Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 20 November 2014

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 06:15 PM PST

Must-read stories for fine Thursday morning includes a reminder that as bad as consumer ebooks are libraries have it worse, what’s wrong with framing reuse of copyrighted material as theft, a review of Scribd’s audiobook selection,  and more.

The post The Morning Coffee – 20 November 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Are Parents Under-Reporting the eBooks They Buy for Their Kids?

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 03:26 PM PST

3132662146_b305c1c058[1]One common concern with consumer surveys is that the respondents might not answer truthfully. Whether through unconscious bias or simple oversight, there’s always a chance that data from a survey might not be as reliable as it would appear.

It looks like Neilsen may have identified one such set of unreliable data:

For Nielsen's Children's Books in the Digital World report, parents of kids 12 and younger were asked the format of the last book they bought for their children. Ninety-six percent of parents of children up to age 6 reported buying a print book, and 94% of parents of children 7-12 said they bought a print book. However, Nielsen's Books and Consumer research on reported book sales shows that 25%-32% of children's books were purchased as e-books in the first-quarter of 2014. So based on this data, parents aren’t coming clean about their purchasing behavior, which suggests that they may be under-reporting their e-book purchases.

I don’t have any data on specifically YA/kids ebook sales in relation to that category, but even in the absence of data I don’t think they’re wrong. I think parents are under-reporting the number of ebooks they buy for their kids, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say that “parents appear to have a bias toward print”.

Rather, I would bet that the discrepancy comes from a subconscious  bias, or rather an oversight. I think more parents don’t connect the act of paying for an ebook on their mobile device with that of buying a paper book – at least, not until they reconcile their checkbooks.

I don’t think it’s anything overt; if that were the case the parents wouldn’t be buying ebooks, wouldn’t you agree?

Why do you think parents are under-reporting the number of ebooks they buy for their kids?

image by  by boltron-

The post Are Parents Under-Reporting the eBooks They Buy for Their Kids? appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Germans Call for Reduced Taxes on eBooks

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 12:30 PM PST

bookmarkedThe US may be blessed with lower taxes on the ebooks we buy (it’s the downside of fewer social services) but most of Europe isn’t so lucky. In Europe ebooks are taxes as a service with 17% to 25% VAT bundled into the retail price (and not the 5% to 12% most EU member countries apply to paper books) and a lot of people are not happy about that.

Bitkom released the results of a survey today which shows that there is strong support in Germany for lowering the taxes on ebooks. Almost none out of ten Germans (87%) support charging a lower tax of 7% on ebooks sold in that country rather than the full 19% collected on most goods and services.

The results are based on a survey of 2,310 German consumers which showed that only 8% of respondents thought that ebooks should be taxed at a different rate than paper books, and 5% actually took the position that paer books should be taxed at a higher rate.

Bitkom calls on the German gov’t to respond by lowering the tax rate, noting that a recent EU court ruling (C219 / 13-K, dated 11 September 2014)  gave the gov’t leeway to do so.

The topic of taxes on ebooks is becoming a pressing issue as the new year approaches. Thanks to a change in EU tax law, retailers will soon have to start collecting taxes based on where the customer is located in the EU, and not where the retailer is located. The change neatly wipes out what is known as the Amazon loophole, the sweetheart deal that Amazon (and a number of other retailers) secured by setting up their ebook operations in Luxembourg or other low tax environs.

The change in EU tax law is expected to increase the average price of ebooks in some parts of the EU, including the UK, but it’s not clear how Germany and other parts will be affected.

A number of countries have fixed price book laws, including Germany, so the price of ebooks published in those countries cannot go up without direct publisher action. eBooks published elsewhere, on the other hand, might see a price increase. The KDP contract suggests that Amazon may have that power, and their less public contracts with publishers outside of Germany might also grant them some wiggle room on price.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Self Publishing Bibel

images by pj_vanf


The post Germans Call for Reduced Taxes on eBooks appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Amazon Starts Black Friday Deals Early With Discount on Fire Tablet, Kindle

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 08:03 AM PST

Fire HD 7, 7Shipping delays on the Fire Stick dongle got you down? Amazon wants to make it up to you.

The retailer is running a couple specials today on their ereaders and tablets. To start, Amazon has the Fire HD 7 tablet on sale for $20 off. Buy it today and you can get it for $119.

Fire HD 7

And that’s not all. Amazon is also offering a special bundle on Prime membership. Sign up or renew your Prime membership today, and you can get $40 off of a Kindle.

In order to get this deal, add a Prime membership to your cart, and then add a Kindle.  When you check out the bundle discount of $40 will be applied (I tried it and I saw the discount).

Are you planning to take Amazon up on either deal?

The post Amazon Starts Black Friday Deals Early With Discount on Fire Tablet, Kindle appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Why Facebook Won’t Replace Amazon as “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore”

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 07:30 AM PST

1244497565_9e46dc7fc1_m[1]There’s no end to the speculation of whether one tech giant will replace another and that includes Amazon and Facebook.

As unlikely as it may sound, last week Bloomberg editor Mark Gimen floated the idea that Facebook, with its billion plus userbase, will eventually replace Amazon as the world’s biggest bookstore.

When I reported on this story last week, I was less than certain that the idea was impossible. I concluded it was improbable, but I knew that people were already selling stuff on Facebook, including ebooks, and that fact kept me from dismissing it out of hand.

The comment section over at The Passive Voice was less tentative than I. Starting with PG, who pointed out that  “Facebook tends to evolve in a manner that chases him away”, the social network has not proven terribly popular among this segment of the book crowd.

One commenter, Mir, concurred with PG, saying that:

I hear a lot of griping from friends about changes on FB. And I'm not happy with them either. I remain for convenience and out of habit. But I will move to the next place. I don't feel an undying loyalty to FB. The ads are more and more annoying and my feed less and less comprehensive and pertinent.

1245345652_b40b969aa2[1]And she’s not the only one; a significant number of the comments concurred with the feeling that Facebook wasn’t actually all that inviting or friendly.

And one commenter went further. Noting that he was amazed how people write articles like the one on Bloomberg and assume that Amazon's market dominance “just happened”, Jay explained why it would be hard for any company, much less Facebook, to replace Amazon:

First, the difference between Facebook and Amazon. I'd argue that luck was the single biggest factor in the success of Facebook. It got all the right breaks and grew so quickly that its size became its value. It's an annoying cumbersome thing I never understood, and until I set up an author page, I never used it. But it is huge and that alone provides tremendous value and momentum. While a lot of people are addicted to the social media aspects of Facebook, I don't see a lot of people screaming how much they love the company itself.

Amazon has been dedicated to providing a good customer experience since they opened as a bookstore and offered free shipping on everything for a while. I go out of my way to shop at Amazon. I'm sick of stores with long lines or one that are always out of what I want. I'm tired of stores like BN, where it is clear they don't give a rat's a** about the customer experience anymore. Amazon is often cheaper than other stores, but even when they're not, I will pay a little more because I know I am unlikely to have a bad customer experience. As a customer, I DON'T WANT an alternative to Amazon, not while Amazon is executing the way they are.

Felix Torres had a slightly different take, and pointed out that Amazon is doing a much better job at satisfying everyone:

At Facebook, like at Google, the user is the product instead of the customer.

At Amazon, everybody is both customer and product, which means Amazon has to walk a tightrope to satisfy both customers and suppliers. They generally manage it through good (prices+support) for customers and delivering high sales volume to suppliers. It is what Bill Gates termed a virtuous cycle: the more merchandise they move the better they can justify they supplier terms which makes it easier to satisfy more buyers.

In short, this is an idea which it is fairly safe to put into the roundfile. People might be on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that they want to do business with Facebook or even like the company enough to shop there.

images by longhorndave,


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B&N (Officially) Launches Nook Audiobook App for Android

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 06:16 AM PST

2940147235485_p0_v11_s260x420[1]Barnes & Noble’s two-week-old audiobook app got its official launch today, but it’s still only available for Android.

The new Nook Audiobook App offers access to a catalog of 50,000 titles, including Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Heist (Fox and O’Hare Series #1) by Janet Evanovich, and Seabiscuit by Lauren Hillenbrand, and you can find the app in Google Play and the Nook App Store.

All in all, there is little new to report. As I reported two weeks ago, the audiobooks are only accessible through the app, and cannot be purchased, downloaded, or streamed through the B&N website. In fact, the relevant page on that site simply directs you to download the app. The app still requires a completely different set of CC data from the info I gave B&N on its website, which is only now beginning to make sense (I will explain this in a later post).

Just about the only new news today is that B&N is promoting the app with free audiobooks. B&N mentions in the press release that customers who download the Nook Audiobook App for the first time will receive two free audiobooks from a select list of top titles. The free titles will change weekly,  and right now listeners can choose from Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, Ender’s Game (Ender Quintet #1) by Orson Scott Card, Gone Girlby Gillian Flynn, The Heist (Fox and O’Hare Series #1) by Janet Evanovich and Seabiscuit by Lauren Hillenbrand.



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