29 de abril de 2012

Leituras Digitais (22 a 28 de Abril)



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

Earlier this year, Nielsen released a white paper on the relationship between metadata and book sales. Metadata was defined on different levels—basic and enhanced—so that the former included familiar elements such as title, publication date, and cover image; the latter included author biography, plot descriptions, and table of contents. "As the book industry takes its next step into the digital age, metadata will not only remain an essential part of the industry, but become increasingly important," the report concluded. Also of note: by including a cover image, sales go up 268 percent.
Editors of four of the most interesting and innovative digital publishers sat down with L.A. Times book critic David L. Ulin Saturday to discuss how they do what they do, and why.
I can hear the uproar as I write about agency pricing, but consider that many of the electronic items we buy are either agency priced or have the same effect through resale price maintenance agreements. Every ad I see for an Apple iPad gives the same price. Every ad I see for a Kindle Touch lists the same price. Yet no one complains that there is no price competition for these items (where is the DOJ’s proconsumer department in these cases?); the complaints are all directed at ebooks.

Of course, the answer is that Kindles don’t compete with Kindles, they compete with Nooks and each vendor independently decided to set the prices. But it is the blind person who fails to see that there is really no difference in effect for the consumer and the purpose of the antitrust laws, ultimately, is to protect competition for the benefit of consumers. Whereas the DOJ recognizes that the Kindle and the Nook are not the same, it insists that the Stephen King and the Dean Koontz novels are the same, at least in book form.
We are a small publisher, and our printing company (print and virtual) charges us for storage and/or bandwidth, and for the handling involved in the distribution of  even the virtual books.  Someone still has to process the order and payment for every piece sold.  When we add up the cost of production, plus the conversion fee, plus the virtual storage/bandwidth, plus handling of orders… our costs are almost the same as our print version.  In the end, we simply cannot afford to deeply discount an e pub version of our books to the level the consumer expects.  The simple- but entirely wrong- conviction on the part of the consumer that e books cost “nothing” to produce or sell is extremely damaging to the publishing world.  Two thirds of your article was spent reinforcing that widespread belief.  I am greatly disappointed that you did not take the opportunity to fully explain the math behind the pricing of e books when you have the consumer’s attention.
Tom Doherty Associates, publishers of Tor, Forge, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen, today announced that by early July 2012, their entire list of e-books will be available DRM-free.

“Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time,” said president and publisher Tom Doherty. “They’re a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately-purchased e-books in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another.”
Coinciding with the London Book Fair, Click looks at the future of digital publishing in a special edition from the BBC's Council Chamber.
Is the digital age one to fear or be embraced by the publishing world?
Do electronic book reading devices sound the death knell for the physical book?
Does this brave new world democratise the world of books, leading to stunning new voices or a sea of talentless self-promoters?
And how will the reader find the desired author in the future?
In a live edition in front of an audience, Click's Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson are joined by a panel of experts, including Dan Franklin, the digital publisher at Random House in London, the e-book publisher, Rosemarie Hudson, founder of HopeRoad Publishing, and the poet and host of the Book Club Boutique, Salena Godden.
The most thunderous argument in Amazon's favour is that the market has spoken, and demands cheaper product. This one I find utterly bizarre. We know very well, in this post-crash age, that the market can be an idiot. The market wanted easy credit extended to all, low taxes and plenty of public spending. The end result was a financial catastrophe that has just plunged us into a double-dip recession and shows no sign of being played out. Sometimes, things cost more than we want. That is a truth we were encouraged to forget in the 90s, but it's one we're going to have to remember. Of course the market wants things to be cheaper. I want a Tesla electric sports car for a tenner, but I don't imagine that will happen either.
Traditional publishing is far from blameless. It has been slow and unimaginative. That is changing, at last, and the effect of the department of justice anti-trust action may ironically be to inspire a serious shift in how the big houses see the electronic marketplace. I hope so. Because if I'm going to get my magic ebook, we're going to need innovation, not locked-in stagnation.
For the ever-provocative Julian Gough, the fact that only 5% of literary fiction sales were electronic was evidence that "literary fiction has lost the next generation". "What is it that literary fiction does, that isn't done as well or better by other genres and newer artforms?" he asked.
Answers were many and varied. But as one of that literary ebook-buying 5%, I think Max Cairnduff hits the mark the closest with his one-word answer: "prose". Literary fiction can be about anything, so long as it's beautifully, intriguingly, surprisingly, gorgeously written, so long as it's brilliantly constructed – from the word, to the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter, the novel and beyond.
New York Times E-Book Best Sellers

A version of this list appears in the May 6, 2012 issue of The New York Times Book Review. Rankings reflect sales for the week ending April 21, 2012.

E-Book Fiction

1.                      FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, by E. L. James
2.                      FIFTY SHADES DARKER, by E. L. James
3.                      FIFTY SHADES FREED, by E. L. James
4.                      THE WITNESS, by Nora Roberts
5.                      THE INNOCENT, by David Baldacci

E-Book Nonfiction

1.                      LIFEBOAT NO. 8, by Elizabeth Kaye
2.                      LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, by Jenny Lawson
3.                      BEYOND OUTRAGE, by Robert B. Reich
4.                      THE PRESIDENTS CLUB, by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
5.                      MRS. KENNEDY AND ME, by Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin

Wall Street Journal E-Book Best Sellers (Week Ended April 22)

Nonfiction E-Books
TITLE
AUTHOR / PUBLISHER
THIS WEEK
LAST
WEEK
Lifeboat No. 8
1
2
Elizabeth Kaye/Elizabeth Kaye
Let's Pretend This Never Happened
2
New
Jenny Lawson/Penguin Group
Through a Window
3
Jane Goodall/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Beyond Outrage
4
New
Robert B. Reich/Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
The Presidents Club
5
New
Nancy Gibbs, Michael Duffy/Simon & Schuster
The Secret Piano
6
Zhu Xiao-Mei/AmazonCrossing
Mrs. Kennedy and Me
7
3
Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin/Gallery Books
Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
8
Steve Harvey/HarperCollins
The Power of Habit
9
5
Charles Duhigg/Random House
Steve Jobs
10
7
Walter Isaacson/Simon & Schuster

Fiction E-Books
TITLE
AUTHOR / PUBLISHER
THIS WEEK
LAST
WEEK
Fifty Shades of Grey
1
1
E.L. James/The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
Fifty Shade Darker
2
4
E.L. James/Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Fifty Shades Freed
3
6
E.L. James/Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Mockingjay
4
2
Suzanne Collins/Scholastic
Catching Fire
5
3
Suzanne Collins/Scholastic
The Witness
6
New
Nora Roberts/Penguin Group
The Innocent
7
New
David Baldacci/Grand Central Publishing
The Hunger Games
8
5
Suzanne Collins/Scholastic
The Lucky One
9
8
Nicholas Sparks/Grand Central Publishing
Unnatural Acts
10
New
Stuart Woods/Penguin Group

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