Monday Midday Links Roundup: ABA Wants DOJ to Investigate Discount Pricing
Mobile adoption is occurring at a faster rate than any other adoption of internet in the past. Further, at the leading edge of mobile adoption is the growth of the iPhone/iTouch market. Morgan Stanley is essentially telling investors that those that can anticipate and deliver products to the mobile space are those who will be winning the future.
Dovetailing this report are the findings that Greystripe, a mobile ad network, is releasing about iPhone moms, mothers of young children who own iPhones. TechCrunch reports on the usage of the iPhone by moms. Moms are using iPhones to make their shopping easier (by locating stores nearest to them and keep track of shopping lists) to entertaining their kids (59% allow their children to use the iPhone) and for personal entertainment purposes.
Brewster Kahle announced last week that over 1.6 million books have been scanned and digitized. All 1.6 million Internet Archive books to be available on the OLPC. Approximately 750,000 to 1 million people have OLPC. All books that have been scanned and digitized are in the public domain.
The American Booksellers Association wants the government to save independent bookseller’s bacon. The organization has asked the government to investigate what it believes to be predatory pricing by Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target for its $9.00 hardcovers and the $9.99 ebook pricing.
Now I don’t know of any caselaw that would support this and essentially it seems like the ABA is asking the government to step in and save the hardcover business model. A government investigation in pricing would necessarily involve an investigation into the entire business model of publishing. Maybe we should welcome this. Publishers would be called to testify why they essentially gamble on books and hope to make up the gambling in large margins on hardcover bestsellers.
Publisher Michael Hyatt argues that this pricing isn’t good for anyone, arguing that the loss of hardcovers will result in lower advances, driving authors out of the publishing space. Commenter Mark McElroy points out that the digital market space can actually result in more authors being successful because of the elimination of the middle man.
The FTC is changing its mind, again. It’s fairly difficult to keep up with these folks. According to reports from kidlitcon, Mary Engle, Associate Director for Advertising Practices at FTC, says that independent blogging reviewers do not need to disclose the provenance of their books but that affiliate links will need to be disclosed. The FTC will be providing updated guidelines or FAQs or clarifications soon (hopefully before December). We’ll be watching and will be sure to comply with whatever rules the FTC is going to implement.
In summing up the take away from the Frankfurt Book Fair, Richard Nash blogs that publishers need to engage in reality based business decisions. This is a world where piracy can and does happen and will not go away. Conversely, the mobile market is expanding and this means growing business opportunities. Change is here and those that are most adaptable will succeed.
According to the AAP, August sales were fairly flat, only increasing 0.9% over same sales last August:
- Adult Hardcover = up by 12.3 percent ( $110.6 million); YTD down by 12.2 percent.
- Adult Paperback = up by 3.2 percent ($152.7 million); YTD down by 9.0 percent.
- Adult Mass Market= up 1.3 percent ( $70.4 million); YTD down by 4.5 percent.
- Children’s/YA Hardcover = down 12.9 percent ($84.5 million); YTD up by 14.0 percent.
- Children’s/YA Paperback = down by 0.2 percent ($69.4 million); YTD up by 1.7 percent.
- Audio Book = down by 12.5 percent ( $12.9 million); YTD down by 25.1 percent.
- E-books= up by 189.1 percent ($14.4 million); TYPD up by 177.3 percent.