Easily Add Books You Purchased from Amazon to Your Goodreads Shelves

16 April 2014

From the Goodreads blog:

Our members have been asking for a long time for a quick way to add their Amazon book purchases to their Goodreads shelves. So, we’ve come up with a new way to help: Today, we’re starting to roll out an Add Your Amazon Books feature! You can now add books you’ve purchased on Amazon – both print and Kindle books – to your Goodreads shelves. This will be available in the next few weeks to members in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

. . . .

How do you know if you have the feature? You’ll see the Add Amazon Book Purchases link in the Tools list on the left hand side of the My Books page (and a small announcement at the top of the page). Click on either link and you’ll be asked to sign in to your Amazon account. You’ll then see your Amazon book purchases. You can go through and rate each book and select the appropriate shelf for it. We give you full control over which books to add so you can avoid adding any books bought as gifts. Any book not rated or added to a shelf will not be added to Goodreads.

Link to the rest at Goodreads blog

New Sales Dashboard for Kindle Direct Publishing

14 April 2014

Amazon has added a new Sales Dashboard to its KDP reports. Here’s what they say about it:

We’ve added a Sales Dashboard to the KDP Reports page to give you up-to-date reporting of paid, borrowed and free orders as they are placed in Kindle stores worldwide. The new dashboard also helps you track royalties earned as payments are processed for these orders

With the new Sales Dashboard you can:

- Track orders as they are placed: The dashboard graph provides you with daily trends for your titles as orders are placed in Kindle stores worldwide.
- Track royalties as payments are processed: The dashboard displays a summary of royalties earned as payments are processed for your orders.
- Generate customized royalty reports: The downloadable report gives you a detailed picture of orders, refunds and royalties earned.

You can filter the Sales Dashboard and Sales & Royalty Report by title, marketplace, and timeframe. The information you currently receive in the Prior Six Weeks’ Royalties reports is now available in the new Sales Dashboard and Sales & Royalty Report. We will remove this report in the near future.

Visit the Sales Dashboard to view the new reports here: then click on the Sales Dashboard link

Learn more about the new reporting features at our Help pages.

Sales Dashboard:

Sales & Royalties Report:

Thanks to Dan for the tip

Bookstores in Seattle Soar, and Embrace an Old Nemesis:

14 April 2014

From The New York Times:

A love of books and bookstores runs deep in the sinews of this city, where gray skies and drizzle can drive a person to drink, or read, or both. A long-running annual survey ranks Seattle the country’s second-most literate big city, behind Washington, D.C., as measured by things like the number of bookstores, library resources, newspaper circulation and education. Inc. also calls Seattle home. And in recent years, as many small independent bookstores here and around the nation struggled or closed their doors, owners often placed blame for their plight on the giant online retailer’s success in delivering best sellers at discount prices, e-readers and other commodities of the digital marketplace.

“They seem to be after everyone and everything,” one Seattle-area bookstore owner, Roger Page, fulminated on his store’s blog last year. He added, “I believe there is a real chance that they will ruin the publishing world.”

But now there are signs of a thaw in those tensions, at least here in the city that most embodied them. As Amazon has exploded with growth, hiring thousands of tech workers at its downtown headquarters and helping bolster the Seattle economy, local bookstore owners have seen a surprising new side of the company they loved to hate: Many Amazon employees, it turns out, are readers who are not shopping at the company store.

. . . .

Whether it is Amazon or something else, the broader pattern is unmistakable, said Oren J. Teicher, the chief executive of the American Booksellers Association, a national bookstore trade group. “Seattle has become one of the most successful independent bookstore cities in the country,” he said.

Tom Nissley, 46, a writer and former Amazon employee with 10 years at the company who lives with his family in northern Seattle, embodies this odd new détente. In his old life, he was a senior editor, helping Amazon promote and choose featured book titles for its website. Then, in 2010, he won enough money on the television quiz show “Jeopardy!” — about $235,000 as an eight-game champion — to quit his day job and write full time, publishing last fall a compendium of literary history and trivia, called “A Reader’s Book of Days.”

Last month, Mr. Nissley’s bookish-in-Seattle tale came full circle when he signed a contract to buy and run his own small independent bookstore.

. . . .

Part of Mr. Nissley’s optimism is that he believes local shops have increasingly found their feet in how to avoid competition with Amazon, or other giant retailers, by offering services or products that only a local can provide. He plans to offer, in addition to books, a line of paper goods, toys and vinyl handbags made by the business that his wife, Laura Silverstein, started.

He is also convinced, he said, that the e-book revolution, which seemed ready a few years ago to sweep away the old world of pages and print, has reached a plateau. Publishers, wanting to keep independent bookstores alive, have also helped — easing traditional repayment rules for books, or helping with promotions or advertising.

Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Mike and many others for the tip.

Jeff Bezos to Amazon Payments Team: Move Faster

13 April 2014

From Re/code:

The payments industry has been waiting for years for Amazon, with its 215 million credit cards on file, to flex its muscles. Apparently, CEO Jeff Bezos has been, too.

Industry sources have recently told Re/code that Bezos has identified payments as one of the top areas of focus and investment for Amazon, and Amazon payments boss Tom Taylor acknowledged as much in a interview last week at the company’s Seattle headquarters.

“Jeff’s told us it’s something we need to be successful in, and should be successful in,” Taylor said.

“The pressure I feel from Jeff is, ‘Go faster,’” he added.

. . . .

As for another hot category, peer-to-peer money transfers, many people would be surprised to learn that Amazon already offers a peer-to-peer payment feature similar to PayPal’s. I know I was.

“It’s not a significant part of the business,” Taylor said, “and we haven’t really promoted it.”

Why is that? I asked.

“We’re not sure we’re doing anything better than anyone else,” he said plainly. If and when we think that has changed, he said, “we’ll emphasize it.”

Link to the rest at Re/code and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

Amazon Preparing to Release Smartphone

13 April 2014

From The Wall Street Journal: Inc. is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of this year, according to people briefed on the company’s plans, part of a broad push into hardware that would pit it against Apple Inc.  and Samsung Electronics Co. 

The retailer has been demonstrating versions of the handset to developers in San Francisco and its hometown Seattle in recent weeks, these people said. People briefed on the company’s plans have been told that Amazon aims to announce the phone by the end of June and begin shipping phones by the end of September, ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The people said Amazon hopes to distinguish its phone in a crowded market with a screen capable of displaying seemingly three-dimensional images without special glasses, these people said. They said the phone would employ retina-tracking technology embedded in four front-facing cameras, or sensors, to make some images appear to be 3-D, similar to a hologram, the people said.

. . . .

News of the phone comes as Amazon moves more deeply into designing and making hardware. Last week, it unveiled its Fire TV set-top box and said it will soon begin distributing a wand customers can use to scan product barcodes at home to re-order groceries and other goods without logging into their computers. It introduced new versions of its Kindle Fire tablets last year.

But Amazon approaches hardware differently than many other companies. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has said he prefers Amazon to profit from customers buying services through Amazon hardware, rather than profit from the devices themselves.

. . . .

Because consumers carry smartphones with them everywhere, Amazon would gain access to data like users’ locations and app downloads, which could help generate new sales opportunities for e-books, video downloads and items like household goods.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

In Google Books appeal, Authors Guild decries Google’s impact on Amazon sales

12 April 2014

From TeleRead:

The Authors Guild is appealing Google’s November fair use win in its Google Book scanning case. The Guild says that Google is “yanking readers out of online bookstores” and stifling online bookstore competition with its digitized books.

“Google emptied the shelves of libraries and delivered truckloads of printed books to scanning centers, where the books were converted into digital format,” the Guild’s lawyers said.

They wrote that the library project was designed to lure potential book purchasers away from online retailers like and drive them to Google.

Wait, what?

. . . .

Second, this is the same Authors Guild that blamed lax antitrust enforcement for Amazon’s domination of the online book sales market, called Amazon “anticompetitive,” and insisted that the DoJ antitrust suit against the publishers was only going to help Amazon.

Now they’re suddenly all concerned over Google’s impact on Amazon’s wellbeing? Seriously?

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Indie bookstores doing fine: Now stop demonizing Amazon?

12 April 2014

From TeleRead:

Salon, rarely the most Amazon-friendly of venues, has justrun another story on the state of the indie bookstore sector in the U.S., and found surprisingly positive trends. And naturally, being Salon, it saw fit to headline the report with a hit at Amazon like: “The independent bookstore lives! Why Amazon’s conquest will never be complete.”

In the article, Andrew Leonard picks up on the same kind of data that I instanced previously on the relative fortunes of indie bookstores and major book chains (Borders in particular, of course) in the era of digital disruption. “Brick-and-mortar bookstores aren’t dead, yet,” he says. “On the contrary, independently owned bookstores are growing in number. According to the American Booksellers Association, since hitting a nadir in 2009, the number of indie bookstores in the U.S. has grown 19.3 percent, from 1,651 to 1,971.”

. . . .

Did Amazon ever really want to trample the indie bookstores under its feet? Is a solitary main street one-man-band bookstore really ever going to make Jeff Bezos lose sleep? And above all, since both are totally different kinds of businesses, was Amazon ever likely to be a serious threat to the indie sector?

It makes sense if you think about it. Amazon’s fundamental value proposition is distribution and fulfillment. Distribution is obviously something that a standalone store does not do. Amazon is using exactly the same algorithms and infrastructure to sell a vast range of general merchandisethat contributes the lion’s share of its revenues and has nothing to do with books.

. . . .

Leonard also instances another factor in the resurgence of indie bookstores in the U.S., though – the demise of Borders. “Indie-bookseller survival does not mean, however, that the larger trends unleashed by Amazon on the publishing industry are negated,” he points out. And that leads back to one important area where Amazon and the indie bookstores do resemble each other: They both excel in giving people what they want.

Link to the rest at TeleRead and thanks to Matthew for the tip.

Amazon Pays Its Staff Up To $5,000 If They Quit — No Strings Attached

11 April 2014

From Business Insider:

Here’s our favorite part of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ annual letter to shareholders. He describes how the company will pay Amazon’s warehouse workers up to $5,000 to quit their jobs.

The intent of the program is to ensure that Amazon only retains people who really, really want to work at Amazon:

The second program is called Pay to Quit. It was invented by the clever people at Zappos, and the Amazon fulfillment centers have been iterating on it. Pay to Quit is pretty simple. Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit. The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. The headline on the offer is “Please Don’t Take This Offer.” We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay. Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.

Link to the rest at Business Insider and thanks to Suzan for the tip.

PG says it’s also a potent response to all those folks who claim Amazon mistreats its warehouse workers and pays them poorly. Amazon will pay its warehouse employees about 20% of their annual gross starting salary to quit.

If these were bad jobs, one would expect a large number of takers for this unusual bonus program.

PG also notes that $5,000 is more than some publishers are paying for an advance these days.

Amazon’s Vision for the Future of Self-Publishing

8 April 2014

From Digital Book World:

The term “self-publishing” may have outlived its usefulness, according to Jon Fine, director of author and publishing relations at Amazon, speaking at the Publishing for Digital Minds conference this week in London.

When asked at a recent past conference what “self-publishing” looked like in ten years, Fine, who is intimately involved in that business at Amazon, said that it probably won’t be called that anymore. In the future, authors will publish in a number of ways.

“If you’re an author in ten years, you’re going to have an array of options,” said Fine. “What we’ve done is provide the tools that make it possible to take a story and make it available to hundreds of millions of people around the world…and do it in multiple formats.”

. . . .

“Do you want to be a small business owner or work for a corporation?” asked [Hugh] Howey, referring to the difference between self-publishing, where authors are also entrepreneurs (the former) and traditional publishing, adding, “and there are advantages and disadvantages for both.”

In a typical example of the flexibility afforded authors today, Orna Ross, a hybrid author and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, who was also on the conference panel mentioned that she is publishing nine short books this year, about one every month, “and that’s not something a publisher would ever do.”

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Amazon Is ‘Evil’ According to Digital Minds Conference Opening Keynote

7 April 2014

From Digital Book World:

“Amazon are evil bastards–I loath them, I fear them,” said best-selling British author Anthony Horowitz, giving the opening keynote speech at the London Book Fair’s Publishing for Digital Minds conference in London, quickly adding, “but I use them all the time because they’re wonderful and that’s part of the problem.”

Referring to Amazon’s dominance in the book and ebook retail market and the low rate of taxes it pays in the UK (just a few million pounds on over £4 billion of revenue, according to Horowitz), the author of dozens of books was setting the stage for day of speeches, panels and networking at the pre-London Book Fair conference for digital publishing executives. Little subtlety was used, evidenced by his candid remarks regarding Amazon.

. . . .

Horowitz also spent time talking about the precarious position many publishers find themselves in, their business models being disrupted by the rise of self-publishing and the changing retail landscape. Despite knowing that he could get a higher percentage of sales from his current books if he left his publisher, he said that he needed the support — editing, packaging and marketing and distribution strategy. He also thanked his publisher for sticking with him through his early, less profitable years as an author.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

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