Tag Archives: e-books

Dr. Seuss E-Books Now Available

Though digital sales of books have skyrocketed in recent years, they haven’t in terms of children’s books. But Random House is hoping to change that now by releasing Dr. Seuss books in e-book format.

According to The New York Times, the first Dr. Seuss books to go digital last month were The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!, and The Lorax. Though there are some who believe the children’s books won’t be as effective with its illustration in e-book format, others argue that as long as the books are exactly replicated, it will be fine.

Not to mention, with digital publishing, more effects can be added. Random House Children’s Publishing is even thinking about enhancing the books — possibly with sound? Publishers believe this could be a good component for schools as well, as Julie Bosman explains.

Barbara Marcus, the president and publisher of Random House Children’s Books, said she did not envision digital sales of picture books overtaking print, but that the releases would provide an additional option for parents who want the convenience of e-books.

“We see it as a companion to print,” Ms. Marcus said. “We are facing, in a happy way, a transitional moment in picture books. I believe the school market is becoming more interested in digital, and we want to be there.”

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James Patterson Donates $1M to Independent Bookstores

Who better to make a statement about the future of the book industry than one of the most popular bestselling authors of all time? That’s exactly what author James Patterson did when he promised to donate $1 million to independent bookstores across the country.

According to CBS, James Patterson is concerned that because of the rapid growth of e-readers, the independent bookstores and libraries are losing steam. So he’s pledged $1 million to keep these places alive. He says he doesn’t care how the money is used — whether it’s to better the stores and libraries themselves or to increase pay for their employees.

He says what’s most important is that these are “viable” bookstores and that they have children’s sections.

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Apple Penalized for E-Book Price Fixing

For a year-and-a-half, Apple has been claiming its innocence in an e-book price fixing case filed by the Justice Department against the tech company and five other book publishers. Though the other publishers settled a while ago, restrictions are just now beginning for Apple.

The Justice Department charged the publishers and Apple in April 2012 for illegally working together to raise the price of e-books as a way to curb Amazon’s success with e-book sales. Apple was the only company that didn’t settle and instead fought the case in a trial this summer. Ultimately, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled against the company.

According to The New York Times, Apple cannot enter into agreements with the five other publishers that “restricts, limits or impedes Apple’s ability to set, alter or reduce the retail price of any e-book,” under the new restrictions. The company is also prohibited from speaking with one publisher about its contract with another publisher. A “monitor” will keep its eyes on the company ,evaluating it and making sure all antitrust laws are followed.

Apple plans to appeal the case.

Though the other companies profess their innocence, why is Apple the only one to fight so hard in court? That’s likely because Apple is the only one with the money to afford it.

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Amazon Announces Kindle Matchbook Service

Expanding the digital library on your Kindle just got a whole lot cheaper. Amazon announced a new service this week called Kindle Matchbook.

According to Entertainment Weekly, people looking to buy e-books for their Kindle that they’ve already bought in print can now do it through Amazon for a discounted price. Amazon Matchbook applies to any print book a customer has bought from Amazon since 1995, when Amazon first started. Matchbook will allow customers to check their purchase history to see what they’ve bought and buy the books in e-book form for $2.99 (some are even free), rather than paying full-price for the books they already own.

The program is set to launch next month. Amazon spokespeople say it will have 10,000 e-books available for discounted prices.

On a personal note, I think this is a great idea. I’ve always thought it was bad business to have to buy two copies of the same book if you want it on your e-reader. I wondering how long it will take for Barnes & Noble to come up with a similar plan for its Nook?

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Controversy Over Book Using ‘Modern Family’ Photo

When you think of the TV show Modern Family, you don’t typically think of the show’s families as an accurate portrayal for religious Christian people. Modern Family, of course, portrays families with gay couples and adopted children.

So when Christian preacher and author Doug Sehone used a photo of the cast for the cover of his e-book Bible Principles of Child Discipline, it caused quite an uproar. According to TV Guide, Doug Sehorne used the photo, featuring actors Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen, not knowing that they were, in fact, actors from a television show. His friends pointed out to him that the family on the cover was from a TV show that didn’t necessarily emphasize strictly religious Christian values. He took to Facebook to explain exactly what happened:

“1. I do not even have a TV and have not for 35 years.

2. I never heard of the TV show.

3. I got the image from a search on Google Images, which I assumed were not copyrighted, etc.

4. Anyone who knows me, knows I would never condone such wickedness as sodomy or even TV.”

Sehorne is now removing the book and changing its cover.

Would love to hear your comments on this one!

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Daily Deals Boosting E-Book Sales

Everyone loves a good sale, and in the case of e-books, this doesn’t apply just to readers; it also applies to authors.

According to The New York Times, one-day deals that e-book sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble offer have resulted in huge sale boosts for authors. Any book is subjected to becoming a daily deal — usually those that are years old or that have never reached bestseller status. It’s easier to offer sales like these with e-books, which don’t have a sticker price attached to them. Publishers can change the prices frequently from $14.99 to $9.99 to $1.99.

When people see those $1.99 offers — for one day only!! — they’re more inclined to buy a copy; not only is it cheap, but it’s also easy to download, as Julie Bosman explains.

[Amazon vice president for Kindle content] Mr. Grandinetti said one book, “1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die,” was selling, on average, less than one e-book a day on Amazon. After it was listed as a Kindle Daily Deal last year, it sold 10,000 copies in less than 24 hours.

Some titles have tripled that number: on a single day in December, nearly 30,000 people snapped up digital copies of “Under the Dome,” by Stephen King, a novel originally published in 2009 by Scribner. For publishers and authors, having a book chosen by a retailer as a daily deal can be like winning the lottery, an instant windfall of sales and exposure.

The success of the those one-day deals often boosts sales for the next couple days or weeks as well or encourages readers to read other books by the same author. Web sites that track the deals from online stores have also popped up, making it even easier for readers to find the best sales.

So what does this all mean? Hopefully it means the book business is alive and well, despite the ongoing closure of brick and mortar stores…

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No E-Book for Stephen King’s New Novel

In a bold, anti-digital move, bestselling author Stephen King has decided not to release his newest book in e-book format.

According to The L.A. Times, the author made the decision last month to sell his latest novel, Joyland, solely as a physical book. King is generally considered a pioneer in digital books; he’s written a number of bestselling Kindle Singles and even helped Amazon’s Jeff Bezos introduce the Kindle 2 in 2009.

King said he’d rather have people go to an actual bookstore. It was a move that got a lot of praise from bookstore owners, who have seen their sales go down over the years thanks to an increase in e-readership. King is set to release another major novel later this year, but he hasn’t announced yet whether or not it will be available in e-book format.

Joyland was published by Hard Case Crime and was released just yesterday.

Get Joyland only in paperback for $7.30.

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Kindle Singles Publishing Soars

As newspapers and magazines continue to lose readership and fold, the way authors and journalists publish short stories, essays, and novellas has changed. Now, it’s going digital.

Amazon is one of the companies hopping on board. But instead of offering its own regular publishing platform like the one used for full-length novels, Amazon is publishing Kindle Singles. I told you about them a year-and-a-half ago, shortly after the service got underway. In the time since, the service has become quite successful.

According to The New York Times, Amazon Kindle Singles is a store under the Amazon umbrella, which sells the shorts for less than $2 each. Though Amazon keeps about 30% of the profit and rarely pays the author upfront, Amazon estimates the authors make an average of $22,000 through the service. It’s  one of the few publishing options that allows authors to make a profit off the shorts, as opposed to getting a flat fee. It’s also starting to gain a larger audience.

Most of the novellas, essays, and stories that are publishing run between 30,000 and 50,000 words, and while the publisher receives about 1000 manuscripts each month, the service is still extremely competitive. Since its January 2011 inception, Amazon has only posted 345 Singles.

It certainly does sound like a good concept for authors and journalists who want to get their short-form pieces published, but 345 published pieces in two years seems small, no?

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B&N Closing More Stores, Giving Away Nooks

Disappointing sales and the fall of the bookstore are contributing to the closure of more Barnes and Noble locations. And this week in particular, there are signs that Barnes and Noble is perhaps doing even worse than we thought.

According to this blog post from Melville House Books, sales from this past holiday season absolutely plummeted — an 11% decrease in store sales and a 12.6% decline in Nook sales. Ultimately, hundreds of Barnes and Noble stores closed across the country throughout the holiday season. Most frightening about these closures is that most of them happened in large cities, like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

And yet, it gets worse. According to Huffington Post, this week through March 30th, the chain store is giving away the Nook Simple Touch for free with every purchase of the Nook HD+, reporting that its Nook business saw a steep 26% decline in sales in its holiday quarter.

Apparently, as color tablets rise in popularity, the desire for a Nook Simple Touch (a black-and-white standard e-reader) has diminished.

So what does this all mean for Barnes and Noble? One thing’s for sure. It doesn’t look good.

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Libraries Adjust to Loss of Bookstores

As bookstores continue to flounder, libraries are now making it a point to take advantage of the moment and roll with the times.

According to The New York Times, libraries are realizing that print is coming in second to digital. As a result, libraries are now offering more e-books and technology options (like more space for computers within the library walls). But libraries are also making more of the big bestsellers available, and then selling them for a reduced price when the library starts to carry the books in excess. Karen Ann Cullotta explains.

At the bustling public library in Arlington Heights, Ill., requests by three patrons to place any title on hold prompt a savvy computer tracking system to order an additional copy of the coveted item. That policy was intended to eliminate the frustration of long waits to check out best sellers and other popular books. But it has had some unintended consequences, too: the library’s shelves are now stocked with 36 copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Of course, librarians acknowledge that when patrons’ passion for the sexy series lacking in literary merit cools in a year or two, the majority of volumes in the “Fifty Shades” trilogy will probably be plucked from the shelves and sold at the Friends of the Library’s used-book sales, alongside other poorly circulated, donated and out-of-date materials.

With less waiting and larger scale sales down the road, libraries are becoming more and more like bookstores. And in a post-recession age when people are willing to do most anything to save a buck, why not? Why pay for a book when there’s a magical little place in your hometown that will allow you to take it home for free?

These are moves that libraries hope will increase foot traffic and users. Do you think they will?

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