Category Archives: Digital Publishing

Browse iBooks in Flipboard

Flipboard has integrated Apple’s iBookstore into its app. So now you can subscribe to any of the iBooks category listings. You simply add the “channel” (face it – it’s a catalog you’re adding) via the usually content panel. You can tell what is an Apple iBooks feed by the icon given.

Flipboard on iPad

Once you’re in the category page you’re able to flip through like any other Flipbook section. All of the images and copy match up with what you would see in iTunes and iBooks.

Flipboard ibooks on ipad screen shot

At any point you can click on the catalog and buy the eBook. Flipboard has everything that sells via the app under their affilate program. So Flipboard will get  3%-5% of the final sale. It’s a smart move for Apple as it gets their books and platform in front of people who are already readers. But I’m not feeling it just yet. . .

I mean – it’s a catalog. I use Flipboard daily (sometimes it feels like hourly). I subscribe to a gazillion RSS feeds, in Google Readers and then sort through them in Flipboard. It’s wonderful. All of the cool online book-related content Flipboard has gotten good at surfacing for me is now under the Entertainment category with a couple listed under Cool Curators category.  I guess as long as it’s always made clear as to what is catalog and what is sourced from all of the cool online stuff Flipboard has gotten good at surfacing for me, I won’t be too upset. I mean everyone has to make a buck.

I wonder what it would take to set something up so all the local bookstores could feed their new books into a reader like this? Seems simple enough, if you could get all of the bookstores to agree on one system of entry. But it would be very cool to wake up every morning and see what’s new on shelf at the book store down the street.

With Big Data Comes Big Responsibilty

This came across Twitter the other day and is so very true:

 My fear is that publishers will use the reader data they collect from eReaders the same way that Hollywood uses focus groups to make movies.

It’s no secret that some publishers are closely watching the reports of “most highlighted passage”, “most shared photos” and “where people quit reading the book”. Lots of good stuff to learn there.

But, there is a reason that the world is awash in too many books, crappy TV and weak movies. . . the people in charge of cranking out books, tv and movies are courting the largest mass of consumers they can. And for mass appeal you make something that equals the lowest common denominator (at worst) or is simply a novelty (at best).

Let’s hope that book publishers have a sense of all of these lessons and can do a fair job of making contributions to their readers’ lives and not just spewing books filled with the most profitable sentences their algorithms said they could string together

J.K. Rowling’s New Book “The Casual Vacancy”

The Casual Vacancy book cover

Harry Potter author has a new not-for-teens book coming out on September 27, 2012. It’s called The Casual Vacancy (Little, Brown and Co.) and is being billed as “a big novel about a small town” (read more on their press release). Many are speculating how Rowling will fair without Harry’s, but the publisher is betting big – just look at their pricing for the new 512-page book:

Hardcover $39.00; Download Audiobook $29.98; eBook $19.99

An ebook at half the price of the hardcover seems like a fair proposition, but I am anxious to see if Rowling fans (or Potter fans?) are willing to pay $20 for an eBook. Maybe it’ll be some all enhanced or gussied up eBook. What I’m really interested in is if there is some agreement circulating to keep the price at $19.99 or if online retailers will be allowed to discount the eBook. I guess no one can tell in these days of DOJ filings and pricing talks.

I’m in the global minority in having not read the Potter series and I’m not sure if The Casual Vacancy is something I’ll pick up, but man am I ready for September to see how the book is received and sold.

Bowker eReader and eBook Statistics

BookExpo America 2012 is well underway up in NYC at the Javitz Center. Tuesday, Bowker shared some the results from their latest research. Here are a few highlights from their report on eReader statistics:

1. almost 50% of content downloaded by eReader owners is free

2. 14% of eReader owners never buy an ebook

3. the number one reason is because they “can’t share the book”

4. fiction eBooks still leads the pack in sales

5. eBook “Power Buyers” buy 4 eBooks a month and is a group consisting mostly of educated females; they make up 35% of the customers, yet account for 60% of sales

Jane Little over at Dear Author has a great wrap up of the whole report and BEA happenings from Tuesday. I’d recommend heading over there if you’d like to read more about the report’s findings.