Ebook Borrowing/Lending

Despite What You Heard, The E-Book Market Never Stopped Growing

19 January 2017

From Observer.com:

Over the last year, we’ve been talking to writers like A.G. Riddle who have been making a more than comfortable living selling e-books directly to readers on Amazon. That’s why it’s always seemed a bit strange to see media accounts reporting on the shrinking market for e-books.

News outlets like The New York Times report that e-book sales continue to slip, which is true if the data only covers part of the market. Reports from the Association of American Publishers has data from 1,200 publishers. They are the largest publishers, but they are also losing market share.

E-book sales never declined, according to a presentation yesterday at Digital Book World in New York City. In fact, if anything, we don’t yet have an adequate way to estimate how much the market segment has grown.

In back-to-back presentations from from the data site Author Earnings and publishing tech firm Overdrive, it became clear that “unit sales” may not be the best way to measure the size of the book market. In more and more ways it’s becoming clear that there are additional ways for writers to earn money than by readers buying whole books or even buying books at all.


. . . .

E-books, Data Guy told the crowd, “Never stopped growing.”

It looks as though sales stuttered because traditional publishers have been losing market share to indie authors who publish directly through online platforms. Amazon is by far the largest of these platforms.

. . . .

Reports on the e-book market tend to ignore Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s Netflix for ebooks. Amazon splits up each month’s Kindle Unlimited revenue among participating authors based on how many pages members read.

Science-fiction author Hugh Howey said that being part of the program increased his revenue so much that it was worth pulling his books from all other platforms, such as Kobo and iBooks.

Data Guy acknowledged that some industry watchers might argue that a Kindle Unlimited download isn’t really a sale, but Author Earnings takes the position that any money in a writer’s pocket counts.

. . . .


Local book stores saw a 5 percent growth in sales last year, but every other channel (such as big stores, Walmart and etc) saw a 5 percent decline. Those channels were so much larger that local stores’ growth was more than made up for by the declines everywhere else. “Perhaps 10 fold,” Data Guy said.

Let’s hear it for your favorite local shop, but the truth is that Amazon has been the one closing those new print sales.


Link to the rest at Observer.com and thanks to Nirmala for the tip.

You Can Now Check Out Library eBooks at Seattle’s Airport

14 December 2016

From The Digital Reader:

Over the past few years the King County Library System has operated pop-up free book kiosks at Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport, but when the librarians were setting up a permanent presence, they decided to go digital.

KCLS announced on Facebook earlier this month that they had installed two OverDrive media kiosks in Sea-Tac Airport:

Are you travelling this holiday season? Be sure to check out the new KCLS eBook kiosks at SeaTac near the A or D concourse. No library card needed!

There’s bright orange signs throughout the airport to let travelers know about the wealth of online materials (books, movies, music) available through kcls.org. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

The KU Conundrum

11 December 2016

From author Ruby Madden:

I’m re-assessing how I run my publishing business for 2017 and wanted to share some of my frustrations as an Author.

Recently, many authors have noticed that over the last few months, the pages-read numbers for our eBooks that are borrowed at Amazon and read, have decreased dramatically. Some say it is just a slump resulting from an Election Year. Others say that something is amuck with Amazon’s pages-read reporting system that lets us know how many pages were read for stories that we have enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program.

. . . .

Up until Oct, Nov, & Dec – I was pleased. But something has shifted and many authors have been left scratching our heads. Our pages-read numbers (how we earn money from the KU program) are seriously decreased. Many of us have been in the indie publishing business for a while now and we are savvy about using reporting and tracking programs to understand the trends. We know when book-buying or borrow-reading tends to be at its best and worst. We plan ahead with publishing dates, marketing & advertising campaigns. Like any business, some times are better than others.

. . . .

So, I have a favor to ask…

Amazon listens to their customers. They don’t quite seem to value their content providers (writers & authors) as much as they do their customers. Would  you be willing to send an email and express your concern as a reader? Here, I’ll make it easy. Here is a cut & paste letter you can copy and amend:

Dear Jeff & Amazon,

I’m a customer of yours who likes to read and buy and/or borrow eBooks from your website. Over the last couple of months, I’ve heard concerns from authors whose books I read, that they are experiencing an atypical decline, overall, in the pages-read numbers for their stories that are in KINDLE UNLIMITED (KU). 

They’ve shared that they have contacted KDP support and are being provided unsatisfactory responses or cookie-cutter type replies.

It’s important to me that authors are fairly compensated for the work and content they provide. As entertainers, they are important to society and deserve to regarded with respect. I enjoy the books they enroll in KINDLE UNLIMITED and I’m concerned that they will start to pull them out of the KU program. 

Can you please look further into this matter and research it? 

Kind Regards,

Your Name

EMAIL to send to:

jeff@amazon.com; ecr-kdp@amazon.com

Link to the rest at Ruby Madden and thanks to SFR for the tip.

Here’s a link to Ruby Madden’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

UPDATE: PG has received several emails, including links to online discussions, claiming that Ms. Madden has not paid royalties for some boxed sets she has published that include works by other authors.

PG is not acquainted with Ms. Madden and has no personal knowledge about these matters, but felt an obligation to update in light of the warnings he received.

E-books can be lent by libraries just like normal books, rules EU’s top court

11 November 2016

From Ars Technica UK:

Public libraries can lend out electronic books, the European Union’s highest court has ruled.

The judgment confirms the opinion of Maciej Szpunar, advocate general to the the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), who said back in June that lending out e-books should be permitted in the 28-member-state bloc provided authors are fairly compensated in the same way as for physical books.

. . . .

Specifically, VOB wanted to use a “one copy, one user” model. A copy of an e-book is placed on the server of a public library, allowing a member of the public to download it. Only one copy at a time can be lent out in this way. After the lending period for the e-book expires, the downloaded copy can no longer be used by that user, but another copy can be downloaded by someone else.

Link to the rest at Ars Technica UK and thanks to Nate for the tip.

Library Loans Are a Double-Edged Sword

22 September 2016

From Digital Book World:

Denmark experienced rapid growth in digital lending from libraries between 2011 and 2015. At first this was a welcome source of new revenue for publishers. But by the middle of 2015, the digital lending market had grown even larger than the commercial market for digital book sales. Similar to the New York Public Library app, SimplyE, the national Danish library launched its own digital lending app, eReolen, which considerably simplified ebook borrowing, allowing users to borrow and read in just one click, increasing the amount of digital books borrowed.

Mofibo, the leading subscription service provider in Denmark, told book business news outlet Bogmarkedet that 16 percent of the provider’s customers said the reason they terminated their subscriptions was that they were able to get the same books for free at the library. At this point, an increased opposition from publishers and local resellers of ebooks started moving from the director’s office to the media.

. . . .

By late 2015, the third largest publisher in Denmark, Politikens Forlag, stepped in and said that they were willing to completely withdraw their books from the libraries if a new way of lending digital books was not found. At that time, the publishing director of Politiken Forlag, Lene Juul, said to the newspaper Berlingske(loosely translated): “The lending of digital books has grown rampant. The trend at the eReolen, where books can be lent for free to the consumer, is a slippery slope that has to be stopped now, because it can have devastating effects for the development of the book market in general.”

In Denmark, the libraries have a legal right to lend books without having to get permission from publishers. However, this is not the case for digital books, and by late 2015 the publishers decided to use this to their advantage. Many of the largest Danish publishers, like Gyldendal, withdrew their books from the libraries by the January 1, 2016.

. . . .

It would appear that the withdrawal of the large publishers had the desired effect. Digital books sold now account for about 67 percent of the market relative to library borrows in Denmark.

In neighboring Sweden, lending has continued uninterrupted for several years, and an estimated 72 percent of all ebooks consumed are borrowed from the public libraries. This has put pressure on the market, driving down the prices of digital books. Today the average sales price of an ebook relative to its paper cousin is 28 percent lower (including VAT), and that is even taking into account that physical books have a VAT of 6 percent compared to the 25 percent on digital books.

When looking at possible solutions for finding a natural equilibrium between the public sector and the private market, publishers have begun campaigning for the introduction of limits on the amount of loans made by libraries. One of the suggested solutions is to introduce “friction” when users borrow books. However, it is never a good solution to structurally disappoint the public by making them wait months for their books or use a complicated borrowing process.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Publishing chiefs urged to work on bookshop floor

12 September 2016

From The Bookseller:

Publishing chief executives have been urged to spend a day working on the bookshop floor by the new president of the Booksellers Association.

Ros de la Hey (pictured), who is owner of the Main Street Trading Company in St Boswells, said she hoped to launch a new scheme for booksellers and publishers, called Adopt a C.e.o.

Opening the BA Conference at the University of Warwick this morning (12th September), de la Hey, herself a former publisher at Bloomsbury, explained she wanted to encourage “those who lead the publishing world to step outside of London and their local neighbourhood and spend some time inside a bookshop”.

. . . .

“While a publisher myself, I spent years taking authors on tour so I should have been fairly well informed about the life of a bookseller,” de la Hey explained. “In reality, I had never stood behind a till, never dealt with a tricky customer and never unpacked 12 boxes of books before 11am. I tended to see each shop through the prism of the event I was attending…

“Publishers have begun to refocus their attention on the high street and recognise the importance of bookshops.  As BA president, I’d like to encourage publishers to rediscover the joy and beauty of the shop floor, coaxing them to join us in the fun of day’s bookselling, speaking to actual customers.”

. . . .

“We can genuinely see e-books as just another format – here to stay, but no longer the Armageddon threat of a few years ago,” she said. “Having said that, we must still have our voices heard in the debate over e-lending, otherwise the threat will not only be to bookshops, but libraries themselves.”

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

Library Ebook Loans: Be Kind, Return

4 August 2016

From BookRiot:

Back in the day of VHS rentals there was the slogan(s) Be Kind, Rewind/Please be Kind and Rewind. You could usually find a sticker on the tape reminding you to rewind the VHS tape before returning so either the store nor the next renter had to. It only took a press of a button and a few seconds to be nice to the person behind you “in line.” Be Kind, Return is that but for library ebook loans.

Unless you return the ebook you have on loan from the library when you’re done the next person in queue doesn’t get it until you’re actual loan expires.

For example: I recently got on loan Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and while I had 21 days to read it I inhaled it in 2 days (so good!). I returned it as soon as I was finished so the next person could read it. Had I not known about returning the ebook (information I accidentally stumbled across) the next person in line would have waited those extra 19 days before getting their loan. 19 days! To a reader dying to read a book that is an eternity.

. . . .

I send my ebook loans to my Kindle so I can give a quick how-to return if that’s also how you read your library ebook loans: Amazon account > manage your contact and devices > select the “Actions” box next to the book you’re returning > select “Return this book.”

Link to the rest at BookRiot

Timberland libraries now offer access to self-published books

21 June 2016

From The Olympian:

There are two ways to publish a book these days.

The first is through the six prominent publishing companies that are still the recommended route to maximum exposure.

The other is through independent publishing, an approach authors take when they haven’t signed with an agent or a publishing house, but still want their work to be read.

And there was no middle ground until SELF-e became the compromise.

SELF-e is a website that lets libraries distribute the work of independent authors, and offer an array of genres and content for subscribing patrons.

The Timberland Regional Library system has joined thousands of other libraries across the country in providing SELF-e offerings, said Timberland public relations specialist R.J. Burt.

“One of the barriers for writers is being recognized enough to be picked up by a large publishing house,” Burt said. “Libraries have broken down that barrier for writers, so they should certainly use it.”

. . . .

Publishing on SELF-e is not only free but effortless, said Kim Storbeck, a library collections development specialist. After authors upload a book to SELF-e, there is a vetting process that takes roughly a week.

Barring any infractions of its policies — such as plagiarism, libel, or including hate speech — the book will be placed on the “Indie WA” list. This list is featured at participating libraries in Washington.

If a book is attracting an audience, editors from Library Journal will review the work and possibly add it to the national collection. Books added to the national collection, or a SELF-e selection, will circulate through every participating library in the nation.

Olympia author Ned Hayes, 47, published his first novel on SELF-e in 2015. “Coeur d’Alene Waters” went viral and was added to the national collection.

. . . .

“In this new world of publishing, I think these options give authors more flexibility to move outside genre boundaries and seek new audiences for their writing,” Hayes said in an email to The Olympian. “I appreciate the flexibility of being able to control my own publication rights and my own promotions for this book.”

Link to the rest at The Olympian

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