Thursday Midday Links: Simon & Schuster Staff Stars in YouTube Video for a Guidette Makeover
Kobo is entering the self publishing/publishing realm. To agents and others, this will come as no surprise. Kobo has been meeting with agents, hiring content editors, and with its major competitors thriving in the self publishing space, this is an inevitable move. Kobo currently has a deal with Smashwords to supply self published content. It is unknown what will happen to that relationship. I believe that BN also accepts Smashword content and its own PubIt! branded materials.
The incentive to use the retailers self publishing platform over a distributor like Smashwords would likely be increased visibility at the retailer site. I wonder if the future of retail based self publishing will tie scaled royalties to exclusivity.
Simon & Schuster released a video on behalf of Snooki to promote her latest book. The video is fairly embarrassing with Snooki wandering the halls of Simon & Schuster and labeling the author portraits as grenade or geek. Grenade is apparently a girl that is unattractive. Snooki then refers to the publishing staff as “farty old grandmas” until she “guidos” them up by having them stick out their “tits and asses”, tease up their hair, and put on lots of makeup while drinking heavily [the drinking heavily part was in the Director’s Cut resurrected by Ed Champion
which appears to have been removed by S&S]. Louise Burke, the publisher; Liz Perle, the editor in chief; and Lauren McKenna, executive editor, all appear in the video. They appear to be having a good time and you have to applaud the lengths at which they are going to support their author. It’s too bad, however, they that they are doing it in a way that emphasizes looking like Snooki and drinking heavily over being a well read, intelligent woman. Sarah Wendell has a poll up and shared her own thoughts on the subject.
Maybe they’ll dress up as foul mouthed, video game playing, bling wearing, sword wielding Valkryies to celebrate Kresley Cole’s upcoming release, Lothaire. After all, Cole is a #1 NYT Bestselling author and Snooki only made the extended list. Hermain Cain is No. 7 on the non fiction list. Maybe we’ll see his publishing team sitting around smoking in a video or perhaps punching people in the face with bouquets of yellow flowers.
Think of the possibilities! What would you want Louise Burke, Liz Perle and Lauren McKenna to star in next?
The NextWeb quotes an excerpt from the Isaacson Steve Jobs biography about how Apple changed the ebook pricing market (and at the same time adds fuel to the class action lawsuits):
[Jobs] told the publishers that Apple would “go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway.”
This made the publishers happy, but it didn’t solve the problem of Amazon undercutting the iBooks store on price.
To solve this, Jobs negotiated an agreement from the publishers to allow Apple to sell the books at a lower price if any other vendor began selling them in ebook form cheaper than Apple was.
Publishersmarketplace has a piece on Amazon and how the agency pricing model is affecting Amazon’s balance sheet. (Reg requ’d) PM believes that over 90% of Amazon’s reported net income of $63 million is from the agency ebook commissions at $56 million.
What that also means, which analysts who find our piece are bound to discover, is that agency model ebooks are masking even greater declines in Amazon’s profitability than are readily apparent.
The larger gross margin on the agency books, however, is helping BN tremendously.
When the company reported their first quarter results in August, for BN.com they showed sales of $198 million and gross margin of $41.5 million. A year ago, sales were $148 million and gross margin was just $5 million. A meaningful part of the big boost in margin was Random House’s move to agency, along with the general increase in agency ebook sales. By our rough estimate, agency publishers did about $50 million in net ebook sales during BN’s reported quarter, which would be worth $21.5 million in recordable gross margin.
Which just goes to further support my belief that Agency has helped BN compete.
Speaking of BN, their stores are becoming increasingly devoted to non book items like toys, games, and electronics. They’ve reorganized their internal footprint and teen books are gaining prominence. They even have a Teen Paranormal Romance section at the front of many stores. Their website offerings are becoming more diverse as well. BN.com now offers five new categories of goods: Home and Gift, Consumer Electronics, Arts and Crafts, Toys and Games and Baby.
Last week, Barnes & Noble started selling items like rugs and cooking utensils on its website. ”If shoppers are buying cookbooks from bn.com, it’s natural to offer them cooking supplies at the same time; if shoppers are buying new baby books, it’s natural to offer them baby supplies as well,” said John Foley, B&N’s president of eCommerce.
Whether it was Simon & Schuster’s bad programming or Apple iBookstore’s mistake, the initial iBookstore release of Steve Jobs’ biography was riddled with formatting errors. Apple quickly responded and urged its customers to delete the original book and download a new copy.
Sarah Wendell pointed out this article about female soldiers being integrated into the special operative groups to help with cultural outreach.
In 2009, under pressure from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and Gen. David Petraeus, then the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, the Army began to develop Cultural Support Teams.
Last November, the first group of women went through a grueling five-day assessment that tested their physical and military skills, their problem-solving and writing abilities and their psychological and mental fitness. Those that passed moved on to a six-week training program.
And just because the women are part of the cultural support program, they are not immune to risk as the article starts with the news of the death of one of those women in a bombing. She was attached to a Ranger’s squad.
“Any day that they’re walking into a village and engaging with the population they are at the same risk as those Special Forces, SEALs, or special operators they’re detailed to. So I would say it is not for the weak-kneed,” said Michael Lumpkin, principal deputy assistant defense secretary for special operations. “These women are on the front lines in very austere locations.”
Erica Tsang tweeted this article about using Georgette Heyer books as a guide to touring London.
From the steps, look left towards The Athenaeum Club. It was built over the western corner of the Regent’s demolished Carlton House and Wellington, who was a member, had a mounting block, which is still there, placed on the opposite pavement.
Walk left into Pall Mall, and first right into St James’s Square, where Deborah Grantham’s aunt had her gaming parlour in Faro’s Daughter. Numbers 20 and 33 are by Robert Adam. At 16, on the site of what is now the East India Club, the Regent was dining with Mrs Boehm on June 21 1815 when Major Percy, four French eagle standards protruding from the window of his post-chaise-and-four, clattered into the square to confirm the victory at Waterloo.