All stories relating to Kindle
- Neil Gaiman fights back against accusations that he’s a thieving “pencil-necked little weasel”
- Happy foot, sad foot: how the podiatry sign became a literary symbol
- William T. Vollmann’s new Kindle single is filled with danger
- Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu reinvents Kerouac
- Director Jean Seaton says the theme of this year’s Orwell Prize shortlist is fear
- VIDEO: Poetry fan recites Ken Babstock’s “To Inflame the Civic Temper” at the DMV, courtesy of How Pedestrian
- Kathleen Winter and Emma Donoghue shortlisted for 2011 Orange Prize; judge declares women’s writing in “rude health”
- Michael Crummey’s Galore is the only Canadian novel on the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award shortlist
- Winnipeg artist Ray Fenwick transforms used book covers into typographical art
- What your favourite childhood book says about you now
- This link brought to you by Amazon’s cheaper model Kindle, now with ad content
Sundry links from around the Web:
- Robert Fulford on the “long service in the trench warfare of editing” of Oxford University Press’s William Toye
- The Association of American Publishers reports a staggering 116 per cent increase in e-book sales in January, but most other categories are down
- The British government downplays concerns that legal protections for U.K. libraries are under threat
- As Borders outlines downsizing, Australia’s RedGroup Retail lays off 26 head-office staff
- The battle to get Amazon to collect sales taxes in the U.S. is heating up; plus, is the free Kindle just around the corner?
- The New York Times launches new paywall in Canada today; the rest of the world will have to wait until March 28
- Salon’s Laura Miller on James Frey’s latest contrived controversy
Last week, the Internet behemoth Google launched its e-book sales site, Google eBooks, in the U.S. The e-book market is now crowded with offerings from Amazon, Kobo, Apple, and Sony, which in turn has spawned a cottage industry for articles about the future of reading and the future of publishing. Amid all this cacophony, it’s small wonder publishers have responded to the rapidly diversifying marketplace with a mixture of fear and confusion.
In Australia, a consortium called the Book Industry Strategy Group is directly petitioning readers about their reading habits, desires, and preferences as a way of gaining clearer insights into the way forward. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Barry Jones, chair of the BISG, states that the group is “seeking ideas from all Australians on how to face the challenges of the digital age, and to turn them into opportunities.” Jones suggests that opportunities lie in the flexibility and ready availability of e-books as against their print counterparts:
Where Amazon and Apple have got it right is the immediacy of purchasing an eBook. Both the Kindle and the iPad come with wireless connectivity to the Amazon and Apple stores, respectively. In the case of the Kindle, if you have an Amazon account, the Kindle comes preconfigured with your details so you can buy a book at 3am if you so desire. New York Times technology writer Nick Bilton calls this Me Economics, which is really just instant gratification in book buying. But it beats late-night television.
And although Jones throws a bone to those of us who still enjoy reading printed books (which he refers to as “pBooks”), it is clear that the digital arena is where he and his group are most invested:
And what about people who like the smell of books or the feel of books, or the cover artwork, or who just want to scribble over the pages? No, these sorts of people will mix up their reading habits and buy both pBooks and eBooks.
Public libraries are starting to offer access to eBooks via downloads or by access, by borrowers, to subscriptions taken out by the library. We want to hear about these initiatives and your experiences with them.
School kids will agree that carrying an eReader with all their textbooks on it beats carrying a heavy school bag with all their textbooks in it. And textbooks form a large part of the book industry in Australia. Can we hear your thoughts?
The public can submit comments and suggestions to the BISG until Jan. 31, 2011. One hopes that they will be slightly more innovative and nuanced than the sort of shopworn analysis Jones allows himself above.
Agents everywhere shuddered and screened their calls today as Amazon.com allowed authors to view their own sales data from Nielsen’s BookScan. A handy map of the U.S. highlights how many copies in each state have sold. From the L.A. Times:
The data, provided by Nielsen BookScan, include nationwide sales information from Barnes & Noble, Target and other big-box brick-and-mortar retailers, from Amazon.com and from some independent booksellers. Nielsen estimates that BookScan captures 75% of print book sales in the U.S. retail market.
BookScan’s sales tallies do not currently include sales of e-books, for the Kindle or other devices.
Authors who use Amazon’s Author Central will see a geographic sales map of books sold during a four-week window, with a lag of about a week. Early Thursday, the sales figures displayed included Nov. 1 to 28; later Thursday, Amazon expects a new week to load, so the information will span Nov. 8 through Dec. 5.
This is the closest thing to real-time aggregate sales data available to publishers, and it hasn’t been cheap. Nielsen’s BookScan, now a decade old, began to find widespread enrollment with major publishers in 2004, when fees ran $100,000 and more per year.
It would have been far beyond the reach of most individual authors, if it had been available to them.
Today’s book news:
Today’s book news:
- Scandal! Amazon charging Kindle users for free Project Gutenberg titles
- Sex! British media personality sues Sunday Times for writing that she “snogged” Salman Rushdie
- Passion! Nabokov’s love letters to be published in English next year
- Madness! “Writers Needed” spam drives Twitter users crazy
- Rednecks! Glenn Beck book event to be simulcast in 537 American movie theatres
Today’s book news:
Today’s book news:
- Paperback thrown at Obama
- Adam Gopnik wonders what literary prizes are for
- Amazon launches Kindle Singles (not to be confused with Kraft Singles)
- Salman Rushdie to write memoir about years in hiding
- Orange Prize organizers drop award for new writers
- Emma Donoghue’s Room bookshelf
This Tuesday, Amazon unveiled a Beta test of its new Kindle for the Web, an application allowing users to read and embed the first chapters of selected Kindle titles online. Accessible from Amazon’s individual book overview pages, Kindle for the Web is a free program requiring no downloads or program installations. Through the Amazon Associates program, it even offers referral fees to bloggers embedding Kindle book samples on their personal sites.
Unlike Amazon’s Search Inside the Book, which shows a scanned copy of the physical book, the new application shows the Kindle edition. According to Amazon:
We help our customers discover and sample books to ensure that they’ll be satisfied with their purchases. Our agreements with publishers and copyright holders currently limit how much of the book is available for preview. We continue to work with publishers to expand these limits.
Galleycat reports: “Digital Book World tweeted this morning: ‘This may actually qualify as game-changing.’” With easily-accessible previews of Kindle titles embedded on non-Amazon websites, the application will, likely, provide simple and effective marketing for the digital publications.