- The Morning Coffee – 29 May 2014
- Scribd CEO Reportedly in New Funding Round, Trying to Finance Advances for Publishers
- Reeder for iOS Updated With a Bevy of Improvements and Bug Fixes
- Hachette Responds to Amazon
- Tor Books to Launch New DRM-free Imprint on Tor.com
- Publishers Price-Gouge Libraries, Libraries Respond by Cutting Back on the Service
- Pocket Launches Paid Premium Service
Posted: 28 May 2014 09:30 PM PDT
Must read stories this morning include the take down of Myindependentbookshop.co.uk that I wish I could have written (link), a look at how Amazon’s early business model resembles the Hachette situation (link), and more.
Posted: 28 May 2014 05:42 PM PDT
Pando Daily reports that Mr Adler is at a different conference in California where he is meeting with investors and trying to raise funds for expansion:
Leaving aside Pando’s hyperbole, I think they probably have their facts correct. I can’t find any indication that Adler is in NYC, and it is entirely plausible that he needs to raise more funding.
But bribes? That part, however colorful, can be ignored. I don’t think these payments to publishers are bribes, not when they are more likely advances against royalties.
Scribd currently carries around 400,000 titles, but so far they have only scored deals with 2 of the major trade publishers (HarperCollins and S&S). Scribd’s next target (aside from Perseus Book Group, which is being announced tomorrow) could be holding out for an advance.
Yes, I can believe that publishers are asking for upfront payments, and that Adler is raising the funds to pay the advances. It makes a fair amount of sense from the viewpoint of publishers to request an advance; this is an untried business model (and if the advance never earns out, the publisher can pocket the excess).
As Mike Shatzkin pointed out yesterday, we still don’t know whether the economics of Scribd and Oyster’s pay-per-loan business model will work in the long run:
I am keeping my fingers crossed, but even I think the viability of subscription ebooks has yet to be decided, so I can’t blame publishers for being cautious.
Unfortunately, the question of viability might never be answered, not of Scribd can’t raise more funding.
The post Scribd CEO Reportedly in New Funding Round, Trying to Finance Advances for Publishers appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 28 May 2014 04:52 PM PDT
In addition to some rather cool features like background updates, the new version of the app now has a loading progress indicator in the in-app browser, better support for feed links (feed://) in 3rd-party apps, and improved navigation.
Bug fixes include better support for multiple Feedly accounts and fixes for disappearing articles, browser scroll issues, OPML import issues, and more. Other changes include a better login option for Pocket, a rearranged appearance of the article list entries, and changes to Pinboard integration.
The app costs $5 and can be found in iTunes.
What's New in Version 2.2
The post Reeder for iOS Updated With a Bevy of Improvements and Bug Fixes appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 28 May 2014 01:32 PM PDT
Hachette, which first released a statement when news of this dispute broke in the NYTimes (and has been subsequently leaking details right and left), put the blame for this dispute and the resulting fallout squarely on Amazon’s shoulders.
Hachette claims to want a solution that values an “author's unique role in creating books, and the publisher's role in editing, marketing, and distributing them”. Funny, Amazon distributes the books they sell, not Hachette, and as anyone can tell you most marketing is left to Amazon and or authors.
It’s also worth noting that what Hachette calls limiting a customer’s ability to buy Hachette titles is in fact "making Hachette books available on the same terms as those of smaller publishers, including its own KDP authors." (Thanks, Marc!)
Posted: 28 May 2014 01:18 PM PDT
Tor Books surprised us all when they announced plans two years ago to go DRM free, and Tom Doherty, the founder of Tor Books took the stage at the IDPF conference today to share a few details on the perils of going DRM-free.
In short, there weren’t any . Mr. Doherty confirmed that after two years Tor Books had yet to see any downside to their decision. Distributing ebooks sans DRM has not increased the number of pirated ebooks or visibly decreased sales of Tor titles, thus proving that DRM serves no actual purpose other than locking consumers into existing retail channels.
Mr Doherty then went on to announce the launch of a new Tor Books imprint. This publisher has long been using its Tor.com online community as a source of short fiction, and today that effort has been formalized. From the announcement:
To be honest, I am not sure that this counts as a “new” imprint. Tor Books has been taking works originally published on Tor.com and selling them in the various ebookstores, but Mr Doherty notes that the new imprint will be getting greater editorial attention. (That might prove a boon; one of the Tor.com titles I bought was edited by someone who should have spent more time on his prepositions and conjunctions.)
Alongside the new imprint, Tor.com will also continue its existing program of acquiring award-winning original short fiction for publication on the site itself.
Tor.com was launched the summer of 2008 as an SF community and an experiment on the part of Tor Books and its corporate parent Macmillan. In addition to posting timely commentary on SF and fantasy topics, Tor.com has also dabbled in selling books and nearly opened an ebookstore. In the past 6 years it has grown into one of the best SF-focused sites on the web.
The post Tor Books to Launch New DRM-free Imprint on Tor.com appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 28 May 2014 10:27 AM PDT
In the consumer ebook market Amazon is a villain that tries to keep prices down, but there is no similar villain in library ebooks. As the major trade publishers have shown us time and again, publishers can jack up prices or otherwise limit services in order to try to get more revenue from libraries.
There isn’t much that libraries can do about it, but sometimes they do cancel contracts or otherwise walk away from a service which has grown to expensive. The Boston Library Consortium was recently the victim of a surprise price hike:
The BLC’s ebook program is used by nine BLC member libraries, including Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, and others. The program is designed to only pay publishers the full price on ebooks which are widely used, and pay a fractional price on ebooks used by only a couple users.
But that is not good enough for some of the publishers who had signed up with this program:
The BLC is viewing this as predatory pricing. (When was the last time you heard that term applied to ebook prices going up?) In response, the BLC has lowered the price ceiling for their program. eBooks which are priced above the ceiling can’t be included in the Boston Library Consortium’s ebook program.
In effect, the publishers priced themselves out of the market.
There’s no word on which publishers increased their prices, but one comment left on my source article reports that another library consortium, this time in Washington, is facing similar price hikes. What’s more, they also named the publishers responsible:
The Orbis Cascade Alliance reports that had the price hike come at the beginning of the fiscal year, it would have added nearly half a million to the cost of the service. The Alliance will be eating the cost until the end of their fiscal year, but they are not sure how they will cope next year other than to cut back on what they are willing to pay publishers. They simply don’t have the funding to absorb the price increase.
The post Publishers Price-Gouge Libraries, Libraries Respond by Cutting Back on the Service appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 28 May 2014 09:43 AM PDT
Pocket has been a free service ever since it launched as Read-it-Later in 2007 but good times rarely last forever. The leader in save-for-later services has just launched a premium service which will set users back $5 a month (or $45 a year).
In addition to the guarantee that the content you save will always be available, Pocket Premium boasts a feature that users have been requesting for years. Paying Pocket ysers will gain access to vastly improved search capabilities, including the option to search the text of all of the articles saved in one’s account as well as search by tags, author, and more. Pocket Premium also automatically suggest tags for articles, which could be useful for keeping your library organized.
Like Evernote's paid service, Pocket Premium will likely attract the service's most loyal users. But unlike Evernote's offering, it’s not clear why Pocket Premium is worth the extra cost. Search and Save? That just doesn’t strike this user as being worth $45 a year, but of more premium features were added I might change my mind.
Pocket is also launching a few new products for all of its users: New browser extensions for adding articles, as well as simpler tag management on the web and Pocket's mobile apps. To date, Pocket users have saved over 1 billion articles, videos, and images to the service.
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