When you're trying to figure out what will happen in the book publishing business in the years to come, any prediction depends on how things work out that are beyond the control of the business, and sometimes well outside it. This will be increasingly the case if the book business, in what has remained a fairly lonely expectation of mine, is increasingly the domain of people who aren't publishing or selling books as a primary commercial activity, but as an adjunct or complement to some other principal objective.
We're swimming in a sea of numbers. Sales data, subscriber trends, website analytics, etc., are just a few of the indicators we can touch on a daily basis. The key is to figure out which numbers to pay close attention to and which can be ignored.
The preliminary program and speaker roster for the upcoming IDPF conference at BEA is now available at idpf.org/db14/. IDPF Digital Book 2014, the professional digital conference at Book Expo America, is May 28-29, 2014 at the Javits Center in New York City.
And so, as we could have predicted, Amazon wrecks Comixology.
What has it been, less than a month since Jeff Bezos bought the most promising tool for renewing the mass distribution of comics in the digital era? I'll give the man this: he's moved faster to undermine an existing technology for the benefit of his own company than General Motors did when it sabotaged Los Angeles's public transit Red Line for the benefit of the bus fleet they wanted to sell the City of Angels. Job well done, Jeff.
Amazon.com's sales were up 23% in its first quarter of 2014, but it seemed to be profits that its stockholders were looking for this time around. Shareholders had previously been able to ignore the fact that they were paying a premium for a stock in a company that had skimpy or no profits at all. Instead, they could point to the healthy rate of growth that Amazon kept displaying. But profitability seemed to rear its head in the stock market's reaction to this year's first quarter. Amazon's shares were down nearly 10%
Aldiko is coming up on its 5th anniversary in June, and the developers will have something to celebrate. They just announced that the app had reached a new milestone. The Aldiko app has now been downloaded 20 million times. Considering that this does not include premium purchases or pre-installed versions of the app, that is an impressive accomplishment.
Samsung has signed a deal with Amazon, and will jointly launch a custom version of the Kindle book store made specifically for Galaxy phone and tablets. Initially reported by Engadget, Samsung has since provided all the information concerning the new app.
Once again, the Japanese electronics giant has come up with a terrific piece of new technology — a breakthrough product that lots of people might want.
And then it has done its level best to strangle the product in its infancy.
A short while ago I sat down in Boston with Giovanni Mancini, director of product development at E Ink, and got an early peak at Sony’s new “Digital Paper” product. This is basically the closest anyone has yet come to a digital piece of paper.
Penguin Random House announced the launch of social retail platform "My Independent Bookshop" yesterday. The website, now in beta, allows users to compile their 12 favorite titles to create a virtual bookshop. Authors can participate as well and set up shop with their most recent works. The recommendation engine is linked to major social channels such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, allowing bookshop creators to share their favorite works with their friends and family.
Peter McCarthy and Mike Shatzkin have joined forces on a new venture, The Logical Marketing Agency, a digital marketing services-provider for publishers and authors. The company is offering a range of title- and author-optimization and research options at prices scaled to fit publishing budgets. The founders expect to provide solutions both for individual authors - mainly through a web portal - and for the largest companies.