Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

2010 The Year that Was

Nice overview from a number of folk over at the Literary Platform.:

From Dan Franklin, Canongate:

I think next year on an industry level, and with the imminent arrival of Google Books, we need to try and achieve standards in pricing and ebook production to deliver readers/users what they want from digital books (or whatever you like to call the new experiences opening up).

Robin Harvey, 4th Estate:

Pricing of eBooks and apps has been the biggest shift for us in the last 12 months. Although the majority of our eBooks are priced at parity with the HB but on the Friday Project list we have experimented with different pricing models and have shown that almost every time the price has been dropped significantly (to £2.99, for example), sales have shot up.

Alex Spears, Constable & Robinson:

2010 has seen wide recognition throughout the industry that the e-book market is viable – recent sales of Kindle e-books at Constable & Robinson make for very interesting reading, and we are looking closely at the key issues of format and pricing. 2011 will be an incredibly exciting year, with publishers no longer just dipping their toes into the water, but actively putting digital to the forefront of their publishing

More at the link

Bond sidesteps Penguin…

No, not a Daniel Craig manoeuvre in the latest 007 flick. Just news that the estate of Ian Fleming is self-publishing the electronic versions of the James Bond catalog. From the Telegraph in the UK:

The deal has come about because Penguin did not own the digital rights to the Bond novels – a concept that was never considered when Ian Fleming was writing.

It’s not the only example:

Earlier this year Booker winner Ian McEwan signed an exclusive deal through for the digital rights to his back catalogue, while in the US one literary agent has attempted to set up his own digital publishing business for those authors, including Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie, whose digital rights were unassigned.

The Downside of Print

And an amusing read from  Stuart Walton in The Guardian:

By the time I’d sorted through what I definitely wanted to keep, and then rigorously sorted through again to whittle the pile down further, there were comfortably 2,000 books to be somehow disposed of.

The conventional wisdom that charity shops will be glad of them can be laid to rest. Lurching in a loaded car between organisations collecting for everything from cancer to homelessness, we were welcomed about as readily as Typhoid Mary.


What’s the point of keeping most books once they’ve been read? They huddle together on the shelves and then, when shelf space runs out, they stand around in precarious columns on the floor, making fossil impressions on the carpet, doing nothing really more serious than bearing witness to what you’ve read in the past few decades

Anyone moving house (or even just dusting down the bookshelves in the corridors) can relate…


DPLA, courtesy of Google?

In the New Yorker, Robert Darnton argues for a Digital Public Library of America – and suggests that Google should help:

Google has demonstrated the possibility of transforming the intellectual riches of our libraries, books lying inert and underused on shelves, into an electronic database that could be tapped by anyone anywhere at any time. Why not adapt its formula for success to the public good—a digital library composed of virtually all the books in our greatest research libraries available free of charge to the entire citizenry, in fact, to everyone in the world?


Google in France

Google has cut a deal with Hachette to scan their out-of-print books and sell them. From the NYTimes:

Google and Hachette will share revenue from sales but declined to say how they would divide it. Under the provisional U.S. deal, Google is to receive 37 percent and the rights holders the rest. The deal Wednesday is non-exclusive, so Hachette will be able to make the same books available for other electronic selling platforms.

Google’s book-scanning project has raised alarms with the French cultural establishment. Last year, President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to spend nearly €750 million, or about $1 billion, on a huge project to scan French literary works and historical documents.



A National Digital Library?

Robert Darnton in The New York Review of Books:

We can equip the smallest junior college in Alabama and the remotest high school in North Dakota with the greatest library the world has ever known. We can open that library to the rest of the world, exercising a kind of “soft power” that will increase respect for the United States worldwide. By creating a National Digital Library, we can make our fellow citizens active members of an international Republic of Letters, and we can strengthen the bonds of citizenship at home.

Hear. Hear.

Forrester says “nearly a billion”

And from Slate, a new report from Forester says that the e-book market will approach $1 billion by year’s end. What’s more:

eBook buying falls very low down on this  list of how people acquire books. Just 7% of online adults who read books read eBooks. But that 7% happens to be a very attractive bunch: they read the most books and spend the most money on books. And here’s the kicker – the average eBook reader already consumes 41% of books in digital form. Oh, and that includes the people who don’t have an eReader yet, which is nearly half of them. For those that have a Kindle or other eReader, they read 66% of their books digitally.

Note, these are US figures – and probably reflect the strength of ipad and kindle sales over there…

New York Times Bestsellers goes ‘e’

From the NYTimes itself:

In an acknowledgment of the growing sales and influence of digital publishing, The New York Times said on Wednesday that it would publish e-book best-seller lists in fiction and nonfiction beginning early next year.

The lists will be compiled from weekly data from publishers, chain bookstores, independent booksellers and online retailers, among other sources.


Colour e-ink

We’ve all been waiting to see if colour e-ink can cut the mustard. The ipad has spoiled us in terms of multi-purpose colour LCD devices, but some purists still argue that e-ink is easier on the eye (and the battery). The colour nook, of course, doesn’t count – it’s a limited, poor-man’s ipad replica with a smaller, cheaper LCD screen and much less functionality. But now Hancon (who?) has announced a colour e-ink reader. From Engadget:

While Amazon and Sony are still hemming and hawing about taking their ebook-reading adventure into the color E Ink realm, China’s Hanvon is plunging straight in. The New York Times is reporting that the company intends to grace this year’s FPD International trade show with the news that a 10-inch touchscreen e-reader, equipped with the first color-displaying panels from E Ink Holdings, will be arriving in the Chinese market in March.

About Time

Apple’s iBookstore is finally open for business in Australia. From the SMH:

It’s taken the company five months since the iPad’s launch to get the store up and running but it has succeeded in signing up a wide range of book publishers including Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, Hardie Grant, Murdoch Publishers and Wiley.

Previously, Australians viewing the iBookstore could only access old out-of-copyright books but now there is a range of new release titles on offer. The exact number is unclear but an Apple spokeswoman said they numbered in the “thousands”.

Had a quick look and there’s not much there yet. Prices are consistently awful (John Howard’s autobiography is $32.99) And still missing a NY Times style bestseller list from someone like the Herald itself (the store’s own bestsellers still reflects the older PD titles). It’s a start though…