Author Topic: The E-Book Files  (Read 62874 times)

Offline MaineWriter

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Re: The E-Book Files
« Reply #30 on: October 13, 2008, 03:56:03 pm »
from the International Herald Tribune:

Campaign articles from Newsweek become e-books for Amazon Kindle
By Richard Pérez-Peña
Monday, October 13, 2008

It would seem to be a magazine's dream in these straitened times: Take something you have already published and sold, repackage it and distribute it without all that expense of paper, ink and trucks, and then sell it again.

This week, Newsweek will publish four books, one about each of the major presidential and vice presidential candidates — Senators John McCain, Barack Obama and Joseph Biden, and Governor Sarah Palin — books that will not appear in print but will be available only as e-books from Amazon.com for download to Amazon's Kindle device.

The books will contain versions of articles that Newsweek, owned by The Washington Post Company, has already published during the campaign. Turning this kind of collection into books is an old idea; what is new is to do it with such minimal production and distribution costs that even the most limited sales could be profitable.

Amazon says this is probably the first such venture by a publication, but it is not likely to be the last.

"We think it's a very interesting model that could broaden," said Ian Freed, an Amazon vice president in charge of the Kindle reading device. "This could start to change the way at least some books are published."

The books, at $9.99, will go on sale Wednesday and can be ordered starting Monday.

Jon Meacham, editor of Newsweek, approached Amazon with the idea about a month ago. The use of material published over the course of the campaign points to another advantage of digital books: a fast turnaround time.

"Every magazine editor thinks their stuff should be in an anthology, but that's hard to do economically," Meacham said. "Here's a way of doing it more quickly and with virtually no overhead. This is competing in the digital space with our traditional strengths, and that's been hard to do."

News magazines, like newspapers, have struggled financially, with circulation and advertising in decline. The economic downturn has cut deeply into advertising, while the magazines are forced to compete with many sources of information available instantly, and usually free, on the Internet.

The Kindle, introduced in November, costs $359. Amazon offers 180,000 books for wireless download, along with more than 40 newspapers and magazines.

The potential audience may be voracious, but it remains relatively small — Amazon will not say how many Kindles it has sold. Industry analysts have estimated that the figure is in the low hundreds of thousands.

But the experiment is appealing "because anyone who owns a Kindle is someone we want as a reader," Meacham said. "We're putting it in front of committed readers."

http://www.iht.com/bin/printfriendly.php?id=16893552
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: The E-Book Files
« Reply #31 on: October 14, 2008, 12:07:48 pm »
Leslie, this information is very interesting...keep it coming!
May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline MaineWriter

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Re: The E-Book Files
« Reply #32 on: October 14, 2008, 12:58:18 pm »
Thank you, Lee! I will!

From Entertainment Weekly, an A review for the Kindle!


Digital Commentary
Reading with Kindle
Can the Kindle sway a book geek? -- A look at whether Amazon's gadget is a worthy replacement for the morning paper


By Rick Tetzeli

Looking forward to a two-month stretch of several long business trips and a vacation, I decided to sacrifice myself for the good of our new tech section and tackle a ridiculous challenge: Could I live for that whole time with just a Kindle, Amazon's electronic-book reader? No books, newspapers, or magazines (save EW, of course!)? The answer seemed obvious: No. I'm a book geek, I've read The New York Times every morning since I was 12, and I make my bones editing a magazine.

Two months later, I have to admit that the Kindle is a pleasure, the best tech gadget I've laid my hands on since the iPod. It's so good that I've found myself humming a dismal version of an R.E.M. tune: It's the end of all print as we know it, and I feel fine. Actually, I wouldn't take things that far. But any device that forces you to start thinking about what a world without books, magazines, and newspapers would actually look like — What will we put on the shelves? Will the magazine racks of the world become (oh, God) kindling? Will my daughter Tal scooter to school down Manhattan streets emptied of newsstands? — must be pretty damn good.

The Kindle is still rare enough that it begs looks and questions in a New York City subway car. So for the uninitiated, let me quickly explain: The Kindle is a white plastic device, measuring 7.5'' x 5.3'' x 0.7'', with a large e-paper screen and a pretty useless keyboard, simple ''next'' and ''previous page'' buttons, and a scroll wheel for navigation. You can download books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs through Amazon's wireless network. The Kindle lets you adjust text size, take notes, click on links within blogs, connect to the Internet, and find definitions via the New Oxford American Dictionary.

That's the catalog blurb, more or less. The real definition is this: Reading on a Kindle is just as good as reading a physical book — but with extra benefits.

I began my two months with a test I knew the Kindle would fail: Could I possibly fall as deep into a great book on the Kindle as I can with a regular book? To find out, I ordered titles from two of my favorite authors, Richard Price (Lush Life) and Andre Dubus III (The Garden of Last Days). While the Kindle's light weight was initially disconcerting, I soon found myself clicking through the novels just as automatically as I once turned pages. On a laptop, the quality of the text and the glare of the screen distract from longer reads. The words on the Kindle, however, somehow have the textured feel of a new hardcover.

That said, the Kindle can't replace books just yet. The Kindle store, your primary source for downloads, is no better stocked with fiction than an average airport bookstore. The prices are good, and you can occasionally nab a cheap, surprising find (the complete poems of John Keats for $3.19!). But there's no guarantee you'll find your favorite best-sellers — and good luck trying to find older titles: I found just 19 of the 50 volumes on EW's list of the top books published since 1983.

The biggest surprise I encountered was in reading some of the newspapers and magazines you can subscribe to (sadly, not EW yet). I now enjoy the Kindle edition of the Times more than the real thing. Yes, I miss the photographs, but honestly (sorry, photo editors!), I don't miss them that much. Since you navigate by clicking through article headlines and blurbs, reading the Times, Newsweek, or Fortune is like reading a blog, only without the headache of a computer screen. I find myself reading more full-length articles, both mainstream features and off-point surprises, than I ever did with the print versions — the experience is totally different; instead of scanning a newspaper spread or busy magazine pages, your eye is focused only on the list of articles, making it easier to find stories you're interested in. And finally, the prices are great: My brother-in-law Mark, who lives in Massachusetts, glommed onto my Kindle during vacation, and loved it so much that he figured out the following ploy (in order to convince his wife that he should buy it): He saw the Kindle for $395, found a promotion that cut $100 off the price, then got a Kindle subscription to The New York Times ($168/year) and dumped their home subscription ($697/year). Satiating tech lust has never been so cost-effective!

Actually, thinking of the Kindle as a tech device is all wrong — for one thing, it's terrible with blogs, since it does a poor, slow job of linking to the Internet from them. The Kindle is really just the next step in reading. For now, it's a great way to travel with books and newspapers and magazines, and the best example yet of how the worlds of deep reading and digital innovation have begun to happily collide. The next logical step is already under way: Amazon is rumored to be working with many colleges across the country to test a college edition of the Kindle. In this future, when Tal scooters to school, she won't be swerving around under the weight of a heavy sackful of books on her back. A

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20232376,00.html
« Last Edit: October 28, 2008, 08:27:48 am by Maine That One Writer »
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Offline MaineWriter

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Re: The E-Book Files
« Reply #33 on: October 14, 2008, 01:10:59 pm »
Amazon has Kindle giveaways every week or so, so of course I take advantage!

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

Tess is a former physician and lives here in Maine, so I keep up on her writing career. I've read several of her other books so when I saw this was free, I snapped it up. It's a murder mystery. Unfortunately, it's a little bit more gruesome than some of her other books and this distracted me from enjoying the story. There were also a few loose ends that I didn't feel were very well tied up. Overall--okay, but not great. B-

Pefecting Amanda
by Bonnie Dee

A case of pretend mistaken identity which turns into trouble for the three main characters: Spencer, Travis, and the eponymous Amanda. The description sounded silly but I actually enjoyed this book a whole lot more than I expected! The writing was good -- not great -- but this isn't meant to be great literature. There were a few hot (het) sex scenes. For escapist entertainment, this fills the bill quite nicely. B+

Thanks But No Thanks: The Voter's Guide to Sarah Palin by Sue Katz

I knew from the title this wouldn't be a sympathetic view of the vice presidential candidate, but I really didn't expect such a hatchet job. How about a tad more objectivity, Ms. Katz? I got about halfway though and gave up in disgust -- and I am not a Palin fan. F

The Surgeon and Perfecting Amanda are available in Kindle versions as well as print. Search at Amazon.com for links. Thanks But No Thanks -- Kindle only. But trust me, you don't want to read it.

L
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Offline MaineWriter

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Re: The E-Book Files
« Reply #34 on: October 14, 2008, 01:34:34 pm »
For the holiday weekend, I treated myself to a purchased book and I am glad I did!

Captain's Surrender by Alex Beecroft

Anchors aweigh as the Royal Navy sets sail in 1780 (or so). This is a great story with lively naval battles, a wonderful (gay) romance and some absolutely beautiful writing. If you want real hot m/m action, this might disappoint but if you like romance with some heart wrenching drama -- Captain's Surrender will keep you entertained. One advantage of the Kindle version -- I did not have to look at the awful cover (and believe you me, that's not what I pictured Josh and Peter looking like!). There are a few inconsistencies but nothing dreadful. All in all, a solid A- for this book. It is a worthwhile read.

Available in print and Kindle. Links for both are at Amazon.com.

L
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Re: The E-Book Files
« Reply #35 on: October 15, 2008, 08:35:38 am »
News from the Frankfurt Book Fair (the world's largest) which opens today:

Digital future looms over book publishers
2008/10/15

AS CARPENTERS put the finishing touches to displays at the Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday, the spectre of the digital future worried many executives attending the world’s biggest annual book-publishing gathering.

Whether it is school textbooks or philosophical tracts, moves are afoot everywhere to convert books from bulky paper into ever-so-tiny computer memory.

Only gift books, lofty literature and children’s picture books seem immune to the trend.

When the fair opens for business today , many publishers may stop for a moment to marvel, or to shudder, at the stands displaying the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader.

These are devices weighing about 250g which exploit so-called e-paper to display books with minimal battery use. After US launches, both products are being introduced in Europe now.

A survey released this week by the organisers of the October 15 to 19 fair found 60 percent of publishers who answered a questionnaire neither use e- readers themselves nor download the e- books which can be read on the devices or on computers.

The survey was not a scientific one, since it was mailed to 35000 people and only 1000 voluntarily replied.

But the views expressed generally reflect what publishing-industry magazines and online forums have been reporting: that e-book sales are growing steadily and bookshops will have a tough time surviving when most books are only a download away.

The poll asked which book industry players would still exist half a century from now, and 25 percent forecast that bookstores would largely disappear, with online distribution of paper books by firms such as Amazon taking over.

Of those polled, 21 percent predicted literary agents would disappear as publishers learn to find authors online.

But only 14 percent thought publishers themselves would vanish.

After all, somebody will always be needed to package up book content and sell it, whether by download or on paper.

The survey was notable for a wide disparity in views, with 12 percent of publishers convinced the new e-readers will prove a short-lived flash in the pan, just like earlier e-readers that never caught on because their batteries ran flat so quickly. In fact, 30 percent of those surveyed were convinced that sales of digital content would never exceed those of paper books, whereas 40percent predicted this would happen within the next 10 years.

More than half took comfort in the forecast that Internet users may surrender a little of their culture of wanting to obtain everything free, with online users more willing five years from now to pay for quality digital content.

The survey was carried out among subscribers to the Frankfurt Book Fair’s online mailing list.

Juergen Boos, the director of the book fair, which will have 7373 exhibitors, said: “This annual questionnaire gives us a way to get a picture of the trends and changes in the sector.

“Some of the results are remarkable, such as the prediction that China will lead the world in the digital future.”

Currently, the United States is the market that is most advanced in digitalisation, believed 51 percent of respondents, while 15 percent viewed Japan as the current leader.

But only 29 percent thought the United States would still be in the lead five years from now, whereas 28 percent thought China would soar ahead as the world’s heavyweight in e-book publishing.

Technical topics to be discussed at industry meetings this week during the book fair have a strong bearing on the issue of making money out of digital books. — Sapa-DPA

http://www.dispatch.co.za/article.aspx?id=259759
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Re: The E-Book Files
« Reply #36 on: October 15, 2008, 08:46:11 am »
More news...

Search for chapter and verse on e-prices

By Danuta Kean

Published: October 14 2008 21:33 | Last updated: October 14 2008 21:33

Want to know how to silence a book publisher? Ask him about his pricing strategy for electronic books. It is a subject guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine of an industry suffering from a deep-discounting retail culture that is subsidised by fat margins exacted from publishers. It is also a subject that will come under scrutiny today when publishers meet in Frankfurt for the annual book fair, the biggest in the world.

The successful launch of the Sony Reader (pictured) and Amazon Kindle has focused minds on how much consumers should pay for e-books. According to David Roth-Ey, director of digital business development at HarperCollins in the UK, being last in the digital market has advantages: “Books are late to the game of digitisation and so we can look at the way that music, film and television have faced these challenges more or less successfully.”

Top of the list of lessons learned from rival media is to resist pressure to give away a bigger slice of the pie to retailers and artists. Though publishers in North America and Europe refuse to speak on the record about the discount levels they are giving e-booksellers, privately they admit that they are being asked to match the 57 per cent and above given on physical books to the biggest players in the market – Amazon in the US and Waterstone’s in the UK. This will then fund price cuts of up to 50 per cent on the cover price.

Publishers are not against discounts to consumers, particularly if they will kick-start the nascent e-book market. Price cuts have an important role in winning over customers. “We avidly follow consumer blogs and are convinced that a discount off the physical book price is necessary to grow the market and address consumers’ expectations,” says Maja Thomas, senior vice-president of digital and audio publishing at the Hachette Book Group.

The problem is how cheap the books should be. “Consumers realise that e-books don’t incur the usual printing, shipping and return charges,” she says, “but don’t understand that the overhead, conversion costs, marketing and higher than usual royalties all represent new and different costs for digital publishing.”

Genevieve Shore, global digital director at Penguin (owned by Pearson, publisher of the Financial Times), agrees that consumer perceptions are a problem. “Ninety-nine per cent of our overheads remain unchanged,” she says. “In fact we are adding overheads, because we are having to digitise content and set up a completely new supply chain. That all costs.”

Publishers such as Ms Shore believe the music industry fundamentally undermined its credibility in price negotiations by allowing misconceptions about cheaper delivery to mushroom in the minds of consumers and artists.

In reality, publishers’ influence over retail prices is constrained, says Sara Lloyd, head of digital at Macmillan Publishers in the UK. “Pricing strategies are currently tied to the prevailing print price in the majority of cases because the publisher doesn’t control pricing, only the recommended retail price,” she says.

E-book publishers want to keep the conventional profit split between retailer and publisher. In the UK, retailers receive £4 ($7, €5) on a paperback that sells for £6.99, while the remaining £2.99 is divided between the publisher, which pays for paper production, distribution, editorial and marketing, and the author, who gets 7.5 per cent.

Authors and their literary agents are pushing for as much as a 25 per cent royalty, which they feel reflects the lower cost of delivery per unit. However, publishers argue that higher royalties will preclude the necessary investment in digitisation.

Publishers are also caught up in retailers’ desire to be the bookselling equivalent of Apple’s iTunes, Ms Lloyd adds. “Because there is a race to become the retailer to carve out the bigger slice of the e-book market, this is a particular pressure which retailers push back onto publishers in the form of discount.”

For books the magic number – the equivalent of iTunes’ charge of 99 cents a track – is tied to the price of the print product. Publishers want to use pricing more creatively as part of their marketing strategies for e-books. “We want to test things,” Mr Roth-Ey says.

He uses the example of an Ian McEwan first edition, which could be sold with the e-book, so the first edition is kept pristine by the purchaser, while the content is read electronically.

However, publishers are adamant that they will not allow Sony or Amazon to promote their respective electronic readers with free pre-loaded bestsellers.

In this, says Fritz Foy, senior vice-president of strategic technology at Macmillan US, publishers have learned from mistakes made elsewhere. “We have looked at businesses that have suffered a real loss from digitisation,” he explains.

He cites the software and educational markets. “In both, content was used to sell devices and was given away free in bundles. It gave the perception that content was worthless.” The 100 books given away with the Sony Reader are all out-of-copyright classics.

Though the market for e-books remains small – scant figures are available, but in the US e-book sales in the first six months of 2008 were estimated to be £10m – publishers report a steady increase in the second half of the year on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to the launch of the Sony Reader.

And it seems that the good news from the bestseller lists is that price may be less important than the blogs imply, says Ms Shore. “Our experience in the US is that bestsellers are bestsellers, and the bestseller list for Kindle, the Sony Reader and online sites mirror The New York Times bestseller list very closely.

“If e-books were price sensitive then e-book bestseller lists would be full of $3 e-books, but the e-books that sell the most are the same price as the physical edition, because they are the ones that people want to read.”

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/900b3132-9a0a-11dd-960e-000077b07658.html
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Offline MaineWriter

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Re: The E-Book Files
« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2008, 01:15:48 pm »
More from the Frankfurt Book Fair:

No UK Kindle launch before Xmas

16.10.08 Sarah Butler

Amazon will not launch its Kindle e-book reader in the UK until after Christmas as it attempts to sign up Wi-Fi partners around Europe, it has been revealed.

Rumours that Amazon.com was poised to launch the device in Europe—with the Frankfurt Book Fair the launch venue—have been circulating. However, fair-goers hoping for an early sighting of the popular device will be disappointed.

In an interview with The Bookseller, Brian McBride, managing director of Amazon in the UK, said it was not yet clear when the Kindle would launch in the country. He said it was likely to be some time next year, given the complexity of signing up the many partners needed to support Europe-wide Wi-Fi access. “The Kindle is based on wireless technology. If you need agreement with carriers in the US, there is one carrier. In Europe it is a minefield as there are so many operators. If you buy a Kindle in the UK and want to read it on the beach on holiday in Spain, unless we have signed deals in Spain it is not going to work on that beach,” he said.

The Kindle, which enables the download of books wirelessly from the internet, uses a free wireless service called whispernet provided by the Sprint EVDO network. The device has become popular in the US, and is expected to sell around 380,000 units this year. Sony launched its e-reader in the UK in an exclusive deal with Waterstone’s last month.

However, McBride was sanguine about the competition. He said the e-book market remained small and he was not concerned about losing first-mover advantage. “This is us building long-term business growth routes in the UK and it is not that important for us to enter a green field,” he said.

At a seminar held in Frankfurt yesterday Amazon.com promoted the Kindle device to international publishers, saying they could use it to get their books to US users. When asked about a European version, the e-tailer declined to comment on the “speculation”.

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/69174-page.html
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Offline MaineWriter

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Win a Kindle!
« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2008, 01:33:57 pm »
Do you want a Kindle? Here's your chance to win one!

Name Joseph Devon's Latest Book and Win an E-Book Reader

Write six words; win a Kindle. It's that simple.

New York, NY (PRWEB) October 15, 2008 -- JosephDevon.com has started a contest on its website where readers will get to submit possible titles for "The Matthew and Epp Stories." The winner will get to choose between an Amazon Kindle or a Sony Reader. The first two runners up will receive signed copies of the book. Please go to www.josephdevon.com/contest for contest rules and submission forms.

About JosephDevon.com

JosephDevon.com is a blog started by author Joseph Devon with the simple goal of providing the best stories possible to his readers with as much convenience possible. Joseph Devon is best known for the writing project "26 Stories in 52 Weeks" in which Mr. Devon wrote and published a new short story every two weeks for an entire year.

###
« Last Edit: October 28, 2008, 09:40:45 am by Maine That One Writer »
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Offline MaineWriter

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Another Kindle Giveaway!
« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2008, 04:45:16 pm »
For this one, you don't even have to read the book! Just fill out the form...

http://www.itworld.com/free-stuff

L
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