Amazon.com Inc. is in talks with European Union regulators to settle an antitrust probe into how its e-book contracts with publishers may be squeezing out rival distributors, according to people familiar with the case.
Amazon, already the target of an EU investigation into its tax arrangements with Luxembourg, is trying to do a deal with the European Commission that would shut down the year-long e-books probe, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are confidential and at an early stage. Any deal would have to be tested with publishers before it became final, they said.
Source: Amazon Said to Weigh EU Settlement in Bid to End E-Books Probe – Bloomberg
While publishers once fretted that digital book sales were eroding more profitable categories like hardcover, they now are finding that e-books — which cost next to nothing to produce and zero to ship and which can’t be returned as unsold merchandise by retailers — are critical profit engines. But e-book sales have fallen precipitously for months, in part because many publishers have raised their prices after negotiating with Amazon and gaining the ability to set their own prices.
The decline of digital sales and stabilization of print may have also led to higher returns of unsold merchandise from booksellers, reducing revenue. And while some book buyers may have traded e-books for print books, others may be buying cheaper, self-published e-books on Amazon.
Source: Audiobooks Turn More Readers Into Listeners as E-Books Slip – The New York Times
The European Commission is expected to propose new EU-wide rules that would hand news publishers “legal certainty and bargaining power” against online services using their content, according to previously reported internal documents. The new rules make up part of the bloc’s copyright proposals to be presented later this month.
The commission is putting forward the new draft rules “to have a balance in the value chain, not against anybody, not against American platforms, but in the interest of our creative sector and to stabilize their business cases,” said European Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger at the Digital Life Design conference in Brussels.
Source: EU Defends Proposals Granting Publishers New Rights – WSJ
Technological change has democratized the production of content, long-tail markets allow everything to be distributed, and digital piracy creates a world where it is nearly impossible to control consumers’ access to movies, shows, music, and books. What is scarce today—and what major firms need to compete for—is customer attention, and a detailed understanding of customer preferences.
So if you’re a traditional publishing firm, what can you do? Economic studies have provided an answer: start selling books in bundles. These studies have shown that selling content in large-scale bundles is much more efficient than selling the same content separately, and that by setting the right price for the bundle, firms can make more money. Bundling also creates significant economies of scale, which in the extreme can lead to a single “winner-takes-all” outcome for the company with the largest bundle.
Source: For Publishers Looking to Make Inroads into Big Data, Bundling is Key
News publishers would have stronger rights to demand payment from digital giants such as Google and Facebook in exchange for using their content, under proposed European rules that are designed to shore up the collapsing revenues of traditional media companies.
The measures are part of a series of reforms that the European commission plans to put out to consultation in September. They are designed to strengthen the rights of those who create and invest in original content, from authors and musicians to record labels, broadcasters and publishers.
Source: EU proposals could see news publishers paid by Google and Facebook | Technology | The Guardian
Shelfie (formerly BitLit) is a free mobile application that connects readers to their books. The company is considered among the most doggedly successful of the publishing-sector startups, now partnering with more than 1,200 publishers. Shelfie currently boasts more than 450,000 titles and 24,000 audiobook titles available through the app.
The reason the app is called Shelfie is that it allows readers to digitize their print library by taking a photo of a bookshelf (a “shelfie”) and upload it to the system. Readers then can identify a list of books available free of charge or at a discount, and are able to download an ebook or audiobook simply by snapping a photo of their book’s copyright page marked with a bookplate or their handwritten name.
Source: Canada’s Shelfie Partners with Germany’s De Gruyter in Ebook Bundling
After nearly 50 years of promoting and selling ISBNs and prefixes to publishers in the UK & Ireland via a manual process, Nielsen has launched an online store that enables publishers and self-published authors to go to one site and purchase ISBNs, Book2Look widgets and a subscription to their BookData Enhanced service, enabling publishers to enrich their title records.
Publishers and self-published authors can purchase these services 24/7 enabling them to work and shop at their convenience. The Nielsen ISBN Agency for UK & Ireland still offers publishers the opportunity to talk to an adviser.
Source: Nielsen ISBN Store a Hit