Online Sales

Ursula K. Le Guin Breaks Down Amazon's Model for Selling Books, and Explains What It's Doing to Us
June 5, 2015

This past Tuesday, the SF&F (Science Fiction and Fantasy) legend and notorious literary feather-ruffler continued her long campaign against Amazon, this time, as explicitly as possible, via a blog post entitled "Up the Amazon with the BS Machine or Why I keep Asking You Not to Buy Books from Amazon."

In it, she immediately declares that she and Amazon "are not at war." With that said, she proceeds to insist her indifference with regards to Amazon as a house goods supplier or even tool for those looking to self-publish

New Bookindy App Helps Bookshops Fight Back Against Amazon
June 4, 2015

Independent booksellers have launched a new weapon in their two-pronged offensive against online retailers such as Amazon and the supermarket chains who pile books high and sell them low.

In a neat piece of entrepreneurial oneupmanship, the Bookindy app uses Amazon's own technology to upstage it, answering its inventor's question: "Can you promote local independent bookshops on the very system that's designed to destroy them?" The app is an extension for the Google Chrome browser which, when downloaded, changes slightly how the Amazon website looks when you open it up.

In the UK, Penguin Random House v. Amazon is New Normal
June 1, 2015

Just as the swifts have returned to UK skies reassuring us that summer is shortly here and that all must still be well with the global eco-system, so the latest terms dispute with Amazon is similarly reassuring in its own way. After all, if there were no dispute with Amazon, wouldn't we be worried?

According to the tech news site Recode - and congratulations to it for breaking the story (how many had heard of the site before, one wonders) - Penguin Random House UK is currently negotiating a new contract with the retailer.

Amazon And Penguin Random House Said to Be in Dispute
May 26, 2015

The world's biggest publisher, Penguin Random House, could block sales of its books on Amazon if it fails to resolve a contract dispute with the online bookseller. According to industry sources, Amazon, which sells around 90% of all books online, and Penguin Random House are in dispute over the terms of a new contract for online sales that could grow into a full-blown row.

Penguin Random House, which publishes 15,000 books a year across 250 imprints, is the last of the "big five" publishers to renew its contract with Amazon

D2C Bookselling Is Not Easy…But Here Are Two Options
May 21, 2015

Earlier this year, I read an article that recommended that all publishers should be selling direct to consumer not only to garner sales, but to build a direct relationship with customers. Indeed, on the face of it, this argument makes sense. But, while I see the argument for going direct, the largest obstacle publishers need to overcome in order to sell directly from their website is convincing readers to adapt their buying habits, a difficult proposition given the success of the status quo.

The reality is that book buying isn't broken.

Taking a Look at Fixed Book Price in Foreign Book Markets
May 13, 2015

Earlier this year, France made publishing news headlines when its court ruled ebook subscription services like Kindle Unlimited illegal. The law cited was the Lang Law, which gives publishers the exclusive right to set the price of a book. Retailers are not allowed to discount more than 5 percent from this set price.

You may be thinking, A measly 5 percent? Here in the United States, we're used to seeing 50 percent or more slashed off our books. Price fixing in general is regarded as suspect and is, in fact, legally so.

UK Publishers Association Figures Show Digital Innovation Driving Publisher Revenues
May 11, 2015

Figures released today by The Publishers Association reveal the UK publishing industry to be maintaining its strength, diversity and innovation.  Overall book and academic journal sales remain steady at £4.3billion with digital revenues growing to 35% of the overall total.  Export sales now account for 44% of revenue.

Academic journals lead the way in digital publishing with electronic journals now accounting for 79% of all subscription income.  Consumer fiction remains hot on its heels with ebook sales increasing to 37% of total value and trebling in absolute terms in three years.

Why All-You-Can-Read Subscriptions Need Curation
May 11, 2015

The initial promise is compelling, especially for voracious readers. For $10-$15/month consumers get access to more content than they could possibly read in a month. That ultimately creates a bigger problem than the subscription platforms probably realize. For more than a year now I've been a subscriber to both Oyster, for books, and Next Issue,…

How Indie Bookstores Can Win In The Age Of Amazon
May 5, 2015

Indie bookstores have been resurgent in recent years, filling the void of brick-and-mortar shopping left by closing big-box bookstores. How are these bookshops succeeding where Borders buckled? Housing Works Bookstore Café, part of the Housing Works charity in New York City, which provides housing and other services to people living with HIV/Aids, perfectly exemplifies the answer. While walking into a generic big-box bookstore feels a lot like shopping at a slightly more expensive, slightly less convenient version of Amazon, walking into Housing Works feels worlds apart.