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Random House release “Pat the Bunny” iPad app

Ptp iconThere is no question for me that children’s books are the premier application for iPad apps in the reading area. I just couldn’t resist reprinting this press release, it brings back too many memories:

Random House Children’s Books (www.randomhouse.com/kids), announced today that the pat the bunny (www.rhkidsapps.com/patthebunny) interactive app is now available in the iTunes® store. Developed in collaboration with leading digital media agency Smashing Ideas, the universal app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is based on Dorothy Kunhardt’s touch-and-feel children’s book classic. When pat the bunny was originally published in 1940, it was groundbreaking in its use of touch-and-feel elements (such as daddy’s scratchy face) and interactive features (“Now YOU play peek-a-boo with Paul.”) The app extends the legacy of pat the bunny to the digital world, promoting children’s mastery of their world through simple, interactive play.

Designed for the youngest user, children can easily bring bunny to life and interact in new ways. They can pop bubbles with bunny, help bunny catch butterflies, tuck bunny into bed, and more. On devices with front-facing cameras, including the new iPad 2, children will be delighted by a “look in the mirror” feature that allows them to see their reflection. With 14 stunningly animated scenes in all, there are plenty of surprises to see and discover. There are three different ways to read through the app: users can watch illuminated text while hearing the words read aloud, turn off the narration and read at their own pace, or record their own voice to be played back.

The pat the bunny app promotes the development of fine motor skills with a paint mode that magically transforms each page into a colorable activity. This paint feature is made for the youngest users as children can simply swipe a black-and-white scene to make the colors appear. Children will delight in dragging their fingers across an image of bunny’s birthday party and watching the picture come to life in vibrant colors. Sparkles jump across the page as little fingers brush yellow and pink onto the flowers in bunny’s garden.

With a click of the “Buy App” arrow in the iTunes® App Store, the pat the bunny app makes the perfect gift for new parents. The app retails for .99, but will be available at the special introductory price of .99. It can be purchased once and used on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

pat the bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt has sold more than 9 million copies since its original publication in 1940. It was first created as a gift from Dorothy Kunhardt to her daughter, Edith. Since then, Edith Kunhardt has expanded the pat the bunny series to include many successful titles including Pat the Cat and Pat the Christmas Bunny. With the release of the app, the iconic characters and stories of pat the bunny are sure to entertain children for generations to come.


Former Random House CEO Alberto Vitale: ‘Paper Books Will Evolve into More Precious Products’


Former Random House CEO Alberto Vitale: ‘Paper Books Will Evolve into More Precious Products’

Alberto Vitale was running Bantam Books, the world leader in paperbacks, when the Newhouse family recruited him to become the COO of Random House. In that role, and later as the CEO of one of the world’s top publishing firms, Vitale oversaw huge changes in the publishing industry. In this interview with Stephen J. Kobrin, publisher and executive director of Wharton Digital Press, and [email protected], Vitale discusses the rise of digital publishing, the future of bookstores and the globalization of copyright, among other issues.

An edited transcript of the interview appears below. You can hear the complete interview via the audio link and watch part of it on video.

Source: [email protected]

Via INFOdocket


Random House getting into video games

For a while I’ve been suggesting that publishers looking to explore the full potential of enhanced e-books would do well to look to the world of video games for lessons. And as it happens, for a while video game makers have been tapping the talent of professional writers to develop stories that are as engaging as the graphical and technical qualities of modern games.

Still, I think the big challenge that exists for publishers when it comes to building effective, fully integrated enhanced e-books (or book apps if you prefer) is to figure out how to get the gaming side of the design process in-house so that the story geeks and tech geeks can sit down to lunch together and learn each others’ languages.

It seems that Random House may be moving toward something like this. In a report by Jeffrey Trachtenberg for the Wall Street Journal, we learned yesterday that Random House just struck a new partnership with THQ Inc., a game design firm based in California.

This partnership it seems is meant not necessarily to integrate game design into the story making process so much as to create separate revenue channels built around the same intellectual property or story.

As Lenny Brown of THQ told Trachtenberg, “The Holy Grail here would be for Random House to produce a book that sells well, with us ultimately investing million in a triple-A console game backed by a million marketing campaign that draws a commitment from Hollywood for a movie or television event.”

Considering the sums required to develop a single game and market it, the story is clearly not meant to be the primary achievement in this partnership. I mean, do you remember the last book that had a million marketing campaign?

But Keith Clayton, director of creative development at Random House, was optimistic about the creative possibilities the new partnership will enable. “It will let us bring in creative people who can have their visions realized across multiple platforms,” he told Trachtenberg.

Regardless of all the talk of “multiple platforms,” one can’t help but think that, with the projections of e-book sales expected to rise significantly for publishers this year, part of the strategy for Random may be to test the waters for deeper collaboration among editors and game developers to see what can be created for the glut of iPads and Android tablets flooding the market this year. Obviously the book-game-movie synergy alluded to in the article is the primary motivating force here, but I’m hoping that these new partnerships make it possible for some really interesting creative collaborations. Ones that blur the boundaries between book and game to the point that an entirely new category is necessary.


Random House says digital will become a significant part of their business


From The Bookseller:

Random House c.e.o. Gail Rebuck has said she expects digital to become a “significant” part of its business in 2011 ….

RHG expanded its e-book programme to include 25,000 titles worldwide by the end of 2010. In the United States, Bertelsmann said as much as half of first week fiction sales were now in digital. …

Thanks to Michael von Glahn for the link.


Some random ideas for ebooks

Kindle ebook:Some random ideas for ebooks


Random House titles not available in iBookstore in Canada

IndexQuill & Quire reports:

Random House Canada has no immediate plans to follow the U.S.’s lead. Senior vice president, director of marketing and corporate communications Tracey Turriff writes, “Random House of Canada’s digital terms of sale remain unchanged at this time. New commercial models in the fast changing eBook environment are constantly under review. We continue to evaluate our options and talk to all etailers as it is our mission to ensure that our authors’ books are available on all platforms to all potential customers. Our strategy is constantly evolving in the best interests both of our authors and consumers.”


Random House titles now available at iBookstore



By Sovy

While the all new next gen iPad is just sometime away from us, there already is some interesting development on other quarters concerning the Apple iBookStore. The world’s largest publisher, Random House can now take comfort from the fact that their e-books can now be seen listed at iBookstore, opening up the publishing house to millions of e-book lovers.

What is even more interesting (apart from that the announcement comes just hours ahead of the iPad2 official launch) is that the Random House e-books have made it to the iBookstore just 2 days after it had adopted the Agency Pricing methodology. About Agency Pricing, what this means is that it is the publishers and not retailers who have the final say as to what each of the e-books should cost. Retailers then get a commission for the sale.

via 9to5mac

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  3. Apple opens up Self Publishing on its iBookstore
  4. The iBookstore is a wasteland for International Users
  5. Google Editions launches as Google ebooks – Claims 3 Million titles
  6. Smashwords adopts an Agency Model for eBooks
Categories : E-Book News

It’s official: Random House and Apple, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g

It was supposed to be one of the day’s big surprises, but there they were, according to a PC Magazine report, a couple of hours before Steve Jobs made the big announcement: Random House books were in the iBookstore. D’oh!

Well, the launch of the newest iPad went off without a hitch otherwise. But as Jeffrey Trachtenberg reminds us in a Wall Street Journal report, the fact that you can now read books from the biggest publisher in the world is a big deal:

Random House had been the only one of the six major U.S. publishers not to adopt the agency model for its digital titles in the U.S. As such, Random House’s e-books were available for purchase only from retail bookstore apps on the iPad, but not from the iBookstore directly.

A big deal, yes — maybe it’s the end of discounting, or of Amazon’s blistering dominance, or the final liberation of ebooks — but you’d never know it from the paper of record. In the New York Times report on the iPad 2 launch event, you have to look way down toward the very bottom of the very long article to learn that, two hours after Random House books started appearing in the iBookstore,

Mr. Jobs also announced that books from Random House, a holdout publisher, would be available on its iBookstore.


Random House titles appear in iBooks store

Raise your hand if you’re surprised. Apple Insider reports that Random House e-book titles have started appearing on the iBooks store, just in time for the launch of the new iPad today. It must have been in the offing for some time before Random House actually announced the change to the agency model.

I’ll be watching the liveblogging of the iPad 2 launch event just like anyone, but will probably have to wait for this evening to post my thoughts on it due to my day job.


3G Kindle at AT&T stores – Random House US goes ‘Agency’- Indie author’s $$$Sales

KINDLE NEWS March 1, 2011

This means you can "test drive" a Kindle 3 at any AT&T store soon, and there are about 2,200 AT&T stores.  Here is info from AT&T on this.

Also, they will carry ONLY the 3G model, not the WiFi one, since they provide the 3G cellular wireless, which is free for Kindle customers (and best used with text-oriented sites with slower E-Ink) and it's speculated by JPMorgan & Chase Co. analyst Philip Cusick that AT&T will get a few dollars per Kindle sale.  These will sell at the same price as from Amazon: 9.

L. A. Times's Carolyn Kellogg reports that the last of the "Big 6" publishing houses is moving to the Agency model for e-books, which is noted most of all, by consumers, for its higher e-book pricing over the last year that it's been put in place.  Apple's iPad2 announcement tomorrow will probably include that Random House has been accepted into Apple's iBook store, rather than kept out because they would not accept the Agency model terms earlier.

  I mentioned other day that the Agency model and the pricing wars have less to do with the amount of immediate profit-taking than 'control' over the e-book market, which is threatening the paper-based book market and its profits - the main and admitted concern of the Big 6 publishers.
  As Random House put it:

' "Going forward, Random House will set consumer prices for the e‐books we publish, and we will provide retailers with a commission for each sale," Random House said in a statement.  The agency model guarantees a higher margin for retailers than did our previous sales terms. We are making this change both as an investment in the successful digital transition of our existing partners and in order to give us the opportunity to forge new retail relationships." '

  Translation: Apple is ultra-likely to announce Tuesday that Random House has come within the fold.

  Apple and Random House are said to have been in negotiations since December.  We can hope that Random House may choose to set lower prices than the Big5 did during the last year.  The American Booksellers Assn. gave "strong support" to the move.

Not surprisingly, to those following the UK scene, Random House's UK company is not going Agency.  The Office of Fair Trading ("OFT") launched an investigation into e-book pricing in February, and publishers outside the Agency model "said they would be more cautious about it while it was under review."

  The Amazon UK forum "Agency Pricing" message thread is still going strong (with 1727 posts since mid-October, and the last message, dated today, says:

' Posted on 1 Mar 2011 10:21 GMT
Izzy says:
Well I'm glad many of us emailed the OFT and that they are looking into it because Random House US is going agency too, but not Random House UK... phew.  It's very unlikely that any UK publishers will switch to agency while it's under investigation. '

They have been comparing pricing and ways to bring e-book pricing back to what made sense to them as Kindle owners until the Agency plan started taking hold even there.

That's sort of old news, courtesy of USA Today on February 9, but the story has been picked up more in the last couple of weeks and while I won't name the online zines that had so much "misinformation" in them (Amanda Hocking's word), including the misspelling of her name several times in one article as well as statements that she receives 70% of a sale for 99-cent books (not true, it's 35% for books under .99), it's been time-consuming to try to get more factually-based info.  But we have access to her blog for that.

Her success in sales should be given some attention by the Big 6 publishers in connection with their favored higher-ebook-pricing Agency plan.  They tend to insist that no one will be 'discovered' without their help.

According to the USA Today article, she started self-publishing in March, was selling hundreds of copies by May and thousands by June, at prices between 99c and .99.

' "More astounding: This January she sold more than 450,000 copies of her nine titles. More than 99% were e-books."
. . .
In fact, Hocking is selling so well that on Thursday, the three titles in her Trylle Trilogy (Switched, Torn and Ascend, the latest) will make their debuts in the top 50 of USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.

A recent survey shows 20 million people read e-books last year, and more self-published authors are taking advantage of the trend. '

  To see Amanda Hocking's list of facts to offset the misinformation online, see the 'Misinformation and Corrections' entry at her blog.

  Essentially, she is 26, has published eight books and one novella, "so there are nine works that you can purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Smashwords."
  She was never traditionally published and still has not been traditionally published.
  Hocking first published two books in April 15, 2010 and in less than a year, she's "sold over 900,000 copies of over nine different books."
  Has been on the USA Today Bestseller list but not the NY Times List.
  She has an interview with Elle that will be in the April issue and is due to be interviewed by Better TV in late March.
  She writes "young adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy, mostly."

  Her Trylle Trilogy has been optioned for a film and is "a paranormal romance without vampires, shifters, mermaids, fae, angels, dragons, ghosts, or ninjas."
  On the other hand, her latest, Hollowland, IS a zombie urban fantasy, a bit more gritty than her previous books but romance remains part of the mix.  It already has 83 customer reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars.  I have no idea why zombies are so 'in' these days and will add that's not a draw for me, but I do like that she has used a background of very-early writing focus and years of serious classes in writing and has exploded on the scene, enjoyed by many paying-customers despite no help whatsoever from the traditional large publishers.  Read her blog to see the avenues she uses for getting the word out.
  Here's her Amazon Author page.

Authors and Kindle Publishing.

A Kindle World Blog history of articles on the e-book pricing wars

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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