- Why Hachette Had to Settle: Revenues Fell 18% in Third Quarter
- Penguin UK CEO: Readers Don’t Want Subscriptions
- Could Facebook Replace Amazon as “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore”?
- Amazon Rolls Out Update for the Kindle, Adds WordWise, Family Library
Posted: 14 Nov 2014 02:18 PM PST
Much ink has been spilt over the past day on the subject of Amazon, Hachette, and their new book contract, and while we don’t know who got the better end of the deal there is strong evidence to suggest that Hachette blinked first.
Buried under the news coverage of the new contract was another story which offers insight into Hachette’s motivations. PW reported yesterday that Hachette’s US revenues were down considerably from last year:
While revenues were down in most of Lagardère’s publishing divisions, the sharpest decline by far happened in the US and was likely due to the ongoing contract dispute with Amazon.
Given the steep decline in revenues and the timing of news, I think it’s clear that Hachette struck a deal before they released the quarterly report, before they had to admit just how big of hit they took from letting the contract lapse earlier this year.
If they had waited until after the quarterly report, I bet Amazon would have turned the screws another notch – or even worse, let the negotiations drag on until after the lucrative holiday season had already begun.
And with S&S already having signed a deal with Amazon, there wasn’t going to be any chance of another major publisher negotiating with Amazon for another 9 months. That’s much longer that Hachette could have afforded to wait.
image by Ida Myrvold
The post Why Hachette Had to Settle: Revenues Fell 18% in Third Quarter appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 14 Nov 2014 09:32 AM PST
Earlier today Tom Weldon of Penguin Random House UK revealed that PRH would not be getting into the subscription ebook market. Speaking at The Bookseller’s Futurebook conference, the CEO for a branch of the world’s largest trade publisher said that:
He went on to add that PRH wasn’t planning to become a retailer, either, but that’s the lesser story today than the fact that a senior manager at PRH offered a completely nonsensical reason to avoid the subscription ebook market.
It’s not just that his explanation doesn’t stand up to scrutiny; it’s also nonsense. One doesn’t simply refuse to offer a service because one is “not convinced” that consumers want it. That is what polls are for, or even better one could always run a pilot test in a small market and let consumers vote with their pocketbooks.
What’s more, polling and market studies aren’t required to answer the question of whether consumers want this type of service; just keeping up on the news will tell you that they do.
That explanation just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
Posted: 14 Nov 2014 07:06 AM PST
Mark Gimen thinks that social networks like Facebook are where you’re going to find the future bookstores. Working from the current state of the news industry, which is depending more and more on Facebook for traffic, he suggests that Facebook could be the next platform for selling books:
I don’t think it’s terribly likely to come to pass, but I’m also not going to dismiss this out of hand.
As I pointed out in July it is already possible to sell stuff on Facebook. There are companies that can help an author set up a store. It costs a lot more than 50 cents per copy, but the costs will go down if the idea of using FB as a sales platform bear fruit.
But even though it is possible to sell ebooks on FB, I don’t see that it becoming common – not unless a major retailer gets behind the idea (and why would they, when it’s someone else’s platform). There’s more to selling a book than just the financial transaction and it involves skills and activities that publishers don’t do very well, including discovery, customer service, promotion, and sales.
It takes a retailer to sell a lot of books, and once you’ve built up the infrastructure and business processes to support bookselling, you might as well launch a website where you can better control the buying experience.
It’s that whole “controlling your own platform” idea that is probably going to keep social networks from being able to replace Amazon as a channel for selling books (that, and DRM).
What do you think?
The post Could Facebook Replace Amazon as “Earth's Biggest Bookstore”? appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 14 Nov 2014 04:51 PM PST
Amazon has released an update today for the Kindle Voyage, the Kindle (2014), and the second-gen Kindle Paperwhite (but not the Paperwhite released in 2012). I haven’t had a chance to test all of the features, but the changelog says that the updated added:
The update should be pushed out to Kindles over the next few weeks, but if you don’t want to wait you can install it manually. Simply download the update from Amazon, copy it to your Kindle over USB, and then unplug the USB cable. The Kindle should recognize the update and install it (you will need a charged battery, of course).
The post Amazon Rolls Out Update for the Kindle, Adds WordWise, Family Library appeared first on The Digital Reader.
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