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The return of Hugh Howey: Author Earnings Part Two
February 20, 2014 | 1:51 am

50000-unit-sales-by-category1If you were worrying you might run out of traditional-publisher vitriol since it’s been a week since Hugh Howey uncorked a gusher of it with his original post on Amazon web crawl analytics, fear not! Not content to analyze 7,000 genre titles, Howey and his Stats Guy went back and crawled the top 50,000 books on Amazon across all genres and categories for a single day (Febuary 7th) and ran some analyses on that data set (and, naturally, offered up all the raw data for other statisticians to crunch however they like). This time he’s got stats not only...

What is NOT in doubt about Hugh Howey’s Author Earnings report
February 17, 2014 | 6:10 pm

So, self-publishing and traditional-publishing author Hugh Howey published a report on some data he pulled from Amazon and crunched (Paul covered it here), purporting to show some things about the number of self-published books compared to those from traditional publishers. This has touched off a lot of blowback in the last couple of weeks as everyone and their uncle has attacked the data set for not being comprehensive. Howey has some interesting things to say, to be sure. Across 7,000 titles, Howey noticed that those from Big Five publishers tend to have the lowest average star rating, but the...

French ‘Three Strikes’ law fails to cut piracy
January 23, 2014 | 7:32 pm

Remember that French “three strikes” law, Hadopi? Ars Technica reports that a recent study has shown that it has had no significant effect in getting people to stop downloading content illicitly.  In the survey of 2,000 French Internet users, 37.6% admitted to illicit downloading. Those who knew about the Hadopi monitoring were no less likely to download illicitly, though there was a slight (but “insignificant”) decrease in the intensity of their downloading. (And the people who knew it was monitoring thought it was monitoring more than it really was!) There was a slight bump in sales, but that was considered...

What do Amazon’s book stats really mean? Nobody knows for sure
August 21, 2013 | 10:09 am

AmazonNote: Media observer Dan Bloom wonders, like a lot of people, just what Amazon's popular and must-see book stats really mean. His opinion here reflects his own personal hunch about how things operate in the shop that Jeff Bezos runs. Comments welcome below, pro and con. The next time you read in a press release or newspaper that a certain book "has been propelled to the top 100 rankings among paid Kindle titles on," think again. What does that really mean? And the next time you hear that a certain book "has been propelled to  the top 100 rankings among...

Latest Nielsen UK figures show slowing e-book market, still overtaking paperbacks in 2014
July 24, 2013 | 4:09 pm

e-bookThe latest UK Nielsen BookScan newsletter for July 2013 showed a continuing decline in print book sales by 5.6 percent in value and 6.1 percent in volume, based on year-on-year sales for the 24 week period to mid-June 2013, with a total value of £538.6 million. But according to the same report: "Nearly 8.5 million adults, 18% of the population, have bought at least one e-book. But fewer new entrants are coming to the market. The March total of 227,000 is down on the same period in 2012, and 48,000 fewer than the four-week average since the start of 2011." From the report: "Acquiring an...

The bread machine effect: Why it doesn’t matter if most people prefer print
July 21, 2013 | 1:09 pm

breadmachineIs there an e-book backlash? A couple of polls have come out, one on the UK side of the big pond and the other in America, professing to indicate that most people still prefer paper books. The one from the UK is cited in an article in the Sunday Times, which I couldn’t read since it’s paywalled, but a summary on the Mobileread forum gives the pertinent details. Asked which they preferred, 17% said they preferred an e-reader and 65% paper books. 32% of those polled owned an e-reader. The provenance of the poll is unclear. (There are also...

Survey shows Chinese still don’t want to pay for e-books
July 19, 2013 | 2:58 pm

ChinaStill don’t want to pay for e-books? You're not alone. A recent survey in China shows that many Chinese readers still have not bought e-books. The survey, which was conducted by OpenBook Co., found that just one in every four Chinese residents have paid for an e-book, the same ratio it found in 2010 when the survey was last conducted, according to Xinhua, an online Chinese news magazine. More than 8,000 people took the survey. The digital divide may be growing even bigger in China. From the article: "Of the 3,561 respondents polled at bookstores this year, seven times more people have never paid for...

Sutton Trust report rams home the great Brit divide in international reading levels
July 15, 2013 | 1:05 pm

readingPity poor Britain. A G8 power, sixth largest economy worldwide according to IMF GDP figures, nuclear-armed, permanent member of the UN Security Council—and a permanent dunce in global education rankings; above all, if you're poor. A just-released research report, "The Reading Gap," from the Sutton Trust, a UK foundation "set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education," demonstrates "the gap in achievement between high achieving boys from disadvantaged backgrounds and their better off peers." According to the report, by Dr. John Jerrim of the Institute of Education at the University of London: "England’s gap in international reading tests between high...

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: ‘Cord Cutters’ Survey Makes Wrong Point
July 12, 2013 | 9:38 am

surveyGigaOM has a report about a comScore survey showing that 16 percent of Canadians "stream all of their TV from on-line sources." The survey also has an additional 35 percent of Canadians watching both traditional television and a further 35 percent only watching traditional television. Janko Roetggers correctly points out some food-for-thought in the results here: that Google, owner of YouTube, commissioned the survey, and that bandwith caps, which are prevalent in Canada, might be playing a factor in what Canadians watch on-line. But it also misses the point that if you don't ask the right questions, you won't get a full picture...

New study: Copyright extension makes works unavailable; public domain lets them flourish
July 7, 2013 | 4:15 pm

Does copyright help keep works available, by giving the creators incentive to make sure it’s around to be purchased so they can get money? Or does it hinder keeping works available, since there’s only one source who can permit it and if they’re not interested nobody can compete with them? That’s the question law professor Paul J. Heald set out to test in a statistical study. Heald (and his research assistant) used random ISBNs to sample 7,000 books from Amazon and rank them by date of publication. Then he looked at how many books from each decade were available, to determine...

Apple: Collusion on E-Book Pricing or Just Tough Talks?
May 16, 2013 | 10:37 am

The New York Times and Reuters ran articles recently that tell opposing stories about Apple's role in agency pricing. In the Times story, the Justice Department paints a picture of Apple as the ringleader of agency pricing. In the Reuters story, Apple insists that it just had tough talks with the publishers about the future of e-books and pricing. Apple had an interesting claim in the Reuters article that had me hunting down some history. Here's their claim: It [Apple] says that e-book demand "exploded" with Apple's iPad launch, and the average retail price of an e-book dropped to $7.34 from $7.97. I can't...

E-Book Sales Up 43 Percent From Last Year
May 15, 2013 | 3:18 pm

E-BookThe numbers of e-books sold every year continues to rise, and publishers are making more money from them, too. Data from the annual BookStats study released by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group on Wednesday May 15 showed 457 million e-books were sold last year, accounting for 20 percent of all book sales reported by publishers. That’s up from 15 percent last year. Sales of fiction e-books rose by 42 percent in 2012, while the growth in sales of nonfiction e-books was just 22 percent. Perhaps most telling, however, was the fact the "e-book sales in the children’s...