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ePublish a Book » ePublishing - The week in Brief » ePublishing Week in Brief – January 28th to February 1st, 2012

ePublishing Week in Brief – January 28th to February 1st, 2012

ePublishing NewsePublishing Week in Brief – January 28th to February 1st, 2012


Google to pay $82 million to support digital publishing inFrance

Google has agreed to pay $82 million to support “digital publishing initiatives” at French newspapers and other publishers under an agreement announced Friday.

The investment is part of a deal between the company and the French government that ends a dispute over whether the search engine should pay for “snippets” of articles that show up in Google searches. The two sides signed the pact after months of negotiation.

The French government called it a “happy conclusion” that would “facilitate the transition of the press to the digital world.”

Under the agreement, Google will create the new fund and work with French publishers to help increase their online revenues, “using our advertising technology,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said in a company blog post.

“A healthy news industry is important for Google and our partners, and it is essential to a free society,” Schmidt wrote.

Google declined to provide details about how advertising revenue would be divided under the deal. The company told The Times that the agreement means it won’t have to pay for “snippets” from French outlets.France is one of several European countries that had floated the idea of charging Google when it used the bits of text.,0,1347507.story

Amazon’s digital metamorphosis: ebooks up 70 percent, video spikes as print books flatten

Ebook sales overcame Paperwhite supply problems, fewer sales of new e-readers, growth in video, and gradual decline of print

Amazon hardly ever gives you numbers that don’t begin with dollar signs. It won’t tell reporters or investors how many Kindles it’s sold, or anything else that offers too much of an x-ray inside its business. “More/fewer Kindle Fires sold than Nexus 7s!” is a tempting trend story, but it’s not really a trend Amazon wants to highlight.

It’s a little odd, then, that in its newest quarterly earnings report, Amazon is calling attention to the fact that its sales growth for physical books is flattening out. This isn’t just tossed-off; it’s direct from founder and CEO Jeff Bezos: “our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5 percent.” This is Amazon’s original business, for years its core in digital retail, and brick-and-mortar bookstores across the country are shutting down. Amazon’s growth in this market was only 5 percent? And Jeff Bezos is pleased with this?

Bezos is only highlighting this figure because it lets him brag about the bigger number in Amazon’s new dominant market: ebooks. Ebook sales at Amazon have grown by 70 percent year over year, says Bezos, making it a multibillion-dollar category for the company. “We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting,” Bezos writes. Both Amazon and its customers are becoming fully digital.

Digital Publishing Extending to Retail Catalogs and More According to Adobe Study

In its release of a new study on mobile shopping habits, our friends at Adobe stated, “Increased consumer interest in using shopping applications means retailers must adapt to meet the rising expectations for specialized mobile shopping experiences.”

While you might interpret this statement to pertain to online shopping carts, it goes much further than that, and is likely to have a growing impact on print volumes. Yet another argument for printers adding tablet publishing to the mix.

I spoke with Dave Dickson, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, to get a little more insight. And Adobe was kind enough to send us an infographic—some people love ‘em, some people hate ‘em, but I find them helpful in taking a structured view of the subject and data.

Heritage House Publishing Acquires Greystone Books

After months of bankruptcy protection, a silver lining has appeared around some of the storm clouds over D&M Publishers inVancouver. B.C.-based Heritage House Publishing has acquired all assets of the Greystone Books imprint from D&M.

Late Thursday, Heritage president Rodger Touchie and Greystone founding publisher Rob Sanders announced the purchase and plans to establish Greystone Books as a separate company, with Sanders as a significant shareholder.

Self-publishing turns the corner

Self-published books used to be considered vanity projects, lesser works no legitimate publishing house would touch.

In 2012 that stopped being true.

Upstart publishers including Author Solutions, Vook, Wattpad, Scribd and, yes, Amazon, produced nearly 400,000 self-published books last year, according to Publisher’s Weekly. Traditional publishing houses got in on the action, too: Penguin paid $116 million for Author Solutions and Simon & Schuster formed Archway, its own self-publishing wing, the Weekly reports.

If I’m being honest, I can track the shift in my own attitude. Like other large newspapers, the Chronicle receives about 50 books a day — from traditional publishing houses and indie outfits — in the hopes that the titles will be selected for review. Three years ago, I ignored the obviously self-published books. Today I don’t, because you never know what you’re casting aside.

Attention ‘artisan authors’: digital self-publishing is harder than it looks

Showcasing your work on blogs, podcasts or social media is fine, just don’t see it as a shortcut to finding an audience

“Piracy is yesterday’s worry for today’s ‘artisan authors'”, wrote Damien G Walter in his piece about file sharing and piracy, in which he covered interesting ground, sparked plenty of discussion – and put a lot of backs up. The idea, which he put forward, of not only accepting book piracy as a good thing but actually enabling it, cuts to the heart of professional authors’ livelihoods. And while Damien’s examples of Neil Gaiman, Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow as authors who have embraced, and subverted, filesharing and piracy are all legitimate, not everyone agrees with his broader premise.

On his webpage, the Left Room, Steve Mosby argues that Doctorow’s status as a pioneer in the field means there is no way any subsequent author can hope to have the same impact, especially as so many people are now giving their work away. Over at Tor, Niall Alexander roundly agrees with Damien but feels the piece overlooked the plight of mid-list authors. Bob Lock at Amazing Stories has a different response: that for authors who don’t make a living from their work, piracy is a way of putting their name out into the world, at least while building their career. Clearly, the issue is complex and sensitive. For me, the piece overlooks a third approach: Creative Commons licensing.

E-book loans a hit with library patrons

SHELBURNEFALLS— If you have an e-reader, Internet access and a library card, you can borrow e-books, audiobooks or movies from your smartphone, iPad or computer, at any time of day.

And if the Internet connection is good, the downloads can take less time than it takes to check-out real library books.

About 26 people, with laptops, notebooks and e-readers, filled Arms Library’s reading room this week to learn about what Cynthia Laino calls “your virtual library branch.” Laino is the access services associate for C/WMARS (Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing), a collaborative that shares a combined 6 million items among its 155 member libraries.

Since 2005, Laino has been training librarians and library users how to “borrow” electronic books and other items on their computers.

“In the beginning, the audiobooks were, by far, the most popular,” says Laino. “But in the last two years, as prices have come down on e-readers, e-book (downloads) have just exploded.”

C/WMARS now has about 3,100 audiobooks, nearly 700 videos for downloading and about 9,200 e-books that can be loaned to library card-holders for up to two weeks.

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