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Print books hold their own against digital in the UK

ImagesThat’s the title of an article in The Telegraph:

Nearly six in ten teenagers are reading books electronically.

40.8% of teenagers have used computers to read books, with a further 17.2% reading on a mobile, says a survey of reading habits released to celebrate World Book Day 2011. 13.3% of teens have used tablet gadgets such as Apple’s iPad, ahead of 9.3% who read using e-Readers, including the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader.

The results come as Bloomsbury chief executive Nigel Newton announced earlier this week that 2011 will be the ‘year of the e-book’, pointing to a major expansion in the number of people reading on-screen.

Print books still look unlikely to go out of fashion in the immediate future however, with both adults and teenagers ranking them ahead of news, comics, e-books and magazines as their preferred media.


Print vs. E among the truckers

Two years after doing a signing at truck stops for her highway-themed novel The Line Painter, author Claire Cameron decided to revisit the truck stops and ask whether truckers preferred paper or e-book versions of her book.

Spoiler: the truckers she spoke to unanimously preferred printed books.

At first it came as a bit of a surprise to me, considering how little room there is in a truck, which serves as its drivers’ home during long journeys on the road. The similarly-space-constrained Japanese have gone gadget-crazy, But on the other hand, most of the truckers she spoke to were of an older generation, and while many of those people are getting into Kindles, far more of them are not. And it’s easier for truckers to pass a paper book hand to hand to other truckers after they’ve read it, I guess.


Freaks in print!

We’re not officially accepting submissions yet for the Moby Awards (more info on that soon) but damn, this book trailer for The Book of Freaks by Jamie Iredell has got to be in the running for something (via HTML Giant). Enjoy.


Apple forbids free iPad e-magazine subscriptions for print subscribers

The great e-magazine control freak strikes again: CNet and AppleInsider are reporting that Apple has told a number of European newspaper and magazine publishers that they will not be allowed to offer free iPad magazine e-subscriptions to print subscribers through Apple’s e-newsstand app.

The publishers are not terribly pleased about this, but from a neutral point of view it’s hard to fault Apple’s position. After all, Apple can’t extract a 30% agent’s fee from money that doesn’t pass through their store. This is also why the only e-book app allowed to offer in-app purchases is iBooks. Publishers may not like it, but if they want to play in Apple’s walled garden, they’re going to have to pay the price of an entry ticket.

But why on earth should magazine publishers continue to play in Apple’s walled garden, anyhow? If they really want to offer free e-subscriptions to their paper subscribers, why constrain themselves to the narrow boundaries of an app? Look at Ars Technica, for instance. They offer a full RSS feed of their articles to paying subscribers (who can also view the articles on the website itself without ads and in single-page format), while freeloaders can get a truncated feed.

There’s nothing stopping print magazine publishers from doing the same, and this would have the added advantage of being able to read it across a wide variety of RSS readers in a multitude of formats. For that matter, they could also offer a full web version to print subscribers (as The Economist does) and that could be read on even more platforms.

Or perhaps they could make a deal with Flipboard, who have already begun offering content from selected partner sites through their application. I can’t imagine it would be too hard to add subscriber-only content, and it would look even better than reading it in an RSS feed.

Come on, magazine publishers! If you don’t want to pay the piper, there’s no need to dance to his tune.


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Why Nook sales eclipsed online print sales for Barnes and Noble
Some people have been surprised that Barnes and Noble online sales figures for print books have fallen behind Nook ebook sales, but there are several concrete reasons why the company's well planned e-reader platform is gaining such momentum.
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USA Today reports more best-seller e-books outselling the print books than ever

USA Today reports that its next best-selling books list is going to show a milestone in the field of e-books: the e-book editions of the top six books on the list (and 19 books in all out of the top 50) outsold the print editions. This is the first time that the entire top fifty list has had more than two titles in which the e-book outsold the print.

The surge in e-book sales is largely due to a Christmas in which more e-book readers were gifted than ever before, and is not expected to last (a number of people who buy e-books will decide they don’t like them and not buy any more), but it will still lead to overall elevated numbers this year, and a further slipping of print’s lead over e in general.

Given that even with the publishers’ insistence on agency pricing, e-books are much cheaper than hardcovers, and hence e-book readers soon pay for themselves among frequent book purchasers, it’s not at all surprising that this trend is going to accelerate. And given that agency-priced e-books earn publishers less money than print books, times are going to become very interesting for publishers over the next few years.

I wonder how long it will take for the publishing industry to shed the inertia that keeps the present consignment system in place? With printed books losing market share, and computerized inventory and sales tracking more capable than ever, how much longer does it make sense to print twice as many copies as you’ll need and then pay for half of them to be shipped back and destroyed or resold? Not only does it waste money, it wastes trees.


Sales of romance ebooks equal print in the UK

images.jpgAccording to the Mail Online:

New figures from market researchers Nielsen BookScan show digital sales of the genre have overtaken print copies for the first time – which the gadget users can read without anyone else knowing. …

According to Nielsen BookScan, just two per cent of all printed books sold in 2009 were romantic novels, compared with 14 per cent of all e-books sold.

Catherine Jones, from the Romantic Novelists’ Association, said people had preconceived ideas on the type of readers who enjoy romantic novels.

‘Women who read Mills and Boon are no more frustrated spinsters than crime-novel readers are mass murderers,’ she told The Times.

‘There’s an assumption about people who read and write these books that is misplaced. But once you have that mindset it’s difficult to overcome it. With e-readers, it’s ideal because no one can see what you’re reading.’

More info in the article


Murdoch tabloid News of the World costs more on the iPad than in print

news-of-the-world-ipad-edition-mRobert Andrews at PaidContent reports on the latest of Rupert Murdoch’s print media holdings to get an iPad tablet app—the tabloid News of the World.

Andrews notes that the application framework it uses is a slow, awkward replication of the magazine’s original print pages that has to be zoomed in to read. And it is not simply the same price as its print companion, which previous appgazines have been, but actually 29 cents more per issue—with no indication that those who already pay for website access will get complementary access to the tablet version.

On the bright side, the more badly-done iPad magazine apps that come out, the sooner people will realize they just aren’t working that well and try something better, I guess.


Survey: iPad news-reading eating away at print media|Lastest Ipad News]

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Many thought that the iPad would save journalism--but, as it turns out, you can't save journalism without breaking a few eggs...wrapped in newspapers.
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News on iPad Eats Away at Print Media, Survey Says|Lastest Ipad News]

News on iPad Eats Away at Print Media, Survey Says
Many thought that the iPad would save journalism--but, as it turns out, you can't save journalism without breaking a few eggs...wrapped in newspapers.
Read more on PC World