5 de fevereiro de 2012

Leituras Digitais (29 de Janeiro a 4 de Fevereiro)



Rubrica semanal de notícias e artigos relacionados com a edição de livros digitais.

We need to walk a mile or two in the publishers’ shoes to appreciate rights holders’ concerns. The ebook phenomenon endangers the way publishers do business. Gone are the big sales realized in the known business cycle, where publishers could depend on the success of hardcover bestsellers and later make the same titles available in paperback, bringing in another chunk of change. Gone are the bookstores that promoted sales, encouraged browsing, and provided sidewalk marketing appeal. Gone is the ability to have greater control over pricing, as online sellers undercut prices to gain market share. If we work with publishers, could we find common ground leading to workable solutions?
B&N needs to focus its efforts on the Nook and ebooks; it does not need to be distracted by b&m stores. Yet it cannot abandon the b&m market altogether because it is that market, which if carefully supported and nurtured by B&N from the outside, can lead to B&N’s ultimate survival and its ability to compete against Amazon.
B&N needs to focus its efforts on its brand and making people think of B&N first when it comes to book buying. I think B&N can pull this off, but only with much more creative thinking by its management than has been shown to date. B&N has unwilling allies in the indie bookstores because Amazon is a threat to all booksellers and because Amazon is very nimble in addressing marketplace needs. B&N has to convert these unwilling allies into willing allies because all their futures are intertwined.
But all of this gives me an alarming sense of deja vu. There's another name for what happens when people start to make money out of speculation and hype: it's called a bubble. Like the dotcom bubble, the commercial real estate bubble, the subprime mortgage bubble, the credit bubble and the derivative trading bubble before it, the DIY epublishing bubble is inflating around us. Each of those other bubbles also saw, in their earliest stages, a great deal of fuss made over a "new" phenomenon, which was then over-hyped and over-leveraged. But speculation, as we've learned at our peril, is a very dangerous foundation for any business. And when the epub bubble bursts, as all previous bubbles have done, the fall-out for publishing and writing may be even harder to repair than it is proving to be in the fields of mortgages, derivatives and personal debt. Because this bubble is based on cultural, not purely economic, grounds.
I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change. Will there still be readers 50 years from now who feel that way? Who have that hunger for something permanent and unalterable? I don’t have a crystal ball. But I do fear that it’s going to be very hard to make the world work if there’s no permanence like that.
A study presented by book marketing firm Verso Advertising at Digital Book World last week finds that 15.8 percent of book buyers already own an e-reader—that figure has doubled since 2010. But 51.8 percent of book buyers say they are “not at all likely” to purchase one in the next 12 months. That is up from 40 percent in 2009.
In Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble faces a tough competitor. If business is war, Jeff Bezos is a battle-tested and decorated general. As popular as the Nook eReader is, the Kindle is much more so. As cheap as Barnes & Noble might price its books, Amazon often undercuts them. If Barnes & Noble stakes out a new market, Amazon follows the charge, guns blazing. Barnes & Noble declined to comment for this article (see second editor’s note below).
Given the state of the company and of its competition, what are the advantages it has in the bookseller wars?
I've often written on this blog about the resilience of old media, and the tenacity of ink and paper. There's a precedent for this from the era of Caxton and Gutenberg. The moveable type of the 1460s and 70s certainly made a communications revolution, but manuscript scribes and vellum documents survived long into the 16th century, and beyond.
The same's happening today. Ink and paper lives on in countless surprising ways. I see that the University of East Anglia has just announced the acquisition of a manuscript archive: more than 50 boxes of typed manuscripts, short stories, pencil drafts, notes and re-workings by the Yorkshire-based novelist Robert Edric. A self-proclaimed "hoarder" of his own work, the archive shows in fantastic detail the creative writing process.
Sony once aimed its sights at being a big player in digital publishing. It created its own ebook format, was one of the major drivers behind Adobe updating the neglected ACS3 with the ACS4 DRM service, were the early backers of the ePub format and of course introduced several eink ereaders. It even entered into one of those ‘exclusive trade deals’ with UK retailer Waterstones. However it failed to deliver the list, didn't not develop a plausible platform and lost the eink world to Kindle. Some five years on and how times have changed. Sony were around at the begining of the digital reading chapter, but this may be one ebook that will remain unfinished and is in danger of slipping from the front list and going out of digital print.
Several predictions have stated that 2012 will be “The Year of the Indie Author”. After all, 2011 saw some awfully big moments.
John Locke became the first indie to break the Kindle million-seller mark. Amanda Hocking, Queen of the indie vampire books, signed a ginormous contract with St. Martins Press. And The New York Times deigned to include indies on their best seller list, where every week at least one title - often more - are contained. By all indications, you’d expect that readers and traditional media alike would be wrapping their arms collectively around indie authors and their books into something akin to a big ‘ole hug.
And yet… not so much.
New York Times E-Book Best Sellers

A version of this list appears in the February 12, 2012 issue of The New York Times Book Review. Rankings reflect sales for the week ending January 28, 2012.

E-Book Fiction

1.                      EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE, by Jonathan Safran Foer
2.                      TAKEN, by Robert Crais
3.                      ONE FOR THE MONEY, by Janet Evanovich
4.                      DARKER AFTER MIDNIGHT, by Lara Adrian
5.                      PRIVATE: #1 SUSPECT, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

E-Book Nonfiction

1.                      HEAVEN IS FOR REAL, by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent
2.                      FAIRY TALE INTERRUPTED, by RoseMarie Terenzio
3.                      STEVE JOBS, by Walter Isaacson
4.                      QUIET, by Susan Cain
5.                      UNBROKEN, by Laura Hillenbrand

Wall Street Journal E-Book Best Sellers (Week Ended Jan. 29)

Nonfiction E-Books
TITLE
AUTHOR / PUBLISHER
THIS WEEK
LAST
WEEK
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
1
Stephen R. Covey/Rosetta Books
The Fall of the Roman Empire
2
Peter Heather/Oxford University Press
Heaven Is For Real
3
2
Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent/Thomas Nelson Publishers
Steve Jobs
4
3
Walter Isaacson/Simon & Schuster
Fairy Tale Interrupted
5
New
RoseMarie Terenzio/Gallery Books
Quiet
6
New
Susan Cain/Crown Publishing Group
American Sniper
7
5
Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen, Jim DeFelice/William Morrow & Co.
Unbroken
8
6
Laura Hillenbrand/Random House
My Seinfeld Year
9
Fred Stoller/Fred Stoller
Inside Apple
10
New
Adam Lashinsky/Grand Central Publishing

Fiction E-Books
TITLE
AUTHOR / PUBLISHER
THIS WEEK
LAST
WEEK
The Hunger Games
1
1
Suzanne Collins/Scholastic
Mockingjay
2
3
Suzanne Collins/Scholastic
Catching Fire
3
2
Suzanne Collins/Scholastic
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
4
4
Jonathan Safran Foer/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Taken
5
New
Robert Crais/Penguin Group
One for the Money
6
Janet Evanovich/Scribner
Private: #1 Suspect
7
8
James Patterson, Maxine Paetro/Little, Brown
Darker After Midnight
8
New
Lara Adrian/Random House
The Help
9
5
Kathryn Stockett/Penguin Group
The Wedding Gift
10
Marlen Suyapa Bodden/Marlen Suyapa Bodden

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