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Friday News: More on the Apple-Beats deal, Amazon Germany delays shipments, BEA 2014, and eBay’s new fashion research

Friday News: More on the Apple-Beats deal, Amazon Germany delays shipments,...

Apple’s Beats deal is bad news for these two companies - So now that the Apple – Beats deal is officially confirmed, the predictions shift into full gear. Will Beats bring Apple back to its glory days? Will it end up being an expensive flop? And what about other online services?

Yahoo Tech Reporter Aaron Pressman says this deal is not welcome news for Pandora and Spotify. “If you’re Pandora or Spotify – which maybe was heading towards an IPO – if you’re an investor in those companies, you’re pretty bummed out,” said Pressman. “This is not good for you.” — Yahoo News

Amazon Strategy Raises Hackles in Germany - Perhaps on the strength of Amazon’s share of the ebook market in Germany — which is substantial — the company is now delaying shipments for books from German publisher Bonnier Media Group. Similar to the early stages of Amazon’s US battle with Hachette, the situation in Germany has emerged from negotiations between Amazon and one of Germany’s largest publishers over the sharing of ebook profits.

Yet in a country where shopping hours are also tightly controlled by the government, Germans are becoming increasingly accustomed to the ease and independence of ordering books at all hours and having them delivered to their front doors.

Germany’s book-order business, including online sales, grew by 4 percent last year to 2.7 billion euros, or $3.7 billion, according to the Federation of Mail-Order Booksellers. Amazon towered above its competitors, controlling more than half of the German market, with sales of €1.9 billion. — New York Times

BEA 2014: Strong Traffic, Talk of Amazon-Hachette - Even BEA, which is currently underway in New York City, is preoccupied with talk of the Amazon-Hachette conflict. Along with flourishing attendance, a tribute to Maya Angelou, and presentation of the Indie Champion Award to James Patterson, people were talking about the battle. Patterson, especially, was outspoken, insisting that publishers must remain afloat to “support good literature,” and noting that profit margins in publishing are not enormous:

As Patterson sees it, readers and the bookselling community must step up in order to safeguard the future of our literature. He spoke about how this “economic war” will affect grocery stores, libraries, and bookstores. “Ultimately it will put thousands of mom-and-pops out of business. If Amazon’s not a monopoly, it’s the beginning of one. If this is to be the new American way, this has to be changed, by law if necessary.” He wanted the media and authors groups to take up this topic. “It’s a worthy subject of this BEA.”

Patrick Hughes, Fulcrum’s marketing and sales director, was also vocal on the subject of Amazon, and completely unsympathetic toward Hachette. “I can’t complain, there’s nothing better out there,” he said. “Amazon is our largest customer.” He continued: “One international corporate behemoth complaining about another international corporate behemoth—I have absolutely no sympathy.” — Publishers Weekly

In order to chase down fashion recommendations, eBay turns to neurological data - The use of algorithms to try to predict consumer choices and recommend merchandise is not a new concept, but eBay is taking the process a step further, it seems, by using neurological research to attempt to figure out what consumers want to wear, and thus, buy. Creepy or cool? Or maybe both?

Fashion taste is a fickle thing, but scientists have long pursued the neurological causes behind our aesthetic choices. We are still far from understanding the motives, but MIT Technology Review reports that a team at eBay Research Labs in San Jose is using neurology research and in-person opinions to help craft an algorithm that determines fashion combinations — ideally to be used to recommend clothing during shopping experiences. — Gigaom

Wednesday News: Amazon speaks, smartphones boost digital reading in India, has Apple dropped Beats, and Rogen v. Hornaday

Wednesday News: Amazon speaks, smartphones boost digital reading in India, has...

Amazon Responds to Discussion of Hachette Contract Dispute – Amazon has broken its silence on the Hachette negotiations, and, as Nate Hoffelder points out, it’s much more generous to Hachette than Hachette has been to Amazon. Also, how is it no one seems to have learned anything since the agency pricing debacle?

Negotiating with suppliers for equitable terms and making stocking and assortment decisions based on those terms is one of a bookseller’s, or any retailer’s, most important jobs. Suppliers get to decide the terms under which they are willing to sell to a retailer. It’s reciprocally the right of a retailer to determine whether the terms on offer are acceptable and to stock items accordingly. A retailer can feature a supplier’s items in its advertising and promotional circulars, “stack it high” in the front of the store, keep small quantities on hand in the back aisle, or not carry the item at all, and bookstores and other retailers do these every day. When we negotiate with suppliers, we are doing so on behalf of customers. Negotiating for acceptable terms is an essential business practice that is critical to keeping service and value high for customers in the medium and long term. –The Digital Reader

Smartphones drive ebook sales in India – Another article on the global interdependence of smartphone technology and digital reading. While developing markets still depend on smartphones for growth of digital book sales, the impact of ereading technologies on the digital book market is substantial – for markets in which Amazon is present, owning a Kindle means that someone will buy, on average, four times the number of books they otherwise would.

But the smartphone surge, and the availability of reading apps on them, are redrawing the book market. “Few in India would want to spend a minimum of Rs 7,000 on an e-reader and then pay money to buy e-books,” says Thomas Abraham, MD of Hachette India. “But now, with tablets and smartphones (that you bought anyway) having reading apps, we are seeing the beginnings of what might well be a big change. Last year we saw a quantum jump in sales,” he says.

Ditto for Flipkart, India’s biggest bookseller. Since their launch in November 2012 on the e-commerce site, e-books have seen an eight-fold growth. The growth got a huge boost last year in July when Flipkart launched multiple e-books reader apps with features that allowed access to any section of the book instantaneously, personalization, bookmarking of pages, highlighting text, taking notes, and reference to a dictionary while reading. They now even have a text-to-speech feature where the app reads out the book to you, useful when you are, say, driving, or for the visually challenged. –The Times of India

Did Dr. Dre kill the Apple-Beats deal with his drunken video selfie? – So Dr. Dre and Tyrese Gibson made a video in early May, announcing the sale of Beats headphones to Apple and the fact that the deal would make Dr. Dre “the first billionaire in rap.” That video, which was also apparently fueled by a fair number of Heineken beers, has in turn fueled speculation that Apple has pulled back from the deal, due to the likely unauthorized public representation of the deal. Hmmm.

Not only was it inconsistent with Apple’s famously secretive product launches and buttoned-up corporate image, but Dr. Dre was almost certainly subject to a non-disclosure agreement which he blasted to hell with video, disclosing the deal to the entire internet and dropping a few “motherfuckers” to boot. –Death and Taxes

Seth Rogen Is Not A Victim Of The Santa Barbara Killings – I’m not a big fan of the argument that books and movies influence people’s behavior in any substantial way, especially when that behavior is extreme and extremely anti-social. I think the relationship between culture/media and individuals is complex and multilayered, and that it’s not a simple matter of irrelevance v effect. Still, I think this article makes some really good points about how Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow (in whom I’m REALLY disappointed) missed a huge point, and a major opportunity to be part of a necessary social awakening about the diseased thinking that misogyny represents, instead of the self-centered defensiveness that is so very much a part of the problem.

To quote Hornaday: “For generations, mass entertainment has been overwhelmingly controlled by white men, whose escapist fantasies so often revolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment (often, if not always, featuring a steady through-line of casual misogyny).”

This is the point at the heart of the op-ed that really matters. Neighbors is just referenced as the latest in a long, long line of movies in which men are granted what they desire, always and without question, even if what they desire is not a what, but a who. –Think Progress