Guided View feature, which zooms in on individual panels; 75% said it was a “key benefit,” and 85% simply liked having all their comics in the same place.
And they are honest! Well, mostly: 25% admit to downloading comics illegally, but that’s down by 25% from the 2012 responses.
Giving credence to the conventional wisdom that digital comics are expanding the market, 20% of new buyers in the third quarter of 2013 said their first comic purchase was digital, and 64% of that group said they now buy print comics as well.
Finally, one interesting sidelight into comics use is that 40% said that they hide the amount they spend on comics from their significant other, and 10% say they would be “killed” if they admitted how much they spent.
Check out the infographic below for more fascinating facts about comiXology users.
Comixology has updated their seminal iOS app that brings full compatibility with iOS 7. It is sporting a new icon, splash screen and a number of graphical UI elements. Overall, the app used to have a ton of black boarders and background, and now is very white and clean.
The Top navigation bar has undergone an upgrade and has condensed the text to be smaller and closer together. They have also eliminated the Just Added text and now simple says new. One of the best updates is an age rating system when you click New. Comics will display a rating system so you can easily determine if its aimed at kids, teens or adults.