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Rich boys club buys space to say Amazon is bad
August 8, 2014 | 4:25 pm

The open letter against Amazon from Authors United, the group steered by founding author Douglas Preston, seems to be getting a lot of column inches. And just to make sure, Authors United is buying its own. That is, a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of the New York Times to get the message across. Yes, authors are paying publishers (in this case, a newspaper publisher) to print their words - but no one seems to be crying "vanity press" this time round. (Well, maybe "vanity," but of that, see more below...) Evidently the grating irony of authors - those proverbial...

This is what I mean about Amazon doing it better
August 7, 2014 | 2:25 pm

kindle paperwhite in depthThe last time I wrote an article for Teleread on the whole Amazon business, my message was a simple one: if you want to compete, compete! Do a better job. Make a better website, a better store, a better product. Do a better job than Amazon does. I got another tiny example today in what exactly that means. Just a small little moment of elegance, a feature nicely done which showed me why Amazon is the market leader in this area. I had downloaded a sample and was reading it, and I decided I wanted the book. I called up the...

Interesting discovery about the Kindle for iOS app
August 5, 2014 | 3:08 pm

No link to Amazon in Kindle appObviously, I'm aware of the lack of a Kindle Store button in my Kindle for iOS app. However, I recently discovered the hoops Amazon is jumping through to avoid the possibility of paying the in-app purchase fee to Apple. I was re-reading the fantastic book, [easyazon-link asin="0385528752" locale="us"]Switch[/easyazon-link] by Chip and Dan Heath (highly recommended), and they referenced another book which sounded interesting. I knew I'd not be able to look it up directly in the iPad app, but I thought I could sneak around the restrictions by highlighting the text and bringing up the Google search function in the app. Aha!...

Amazon’s PR piece was an excellent appeal to both emotion and reason
July 31, 2014 | 10:25 am

amazonThis started out as a comment on Nate's recent post on Amazon Infatuation Syndrome. While I don't agree with some of his conclusions, it did get the wheels turning. Nate makes the point that Amazon isn't our friend. I completely agree with that (and wrote that same point myself), but I think that's too narrow a way of looking at the recent Amazon release. The more I thought about it, the more impressed I was with this calculated bit of PR. I think this release was intended to do at least three things. Let's take them one by one. 1. Point out...

Amazon says it would be content with 30% of revenue if Hachette e-books were $9.99
July 29, 2014 | 8:42 pm

Amazon has posted another update to its Kindle user forum, dispensing more information about the nature of the dispute between itself and Hachette. In fact, this is pretty much the clearest statement of what the actual argument covers that we have yet seen from either side, including those Hachette leakers. (And, interestingly enough, it doesn’t actually agree with some of the content of those leaks! Imagine that?) I haven’t looked for any reactions yet, but I predict the same howls of outrage we got with Amazon’s last such announcement in May, from Hachette partisans complaining that Amazon didn’t have...

Google uses transfer pricing to avoid paying European taxes
July 27, 2014 | 9:25 am

One of the most commonly-heard complaints about Amazon, at least in Europe, is that it sells e-books from a division based in Luxembourg so that it can charge a much lower VAT (Value-Added Tax, the European equivalent of sales tax) rate on its e-books than UK law allows. The unspoken implication is that everyone else must surely pay all the taxes they owe like good little corporate boys and girls. But Ars Technica reports that Google uses a practice called “transfer pricing” to assign most of its European revenues to an offshore subsidiary in Bermuda and avoid paying taxes...

Audience migration to digital pulls The Legend of Korra off Nick TV channel
July 26, 2014 | 7:32 pm

korraThe digital transition: it’s not just for books. With the advent of tablets and smartphones with fast cellular connections (or wifi), there’s been a critical shift in the way media are consumed. I’ve talked about that before: In the early days of the Internet, companies invested in computer-on-TV devices, assuming that when convergence came, everything would converge through the TV set. They invariably flopped. But now that we have small screens we can always carry with us, with processors good enough and Internet fast enough to stream video in real time, more and more people...

Amazon Prime streaming video app coming soon to Android, Amazon says
July 23, 2014 | 12:36 am

It might be a bit surprising, but one of our most popular articles here at TeleRead deals not with books but rather with video—in particular, how to use a Flash-enabled web browser to watch Amazon Prime streaming videos on Android devices. Since there’s no native Android player application for the service, the way there are for Kindle Fire and iOS devices, this workaround has been the best that Android owners can do. (And even that didn’t work outside of the US.) Until now. PC Advisor reports that Amazon Instant Video marketing director Russell Morris said at an event in...

Kindle Unlimited is now live
July 18, 2014 | 10:28 am

kindle unlimited pageAs you no doubt saw in the Morning Links, Kindle Unlimited is now live. It's pretty much what we were expecting when it was leaked on Wednesday. Right now, it's mostly Amazon imprints and KDP Select books, with a few others like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. Books by Open Road and a few other smaller traditional publishers are also available. No Big 5 books, however, which wasn't a surprise. For Amazon authors, the KDP Select FAQ and agreement have been updated to include Kindle Unlimited, according to reports on KBoards. There was no mention of the Select pool...

July Author Earnings report surveys DRM, genre sales
July 18, 2014 | 3:34 am

ae-julyHugh Howey and Data Guy have done it again, producing another interesting report on a sample of data scraped from Amazon. The July report re-runs the numbers for their main chart based on the new data, then branches out into a couple of interesting new measurements—including one that I specifically asked for back in May. The main measurements show basically incremental change from the last few reports, In terms of daily revenue to authors (taking into account royalty percentages from publisher sales and Amazon revenue percentages from self-published works), Big Five authors take 37% of total Amazon daily revenue...

Amazon to start Kindle Unlimited, a service similar to Scribd/Oyster?
July 16, 2014 | 11:18 am

kindle unlimited page?Nate at The Digital Reader broke a fascinating story this morning. Some authors on KBoards noticed an Amazon webpage for "Kindle Unlimited." [caption id="attachment_116185" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Image from KBoards via Dear Author[/caption] According to Nate: Details are still vague, but at this point I know that about 6 hours ago several authors noticed that there was a new page in the Kindle Store. That page was shortly taken down, but while it was up it was titled Kindle Unlimited, and it offered readers access to a catalog of 600,000 ebook and audiobook titles for $9.99 (per month or per year, I don’t know). As...

Authors Guild shares message against Amazon offer from diehard critic Richard Russo
July 14, 2014 | 2:25 pm

America's Authors Guild has just shared an open letter from its current co-Vice President, novelist Richard Russo, coming out against Amazon's offer of 100 percent ebook royalties to Hachette authors while the Amazon/Hachette dispute continues. The letter attracted a prompt response from Amazon, who wrote as follows (here courtesy of Publishers Weekly): Our offer is sincere and it stands—Hachette need only say yes to help their authors. We also wonder what this letter would look like if Hachette had posed this idea and Amazon had rejected it. The letter conflates the long-term structure of the industry with a short-term proposal designed...