Things to Read: May 24, 2012


In this issue First up we have Amazon and its future in advertising, as well as a note that Amazon isn’t really the biggest dog in the fight —not reading is. The DOJ gets an open letter from Mike Shatzkin; the death knell of DRM continues being sung; and ebooks become fancy catalogs with excerpts. On the one hand, Amazon wants to be your ebook distributor, but on the other, Ingram is busy sewing up distribution deals with Christian publishing houses as fast as it can. Houghton Mifflin declares bankruptcy. And we read that social sharing around books ought to be focused on common interests, not our contact list. Meanwhile, Hachette dips its toe in the water with a Facebook app for book excerpts.

  1. Amazon
    Why advertising could become Amazon’s knockout punch

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    « It all started harmlessly enough with Amazon’s Kindle with Special Offers. That’s the cheaper Kindle that displays ads when the device is in sleep mode or at the bottom of the screen when paging through the owner’s catalog of books…. Make no mistake about the fact that Amazon would love to see ebook pricing approach zero. That’s right. Zero. That might seem outlandish but isn’t that exactly what they’re doing with their Kindle Owner’s Lending Library program? Now you can read ebooks for free as part of your Prime membership. The cost of Prime didn’t go up, so they’ve essentially made the consumer price of those ebooks zero. Why wouldn’t they take the same approach with in-book advertising?… »

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  2. Amazon
    Booksellers vs libraries? Publishers vs Amazon? This is the wrong fight.

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    « Today the real competition for booksellers, publishers and libraries is NOT READING. • Four months ago, it mattered if libraries were or weren’t a direct threat to booksellers. Today, this question is irrelevant. What matters is that the participants in the industry aren’t innovating at the pace readers are seeking and expecting solutions v. reading’s alternatives.… »

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  3. DOJ
    Letter to the DOJ about the collusion lawsuit and settlement

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    « My first concern is that there is a failure of recognition of the necessity for price-setting of individual titles across the ebook supply chain. Indeed, only by eliminating price as a basis of competition can we have any ultimately have balanced competition in the real world of publishing as digital change has remade it.… »

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  4. DRM
    E-books may take a page out of digital music’s book

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    « On Friday, an association of e-book publishers—including major companies such as Harper Collins, Random House, and Barnes & Noble—issued a statement suggesting an outline for a new “Lightweight DRM.” This proposed Digital Rights Management standard could increase interoperability of books on hardware like e-readers. • Don’t get excited yet—the outline was only an invitation to a conversation that the association, called the International Digital Publishing Forum, wants to have. Still, it suggests the traditionally conservative publishing industry is learning how to do business in the Internet era. Hopefully, publishing is realizing something that the music industry has known for years: DRM is dead.… »

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  5. ebooks
    Free Publishers Lunch e-book offers excerpts from hot fall titles

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    « Book publishing industry newsletter and website Publishers Lunch is previewing hot fall titles — by authors like Junot Diaz, Dennis Lehane and Barbara Kingsolver — in a free e-book, "BEA Buzz Books," ahead of major publishing fair BookExpo America in June in New York.… »

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  6. ebooks
    Disintermediating Amazon

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    « E-books, and the Internet, and with them the prospect of lightning-fast distribution, high efficiency, and minimal, or nonexistent, returns. Perhaps we in the industry are so used to being glum that we refuse to see the thrilling opportunity in front of us. We remain committed to doing business the way it’s always been done. Despite a computer on every desk and exciting new marketing tools online, we perpetuate the same old system, working through retailers and treating the electronic world as simply a tool to augment our presence in the real world. And it means wrestling with Amazon over how to sell. It’s a match that publishers are likely to lose—consumers like getting books for less money—but this is not a battle publishers have to fight, unless they refuse to evolve.… »

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  7. ebooks
    Simon & Schuster offers free ebook sampler

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    « Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., announced today that in celebration of five powerful, original new novels coming this summer, it will release a promotional fiction sampler as both an interactive app and in an ebook edition. The Free Press Summer Fiction Sampler app will include extended excerpts and extra content including videos, photos, and more from The Folded Earth by Anuradha Roy, Shelter by Frances Greenslade, Some Kind of Peace by Camilla Grebe and Åsa Träff, Gone to the Forest by Katie Kitamura, and The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy. The free interactive app is available now for the iPad and will soon be available in editions for other tablet devices.… »

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  8. ebooks
    Cadre of Christian publishers do deal with Ingram’s CoreSource for sales & distribution

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    « As Christian publishers develop new business models to succeed in today’s digital market, more, including David C Cook, R.H Boyd Publishing, Our Sunday Visitor, Abingdon Press, and Worthy Publishing are selecting Ingram Content Group’s CoreSource® products for the distribution, sales and management of e-books.… Ingram’s CoreSource is an easy-to-use, online solution for the storage, management, and distribution of digital content. CoreSource delivers a secure, searchable content repository and a high-capacity data distribution network, allowing publishers to move digital content easily and swiftly from their organization to any channel partner globally. Lightning Source, the print-on-demand unit of Ingram Content Group, is the leading provider of comprehensive print-on-demand and distribution services to publishers worldwide.… »

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  9. houghton mifflin
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt files for bankruptcy

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    « Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the book publishing giant, has filed for bankruptcy protection to eliminate $3.1 billion in debt. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt had been struggling with heavy debt for years. • Houghton Mifflin said its day-to-day operations will continue as normal under bankruptcy protection, and it expects to complete the process by the end of June.… »

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  10. houghton mifflin
    Houghton Mifflin: The dog ate our business

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    « HMH reiterates, as it has said before, that education comprises “approximately 90 percent” of sales, with trade/reference accounting for the rest. By that measure, the HMH trade division had sales of approximately $130 million in 2011. When the parent company considered–and then rejected–selling the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt trade unit in early 2009, those trade sales were roughly estimated as approximately $150 million. At the same time, in March 2009, the WSJ said the parent company was projecting sales of $2.2 billion for the year (bearing in mind that they rarely met any of their own projections.)… »

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  11. Social Media
    Social reading should focus on common interests rather than friend status

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    « Social reading is gaining momentum. There are quite a few startups involved in this space, and most of them simply assume your Facebook friends share the same reading interests you do. ReadSocial is different. In this TOC interview, we hear from ReadSocial co-founder Travis Alber (@screenkapture) on why they’re building their platform without tying it to your social graph. • Publishers play a role, too — Note that Travis talks about publishers as well as readers here. You can’t just have a “build it and they will come” mentality with social reading. Publishers need to take the initiative and add value by inserting comments, managing groups, etc. [Discussed at 2:00.]… »

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  12. Social Media
    Hachette launches ChapterShare Facebook app for book excerpts

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    « Michael Pietsch, Publisher of Little, Brown and Company and Executive Vice President of Hachette Book Group,announces the launch of ChapterShare, a new Facebook application designed to make the sharing of book excerpts a highly social experience. • ChapterShare createsa unique seamless, high-quality reading experience within Facebook. Using it, Hachette’s publishing divisions and authors will be able to post chapters froma forthcoming novel on their Facebook page. In addition to reading the excerpt, readers can then instantly preorder the book and share a link to the sample chapters with all their friends on Facebook.… »

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Note: This resource has been curated for your enjoyment and education. It is intended to reflect what publishers and leaders in the Christian publishing industry are thinking and talking about — it does not reflect the positions or opinions of Zondervan, its authors, agents, employees, or leadership.

Things to Read: May 10, 2012


Featured in this main issue: Wherein we read about how our technological culture is changing not only the way people read, but how people become readers in the first place. Meanwhile, Pottermore is magically changing the way the Amazon behemoth sells books while Target is transforming Kindles into thin air. Microsoft and Barnes & Noble will start sharing a Nook — perhaps they’ll find a way to let all those penniless iOS developers finally make a buck. Kid’s publishers are taken to task for being too white, DRM is on the ropes, and the Author’s Guild soldiers on in its quest to tilt against the Google windmill.

  1. The Reader & Technology: How technology is changing readers and writers

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    « I think writers will continue to occur but technology and its trivia will cause us to lose something, just as we lost something when we lost the classical education. We write worse because we cannot write classical prose. Yet classical prose is useless for describing the world of 2012, the world that is there – ready to buzz – in your pocket or bag. • Our perceptions outrun the sedentary sentence by much too much; just as we listen to mp3s to hear what an album would sound like were we actually to sit down and listen to it, so we skim-read the classic books to get a sense of what they would be like were we to sit down and dwell on them.… »

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  2. Pottermore’s Riddikulus spell transformed Amazon from a fierce ebook retailer into a tame ebook shop window

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    « In a similar way, Pottermore transformed Amazon from a fierce ebook retailer into a tame ebook shop window. Pottermore uses Amazon (and all other ebook retailers online) as an affiliate which attracts customers to their ebook store in exchange for a finder’s fee. Thus, Pottermore gains direct access to the end user details (alongside Amazon as both companies know that the user has purchased the ebook). This ‘charm’ is really transformative as it really shifts the power from the retailer to the publisher. The publisher gains are significant…… »

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  3. Target will yank Kindles by Mother’s Day

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    « According to a memo obtained by The Verge, Target will stop carrying Kindles in its stores or on its website after Mother’s Day… the change is due to a “conflict of interest. The memo says “Target has reviewed our product assortment and has made the decision to no longer carry Amazon hardware (i.e., Kindle). … »
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  4. Microsoft to invest in Barnes & Noble’s Nook

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    « Microsoft Corp. is pledging $605 million to help bolster Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook digital-book business.… As part of its investment, Microsoft is taking a 17.6% stake in a new subsidiary that will include the e-book division and Barnes & Noble’s college bookstores unit, which operates 641 stores.… Barnes & Noble committed to creating a Nook e-reading app for Windows 8—a forthcoming Microsoft operating system that will be used in tablet-style hardware and PCs—and for smartphones powered by Microsoft software.… The companies also will share revenue from sales of e-books and other content.… »

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  5. Apps usually fail: 60% of iOS developers lose money on apps (infographic)

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    « Nearly 60 percent of iOS developers don’t break even with the apps that they create and market, according to a recent study by App Promo. While we hear a lot about blockbuster hits like Draw Something or Angry Birds Space, it’s all too easy for apps to get lost in the crowd of more than 600,0… only 12 percent of apps earned $50,000 or more and that this “top earner” subset spent an average of 14 percent of their time on marketing. … »

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  6. Mainstream children’s book publishers do a sad, sad job meeting the needs of Latino readers

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    « In 2050, there will be more school-age Latino children than school-age non-Hispanic white children. … Yet, why haven’t these facts resonated with the one industry that is supposed to know children the best but has done the worst job of reflecting today’s playground reality — mainstream children’s book publishers? … There may be a simple reason: About 75% of children’s book buyers are white.… »

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  7. The DOJ’s Publishing Lawsuit May Doom Digital Rights Management

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    « In London this year, says Lorraine Shanley of publishing consultancy Market Partners International, more mainstream publishing executives are talking seriously about ending DRM restrictions. “It would allow individual publishers much more flexibility with their own content and in making it available directly to consumers,” says Shanley. “And it would allow consumers to access content without getting locked into one device—e.g., the Kindle.”… »

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  8. Latest developments from Authors Guild class action suit against Google

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    « From the questions he asked from the bench, it certainly seems like Judge Denny Chin wants to see the Authors Guild lawsuit against Google and its library book-scanning program proceed as a class action. But after a morning of oral arguments in Manhattan, it is unclear if that can happen.… After more than six years, the Authors Guild case against Google could now go to trial as early as September. Even if Judge Chin finds for Google and denies the Authors Guild associational standing, Authors Guild officials have said the case against Google will go on.… »

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  9. May 10, 2012 – More Things to Read

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    « herein we read portents of doom to page-oriented composition and layout due to the rise of reading via display, not paper. And speaking of that, Logos/Vyrso announce adding 1 thousand new titles to it’s reading/ebook platform, plus a new epublisher joins the fray, spun off from well-known agency group, Alive Communications. We read that maybe your next book project will come from the blogosphere, we learn what’s wrong with book reviewers, and what’s up with February’s sales stats. With a very short long tail, WND is appropriately pround of their bestseller titles and open-source textbooks have never really been a threat…until now—a university will be curating a database of peer-reviewed, quality textbooks.… »

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Note: This resource has been curated for your enjoyment and education. It is intended to reflect what publishers and leaders in the Christian publishing industry are thinking and talking about — it does not reflect the positions or opinions of Zondervan, its authors, agents, employees, or leadership.

Things to Read: April 19, 2012

  1. In this issue: The DOJ ebook lawsuit, The Story and Zondervan’s new UK distribution plans, BookShout, Thomas Nelson’s new Bible, Westbow Press, Spring book buzz, publishers & digital evolution, J.R.R Tolkien’s & Charles Dickens’ descendants, libraries & book discoverability, and ABS Bible survey results for 2012.
  2. Everything you need to know about the DOJ ebook lawsuit in one post

    « This is a big story and publishers, consumers and retailers may see the ramifications of today’s lawsuit for months or even years to come. Here’s what you need to know now.… »
  3. Introducing The Story as Zondervan partners with IVP for UK distribution

    « IVP will take on exclusive distribution rights for Zondervan’s range of CCARR resources, with product shipping via IVP as from July 1st.…The IVP distribution agreement also introduces The Story, a joint Hodder & Stoughton-Zondervan project, to the UK marketplace.… »
  4. BookShout! platform to make ereading interactive

    « Developed over the last 2 years for the Christian market—where small groups are part of the DNA—BookShout! allows users to not only read a book but to further experience, discuss and dialogue about it with others.… »
    See Also:
    What is BookShout!? on YouTube
    BookShout on Twitter
    BookShout on Facebook
  5. The Bible gets new voice: Thomas Nelson translation formatted like a screenplay

    « Seven years in the making, The Voice is the latest entry into the crowded field of English Bible translations. It’s aimed at people who haven’t read the Bible much before and aren’t familiar with church jargon. Unlike the updated New International Version and the Common English Bible—both released last year—much of The Voice is formatted like a screenplay or novel. Translators cut out the "he said" and "they said" and focused on the dialogue.… »
  6. Westbow Press features signing author at the 2012 LATimes Festival of Books

    « Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson, is showcasing author Douglas F. Grady, writer of the Christian title, Where’s Your Light?, at the 2012 "Los Angeles Times Festival of Books" being held at the University of Southern California campus. "Where’s Your Light?" contains numerous verses from the Bible regarding issues salvation. It also shares where the sources can be found so the Christians can understand the stories from the Bible better.… »
  7. Christian fiction Spring book buzz webcast

    « There’s more to Christian fiction than "gentle reads", which explains its expanding appeal to a more sophisticated and demographically diverse readership. Join us on May 10 for our Spring 2012 Christian Fiction webcast. We’ll be talking about the latest and upcoming titles, the ones you’ll need to know about. (Sponsored by: WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Zondervan, Baker Publishing Group, Abingdon Press and Library Journal.)… »
  8. London Book Fair: publishing world struggles to adapt to new lines

    « New formats and self-publishing are changing the industry.… According to George Lossius of Publishing Technology, which provides digital portals and sales systems, non-academic publishers still do not understand the digital world. "It’s not because they are not trying to, it’s not because they are not open to it. It’s because they’ve been dazzled by Amazon and Apple and Google, rather than thinking what they can do with their digital content," he said. "They’ve just reproduced the book in a Kindle."… »
  9. Match made in literary heaven: descendants of Dickens and Tolkien to collaborate

    « A London imprint said it would publish two fantasy novels by Michael Tolkien, a grandson of the Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien, with audiobooks to be narrated by Gerald Dickens, a great-great grandson of Charles Dickens.… »
  10. OverDrive study on how readers use libraries to find books

    « Looking to support the contention that libraries drive book discovery and sales, library digital vendor OverDrive compiled data on patron use from its 18,000 library client sites during the month of March.… »
  11. American Bible Society: The State of the Bible 2012

    « American Bible Society released in-depth findings from its State of the Bible survey, which details Americans’ beliefs about the Bible, its role in society, its presence in U.S. homes and more.… »
  12. More Things to Read: April 19, 2012

    « Featuring: content creation, writing advice, social media self-promotion, new publishing models, the Blue Like Jazz movie, crowd-funded publishing, top authors to watch, Robin Meyers’ new book, trust and online content, digital content for kids, scratchboard design, a new book from Ross Douthat, and Wiley’s bittorrent piracy trial.… »

Note: This resource has been curated for your enjoyment and education. It is intended to reflect what publishers and leaders in the Christian publishing industry are thinking and talking about — it does not reflect the positions or opinions of Zondervan, its authors, agents, employees, or leadership.