Monday, 7 May 2012

News: Lights Out At Amazon, Targetting Kindle and 99¢ Coelhos

Lights out - for a week - at Amazon for Bissinger
In a pick-of-the-week promotion with Starbucks, Apple gave customers (of Starbucks, I think) a code that allows them to redeem a copy of Buzz Bissinger's After Friday Night Lights e-book online.

Amazon - or rather, an algorithm - responded to that by dropping the price of the book to zero. In response to that response, Bissinger's publisher Byliner yanked the title off Amazon for a week. Though it was temporary, the decision meant the loss of royalties from sales that would've been racked up over that week.

Bissinger wrote the sequel to Friday Night Lights as a sort-of homage to his friendship with former football player James Miles. A third of the sales proceeds from the sequel, priced at US$2.99 a copy, would go to Miles, who suffered a career-ending injury and now has trouble getting by.

Yeah. Amazon, 'saviour' of book lovers, authors and the publishing industry. Snort.

Target takes aim at Kindle
US discount retailer Target finally stops selling Amazon e-readers. "Finally", because people seem to have forgotten that Amazon is an online version of Target, which is a bit like the US version of our Mydin.

Amazon's aggressive discounting schemes and its apparently tacit support of the practice of "showrooming" have drawn the ire of others. Kind of like going to a brick-and-mortar Mydin store to check out the prices of toasters and buying a cheaper one from instead.

But there may be other reasons, says a TIME report: namely, the accomodation of Apple mini-stores at some Target outlets. Target also sells the Nook e-reader, a product by Amazon rival Barnes & Noble.

Own a Coelho for a song
Paulo Coelho's selling his e-books for US$0.99 each (except The Alchemist) - less than a cup of coffee, Coelho enthuses. "For years I have been advocating that free content is not a threat to the book business. In lowering the price of a book and equaling it to the price of a song in iTunes, the reader will be encouraged to pay for it, instead of downloading it for free," he adds.

The offer was initially limited to the US and Canada, but now that you can buy them through the iBookstore and Nook, is it a worldwide offer?

As long as the public is aware that only authors of his class can afford to price his own books that low. And if anybody still wants to buy some of his older books....

Other news
  • The funny, lame, and creepy books cashing in on the Dragon Tattoo craze. Do people really fall for this?
  • Here are ten ways you can annoy literary agents - and maybe book editors.
  • "Tax me, for f—s sake!" sums up Stephen King's rant against the very rich - including himself. King should write like this more often.
  • A writer says he's figured out the ingredients for a best-selling title. Is the recipe for real?
  • Ann Patchett's love letter to Nashville, Tennessee.
  • A 'book fair' that cracks down on publishers? Only in Iran. The event, held in Tehran's Grand Mosque Mosallah, sees over 2,000 publishing houses, some rare books, loads of bookworms, bussed-in students and even covert lovebirds. Sounds almost familiar.
  • Can e-books succeed without Amazon? I think, yes, eventually.
  • Cory Doctorow hails the begining of the end of DRM - and the e-book format wars.
  • Hyperink will blook your blog. But they're not the only blookers in the biz.
  • And if you're looking for independent editors, here's something to help you snag a good one.
  • Introducing A.R. Venkatachalapathy's The Province of the Book: Scholars, Scribes and Scribblers in Colonial Tamilnadu. The reviewer sounds enthusiastic.


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