Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 6 February 2014

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 09:30 PM PST

Top stories this Thursday morning include two editorials on the glut of indie titles, a possible pay-as-you-read model for the Kindle Store (link), a paean to audiobooks (link), a debate on Slashdot about paying for news (link), and more.

  • Ask Slashdot: What Online News Is Worth Paying For? (Slashdot)
  • Intermission: sorting through the banal (Studio Tendra)
  • On Audiobooks, or how I learned to let books immerse themselves in my life (Two 1/2 Eggs)
  • The fuss over Samsung’s Magazine UX is all about fragmentation (Computerworld)
  • A Pay-As-You-Read Kindle Pricing Model For Amazon (Self Publishing 2.0)
  • Slushy Glut Slog: Why The Self-Publishing Shit Volcano Is A Problem (terribleminds: chuck wendig)
  • Virginia Court Says Domain Names Are Not Property (Techdirt)
  • Why the self-publishing shit volcano isn't going to stop erupting any time soon (Chocolate and Vodka)

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Free Music Service NoiseTrade Wants to Help Readers Find Free eBooks and Audiobooks

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 01:49 PM PST

Looking for a new way to find your next read? Check out NoiseTrade. This website has been enabling musicians to give away their music since 2008, and earlier this week they added ebooks and audiobooks to the mix.


Finding new content on NoiseTrade is pretty simple. Simple browse the site, listen to a sample or read a description, and if you find something you like just enter your email and request a download code. But be careful; some of the ebooks are excerpts and not the complete book.

If you like you can leave a tip for the artist, but that’s not required. All you need to do is provide an email address. This gives the author or artist a chance to keep you up to date on their next book or gig.

In a way this isn’t really a free ebook site; readers are trading their email address for the ebook or audiobook. But it can still be a useful tool for both readers, who get free content, and for authors, who get a chance to build a mailing list of fans.


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Amazon Expands Their Content Licensing Arm With Veronica Mars, GI Joe

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 07:45 AM PST

Amazonkindleworldslogo._V383881373_[1] Publishing announced this morning that they had secured new licensing deals with Warner Brothers, Hasbro, Valiant Entertainment, and best-selling authors Marcus Sakey and Theresa Ragan.

Indie authors will shortly be able to submit stories based in the worlds of GI Joe, Ravenswood, Veronica Mars, The Abnorm Chronicles, and others, and if the works are accepted by the original creator and Kindle Publishing the indie authors will have the option of selling their work in the Kindle World Store.

While many refer to Kindle Worlds as fan fiction, the approval requirements make this much more of a licensing deal, not fanfic – much less self-pub.

Amazon announced the Kindle Worlds publishing imprint in May 2013, and opened it to the public about a month later. Amazon hasn’t shared much in the way of detail about Kindle Worlds, but a brief check of the website tells us thati n the past 7 months Amazon has published around 400 works in nearly 20 unique worlds based on popular book series like Barry Eisler’s John Rain series, movies, tv series, and now a doll.

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The Self-Pub “Shit Volcano” Will End

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 07:42 AM PST

A lot of words spilled in two posts:

The glut is something I've raised in past posts that I am now too damn lazy to look up. But I do want to go on record — again, because I've done it before but only on Twitter — about how I see the "shit volcano" ending.

Someone at Amazon, maybe even Bezos, will some day notice the jillions of not-selling Kindle books taking up space on their servers and wonder why.

Why are we keeping these things that don't sell?

Why are we allowing them to fuck up the ability of people to find the Kindle books that do sell?

Why are we dealing with the administrative costs of these non-selling Kindle books?

Why should we ever have to X-ray these Kindle books that aren't selling?

And those are the two key words: "Aren't selling."

Amazon isn't a damn charity. They want to make money.

And Amazon, especially, above all other companies, likes to make money efficiently. (If you don't believe Amazon has an efficiency fetish, go look up the system they have for the shelves in their warehouses.)

Having jillions of non-selling Kindle books clogging up the arteries of Amazon search is inefficient.

So, as I've said on Twitter and am now repeating here, Amazon will begin to purge those non-selling Kindle books.

"Dear Author" emails will be sent out to inform all those so-called writers (the ones who are the problem and who actually aren't writers) that their time is up. They've had X years to prove they could make a buck — for themselves, but most of all for Amazon — with their shit and the free ride is over. Amazon wants its server space back and its search capability back.

The way I hope Amazon goes about that is to record the IP addresses of those non-selling "writers" and ban further submissions from them.

Extreme, yes?

But getting hit with a banhammer might be the only way to go.

The people who are the problem are thick. This is why they are the problem.

And if Amazon finds that such an extreme measure isn't enough to keep out the NaNoWriMo and assorted other never-will-bes, I can foresee — as Wendig does — a listing fee of some sort being applied. That would truly be unfortunate. Because it'd scream Vanity Publishing, a smear many fine future self-publishing writers wouldn't deserve.

But truthfully, I think the banhammer would work.

It'd be a slap in the face to wake them up, to puncture the bubble of their self-delusion. At the very least it would get them the hell off Amazon. Let them go clog the places that specialize in being the World's Largest Slush Pile.

Amazon should be reserved for writers who are actually writers and are there to make money — for themselves and for Amazon.

Editor’s Note: A commenter has already provided the perfect refutation of this post. The tl;dr version is that everyone said the same thing about Blogger, Youtube, and other sites with user generated content.

The post The Self-Pub "Shit Volcano" Will End appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Infographic: Charting the eBook Market Growth “Slowdown”

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 05:18 AM PST

The state eBooks_Infographic_-_Sainsburys_eBooks-largeof the growth of the ebook market is a contentious topic in digital publishing at the moment.

On the one side we have people arguing based on far from complete data that growth has flattened, while on the other side we have people, some with an emotional investment in continued growth,  arguing that the data is incomplete and providing anecdotal evidence that they’re still seeing increased.

The topic is so contentious that I was surprised yesterday when I came across an infographic which (almost) reports on the topic fairly. It’s from Sainsbury’s, and it appears to have been created in August so it is a little out of date and is missing a lot of current data.

But in spite of its shortcomings it’s still a fairly balanced infographic. Enjoy.



The post Infographic: Charting the eBook Market Growth “Slowdown” appeared first on The Digital Reader.

eBook Piracy Not Such a Big Deal in the Netherlands

Posted: 05 Feb 2014 04:21 AM PST

A new 130681834_b1e5661fdc[1]report out of the Netherlands this week has revealed that the Dutch are buying ebooks at a rate far higher than the global average.

The market research firm GfK reported earlier this week that the average Dutch ereader contained 117 ebooks, of which a grand total of 11 were bought with money. This data is drawn from a GfK survey, and it’s not clear when the survey was polled or how many people responded, but GfK did also add that ebooks made up about 4.5% of the Dutch book market.

This is great news. I know that many are going to describe this as a serious piracy issue (including the original Dutch source), but there’s a couple problems with that conclusion. For one thing, piracy isn’t entirely illegal in the Netherlands; uploading is illegal but downloading is not.

But more importantly, I don’t regard this as a piracy issue because free ebooks are too prevalent; they’re available just about everywhere and they are downloaded in numbers far higher than some might expect.

Remember, it was around this time last year that Amazon took steps to curb free ebook affiliate sites. With some sites reporting that they generated hundreds of free ebook downloads for each ebook sale they generated, they were encouraging the download of so many free ebooks that it started hitting Amazon in the ledger book.

Even Smashwords has noted that free ebooks are downloaded at a far higher rate than paid ebooks; their latest data dates to May 2013, and it shows that free ebooks in the iBookstore were downloaded at a rate 90 times higher than paid ebooks.

In other words Apple users, i.e. people with money, are only paying for about 1% of the ebooks they get via Smashwords.

With that in mind, I rejoice that so many of the ebooks reported in this GfK survey were paid and not free.  With most of the population able to read English, this makes the Netherlands an ideal new ebook market. And thanks to the high taxes on locally published titles, English language ebooks from the US and the UK have a natural market advantage.

Thanks, Katsumi!

Algemeen Dagblad

image by Alter Wolf

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