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Ebook industry breaking news

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Nate Hoffelder’s must-read The Digital Reader
Michael Kozlowski’s essential Good e-Reader


McGraw-Hill Launches Textbook and E-Book Rental Program
20 February 2018 (Campus Technology)
Starting this spring, the company is offering rentals on more than 250 of its copyright 2019 titles, plus all future titles, through its e-commerce channel on the company website as well as through approved distributors.

Major publisher says ebooks are stupid
17 February 2018  (Scroll)
Chattersphere is abuzz with outrage at (Hachette CEO) Arnaud Nourry’s observation that ebooks have not changed the reading experience much. See The GuardianThe Digital Reader, et al.

Telco ORANGE brings ebooks to African Students
13 February 2018 (The New Publishing Standard)
Pre-launch the project already has 29,000 students signed up to receive content in ebook format through the MondoCNED app, that can be consumed online or downloaded.

Russian ebook sales booming
3 February 2018 (The New Publishing Standard)
The figures, largely drawn from Russia’s biggest publishing enterprise Exmo-AST, suggest a 41% growth in ebook sales.

Overdrive Launches Cost Per Circ
31 January 2018 (Good E-Reader)
Provides one more option for libraries and schools. They can mix their collections with a variety of access models – from one copy/one user, metered access to simultaneous use and Cost-per-Circ for eBooks and audiobooks – depending on the title, expected demand, and budget.

Apple lines up to take on Kindle
25 January, 2018
A new app, due to be released in coming months, will include a simpler interface that better highlights books currently being read and a redesigned digital book store that looks more like the new App Store launched last year. The revamped app in testing includes a new section called Reading Now and a dedicated tab for audio books.

Walmart Lines up to take on Kindle
25 January 2018 (The Digital Reader)
All eBook content will be accessible through a Walmart/Kobo co-branded app available on all iOS and Android devices, a desktop app and Kobo e-Readers, which will also be sold at Walmart later this year.

Canada’s Wattpad Announces $51 Million in Funding
17 January 2018 (Publishing Perspectives)
The platform’s community, according to media information, grew in 2017 by more than 40 percent and now draws more than 65 million users monthly to its system, which supports more than 50 languages.

Publica is “a publisher for the blockchain era” – but will authors bite?
12 January 2018 (The Bookseller)
Publica is an online platform that aims to be the first truly decentralised publisher, by using blockchain technology to enable direct transactions between authors and readers.

HarperCollins settles with Canada’s competition regulator
9 January 2018 (Financial Post, CA)
The outcome follows a bureau investigation that asserted an anti-competitive arrangement between HarperCollins and other ebook retailers led to higher prices for Canadian consumers.

Microsoft Quietly Rolls Out Its E-bookstore
29 December 2017 (Publishers Weekly)
Titles for the store are supplied via Ingram’s CoreSource digital asset management distribution platform, and the store offers publishers both agency and wholesale business models. Since the launch, a Microsoft spokesperson said, the site has seen double-digit monthly growth in traffic and purchases.

NYU launches online papyrus collection
21 December 2017 (Library Journal)
Initiative to launch the creation of a comprehensive, searchable digital collection of literary and subliterary texts surviving on papyrus and similar materials from the area of ancient Egypt and environs.

3,500 Occult Manuscripts Online, Thanks to Dan Brown
20 December 2017 (Open Culture)
The Hermetically Open project opens up occult literary history with “an invitation to anyone wishing to consult or study sources belonging to the field of Christian-Hermetic Gnosis for personal, academic or other purposes.”

Ebook sales up 60% in … Iceland
17 December 2017 (The New Publishing Standard)
A 60% increase in e-book sales between January-September this year, and a threefold increase in the first week of November.

Silicon Valley startup will make your e-book highlights and notes work harder
8 December 2017 (The Bookseller)
The founders of Readwise want to help non-fiction e-book readers “read better, read more, and forget less”.

Hoopla adds Marvel Comics and Graphic Novels
8 December 2017 (Markets Insider)
“We are building a digital home for comic book fans where they can find all their favorite characters and have instant access to hundreds of acclaimed works – all with a library card.”

Cengage Launches e-Textbook Subscription Service
5 December 2017 (Inside Higher Ed)
Service will enable students to access Cengage’s entire digital portfolio for one set price, no matter how many products they use.

B&N Still Has a Chance with Ebooks
4 December 2017 (Seeking Alpha)
If BKS would be able to identify and promote a different, more appealing business model, even only for parts of its catalog, it could easily leverage its brand and its connections with publishers (who are all very unhappy with the Amazon dominance) and greatly expand its ebook market share.

e-Textbook Rentals Set for Years of Growth
2 December 2017 (Technavio)
The global e-textbook rental market is expected to grow at a CAGR of close to 21% during the period 2017-2021, according to a new market research study by Technavio.

Atlantic’s revenue drops in 2016 due to ebook sales ‘squeeze’
29 November 2017 (Books and Publishing)
UK publisher Atlantic’s revenue has dropped in 2016 with ebook sales down 20%, reports the Bookseller.

Reasons to scrap the EU’s tax on ebooks
20 November 2017 (The Times)
It was recognised from the very beginning that books were essential to people’s lives and that a tax on knowledge would be wholly inappropriate and economically counter-productive.

Did You Know, Google allows 65 days for ebook “returns”
23 November 2017 (AndroidOS.in)
If you buy an eBook that is defective, you can raise a refund request within 65 days of your purchase.

ProQuest enhances accessibility on eBook Central
18 November 2017 (ProQuest Press Release)
Improvements include compatibility with screen readers like JAWS and VoiceOver, browser magnification and keyboard navigation so that pages can be negotiated without the use of a mouse.

Ebooks Don’t Furnish a Room
14 November 2017 (The Times)
Millennials raised on digital downloads are turning their backs on mp3s and e-readers and fuelling sales of physical books, vinyl records and DVDs.

Pearson Closes DRM-Free e-Bookstore
13 November 2017 (The Digital Reader)
It’s a wrap for MyPearsonStore.com. Purchased ebooks will be inaccessible after 30 April 2018. But, hey, it’s DRM-free so just download those critters and back ’em up.

Draft2Digital sees a “spike” as Pronoun authors migrate
13 November 2017 (The New Publishing Standard)
The not altogether unexpected failure of the US-based distributor Pronoun dealt competitor aggregators an unexpected windfall this month.

Macmillan to Close Its Self-Publishing Unit, Pronoun
7 November 2017 (Publishers Weekly)
Asked why Pronoun was being shuttered 18 months after the acquisition, Seroy said, despite Macmillan investment in the platform and “terrific” feedback from Pronoun authors, “we came to the conclusion that there wasn’t a path forward to a profitable business model.”

New, gorgeous ebook page style from the School for Poetic Computation
29 October 2017 (Go To Hellman)
Despite the entrenchment of Amazon and iPhones, people haven’t stopped taking fresh looks at the reading experience.

Amazon abandons virtual textbook contract with UMass
26 October 2017 (Greenfield Recorder)
After just three years on campus, the retail behemoth Amazon will end its run as the virtual textbook store for the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “It’s a really evolving business at this point, textbooks. The whole business is changing all the time.”

Wiley Announces Digital Archives Program
25 October 2017 (infoDOCKET)
Launching in 2018, Wiley Digital Archives will enable institutional customers to purchase digital access to unique or rare historical primary sources, digitized from leading societies.

Learning A-Z Supplies More Than 6 Billion Digital Books to Kids
24 October 2017 (NASDAQ)
Company provides students with personalized reading practice and offers more than 50,000 reading resources.

Portugal bans DRM protection on public domain content
23 October 2017 (Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing)
Law enacted in June bans putting DRM on public domain media or government works, and allows the public to break DRM that interferes with their rights in copyright.

No One Knows Exactly How Many eBooks Indie Authors Published Last Year
23 October 2017 (Digital Reader)
Nate Hoffelder considers Bowker’s annual report on ISBN registrations and argues that everyone is still misunderstanding the annual statistics.

Library of Congress Launches Rare Books Web Portal
21 October 2017 (infoDOCKET)
Just think of all the dark and vast vaults of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division that are closed to the public and imagine what undiscovered treasures they hold. Now, thanks to the digital age, the stacks are open and searchable.

Major Publishers: eBooks Represent 20% of Total Sales
16 October 2017 (Good Ereader)
Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy believes “very firmly” that a new version of the book based on digital delivery will come eventually, though she does not know what it might look like. “Some person who is young and grew up with the screen will come up with something that I hope we recognize.”

US Ebook Sales Up 3.4% in May-17 (YoY)
28 September 2017 (The Digital Reader)
This is the first monthly increase over prior year sales since March 2015, according to the StatShot Monthly report from the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

Amazon capitulates in Chinese Kindle deal with Alibaba
22 September 2017 (Recode)
At one time Amazon thought it could really compete with Alibaba. No longer.

B&N Capitulates on Ebooks Generally
19 September 2017 (Publishers Weekly)
[Steve] Riggio … assured shareholders that B&N is no longer in the tech business. While the Nook e-reader and e-books will remain a part of the company’s offerings to customers, bricks and mortar stores will be its focus. Riggio explained that when e-book sales began exploding several years ago, B&N felt it had no choice but to enter the digital market. In retrospect, Riggio said, B&N didn’t have the culture or financing to compete with the likes of Amazon and Google.

Now You Can Use Google Search to Find eBooks Available at Your Local Library
19 September 2017 (Fortune)
Search giant has added a new feature that will now show up in the search results for any book title, listing local public libraries where users can borrow the title in ebook form.

EFF angry at Worldwide Web Consortium effort to add DRM media controls to web browsers.
18 September 2017 (Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing)
The W3C has published draft standards to enable content owners to stipulate and control usage of ebooks and other media. Ultimately this could lead to big publishers releasing content on the web, without users having to download additional e-reader software. But “everything-should-be-free” advocates are against it.

DRM System Offers Readers Bitcoin Bounty to Snitch on Pirate Sites
14 September 2017 (Copyright and Technology)
Combines bounty hunting, multi-layer watermarking and web-crawling to sniff out infringing ebooks

AAP Reports Publisher Revenue Up, eBook Revenue Down
11 September 2017 (The Digital Reader)
The strong growth of audiobook downloads continued in First Four Months of 2017, with publisher revenue for this format jumping by 29.6%, to $100.6 million in in the first four months of 2017. eBooks revenues, on the other hand, fell 4.6% to $374.9 million.

If kids are reading paper books, parents might be to blame
10 September 2017 (The Digital Reader)
Do juvenile reading habits actually reflect a preference? If 75 per cent of parents wish their children had less screen time, it’s no wonder they’re buying them printed books.

Hard-Won Lessons in Managing Digital Rights
8th September 2017 (Publishers Weekly)
Many houses can’t identify which rights they own, let alone collect the rights revenue owed to them.

Nook Revenues Dropped 28%
7 September 2017 (The Digital Reader)
Nook revenues fell 28.1%, to $29.5 million. “NOOK generated EBITDA of $0.6 million, an $8.6 million improvement over the prior year on expense reductions.” Which presumably means that Nook lost $8 million in 2016.

Amazon Acts Against Authors, Publishers for Scamming the Kindle Store
7 September 2017 (The Digital Reader)
Amazon fought the scammers by changing the best-seller algorithm and payment system for Kindle Unlimited several times, but the scammers were always one step ahead.

Kobo adds audiobooks to its iOS and Android apps
6 September 2017 (The Verge)
… with two ways to buy them: a la carte, or with a $10 per month subscription service that nets you one book per month. The service launches today in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand via an update to the apps.

De Gruyter will digitize the entirety of its backlist
5 September 2017 (No Shelf Required)
40,000 books, all the way back to 1749, to be digitized by 2020. Many treasures are among works to be digitized, including Noam Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures as well as versions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, to name but two.

Amazon Urges Unknown Authors to Slash Ebook Prices
5 September 2017 (The Digital Reader)
That advice came out of a discussion of the tactics indie authors in KDP use to drive discovery, specifically how some indie authors initially lower a book’s price to build awareness, and then gradually increase price until they find the point on the demand curve that maximizes book revenue.

College Textbook Spending Dropped 17% Since 2007
28 August 2017 (The Digital Reader)
Survey shows why textbook publishers are running scared. Nearly a quarter (23%) of students who purchased at least one course material bought a digital version, an increase of 8% from fall 2015. In spring 2016, 25% of students surveyed reported using a free method to obtain what they needed for class, up from 19% the previous year.

McGraw-Hill and iFlipd Pilot a Weekly Textbook Rental Program
25 August 2017 (Publishing Perspectives)
Each rental comes with an ebook edition, which is accessed on iFlipd, as well as a print copy, according to a student’s requests.
The program allows students after eight weeks to either own the book or to earn a $50 rebate.

Second-hand ebook dealer ReDigi is back in court
25 August 2017 (The Digital Reader)
ReDigi wants to allow consumers to resell their “used” digital media. Five years ago, record labels filed suit, and ReDigi subsequently went bankrupt. But now, in a kind of zombie sequel, ReDigi fights on.

Canadians are reading more books on their smartphones
22 August 2017 (GoodEreader)
Those between the ages of 18 and 44 were more likely to have listened to an audiobook than read a print book or ebook. Audiobook use is about on par with ebooks for readers 45-54 and continues to decline with the older age brackets.

Print Book Use Is Falling Faster in Research Libraries
21 August 2017 (The Scholarly Kitchen)
Between 2009 and 2015, total initial circulations in ARL libraries fell by almost half (from 36 million to 19 million). During that same period, the decline in circulations per student has continued as well.

Digital isn’t dead for book publishers
21 August 2017 (The Bookseller)
We’re just waking up from the first hangover. Any digitally native reading experience is arguably going against learned behaviour. Publishers are cautiously experimenting with business models and content, learning and pivoting to support what works.

Amazon’s Patent on One-Click Purchase Expires Next Month
19 August 2017 (Quartz)
The patent application was filed in 1997 and granted in 1999. In September 1999, Amazon sued Barnes & Noble for using a one-click checkout feature on its website, and ultimately won an injunction that forced the bookseller to add more steps to the checkout process.

W3C Publishing Summit Program Now Available Online
17 August 2017 (InfoDocket)
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced today the program of its inaugural W3C Publishing Summit to be held November 9-10, 2017 in the San Francisco Bay area, California, featuring keynotes from Internet pioneer and futurist Tim O’Reilly and Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis.

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