Non-US

Amazon Kindle Unlimited, Read-All-You-Can Service, Launched In India At $3 A Month

2 September 2015

From International Business Times:

Search for the keywords “Kindle Unlimited” on Amazon.com Inc.’s India website, and you get some 11,400 results for just books that tell you how to get the most out of your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Most of these guides cost nothing and the occasional one costs about a dollar. For the truly enthusiastic ones in India, these might now prove useful, as the U.S. online behemoth has brought the read-all-you-can subscription service to India, with an initial 1 million e-books.

. . . .

As an introductory offer, users get to subscribe to the service at 99 rupees (about $1.5) for their first month, provided they sign up before Sept. 30, reverting to the 199 rupee-plan for subsequent months, Amazon said in a press release on Wednesday. There are also, of course, discounts for those willing to plonk down larger sums for six-month or one-year subscriptions.

However, not everyone is impressed, especially those interested in quality reads. For instance, none of the books on the New York Times bestseller top-five fiction list for the week of Sept. 6 are available on the unlimited service.

. . . .

More popular “time-pass” reads, as Indians like to say, however, are available aplenty.

Link to the rest at International Business Times and thanks to Nirmala for the tip.

E-book readers’ guilty pleasures revealed

1 September 2015

From The Telegraph:

It is a familiar sight on the beach or daily commute: readers brandishing a hardback copy of the latest acclaimed literary fiction.

However, the books they choose to download to the privacy of their e-readers are a different story.

A newly published list of Amazon.co.uk’s biggest selling e-books of the year features psychological thrillers, misery memoirs, Mills and Boon and a book by the Tory MP Nadine Dorries, whose first work was memorably described by a Telegraph reviewer as “the worst novel I’ve read in 10 years”.

Notably, 18 of the top 20 authors were women, including thriller writers Angela Marsons, Fiona Neill and Rachel Abbott.

. . . .

However, a parallel list of physical books compiled by Waterstones to cover the same period is significantly more highbrow and features four times as many male authors.

They include Richard Flanagan, author of the Man Booker Prize-winningThe Narrow Road to the Deep North, and Anthony Doerr, with his Pulitzer Prize-winner All The Light We Cannot See. There are also books by Colm Toibin, Ian McEwan and Victoria Hislop.

Link to the rest at The Telegraph and thanks to Dave for the tip.

The digital debate is done, and the reading public are the winners

31 August 2015

From The Guardian:

When I started writing this column three-and-a-half years ago, the digital publishing revolution was just starting to filter down to public consciousness.

From a pub lunch where someone was showing off their new Kindle to the 8.53am slot on the Today programme, conversations revolved around the same old questions. Is Amazon intent on destroying literary civilisation or is it a well-oiled customer-focused machine? Are publishers greedy and conservative middlemen or gatekeepers upholding quality? Is the person opposite you on the train reading Middlemarch or self-published vampire porn? What happens if you drop your e-reader in the bath?

The answers tended to be very black and white. You were either an ebook zealot or a luddite refusenik. A heartless free-marketeer or a romantic economic illiterate. There was little room for nuance or ambiguity.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

Faber records loss in latest financial year

28 August 2015

From The Bookseller:

Faber saw a drop in turnover for the year ending March 2015, with a significant increase in its operating loss from the previous 12 months.

The publisher’s turnover was £15.9m, down 1.8% from £16.2m the year before.

Faber made an operating loss of £813,000, up from £5,000 in the 12 months to March 2014. The operating loss including a “substantial one-off restructuring cost”, said the firm’s business review in its directors’ report and financial statements.

Stephen Page, c.e.o. of Faber, told The Bookseller: “The first half of the year, in terms of changes in the market and the way our list connected, was tough.

“We think real change has happened to some of the structures of the market… [and] maybe our list wasn’t as strong as it might have been in the first part of the year.”

. . . .

Page said: “The reason we restructured was because we felt we understood the balance of the market.

“There are fewer high street specialist bookshops. Waterstones are strong but [their strategy is not one] that can support a broad list from every publisher.

“Our view is that we have to be careful about what we publish and be clear about why we are publishing it.”

. . . .

Page said: “A lot of literary awards help build a writer’s career but there aren’t so many that create hits.”

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

Sales of Self-Published ‘Rabbit’ Sleep Book Top 29,000

27 August 2015

From Publishers Weekly:

The self-published picture book The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, by Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin, sold more than 29,000 print copies at outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan last week, making it the #2 juvenile fiction title for the week ended August 23.

The sales jump for the picture book, released through Amazon’s CreateSpace, was one rarely seen in publishing. At the close of last week, on August 16, the book had only sold 24 copies through BookScan outlets, and had sold just over 300 copies since its release in April 2014.

The book, which claims it has the ability to quickly send children to sleep, hit the Amazon bestseller lists last week, starting in the U.K., where media reports there fueled sales that eventually spilled over to the U.S. and other global markets.

The Stockholm-based Salomonsson Agency signed Forssén Ehrlin last week and world English rights to the book (along with two sequels) are rumored to have be bought by Random House in a seven-figure deal. A spokesperson for the publisher would not comment on the acquisition.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly and thanks to Bailey for the tip.

Pilot schemes to give all children automatic library membership

26 August 2015

From BBC News:

All Scottish children could automatically become library members in a bid to promote literacy.

Pilot projects are being developed in every council area to enrol children during their early years.

Children will be given library cards either at birth, age three or four – or in P1.

The scheme will also see libraries working with schools and communities to promote the services they offer to families.

. . . .

Ms Sturgeon said: “Our libraries are often the hub of a local community – providing vital access to information and resources that people would otherwise not have.

“Now, thanks to £80,000 Scottish government funding, every local authority in Scotland will trial methods to give children automatic membership to their local library.”

. . . .

Earlier this year Dumfries and Galloway Council launched its Every Child a Member initiative.

It means every family registering a birth is offered a library membership for their child.

Link to the rest at BBC News

Japanese chain buys up 90% of Murakami essay stock

25 August 2015

From The Bookseller:

Japanese bookshop chain Kinokuniya is buying up 90,000 of the first 100,000 copies printed of Haruki Murakami’s “Novelist as a Vocation” to force people to buy the essay from a bricks-and-mortar store.

. . . .

A spokesperson for the retailer said: “The reality of the industry today is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for brick-and-mortar bookstores to purchase copies of high-profile new books.

“To rival online book retailers, bookstores across the country now need to join hands in efforts to reinvigorate the conventional book distribution market.”

The buyup by the company means there will only be 5,000 copies for online book retailers.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

Tourists offered chance to run a bookshop on holiday

22 August 2015

From The Guardian:

For all those who agree with Neil Gaiman’s maxim in American Gods that “a town isn’t a town without a bookstore”, and who yearn to spend their days amongst the pristine spines and glossy covers of a small bookshop, what might be the perfect holiday retreat has just been listed on AirBnB: the opportunity to become a bookseller for a week or two.

For the sum of £150 a week, guests at The Open Book in Wigtown, Scotland’s national book town, will be expected to sell books for 40 hours a week while living in the flat above the shop. Given training in bookselling from Wigtown’s community of booksellers, they will also have the opportunity to put their “own stamp” on the store while they’re there. “The bookshop residency’s aim is to celebrate bookshops, encourage education in running independent bookshops and welcome people around the world to Scotland’s national book town,” says the AirBnB listing.

The Open Book is leased by the Wigtown book festival from a local family. Organisers have been letting paying volunteers run the shop for a week or two at a time since the start of the year, but opened the experience up to the world at large this week when they launched what they are calling “the first ever bookshop holiday experience” on AirBnB.

“I wouldn’t call it a working holiday,” said Adrian Turpin, director of the Wigtown book festival. “It’s a particular kind of holiday [for people] who don’t feel that running a bookshop is work. It’s not about cheap labour – it’s about offering people an experience … It’s one of those great fantasies.”

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Dave for the tip.

Death of a bookstore: Reading in the time of Kindle

21 August 2015

From The Hindustan Times:

When Ajitvikram Singh closes Fact & Fiction, Delhi’s best independent book store next month, he will be remembered, most of all, for trying to sustain a business with high taste. In his shop, you did not meet the entire book market but handpicked works of literary fiction, history and popular culture. Singh’s intimacy with books is real; his interaction with customers is polite enough but aristocratic. Unless you are a regular, you get no discount.

“Readers need to decide whether they want to go to a bookshop or a wholesaler,” says Singh who, like anyone interested in the survival of book stores in the times of online book shopping and e-readers like Kindle, is still trying to crack the model that will keep indie stores running. (Spell & Bound, another standalone bookstore in SDA Market, is also shutting shop next month.)

“Corporate publishing houses, more than the internet, have changed the game. They pushed up the price of books. Also, their attention only on the big sellers affected sales and production values. Penguin, for example, seems only interested in pushing Amitava Ghosh.”

Add to that, the changing culture of reading and you are looking at the beginning of the end of the world – from a bookseller’s point of view. “What is the Google experience fundamentally about?” asks Singh. “It’s about getting something for nothing, for free. You can’t make bookshops about discounts rather than books.”

. . . .

Theatreperson Sudhanva Deshpande, who runs May Day says that in an age when everything is easily available on the internet, a bookstore has to provide a reason for it to be on customers’ agenda. “When people come to our store, they know we don’t keep what the average store does. We also keep second-hand books.” he says. His effort  to bring in the off-mainstream culture of the city has also kept the shop formless and in the thrum of the city’s conversations. And his favourite bookshop? “Fact & Fiction’s one of them.”

Link to the rest at The Hindustan Times and thanks to Dave for the tip.

GST to apply to all imports into Australia

21 August 2015

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

All goods bought from overseas will face a 10 per cent goods and services tax from July 2017 under a landmark deal agreed to by state and territory treasurers.

. . . .

This means that foreign businesses with a turnover of less than $75,000 will be exempt from the requirement to collect it in the same way as are small Australian businesses.

Big businesses such as Amazon, Apple and Netflix will be asked to collect the tax. Mr Hockey said he expected most to agree. Apple already voluntarily collects Australian GST on sales through its iTunes store.

“We are going to have taxation officials travel around the world visiting these companies asking them to register for GST purposes,” federal Treasurer Joe Hockey said.

Link to the rest at Sydney Morning Herald

Next Page »