Month: May 2010

The iPad Hits The UK (and some other places too)

It’s on sale now!
The company’s website is warning that iPad orders made now will not be sent out until 7 June. It sold more than 1m iPads in the US in the first 100 days after the April launch, making it a faster seller than the iPhone.
Here

Welcome to Agency Town
After weeks of no-comment the three publishers finally released statements on their move to the Apple agency model at 10am today at Apple’s request, though The Bookseller broke the news an hour earlier.
Here

Consumers will do what consumers will do
But John Herbert, 42, city analyst, said: “It does books? I might in the end read e-books on it, but it’s not my main reason for getting one. I’m thinking about movies, music, the web; something for the commute, really
Here

Available on the island, just not the southern end of it
APPLE ENTHUSIASTS in Ireland will be able to get their hands on the iPad from today as it goes on sale in the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland.
Here

Tom Tivnan love iBooks
my first thought on iBooks: yeah, this is the real deal. Miles ahead of the Sony Reader, Kindle or any other e-reader on the market. I have been reading e-books on the iPhone, but the far bigger size of the screen adds a new dimension. The ‘flip’ page technology is smooth and comes as close to a real book experience as you are likely to get digitally. After having a look at this, I can’t really see anyone ever wanting a monochrome e-reader.
Here

The FT injects some reality, which is nice!
In other words, analysts trying to calculate the iPad’s prospects in Europe would do well to remember that the continent’s patchwork of publishers and local laws make simple pan-European deals unlikely. Apple’s relatively small European team has been advertising for publisher account managers. On the evidence so far, they will be busy.
Here

And so does Charlie Brooker
I doubt many readers will persevere to the final page of a novel, unless it’s a book in which the lead character squints a lot, in which case you’ll have a certain empathy.
Here

Mediabistro & publishing perspective’s Edward Nawotka throw out interesting thoughts
Nawotka concluded: “The Europeans tend to be more conservative. It’s taken them somewhat longer to get into eBooks. You can see that reflected in the way they dealt with the iPad launch. It’s no secret that this is going to be a trendsetting device. I’m getting pictures in from Australia, the UK, and Germany–the Apple Stores are just thronged. A lot of the publishers just waited until the last minute to sign up and get their stuff ready.”
Here

And we have an early bestseller!
Chris Evans’ memoir, It’s Not What You Think (HarperCollins), is the early ebook bestseller at Apple’s iBookstore. The book, recently released in a mass-market format with an r.r.p. of £7.99 has been selling at around £5.20 at UK bookshops on average in recent weeks. But at a bargain £3.99, the ebook has shot to the top of the UK iBooks chart.
Here

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Amazon Creates Translation Publishing Imprint: AmazonCrossing

In many ways this is a fairly sensible move from Amazon:

Similar to AmazonEncore, Amazon’s first publishing imprint, AmazonCrossing uses customer feedback and other data from Amazon sites around the world to identify exceptional books deserving of a wider, global audience. AmazonCrossing will acquire the rights and translate the books and then introduce them to the English-speaking market through multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store, and national and independent booksellers via third-party wholesalers.

It does go to show though how much power Amazon has gained for itself through hard work and enterprise. Owning the relationship with readers is enabling them to leverage their other capabilities and to relatively rapidly create imprints. Right now they seem small enterprises and mant dismiss them, but as I have pointed out before (and been shown to be correct) small things can grow!

Some questions arise here:

1) Will agents see the value of this outfit?
2) Will authors prefer more established houses?
3) Will their sales data and reader feedback advantage give Amazon a clear advantage over traditional houses in the rights acquisition field?
4) How will publishers react?

That last question is by far the biggest and strategically important. 2010 has really seen a ramping up of Amazon’s publishing enterprises. Beside this new imprint and a fairly large increase in the numbers of titles published under the Encore brand, they also announced this week that they had acquired a pretty mainstream writer. Publishers surely must see the danger that Amazon presents when it pursues actions like these!

Intrigued by all this!
Eoin

Amazon Encore Signs JA Konrath

Shaen By J. A. KonrathAmazon Encore the publishing imprint of the internet retailer has signed a deal with JA Konrath to publish his next ‘Jack’ Daniel title, Shaken.

This is pretty big news, as Mike Shatzkin points out:

this is a significant jolt to conventional publishing economics. Sales of Konrath’s $2.99 ebook will deliver him about $2.10 a copy (Konrath says $2.04; not sure where the other six cents is going…), as much or more as he would make on a $14.95 paperback from a trade publisher, and significantly more than he’d make on a $9.99 ebook distributed under “Agency” terms and current major publisher royalty conventions.

I noted here and elsewhere how Authors will drive change and pointed specifically to Konrath. It is very interesting that this deal is with Encore whose efforts I have also been watching warily for some time.

Publishers who didn’t see this coming, having been warned that such moves were on the horizon and in the aftermath of a series of similar deals really only have themselves to blame. I wonder what the reaction will be.

Print may wither much sooner than we expect!
Eoin

Osprey Publishing Acquires Angry Robot

I like Osprey. I think they are very smart operators and they know what they are doing and why. They have also built two very nice niche brands (Osprey and Shire) that are almost instantly recognizable in their markets, certainly by the kind of people who buy books and information in those spaces. So the news that they have bought the HarperCollins science-fiction and fantasy imprint Angry Robot is pretty exciting.

Here’s how Angry Robot put it:

Following an acclaimed first year of publishing, the revolutionary science fiction imprint Angry Robot Books has parted company with HarperCollins UK. It will now run as an independent publishing imprint, with the full backing of niche publishing experts, Osprey Publishing.

And here is what Osprey told us:

We at Osprey/Shire/Angry Robot (we are going to need a group name) are all about publishing for specialists, whether your specialism is Panzer variants, timber-framed buildings or zombie novels. We want to publish books (and not just books these days) for people who are enthusiastic, knowledgable and passionate about their interest whatever it is.

What this might mean?
Tor.com has made it clear since its foundation that emphasizing niche can be a successful strategy for reader engagement and Angry Robot is doing a good job of replicating that in the UK with their Robot Army. I’d love to see even more accessible content that just their great and active blog but what they do now is good.

In terms of strategy, Angry Robot is a strong and build-able brand. I’d expect to see more community features over time and perhaps even some kind of membership much as Osprey has created on their home site.

The bigger questions are for HarperCollins. The sale of Angry Robot leaves them with Voyager as their main Science-Fiction and Fantasy imprint. That’s a fine imprint but their engagement strategy is a little up in the air right now. They moved from a community site which I always felt was far too sales pitchy toward a more blog orientated site.

The new site is much better, both visually and in terms of reaching out to readers but it lacks the openness of Tor.com’s site. Unless they address that soon, I fear they may fall behind. When you consider their authors and the passion these superstars generate, this seems a shame. I think they could learn quite a bit from the imprint that have just sold off or simply by copying some of what Tor.com is doing.