Sunday, March 8, 2015

Publisher Revenue Plummets as the Novelty of eBooks Wane


Major publishers are starting to see lower than expected quarterly results because of the novelty of the e-book has severely waned.

Some of the largest publishers such as Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster are facing tough times. Total profit dropped 5.6% at S&S and approximately 12% for Penguin. The lack of revenue is primarily attributed to the lack of bestselling titles and lower e-book sales.

Publisher's Weekly weighed in on the issue  “one reason for the 2014 decline in revenue and earnings was also a drop in digital sales. E-books accounted for 23.2% of S&S sales last year, down from 24.4% in 2013. Total digital revenue, which includes downloadable audio, generated 26.4% of revenue, down from 27.1% in 2013.”

If you look at it from an outsiders prospective, whats a few percentage points lost with a billion dollar publishing industry? Most insiders are saying its a tremendously big deal. Most booksellers are at the mercy of Amazon who tries to get the lowest price possible on digital editions, so they can out price most other online stores. Publishers are also worrying about Amazon getting into the publishing industry with their many imprints and new Kindle Scout program.

Is the novelty of e-books wearing off? It depends on who you ask. I think the main reason is that 95% of all US libraries currently have an e-book collection and its very easily to borrow them. e-Book subscription sites have also gained  traction with Entitle, Scribd and Oyster offering compelling value propositions.

Publisher Revenue Plummets as the Novelty of eBooks Wane is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Opens Online Marketplace in China via Alibaba


Amazon has been trying to be a major player in the Chinese e-commerce scene but the response has been tepid. This has prompted Amazon to open up an online shopping system with Alibaba’s Tmall.

Amazon is used to charging its marketplace sellers 20 to 30% for each transaction. The deal with Alibaba only has them paying 5% for each sale on products such as candy, clothes, shoes and wine.

One of the big reasons why Amazon has really failed to have a meaningful impact in China with selling digital books or products is because government regulations have historically safeguarded China-based companies, making it difficult for foreign firms to gain a foothold without at least partnering with a Chinese company. For instance, in the video game market, the only way for console makers to sell their hardware to Chinese consumers is to team up with a China-based business. This is why basically in order to do business in China they had to partner with Alibaba.

Alibaba is a juggernaut, although some people have equated them to being an Amazon clone. When they filed for an IPO the company was valued at $25 billion dollars, which is more than Amazon and eBay combined.

It will be interesting to see if Amazon can solve the shipping issue, which historically has not resonated well with Chinese customers. Things simply take too long to get from point a to point b and likely Amazon will have to heavily invest in fulfillment centers in China to predicatively stocks the most commonly ordered products.

Amazon Opens Online Marketplace in China via Alibaba is a post from: Good e-Reader

Reviewing I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son

Karen Russell's Swamplandia! wowed me (if you haven't read it, do it now), so when I found out that her brother penned a collection of essays I had to pick it up. Kent Russell's I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son is very different from Karen's writing (she writes offbeat fiction, he writes literary nonfiction), but the siblings share a spectacular amount of talent. It doesn't seem quite fair that one family contains two literary virtuosos.

In I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son, Kent invites readers on a hilarious and intimate exploration of self and society's fringes. Russell shares frank vignettes of his familial relationships and childhood, parlaying them into observational portraits of the unorthodox people he encounters. He mingles with misunderstood Insane Clown Posse fans at the Gathering of the Juggalos. He spends an alcohol-fueled weekend with a self-immunizer, a man who conditions himself to survive poisonous snake bites by injecting himself with venom. He visits a retired (and possibly brain-damaged) hockey enforcer, takes in an Amish baseball game, enrolls in a course taught by a horror movie make-up artist, and maroons himself on a deserted island with a modern-day Robinson Crusoe.

Kent Russell is a robust voice in nonfiction. He is sure to become a favorite among fans of Hunter S. Thompson and David Foster Wallace. You can read more of his essays in The New Republic, Harper's, GQ, n+1, The Believer, and Grantland.

I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son will be available to borrow from your library on March 10th, but you can read a sample below and place a hold right now!

Michelle Ross is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive and wishes she could write as well as a Russell.