Tag Archives: Kindle

How Amazon’s New E-Book Service is Killing Authors’ Game

While the word “unlimited” in the name Kindle Unlimited may be appealing to readers, it may not be so appealing to authors.

According to The New York Times, Amazon’s new e-book subscription service, Kindle Unlimited, is seriously diminishing the amount of money made by self-publishers who use the service. That’s because Kindle Unlimited offers readers unlimited access to more than 700,000 titles for a mere $9.99 per month. Think of it as the Spotify or Netflix of books.

Great in theory, not so great in reality, as David Streitfeld explains.

“Six months ago people were quitting their day job, convinced they could make a career out of writing,” said Bob Mayer, an e-book consultant and publisher who has written 50 books. “Now people are having to go back to that job or are scraping to get by.  That’s how quickly things have changed.”

Consumers feast on these services, which can offer new artists a wider audience than they ever could have found before the digital era.

Some established artists, however, see fewer rewards.

The solution to the problem? While some self-publishers are now opting to pull out of the service altogether, others have realized the most efficient way to make money through the service is to write and publish more books — and faster. That’s resulting in shorter serialized novels and short stories.

I can’t help but think that despite the talent of some of these authors, the fast pace to keep up would only hurt the quality of the books offered online.

This is just another mess for Amazon to clean up after last year’s fiasco with Hachette. But the question is: will they, in fact, clean it up?

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Bill Gates Calls a 1969 Business Book a Favorite, Book Becomes Bestseller

business adventuresAs it turns out, the more power you have, the more money you have, the more influence you have — even on readers.

According to Entertainment Weekly, a business book from 1969 flew to the top of the bestsellers list after Microsoft CEO Bill Gates mentioned it as his favorite book in an essay he wrote for The Wall Street Journal earlier this month.

Bill Gates’ mention of John Brooks’ Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street in The Wall Street Journal sent the book to the No. 5 spot on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list. The book was published in 1969 and is no longer in print. But the book’s publisher, Open Road, quickly made it available in e-book format, and a paperback re-issue is now slated for September. In the essay, Gates wrote “Today, more than two decades after Warren [Buffett] lent it to me—and more than four decades after it was first published—Business Adventures remains the best business book I’ve ever read.”

Will you be buying the book?

Get Business Adventures in paperback for $10.34. — starting August 12, 2014!

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New Kindle Checkout System In the Works

amazonWhen Amazon first created the Kindle, it was meant to be used for reading e-books. Then it became a tablet. Now it might become a cash register.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon — the creator of the Kindle — is working with brick-and-mortar stores and retailers to create a checkout system that uses Kindle tablets. If it’s a go, stores would use the new system as early as this summer. More and more retailers are using handheld devices for checkouts, such as food trucks, Apple, and even Nordstrom.

Amazon officials say retailers would receive Kindle tablets and credit card readers, or receive services from Amazon, such as data analysis.

The plan is still in the works. Nothing is officially set in stone. For now, Amazon is looking to start at small stores, since larger chains generally already use  complex, expensive checkout systems.

The real benefit of checking out with a Kindle would be how fast and easy it is to do. But it’s clear than an underlying benefit for Amazon is all the exposure the company itself would get; plus it’s a pretty sneaky way of bringing the Kindle — available online only —  into stores.

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E-Reading on the Rise, Print Not Dead Yet

booksJust because more and more people are reading e-books doesn’t mean they’ve stopped reading physical books. That’s according to the latest post-holiday study done by the Pew Research Center.

According to Publishers Weekly, most people who read e-books read print books as well. Only 4% of readers consider themselves to be “e-book only.” The study also found that people are reading more in general. American adults are averaging about 5 books per year, a slight increase from the study done at the end of 2012.

The study found that about half of Americans now own either a tablet or e-reader. This is a likely explanation for why there are also more people reading across multiple formats — like print, digital and audio, as Andrew Albanese explains.

  •         87% of e-book readers also read a print book in the past 12 months, and 29% listened to an audiobook.

  •         84% of audiobook listeners also read a print book in the past year, and 56% also read an e-book.

  •         A majority of print readers read only in that format, although 35% of print book readers also read an e-book and 17% listened to an audiobook.

  •         Overall, about half (52%) of readers only read a print book, while just 4% said they only read an e-book, and just 2% only listened to an audiobook. Some 9% of readers said they read books in all three formats.

As an avid reader, I certainly read across all platforms. I read physical books, Nook books, and listen to audiobooks. I have some friends who prefer reading through the Kindle app on their phone, others who use their tablets. Reading books takes all different forms these days. But hey — at least we’re reading.

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Get Lara’s Top Pick of 2013 ‘Beautiful Ruins’ eBook for $3.99

beautiful ruinsHappy New Year! And what better way to start off the new year than with a great deal on a great read?

If you haven’t seen my list of Top Picks of 2013, check it out now. Scroll down, and you’ll notice my third favorite read of the year was Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.

An epic story about two lost young people who find each other again much later in life will make you laugh and cry. It’s a truly lovely book. And now the ebook for Kindle is available for just $3.99. Trust me — it’s not a bad way to spend $4.

Get it on your Kindle now for just $3.99.

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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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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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Wal-Mart Stops Selling Amazon Kindle

As Amazon continues its reign as online retail powerhouse, Wal-Mart will no longer sell the Amazon Kindle in its stores.

According to The New York Times, Wal-Mart will sell what’s left of the Kindles with no plans to re-stock once they run out. Kindles will also be pulled from walmart.com and Sam’s Club. Wal-Mart will, however, continue to sell similar e-readers by other companies, including Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble, and Samsung.

Wal-Mart did not give a reason for the drop, but analysts say it’s obvious. Amazon has become more of a competitor than companion. Experts say when people shop in stores like Wal-Mart and see the Kindle, it encourages them to go home and purchase the Kindle online along with books, games, and movies from Amazon.com, taking Wal-Mart’s business elsewhere.

Analysts also say the drop won’t affect business at Wal-Mart very much, as Stephanie Clifford and Julie Bosman explain.

Moreover, the Kindle line, and most tablets, are only marginally profitable for retailers, said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research.

“A lot of them have had it with tablets other than the iPad,” she said. “They’re not high-margin products, and other than Apple ones, no one is selling these devices in great volumes anyway. For Wal-Mart to drop Amazon is more of a symbolic blow rather than a substantive one.”

Wal-Mart’s not the first store to drop Amazon Kindle products. In May, Target also dropped Amazon products from its stores.

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Barnes & Noble Launches Nook HD

In an effort to bypass Amazon, Barnes and Noble announced this morning it is releasing two new high-definition versions of the company’s popular e-reader, the Nook HD. This comes after Amazon announced earlier this month it would release four new versions of the Kindle, including the Kindle Fire in HD.

According to the Associated Press, the Nook HD will come in two sizes, one with a 7-inch screen for $199 and one with a 9-inch screen, called the Nook HD+ for $269. It will also be lighter and narrower than Amazon’s new Kindles. In order to compete with Amazon, the Nook HD will offer a video purchase and rental service for both movies and TV shows, making it more of a tablet and less of an e-reader.

Barnes & Noble will continue to sell its Nook Simple Touch and Nook Simple Touch with backlight, but will start phasing out the Nook Tablet and Nook Color.

Experts say there are pros and cons to both the new Nook HD and Kindle HD, as Mae Anderson explains.

On specs alone, the new Nook presents a tough choice for consumers seeking a cheap option to the iPad this holiday, analysts say. The 7-inch Nook HD is slightly lighter and narrower, with a sharper display than the similarly priced 7-inch Kindle Fire.

“If the decision the consumer is making is whether to buy based on hardware, these new Nooks will beat out Amazon,” said Forrester analyst James McQuivey. “But that’s not the decision every consumer is going to make — hardware is only as good as the services the hardware enables.”

So far, Amazon offers more services, McQuivey said, with a bigger app store, and more extensive video library, not to mention Amazon’s vast product offerings and its Amazon Prime free-shipping service.

One thing the new Nook HD has going for it? Some retailers like Walmart and Target have stopped selling Amazon’s Kindle because of the online competition, but Barnes & Noble products will still be available in these stores.

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Has Your Nook Been Nookd?

As an avid e-book reader, I revel in the fact that I can read the word-for-word text of a paperback novel in a portable, electronic way. That’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? But what if the text of the novel you’re reading were not word-for-word the original?

That’s what happened to this person, who came across some manipulations when reading Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Turns out his Nook had been Nookd. When reading the classic novel on his Barnes and Noble Nook — the same e-reader that myself and millions of others use — he found the the word “Kindled” had been changed to “Nookd” every time it was used. The capitalization and odd/incorrect spelling makes it a dead giveaway that something unusual was going on. After checking an original print copy of the book to make sure he wasn’t losing his mind, he learned that it was in fact changed.

This raises an important question: how often are our books being manipulated by reading them on electronic devices? Was this just a one-off case? Was it a glitch? Or are publishers playing tricks on us and doing this far more often than we think? And was this a direct attack on Amazon’s Kindle?

According to Huffington Post, Superior Formatting Publishing, who formatted the novel for the Nook, admitted there was an error when converting the e-book version for the Kindle to the version for the Nook, as Britney Fitzgerald explains.

From Superior’s explanation:

This happened because all of our titles were originally published on the Amazon Kindle platform first, and the titles formerly had a small paragraph of text describing our works at the beginning of the book. This paragraph had the word Kindle in it several times. When Barnes and Noble released their publishing platform we were obviously excited to offer our books there as well. A Find and Replace was done on the introductory paragraph to replace the word Kindle with Nook (along with some other formatting modifications specific to the Nook editions). On this particular title there was obviously a mistake in which the process was carried out on the entire work, instead of just the intro text.

The error has since been fixed. This slightly hysterical, but mostly ludicrous mistake blows my mind. What do you guys think?

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