Archive for Online Publishing
Courtesy of Publishers Weekly
Goodreads, which is one of the most popular among a raft of sites created as a book recommendation engine–members are directed to titles by seeing what their friends are reading, or have recommended–does not currently sell any books, but many in the industry saw it as an ideal sales outlet.
When asked how Goodreads would be integrated into Amazon, and the all-important question of how, and when, a retail component might be rolled into the site–currently users can buy books through a host of third party retailers, including Amazon–both Chandler and Russ Grandinetti, Amazon v-p, Kindle content, skirted the subject. When pressed, Chandler said: “We don’t have any plans to change anything about the buy links in the short term, but in the long term we’re going to do what’s best for our users.”
Grandinetti said the acquisition was “not about making Goodreads commerce enabled,” but, instead, about opportunities to improve the user experience of Kindle owners. Chandler said the site will remain “an independently controlled subsidiary of Amazon” and noted it will keep “full control of editorial content and the recommendations.”
Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the market research firm Codex Group, said the company’s March 1 study shows that many Goodreads users also like Amazon. The study found that among past month book buyers, 36% rate Amazon.com as “one of my favorite brands”–more than twice as popular as John Grisham, who rated 17% on the same scale — but among past month book buyers who visited GoodReads at least once in the last week, that number jumps to 45% rating Amazon.com as “one of my favorites”, or nearly half of GoodReads visitors.
Additionally, 30% of GoodReads visitors already have a Kindle eReader in their home, while 24% of all other past month book buyers do. While the digital reading device currently most owned by GoodReads visitors is the Apple iPad, it’s at the same ownership level as all other book buyers. “Overall,” Hildick-Smith said about the deal, “it looks like a very attractive fit for Amazon and its book buying fans.”
This is the second book recommendation site that Amazon has bought ouright. In 2008 it acquired Shelfari, but there seems to be no plans to integrate Shelfari and Goodreads. It also owns a piece of LibraryThing.
To ease any misgivings Goodreads’s biggest supporters might have about the deal, the site e-mailed the following letter to its most ardent users, called “librarians,” shortly after the purchase was announced:
Today is a very big day for all of us at Goodreads. As you may have seen on our blog, we are joining the Amazon family.
We greatly appreciate all you do as a Goodreads Librarian so we wanted to reach out to you individually since you play an important role in our community.
You’ll be glad to know that this announcement is great news for our catalog. Amazon metadata will be returning to the site, and we will have an even more comprehensive record of self-published books, as well as more complete records of international books. We will continue to link to a variety of sites on our book pages, of course, including OCLC WorldCat for library data. All of your reviews and ratings will remain on Goodreads.
By joining the Amazon family, the Goodreads team will be able to invest more in the things that our members care about. We’ll also be working together on inventing new services for readers and authors. As part of this, we’ll be increasing the size of our team over time, and will be able to add lots of great new features that members and librarians will be excited about!
I can’t make this clear enough – we plan to continue growing Goodreads and investing in making it a great community for librarians, and everyone else.
We said in our blog post that our team gets out of bed every day motivated by the belief that the right book in the right hands can change the world. Now Goodreads can help make that happen in an even bigger and more meaningful way as part of the Amazon family.
Here’s to the next chapter!
Otis, Elizabeth, and the Goodreads Team
” A revolution has been brewing in the publishing industry, driven by the growing popularity of ebooks and Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program, which lets independent authors reach out to readers worldwide. Many authors have used this over the last two years to strike gold on Amazon, often eschewing traditional publishers. Recent estimates say that as many as four out of ten bestselling Amazon ebook titles have been published through this groundbreaking program.
A recent example is that of Indian author Mainak Dhar, who currently lives in Singapore. Dhar, a Singapore PR who has been living in Singapore since 2001 and is employed as General Manager with multinational giant Procter & Gamble had been widely published in India by major publishers, and one of his novels (Herogiri) is being made into a Bollywood movie. In late 2011, he started using Amazon KDP to reach out to a worldwide audience through ebooks, and the success he has seen reached a peak last week when he unseated Stephen King as the #1 Most Popular Horror author on Amazon’s Kindle store. That heady feeling lasted much of the day before Dhar slipped back to #2. Says Dhar, “Mr. King has been an inspiration, and just being on the same page as him is an honor”. Dhar’s most popular work has been the Alice in Deadland series, an adventure set in a dystopian future world. He has already self-published four books in the series on Amazon and is currently working on the fifth.
Amazon’s KDP not just gives authors a worldwide reach, but also means significantly higher royalties- up to 70% on ebooks priced above $2.99, compared to 7.5-10% on traditional paperback deals. Dhar has sold an estimated 150,000 ebooks on Amazon and says that, “Embracing technology and the revolution of ebooks and digital marketing has been a game changer for me in terms of connecting with readers worldwide.’”
Short fiction lovers take note! Starting this month, Tor.com will publish original short fiction every Wednesday in 2013!
Since their launch in 2008, Tor.com has always been a competitive market for original short sci-fi and fantasy fiction. They’ve been able to work outside of conventional publishing boundaries, create original illustrations for the stories, and have now garnered both Nebula and Hugo Awards! By the end of last year, Tor.com doubled their editorial staff, both in acquiring editors and first readers for their open submissions file. Their fiction team consisting of Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Liz Gorinsky, Ann VanderMeer, Ellen Datlow, Bridget Smith, and Carl Engle-Laird is working harder than ever to bring the best of what’s on the cutting edge of new speculative fiction! They’ve always been proud of our stories and now they’re proud to offer new ones once a week! Expect forthcoming new stories from Genevieve Valentine, Harry Turtledove, Cory Doctorow, and many, many more.
Check out every story they’ve ever told here and come back every Wednesday for a new one!
Barnes & Noble has drawn lots of media attention about a Wall Street Journal story that focused on the company’s plans to close 15 to 20 stores annually for the next 10 years, but the segment that is likely more of a concern to B&N executives is Nook. After a disappointing holiday season when Nook device sales failed to meet expectations, B&N reported late Wednesday that Nook EBITDA for its fiscal year ending at the end of April will be greater than in fiscal 2012 when the unit had an EBITDA loss of $262 million. B&N executives had expected Nook losses to be no worse than last year. In addition, B&N said that it expects sales for the entire Nook Media segment, which includes Nook and the college stores, to be less than a projected $3 billion for the full fiscal year.
B&N will report results for the third quarter, which ended January 31, on February 28.
By Andrew Longstreth
NEW YORK (Reuters) – As the only remaining defendant in the U.S. government’s e-books antitrust case, Apple Inc appears headed for a high-stakes trial that could significantly increase the personal computer company’s liability in related litigation.
Apple faces a June 3 trial date over civil allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice that it conspired with five publishers to raise the price of e-books and to fight the dominance of Amazon.com Inc.
On Friday, Macmillan became the fifth and final publisher to settle with the government. The Justice Department alleges that Apple came to agreements with each of the publishers meant to ensure that e-book prices at its iBookstore and other retailers would remain higher than those offered by Amazon.com.
At the Apple trial, to be overseen by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan, the Justice Department will seek not monetary damages but a judicial decree that Apple violated antitrust law, court papers said.
Among other things, government lawyers want the judge to issue an order enjoining Apple from engaging in any conduct similar to that alleged in the case. Such a judgment could make Apple vulnerable to steep damages in related litigation.
Apple and the publishers also face a class-action suit filed on behalf of consumers and a similar suit filed by dozens of state attorneys general. Neither suit puts a figure on the exact amount of damages sought.
The Consumer Federation of America estimated in a letter last year to the Senate antitrust subcommittee that e-book price fixing would likely cost consumers more than $200 million in 2012. State and federal antitrust laws allow plaintiffs to recover triple the amount of actual damages established at trial.
If Apple loses against the Justice Department, those plaintiffs would be in a “powerful position” to win their cases, according to Harry First, a professor at New York University School of Law specializing in antitrust.
Under the Clayton Act, an antitrust statute, plaintiffs can use judgments obtained by the U.S. government as evidence against defendants.
If Apple loses, it is unclear whether both the states and the private plaintiffs will be able to seek and recover damages for the same conduct.
By contrast, if Apple were to prevail, it would cause “a lot more trouble” for the plaintiffs in the other cases, First said.
Apple declined to comment. It still may settle with the U.S. government.
In December, Apple and four publishers came to an agreement with European Union regulators over their antitrust probe into e-books. The fifth publisher, Pearson Plc’s Penguin group, also under investigation, was not part of the European deal announced in December.
LITTLE TO GAIN
Apple may have little to gain by going to trial in the United States, according to some legal experts.
Under settlements with the Justice Department, the five publishers were required to terminate or not renew deals with Apple and other retailers that the government claimed were anti-competitive.
Apple and the government have less to argue over since those deals have been undone, Daniel Crane, a law professor at the University of Michigan Law School, said.
“What are they fighting over?” he said.
Crane added that Apple may be interested in going to trial to establish an antitrust principle that might help other aspects of its business such as content deals with entertainment companies.
The trial would be a big test for the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, which has sought to enhance its reputation for its trial capabilities under the Obama administration.
The government has been represented by Mark Ryan, who is director of litigation, a new position in the Antitrust Division. Ryan, who began in January 2012, was hired by Joseph Wayland, the former acting assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division.
Last year Wayland cited Ryan in a speech about the Antitrust Division’s focus on enhancing its litigation capabilities. Under the Obama administration, the Antitrust Division has scored a number of high-profile trial victories, including a criminal price-fixing case against Taiwan-based AU Optronics Corp last year and a successful challenge of H&R Block Inc’s acquisition of 2SS Holdings Inc, developer of the TaxACT digital tax preparation business, in 2011.
Apple is represented by lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. One of the law firm’s attorneys who recently made an appearance in the case, Orin Snyder, won a favorable settlement last year for Voom HD Holdings, once a unit of Cablevision, following a trial against Dish Network.
Voom sued Dish for $2.4 billion alleging it violated a 15-year contract to carry a suite of high-definition channels, including those devoted to Kung Fu and video games. Under the settlement, Dish agreed to pay $700 million to Cablevision and AMC Networks, which Cablevision spun off last year.
The case is United States v. Apple Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-02826.
(Reporting by Andrew Longstreth; Editing by Howard Goller and Eric Beech)
With the holiday season getting ready to move into full swing, two exciting new stories make up the third month of Eclipse Online, and the end of the first calendar year (sort of) of bringing you the very best in short fiction.
This month opens with a novelette by the fabulous Christopher Barzak, “Invisble Men,” that touches on H.G. Wells’ territory, but manages to be fresh and engaging. If you love this story, check out his new short story collection, Birds and Birthdays, and new novel Before and Afterlives.
The second story this month, and the last for the year, is World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar’s latest Central Station story, “The Memcordist.” Tidhar’s Central Station stories, “The Smell of Orange Groves,” “Strigoi” and others, form one of the most compelling future histories you’ll encounter. Just wait to see the Central Station mosaic novel he’s working on.
And with that, 2012 is over for Eclipse Online. Six fantastic stories by Christopher Rowe, K.J. Parker, Eleanor Arnason, Christopher Barzak, and Lavie Tidhar have already been purchased. And they have new stories in the pipeline from F. Brett Cox, Genevieve Valentine, Peter M. Ball and others. Thanks to Night Shade Books for supporting Eclipse through its print incarnation and on to this exciting new online world.
Lavie Tidhar’s latest Central Station story, “The Memcordist,” doesn’t appear to have been posted yet.
It’s Ghost Week on Tor.com! All week long they’ll be hanging out with spooks, spectres, slimers, spirits, hauntings, poltergeists, full-torso free-roaming apparitions, and more. They’ll be sharing some classic ghost fiction from Mark Twain to H.P. Lovecraft, essays about your favorite ghosts, a look at ghosts in specific cultures, the ghosts of Edith Wharton, an original comic from Faith Erin Hicks, the science of ghosts, the boys in grey, and of course, the ghost with the most. So step inside their haunted spaceship, and never mind that slight chill in the airlock. It’s just the ghosts!
The stories and articles are all online and free to read. Here are the links:
- The Terrible Old Man, H.P. Lovecraft
- The Shadowy Third, Ellen Glasgow
- Ghosts in the Machines, Neil Gaiman
- “Where a Ghost and a Prince Meet…” Steven Padnick
- Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is Beautiful, Sara Eileen Hames
- Who is Dead? The Tense Mystery of Horror Ghost Anime Another, Madeline Ashby
- Ghost Stories While You’re Waiting for Downton Abbey: Why Edith Wharton Gives Us The Whim-Whams, Anne Ray