Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Christian Fiction Experiences a Dramatic Decline in Sales


Christian Fiction is on the decline, as overall book sales have plummeted 15% from 2013 to 2014.  Today we look at some of the reasons why this sector is crashing and what the industry is doing about it.

Publishers are not too concerned right now with the decrease in Christian book sales, whether its print or digital. Instead of lamenting how their industry is suffering, they are trying to make it work.

David Lewis, the VP of sales and marketing at Baker Publishing Group, said "Our trade paper fiction revenue declined by 8%, our e-book revenue increased by 3%, and our cloth fiction has increased by 45%."

HarperCollins Christian Publishing  is pumping out close to 60 new titles each year and "our program is showing revenue growth over last year," said Daisy Hutton, VP of fiction. "Print is here to stay, but the category is undergoing a period of reinvention. The migration to digital reading is part of this, but the changing demands of our readers are an even bigger factor."

The changing demands of readers basically boils down to two things, the amount of free content that is available digitally and brick and motor stores discounting Christian fiction in abundance.

One of the big reasons why Christian fiction right now is on the decline is authors are no longer getting good incentives from traditional publishing companies. Literary agent Chip MacGregor said in a recent blog post that “Christian fiction is really struggling. That's become obvious to me over the past couple of years, and I’ve discussed it with many other agents. Several houses have stopped doing inspirational fiction, others have trimmed back their lists, still others have simply put a "freeze" on new acquisitions, so it's become evident that it's a tough time to be trying making a living writing Christian fiction.”

When it comes to book data,  Nielsen is likely the most trusted source. The company gets sales information from all of the major online retailers and stores that sell print. The big problem, is that they are only able to fetch data on content that have ISBN numbers. Self-published e-books do not necessary need one to be published by Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo. Nobody really knows how well Christian fiction is doing on those platforms, as the companies rarely breakdown sales in this manner. Despite the unknowns, traditionally published authors are starting to take control over their own destiny and are electing to self-publish.

Ava Morgan is a traditionally published author who stated “As an author who published traditionally for the Christian/inspirational market in the past, I agree about the changing demands of readers being one of the factors for sales decline. People come from all walks of life and the CBA (Christian Book Association)has been slow to address the lack of diversity in the titles it allows to be published. For instance, I tend to write stories with multicultural and multiethnic characters who overcome adversity, be it financial, social, etc. I've had several issues with editors and publishers asking me to tone down the characters' hardships or change their race because it may make the readership "a little nervous". As to whom this narrow readership is, I cannot say, because when I attend church and go to Christian events, I encounter people of many different colors, shapes, lifestyles, and levels of faith. Unfortunately, there are powers-that-be within the Christian book market who are so afraid of offending a select few, that they choose to continue offering books to appeal to one segment of the Christian population that is getting smaller every day. A problem very clearly seen in the secular book market as well, when publishers keep releasing the same one-storyline-fits-all books to generate sales.

Inspirational writers are starting to self-publish as a way to reach the changing Christian reader demographic. As both a Christian and African-American woman, I feel that my demographic is not adequately represented in CBA fiction. Later this year, I'll be self-publishing under my real name  a historical Christian romance featuring African-American protagonists. It's truly a blessing to live in an age of publishing where you can independently get your story out into the world without fear of gatekeepers.”

Authors who elect to self-publish should be wary about the sheer number of options out there. Amazon is likely the best move, but requires technical knowledge on how to actually create a digital book from a Microsoft Word Document.  It is important to beware of the scams and shady companies out there that are more concerned with taking your money, than publishing your book. Donald L. Hughes  of Christian Writing Today offered some advice “There are many Christian companies these days that pretend to take the marketing and book manufacturing process off your shoulders. They include such names as Xulon, Westbow or Winepress. These companies will charge you an arm and a leg for services that you can do on your own or with the help of a consultant. These companies actually do little more than the old-time vanity presses; you have to think twice about what that will do to your credibility as a writer. And, if you use profitability as a measure of your ability to gain readership, then these companies will not help you. They take such a big chunk of money for their editorial and design services that they leave nothing on the table for you.”

Christian Fiction Experiences a Dramatic Decline in Sales is a post from: Good e-Reader

PressReader, Kindle Update their iOS Apps

Two new updates have been released for what are arguably some of the most popular digital reading apps, the Kindle reading app and the PressReader digital magazine and newspaper app. Both apps have been given shiny new features or expansions of existing but recent updates.

The Kindle app now supports eTextbook reading, which is big news because the iPhone now supports this format. This has been one of the missing features from iBooks Author, but now that support for the smartphone is available to readers on the go.

For its part, PressReader announced its update and the inclusion of digital content from over 100 countries, with language editions in more than 60 different languages. According to the announcement of the update,

“PressReader partners worldwide are now sponsoring access to our entire library of more than 3,500 full-content publications from 100+ countries in 60+ languages in their places of business. Just open up your tablet or smartphone in one of their designated Wi-Fi zones called PressReader HotSpots for instant access to any newspaper or magazine. To find one near you, just open up the PressReader HotSpot Map from the app navigation menu.

“The HotSpot map shows networks where premium PressReader access is sponsored by a network owner. If location services aren’t provided to the app, your location will be estimated by IP address. The search function displays HotSpots by name. If there are more HotSpots in the visible map area than can be shown without overlapping, one of the most popular HotSpots will be shown, and the full list will be shown on the right.”

The HotSpot map feature is one of the standouts that has made PressReader a popular choice for the hospitality industry. A number of hotel chains and restaurant locations already work with the app developer to cover the associated cost of the content while their patrons are on location. This kind of free incentive is one of the many steps that hotel chains are taking to win loyal customers.

PressReader, Kindle Update their iOS Apps is a post from: Good e-Reader

Fans Pick Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto as #1 Manga They Want Animated


Last week, about 1,800 readers voted on a pole on Anime! Anime!’s website asking them what mangas they wanted to see turned into an anime. The voting took place between February 3-8th and the mot ranked manga was Nami Sano’s Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto (Sakamoto Desu Ga?)

The series ranks in top book sales in Japan and won the best "male oriented" comics volume award from Da Vinci magazine in 2013 and Comic Natalie Grand Prize.

The full list is as follows:

Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto by Nami Sano
The story follows the daily life of the most popular kid in high school, Sakamoto. After transferring to a new school, everyone becomes enamoured with him making soon making quick enemies and to be the butt of bullies attacks. Though any attempt to bully Sakamoto back fires only making him look cooler in the process.

One-Punch Man by ONE and Yuusuke Murata
The story follows the life of an average hero who has trained himself to fight battles and winning with only one punch! However he becomes frustrated when the thrill and andrenaline is gone. Was training really worth it when he can’t enjoy the fight?

Yotsuba&! By Kiyohiko Azuma
Yotsuba is a strange girl with a big personality! Even when faced with trivial and unremarkable events, her enthusiasm and good spirits always prevail!

March Comes In Like A Lion by Chika Umino
Kriama Rei lost his family as a child, now to endure his loneliness, he trains to become a professional Shogi player. Through a chance meeting, he develops a relationship with the three Kawamoto sisters who come from a working class district of the city. Little by little, his once cold heart begins to warm.

Drifters by Kouta Hirano
Taking place during Japan’s Sengoku period, a young samurai verging on death sudenly finds himself into another fantastical world. How? Why? So many questions remain unanswered.

Nijiro Days by Minami Mizuno
A hopeless romantic, a sadist with an angelic grin, an otaku who can’t read atmospheric settings and a frivolous playboy are high school best friends. They spend their high school life as easy going spirits though certain inevitable but hilarious events might disrupt their happy bubble.

Yandere Kanojo by Shinobi
Geeky student Tanaka Manabu meets a girl carrying a bloody bat and it is is instant love at first site. Unfortunately the girl turns out to be the leader of the female school’s delinquent, Ryuuzaki Reina

Amaama to Inazuma By Gido Amagakure
A teacher who cares for his small daughter, Tsumugi, after the death of his wife. Inudzuka is no cook and has been eating packaged meals from the convenience store. Events lead him to a restaurant owned by a single mother of one of his students and in turn, they come together frequently, enjoying each others company and good meals.

Soul Catchers(S) by Hideo Shinkai
Kamine Shuuta can see the emotions within a person’s heart, and because of this, he’s at his wits end because he can’t do anything about it. After a chance encounter, Shuuta hears Tokisaka Hibiki playing her saxophone and finds his own heart enraptured by her tune.

And there we have it! I highly suggest checking out these mangas! Hopefully we will see their animated counter parts soon. Are there any mangas you’re hoping to see become an anime? Let us know!

Fans Pick Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto as #1 Manga They Want Animated is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kindle for iOS Software Updated to Version 4.7

Amazon has issued an update for their iOS Kindle app for iPad and iPhone. The new software version 4.7 doesn’t add as many features as the last update; it’s more geared toward bringing the iPhone version up to par with the iPad version. With the last iOS Kindle update Amazon introduced a new feature called […]

Oprah’s Book Club has Returned


The Oprah Book Club ended four years ago when her official daytime show off the air.  Her recommendations assisted authors in selling over 55 million copies since 1996.  There is good news, Oprah Picks are now back and its time to discover some great new reads.

The first author to gain Oprah's seal of approval is Cynthia Bond. She is an actress by trade and has been teaching writing to homeless and at-risk youth throughout Los Angeles for more than fifteen years. A writer whose "unflinching yet lyrical prose" O Magazine recently compared to Toni Morrison, Bond might just have penned the breakout novel of the year with Ruby, a period drama set in rural Texas.

Ruby tells the epic story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man's dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.

"When I found out that Bond is 53 and hadn't written a book before, I thought, Wow. This woman was born to write. There's no other explanation for such a vivid, searing first-time novel that penetrates through the page to the reader's heart. Writing is Bond's calling. No question about it. And when I found out that she's spent more than 15 years teaching writing to homeless and at-risk youth, I knew she must be truly special. I couldn't wait to call and tell her that Ruby is our new OBC 2.0 pick." said Oprah.

The novel will be out in paperback on Tuesday, with a printing of 250,000 copies. The hardcover currently has 20,000 copies in print, according to Hogarth, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and is available as an e-book.

Oprah's Book Club has Returned is a post from: Good e-Reader

Coming soon for U.S. and Canadian libraries: Disney streaming video!

We are excited to announce an agreement with The Walt Disney Studios to offer more than 100 streaming video titles to public library partners in the U.S. and Canada. This licensing agreement strengthens a robust catalog of thousands of streaming video titles available through OverDrive, and reinforces the value of a single central platform for eBooks, audiobooks and streaming video.

"Few brands evoke nostalgia and provide entertainment to all ages the way that Disney does with its iconic films," said Lee Milstein, Chief Strategy Officer at OverDrive. "We are thrilled to collaborate with such a respected and trusted company to make these animated and live action streaming videos available for lending through our U.S. and Canadian networks of library partners."

Libraries will soon be able to browse or search for a selection of Disney and Touchstone titles in OverDrive Marketplace and tailor their collection to match the unique interests of their communities. As with other content and access models from OverDrive, libraries will set user lending policies for Disney movies to maximize value of their material budgets.

Library patrons across the country soon will be able to use PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones, Android Tablets or nearly any connected device to stream Disney titles such as Air Bud, The Muppet Movie (Jim Henson, Mel Brooks, Steve Martin), Billy Bathgate (Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman), Oliver & Company (Billy Joel, Joey Lawrence), Tom and Huck (Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Brad Renfro), I Love Trouble (Julia Roberts, Nick Nolte) and White Squall (Jeff Bridges, Scott Wolf, Ryan Phillippe).

For more information about streaming video from OverDrive, visit our website.


Shop e-Readers Unveils New Program to Sell your Old e-book readers


Shop e-Readers is starting to compete with eBay and Amazon to sell your old e-readers and tablets. The company has unveiled a new program that allows anyone to list their used product with the website and then sell it.

The used e-reader program was designed for people who just upgraded to a new device and is wondering what to do with the old one. Alternatively you might have received a Kindle or Nook as a gift and found you don't really like it. The Shop e-readers e-commerce site is the perfect fit, because its the only store in the world that carriers numerous brands and is exclusively geared towards the sale of e-readers, which makes it a very specialized service.

Listing your e-reader on Shop e-Readers is free, simply fill out a form and it will be listed within a few hours. When a customer finds your product while browsing the site and decides to buy it, Shop e-Readers handles the transaction via credit card or Paypal. Once the sale has been confirmed the company will email you the customers address for you to ship out, once its been received you get paid!

The one exciting thing about what Shop e-Readers is doing is they are not focused just on Canada or the US, but will accept used e-reader listings globally. Since the company has launched the service in the last 24 hours almost 12 new e-readers have been added.

Get started today and list your used e-reader with Shop e-Readers.

Shop e-Readers Unveils New Program to Sell your Old e-book readers is a post from: Good e-Reader

Prepare for Pi Day!

With the date formatting used in the United States, 3/14 is considered Pi Day, so it's a great excuse to get Raspberry Pi enthusiasts together to share what they do. Not only are we officially participating in Pi Day at SXSW in Austin, but we'd like to support and promote any kind of jams, bake-offs, user groups, showcases, or workshops that are taking place on March 14th throughout the United States.

There are a few events that are already confirmed and I'll highlight them below. If you’re organizing a Raspberry Pi-focused Pi Day event that you'd like us to promote, please click here to submit your event information. We'll do another blog post leading up to Pi Day — ahem — rounding up all the events happening across the country so that Raspberry Pi fans can find one near them.

Austin, TX


Members of the Raspberry Pi team (including Eben, Liz, Rachel, and yours truly) will have a stand at SX Create, which is part of the SXSW Interactive festival. We’ll have a few demos and hands on activities that we’re excited to share. We’ll also be surrounded by companies, products, and organizations all related to hacking and tinkering with technology. Even though we’re especially excited about Pi Day, we’ll be there for all of SX Create, which runs from March 13 to 15 and is free and open-to-the-public.

Bay Area, CA


Our friends at the absolutely fantastic Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA are planning a big Pi Day bash and they’re looking for Raspberry Pi projects to showcase. Here’s what they have to say about it:

We will be hosting a Raspberry Pi Maker Showcase from 3pm to 6pm. We are seeking out innovators who are interested in exhibiting their work and sharing their Pi creations with the community. If you are interested in exhibiting at the showcase, please sign up here.

Little Rock, AR

In Arkansas, a third annual bake-off will take place on March 14th at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. Organizers David J. Hinson and Tony Bates of Arkansas Geek Central had this to say:

Students, makers, and creatives are invited to bring their Raspberry Pi creations to compete for prizes, prestige, and ­ most importantly ­ bragging rights! In addition to the project competition, workshops and labs will be held for people just getting started with the Raspberry Pi, and for those interested in learning how to get the most out of their Raspberry Pi creations.

Visit their site for more information about this Pi Day event.

Your Event Here

If you’re planning a Pi Day event, let us know about it so that we can tell the rest of the Raspberry Pi community where they can find you. And if you’re excited about the prospect of bootstrapping your own Pi Day event, it’s not too late to start planning.