Thursday News: Harper Collins earnings, Amazon dominating subscription services, Joss Whedon leaves Twitter, and hilarious sex-ed quiz
Harlequin Purchase Drives HC Results – So apparently Harper Collins’s purchase of Harlequin is still proving to be a benefit, at least to HC earnings:
Total revenue at HarperCollins rose 14% for the third quarter ended March 31, 2015, while EBITDA increased 6% over the comparable period in 2014. Excluding HC’s 2014 purchase of Harlequin, however, third quarter sales were down 5% and EBITDA dropped 8% compared to the prior year, parent company News Corp reported Tuesday afternoon.–Publishers Weekly
Amazon is Killing it in the Subscription eBook Market – So despite the fact that Kindle Unlimited has a more limited selection of books, they have a substantial advantage in terms of subscriber numbers. And really, doesn’t this make sense. I mean, I have a subscription, because I already have a Prime subscription and several Kindle devices, so why not? I suspect I’m not the only one who signed on for KU when it was first introduced, simply because it was Kindle, and, well, I already had a Kindle. Sure it’s stupid, but consumer behavior isn’t always rational.
According to the Codex Group’s April 2015 consumer survey, 12.4% of ebook buyers also have a Kindle Unlimited subscription. In comparison, only 1.4% of respondents reported that they had a Scribd membership, and even fewer were paying for Oyster.
The report also showed that Amazon’s subscriber base grew by 10% between November 2014 and April 2015, while the customer base of its smaller competitors fell by an average of 30% over the same period. –Ink, Bits & Pixels (aka The Digital Reader)
Joss Whedon Calls “Horsesh*t” On Reports He Left Twitter Because Of Militant Feminists – This is a two-part post. Part one is about Whedon closing his Twitter account, which some have insisted is due to feminist criticism of his recent work. Whedon, on the other hand, claims he just needed some peace and quiet to work, and, well, Twitter was too chatty. Or something. Although just check out the language he uses to describe feminist and feminism. And seriously, can we get rid of the term “militant feminist/ism? It’s often been those feminists wiling to fight on the very front lines for women’s rights that the rest of us now enjoy. And it’s not like the term is ever used in a positive way.
Now for part two of the post, what’s up with the fact that some of the same paragraphs appear in this Buzzfeed story, written by Adam Vary, and this Verge story, written by Rich McCormick. The Buzzfeed story is longer, but otherwise it’s very odd.
“That is horseshit,” he told BuzzFeed News by phone on Tuesday. “Believe me, I have been attacked by militant feminists since I got on Twitter. That’s something I’m used to. Every breed of feminism is attacking every other breed, and every subsection of liberalism is always busy attacking another subsection of liberalism, because god forbid they should all band together and actually fight for the cause.
“I saw a lot of people say, ‘Well, the social justice warriors destroyed one of their own!’ It’s like, Nope. That didn’t happen,” he continued. “I saw someone tweet it’s because Feminist Frequency pissed on Avengers 2, which for all I know they may have. But literally the second person to write me to ask if I was OK when I dropped out was [Feminist Frequency founder] Anita [Sarkeesian].” –Buzzfeed and The Verge
These Honest (And Brilliant) Sex-Ed Quiz Answers Got A Teen Suspended – I have no idea if the backstory behind this picture of an answered sex-ed quiz is true (the person who posted it claimed her sister was suspended for her answers), but the answers are so fantastic (if only all teen girls had this much self-confidence!!), who cares. The quiz involves “possible objections” to condoms, and the answers are clearly non-conforming. And amazing. My favorite may be #9: “I don’t have a condom with me.” Written-in response: “I don’t have my vagina with me.” –Huffington Post
I have a Kindle and think my Prime might come with KU, but I never managed to borrow a single book from it.
So, how many people with a KU subscription have it because they value that subscription and how many people have it because it came free with Prime, which they got for some other reason?
If the latter, maybe Amazon is killing the market for subscriptions because KU is so lousy.
On the other hand, most of the subscription services are not at the right price point for me. They are not clearly a savings on buying.
FWIW, I had a Scribd free trial for about two weeks. I didn’t keep it because I already have a huge TBR pile of both e and paper books. The one drawback for me regarding e-book subscriptions is that the books aren’t mine. I don’t like the idea of having to sign into a site to read.
@SAO: Kindle Unlimited doesn’t come automatically with Prime. That’s the Kindle Owners Lending Library with a different selection of books and one a month.
I know one reason that people might choose KU over the other (better) subscription services: the ability to read on an e-ink screen. I keep looking at Scribd longingly but I can’t read on a backlit screen for any length of time. If I’m wrong about the ability to read Scribd on my Kindle Voyage, someone please let me know.
@Kim W: I also don’t want to read on a backlit screen (have had sleep problems for years and avoid anything that might disrupt it) and I tend to read before bed but I would so like to try Scribd. Have borrowed a few things from Kindle Lending since we have Prime but there isn’t a lot I want, and I haven’t been all that tempted by the kindle unlimited offerings either.
I am not the a successful user of the Kindle Lending Library (in my opinion, Amazon is probably happy). I tried KU when the offer came out but didn’t find anything I particularly wanted to read. I go months without searching the lending library because it requires me to go back to my original kindle and it is awkward. On the other hand, so far I have inhaled over a dozen books on Scribd and it works on my tablet. I discussed Scribd with a friend who was not willing because she is in school and will not have enough time to read. I am happy to get the backlist books for authors I love because it saves me having to purchase them. I enjoy these authors, but not enough to shell out $5 or more for books I am fairly sure I can find for fifty cents somewhere else. What I want Scribd to get more of is the backlist, like the old JAK books I am not willing to spend a ton for.
I got a hardcover of the most recent Michelle West book. I realized I preferred the ebook my tablet or cellphone because I needed larger type. I can dim the screen or change the background color for comfort, but I cannot make the printed type any larger.
I tried the 3-month free Scribd trial, thinking I’d be cancelling. However, they have a big selection of audio books that I enjoy so much, I’m keeping it.
I had KU and it sucked as far as book options. I have a Scribd and would use it way more if I could put the books on my kindle like I can with library books.
I don’t know if it’s been amended but The Verge article references that the quotes were from Buzzfeed.
@Karenmc: What appeals to me about Scribd is the Harlequin collection. In the meantime, I’m paying for KU and not using it, so I need to do something.
@Kaetrin: Yeah, it was more than the quotes that struck me as similar, and I wonder if the Verge piece was re-written. I almost screenshot the comparisons but then decided not to.
I got the Scribd trial, and it’s been worth it because my husband and I are both reading at least two-three books a month on it. I love having that deep pile of books, where I can get pretty much any flavor of book that I want at any time. There are still a ton of books that I want to read or re-read, and like KarenMC said, their audiobook collection is pretty great.
I used KU (I don’t have Prime) for several months and got quite a bit of use from it, definitely more than I paid, but then fell off looking for new books through it and canceled. I may re-subscribe if there are enough books that I want to read being offered at the same time. For me the really awesome part was when a bunch of my nephew’s favourite kids book series were available, so we’d read them together.
I do notice that the KU-featured books get more prominent placement in some aspects (monthly deals etc) so I usually have a running tally in my head of books I want to read that are available through KU vs what I’m planning to pay for books this month, and I see this being something I drop in and out of. That’s more work than most people want!
I did try Scribd and liked it, but I do 99% of my reading on my Kindle, and can’t do backlit screens as it really hurts my eyes. I’d likely read on my phone or tablet a lot more if that wasn’t the case, but even filters and special glasses don’t help me. It’s frustrating.