Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Weekend Links Round Up: Is Print Back?

emoticon_tongueBarnes and Noble’s retail sales have slipped 5% because of low retail traffic while the web sales are up a tiny fraction from 8.2 to 8.9%.   I’ve just scrambled to recover from one of my busiest weeks in a long time and I think that web sales are up because who has time for shopping inside the store?   It’s Saturday and I think that I might get some time to browse today but in store book buying seems like such a luxury.

emoticon_surprisedGena Showalter and Harlequin are offering a $10,000.00 cash prize to some random entrant to promote her first YA release, Intertwined.

emoticon_tongueRupert Murdoch has declared his intention to make everyone pay for Newscorp news.   A recent article at American Journalism Review suggests that if newspapers would remove themselves from the internet entirely, the industry could be saved.   I think that publishing houses sometimes think in this manner, wanting to sustain the print environment by delaying ebook releases, pricing the ebooks at a huge premium, and not releasing ebooks at all.   Is it forward thinking or dangerous?

emoticon_smileKristin Nelson blogs about how authors can get publishers to spend money on promotion for them.   Most of the ideas center around being willing to spend a little money of your own to show publishers how serious you are about pushing your own work.

emoticon_smileAmazon, Yahoo, Microsoft are joining together to oppose the Google Book Settlement because they argue the class settlement will prevent other competitors from entering the book scanning market.

emoticon_tongueGawker points out the Forbes’ power ranking for women leaders is embarassingly flawed. Click on over to see how low Michelle Obama ranks. I think stuff like this does belong behind a paywall that is insurmountable enough that shit like this dies.

If you’re going to just make up a list like this based on nothing, shouldn’t it at least make intuitive sense? Here’s the thinking that went into it:

Forbes’ Power Women list isn’t about celebrity or popularity; it’s about influence. Queen Rania of Jordan (No. 75), for instance, is perhaps the most listened-to woman in the Middle East; her Twitter feed has 600,000 followers.

Kim Kardashian has 1.9 million Twitter followers. WHY WAS SHE DENIED? Does Angela Merkel even use Twitter!?!?

emoticon_surprisedIn an effort to make print seem more like digital, CBS has paid an exoribant amount of money to insert a tiny video screen inside Entertainment Weekly to play about 40 minutes of video to advertise its fall release schedule.   It’s intentionally very loud so don’t open it at your desk during lunch.

emoticon_smileA study by Cleantech Group has determined that Kindle’s command about 45% of the market and Sony 30%.   The study was to determine the environmental impact of digital reading and the results showed that Kindle’s carbon imprint was fully offset in the first year.   Given that Kindle book sales are purportedly higher than any other format, I can’t help but wonder if the Sony readers are buying a number of different formats instead of straight from the Sony store. That would explain why Sony is abandoning its BBeB format for ePub.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

18 Comments

  1. Shiloh Walker
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 11:06:21

    Given that Kindle book sales are purportedly higher than any other format, I can't help but wonder if the Sony readers are buying a number of different formats instead of straight from the Sony store. That would explain why Sony is abandoning its BBeB format for ePub.

    Can’t speak for others, but I know I do. I tend to buy from the pub rather than the Sony ebook store.

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  2. AQ
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 11:33:15

    I love this line in the Official Rules of Interwined ePrize contest:

    If a potential winner is a Canadian resident, potential winner will be required to correctly answer a time-limited mathematical skill testing question without any assistance in order to be eligible to receive a prize. If a potential winner is a Canadian resident and the question is answered incorrectly, the prize will be forfeited.

    Of course, I live in the US so no math question for me. On the other hand, my eyes did kind of glaze over while reading the rules so maybe I just missed it.

    But a mathematical skill testing question? Seriously?!?!?!?!?

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  3. cecilia
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 11:59:43

    @AQ: We always have to do the “skill-testing question” in things like that. I think there’s some kind of law about draws that relates to gambling, and the question is the way of getting around that.

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  4. ReacherFan
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 12:00:12

    Rupert Murdoch has declared his intention to make everyone pay for Newscorp news. A recent article at American Journalism Review suggests that if newspapers would remove themselves from the internet entirely, the industry could be saved. I think that publishing houses sometimes think in this manner, wanting to sustain the print environment by delaying ebook releases, pricing the ebooks at a huge premium, and not releasing ebooks at all. Is it forward thinking or dangerous?

    Oh yeah, that will work. There’s a man that needs to wake up and smell the coffee. We have a generation getting its news from Twitter. They will so spend the money for news, right? Murdoch is living in the past.

    Where’s the incentive to pay for news? Most papers just regurgitate stories from AP anyway, so I can read that on a free site online. Or listen to it on cable TV. No way would I EVER buy an online news subscription!

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  5. Stevie
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 13:46:26

    Rupert Murdoch is in deep, deep doodah as well as deep, deep denial; his flagship English tabloid the Sun is losing circulation hand over fist whilst proudly proclaiming that it costs only 20p, and his free London evening newspaper is to close because they can’t even give them away.

    That is mainly because they don’t actually have any news in them, just the usual Rupert rants…

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  6. Maili
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 16:01:57

    @cecilia & AQ

    @AQ: We always have to do the “skill-testing question” in things like that. I think there's some kind of law about draws that relates to gambling, and the question is the way of getting around that.

    I’m so glad that I don’t live in Canada because I’d be so screwed if I won the contest. :D I’m seriously bad at maths.

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  7. Miki
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 17:58:58

    As a Sony Reader owner, I raise my hand as someone who never buys at the Sony ebookstore. If I have to lock myself into a DRM format, Sony’s isn’t the one I choose to buy.

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  8. DS
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 21:12:54

    The EW video screen is only going to subscribers in certain areas of Los Angelos and New York. It has to be inserted by hand in each magazine. It wouldn’t bother me too much if CBS (or any of the big three) had a schedule worth watching. Do we really need CSI LA?

    I’m still mad at Rupert Murdoch over the WSJ. Yeah, it was a big conservative wall of gray text, but it was literate wall of gray text. I stopped bothering to get it when Murdoch bought it.

    Also, why did microsoft drop their scanning program? I picked up some good scans of antiquarian books through the microsoft program.

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  9. Evangeline
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 03:15:57

    With my (temporary *sniff*) Sony Reader, I first purchased my books from the Sony Store, but have discovered Books On Board and am in heaven! I do visit the Sony Store to see what’s out there (in the manner I visit amazon to see what’s upcoming and usually purchase it in a regular bookstore), but now that I’ve got the hang of downloading Adobe Digital Editions and ePUB books from Project Gutenberg, the convenience and ease of using the Sony Store is no longer an issue.

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  10. Azure
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 06:07:29

    Count me as another Sony Reader user who rarely visits the Sony bookstore because of the format—except when the book I want to read is only available in that format. Now that Sony’s planning to sell ePub titles, I’ll probably shop there more—as long as the price is right.

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  11. abc
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 12:43:28

    I can't help but wonder if the Sony readers are buying a number of different formats instead of straight from the Sony store.

    I started reading ebooks on my laptop. When I purchased my electronic reader I chose the Sony over the Kindle because (1) it supported the PDF and ePUB books I already owned, and (2) I could continue purchasing from a variety of etailers. I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve purchased from the Sony store.

    A recent article at American Journalism Review suggests that if newspapers would remove themselves from the internet entirely, the industry could be saved.

    Yeah, and the train industry probably figured if they ignored those newfangled automobiles the cars would just disappear.

    The Internet is the reason I stopped reading the print edition of my local paper. I’m no longer limited to the news my local paper deems important. The front section of my local paper is 90% AP, WP, NYT, or LAT articles. I have no interest in articles from the NYT, the LAT or the WP. The AP articles would still be available from other online sources–like the websites of TV stations. Ditto for local news. For news from other cities, I could still get that from the website of a TV station in that area.

    Removing newspapers from the Internet will not entice me back to the print edition. Why should I pay my local paper for their second hand news? The paradigm has shifted, newspapers need to figure out how to adapt to it. If they stick their heads in the sand and ignore it, they’ll go the way of the other old industry dinosaurs.

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  12. abc
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 14:00:45

    Gawker points out the Forbes' power ranking for women leaders is embarassingly flawed. Click on over to see how low Michelle Obama ranks.

    I didn’t read the Forbes article, but it’s a business magazine so I would expect any ranking is related to how influential these women are to the business community. So Michelle Obama’s ranking doesn’t suprise me; I don’t see her having much influence in the business world.

    I can see why the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. would be influential at a time of economic uncertainty that involves a financial crisis, but I wouldn’t rank her above Nancy Pelosi. If Pelosi gets Cap & Trade and/or health care legislation passed it will have a profound effect on the business community for years to come.

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  13. reader
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 14:10:20

    I don’t think any recent First Lady would’ve or should’ve been put on Forbes’ list. I would agree with abc, Forbes is about powerful people in business. Besides, Michelle Obama has only been in her role for less than a year, she has had little to no impact in the world beyond magazines talking about her wardrobe.

    I wouldn’t buy a paper newspaper either. We have a small local paper that sticks to local news only. I think that may be where we are headed. Get on the internet for big national and international stories (or cable news) and reserve the printed ‘paper’ for the local stories.

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  14. Chicklet
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 21:14:39

    I've just scrambled to recover from one of my busiest weeks in a long time and I think that web sales are up because who has time for shopping inside the store?

    I have time to shop in the store, it’s just that half the time, the store doesn’t have what I’m looking for actually on the shelf. Of course I’m going to order it online instead of special-ordering it and having to make a second trip to the store in order to pick it up.

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  15. SonomaLass
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 23:12:33

    On shopping: I have the same problem as Chicklet — time to shop, but often not finding the books I want. I love to browse, though, so I often go to Borders when I have an hour or so to kill. (Ours is close to where my son goes for taekwondo twice a week.) If they have something I’ve been wanting, or if I see something that looks good, I’m a happy reader. But too often I have to resort to ordering online to get specific titles.

    On news: the thing that frightens me is that most of the major online news sites get their news from AP, which in turn gets much of it from reporters at (wait for it…) local newspapers. So while I am not addicted to newsprint and would happily read my local paper online, I continue my subscription in order to support its continued existence. If my local paper switched to an online paid subscription model, I would be SO there! But I’m afraid I’d be in the minority, because most people seem to think that online news should be free, even though the economics of that are tricky at best.

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  16. NKKingston
    Aug 24, 2009 @ 04:49:41

    Charge for newspaper on the internet? Go ahead, Mr Murdoch. I get my news from the BBC website, which has been and always will be free. Well, paid for by the license fee, but you only have to pay that if you own a TV – radio, BBC websites and iPlayer don’t require evidence you pay the license fee to enjoy. I’m not sure that won’t change, but it’s certainly nice for now!

    The newspapers really don’t like Auntie Beeb – of course, most newspaper moguls also own rival TV channels, which doesn’t help matters. I only buy national papers for the giveaways these days, but my ethics tend to prevent even that thanks to the fact it’s always the Mail or the Sun with the best DVDs. I love the local rag, and I buy it in deadtree format (mainly because the website really isn’t that great) whenever a headline catches my eye, but I’m not a regular purchaser.

    Really, for newspapers to stay in business they’ve got to offer something the web doesn’t. Even if it’s just the Guardian’s good ol’ wallcharts!

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  17. Lorelie
    Aug 24, 2009 @ 06:24:36

    Barnes and Noble's retail sales have slipped 5% because of low retail traffic while the web sales are up a tiny fraction from 8.2 to 8.9%. I've just scrambled to recover from one of my busiest weeks in a long time and I think that web sales are up because who has time for shopping inside the store? It's Saturday and I think that I might get some time to browse today but in store book buying seems like such a luxury.

    Blurbs like this blow my mind every time they pop up, ’cause my local Barnes and Noble is ALWAYS packed lately. Like, circle the parking lot a couple times to find a parking place type packed. And it didn’t used to be like that.

    I can't help but wonder if the Sony readers are buying a number of different formats instead of straight from the Sony store.

    If I’d wanted to be locked into a single format, and a single store, I would have bought a Kindle.

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  18. Mischa
    Aug 25, 2009 @ 12:20:50

    I avoid the Sony Store because you can only purchase from it using Sony’s software. I can navigate thru the Sony Store faster using Firefox then I can using Sony’s browser. On top of that, Sony designed the website with a fixed page width such that, unless you have a wide screen monitor, you cannot see the whole webpage all at once when using their browser. I think they were trying to mimic iTunes but I call epic fail.

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