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News Roundup: Amazon Acquires Shelfari, Hyper-Local Author Events, The Myth of the Level Digital Playing Field

Amazon Acquires Shelfari

Amazon is turning its investment in Shelfari, a book-centric social network, into a full acquisition, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Financial details haven’t been released, but Shelfari CEO Josh Hug confirmed the acquisition on Shelfari’s blog:

We’ve got some big plans ahead. With more resources and Amazon’s expertise in building a platform where people come to share ideas, there are a lot of new opportunities in the future that will benefit each of you. In the meantime, you’ll continue to have access to the great community and tools that you’ve always known and used on the site. (Continue reading)

BookTour and IndieBound Make Author Events Hyper-Local

BookTour, which provides author-generated pages and a listing of author tour events, has integrated their database with IndieBound. This is an interesting model, which obviously could expand in its breadth. From the BookTour blog:

… the trouble is neighborhood bookstores are all different (that’s what makes them great). That made it hard to dump all their data into our hoppers in one go …

Now, throughout BookTour, events taking place at IndieBound-represented bookstores will be added automatically to our database. Equally important, on both author and venue pages, when an event is taking place at an IndieBound-repped store, you’ll have the option to purchase the book directly from that store.

The Myth of the Level Digital Playing Field

In response to Kassia Krozser’s post about authors and electronic publishing rights, Joe Wikert notes that the sources of digital content influence discoverability:

One of the myths of the e-publishing world is that all books are on a level playing field, so you’ll sell just as many with publisher X as you will with publisher Y. This simply isn’t true, at least not in most cases. This is very similar to the complicated world of Google search results. Just because you love chocolate and you launched a website all about chocolate doesn’t mean you’ll immediately climb to the top of the Google results for a search on “chocolate.”

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