Online Sales

Publishers Boycott Ebook Reseller
May 4, 2015

A Dutch web firm that sells second-hand e-books has complained to the country's competition authorities that it is being boycotted by three of the largest Dutch publishers.

The bookseller Tom Kabinet claimed the publishers VBK, Meulenhoff/Lannoo and WPG have blocked it from selling their e-books through its website, and alerted the authority for consumers and markets in the Netherlands.

Tom Kabinet has been something of a trailblazer in its field. According to standard terms and conditions for digital media

Paypal to Get Into eBook, App Distribution?
May 1, 2015

Earlier today I debunked fears about Paypal's new terms of service, and now I think we know why the rules will be changing this summer. The uproar this morning concerned a clause in the new ToS which suggested that Paypal is going to start distributing digital files. While they haven't formally announced plans to do so, we do have hints that they're looking in this direction.

Cnet has published an interview where Tomer Barel, Paypal's chief risk officer, revealed that Paypal planned to extend its buyer protections and dispute resolution

Tolino Launches Self-Publishing Platform in Germany
April 30, 2015

The German bookselling scene is dominated by two major players: Amazon and Tolino, with the latter being an alliance formed by booksellers Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Club Bertelsmann, Libri and the Deutsche Telekom. On April 28, Tolino launched its own self-publishing platform, Tolino Media, offering indie authors a new way to distribute their ebooks. This puts Tolino Media in direct competition with Amazon's self-publishing program, KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). By offering attractive conditions, Tolino Media has already attracted notable German self-published authors

Can Penguin Random House Get an Even Better Deal from Amazon?
April 27, 2015

is is an appropriate time to consider the power of Penguin Random House's position in the marketplace. It is very strong. If I were any of the other four major publishers, I would fear PRH more than Amazon as a potential disruptor of my business. When I put that proposition to a UK-based executive of one of those companies at the London Book Fair last week, he readily agreed with me.

When one considers what a segmented business publishing is, the Penguin Random House combination becomes that much more eye-catching.

Amazon: Ever-Growing Behemoth, or Topped Out?
April 20, 2015

Obviously, for book publishers the terror over the past few years is that Amazon is going to eat up everything, laying waste to the old book-buying system and forcing down the prices they can ask while at the same time everyone dumps paper books in favour of Kindles.

For publishers, that looks like the worst kind of lock-in.

But I prefer a data-driven approach: look at the numbers, and the numbers in a broader context. Amazon provides pretty clear financial results (with useful breakdowns by geography and segment)

Why Oyster's Ebook Store Weakens Ebook Subscription Models
April 20, 2015

Although some have hailed Oyster's decision to launch an ebook store allowing users to purchase titles à-la-carte, there is reason to meet this decision with some skepticism. Previously a subscription-only service, similar to Bookmate and Scribd, Oyster has launched its new ebook store in conjunction with new deal announcements with Penguin Random House and Hachette, publishers that have famously resisted making their titles made available through subscription services. With this latest move, Oyster has effectively blinked first -- bowing to the pressures of major publishers -- arguably weakening the position of ebook subscription services.

Kindle Unlimited Payout Ties Record Low $1.33 in March 2015
April 17, 2015

Kindle Unlimited adoption continued to grow last month, but unfortunately it grew faster than Amazon 's willingness to fund it. Earlier this week Amazon released the latest statistics on KDP Select, the program used to fund indie author and publisher participation in Kindle Unlimited. Amazon reported that the pool for KDP Select for March 2015 had been increased to $9.5 million. They also announced separately that the payout for each time an ebook was read had dropped to $1.33.

What the Amazon-HarperCollins Deal Means for Ebook Pricing and Publishing
April 15, 2015

With the latest deal wrapped, Amazon appears to have reached a truce, of sorts, with the publishing industry. Since last fall, the e-commerce giant has successfully renegotiated contracts with four of the five big publishers-Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan. The terms of all the contracts, per the New York Times, let the publishers decide their own e-book prices, but also gave them financial incentives to keep those prices low. Arrangements that give the publisher complete control over e-book prices are known in the industry as "full agency" models.

HarperCollins and Amazon in Multiyear Publishing Deal
April 14, 2015

HarperCollins has signed a deal with Amazon to sell its books, much like the contracts the online bookseller has reached with other publishers. Relations between Amazon and the New York publishers, always rather fraught, worsened last year when the bookseller and the publisher Hachette had a multimonth conflict over the price of e-books.

Amazon discouraged sales of Hachette books to pressure the publisher, and Hachette's writers and their allies took to the barricades. The impasse was broken when Amazon signed a contract with Simon & Schuster in October and then used the same terms

Why Oyster Now Sells Ebooks Too
April 14, 2015

Oyster started as an all-you-can-read ebook subscription service but they recently decided to expand their reach by selling individual ebooks as well. There's been plenty of speculation on why they made this move, including catching up to competitors like Scribd and Amazon. While the competitive point is valid, I think there are two more important reasons for this move: sustainability and customer loyalty.