Amazon Publishing bookshop boycott grows
Independent booksellers join Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Canadian chain Indigo in refusing to stock retail giant’s own books
Barnes & Noble bookshop in New York City. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The cold war between north American booksellers and Amazon has hotted up this week, with the booksellers joining together to announce that they will not be selling any of the titles published by the online retailer.
The opening salvo was fired last week by America’s biggest book chain Barnes & Noble, when it announced that it would not be stocking Amazon Publishing’s books. The website publishes a large range of titles, with imprints covering everything from romance to thrillers, and major authors including Deepak Chopra and self-help guru Timothy Ferriss.
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Amazon continues to erode book publishers’ businesses
[…] The times, they are a changing all right, and it isn’t just bookshops that are suffering. An old channel hand tells me that retailers are now suffering from people who wander through their aisles, looking for particular gadgets, and noting down the specs. The folk go home, go online, and find a better bargain on the web. Dixons based an entire marketing campaign on it. Some of the shops are beginning to train their staff to close sales there and then, rather than drift around and vaguely being polite.
And he had observations about Amazon, too. He thinks its success is mainly down to customer service – that is to say, they give you a delivery date and you can trust them to hit that date. Amazon is easy to contact and if you’ve a problem the company acts fast.
He said: “Compare Amazon to your average reseller website. Hard to navigate, no signs of contact information, no stock information or unrealistic information ‘we have 999 in stock’. Even at check out the follow up information is poor, most specifically about when you will get yout product. Then look at the customer service and you see web forms. I ask if anyone who has ever filled in a web form has actually had a reply?”
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Print, paper and publishing firms named among country’s top companies
The printing and publishing industry grew by 3.5% last calendar year, despite losing 2.5% of its employees and suffering a 70% fall in earnings, according to new data.
BRW’s annual Top 1000 Companies list also showed printing and publishing had the largest asset growth (30%) of any of the 31 sectors covered.
The biggest printer, PMP, was ranked Australia’s 278th largest company, while IPMG (656), McPherson’s (851) and Blue Star Group (989) also made the list. All lost revenue, although Blue Star recorded a 335% net profit increase.
It is believed Geon was not included on the list because it was formerly a New Zealand-owned company.
At 221st, $1.5 billion-turnover share registry giant Computershare was higher than rival Salmat, which was 398th on the list, although $865 million-turnover Salmat has a greater stake in print media.
Prairie Mountain Publishing laying off
The company that publishes the Daily Camera and Longmont Times-Call plans to lay off 17 employees in Boulder, leaving it with 328 employees as it consolidates and outsources some advertising design and production functions.
Boulder-based Prairie Mountain Publishing Co. is a subsidiary of MediaNews Group Inc., whose newspapers include The Denver Post. MediaNews is managed by Digital First Media.
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Author Solutions dances into the DIY e-book market with Booktango
Author Solutions recently launched Booktango, a new DIY e-book publishing platform.
With the boom in e-readers, self-publishing has become big business, and Author Solutions, one of the largest self-publishers in the U.S., has entered the DIY e-book market in a big way with Booktango.
Whether Booktango should be called an “e-book generating app” or “self-publishing platform” is hard to say, but it basically provides a free and simple way to upload your manuscript, edit it for proper formatting, then automatically serve it up to various e-bookstores, including Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks.
On the surface, Booktango, which bears the “beta” tag, looks fairly slick and should improve as the company adds more features. The ability to have WYSIWYG formatting capabilities is really nice (even on the iPad) and you can either upload a cover image of your own choosing or design one using some provided templates. All in all, it looks like a good and easy way to get your e-book formatted and distributed to all the major e-bookstores quickly. Booktango also manages your e-book sales–it rolls them all up into one account–and you can have your royalties sent directly to your checking account. (You can’t track book sales yet, but that feature will soon be added to the “dashboard”).
Why scientists are boycotting a publisher
THE SCIENTIFIC community finds itself at the beginning of its own Arab Spring. At stake are values that all Americans hold dear: the free flow of information and the continued betterment of human life. Success is by no means guaranteed, but it’s an important protest movement in which Boston should play a special role.
The central character in this emerging drama may seem an unlikely villain: Elsevier, an Amsterdam-based publisher of scientific journals, including the prestigious titles Cell and Lancet, which give researchers a platform to share their most important advances.
But Elsevier has settled on a business strategy of exploitation, aligning itself against the interests of the scientific community. Most of the intellectual work that goes into Elsevier’s journals is provided for free, by scientists whose salaries are largely paid for by taxpayers. Then Elsevier charges exorbitant rates for its journals, with many titles running in the thousands of dollars a year. This sharply curtails the sharing of results – the fuel of scientific discovery – and makes it prohibitively expensive for the public to read what appears in its pages. Yet for Elsevier, this looks like success: In 2010 Elsevier reported revenues of about $3.2 billion, of which a whopping 36 percent were profit.
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Internode and Rocksoft founders back publishing start-up
Tech entrepreneurs Simon Hackett and Ross Williams have given their support to publishing house MidnightSun Publishing, with Williams investing a “substantial” amount in the start-up.
MidnightSun Publishing was founded by Australian author Anna Solding in partnership with friends Peter Cassidy and Ross Williams, a computer scientist and founder of Rocksoft.
In 1996, Williams submitted a patent for a variable length data partitioning system, which has since become the basis for data deduplication technology in the computer data storage industry.
Rocksoft, a data integrity and data storage company, was founded in 2001. With Williams as chief architect, Rocksoft developed the deduplication technology to a commercial product.
In 2006, Williams sold his company for US$63 million to the US-based Advanced Digital Information Corporation, which was in turn immediately acquired by Quantum Corporation.