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eBooks ... By the Numbers
May 1, 2010

According to Simba Information's "Trade E-Book Publishing 2010" report, drawing data from a nationally representative survey, an estimated 9 percent of the U.S. adult population bought at least one e-book in 2009 (compared to an estimated 8 percent in 2008).

Amazon Loses E-Book Pricing War
April 2, 2010

Publishers have emerged victorious in the e-book pricing war with Amazon. The world's largest online retailer has conceded to the demands of three major publishing houses and will cease heavily discounting new best-selling e-books, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Amazon and Macmillan already exchanged fisticuffs about money in February with Macmillan leaving the ring unscathed. Now Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins have joined the bandwagon in refusing to allow retailers to set e-book prices.

Agency Model Now Accommodated in Book Industry Standard for Product Information
April 2, 2010

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and EDItEUR—the international body that maintains ONIX product information standards—working in collaboration with representatives from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the U.K. Publishers Association (PA), have made provisions to the "ONIX for Books" standards to allow for a standard means of communicating agency model sales terms for e-books.

The iPad Impact
April 1, 2010

The iPad launch was a classic bit of business theater. In what may prove to be one of the great product launches of his fabled career, Steve Jobs unleashed his unique alchemy of stealth, spectacle and awe to lay his pearls before the impatient masses. The public played its role fervently, at once being swept up into the rapture of the Apple hype machine and then recoiling at being manipulated so skillfully.

Fast Stats
April 1, 2010

1 Year The contract term for which best-selling author Gavin de Becker's expanded and updated e-editions of two of his books, "The Gift of Fear" and "Just 2 Seconds," will be available exclusively in Amazon's Kindle Store ( This is the first time "The Gift of Fear" has been available electronically, and both books will be exclusive to the Kindle Store for one year.

Author Royalties in the Hot Seat
April 1, 2010

With ostensibly lower production costs and a rich vein of backlist titles to mine, it may have been inevitable that e-book publishers would leverage the advantages of their medium to 
offer authors a higher percentage roy-alty rate for their works. This did not make it any less of a jolt when celebrity 
author Stephen Covey signed a digital rights deal with e-book publisher RosettaBooks, garnering him more than half of net proceeds for e-book sales of two of his older backlist books, including the famous "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," which would be sold exclusively through for one year. (Covey's print books are published by Simon & Schuster, which released a statement reflecting its position that e-book versions of the company's print titles should remain part of the company's catalog.)

eBooks ... By the Numbers
April 1, 2010 Inc. announced at the end of 2009 that its Kindle 
e-reader had become the most gifted item in Amazon's history. On its peak day of the holiday season (Dec. 14, 2009), Amazon customers ordered more than 9.5 million items worldwide—a record-breaking 110 items per second—according to an Amazon press release.

Amazon Exclusivity Deals: Who Wins?
March 26, 2010

It seems every week I receive a press release or read a news article about a new e-book exclusivity agreement an author has struck with Amazon. This week, it was best-selling science fiction author F. Paul Wilson.

According to the press release I received from Amazon, Wilson has made five of his books available in the Kindle Store exclusively for one year using Amazon's e-book self-publishing tool, Digital Text Platform.

Editor's Note: Book Business to Present "Making Books Social" Webinar
March 26, 2010

On Tuesday, April 6, at 2 p.m. EST, Book Business will present the HP-sponored webinar, "Making Books Social."

Recognizing the importance of social networking in the lives of today’s teen readers, publishers are blending Web sites and social media with new book releases to start conversations and keep them going. They are looking for opportunities for readers to not only order and review new titles online, but also to share their enthusiasm for books with fellow members of social networking sites; communicate with authors; and use a variety of up-to-date digital tools to express interests and opinions.

Finding the Sweet Spot Between Free and Paid
March 9, 2010

Bruce Brandfon, Scientific American: always charged for content and a few years gave it away for free on the web. Couldn’t monetize it by way of advertising. A year ago decided to publish tidbits and took the features stories off the web. Previously published features on the web for free before the magazine came out. As a result subscriptions increased. Lesson learned as publishers of content is that rates they were able to generate on the web were very small compared to the rates they could generate in print.

'Flawless' Campaign: Bringing Sexy Marketing Back?
February 26, 2010

Quite honestly, as a consumer, I rarely see a marketing campaign for a book that excites me, or gets people talking. I understand that book publishers generally don't have the marketing budgets to support big, splashy campaigns for a single title, but as a book lover, it's difficult to see the launch of so many great books often met with a collective yawn from the general public.

Sell More Books Through Segmentation
February 26, 2010

If you're like most book publishers, you're always interested in finding new ways to increase unit sales, revenue and profits. One way to achieve this goal is to tap into new markets for your current titles. Easier said than done? At the upcoming Publishing Business Conference & Expo, March 8-10, in New York City, Brian Jud—president of Avon, Conn.-based Book Marketing Works—will lead a session entitled, “Sell More Books in Large Quantities, With Fewer Returns,” to help publishers discover and sell to new markets.

Socially Active
February 1, 2010

Many publishers have launched or are launching social media efforts. But, as time will tell, an effective social media strategy requires more than simply setting up a Twitter account or a Facebook page and waiting for followers and fans to flock. When San Francisco-based Chronicle Books launched its social media strategy in March 2009, it did so with specific goals in mind. "The overriding strategy … was to build our community, build audience, raise our brand awareness of Chronicle Books online and start … driving traffic to our site," says Guinevere de la Mare, Chronicle's community manager, who works with the marketing team to spearhead and sustain social media efforts.

The Future of the Industry
February 1, 2010

What does it mean when a city of 230,000 loses its lone bookstore, as is happening to Laredo, Texas, in early 2010? With a world of books available to purchase online, is it merely a symbolic loss, or is there something more deep-rooted at work?

The New Marketing Framework
February 1, 2010

A year ago, I wrote a column examining the problems that occur when publishing organizations place marketing departments in technology silos, without access to digital assets and tools that would otherwise make marketing programs more effective.

41 Tips for Building Online Communities
December 1, 2009

Traditional marketing has taken a beating in the distressed economy, but many book publishers are relying on social media efforts to reach new, targeted audiences. While some publishers are unsure about the impact of social networking on book sales—and whether any time or monetary investment is worthwhile—other publishers who are actively engaging in social networking and building online communities around content and authors believe its impact is significant.

36 Twitter Tips for Book Publishers
December 1, 2009

For better or worse, Twitter has become part of our culture. While some people still may not see the value in engaging on the online social networking tool, many do. According to ComScore Media Metrix’s October figures, Twitter had more than 20 million unique visitors in the United States in September. Many businesses find Twitter useful for connecting with customers, and publishers are no exception.

Twitter: I'm Addicted, but With Good Reason
December 1, 2009

I recently became a follower of Khaled Hosseini, author of “The Kite Runner,” on Twitter. I was shocked to see that he had only 920 followers. Not that 920 is necessarily a small number of followers … but it’s Khaled Hosseini, for heaven’s sake. I started looking for some of my other favorite authors. I couldn’t find Barbara Kingsolver (“The Poisonwood Bible” is one of my all-time favorites) on Twitter, but she did have a Facebook profile with 3,845 fans (now 3,846).

The Promise of Poetry in a Digital Age
November 1, 2009

The problems of poetry are many. It can be difficult to discover. It can be difficult to read and interpret. Are you reading it right? Are you interpreting it right? Are you sure?