Tag Archives: reading

Amazon, Ebooks, and Advertising

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There has been a lot of mixed reactions toward Amazon putting advertisements on Kindle, especially when it was first launched in 2011. Today I wish to bring this issue back into the spotlight and invite you to re-examine it together.

In the article Why Advertising Could Become Amazon’s Knockout Punch attributes Kindle’s popularity partially to Amazon’s Special Offer, as it “lowered the price of the device” and presumably would not interfere your reading experience (which the advertisers find very reasonable and worthy of their money, of course).  Wikert then predicts that Amazon’s next step might be making money on in-book ads. He explains his theory by explaining Amazon’s wholesale model of publishing, and even goes on predicting that Amazon “would love to see ebook pricing approach zero” — which can be realised with in-book advertising strategy. All of this will eventually help Amazon “eliminate competitors” and obtain to market dominance”, as it has been doing in the past four years.

Jamie Lending takes a quite strong stance and describes Amazon Kindle Special Offers as a disgrace. “Unobtrusive” and “never in your reading experience”, says an Amazon spokesman in response to Lending’s complaint, but many readers still find the ad-free version irresistible despite the fact that they have to pay extra 30USD. While Amazon frames it as a Kindle user’s choice, Lending argues that the company takes away the “ultimate control” over ad exposure.

, in his article Ads on Kindle Fire HD tablets: Bad news or just business?, presents argument from both sides and comments that the subsidy of being able to control “is financial in nature”. Tofel’s opinion differs from Lending in the sense that he believes readers still retain some choice.

Is this really a question of whether consumers are willing to pay or whether they can afford it? And what exactly does it mean to publishers and authors?

Image Credit: Yahoo

Why I Heart the Bookternet

“At your average book publisher, 10 years ago was a time before the internet.” Rachel Fershleiser, who now works on Tumblr’s outreach team, helps authors and publishers reach new audiences. Rachel takes us through an evolution from reading and writing as entirely “solitary pursuits” to the development of online tools that enable collaboration and community. She shares great stories and innovations that connect readers and writers like never before, in a publishing industry that is becoming more democratized and accessible.

What has actually happened in the past ten years of publishing, with the emergence of digital community? Are books and the Internet really in opposition to each other? And what will the next ten years of publishing be like, with the technologies that are here to stay and more business models on the rise?

Video Credit: TEDxGowanus

Self-Publishing Reaches the Summit

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 talks about his experience of participating in the 2014 New Generation Publishing’s annual Self-Publishing Summit in London, and in the article Self-Publishing Reaches the Summit, he features several themes of the new trends in self-publishing, which include “starting to self-regulate” and “emphasising on quality”.

Going beyond the dichotomous argument of “traditional publishing vs. self-publishing”, the 2014 conference shifted its focus to seeking possible routes to a successful writing career. Writers seemed to start reflecting on their self-publishing experiences (and each other’s sharing) with a critical eye, “acknowledging the huge potential challenges” and hopefully preparing themselves for the tough road ahead. When commenting on the quality of self-published books, Chalmers states,

It is ultimately that and nothing else that will provide self-published writers with long and successful careers.

Finally, authors at the conference generally expressed their concerns (and possibly anxiety) about marketing, to whom Chalmers suggested that they should not be too “hung up on social media” but should turn to physical copies and try to sell them through local bookshops instead. Sensing an increased degree of self-regulation and professionalism, Chalmers will not be the only one who feels positive about the future of self-publishing in the industry.

Image Credit: She Writes Press

Future of Audiobooks & Global Trends for 2015

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, a Publishing student at Bath Spa University, explores the future of audiobook publishing in a module Digital Publishing. She examines the unpopularity of audiobooks among publishers (in comparison with ebooks), and claims that it may be attributed to “a lack of adequate financial return”. However, Maynard points out that audiobooks are not yet doomed because they are easy to incorporate into people’s busy lifestyles, and publishers who identify audiobooks’ potential have been attempting to overcome many hurdles. She evaluates the current situation of a few major audiobook publishers, and brings our attention to the importance or good narrators, who can “breathe life into stories”.

Additionally, Michael Kozlowski sheds light on Global Audiobook Trends for 2015. He also introduces some interesting facts and figures about the current audiobook industry, with a focus on the industry leader Audible, and shares his views on how audiobooks works  differently than e-books on a business level.

The audiobook market is still booming, although it is yet to arise as a popular form of “reading” when the whole world is eager to witness the competition between print books and ebooks. But there’s one thing that we can be sure about: the development of audiobook industry is transforming itself, and it may even transform our definition of publishing and reading once again.

Image Credit: Good E-Reader

Kindle Self-Publishing Tips: Making Your Book More “Visible”

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Brian G. Johnson, author of Azon Bestseller, shares Kindle self-publishing tips and advice that will allow you to drive more traffic and thus make more sales. Talking from his experience as an “Internet Marketer”, Johnson elaborates on how to make your books more “visible” amid the ocean of books on Google and Amazon by explaining how the search engine works.

Please also be aware that some form of self-promotion of the speaker’s book is involved in this short video. While I have no intention at all to promote Johnson’s book per se, producing a tutorial video does seem to be a great marketing idea for self-publishing authors, especially if you are a Youtube savvy.

Video Credit: Brian G. Johnson

Publishing Facts: Featuring US & UK Publishing Industries

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Pete Klein writes about some Publishing Facts which features the U.S. publishing industry in 2014. He provides statistics about books being published and sold, as well as information related to traditional publishing, Amazon publishing, and Print on Demand (POD) publishing

Creative Industries UK quotes from Publishers’ Association website and reports a series of informative facts and figures about UK publishing industry, which is said to be “highly productive”, “highly successful in overseas markets”, and innovative.

 

Image Credit: DomGreco.com 

 

Perks, Pitfalls, and Paradoxes of Amazon Publishing

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Nina Shapiro discusses how Amazon has created a new model of publishing, and how this new model will impact the authors. Her article The Perks, Pitfalls, and Paradoxes of Amazon Publishing sheds light on the much controversial change that Amazon has brought to the publishing industry in the past decade.

The article begins with the publishing endeavours of an author, Megan Chance, who was convinced that she had fallen into the “vicious cycle common to the publishing world”. Having signed up with Amazon Publishing, Chance witnessed the Amazon team utilising all their online resources and making her latest book a great sale. But all success comes at a cost, and for Chance, it involves not seeing her books in stores, “sacrificing prestige in the traditional, New York­-based literary world”, and some recognition in the rest of the world, because Amazon’s publishing model is “almost entirely self-contained.” The model that Amazon Publishing created has not won the reputation that it aspired in more than a few ways, but it has proved “surprisingly profitable” for authors who seek self-publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing houses.

However, Shapiro points out that some authors realise the model is not working for them; “… the hurdles to success, especially in the self-publishing market, are getting harder by the day.” Stories of a few more authors with Amazon experience were discussed. With some part of the publishing world starting to call Amazon “monopoly”, some author organisations are even preparing to take it to court while others grow a more supporting voice.

Shapiro describes Amazon Publishing — and what it will achieve — as an unfolding tale. The division now seeks opportunities in not only self-publishing, but also “republishing out-of-print books”, and introducing foreign language books into the English literary world (via translations imprint Amazon Crossing). As Amazon Publishing declares more competition with major publishers, many wonder if “gold rush is over.” As  Bob Mayer, a publishing practitioner and writer, points out: “It’s the best time ever to be an author since there are so many options. But it’s as hard as ever to succeed long term.”

Image Credit: Morgen Schuler for Seattle Weekly 

The Life Cycle of A Book

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This picture illustrates the (traditional?) publishing process, which involves four major parties and twelve steps. If authors take the self-publishing approach, some steps (e.g. Agent) might be optional; if only e-book version is produced (whether on the author’s own website or under contract with publishing platforms like Amazon), then details of the Distribution step will also alter. In addition, the “Print on Demand” (POD) model is bound to have a great impact on the distribution process.

I personally think that these days it will be necessary to draw a direct link between “Writer” and “Book Buyer”/”Reader”. With online platforms like Goodreads, Amazon, and various blogging sites, writers and readers now can easily engage with each other in the life cycle of a book. Wouldn’t it be a great way to promote book sales if reading becomes more interactive?

Image Credict: International Book Promotion

E-Book Market Review: Guide to 2015

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Anita Lovett gives an overview of the e-Book market in 2014 and prepares a guide for the new year. The literary market share of e-books continues to grow, and Forbes reports that e-books “have dominated 30 percent of 2014 book sales”. E-book sales have expanded to more than 45 times larger in the past five years, with people’s willingness to buy e-books “on the rise”. Lovett then highlights 5 major details that authors and publishers should pay attention to, in order to succeed in the e-book market in 2015: book cover design, book description, book reviews, genre identification, and extensive revision and editing.

In addition, Darrick Dean holds a discussion about whether Book Price Wars will be the “publishing battleground” in 2015. Some are concerned with the situation where traditional publishers will lower prices in their competition with indie authors. However, Dean argues that first of all, “there is always competition” regarding book pricing; the key is to connect with audiences “with a strong, quality product.” With traditionally published books going cheaper, the authors earn a lower profit, which is why indie authors still have some advantages. He ends the discussion with a particularly thought-provoking sentence: “There’s room for all publishing models, but we are seeing a settling of which is good for whom.”

Image Credit: Anita Lovett & Associates