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Ebook market share 2019

Ebooks make up 18% of total book sales

[September 2019] Figuring out this number is a dark art. Amy Watson did a brilliant job of pulling together disparate reports in the public domain, and her December 2018 report suggests a market share of 19 per cent. This aligns closely with our own off-the-record briefings from trade and academic publishers.

Since Watson’s report, trade bodies have continued to report a (gentler) softening in ebook sales, so we’re inclined to take take it a notch lower to, say, 18 per cent.

Amazon’s share of the ebook market is 67%

This is another very elastic figure. Amazon’s public statements are often obtuse or non-existent, and it’s left to independent analysts to apply their skills. The figure varies from 83 per cent to considerably less. Our own polling of publishers suggests that, leaving aside Amazon’s own publishing efforts and their self-publishing platform, their share of the ebook market sits at 67 per cent.


Malware Embedded in Pirated e-Textbooks
3 Sep 2019 (cnet)
“We detected 122,000 attacks by malware that was disguised as textbooks. More than 30,000 users tried to open these files,” Kaspersky said.

Cory Doctorow: DRM Broke Its Promise
2 Sep 2019 (Locus)
“There’s a name for societies where a small elite own property and everyone else rents that property from them: it’s called feudalism. DRM never delivered a world of flexible consumer choice, but it was never supposed to. Instead, twenty years on, DRM is revealed to be exactly what we feared: an oligarchic gambit to end property ownership for the people, who become tenants in the fields of greedy, confiscatory tech and media companies, whose inventiveness is not devoted to marvelous new market propositions but, rather, to new ways to coerce us into spending more for less…”
Such drivel…

Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 unmasked ahead of its release date
2 Sep 2019 (T3.com)
Samsung is clearly experimenting with some new designs inside its R&D laboratory. This design would be better for reading eBooks.

Pearson data breach compromises students’ personal information in dozens of CNY school districts
31 Aug 2019 (CNYcentral)
Up to a dozen school districts in Central New York have been affected by a Pearson data breach. A spokesperson explained they’re informing all schools impacted by the breach and leaving it to those schools to inform their communities. The company says only names, addresses and dates of birth were compromised.

Audible Will Exclude Publishers’ Works from Captions Program — For Now
29 Aug 2019 (Publishers Weekly)
Audible has agreed to exclude works from a group of major publishers from its Captions program until copyright and licensing issues raised in a recent lawsuit are resolved.

US Ebook Sales Down 4 Per Cent
29 Aug 2019 (Forbes)
The data comes from the AAP’s StatShot report, which drew on a larger pool of participants for its 2019 data than it used for its 2018 report.

Publishers Are on a Collision Course With Libraries
27 Aug 2019 (Information Today)
Macmillan CEO, John Sargent, appeared at the beginning of a Book Buzz session in lower Manhattan to discuss the publisher’s recent decision, shared via letter, to place an embargo on multiple-copy ebook sales to libraries in the case of high-demand titles

Microsoft Edge to stop ePub format reading support
27 Aug 2019 (The Windows Club)
Microsoft recommends you to use instead .ePub apps that are available in the Microsoft Store. While they are limited as of now, the support page promises that consumers can expect to see more added over time — a partnership with companies like the DAISY Consortium to add additional, accessible apps.

ProQuest and EBSCO Extend Their Ebook-Purchasing Partnership
20 Aug 2019 (Information Today)
Partnership allows librarians to acquire ProQuest ebook titles through EBSCO’s GOBI Library Solutions platform and EBSCO ebook titles through ProQuest’s OASIS platform.

Google Play is now renting ebooks
18 Aug 2019 (Good E-Reader)
There is a small section that just quietly went live last week and features around 200 titles from Open Road Media. The price ranges from $1 to $2 and the rental period is 3 days

eBook Piracy is on the rise in 2019
13 Aug 2019 (Good E-Reader)
$300 million was lost in author income due to pirated book sales in the United States last year. The legal and tech aspects of book piracy prevention are complex and fast-evolving, but those in the know describe it very simply: it’s whack-a-mole.

Google stops auto-discounting authors’ ebooks
11 Aug 2019 (The Digital Reader)
Google announced a new pricing policy for its ebookstore, Play Books. Anyone who accepts the revised ToS will now earn 70% royalty on ebooks sold in the USA, Canada, and Australia. Their ebooks will be immune to Google’s irritating policy of automatic price cuts.

Pearson Hack Exposed Details on Thousands of U.S. Students
31 July 2019 (Wall St Journal)
Pearson PLC, the British maker of educational software, is warning school districts that a far-reaching data breach has exposed details on thousands of students, chiefly in the U.S. Breach affected more than 13,000 school and university accounts, company said.

(US) Authors Guild: U.S. Publishers Are Still Losing $300 Million Annually To Ebook Piracy
28 Jul 2019 (Forbes)
Pirates seemed to deny that stealing digital works could result in the same financial loss as stealing physical books would, saying they, “believe real life and the internet differ” or that, “culture should be free to all.” The UK’s Intellectual Property Office found in 2017 that 17% of all ebooks consumed that year were pirated.

Hachette says ebooks account for 8.2% of their revenue
28 Jul 2019 (Good Ereader)
Hachette’s ebook sales books brought in $109 million for the year.

Online book-selling scams steal a living from writers
26 Jul 2019 (LA Times)
Well over half of full-time, published authors now earn below the individual poverty level from their writing. While there are many reasons for this, one factor is the surge in book-selling scams: counterfeiting, author “doppelganging,” title cloning, ebook piracy, cut-and-paste plagiarism and other rip-offs — many of which take place on digital platforms like Amazon, Ebay and Google. The variety and cleverness of these cons is breathtaking.

Macmillan to embargo all ebooks to libraries by 2 months
25-Jul-2019 (Good Ereader)
Starting on November 1st, 2019, Macmillan is going to launch a two month embargo on all ebooks to the public library. Under the publisher’s new digital terms of sale for libraries, will be now be allowed to purchase a single—that is, one—perpetual access e-book during the first eight weeks of publication for each new Macmillan release, at half price ($30). Additional copies will then be available at full price (generally $60 for new releases) after the eight-week window has passed.

Audible is adding audiobook captions and publishers are mad
19 Jul 2019 (Slash Gear)
Amazon plans to launch Captions in September, but a number of publishers, agents, and authors are heavily opposing the plan and raising questions over whether the company has the rights to reproduce and provide text from these audiobooks. Captions is currently in beta and not available to publishers at this time.

Pearson pivots to digital
17 Jul 2019 (Newsweek)
“Over half our annual revenues come from digital sales so we’ve decided, a little bit like in other industries like newspapers or music or in broadcast, that it is time to flick the switch in how we primarily make and create our products,” Pearson plc CEO John Fallon told the BBC.

(US) Court Questions Whether Ebook Pirate Site Operator Can Be Sued
15 Jul 2019 (Torrent Freak)
Earlier this year, author John Van Stry sued Travis McCrea, the former leader of the Pirate Party of Canada, over his eBook download platform, EBook.bike. The US-based author sued McCrea in a Texas court demanding more than $200,000 in damages and costs.

(US) Will trade publishers block new releases in public libraries?
9 July 2019 (American Libraries Magazine)
ALA is concerned over recent changes in publisher strategy. At this time, none of the Big Five employs an embargo, but this might change with Macmillan testing the waters with an embargo trial. “It is time for ALA to ramp up engagement on the library ebook lending front.”

(CN) Amazon China Closes Paper Book Section In Favor of Ebooks
4 July 2019 (PanDaily)
Amazon China no longer sells its own paper books, and third party paper books will also be taken down from shelves starting July 18. Although this is just another step in shutting down Amazon’s China businesses, cross-border e-commerce and Kindle digital books will not be affected.

(NL) Dutch agency hammers facebook ebook pirates
4 July 2019 (TechNadu)
Four Facebook users agreed to pay a settlement amount to BREIN, after having pirated thousands of eBooks.

(US) S&S latest publisher to change digital book lending terms
3 July 2019 (Books+Publishing)
Simon & Schuster has become the fourth of the Big Five publishers to change its digital book licensing terms for libraries in the past year, reports Publishers Weekly. In a statement sent to libraries, S&S officials confirmed that its ebooks will be available for two-year terms on a one copy/one user model as of 1 August.

(CA) Big 5 publishers changes library sales business model
30 June 2019 (CBC)
The last of the so-called Big 5 publishers — Hachette Book Group — will stop giving libraries neverending access to its book titles as of Monday, according to the Canadian Urban Libraries Council. Instead, the publisher will make libraries purchase ebooks and digital audio books for two-year terms, increasing the costs for libraries to build up their long-term digital collections in the same way as their hard-copy collections.

(UK) ebook sales increased by 5% in 2018
29 June 2019 (GoodEreader)
Ebook sales actually increased by 5% in 2018, which is good news for the format. It has been in state of consistent decline in the US for a number of years, but it looks like Brits have rediscovered digital audiobooks and ebooks. These two formats combined brought in over £653 million in sales last year.

(US) 1 in 4 units sold to online channels were eBooks
26 June 2019 (Forbes)
Of publishers’ sales to online retail channels, trade print books represented the largest chunk at 45.1%, but eBooks and downloaded audio were popular as well, as 24.5% of publisher’s sales to online channels were eBooks and 13.7 were downloaded audio.

(UK) Ebook sales decline 2% in 2018
26 June 2019 (Guardian)
Overall, the digital book market, which as well as audiobooks includes ebook sales and subscriptions to services such as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, rose 4.6% to £653m. Consumer ebook sales continued their slow decline, down 2% to £251m. Sales have fallen 20% since 2014.

(US) Barnes & Noble’s Nook Revenue Down 17%
19 June 2019 (The Digital Reader)
Nook revenues totaled $92 million for the fiscal year. Fiscal 2019 net earnings were $3.8 million compared to a net loss of $125.5 million in the prior year.

(US) Ebook sales decrease by 4.5% in the first quarter of 2019
17 June 2019 (Good E Reader)
One of the leading factors is the rise of digital audiobooks. In the first three months of the year the format increased by 35% and it brought in a respectable $133 million dollars. The decline in ebooks is good for the traditional print industry. Hardcover book sales saw a 7.8% ($594 million) increase in revenue and paperback sales saw a respectable 3.1% ($553.6 million).

(US) Legal lessons from the ebooks antitrust debacle
10 June 2019 (Apple Insider)
Responding to a question about risk in the law and how you avoid it, Apple’s former legal counsel said that there are reasons to look for risk. “Steer the ship as close to that line as you can,” he continued, “because that’s where the competitive advantage lies.”

(US) The wrong turn B&N took, away from ebooks
29 May 2019 (Seeking Alpha)
Amazon led the way in digital with its Kindle platform … Barnes & Noble, meanwhile, went just the opposite way, recommitting to its symbiosis with the physical book market.

(CA) Enhanced ebook bedtime stories not a good idea
28 May 2019 (Montreal Gazette)
The real power of reading is the interaction between parent and child. But many ebooks have enhanced texts that read the story aloud. With these books, parents did less of the reading and ceded the narrative to the device.

Macmillan Learning commits to accessible ebooks for students
8 May 2019 (Books + Publishing)
Born accessible books are developed to ensure that students, regardless of their ability, have the same access to information. The Global Certified Accessible program was established by non-profit Benetech. The program evaluates whether ebooks are designed to be accessible for learners with reading barriers such as blindness, low vision, dyslexia or a physical disability.

Pirating ebooks is an offence against moral justice
15 April 2019 (Good Ereader)
Michael Kozlowski responds in support of angry authors’ open letter: “I believe that ebook piracy is morally reprehensible. You would not walk into a bookstore or secondhand bookstore and steal a book, because you do not want to pay for it or cannot afford to buy it. The same goes with digital, stealing is stealing. You are fundamentally an amoral person if you engage in theft.”

Philip Pullman leads call for UK government action on ebook piracy
8 April 2019 (The Guardian)
Pullman calls piracy ‘an offence against moral justice’ as authors including Kazuo Ishiguro and Margaret Drabble issue warning to business secretary Greg Clark. ‘The acid rain of online piracy is slowly dissolving something we thought was set in stone.’

Microsoft is Closing Its eBookstore (Again)
2 April 2019 (The Digital Reader)
Microsoft was actually one of the early ebook pioneers, but was never really able to exploit the advantages. Their MSReader format launched in the early aughts tech bubble, and was still worth buying when Microsoft killed it in 2011. Then in 2012 Microsoft invested $300 million in B&N’s Nook spin off, Newco, essentially funding the Nook’s international expansion, only to see it go nowhere. (Microsoft pulled out of that partnership in late 2014.) And now Microsoft is killing the ebookstore it launched to replace the Nook Store.

JellyBooks Launches a Cloud Reader
19 March 2019 (The Digital Reader)
JellyBooks offers what is essentially a focus-group service for publishers. It provides readers with free ebooks in exchange for collecting data about their reading habits. (This is the same data that Amazon, Kobo, and the other ebook platforms collect but do not share.)

OverDrive Partners with Libreka to Bring Ebooks to German-Speaking Countries
19 March 2019 (The Digital Reader)
Libreka is one of the largest distributors in Germany representing over 40,000 publishers and more than 1,000 domestic and international trading partners.

Can book piracy be stopped? ‘I can get any novel I want in 30 seconds’
6 March 2019 (The Guardian)
Many reported starting to pirate books during university, when faced with bills for expensive textbooks – “I want to spend my limited funds on going out, honestly.”

Pearson sells K-12 textbook division for $250 million
20 February 2019 (Star Tribune)
The British publishing company said this week it is selling the business to California-based Nexus Capital Management.

10,000 Arabic books have been digitized to ebooks
13 February 2019 (The Good E-Reader)
Project aims to digitize, preserve, and provide free open access to a wide variety of Arabic language ebooks in subjects such as literature, philosophy, law, religion, and more.

Ebook sales are up at eBooks.com
12 February 2019 (About Ebooks)
In summary, we keep listening to our customers and doing what makes them happy. The development list isn’t getting any shorter, but it looks like we actually do know what to do to retain and grow our audience.

A Brief History of the EPUB Ebook File Format
8 February 2019 (BookNet Canada)
ebookcraft speaker, Dave Cramer, takes a quick walk through the history of EPUB, and answers questions like “Why can’t I use HTML?” and “Why does 9/11 come up so much?”

Amazon doesn’t really do academic ebooks
7 February 2019 (Forbes)
A study from Ithaka S+R  says EBSCO controls, “86.4 percent of ebook sales to academic libraries … and Amazon didn’t even sell enough academic ebooks to qualify as having any sort of meaningful presence.”

Canadian authors angry too
23 January 2019 (Writers Union of Canada)
“This is an outrageous trespass on the rights of authors,” said TWUC Chair Eric Enno Tamm. “The Writers’ Union is calling on the Internet Archive to stop this practice immediately, and to respect the licence terms for works in library collections.”

Authors rage against Internet Archive’s ebook “library”
23 January 2019 (The Guardian)
The Society of Authors has called on the website’s Open Library to stop making scanned books ‘unlawfully’ available to British readers.

US ebook sales down 3% in 2018
15 January 2019 (AAP)
But up slightly in October and November.

Canadian public libraries protest ebook embargoes
14 January 2019 (Radio Canada International)
The Canadian Urban Libraries Council is calling on Canadians to demand stronger #eContentForLibraries of major multinational publishers. They’ve set up a campaign portal encouraging users to complain directly to trade book publishers.

How ebooks can help you keep your New Year’s resolution to read more
1 January 2018 (TeleRead)
To fit in those five pages, it also helps to keep a book, audiobook app, or e-reader on you as you go about the day. Then, when you have some down time—you’re waiting for a friend, dozing through your commute, or doing a task that doesn’t require your full attention—you can open your text…

Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature hacked
31 December 2018 (Justmaku)
“… I have built a simple ruby script to crawl the book starting with few generic keywords that I knew will be present in the book in several places and then continue in a divide-and-conquer fashion…”

[Analysis] The future book is here but …
20 December 2018 (Wired)
About 45 percent (up from 37 percent in 2015) of all print sales, and 83 percent of all ebook sales happen through Amazon channels.

Glose ebook start-up raises another 3m Euros
13 December 2018 (TechCrunch, via The Digital Reader)
French mobile reading platform lets you share your thoughts with other readers.

Ebook sales up 45% in Germany
11 December 2018 (destatis.de, via The Digital Reader)
E-Books were purchased by 1.6 million households in 2017. This corresponds to an 8% share of all households with expenditure on books. In 2014 there were 1.1 million households (5%).

Push to lower UK’s ebook tax
20 October 2018 (The Sun)
“Digital books could help open a door to reading for some kids that have never been exposed to it, or are growing up in homes that don’t have any printed books. So taxing one form of reading over another is illogical and potentially damaging for new generations of readers growing up digital.”

EBSCO reaches more than 120,000 DRM-free titles on its ebook platform
3 October 2018 (EBSCO.com)
Users can download either the full book or unlimited chapters with no sign-in required, read them in any application and transfer them to any device. Librarians have the choice between the DRM-free unlimited user version of a title or a limited user model with standard DRM-protection For the EBSCO eBooks that remain DRM-protected, users can still easily download DRM-free chapters.

Ebooks account for 15% to 20% of book sales in Australia
2 October 2018 (Books+Publishing)
It is estimated that ebooks make up around 15-20% of the market in Australia, although this can vary greatly between genres. Similar to other English-language markets, ebook sales appear to have plateaued in recent years—at least within traditional trade publishing.

EU set to allow lower VAT on ebooks
28 September 2018  (The Financial Times)
Measure pushed by France will bring ebooks into line with printed equivalent. EU officials had grown tired of hearing domestic political squabbles over reduced rates and in January the European Commission proposed allowing each country to apply reduced rates to most goods and services, as long as they maintained a weighted average VAT rate of at least 12 per cent.

Penguin-RH Tightens Terms for Public Libraries
4 September 2018 (PW)
All ebooks sold after 1st October will expire after the library has owned them for two years.

Penguin-RH to Launch Academic Library platform
4 September 2018 (PW)
The publisher will be creating a program exclusively for academic libraries, under which they will be able to purchase perpetual access copies, although at “a significantly higher price” than public library copies.

How blockchain will dis-intermediate everyone except authors and readers
28 August 2018 (Bitcoin Exchange Guide)
In the publishing sector, blockchain is aimed at providing tracking solutions that will help ascertain who bought what title. This will be done through the use of a token that will be attached to your copy of the ebook –think of it as your personal tag or ownership rights. Two companies are currently testing this out. One in Montreal named Scenarex and another in Latvia named Publica.

Here’s What Scribd’s CEO Thinks Of The New Walmart eBook Service
26 August 2018 (Forbes)
“The biggest obstacle for Walmart,” Trip says, “is that Amazon is just so many years ahead in the ebook and audiobook space and already dominates the market. For Walmart to compete, they’ll need to differentiate their offering from Audible and Kindle.”

Walmart has an e-book and audiobook service now and Amazon must be squirming
26 August 2018 (Mashable)
Walmart has partnered with Rakuten Kobo to bring you a never-before-seen e-book catalog, available in Walmart stores and online. Kobo’s library sports over six million titles of New York Times best sellers, indie titles, and children’s books, as well as digital books to complement many of the physical books that the retailer sells in stores. And they’re all in one app. BOOM.

Here is a breakdown of how much libraries pay for ebooks from publishers
23 August 2018 (Good e-Reader)
Major publishers all have different strategies for selling ebooks to the public library system. Baker & Taylor, Overdrive and a myriad of others have to have enough of a selection to keep their patrons satisfied, but it can be challenging to know all of the different prices, terms and models that publishers employ, since they have changed many times over the years. Here is Good e-Reader’s 2018 edition of what publishers charge libraries for ebooks.

New York Public Library Launches ebooks on Instagram
15 August 2018 (Good e-Reader)
NYPL staff writes, “The full book, short story, or novella is uploaded into Instagram ‘Stories’, complete with unique and engaging design elements. The Instagram-specific design includes stills and videos that mirror the unique layouts of the original works. The background is a warmer white that’s easy to read on screen, and the font is Georgia.”

Walmart and Kobo Are Launching Their Partner eBookstore on 21 August
30 July 2018 (The Digital Reader)
I can now point you to a couple new pages on Walmart’s website where you will shortly find Kobo’s ereaders and ebooks. The pages currently contain dummy images, but the section headings and the page URLs give away a lot of the detail.

TOR is delaying front-list ebooks on Overdrive
18 July 2018 (TeleRead)
“TOR books no longer sells their front-list to libraries. We must wait at least 4 months after the publication date before their new titles will be released to Overdrive for us to purchase. They have decided that library sales may be negatively impacting their retail sales and are participating in a study that will attempt to determine the impacts of libraries on the book market and sales, especially regarding eBooks.”

Can Big Data analytics save the eBook market?
3 July 2018 (ITProPortal)
Big data analytics makes it possible for publishers to profile their readers based on “revealed preferences,” thereby using data on actual measured behavior, as opposed to the past practice of relying solely on “stated preference” information garnered from surveys and third-party data. Moreover, advanced customer segmentation enables publishers to use further statistical and predictive modeling and to utilize various metrics…

Everything you need to know about Social DRM for ebooks
26 June 2018 (Good e-Reader)
DRM enables retailer ‘lockin,’ while watermarking does not. Despite its lack of publicity, e-book watermarking is becoming more and more widely used – especially in Europe. It is time for the publishing industry to recognize the importance and potential of e-book watermarking. Every book publisher should consider adopting watermarking and advocating its use throughout the e-book publishing value chain.

Google Reopens their Play Books Publisher Program
25 June 2018 (Good e-Reader)
Whenever a title is submitted it will compare the body of text to other books in the Play Bookstore and if it is similar it will be automatically denied. Digital books also have the option to enter an ISBN number and it will fetch some ebook metadata and sales could be tracked from Nielson.

Microsoft offering $5 free credit if you buy a $4.99 eBook in the Microsoft Store
25 June 2018 (mspoweruser.com)
Microsoft wants you to try the Microsoft eBook Store, and to make that first purchase easier they are willing to offer you your first book free. Books can be read in Edge on your PC, but also in Edge on iOS and Android. eBooks are only available for US-based users. [How this works with agency pricing restrictions is unclear.]

How Barnes & Noble Made the Nook Profitable
24 June 2018 (Good e-Reader)
A small team and outsourcing everything seems to make the Nook profitable in the here and now, but something needs to change for this to occur next year.

China’s TMall Launches e-Reader App
14 June 2018 (Alizilla)
Tmall developed the new app—called “Tmall Reader”—with Alibaba Literature, the Chinese e-commerce giant’s online business unit dedicated to the written word. It’s hoping to tap into the growing trend of e-reading in China.

Apple Books App Will Replace iBooks
14 June 2018 (Gadgets 360)
The new app, which will debut on iOS 12 later this year, comes as a refresh of the original iBooks app. It offers ebooks and audiobooks through dedicated tabs to iPhone and iPad users. The app also includes a new Reading Now tab that will host all the ebooks and audiobooks that you’re currently reading or listening to.

Tmall Launches E-Reader App as China’s Bookworms Go Digital
14 June 2018 (Alizila)
The app, now available for download from both iOS and Android app stores, offers access to titles, ranging from business and children’s stories to Chinese translations of popular foreign authors. The collection will expand as titles from the nearly 3,000 booksellers and 300 publishers on the platform are added to the app.

UK extends Public Lending Right scheme to ebook authors
7 June 2018 (UK Government)
From July 1, the Public Lending Right Scheme will cover ebooks and e-audiobooks that are loaned from public libraries across Great Britain. The change means that authors are eligible for payment in the same way if their works are borrowed electronically or as physical books.

Microsoft will implement a 95% revenue share for Windows 10 Apps
10 May 2018 (Good Ereader)
Young startups and independent developers will have a financial incentive to make a Windows 10 version of their audiobook or ebook app, instead of just relying on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

AAP: Publisher eBook Sales Fell almost 5% in 2017
9 May 2018 (The Digital Reader)
Trade revenues were essentially flat (a 1.3% increase), while ebook revenues fell 4.7%. After two years of declines, both University Presses (+5.3%) and Professional Books (+8.4%) – which include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books – saw revenue growth in 2017.

Kobo sales declining despite acquisitions
19 April 2018 (The Digital Reader)
Kobo gained a boost in sales by taking over the customer base of German ebook platform Tolino last year but, overall, sales continue to decline.

Free NASA e-book offers inside look at space station flight controllers
15 April 2018 (The Statesman)
For every hour of 6,371 days and counting, a team of people on the ground has been watching over the space station’s crews and systems from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Here’s what they do.

Ebook Sales Up 19% at eBooks.com
15 April 2018 (About.Ebooks.com)
Half-year results are in and sales at eBooks.com are up on the same period last year by 19.7 per cent. At the same time ebook sales more broadly are apparently declining. AAP, the US publishers’ trade body, just reported that ebook sales for the 11 months to November 2017 were down by 5.5 per cent. So what’s going on?

Library of Congress to collect every e-book
13 April 2018 (FCW)
In a notice of proposed rulemaking to be published April 16, the Library of Congress will begin including published e-books under its mandatory deposit rule, but only on a by-request basis.

US Ebook Sales Down 5% in 2017
(4 April 2018) The Digital Reader
The 11 months from January to November 2017 were $1.012 billion, compared with $1.072 billion for the previous corresponding period.

What can Google Android do for e-Readers?
(4 April 2018) Good E-reader
It’s arguable that much of the popularity of e-readers stems from their simplicity so adding bells and whistles could undermine future sales and alienate the customer base.

“Tax Cheat” Amazon is a “Job-Killer”
(4 April 2018) American Booksellers Assn
A new report looks at the increasing loss of jobs and state and municipal revenue as a result of the growing retail dominance of Amazon.com. The report says Amazon’s sales tax avoidance strategy has continued despite well-publicized agreements with American states.

Overdrive books its billionth checkout
(20 March 2018)  The Digital Reader
Overdrive just announced on their blog that they have loaned a billion ebooks since they first started lending ebooks in 2003.

Why Japan’s Rakuten Is A Hidden Contender In The Ebook Market
(17 March 2018) Forbes
OverDrive’s 2017 numbers: 225 million total digital downloads, representing 155 million ebooks and 68 million audiobooks.

American Publishers, Libraries Cheer Marrakesh Treaty’s US Congressional Introduction
(15th March 2018) Publishing Perspectives
Proposed US law amends the US Copyright Act to allow the creation and distribution of accessible format copies such as braille, audiobooks, and digital files. It promises to enable “institutions like libraries and blind institutions to create an accessible form of the work without regard to the copyright.”

VitalSource added as a vendor to Scottish academic buying group APUC
(14 March 2018) FE News
VitalSource can now provide institutions with a single interface for the purchase of individual eBooks and eBook collections.

26% of Americans read an ebook in the last 12 months
(9 March 2018) The Digital Reader
After a two-year pause, the Pew Research Center has at long last conducted a new poll on media use in the US.

Ebooks more popular with girls than boys
2 March 2018 (BDAILY News)
Are we surprised?  eBooks were found to be a more popular platform among girls (14 per cent) than boys (8 per cent) and are most popular with children aged 13-18.

Penguin Random House India launches digital imprint for mobile reading
26 February 2018 (Scroll.in)
Penguin Petit will publish short, low-priced books tailored for phone. To begin with, the series will repackage Penguin Random House India’s extensive list of existing titles.

Madrid names street after female inventor of mechanical ‘ebook’
26 February 2018 (The Guardian)
In 1949, Ángela Ruiz Robles, a passionate and innovative educator and writer from Galicia, came up with a way to expand her students’ knowledge and lighten their satchels at the same time. Her mechanical encyclopaedia – Spanish patent number 190,698 – was a pastel-green metal box packed with spools, innovation and pedagogical enthusiasm.

Pirating ebooks in Sweden could get you 6 years in prison
23 February 2018 (Good E-Reader)
A proposed bill envisions new criminal designations and crime being divided into two levels of seriousness. “In cases of gross crimes, a person may be convicted of gross copyright infringement or gross trademark infringement and sent to prison for at least six months and not more than six years.”

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 (Bloomberg)
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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