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ePublish a Book » ePublishing - The week in Brief, The ePublishing market » ePublishing Week in Brief – September 10th to 14th, 2012

ePublishing Week in Brief – September 10th to 14th, 2012

ePublishing NewsePublishing  Week in Brief – September 10th to 14th, 2012


New Study: 55% of YA Books Bought by Adults

More than half the consumers of books classified for young adults aren’t all that young. According to a new study, fully 55% of buyers of works that publishers designate for kids aged 12 to 17 — known as YA books — are 18 or older, with the largest segment aged 30 to 44. Accounting for 28% of sales, these adults aren’t just purchasing for others — when asked about the intended recipient, they report that 78% of the time they are purchasing books for their own reading. The insights are courtesy of Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age, an ongoing biannual study from Bowker Market Research that explores the changing nature of publishing for kids.

“The investigation into who is reading YA books began when we noticed a disparity between the number of YA e-books being purchased and the relatively low number of kids who claim to read e-books,” said Kelly Gallagher, v-p of Bowker Market Research. “The extent and age breakout of adult consumers of these works was surprising. And while the trend is influenced to some extent by the popularity of The Hunger Games, our data shows it’s a much larger phenomenon than readership of this single series.”

Government’s e-book case helps Amazon build toward a monopoly

The government walked blithely past the increasing threat of an Amazon e-book monopoly and went after the stakeholders who were trying to keep it from taking root.

Everyone knows that new technologies can upend old industries, whether the victims are makers of horse-drawn carriages or television broadcasters. Last week’s settlement in a federal price-fixing case involving book publishers, Apple and shows that they can also turn the law upside down.

To hear the government talk, this is all about breaking up a conspiracy to drive up the price of e-books on your Kindle, iPad or other device. “Ensuring that e-books are as affordable as possible,” as Atty. Gen. Eric Holder declared in announcing the original settlement in April.

What’s wrong with nipping a nefarious scheme in the bud, especially if the result is that, which was the supposed target of the alleged conspiracy, is liberated to resume selling e-books to you at the rock-bottom price of $9.99?

Plenty, if that price is designed to drive off all of Amazon’s e-book competition — and kill off the last remaining brick-and-mortar bookstores too — so it can set its own prices as it wishes down the line.,0,1949778.column

Publishers’ worst nightmare: Amazon again on discount warpath

Amazon back to discounting e-books from HarperCollins following publisher’s accord with DOJ settling collusion allegations.

Last week, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster cut a deal with the government to settle allegations that the book publishers had colluded with Apple to fix the price of e-books. If you believe the government’s charges, the book publishers were trying to prevent Amazon from discounting them to death.

Now it’s back to the future. Earlier today came word that Amazon had returned to form, discounting HarperCollins e-books titles.

“We are happy to again be lowering prices on a broad assortment of HarperCollins titles,” Amazon spokeswoman Sarah Gelman said in an e-mailed comment to CNET.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department said it was planning action against Apple and e-book publishers over instituting the so-called “agency model,” allowing publishers to set the price on their titles. The move resulted in higher e-book pricing and quickly caught the attention of law-enforcement officials. Prior to the institution of the agency model, Amazon was selling e-books much closer to their wholesale price. In its complaint, the DOJ alleged that the publishers feared that Amazon’s pricing strategy would drive out competition and hand control of the e-book market to Amazon.

Apple Fights Amazon Back by Discounting E-book Prices

Amid the fallout from the Department of Justice’s settlement with three major publishers for conspiring with Apple to fix prices, it appears that Apple is doing an about-face from their previous agency model and dropping prices even lower than Amazon’s on some titles, showing that they are ready and willing to compete.

The DOJ’s ruling last week has forced Apple to tear up existing “agency model” contracts with the major publishers HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster that had allowed them to enforce a set retail price for their ebook titles across all retailers. Previously, the “wholesale model” favored by Amazon had allowed retailers to sell the book for any price they wished, even at a loss.

Following the settlement, HarperCollins has been quick to sign new contracts with retailers Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google, who began to drop prices immediately. Now it seems that Apple got in on the HarperCollins action as well with a new contract and has dropped their prices even lower than Amazon’s on some titles, forcing Amazon to follow suit. Apple is also now selling many HarperCollins bestsellers at the $9.99 price point set by Amazon.

Not just English

As foreign rights manager for French publisher La Decouverte, Delphine Ribouchon signs about six publishing contracts a year inChinaout of about 100 worldwide.

“There is interest in French books generally, especially those on philosophy and history. When they have a guarantee from us that authors are important they are usually very interested in doing the translation,” she says.

In 2011,Chinabought the rights for 706 titles fromFranceand 881 fromGermany, according to the General Administration of Press and Publication.

This represented a significant sector of the market, although still dwarfed by the purchases from the English markets of theUnited States, which sold the rights to 4,500 books; and theUK, 2,200 titles.

Ribouchon, whose successes include political philosophy book For Marx by Louis Althusser, which has been reprinted four times inChina, says local rights buyers are better informed about the English language books market.

Agile Publishing at Amazon? Amazon Studios Publishes Digital Comic Book

To test out the concept of a story and perhaps to grease the skids for a motion picture release, Amazon is taking an agile publishing approach.

Amazon’s original content division Amazon Studios is publishing Blackburn Burrow, a digital-only comic set in a small Appalachian town overrun by evil powers during the Civil War, to see how audiences react to the story. The comic is based on a screenplay that Amazon is considering making into a movie.

The comic will be available for free through the Kindle store, and digital comic site Graphicly, among others.

“Beyond entertaining lots of comic fans, we see value in digital comics as a new way to test screenplays and learn more about fan engagement,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios in a statement.

The statement went on to say that the public will be able to provide feedback to Amazon Studios as story in the episodic comic unfolds.

Decoding the Self-Published Author

Every author knows that producing a book requires an extreme act of concentration, discipline, organization and stamina. It is an achievement requiring enormous effort, time and isolation rarely matched by other forms of artistic creation.

Despite all the revolutionary changes that roil the publishing industry and are currently upending the old methods of presenting books to the public, the bedrock fact remains that a published book, whether presented on paper or on screen, still carries with it a measure of prestige and achievement.

Despite the difficulties involved in a book’s creation, there is no shortage of people determined to produce works that reflect their own vision, whether they are motivated by chasing the false gods of fame and fortune or simply satisfying their overwhelming need to be heard and their views, talents and interests projected beyond the confines of their own minds and imagination. There are perhaps millions of people worldwide currently bent over their desks composing works they hope to share with others.

A few short years ago, the pipeline for these endeavors was strictly regulated by time-honored methods of filtering. A band of business-minded publishers, fed by a gaggle of first look agents, would submit choices to publishing houses whose editors and marketers filtered out their own choices. These choices were then cataloged seasonally, and an army of salespeople was dispatched to book buyers of independent and chain stores who subsequently made their own choices based upon past sales, and perhaps a few gut choices of their own.

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