Sunday, July 12, 2015

Asus ZenPad S 8.0 iPad Mini Killer Arrives in the US


If you are looking for a very affordable high resolution Android tablet to read e-books, digital comics and magazines there is good news. The Asus ZenPad S has just hit Best Buy in the US for a respectable $200.

This new Asus tablet features an 8-inch 2048×1536 display and comes with 32GB of storage on board, and 2GB of RAM inside. It is powered by Intel’s Atom Z580C chipset and a 1.83 GHz Quad-core CPU. Running Android 5.1 out of the box, this tablet features a 5 MP camera on the rear, along with a 2 MP shooter on the front.

One of the things this little ditty has going for it is that it will give you HD digital comics via Comixology. You will be able to read anything they offer in stunning high definition giving you the same reading experience that the iPad Mini with Retina provides.

Family Christian Bookstore Trying to Stay in Business


The Family Christian line of bookstores is in deep trouble and they are trying to sell the company. Despite operating 266 stores in 36 states bringing in $230 million in gross revenues in 2014, Family Christian owes more than $90 million to vendors and creditors. Sales of $305 million in 2008 had steadily shrunk to a projected $216 million this year.

Three years ago, Family Christian bought itself back from private equity owners, and in 2013 promised to donate all profits to serving widows and orphans around the world.  This is fairly noble,  but the company is the midst of trying to sell itself back to  FCS Acquisition, a subsidiary of the chain's parent company. Family Christian's creditors, many of them Christian publishers and vendors, will have until August 7 to approve or deny the sale, which has promised to keep the stores open.

It is anticipated that the creditors and vendors will approve of the sale, even though they would lose millions, since keeping the stores open means a continued outlet for their products.

The Christian's main objective should be paying his creditors and handling his employees as compassionately as possible, said David Laube, executive-in-residence at the University of Colorado-Denver Business School.

Apologizing to creditors would also be the right thing to do, said David Skeel, University of Pennsylvania law professor and historian of bankruptcy law. And while giving away money is a good thing, Christian companies—or individuals—overwhelmed by debt shouldn't be writing checks to charity, he said

US Authors Guild Demands 50% of e-Book Royalties


The US Authors Guild is demanding that publishers start paying 50% of the revenue an e-book generates to authors, instead of 25%. They are trying to get the big name authors and agents to fight for it under the "fair contract initiative".

The Guild has stated that publishers have not kept up with the times and they want their authors to have a larger piece of the pie.  This is primarily because the e-book market in the US is booming and publishers are making a killing. According to the latest numbers from the Association of American Publishers, adult trade e-books brought in $1.3 billion in revenue in 2013, up 3.8% from $1.25 billion in 2012. E-books in 2014 accounted for 27% of all adult trade sales, up from 23% in 2012.

A Small History in e-book Royalties

From the mid-1990s, when e-book provisions regularly began appearing in contracts, until around 2004, e-royalties varied wildly. Many of the e-rates at major publishing houses were shockingly low—less than 10% of net receipts—and some were at 50%. Some standard contracts left them open to negotiation. As the years passed, and especially between 2000 and 2004, many publishers paid authors 50% of their net receipts from e-book sales, in keeping with the idea that authors and publishers were equal partners in the book business.

In 2004  Random House, which had previously paid 50% of its revenues for e-book sales, anticipated the coming boom in e-book sales and cut its e-rates significantly. Other publishers followed, and gradually e-royalties began to coalesce around 25%. By 2010 it was clear that publishers had successfully tipped the scales on the longstanding partnership between author and publisher to achieve a 75-25 balance in their favor.

Can anything be done? 

Publishers now are fairly entrenched with the whole e-book revolution thing and it looks dubious that any body of authors have the power to negotiate better terms.

Some bestselling authors have managed to obtain a 50% e-book split, though they're asked to sign non-disclosure agreements to keep these terms secret. I have also also heard of authors with strong sales histories negotiating 50-50 royalty splits in exchange for foregoing an advance or getting a lower advance; or where the 50% rate kicks in only after a certain threshold level of sales. For instance, a major romance publishing house has offered 50% royalties, but only after the first 10,000 electronic copies—a high bar to clear in the current digital climate. But overall, publishers' apparent inflexibility on their standard e-book royalty demonstrates their unwillingness to change it.

10 Free Kindle eBooks and 80% off Deal – Sunday, July 12th

Here’s another weekly roundup of 10 free Kindle ebooks. Plus today only Amazon’s Gold Box Deal of the Day is “like Comic-Con for your Kindle”, according to the promo. The deal includes over 70 comics, graphic novels, and science fiction Kindle books at up to 80% off. The free Kindle ebooks are free as of […]