Tag Archives: Amazon

From Jeffbots to editorbots

Piers Blofield

This is a guest post from Piers Blofeld. Piers is an Agent at Sheil Land Associates where he represents both fiction and non-fiction clients. He represented the Frankenstein app by Dave Morris which topped the app charts on both sides of the Atlantic this summer. A recent success is Jamie Thomson’s Dark Lord: The Teenage Years, the winner of the Roald Dahl Prize.

The most amazing thing – of all the amazing things – that Amazon has done is to have gathered a wholly unprecedented body of data about the world’s reading habits. Traditionally, publishers and booksellers have simply known what people buy. Once the book is in the hands of the reader and out of the store it is, quite literally, a closed book to them. For Amazon it is different. They not only know what people buy, but when they buy, and, much more importantly, how they read.

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Amazon bringing Kindle to US indies

Following on from last year’s unexpected partnership with Waterstones that saw Kindles sold in the chain’s brick and mortar stores, Amazon has now announced that it will make its e-readers available for sale in independent bookshops in the USA. Amazon Source offers two different packages for physical retailers: a ‘general retail program’ aimed at consumer electronics shops (i.e. markets more interested in hardware than software) that offers Kindle devices at a 9% discount from their suggested retail price and accessories at a 35% discount, and a ‘bookseller program’, which only offers a 6% discount on the price of hardware but keeps the 35% discount on accessories and adds 10% commission on every e-book bought by customers from Kindles bought at the bookseller’s shop. Continue Reading →

Amazon starts literary journal for Kindles

Continuing its ongoing efforts to have a finger in every single literary pie that’s going, Amazon has now realised that it hasn’t as yet made any money from the ever popular realm of literary journals, and so has set about remedying that by preparing to make money from the ever popular realm of literary journals. The multi-hyphenate online behemoth has launched Day One in its American Kindle store, a typically ambitious weekly publication that will endeavour to highlight the work of new and emerging authors and poets. Continue Reading →

Self-published porn leads WH Smith to come offline

WH Smith yesterday took down its website in reaction to the weekend discovery that it was amongst a number of digital retailers – also including Amazon and Barnes & Noble – selling William Faulkner novels self-published pornography featuring depictions of incest, rape and bestiality. Instead of the usual shopfront, visitors to the Smith site were greeted by a holding page featuring a statement from the business saying ‘a number of unacceptable titles were appearing on our website through the Kobo website that has an automated feed to ours’. WH Smith, of course, takes both its e-book hardware and software from the Canadian e-reader manufacturers, including its massive library of titles, which in this case appears to have passed to the Smith site without any vetting along the way. Continue Reading →

Amazon rushes to price-match Sainsbury’s e-books

Clearly feeling threatened by others edging in on its whole ‘selling books at unsustainably low prices’ thing, Amazon has started to price-match Sainsbury’s October e-book promotion, which sees the supermarket selling a shifting variety of popular titles digitally for 99p each. The promotion, which began last week, features a selection of one day only special offers that changes every weekday, alongside a stock of dozens of other titles that will remain at the reduced price for the whole month. Yesterday’s (October 9th) daily titles included David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Sarah Winman’s When God Was A Rabbit and John Banville’s Booker-winning The Sea, all of which were subsequently brought down to 99p on Amazon too. The title with the largest discount was Bridget Asher’s The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, down £6 from its usual Sainsbury’s retail price of £6.99. Continue Reading →

Amazon announces latest line of Kindle Fires

Amazon has revealed the latest additions to its line of Kindles, with three new models seeing staggered releases in the US in the run-up to the Christmas shopping season. First to be released is the upgraded Kindle Fire HD, which keeps the 1280×800 resolution 7″ screen of the previous generation but switches out that model’s 1.2GHz processor for a 1.5GHz and is slightly more compact overall. It’s out on 2 October and costs $139 (around £86). Here’s an artist’s impression of its packaging:

malibu stacy hat

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos buys Washington Post

Get ready to break out the Citizen Kane references – and, by extension, the Mr Burns references – because Jeff Bezos, benevolent (?) overlord of the Amazon empire, apparently thinks it would be fun to run a newspaper, having just bought the Washington Post. The venerable D.C. institution has been under the control of the Graham family since 1946, and in the 13 years before that was owned by Philip Graham’s father-in-law, Eugene Meyer, who bought it at a bankruptcy auction. The paper’s present circumstances haven’t become quite so dire as those, but the $250 million Bezos has paid for it will no doubt be appreciated nonetheless. Continue Reading →

Amazon launching comics imprint

In its continuing efforts to leave no income stream untapped, especially if other people are already drinking from it, definite potential comic book supervillain Amazon has found an entirely appropriate new means of expanding its plans for world domination: By itself printing the adventures of comic book supervillains, with the launch of its new comic and graphic novel imprint Jet City Comics. In a move akin to Apple deciding it wants iTunes to branch out into vinyl, the imprint will publish in both digital and print formats. Continue Reading →

Amazon to sell officially licensed fan fiction

Realising there’s a part of the internet that’s been around even longer than it has that still hasn’t been monetised to full effect, Amazon has signed a licensing deal with Warner Bros. to begin selling officially-sanctioned fan fiction, above and beyond Marvel’s Avengers films (hiyooooo). In a manner similar to the site’s pre-existing self-publishing e-book platform, Kindle Worlds will allow writers of fan fiction the chance to profit from something they’d probably be doing for free anyway, with or without an audience, albeit at a much lower rate than if they, say, changed the characters and settings from Twilight just enough to be legally discernible and then maybe added anal beads or something. Continue Reading →

6 Questions for Amanda Close of Random House, on launch of book discovery Facebook app BookScout [INTERVIEW]

BookScout

Worried about Amazon buying up GoodReads? Have no fear: Random House, Inc have launched BookScout a new social book discovery app on Facebook. The app allows readers to create and organize their own digital bookshelves and explore friends’ bookshelves to learn what others are reading. BookScout encourages organic word-of-mouth recommendations as people can share what they’re currently reading with their Facebook friends, tag books they’d like to read, and keep track of books they’ve read. The app also provides personalized book recommendations from all publishers, and includes links to major retailers so people can easily purchase print books and eBooks they’re interested in.

Sophie asked Amanda Close, SVP Digital Marketplace Development, some more questions to find out why the app has been made, what the plans are for future and how the analytics are forming future growth strategies… Continue Reading →

#Amazonageddon Halts US Online Book Purchase For… Several Hours

At some stage last week while I was asleep, buy buttons were removed from Big 6 (5?) publishers Hachette, Penguin, Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. What followed was a brief turd storm of concern, blame and speculation about what these publishers had done to bring forth the wrath of Bezos, followed by a ‘statement’ from Amazon a while later saying it was a technical glitch (ie: they sent out an email with ‘technical glitch’ as the subject line and blank body text, probs). Continue Reading →

Lower Ebook Prices Does Not Equal More Readers

Last week saw the declaration by Amazon that the dissolution of agency pricing in the US was a “big win for customer” and that they look forward to lowering prices on more ebooks in the future. It’s slightly surreal for me to read that lower ebook prices is something anyone would ‘look forward’ to, given how much effort publishers are making (not across the board, but certainly in some places) to ensure the price of ebooks stays at a level that encourages a sense of worth for the format. Testament to Amazon’s place in the market, however, the news was not received badly. Continue Reading →

Did you hear JK Rowling has a book out today? No, really!

In news that has gone so far from the definition of ‘news’ that it has circled back round upon itself to become newsworthy again, today sees the publication of JK Rowling’s first post-Harry Potter novel, the adult-orientated The Casual Vacancy. I know, it caught me utterly unawares too. Take a minute to regain your composure and lift your jaw off the floor, why don’t you.

Little, Brown is the company currently looking at its logo on the spine of the book, then looking at the rest of the publishing world, then looking at the Harry Potter series’ sales figures, then looking back at the rest of the publishing world and pointing and laughing. Continue Reading →

Kobos and Kindles: New Additions and Winning Combinations

Last week saw the release of a new Kobo range, and (not to be outdone) the yearly release of the new Kindle line. Despite Bezos’ insistence that he doesn’t need his customers on the ‘upgrade treadmill’, Amazon released an upgrade to pretty much every single one of their devices, including two new Kindle Fire tablets and the predicted backlit eInk reader. So, as readers, what are we looking at for Christmas this year?

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‘Sock puppets!’

Late on Friday night, a tweet from the writer Alan Gillespie appeared on my feed that read ‘Read @jeremyduns‘ timeline for a literary Hollyoaks episode. Mental.’ It was accompanied by retweets of Ian Rankin, saying ‘I’m sitting here, numb, staring at @jeremyduns timeline this evening…. ‘, and of Duns himself, who said ‘If you want to read my tweets about RJ Ellory’s sockpuppeting, @stevemosby has kindly just collated them’ and linked to this Storify thread. Continue Reading →

Amazon’s Press Conference: What Can We Expect?

Amazon.co.ukSales figures. A detailed breakdown of sales of devices by country, including market share, plus a deep look into the data they hold for each customer, as well as how their recommendation system works. CEO Jeff Bezos is likely to unveil their print-to-ebook sales ratio, alongside comparative figures of how each version of Kindle has sold over a specific date range. He will announce the collaborative work he is doing with publishers and retailers to move toward an aggregated eBook sales chart similar to Neilsen’s Bookscan, and his plans to be far more transparent with the press in the future regarding profitability and strategy.

HA! Ok, enough of that. Continue Reading →

New deals for NOOK, Kobo and Kindle, some combination thereof

You know how before you got to see The Avengers you had to sit through all the Iron Mans and Captain Americas and Scandinavian God Fall Downs, so that all the preliminary character work was done and blowing stuff up could commence immediately? Well, that’s an exceedingly generous analogy to draw to the contents of this post, which brings news of new deals for two separate e-readers before both join forces with a third. 3D glasses will not be provided, but if you’re reading this on public transportation then we can offer you something approximating a D-Box seat. Continue Reading →

Amazon taking this whole Indian Summer idea a tad literally

Evidently determined to prove that Barnes and Noble isn’t the only digital bookseller that can expand to new territories this week, why should it be?, Amazon is taking the Kindle to India. Hear that Barnes and Noble? That’s the second most highly populated country in the world – 1,241,491,960 people at last count, second only to China. ‘Suddenly getting a foot in the door of a market with a population of 62,641,000 doesn’t seem quite so great an achievement, does it?’ asked Amazon, as it got Barnes and Noble in a headlock, shoved it face first into the nearest toilet and encouraged it to ‘drink it up!’ as it hit flush.  Continue Reading →

Rise of the Machines: Amazon e-book sales pass print

It’s a moment everyone always knew was coming, and it’s finally here: Amazon said yesterday that sales of Kindle downloads have officially sailed past print sales in the UK. Of course, it can say anything it likes, because its figures remain unaudited and, given the lack of further comment on the matter, look likely to remain that way. If you’re prepared to take the omnimegahyperconglomerate (or whatever) at its word, however, then for every 100 print books it has sold so far in 2012 in the UK, 114 of its paid-for e-books have been downloaded (and if you’re really, really bad at maths, that means that e-book sales are 14% higher than print sales). UK Kindle owners are apparently buying on average four times as many books now as they did before buying the device. Continue Reading →

BookMachine Weekly BookWrap: publishing stories from around the web

On BookMachine over the past couple of weeks it was all Fitba, Shades and Gray as Cargo announced three new signings, there were 6 Questions for Jon Reed and we asked Should Children’s Books Come with Age Certifications?

In the news it was announced They’re Making Another Hobbit Film Now, and while Steidl launches book-scented perfume, Fifty Shades beats Harry Potter into submission on Amazon.

We had a guest post from Kathy Meis on why It’s a Brand New World, and if you find yourself in Edinburgh over the festival period, do amble along to BookMachine Edinburgh – 17th August. Continue Reading →