ENTRIES TAGGED "amazon"

Reverse showrooming

Improving the B&N shopping experience with...the Amazon mobile app

This past weekend a friend asked me to pick up a couple of books for them. Print books, btw, and they needed them later that day. That meant it was time to head to a local bookstore, something I’m doing less and less of these days.

B&N was the closest and when I walked in I immediately realized why online shopping sometimes offers such a better experience than in-person. My local B&N moved all their categories around from the last time I was there and I must have circled the entire store three or four times just to find the two books I needed.

Then there’s the reviews and top-seller lists I’m so used to seeing online. They don’t exist in the brick-and-mortar world, so I decided it was time to do some reverse showrooming.

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Used ebooks: Why your assumptions are wrong and the opportunity is huge

It can be so much more than simply lower-priced versions of the original work

Amazon has a patent and now Apple does too. I’m talking about the techniques both companies might use to let you resell your digital content. They join ReDigi, who already offers a platform to resell your digital music.

Ebooks are next, of course, and the concern I hear isn’t so much about the legal aspect but rather the risk of cannibalization. Most publishers seem hung up on the notion that a used ebook sale will mean one less original sale for them. And even if they participate in the used ebook revenue stream, they’re concerned that the selling price will be lower, so they’ll make less when cannibalization happens. I think that’s a very shortsighted view of the opportunity.

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Publishing News: Apple’s used iBookstore?

Apple's used digital content patent, B&N's uncertain fate, and Ev Williams chats with Jason Calacanis about Medium.

Apple patent points to used digital resale

Apple_logo_black_smQuick on Amazon’s heels, Apple has filed its own patent for selling or loaning used digital content, including ebooks, music, movies, and software applications. Mikey Campbell reported at Apple Insider that the patent, published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, “provides for the authorized access to digital content, otherwise known as digital rights, to be transferred from one user to another.” He noted that Apple’s patent differs from Amazon’s in that Amazon’s establishes a marketplace environment and Apple’s “decentralizes the process by taking the online store out of the equation.” Campbell quoted from the patent:

“Alternatively, instead of a third party determining whether one or more criteria are satisfied, the first (or second) user’s device makes the determination and may be responsible for preventing the first user’s device from further consuming the digital content item. In some embodiments, the online store and/or the publisher of the digital content item may receive a portion of the proceeds of the transfer.”

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Why B&N should abandon hardware

They should focus instead on reader experience and new content sales models

The ebook retailing business consists of three elements: hardware, content, and selling model. Dedicated e-readers (think eInk devices) are losing momentum to tablets. Content is mostly quick-and-dirty print-to-e conversions, or “paper under glass”, if you will. The typical selling model is to buy one ebook at a time. Pretty simple. And not a whole lot of innovation happening in any of the three areas by the major players.

Recently there’s been speculation that B&N is about to ditch the hardware part of their Nook business and focus instead on content and licensing. If true, that’s probably the wisest thing I’ve heard from Riggio & Co. in a long time. Hardware has been, and will increasingly become more of, a fool’s game for B&N.

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Lion or hare? Amazon might soon face a lot of hungry competitors around the world

When Amazon released data on its financial performance for 2012 at the end of January 2013, Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder and CEO concluded: “We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting. After 5 years, e-books is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast—up approximately 70% last year.” (Amazon reports record sales growth. The Bookseller, 30 January 2013) That is certainly true. But Amazon might not be any longer in that most privileged role of defining the game almost all alone, as it was mostly the case, at least in the US, since the introduction of the Kindle in 2007.

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Publishing News: Amazon’s used ebook store?

Amazon's used digital marketplace patent, a data-for-content exchange experiment, and Baratunde Thurston says there's hope for publishing yet.

Amazon prepares to enter the used digital goods resale fray

The headline news this week was Amazon being awarded a US patent for a “secondary market for digital objects,” which according to the patent abstract, include “e-books, audio, video, computer applications, etc.” — so, pretty much anything.

Todd Bishop reports at GeekWire that “[t]he patent, originally filed in 2009 and granted on Jan. 29, covers transferring digital goods among users, setting limits on transfers and usage, charging an associated fee, and other elements of a marketplace for ‘used’ digital goods.” He also notes Amazon’s approach of limiting the number of transfers of used objects to “maintain scarcity.”

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Ebooks and the future of research

Society cannot afford to lose its distributed knowledge backup system

Knowledge cannot progress unless it is aware of its past: a knowledge-seeker must reference the works of previous generations. Literary scholars return to manuscripts, musicians to partitions, artists to museums…

The continued availability of reference works underpins our entire research system. It has become so ingrained in our methods that it barely registers on our list of values to uphold. Yet, that very availability has dissolved into a mirage, to surprisingly little protest.

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Publishing News: Pushing ebooks beyond skeuomorph boundaries

Jeff Gomez on ebook innovation, data journalism projects progress, and Amazon may be losing the ereading revolution.

Screens should be portals, not skeuomorphic containers

Jeff Gomez, VP of online consumer sales and marketing at Penguin Group, took a look this week at the issue of ebooks in the publishing ecosystem and argued that “we’re focusing in all the wrong places.”

Too much attention is being paid to pricing, format, business models and gadgetry, Gomez says, and notes the more important aspects that are being sidelined: “Namely, how can we use digital devices to change the way we tell stories? How will the ebook change the novel? And how will writers respond to a world where they can think beyond the boundaries of text, print, and covers?” He argues that instead of innovating, “we’re just creating another skeuomorph,” where readers are experiencing books on screens the same way they did on print.

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The slippery slope of bogus reviews

A very simple solution is right under Amazon's nose

By now you undoubtedly read about Amazon’s decision to remove a large number of questionable book reviews. This is a problem that’s existed since the first day Amazon reviews. Most are probably from legitimate customers but quite a few are undoubtedly from friends, family, and others who never even opened the book.

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