ENTRIES TAGGED "amazon"

Cultural capital goes commercial

Mobile retail access is a vital part of an overarching brand experience

It wasn’t one of my proudest moments when, a week before Christmas last year, I was hunched over my smartphone towards the back of the famous Hamley’s Toy Store on London’s Regent Street, composure tethered to an elusive bar of 3G network. The thing was, that bar had been easier to find in-store than the toy I planned on presenting my nephew with for Christmas. When I placed my order on Amazon with a plethora of merchandise within arm’s length, a nagging sense of irony did not escape me – nor did a whole new understanding of retail pain points. To be fair, Christmas shopping in a metropolitan area probably blasts through higher-than-average pain thresholds.

Read more…

Comment: 1 |

We need incognito book purchasing

There are valid reasons for wishing to purchase a book without being tracked

In the physical realm, purchasing a book without revealing one’s identity involves little effort beyond proceeding to a store one does not usually patronise and paying in cash. Unless one is seeking illegal volumes, which are unlikely to be obtained at neighbourhood booksellers’ anyway, these obvious techniques are nearly guaranteed to throw friends, banks, and marketers off the scent.

Alas, there is no such thing as an incognito shopping trip in the digital world. Not only are our transactions permanently etched into our credit card records, they are carefully logged and scrutinised by the stores themselves. Any purchase on Amazon, to name but one, forever hounds us in the form of recommendations, obvious or otherwise. Emails and pages are subtly optimised to highlight content related to our past acquisitions, whether in style, length, or subject matter. While we may be given opportunities to decline outright suggestions, there stops our control of the process — and we must provide a reason for declining, which further enriches our personal file.

Read more…

Comments: 7 |

Will we ever see a “Spotify for ebooks”?

Join us for a free webcast on April 26 to discuss the subscription model

My music buying habits have definitely changed over the years. I’m doing a lot more streaming now and rarely buying individual tracks or albums. I use Spotify but I also started using Rdio. I’m still in the free trial period for the latter and not sure which, if either, I’ll end up paying for.

One question that seems to keep popping up in the ebook publishing world is, “when will a Spotify for ebooks emerge?” You could argue that a few services already offer unlimited access to free ebook content. Those services are, of course, limited in their breadth. You won’t find any offering all the latest bestsellers, for example, but Spotify and other streaming music services let you listen to plenty of hits.

Read more…

Comments: 6 |

Taking ebooks mainstream…in Germany

This one-day event promises plenty of enlightening discussion and debate

Are German ebooks really any different than those in the U.S. or the U.K.? Many strong indicators say yes, they are different. That’s why many ebook debates in the past have not ended with practical guidelines for German publishers and their pursuit of innovation.

That will be different when TOC buchreport: Getting Ebooks Mainstream takes place as a one-day conference in Berlin on April 23, 2013. Many senior-level German publishing and book distribution executives will meet with new, young innovators, to discuss where the market is heading.

Read more…

Comment: 1 |

Digital publishing and the loss of intimacy

The cognitive overhead involved in reading a book has increased tremendously

Reading used to be an intimate experience. Even Amazon, the pioneer in digital publishing, branded its Kindle with a child reading alone under a tree. Books were specially designed to disappear into the background as much as possible, helped by a laundry list of conventions as to language, punctuation, format, and structure, thus allowing readers to direct all their attention and cognitive powers to the text at hand.

The first digital platforms made a decent job of emulating the traditional experience. Certainly, the overhead of managing an Amazon account is something readers could do without, but allowances had to be made. Black text on a white screen was still the reference, and great pains were taken to ease users into this new experience: options were few, and the physicality of the book was heavily reflected in the shape and size of the device.

Read more…

Comments: 9 |

Content ownership and resale

Amazon's AutoRip service could further complicate matters

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen some landmark decisions on whether you really own that content you bought and if you can resell it. First, in the Kirtsaeng vs. Wiley case we learned that it’s OK to buy low-priced print books from overseas, ship them to the U.S. and resell them for a profit. That’s a victory for the middleman entrepreneur and everyone frustrated with high-priced textbooks. Well, it’s a victory till publishers raise their overseas prices to be more in line with U.S. prices, at which point students in those foreign countries lose.

Next, we have the federal ruling against ReDigi on the digital content resale front. I’m hoping ReDigi appeals but for now this means you can’t sell your iTunes library, for example. That ruling is considered a victory for labels (and publishers as ReDigi is looking to move into used ebook sales) and a loss for consumers.

Read more…

Comments: 6 |

What if the Game of Thrones characters were book publishers?

Similarities between the HBO series and our industry are remarkable

There’s no question that the publishing industry is going through a lot of changes. It’s the last industry to go digital, and as a result going through the fastest disruption. Watching the Game of Thrones is like watching a war between traditional publishing houses, startups, tech giants, indie publishers, and other players in the industry.

Read more…

Comments: 5 |

Current state of formats and platforms

A free SPI Global whitepaper summarizing industry trends

SPi GlobalRemember the old days when PDF was pretty much the only way to distribute content and those PDFs were read on computer screens? PDF still lives, of course, but now we’re also faced with offering content in mobi and EPUB formats for consumption on a variety of platforms and devices.

Read more…

Comments: 3 |

Goodreads + Amazon: Winners and losers

Tremendous potential, but will Amazon take full advantage of it?

I decided to wait a few days before writing about Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads. I wanted to let the dust settle before weighing in with my own opinion. Now that I’ve had some time to mull it over, here’s what I think: This has the potential to be a game-changer that could be the next, and possibly final, nail in the coffins of other ebook retailers…but only if Amazon actually does something with the Goodreads platform.

Read more…

Comments: 7 |

Publishing News: Goodreads readers are now valuable Amazon products

Amazon buys Goodreads, book blind dates, bailouts for French indie bookstores, and U.K. libraries will join the digital era.

Amazon marches on toward global retail domination

Amazon LogoThe whiplash-inducing headline this week was Amazon’s announcement late Thursday that it has acquired book discovery and sharing site rival Goodreads. Industry response to the announcement was “swift and laced with skepticism,” Leslie Kaufman reported at the New York Times. She quoted Edward Champion tweeting, “Say hello to a world in which Amazon targets you based on your Goodreads reviews. No company should have this power.” Kaufman also noted part of the bigger picture: “The deal is made more significant because Amazon already owned part or all of Goodreads’ competitors, Shelfari and LibraryThing.”

Wired’s Marcus Wohlsen expanded on the targeting issue Champion mentioned. He highlighted Amazon self-published success story author Hugh Howey, who was quoted in the Amazon press release saying, “I just found out my two favorite people are getting married. The best place to discuss books is joining up with the best place to buy books.” Wohlsen pointed out that “even as Amazon provides Howey an ‘independent’ platform to spread his work, his success also makes him a valuable Amazon product” — and now Goodreads readers will become valuable Amazon products as well.

Read more…

Comment |