Ebook preview widgets have been around for quite awhile but when was the last time you saw one on a blog or website? I can’t recall the last one I saw but I’ll bet that’s about to change.
Amazon recently released their Kindle Instant Previews widget in the US, and it does what its name suggests. In short, this tool makes it incredibly easy to embed or share an ebook sample on a web page or via email. The fact that it’s offered by the biggest ebook platform on the planet means it’s well positioned for success.
In the run up to Publishing: the next 5 years, BookMachine will be featuring a number of opinions about what might be next for the industry. This is a guest blog from Ami Greko. Ami recently relocated from working for Goodreads in New York to working for Penguin Random House in London. Outside of the office she founded Book Camp NYC, an unconference for publishing types, and co-created a soup zine (called Stock Tips) that was well over-funded on Kickstarter.
In the next five years, I think we’ll see a wildly successful book-ish tech startup. I don’t mean a startup oriented around books. I mean a publishing startup created by and for those of us with towering stacks of books taking over every flat surface of the home.
Over the past few weeks, headlines have been peppered with claims that reading eBooks before bed is bad for your health. A new study, published in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has found that reading light-emitting eBook before sleep can compromise the quality and length of your sleep amongst other things.
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.
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:
I have spent the past three and a half months working as an ebooks assistant for an Oxford based Christian publishing house producing books that aim to illuminate, detail, debate, commodify, beautify, and question the Christian faith in non-fiction and fiction offerings, and with over 300 ebook titles already selling on all major retailer/online portals.
Here are my top ten tips for anyone freshly entering the ebooks arena.
Sales 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.
Rachel Abbott self-published her first novel, Only the Innocent, in 2011 through Kindle Direct. It reached the number 1 spot in the Kindle store just over three months later,held its position for four weeks and was the second highest selling self-published title in 2012. In August 2015, Amazon confirmed that Rachel is the UK’s bestselling independent author over the last five years. She is also listed at number 14 in the list of bestselling authors – both traditionally and independently published – over the same five year period. Here are her top tips for promoting a title.
The one question I am always asked by writers is “How can I get my book noticed?”. As we all know, it is possible to write the most brilliant novel in the world but, unless people know it’s out there, how are they going to find it amongst the millions of books available for the Kindle?
The tips below might help you to be noticed and to build and maintain a high readership.
Don’t only think about marketing activities that result in immediate sales – focus on making sure that people recognise your books, seeing them in as many places as possible. Display your covers: at the end of each email you send; in guest posts for popular blogs; in tweets or Facebook posts. Awareness is crucial to success. When readers see your book in a store you want them to think ‘I’ve seen that book before – it looks interesting.’
Most bloggers post their reviews on Amazon and Goodreads as well as on their own blogs. Keep a list of the reviewers you like, and make sure you invite them to read the book before launch. Find other reviewers by searching similar authors, plus the word ‘review’. Send reviewers all the details they might need including what the book is about, the word length and genre. Good reviews create a desire for people to buy.
A perfect example of a marketing plan objective would be to increase your mailing list by 500 readers. Your actions might include putting a link to a sign-up page in the back of your books, running a promotion, creating a newsletter sign-up form for the author Facebook page, blog or website. Then you can send readers regular updates on the book launches.
It’s all so easy to get hooked on Twitter and be on their all day – but use scheduling tools to cut down on the time spent on social media. Remember the average Twitter user reads tweets for no more than 15 minutes per day and follows 270 people, so if you want to catch their eye, you need to tweet at regular intervals.
Jacob Cockcroft is founder of The Pigeonhole. He is a lifelong book addict with a passion for blending the old and the new. With family origins in Zanzibar, his background is in the intelligences and security sector. Teaming up with publishing guru – Anna Jean Hughes – their mission is to show the world that digital publishing can go beyond the book.
Innovation in the publishing industry is like watching a black and white movie in a world painted in high definition colour. First we had Kindle, an important step but hardly revolutionary – just piping content into a digital form, and now we have e-tailers competing to be the ‘spotify of music’. It’s all fine and good, but that’s really all it is; the potential is so much greater.
As part of its continuing efforts to sign up shoppers to its premium Prime subscription service, Amazon has announced Prime Day, a ‘one day shopping event’ that promises ‘more deals than Black Friday’. Happening across Amazon stores globally on Wednesday 15 July, the event allows new and existing members of Amazon Prime to shop for ‘thousands’ of lightning deals throughout the day, starting on Amazon.co.uk at midnight BST.
In what’s turning out to be quite the week for internet-based publishing innovations, Amazon has brought its Kindle Unlimited service to British shores. The subscription service, billed as a literary equivalent to Netflix and Spotify, allows users unlimited access (as the name implies) to over 650,000 Kindle books and an extensive library of Audible audiobooks for £7.99 a month (at current exchange rates nearly £2 more, incidentally, than the $9.99 a month charged by the American service, which launched earlier this summer). Amazon is offering a free 30 day trial of the service to all those who sign up.
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.
In the last two years, a lot of publishers have been buying into self-published ebook successes in a big way. There’s the Amanda Hocking trilogy, John Locke (the first man to really “crack” the KDP system and sell one million kindle ebooks), 50 Shades of Grey, and, quite recently, Wool by Hugh Cowey to name a few of the main deals. Some of these have earned seven-figure advances, something debut authors would only dream of. But are they worth it?
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?