Oyster, an eBook subscription service that allowed subscribers access to unlimited books for a low monthly fee, is set to close in the near future due to resistance from publishers, who figure it’s a money-losing proposition for them. They face additional competition from industry-giant Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. Read more at ft.com.
Citing the Wall Street Journal (which is behind a paywall), Jillian D’Onfro of Business Insider Australia points out that the declining eBook sales reported by big publishers are probably due to their high prices following their battle with Amazon, rather than a lack of interest on the part of eBook consumers, who expect lower prices. I have to agree with her—I think a lot longer before buying an eBook priced above seven dollars than I do before buying a $2.99 book, and that’s despite my being in the industry! I’d buy ten $2.99 eBooks without thinking twice about it, but a single $12.99 book gives me pause.
In a major win for Amazon, Apple lost its appeal in federal court over the anti-trust lawsuit. Apple conspired with big publishers to price-fix eBooks. Read more about it at latimes.com.
Nook sales are down again as Barnes & Noble continues its struggle to succeed in the eBook market. Read more about it at ndtv.com.
For those authors who choose to participate in Kindle Select, the payment arrangement is changing. Instead of paying based on the number of times a book is borrowed, they will now pay based on how many pages are read. Some say this means you should write longer books in order to earn more… But this doesn’t take into account reader interest—if a reader isn’t interested continuing to read a lengthy but boring book, she is likely to just return it and borrow a new one. So what this means, to me, is that you should write more interesting books which keep the reader engaged to the very end!
Amazon, the largest distributor of eBooks in Europe, is the subject of an anti-trust investigation by the European Commission. Apparently Amazon requires publishers to inform the company about arrangements they have with competitors… which seems iffy, at best!
Microsoft is getting out of the Nook business—Barnes & Noble has bought out their share. This clears the path for B&N to spin off the Nook side of the business, but could also signify another nail in the coffin of this particular eReader device.
Sony is giving up on the eBook market in North America, and transferring all of its clients to Kobo in March 2014. Could this provide the extra boost that Kobo needs to become a major player? We’ll see!
The below-linked article summarizes the report Consumer Attitudes Towards Ebook Reading and presents slightly different data than my clients have anecdotally reported for their sales (most say that their sales come almost exclusively from Amazon, with virtually (or literally!) no sales elsewhere). It gives Amazon (including both the website and the app) as the clear leader with 67% of the market share, followed by “all other sources” at 12.8%, Barnes & Noble at 11.8, and Apple (the iTunes bookstore) at 8.2%.
After offering amazing prices for the week before Father’s Day, Barnes & Noble has continued their sale, offering their eReaders and tablets at astoundingly low prices—it seems they must be taking a loss on them. Michael Kozlowski of goodereader.com suggests that perhaps they are trying to get out of the tablet market entirely.