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Entries Tagged as 'publishers'

Why are big publishers ignoring interactive picture books?

December 9th, 2010 · opinion

by Chris Walters

Yesterday Scholastic listed 10 trends in children’s lit for 2010, and #6 is in alignment with an October New York Times article on the decline in picture books.

From the Scholastic list: “Publishers are publishing about 25 to 30 percent fewer picture book titles than they used to.”

From the Times article: “Picture books are so unpopular these days at the Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, Mass., that employees there are used to placing new copies on the shelves, watching them languish and then returning them to the publisher.”

What neither story mentions is that there’s a parallel rise in interactive picture books on the iPad, as noted about a month ago by eBookNewser:

“Children’s eBooks continue to lead the Top Paid Apps in the Books category in the App Store today. The No. 1 app in the store is Mickey’s Spooky Night Puzzle Book from Disney, followed by iVerse Media’s Pocket God Comics at No. 2 and Oceanhouse Media’s Dr. Seuss title What Was I Scared Of? at No. 3. Disney’s Winnie the Pooh app [...] is ranked at No. 4 and rounding out the Top 10 at No. 10 is Loud Crow Interactive’s new title PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit, an interactive version of the classic children’s tale.”

It’s true that eBookNewser’s observation of one week’s sales doesn’t confirm a trend. It’s also true that most of the top kids’ books on the App Store are probably more accurately described as hybrids of picture books and activity books. Still, I think it’s worth noting that children’s picture(ish) books are selling well on the App Store, and that none of the big publishers’ names are present in that bestseller list.

Even the new Read To Me line of children’s books on Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color seem to be part of a Barnes & Noble offering, not a publisher-conceived offering, or else the publishers would surely have created such read-along versions in-house and sold them in multiple channels.

I’m left with one of those head-shaking reactions, because I can’t imagine sitting on such a powerhouse of resources–editors, marketing departments, authors, illustrators–and not absolutely dominating the interactive children’s book space with high quality offerings. On the plus side, I suppose it leaves more room for innovative start-ups to thrive.

Update: From today’s Publishers Weekly, here’s an interesting recap of a recent seminar on children’s book publishing in a digital marketplace.

“Scholastic Experts Issue List of ‘Ten Trends in Children’s Books from 2010’” [Scholastic, December 8, 2010]
“Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children” [New York Times, October 7, 2010]
“Children’s eBook Apps Continue To Dominate App Store” [eBookNewser, November 5, 2010]


reposted from BookSprung

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Publishers don’t know how much they’re making on ebooks, and other neat facts

December 8th, 2010 · surveys & polls

Aptara released the results of a survey today. They surveyed a group of 600+ publishers on the various things they’re doing with ebooks. If you want, you can find the complete report here.

There are a bunch of interesting details in this report, like more of the respondents prefer the iPad over the Kindle (with PC in 3rd place). Think about that. The iPad was only released this year.

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Google Books now in talks with UK publishers

November 18th, 2010 · publishing news

You may have read the post in The Bookseller yesterday about how Google Books signed a deal with Hachette Livre to digitize their out of print backlist:

Hachette Livre has come to an agreement with Google that will see the giant search engine digitise the publisher’s out of print books in France, bringing to an end a long-running dispute stemming from Google’s vast book digitisation project. The deal will now be subject to six months ‘fine-tuning’, and will also be made available to other French publishers.

The story only got more interesting this morning when The BookSeller revealed that Google is in talks with (unnamed) UK publishers: [Read more →]

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November 16th, 2010 · ebookstore news

by Chris Walters of BookSprung

One of the more heated discussions about ebook reviews these days is whether it’s appropriate to leave one-star reviews on sites like Amazon if what you’re really reviewing is the price. Although it’s easy to see why people unconcerned with pricing would be annoyed, there’s still no good, public alternative where you can voice your dissatisfaction. [Read more →]

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Amazon UK Switches to Agency Plan with 3 Publishers

November 1st, 2010 · ebookstore news

by Andrys Basten

As mentioned here on Oct. 15, Amazon told its UK customers about its battles to avoid the ‘Agency Plan’ created by Apple with the larger publishers and that the latter would ‘require’ online booksellers to accept the plan to fix prices to be the same at all online stores (notably higher in most cases).  See the recent story for details of what Amazon said to its customers in a posting on the Kindle forums.  The short version is:

‘ Recently, you may have heard that a small group of UK publishers will require booksellers to adopt an “agency model” for selling e-books. Under this model, publishers set the consumer price for each e-book and require any bookseller to sell at that price. This is unlike the traditional wholesale model that’s been in place for decades, where booksellers set consumer prices.

It is indeed correct that this group of publishers will require Amazon and other UK booksellers to accept an agency model for e-books. We believe they will raise prices on e-books for consumers almost across the board. For a number of reasons, we think this is a damaging approach for readers, authors, booksellers and publishers alike. … ‘

But reports it’s come to pass in the U.K. now, also, with “publishers Hachette, HarperCollins and Penguin now setting their own e-book prices.  Customers buying an e-book from the Kindle store from any of the three publishers are told: “This price was set by the publisher.” A Penguin spokesperson said: “I can confirm we are now on the agency model with Amazon as of today.”

Hachette, the leader of the 3 (or the one who required this first) switched to agency pricing in September. Bookseller says that Amazon is the first online e-bookseller to make the switch and that no Penguin or Hachette e-books are yet available for sale on either or W H Smith’s website.

It seems they just withhold the e-books if the retailer refuses to go on the Agency plan.  With Amazon, the customers tend to blame Amazon, as they did in the U.S., if the e-books are not in the store and many posted on forums they’d rather have a choice and pay more than not have access to the books at all or have to find them elsewhere.  Most posted though that they didn’t intend to pay the publishers’ new higher prices, since they were often 50% higher.

The reaction in the UK’s forums is more angry than even what we saw in the U.S. forums.  One book, Just After Sunset bought at under £5 the other day, was seen to be £17.99 today, a price shown as ‘set by the publisher’ as they decided to do in the U.S. (where some customers ignore it and still blame Amazon for the pricing).  However, I just looked and they’re removed the price for the Kindle edition and haven’t replaced it yet. Also, adds:

‘A small number of HarperCollins’ e-books are available at and W H Smith, with a note from indicating that loyalty card points do not now apply to e-book purchases.

It is believed that an issue over loyalty card payments was behind the removal of Hachette titles from sale at when the publishers switched to agency in September, suggesting that the wrinkes [sic] in the transition may soon be ironed out across all booksellers who agree to the new terms.  One retailer said: “It’s still a bit fluid.  Everything is still being resolved.”

The only publishers who have signed up to the agency model but have yet to implement its pricing are Canongate, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. ‘

See the earlier story for more details and links to sourcing for the history of the e-book pricing wars.

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Japanese publishers to create common ebook format

October 27th, 2010 · ebook format

Voyager Japan and Sharp are planning to develop a new ebook format.

Sharp Corp. (TSE:6753) and e-book software developer Voyager Japan Inc. will submit the specifications of their formats free of charge to the Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan.

The trade organization, consisting of 41 major publishers, will then create a common format by the end of March. The government will provide 150 million yen (US$1.8 million as a subsidy.

P.S. If anyone has access to the original Nikkei story (or if you know some background details), please let me know. I’d like to follow up.

via Trading Markets

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UK publishers are even more pig-headed than American pubs

October 22nd, 2010 · opinion

From The Book Seller:

The Publishers Association has set out an agreed position on e-book lending in libraries that will see library users blocked from downloading e-books outside of the library premises. Faber c.e.o. Stephen Page announced the new guidelines this morning (21 October) at the CILIP Public Library Authorities conference in Leeds.

Page told conference delegates that “all the major trade publishers have agreed to work with aggregators to make it possible for libraries to offer e-book lending” with the addition of certain “controls”. He said the guidelines had been developed because of concerns over free e-book lending offered by some libraries to lenders “wherever you are” in breach of publisher contracts.

Right now I bet the RIAA is kicking themselves for not thinking of this first. They’re going to add a new clause to their contract with Apple: everyone who buys from iTunes must do so from an Apple store. [Read more →]

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2 out of 3 publishers planning an iPad app

October 18th, 2010 · surveys & polls

Yudu Media ran a survey  on their business customers. They got 173 responses, and about 2/3rds reported that they were working on an iPad app. The survey result summary is interesting, and you can read it here. Here are the highlights: [Read more →]

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How are Publishers coping with the advent of the ereader and ebook? Not very well so far.

October 17th, 2010 · opinion

by Tony Cole

Can publishers find a way to live with ebooks?

On the face of it, the answer  just now is apparently not.   The world’s publishers are struggling to come to terms with a major shake up in their industry, the first for hundreds of years, and they are apparently completely at a loss as to how to cope… The poor dears. [Read more →]

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Easypress Technologies selected as preferred Epub conversion service for Association of Canadian Publishers

September 30th, 2010 · press release

I’ve met these fellows once or twice. Easypress is based in the UK, and their primary product is a web based Epub conversion service. It’s slick, but it’s always been out of my price range. Then again, for personal needs I’m content with the sloppy Epubs i make with calibre. Easypress, on the other hand, make Epubs that are standards compliant.

From the press release: [

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