The Reasons Amazon Wants a Bookstore May Surprise You
Twenty years after it started selling books online, completely upending the bookselling business in the process, Amazon has opened a physical bookstore, Amazon Books. This surprising move confuses many in the publishing business. Why would Amazon want to open a brick-and-mortar store when its online shop is fantastically successful?
All reports indicate that the Seattle, Washington, Amazon store is a well-arranged shop that’s pleasant to browse through. As promised, prices at the store are identical to Amazon’s online book prices. Pictures of the store show a setup similar to that of other chain bookstores of the past and present, such as Barnes and Noble and Borders. Continue reading
Publishers Partnering with Tech Companies May be Very Risky
According to well-established rumors, Facebook is about to break out yet another partnership program with publishers. The program, “Notify,” will give publishers a forum for sending alerts to its readers and future readers. Facebook users will see alerts about stories or articles on their mobile devices; clicking on these alerts will send them to the connected articles.
Apple users will recognize this format as similar to Apple News. Apple News users see a curated list of relevant articles, then click on the titles that pique their interest. Snapchat’s Discover program is not too different either. Snapchat users who click on the icons of major media publishers are shown news items, Snapchat style. Twenty-four hours later, those stories disappear from the app. Continue reading
Did Publishers Kill the Ebook Subscription Service?
The September 2015 announcement that Oyster’s subscription ebook service was closing down brought a resigned sigh from industry experts. Many in the publishing industry were not surprised to hear that Oyster was going the way of Librify and Entitle, two ebook services that tried unsuccessfully to copy the book-of-month club model. Oyster, with its unlimited selection of streaming books, seemed like a good idea, but the Netflix paradigm just did not adapt from movies to books.
Oyster, which was among the best-known ebook subscription services, highlights the hardship involved in creating a publishing start-up. Changing the accepted standard of book distribution is not easy. The big five publishers are deeply entrenched in the old way of doing business, and they are not eager to latch onto unestablished start-ups. Continue reading
YouTube Personalities Are Becoming Best-Selling Authors
In a not-so-subtle commentary on our culture, the fastest-selling books this year have been written by YouTube stars. Six books written by astronomically popular YouTube personalities have hit the best-seller lists in 2015. In October alone, three books reached the top 20 on Publisher Weekly’s best-seller list.Publishers who grabbed onto this trend early are not surprised by the stellar sales of these books. They noted the massive following of YouTube luminaries, and they rightly foresaw their potential as best-selling authors. Continue reading
Today’s book market has become a crowded bazaar replete with shopkeepers hawking their wares. A new book is published approximately every thirty seconds, and there are 32 million books currently in print or ebook format. Self-publishing a book has become easy and low cost, but selling ebooks is a tougher proposition.
The odds are against self-published authors: on average, a self-published book sells around 150 copies. Authors have to work strategically and diligently at marketing their books in order to stand out from the crowd. As many authors have discovered, even positive reviews are not enough to bring in hordes of readers. Continue reading
Facebooks Instant Articles Eliminate Slow Load Times
Facebook, the world’s largest social network, has launched its highly awaited publishing program, “Instant Articles.” True to its word, FB allows its readers instant access to news articles from publishers that have signed on to the plan. Its easy-open articles have the potential to transform the online experience: increasingly, readers will turn to FB as a primary source of news, secure in the knowledge that load time will be a non-issue.
Facebook manages its new speedy feat by loading articles directly onto its newsfeed. Article titles from a particular publisher show up in people’s newsfeeds if they have “liked” one of those publisher’s articles. If an icon resembling a lightning flash appears next to the article title, the article will appear immediately when clicked on. Instant Articles really is that simple: it eliminates the annoying blank screen and waiting time usually encountered when reading online articles. Continue reading