Monday, 14 July 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 15 July 2014

Posted: 14 Jul 2014 09:01 PM PDT

Pour yourself a large cup this morning, for the reading list is long.

The list kicks off with Amazon the friendly giant and finishes up with a publisher’s take on the RWA devoting (too much) attention on self-pub. In between the two stories we have a post on how the self-pub/ trad-pub debate is taking on the tones of political debate, the possibility that Google might be regulated as a utility in Germany, and why there’s no reason to sign with a major publisher.

  • Amazon, a Friendly Giant as Long as It's Fed ()
  • Are There 5 Reasons to Stick With Major Publishers? No, There Are Zero Reasons (HuffPost)
  • Breaking Free – What Happened when I left KDP Select (Nick Stephenson)
  • Elites or freedom fighters: How the Amazon-Hachette battle took on the rhetoric of class warfare (GigaOm)
  • German Cartel Office Says Google, Other Tech Giants Could Be Regulated Like Utilities (TechCrunch)
  • Is Selling Direct Worth It? (PW)
  • Kobo Books for Windows Phone review (All About Windows Phone)
  • RWA takes my money, then asks if I deserve to exist (Deborah Smith, Author, Publisher)

The post The Morning Coffee – 15 July 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

At Long Last: Indie Bookseller Named Official Bookseller for National Book Festival

Posted: 14 Jul 2014 04:40 PM PDT

poster_enlarge[1]After 5 long years of national chains outbidding indies for the privilege, the 14th annual National Book Festival is finally going to feature a local indie bookstore as the official bookseller.

The ABA announced last week that Politics & Prose, the venerable Washington DC bookseller, had been named to the role. This is the first time an indie bookseller has won the contract for the annual festival, which last year drew more than 200,000 visitors to the National Mall.

The position of official bookseller was established (so far as I can tell*) in 2009, and for the first 5 years the position was filled by either Borders or Barnes & Noble. The national chains used their distribution networks to supply the thousands of books purchased at the festival, many of which are signed by the over 100 authors in attendance.

This year P&P will be making all those sales, with the support of Ingram. Over 15,000 copies have been ordered for the festival, which will be held on 30 August in the DC Convention Center (another first).

Politics & Prose co-owner Bradley Graham had pitched the idea of using an indie bookseller to FleishmanHillard , the pr firm which handled the bidding process. Graham  noted that “One of the arguments I used was that independents are very involved in other major book festivals in other parts of the country, whether it's Miami or Boston or Los Angeles or elsewhere.” He added: “I thought that not only could we handle the job, but that it would be a signal, if an independent bookstore got the contract, that indies are still alive and well in this country and capable of handling large projects like this".

This is going to be the largest event which Politics and Prose has participated in, but it’s not their first book festival.  The bookseller is also a partner with the Gaithersburg Book Festival, which draws about 20,000 people to southern Maryland in May.

Politics & Prose is an example of the resurgence of indie booksellers as the big box chains give way to Amazon. In addition to promoting local events, P&P also carries Kobo hardware, sells ebooks, and offers POD services via their Espresso Book Machine.

P.S. I can’t find any sign that there was an official bookseller position before 2009. If I am wrong please let me know. I for one would like to know if P&P really is the first indie to hold the position.

Washington Post

The post At Long Last: Indie Bookseller Named Official Bookseller for National Book Festival appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Kobo Rolls Out Firmware Update for Aura, Glo, Aura HD

Posted: 14 Jul 2014 11:07 AM PDT

Kobo_Glo[1]Kobo released a new update (v3.5) for their ereaders late last week, and they also released an update the the Kobo PC app (v3.9).

I don’t have details on the changes to the PC app, but early user reports posted at MobileRead are saying that kobo has made significant improvements with this latest firmware.

Among the changes mentioned: the v3.5 update improved the scrolling animation in the web browser, sped up the sync process, and fixed a number of bugs.  There’s also a report that the long paragraph bug is fixed, and that this update adds support for the new cursed Adobe DRM. There is also one report that collections are no longer being displayed “in a weird order”.

One beta tester also reports that Kobo improved the annotation features, including the changes made in the v3.4.1 firmware (some of which didn’t work well). Other subtle changes include the state of the frontlight now being remembered across sleep, power off, and connection to PC (it used to default to off).

The firmware updates should be sent out automatically over the next few weeks, but if you don’t want to wait then you can find download links and instructions over on MobileRead.

Here is a partial list of the updates and changes which users and beta testers are reporting:

  • Less flashing when scrolling in the browser
  • Support for new Adobe DRM
  • Better Annotations Experience
  • Various Bug Fixes
  • Stability Improvements
  • Long paragraph bug fixed for Epubs!
  • The frontlight returns to the same level as before waking the device from sleep or unplugging from a PC.
  • Faster sync.
  • If “Track reading activity” is not selected, the reading stats tile is no longer displayed after finishing a book.
  • Search
    • Radio buttons for location replaced with drop-down at end of list
    • Sort options in result list


The post Kobo Rolls Out Firmware Update for Aura, Glo, Aura HD appeared first on The Digital Reader.

iFlipd’s Rental/Sharing eBook App Has Potential for eBook Discovery

Posted: 14 Jul 2014 07:28 AM PDT

144660-c6b0b2ddbab89e558f3a2917375d7d7c-medium_jpg[1]A new ebook startup crossed my desk this morning (found via DBW) which I think has a hidden potential for helping readers find new books to buy still generating revenues for publishers.

iFlipd is a two year old startup that wants to adapt the weekly rental idea from movies to ebooks. It was founded in late 2012, raised $200,000 last November, and according to they are currently trying to raise $1.4 million.

The service is currently only available to iPad owners, but an Android app is in the works. The iPad app is buggy  (it won’t work right on my iPad 2), but nevertheless I am still intrigued by the idea that iFlipd is trying to promote.

iFlipd wants to charge $2 for a week-long rental. Their selection is currently limited, so there is nothing that I would want to pay to read, but if you did rent an ebook and finish it early you could then flip it to another user. The ebook would go into a pool, and if another user takes it out of the pool they would pay $1 to finish out the rental period. (It’s also possible to continue to rent an ebook until you reach the sale price, effectively buying the ebook.))

I haven’t had a chance to use the iFlipd app (the interface hangs off the bottom left corner of my screen). iFlipd also uses a faux book design for reading ebooks, which turns me off. Nevertheless I am still interested in iFlipd.

In spite of the technical issues, I think this is a platform worth investing in. The business model for iFlipd might repel the major publishers ($2 for a 7-day rental which can be shared is just not a lot of money), which is a shame because iFlipd has hidden potential for discovery.


If you look at iFlipd in terms of its own revenue stream, it probably won’t amount to enough to interest publishers. But when you consider it in terms of sales it can generate elsewhere then it suddenly becomes more appealing.

I am talking about discovery.

Between kids, work, and life, there are a lot of people who won’t be able to finish a rented ebook in 7 days. They’ll either need to rent it again, or go out and buy a copy – and that’s where iFlipd offers value to publishers. It has the potential to generate ebook sales elsewhere, and what’s more the sharing aspect could generate two sales.

At the same time, iFlipd offers value to readers by letting them sample a book at low cost and low risk, giving them a chance to find ebooks they want to buy. So in addition to generating a small amount of rental revenue, iFlipd could also act as a catalyst for ebook sales. And that is an idea worth considering.

I don’t know that publishers should throw their own money at iFlipd, but I would definitely throw a few ebooks their way – much like HC and S&S have signed deals with Oyster and Scribd.

One advantage iFlipd has over Oyster and Scribd is that the latter don’t encourage additional sales; they in fact can discourage sales  as readers spend more time reading in the Scribd or Oyster apps. iFlipd could well prove to work exactly the opposite.

And what with HarperCollins and S&S both willing to experiment in the subscription ebook market, I think we could soon hear of similar deals with iFlipd.



Silicon Florist

The post iFlipd’s Rental/Sharing eBook App Has Potential for eBook Discovery appeared first on The Digital Reader.

The Morning Coffee – 14 July 2014

Posted: 13 Jul 2014 09:01 PM PDT

BsYlYMQCMAAYBST[1]Your reading list this Monday morning includes a timeline of the Amazon-Hachette contract dispute, awful dinner parties in fiction, and more.

The post The Morning Coffee – 14 July 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment