book

Go Read This | Books go online for free in Norway – Telegraph

Fascinating plan this one, and seems pretty sensible from a copyright perspective. It has echoes of the way that HarperCollins has been engaging with new subscription services (ie: breaking out  frontlist and backlist titles). One thing this brings to the forefront of my mind however is that this increasing move to split out front list will reinforce the hit driven nature of the business:

The good news is that so far sales in bookshops do not appear to have been affected by the project. Instead, Bokhylla often gives a second life to works that are still under copyright but sold out at bookshops, said Moe Skarstein. “Books are increasingly becoming perishable goods,” she told AFP reporter Pierre-Henry Deshayes, “when the novelty effect fades out, they sink into oblivion. Many national libraries digitise their collections for conservation reasons or even to grant access to them, but those are (older) books that are already in the public domain. We thought that, since we had to digitise all our collection in order to preserve it for the next 1,000 years, it was also important to broaden access to it as much as possible.”

via Books go online for free in Norway – Telegraph.

Making Frenemies: Kobo, Easons & Ebooks In Ireland

20131030_192630Easons, which once had ambitions to launch its own ereader, has joined forces with Kobo. The deal will see Easons selling Kobo devices in its 60 stores and has attracted little negative comment unlike Waterstones deal with Amazon last year. In fact it seems, so far, to have been pretty universally welcomed in the Irish trade.

Easons has, despite the aforementioned ambitions, chosen the path of least expense with regard to making its ebook offering credible and coherent. That meant, although its e-store concept was attractive, it was selling several different brands of device and its ebook platform was off the shelf and was not always as smooth as possible. What’s more its options were somewhat limited. Tesco has been selling Kindle ereaders since before last Christmas at prices well under €100 and Amazon has spent hundreds f millions making those devices and the ecosystem surrounding them, very user-friendly. The Waterstones Kindle match-up has sat oddly with the trade, the deal has also put Kindle ereaders and tablets in front of readers in many places. So Easons has been faced by deep pocketed rivals and the most likely platform partner already pretty much wrapped up with rivals.

We don’t yet know how successful this move to partner with Kobo will be. Easons is still offering Sony ereaders from its website (on 2nd November) and Kobo’s ebook offering not yet live through the retailer’s website either. Even so, Kobo has launched a new consumer facing ebook site for Ireland which will surely power Easons ebook store when the partnerships rolls out properly. The site’s not perfect yet, for instance, I can’t yet find out where to but one of the company’s tablets in Ireland yet, but that’s an easily resolved issue.

Irish facing stores are a rarity in the ebook space, on Kindle, users must choose between buying their ebooks from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. While the process is fine and workable, it still presents pricing challenges and means picking out Irish bestsellers can be hard. Apple offers an Irish facing ebook store but there’s every indicator that sales through the store have been relatively low.

The bigger question for me is what will all this mean for ebooks in Ireland. The last year or so has seen most Irish publishers begin to take ebooks very seriously with some publishers quietly indicating that digital sales are no accounting for double-digit percentages of units sold (though often a lower percentage of revenue given the disparity in price). The best indications I’ve seen suggest that while fiction is the leader, there are some fine performances  in non-fiction too and that backlist is proving its worth yet again.

“One in five books sold on Easons.com are ebooks”

Interestingly, Conor Whelan, Easons MD, said at the launch of the Kobo/Easons partnership (which took place at the launch of Kobo’s new Irish offices, itself during the Dublin Web Summit) that: “One in five books sold on Easons.com are ebooks” a fact that sailed over many people’s heads, but struck me as a very nice nugget of information. It indicates that Easons is doing much better at selling ebooks on its own than we might previously have imagined, thus suggesting the Kobo partnership might really drive ebook take up and sales in Ireland if it can connect with readers.

I’m intrigued that the offering will include more that just the ereaders. Kobo’s tablet offering is really quiet good (in the non-iPad league that is) and at €149.99, the Kobo Arc 7 will provide Easons with a reason to get non-readers in the door that the ereaders on their own simply will not. In fact at that kind of price point, the tablet may well be the most attractive part of the device line up.

Kobo has found a strong partner to grow mind-share and market share in Easons. It does have a very large presence on the high streets of Ireland as well as an impressive brand and awareness in Irish readers mindsets. The company also runs highly successful media campaigns in the run-up to Christmas and ereaders and tablets will be a leading gift category yet again in 2013 and ebooks still have lots of room for growth in Ireland.

The problem is that Kindle is dominant and massively so, and will not be pushed aside  easily. It will require a by a determined new brand and dogged execution both on the device side of things (which means hoping Easons can deliver) and on the ebook sales and promotion side of things (which means work for Kobo and its staff).  It does seem to me though that even if Kobo only manages to build a secure second player position, it could be to both its and Easons advantage. It the companies can make it work, we might begin to see the kinds of percentages that the US & UK have been seeing over the last year or 25-30% units being sold in digital form.

Here’s hoping!

Go Read This | It’s Almost Time To Throw Out Your Books | TechCrunch

Not sure I agree with all of this and certainly sure that his vision for the future is perhaps a little more simple than is likely, but worth reading:

With luck we’re entering a world in which readers have access to any and every book for a flat fee; authors get paid depending on how much they’re actually read; publishers remain a vital but decreasingly visible part of the process; physical books are still available via online print-on-demand and niche physical stores; and zillions of CC-licensed books are freely available to readers in the poor world who can’t yet afford books or subscription services. Call me Pollyanna, but it seems to me that that’s a win for absolutely everyone.

via It’s Almost Time To Throw Out Your Books | TechCrunch.

 

PS: For more on Amazon MatchBook, I wrote a piece here

A Quick Link | Dublin Opinion » Paddy Moran Commemoration Programme – 8 to 14 March 2011

Executed For Ireland: The Patrick Moran Story was one of the titles I commissioned while at Mercier, an excellent book and an fascinating topic, sounds like an interesting series of events:

Monday 14th March 2011 (The anniversary of execution)

7.00p.m. Mass in the Dun Laoghaire Club premises, 3 Eblana Avenue, Dun laoghaire. Celebrant: Monsignor Dan O’Connor PP, Dun Laoghaire.

8.00p.m. LECTURES on the life and times of Patrick Moran, Dun Laoghaire Club, 3 Eblana Avenue, Dub Laoghaire.

SPEAKERS: May Moran, author of Executed for Ireland and niece of Paddy Moran; Padraig Yeates, author of Lockout: Dublin 1913 and forthcoming A City in Wartime: Dublin 1914-1918.

Chairman: John Douglas, General Secretary, MANDATE, trade union.

via Dublin Opinion » Blog Archive » Paddy Moran Commemoration Programme – 8 to 14 March 2011.

For more on May Moran, the author of the book, check out this audio clip!

 

Go Read This | A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Konrath Self-Pubbed Sales

There’s only one JA Konrath, that’s for sure, but he’s still mostly unknown and he’s still in the minority of authors who have embraced change

I reckon he’ll be copied in 2011 for all the reasons he points to here. Good for him!

In the past six weeks, my twenty self-pubbed titles on Amazon Kindle have earned over $26,000.

In November, I sold over 9000 ebooks on Kindle. That averages out to 300 a day.

In November, I also sold 266 print copies of nine self-published titles, earning royalties of $1000. This number is skewed, since most of the titles weren’t available until the middle of the month.

I’m not allowed to disclose sales of Shaken, which was published by Amazon Encore. But I’ll say that it puts my self-pubbed sales for November to shame.

I attribute the boost I’ve gotten on my self-pubbed titles to Shaken’s success. It hung out in the Amazon Top 100 for a month, and is now ranked at #148.

So is this as good as it gets? is the ebook bubble about to burst?

via A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Konrath Self-Pubbed Sales.

Blood & Thunder ~ Martina Devlin: Drumming up enthusiasm for the Glorious Twelfth – Martina Devlin, Columnists – Independent.ie

Blood & Thunder: Inside An Ulster Protestant Band was one of the books I commissioned towards the end of my time at Mercier Press. It sounded like it was going to be a cracker and the author Darrach MacDonald was great.

Since release, the book has attracted a lot of attention which I’m really pleased to see. It deserves it.

The allusion to blood and thunder, by the way, refers to the decibel levels and to the zeal of drummers playing until their wrists bleed and their drumsticks are stumps.

MacDonald concludes that marching bands are a vibrant manifestation of 21st Century loyalist culture. The Orange Order’s membership is dwindling in an increasingly secular society (it has fewer than 36,000 members in Ireland compared with more than 93,000 in 1968), but these bands offer an outlet to loyalist youths to celebrate their heritage.

If full reconciliation within the North’s divided society is to happen, MacDonald suggests that respect for loyalist traditions must be part of it. “Choosing to be entertained. . . rather than offended is the secret to a shared future,” he says.

via Martina Devlin: Drumming up enthusiasm for the Glorious Twelfth – Martina Devlin, Columnists – Independent.ie.

Quick Link – Darina Allen: Forgotten Skills of Cooking cookbook – chicagotribune.com

Darina Allen’s great Forgotten Skills of Cooking gets a Chicago Tribune review:

The recipes are old-fashioned and mostly Irish. You’ll find a lot of recipes here calling for salting, canning, pickling, smoking and even potting in butter — preferably homemade. Allen is a big do-it-yourselfer. Founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, she’s a born teacher, and her enthusiasm is infectious. Still, be warned: To get the most out of this book, you need to be not only a do-it-yourselfer but also able to handle yourself in the kitchen, the garden and even the slaughtering shed.

via Darina Allen: Forgotten Skills of Cooking cookbook – chicagotribune.com.