A while back, Amazon’s(NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle publishing platform made headlines for its remarkable offer of 70% royalties, under the right circumstances, to self-publishing authors wanting to make their products available through the Amazon.com site. Although authors are often confronted with a Kindle vs nook debate when it comes to where to move their stuff, since Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) launched a similar program, Amazon is making further moves to ensure that they remain the main source for all your independent author needs.
In the past week or so, Adobe(NASDAQ:ADBE) launched the beta for a plugin for their popular InDesign software that allows users to create documents specifically for the Kindle. It can currently be downloaded directly through the Amazon Kindle’s Publishing Program site. Previous to this, InDesign users would usually be faced with the annoyance of converting from EPUB to an acceptable upload format.
Users of this tool will enjoy several useful features:
- Expanded & refined font styling and text placement
- Easier placement of in-text links, including Table of Contents
- Smooth transition of images
- Easy content preview using the Kindle Previewer
The Previewer mentioned there is a neat little tool Amazon released early this year that will allow users on practically any OS to check out what their book will look like on the physical Kindle right down to font resizing and orientation changes. It’s something of a must for anybody really interested in getting things right, from what I hear, and it has been updated recently to account for the Kindle 3 release and the minor screen changes that that entails.
Since the Kindle is clearly taking the lead for the foreseeable future as far as eBook distribution platforms go, this will be a big help for all you aspiring authors and long-time fans of Adobe products. It would be nice if Amazon came around and started supporting more widely used formats, but since that doesn’t seem to be happening this makes accommodating their peculiarities that much easier.
As things come to a head between publishers and providers, and as Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) and Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) compete over the digital self-publishing market, Amazon is attempting to place themselves firmly in the forefront of publisher attention by offering the potential for doubled royalties to users of their DTP self-publishing platform. The gist of the announcement is simple; If you publish a book through their service and the digital copy is at least 20% cheaper than the print copy, listed between $2.99 and $9.99, and have Text-to-Speech enabled, you will get 70% royalties on all your eBook sales instead of the standard 35%.
Let’s face it, this gives Amazon a huge advantage when it comes to providing content for the Kindle and all related software readers. As much as the traditional publishing industry balks at the concept, independents are coming out of the woodwork these days and some of them are making big names for themselves in the eBook marketplace(J.A. Konrath makes a good example). By keeping them happy and coming back for more, money in this case, Amazon has a chance to gain fairly exclusive rights to loads of great talent. It’ll be interesting to see what the response is both from the industry and the competition!
Amazon’s(NASDAQ:AMZN) first publishing imprint, AmazonEncore, has announced plans to bring us ten titles for the fall of this year from a variety of areas. For those who are unaware, AmazonEncore is a program that uses information from the Amazon.com site, in the form of sales trends, review data, etc, to identify new or outstanding works that deserve a wider audience and introduce or re-introduce these books to the public through both digital and print media.
This fall’s lineup will include:
These titles range from self-published works, including what I believe to be the first self-published Kindle edition to get optioned for a movie(A Scattered Life), to complete originals. There’s something there for almost any audience. So check them out. Seriously. Go on, I can wait. Anyway, it’s good stuff. Clichès aside, I’m going to go order some of my own now.
After years of Amazon’s dominance in the self-publishing ebook marketplace, Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) has decided to enter the scene. Eligible independent publishers and self-publishing authors will be able to add their content directly into the BN.com and Barnes & Noble eBook Store Catalogs, giving them immediate exposure to one of the largest electronic book marketplaces on the net with all the perks already built in. Books published through this PubIt! system, as it is called, will be accorded the usual digital rights management one would expect out of Barnes & Noble, an industry standard ePub format for distribution, and a presence accessible through any of B&N’s many platforms including the nook eReader and their many computer-based software and cellular downloads. While there has not, as of yet, been any discussion of what the royalty model will be for these publishers and authors, there have been assurances that it will be competitive and simple to use and understand.
Make no mistake, this isn’t a groundbreaking new technology or idea. It does, however, bring Barnes & Noble in line with Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) as they attempt attempt to secure their place alongside or even ahead of the Kindle and its ever-growing pressence in the ebook market. Sure Amazon got there first, but who will make it most worth their authors’ while as time goes on? More options have to be good for the lesser known names out there.
All over the world there are people doing their best to, and sometimes managing to, publish the next great novel. Not even the most shortsighted reader can truly indulge the thought that all enjoyable literature comes from their native or preferred language. Apparently Amazon.com(NASDAQ:AMZN) has come to the same conclusion and decided that this market will lend some uniqueness to their brand. AmazonCrossing, as it is to be called, will concentrate on bringing international authors to the English speaking audience. Their first publication, The King of Kahel by Tierno Monenembo, is the winner of the 2008 Renaudot Literary Prize and should be available on your Kindle, or even in paperback, on November 2nd.
This is Amazon’s second publishing endeavor, so it is safe to say they know something of the ins and outs of the process by now. According to what information we have regarding this move, titles chosen will be heavily influenced by the standing they have in terms of favorable reviews on the Amazon website, thus allowing readers to directly influence how well distributed their favorite authors become. This new imprint promises to be a positive move for authors, readers, and hopefully investors alike. There aren’t nearly enough international authors represented well in English just yet, much to many of our monolingual dismay.
If e-book readers are to ever catch on then they must be able to display all kinds of documents and information, from novels to picture albums to technical documents. This presents a challenge for publishers right now because whist e-book readers are catching on, they don’t posses the technology to display anything other than just words and simple black and white images. A lot of publishers are wanting to put their technical documents on to e-ink devices, however technology in the e-ink industry is limiting how those documents can be displayed.
Once such publisher is Dave Thomas from Pragmatic Programmer which publishes technical programming books, as you can imagine, programming books will be full of diagrams, tables, code lists and images — they are really tricky to reproduce for e-book viewing.
This is what Dave had to say
About once a week, we get a request from a reader to have our books available in a format that can be read on an eBook reader (typically, nowadays, the Amazon Kindle).
In fact, we’ve had a prototype form of that capability for a while now, but we’ve always held back. Frankly, we didn’t think the devices worked well with our kind of content. Basically, the .mobi format used by the Kindle is optimized for books that contain just galleys of text with the occasional heading. Throw in tables, monospaced code listings, sidebars and the like, and things start to get messy. The .epub format (used, for example, by Adobe Digital Editions) is slightly more capable, but it also has issues.
You can see exactly what Dave is talking about because he has uploaded his tests, you can see the results here;
Dave goes on to say getting to this stage required a lot of hacks, for instance the code listings have been converted to images so that they render better, however they don’t scale when the user changes the font size — i’m sure many more hacks were used to get to this stage, Dave finises with a good question:
So… what do you think. Is this workable? Should we make these available, even though they’re not very good, or should we wait for a later generation of eBook that’s closer to the capabilities we need? Comments are open… :)
What do you think, should publishers wait or press on knowing this is the best possible outcome given the current technology?
Source: O’Reilly, PragDave
The Kindle has been around since November 2007 and Amazon has yet released any sales figures. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Amazon has sold anywhere between 40,000 – 140,000 Kindle units per month and that e-book sales are on the increase accounting for 12% of title sales at Amazon.com. Whilst the Kindle hasn’t been a runaway success for Amazon, it has been a hit amongst readers and is slowly gaining acceptance amongst consumers.
Since its launch in 1995, Amazon has become a leviathan in the publishing industry, this spelt good news for the consumers, but not so good for the publishers. Amazon flexed its might in March this year by declaring that if publishers didn’t use Amazon’s in house print on demand wing called BookSurge then the “Buy” button on the Amazon page for their books will be removed. They could then only sell their books on Amazon through a third party.
This amounted to a antitrust suit being filed against Amazon in March of this year, the case is ongoing, Amazon filed for the case to be dismissed, the judge will decide on August 21st if the case can proceed.
The once mighty publishing industry is facing troubling times, with tighter margins on books and more competition from magazines and online publications, publishers are left with little option but to bow to Amazons wishes. Amazon’s cut is 65% when publishing book on the DTP and 25% when published on Mobipocket which gives Amazon even more power over the publishers. Removing their books from Amazon is not an option for many publishers simply because of the amount of revenue they will lose, precious revenue they cannot afford to lose.
The Kindle seems has tightened Amazons grip on the publishers, and as Kindle growth surges it will put the publishers in an even worse position.
Esquire Magazine celebrates its 75th birthday this year. To celebrate this milestone Esquire has partnered up with a Cambridge, Massachusetts based technology company, E Ink Corporation (the same company which makes the Kindles e-ink display), to become the first magazine to be printed-or should I say manufactured-with an e-ink cover.
The special 75th anniversary issue will focus on exploring the ideas, people and issues that will be the foundation of the 21st century.
“This cover is both a breakthrough for magazines and an expression of the theme of our anniversary issue,” said David Granger, editor-in-chief of Esquire Magazine. Whilst the cover uses “rudimentary e-ink technology” primarily because the cost associated with having a high resolution e-ink display is still very high, Mr. Granger hopes this is only the beginning of an explosion in the use of e-ink technology.
Mr. Granger, also has high hopes for the covers place in history saying “I hope it will be in the Smithsonian […] Magazines have basically looked the same for 150 years,” adding “I have been frustrated with the lack of forward movement in the magazine industry.” – you can include the publishing and the newspaper industry’s to that also.
Whilst some might see this as a marketing gimmick, Esquire is hopeful that the technology behind the device will last, Mr. Granger thinks “The possibilities of print have just begun. In two years, I hope this looks like cellphones did in 1982, or car phones.”
Esquires publishers have had to invest a six figure amount in order to get the project off the ground, so a big-time sponsor was needed in order to turn a profit, Ford was brought in to help with some of the costs in exchange for a 2-page e-ink advertisement.
The Esquire team has been planning to use an e-ink cover for a long time, back in 2000, Mr. Granger visited E Ink Corporation in Cambridge for a technology demonstration, but conceded that it was too premature for magazines. In 2006 the technology had improved sufficiently that only limitation to creating an e-ink magazine was having a battery small enough to power it-and the associated costs-, so for the past 16 months Esquire has been working with a Chinese manufacture to create a battery which will fit inside a magazine, the battery is expected to last 90 days.
It would be interesting to see what magazine stands would look like in a decades time if the e-ink cover catches on. Magazine stands are already a visual assault on the eyes, every magazine is competing for you attention with bright colours and scantily clad women, one can only imagine the stands if they were filled with animated e-ink covers!
Now I suspect that the e-ink display will be a segmented type as opposed to a high resolution graphic type available on the Kindle, given the cost of manufacturing. The Esquire cover will probably have a few frames of animation or some flashing text – nothing fancy, but still quite cool. Esquire has an exclusive deal with E Ink Corporation on the use of e-ink technology in print through 2009, however only a 100,000 e-ink covers will be produced, they will only be available on Magazine stands and the 620,000 Esquire mail subscribers will get a printed copy of the issue.
Source: New York Times
An Amazon.com press release today revealed that 11 top Christian publishers are to make available thousands of e-book for the Kindle.
From the Amazon.com press release;
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), today announced that Christian book publishers Augsburg Fortress, Crossway Books & Bibles, David C. Cook, Gospel Light, Group Publishing, NavPress, Strang Communications, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. and Zondervanp have committed to making the majority of their catalogs of books available to Kindle owners by the end of 2008.
The response to our Kindle editions has been remarkable,” said Alan Huizenga, Director of Digital Publishing at Tyndale House Publishers. “We are excited to know that for readers who own a Kindle, they can download and begin reading bestselling Tyndale authors such as Joel Rosenberg, Tony Dungy, Francine Rivers, and Tommy Newberry in under a minute!”
“For years Eerdmans readers have enjoyed our extensive selection of titles from the scholarly to the popular,” said Sam Eerdmans, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Eerdmans. “Now Eerdmans is excited to announce that many of our titles will be readily available on Kindle. Fans of Eugene Peterson or Joan Chittister can quickly find and access their new books using the extremely easy interface of Kindle.”
“Thomas Nelson is excited to offer our books in the digital format on Kindle,” said Robert Edington, Vice President of Internet Channel, Thomas Nelson, Inc. “Our readers have enjoyed works by Max Lucado, John Maxwell and Ted Dekker for a long time, and now those who have a Kindle can quickly and easily download them in 60 seconds.”
It looks like more and more publishers are jumping on the Kindle bandwagon, the more the merrier!
Princeton University Press has announced that it will start publishing Kindle edition textbook this fall, according to Inside Higher Education, Princeton will follow other prominent educational establishments like Yale, Oxford and UC Berkeley in offering Kindle edition textbooks to students and faculty. Depending on the success, more university are likely to follow.
The Kindle seems like the ideal device which would appeal to the university demographic more so than any other gadget out there, students and faculty can both benefit from the Kindle. Image if every student had a Kindle, all the course lectures and textbooks could be downloaded the instant they were available, with the amount of reading an average student goes through in an average semester they may be grateful for a device which can help them reduce the weight in the already heavy bags. And university lecturers could add reading material for next week lecture which could be automatically downloaded to a students Kindle, just like a newspaper.
With Kindles search feature students can easily find the right passages instead of searching through the library archives for 3 hours, it can be noted, annotated and bookmarked for later reference.
Anything that help with learning and education gets the thumbs up from us