Friday, December 27, 2013

Barnes and Noble & Books-A-Million Stop Selling Marvel Comics


Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million have confirmed to Good e-Reader that many of their flagship locations have stopped carrying single issues and graphic novels of Marvel Comics. You can still find these titles at smaller stores in more rural locations but no new orders will be processed after January 1st 2014.

Barnes and Noble has a flagship store in Union Square, in New York City. This is the location where they tend to have unveiling events for the Nook product line. Two sources at this store have confirmed that they will no longer sell Marvel Comics in their store and would not speculate what other stores are doing. They still are stocking single issues of comics produced by DC and Dark Horse.

Books-A-Million has also confirmed that they are no longer carrying Marvel titles at the head office. Contacts within the receiving and ordering departments have said that Marvel titles are simply not available on their lists anymore. They are basically unable to order single issues or graphic novels.

It is very interesting that exactly at the same time BOM and B&N both have stopped carrying physical issues of Marvel Comics. This could have something to do with Marvel developing their own digital distribution platform and intend to phase out Comixology. We have heard that single issues at these bookstore locations are not doing that well and more are being returned to the publisher/distributor on a monthly basis then what is being sold.

Barnes and Noble & Books-A-Million Stop Selling Marvel Comics is a post from: E-Reader News

Image Comics Slashes Prices—Till Saturday Night

Image Store

Image Comics is having a half-price sale on all the comics in its digital store right now, and that’s a great opportunity to fill up your e-reader, because Image is the publisher behind some of the most talked-about comics of the year. Even better, Image sells its comics as direct downloads, which means you own the file—you don’t have to depend on a third-party provider such as comiXology—and they will let you save the comic straight to DropBox, which makes it easy to access from all your devices. But don’t dawdle, because the sale ends at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, December 28. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

The Walking Dead: This is the comic behind the AMC series. It looks like Image has quite a few of the issues but there are some gaps; you might want to start out by reading the first issue, which you can get for free on comiXology.

Saga: Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s story of lovers from warring lands searching the universe for a safe haven for themselves and their baby consistently outsells all the superhero stuff on comiXology the week it comes out, and if you read it, you will see why: It’s clever, funny, suspenseful, and well drawn. Again, check out the first issue for free (this time from Image) and see for yourself.

Sex Criminals: When Susie and John have sex, time stands still—literally! So naturally they use that power to rob a bank. This sex comedy was too hot for the App Store, but Time Magazine put it at the top of their list of the best comics of the year.

Chew: Chew is a detective story with a twist: Detective Tony Chu is a psychic, but his power only kicks in when he eats a bit of whatever has died. First taste is free on comiXology.

Great Pacific: A wealthy oil heir hatches a plan to establish a new nation—on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This is a great, action-packed story with lots of twists and some really clever art, and it’s complete in 12 issues so it won’t break the bank, either.

Think Tank: This one is a favorite of mine, a witty, McGyver-ish tale of a scientist who was recruited into military R&D at a young age and now regrets the destruction his inventions caused—so he wreaks revenge in creative ways that only a “slacker genius” can.

Pretty Deadly: A revenge tale with Death’s daughter as the main character, this comic by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel) and Emma Rios (Dr. Strange) has been getting lots of attention—and the first issue sold out completely in print.

Skullkickers #24: There aren’t a lot of Skullkickers comics in the Image digital store, but this is a good pick because it is self-contained, with four short stories. This series is a fantasy tale about two adventurers who get into lots of trouble—gamers in particular will find a lot to like, but the comedy and action are broad enough for anyone to enjoy.

Rocket Girl: A time-traveling cop from the future arrives in 1980s New York to solve a mystery. With a 15-year-old teenage girl as the hero and Amy Reeder’s fluid art bringing Brandon Montclare’s story to life, this is a comic not to be missed.

Image Comics Slashes Prices—Till Saturday Night is a post from: E-Reader News

Retailers and Couriers Grapple With Unexpected Surge in Online Shopping Trend

festive Christmas present

Many of those who had avoided the hassle of physical stores to do their holiday shopping have ended up paying the price by having not received their wares by Christmas. As things stand this year, a sizable number of consumers opted to let their computers do their holiday shopping, which has been pegged by the National Retail Federation at about 14 percent of all holiday sales in the US. This showed a 37 percent increase over the usual 6 percent that accounted for e-commerce during the year-end holiday rush.

As a result, almost all of the big name retailers in the US have been caught unaware of the fast changing consumer buying pattern. Wal-Mart, Amazon, Kohl's and many others have struggled to deliver before Christmas and are making up the lapse by way of various incentives. However, to be fair to the retailers and couriers, other factors such as weather or delay in receiving the products from manufacturers also played a part.

Then there is the usual blame game too, with the US postal service blaming Amazon for not having readied the shipments on time. Amazon countered this, saying: “Amazon fulfillment centers processed and tendered customer orders to delivery carriers on time for holiday delivery.” Amazon further stated they have put performance of the carriers under the scanner.

Meanwhile, the incentives that the retailers have come up with to offset the lapse include a $20 gift card which accompanied the full refund of shipping charges of all orders that were delivered late. Groupon is offering a $25 gift card, while Kohl’s has gone to the extent of paying for the entire cost of orders that they had guaranteed to deliver by Christmas. In any case, this year's trend will no doubt act as an eye-opener for both sides; consumers may now begin their shopping early, while retailers and couriers will no doubt have better means at their disposal to accomplish timely delivery.

Retailers and Couriers Grapple With Unexpected Surge in Online Shopping Trend is a post from: E-Reader News

Apple iOS Devices Proves More Popular Than Android For Holiday Shopping


Consumers who own iOS devices have been found to be far more active when it came to shopping on Christmas Day than their Android counterparts, a report from IBM cites. When translated to figures, 23 percent of online orders placed on Christmas Day were done from iOS devices compared to just 4.6 percent from devices running Android. iOS users also emerged as the biggest spenders, having spent on average $93.94 per order, compared to $48.10 by Android users for each order.  As a natural consequence, iOS users also emerged as the biggest drivers of online traffic, which at 32.6 percent is twice that of 14.8 percent from Android.

Another interesting finding is that users generally prefer to do their browsing with smartphones, while tablet devices have emerged as the preferred choice for actually placing the orders. Smartphones accounted for 28.5 percent for internet traffic, compared to 18.1 percent from tablet devices. The trend reversed when it comes to actual sales, with 19.4 percent sales coming from tablet compared to 9.3 percent from smartphones. In any case, mobile devices have accounted for 48 percent of all online traffic, the highest so far.

In another interesting revelation, referrals from Facebook friends have led to four times the sales than the same from Pinterest, showing the importance that these social networking sites have come to yield over users and their spending habits.

Apple iOS Devices Proves More Popular Than Android For Holiday Shopping is a post from: E-Reader News

OverDrive’s Million Digital Checkouts Club

2013 was a banner year for OverDrive partners. To date, OverDrive digital library users have checked out 98 million titles since January 1, and that number is on pace to go over 100 million for the year. That is 30 million more checkouts than last year's record breaking tally of 70 million. These numbers directly correlate to the wonderful marketing efforts that libraries around the world are making to ensure that users are aware of their digital offerings. Libraries have been stressing the convenience of borrowing eBooks and audiobooks through OverDrive and users have responded!

While we've seen checkout increases across the board, we wanted to take some time to acknowledge our highest-circulating library partners. The following standalone library systems each had over one million checkouts of their OverDrive collection in 2013:

Each of these libraries consistently produces large checkout numbers by providing their users a robust collection, ample copies of popular titles and access to help resources and discoverability tools.

Jane Pype, Toronto's City Librarian, said, "We're thrilled that we've made the Million Checkout club this year and we're adding more content daily! We expect interest to grow even more in the years to come, particularly since more publishers have made their titles available and it’s our hope that this trend will continue. We're looking forward to seeing what next year brings for our readers of eBooks at Toronto Public Library."

Lois Langer Thompson, the director of Hennepin County Library, said, "eBooks are a key part of Hennepin County Library's collection, and we're excited to see patrons embracing eBooks as an option they can access anytime and read on their chosen device."

When alerted of the achievement, Tish Lowery of Cleveland Public Library said, "We are thrilled with the success of our OverDrive eMedia collection and it is particularly gratifying to see that our patrons are so enthusiastic about the content and the download process."

Kirk Blankenship echoed Lowery's thoughts and anticipated the continued success of their collection: "Seattle loves to read. The Seattle Public Library looks forward to working with OverDrive towards another million circulations."

Thank you to all the library staff members who spend countless hours spreading the word about OverDrive to their patrons, assisting without support questions and sharing our excitement for digital media. It is your passion for reading, regardless of format, that has made 2013 yet another record breaking year.


Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive.


What’s Up with Amazon Royalties Coming Down?

Amazon Kindle Fire
The debate over the most recent accusations about how Amazon is destroying the book industry has taken a new turn with some new arguments, all of which–yet again–have nothing more behind them than the insistence that Amazon hates books, hates authors, hates readers, and basically…hates everyone.

In a brilliant post with some actual explanation behind it, bestselling self-published and hybrid author Hugh Howey wrote on his blog that he’s been hearing the news that Amazon would be decreasing its current 70% royalty payout for the last two years. In his post, he explains that Amazon currently pays the publishers (re: authors of their self-published works) 70% of the sale price of the book, keeping 30% as the distribution fee. Howey likens that to the incredibly similar 60-40 split that publishers earned from book retailer Barnes and Noble when Howey was an employee in a physical store.

But rebuttals to Howey’s viewpoint from sites such as this one argue that Amazon is not actually a bookstore, and therefore doesn’t deserve the 30% take. It is nothing more than a website that has no overhead and no work involved in putting virtual books on non-existent shelves for its customers. (The fallacy that Amazon has no bookshelf and no overhead is laughable, considering the hundreds of thousands of employees that the retailer maintains)

Another widely dispersed viewpoint is that Amazon is edging out all of its competitors one by one, and that when it has accomplished its mission of world domination, it will drop the royalty rate it pays its authors. Again, how would this takeover of the book industry be possible, when authors can self-publish and sell their own content without Amazon’s help?

The basic assumption with all things Amazon is that we have no choice but to shop or publish with Amazon, an argument that makes its proponents look a little on the ridiculous side. Why are we wasting our breaths shouting that Amazon will ruin us, even while insisting we have no choice but to patronize them? Does Amazon control our water supply, threatening to choke us out if we fail to spend enough with our Prime memberships?

Probably the greatest thing about the current digital publishing phenomenon is the fact that authors now have actual, viable choices. Yes, Amazon controls such a major market share that not listing a book on Amazon is akin to throwing it in a box under the bed, but that is a fact that we as consumers created. If we don’t like Amazon’s business practices, we are free to avoid them. But speculating on what will happen once the end of the (retail) world occurs is pointless.

What’s Up with Amazon Royalties Coming Down? is a post from: E-Reader News

Number of Children’s Challenged Books Increased in 2013

With the advent of digital reading, digital publishing, and self-publishing in their current forms, it seems that a resurgence in bibliophilia may be sweeping the planet. But at a time when access to books is being made possible literally anywhere and efforts to further reading through instant digital downloads continues to grow, a sad and shocking fact has come to light: more books are being challenged across the US.

A post by Shelf Awareness shared the news that the Kids’ Right to Read Project has investigated more incidences of censorship and book banning in 2013 than in 2012, and that the number of cases this year was three times higher than average. According to the post, the following books by minority authors were near the top of the list for books that were being challenged–mostly by parents in library and educational settings–most:

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man
Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye
Alice Walker’s The Color Purple
Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits
Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima

It’s tempting to think that we have risen above the ignorance of book banning in 2013, but that is not the case. While many school districts and libraries have a policy honoring parents’ wishes that their own children be given alternate assignments for class readings that conflict with their morals or religious beliefs, in far too many instances schools cave in to parental outrage and simply remove a book from class reading lists; when the angry mob gets loud enough or politicians up for re-election on the “family values” ticket need to make some noise, they’ve even resorted to pulling the access to the book, removing it from school and public libraries and classroom borrow shelves.

Fortunately, the KRRP also saw an increase in 2013 in instances where the challenged book was not only returned to the library shelves, but also to the curriculum. Part of the reason for the project’s success is the fact that they believe the only way to prevent this level of censorship is through education on the book’s topic and dialogue within the community about the “offending” book. By involving local governments, educators, parents, and other interested parties in the need for access to books, they work to establish an environment of respect for writing, regardless of the uncomfortable nature of the content for some readers.

As the KRRP was founded by the National Coalition Against Censorship, the NCAC has also provided an email address for concerned readers to reach out for help if a book is being challenged in their communities, ncac[at]

Number of Children’s Challenged Books Increased in 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

Podcast: KDP Authors May see Royalties Decreased to 35%


Today on the show I talk about all of the latest rumors about Amazon potentially lowering self-published authors royalty rates from 70% to 30%. Funny enough, Amazon offers 30% royalties to a number of new markets it has entered recently, such as India. This had zero backlash at all, since it was a new service. Can Amazon get away with this? Yes they can.

Big Foot and Gargoyles used to be the things of Saturday morning cartoons and movies like Harry and the Hendersons. Now, there is almost 10 erotica books featuring Big Foot having his way with a number of young ladies. Welcome to erotica aimed at people who are tired of zombie, vampire and werewolf love.

Barnes and Noble has had two self-publishing platforms over the years, Nook Press and PUBIT! Why hasn’t the company stocked their own bookstores with indie titles? Maybe they should consider partnering with Ingram Lightning Source to easily get books in their stores from their own authors. This would attract a copious amount of writers to Nook Press, instead of the service floundering like it is now.

Good e-Reader will be at CES this year in the first week of January. Most of the team will be in Las Vegas the day before, to hit up all of the big events where Samsung, LG, Acer, and many more will be showing their products before they hit the floor. If you are a company involved in e-readers, tablets, digital publishing, or wearable tech, hit our contact form and we can arrange a meeting.

Podcast: KDP Authors May see Royalties Decreased to 35% is a post from: E-Reader News