Friday News: Streaming media at Amazon, Penguin Random House profits, Dubai bookstore preserving literary history, and the Blurred Lines/My Little Pony t-shirt
Amazon Considers Streaming Media Service – To be honest, I’m surprised this hasn’t already come to pass, given the way Amazon continues to expand its media services. Is it the ad-supported aspect of a streaming video and music service that’s noteworthy? Is it the fact that such a service would expand current options beyond those that Prime members enjoy? Speculation in the article is that this is another way of encouraging purchases, since Prime members already spend so much more at Amazon than other customers, and that makes sense. Despite Amazon’s protests to the contrary, speculation is that this service could be rolled out within several months.
Ad-supported streaming video would give Amazon an opportunity to flex its advertising muscle. Amazon has been quietly building out a service for placing ads on its own and other websites. eMarketer estimates the ad-placing unit will hit nearly $1 billion in sales this year, rivaling AOL Inc. AOL -1.87% and IAC/InterActiveCorp IACI +0.39% but smaller than Google’s or Yahoo Inc.’s YHOO +0.39% operations.
By comparison, YouTube—which streams a combination of music, television, film and original content such as home videos—generated about $5.6 billion in revenue last year through advertising, estimates eMarketer. –Wall Street Journal
Penguin Random House Booms in 2013, Growing Revenue, Profit – So the newly merged Random House and Penguin venture is, thus far, at least, a profitable company. With almost 12,000 employees and €2.7 ($3.7) billion in year-end consolidated revenue, and an increase in sales. This figure reflects an entire year of sales for Random House, and six months for Penguin.
Despite no Fifty Shades for PRH in 2013, the company managed to keep its profit margin above 10% and actually increase its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA, a measure of profit) over the prior year.
The company also announced that it sold 100 million ebooks in 2013 worldwide. –Digital Book World
The Dubai bookshop that is helping to preserve historic Arabic writing – We definitely tend to think of independent bookstores as preserving culture, but here’s a truly poignant example of that concept, with Mohammed Al Sayed on his 20th year selling books by Arab authors that would otherwise no longer exist. Sadly, he indicates that many people seem to buy these books because they are interesting-looking artifacts; however, perhaps someone will consider a digitization process for some of these older works, especially since Al Sayed is noticing an upswing in interest in many of these books.
However, over the years, many of the great Arab authors – as well as the works of smaller, lesser-known ones – have had their work lost as their books went out of print.
Books from the 19th and early 20th century on the pre-Islamic era, Islamic periods and “golden civilisation”, the era of pan-Arabism, colonialism and independence and more can still be found in souqs across the country and some libraries. But if you’re looking for something in particular on any of the subjects, your first stop might be a tiny bookshop in Dubai known as Dar Al Fadeela. –The National AE
“Blurred lines” – Children’s shirt – A My Little Pony T-Shirt emblazoned with the “Blurred Lines” title – innocent imagery or creepy over-sexualization? Discuss. –BabyCenter