Rogue agents

I've lost count of the number of people who have told me that Random House's decision to stay off agency was a "smart" move. It meant Amazon was taking the hit from selling ebooks at below cost; it meant they would not be troubled by the anti-trust investigations happening in the US, and the OFT's inquiry in the UK; it meant they could watch the market develop and their own sales grow while agency publishers tried to get their pricing models right.

So anyhow, here is the US company's statement on why they have made the move to agency overnight: Read more »

E-book bestseller chart with prices: 28th Feb 2011

Philip Stone, charts editor: Ruth Nordin, who writes erotica under the name Kate Page, enters the Top 10 e-book chart for the first time. The self-published novelist's An Inconvenient Marriage has been climbing the Amazon and Apple e-book bestseller lists in recent weeks and has now finally cracked the Top 10 — helped by the fact it is selling at both retailers for just 49 pence. Read more »

Bloomsbury's ebook sales, anything but extraordinary

The word "extraordinary" is perhaps the wrong word to use in today's press release about Bloomsbury's full year results. Bloomsbury has reported that e-book sales grew eighteen fold in 2010, and that it was experiencing "similar figures" to reports coming from Amazon in the US, which show "new bestsellers running at 40% of total sales in e-book format".

Here is the relevant paragraph from Bloomsbury's interim results: Read more »

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Is there a retail psychologist in the house?

By any sensible measurement, 59p is not a lot of money. What can you get for it? A tabloid newspaper, maybe, or a bar of chocolate? The right to 'spend a penny' in some modern shopping centre or mainline railway station? None of these things is much to write home about - yet when it comes to the selling apps for that kind of low price on the iPhone and elsewhere, it seems that rational considerations don't apply. Read more »

Why publishers should be bold with their brands in Social Media

Andy Milligan and Shaun Smith authors of BOLD: How to Be Brave in Business and Win have written a piece for FutureBook. As publishers' business changes due to digital and they become more customer-facing, branding in social media becomes ever more important. Andy and Shaun pull out some key findings on techniques the large brands have successfully adopted:   Read more »

Does Apple get Readability?

Apple's crackdown on how apps sell published content to their users continues to obsess and confuse publishers and app developers everywhere. Read more »

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Digital publishing alive and well

I'm delighted to say that we have had 93 entries to our first Digital Innovation Awards. Publishers, booksellers, authors and developers from UK, USA, Canada, France, Australia and Holland are all represented. Major players, niche companies and start-ups will all be competing for our first FutureBook awards. Read more »

The iPad2 launch event confirmed

This time next week, we will know what the iPad 2 looks like. Apple began sending invites today for the launch event in San Francisco on 2nd March. There is a clue to what the event is about in the image (shown here) that makes up the invite. Read more »

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£10,000 up for grabs for digital innovators

I have been asked to help judge an award that is offering £10,000 to entrepreneurs looking at developing a new digital based business model or application that helps content providers (in this case publishers) in their transition to digital. That's £10,000 out of a total Government backed pot of £200,000.

In total 20 applicants will receive a grant, with applicant working in the following sectors, publishing, film/TV, music and "wild card". Read more »

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The Death of the Book Store...Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, it’s just the first round....

What we are currently experiencing in the high street is an adjustment to a revolution, albeit one in a velvet glove. eBooks won't be the demise of the high street book store nor will they replace paper books.  The publishing industry has had problems long before the current rise in eBook popularity and a lot of those problems have been enforced on book shops by the publishing industry who have in turn bounced back some pretty unsustainable business practices.  Read more »

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