Update on eReaders & eBooks in the UK

Courtesy The Bookseller we get a lot of interesting updates about what’s going on with eReaders and eBooks in the UK. You can click on the link and the main page links to stories covering every storyline discussed in this post.

UK Publishers & Libraries struggle over eBook Lending

The key details –

  1. Libraries are asking Publishers to allow ‘1 ebook, 1 loan’ lending like OverDrive enables in the US. Assuming this means that a library that buys two copies of an ebook would be able to make two loans in parallel – And then the number of loans over time would be unlimited.
  2. Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Faber, and Quercus are among Publishers declining to agree. Penguin and Lonely Planet have agreed. HarperCollins has agreed but is considering imposing a 26 loan limit (same as what Harper Collins US has done in the US).
  3. The Society of Chief Librarians has said that Publishers’ baseline position on library ebook lending is of very limited practical use for readers using libraries.
  4. OverDrive declined to comment on whether Amazon-OverDrive library book lending would be coming to the UK.

It’s interesting how badly libraries are being treated by everyone (especially the Government) in the UK.

Penguin’s eBook Sales double in Q1, 2011

Penguin saw its Q1 ebook sales in 2011 double from the year-ago quarter. Its CEO is predicting that eBooks will make up 4% of Penguin sales in 2011 (up from 1% in 2010). Didn’t know ebooks were such a tiny part of the market in the UK (1% is almost meaningless).

Misleading Headlines about the iPad and Books

This is strange.

  1. Simba Information did a survey and everyone’s reporting the same headline – iPad users may not become book readers.
  2. How interesting. Until you read the actual statistics – 40% of iPad owners have not read a book on it. Why on Earth would Simba Information not focus on the fact that 60% of people who own an iPad have read books on the iPad?
  3. It reminds us of the time when Steve Jobs made his famous ‘no one reads any more’ comment – 40% of people in the US did not read a single book last year. Like lemmings the entire Press jumped on ‘how no one reads any more, 40% did not read’ instead of realizing that 60% of people do read books. Perhaps Steve Jobs trained them so well that they still haven’t realized 60% is more than 40%.

Another interesting finding – Women outnumbered men as ebook buyers. You can buy the entire report for $3,250 at the Simba Information website. Of course, that will only get you an online download. If you also want a hardcopy, you have to shell out $600 more. Such a Publisher thing to do.

Agents expect Escalators in eBook Contracts to become the norm

Lots of juicy details from the UK (good news for authors everywhere) –

  1. Agents have already negotiated escalators into some eBook contracts.
  2. Escalator = Royalty Rate changes based on the level of sales.
  3. Agents think it’s one way for Publishers to compete effectively against upstart digital publishers.
  4. Agents don’t expect the current ‘25% of net receipts for authors’ ebook contracts to survive much longer.
  5. Apparently, the Big 4 Publishers in the UK (whoever they are) are not yet including escalators. Agents are confident that despite the ups and downs escalators are bound to appear.

Publishers, not surprisingly, declined to comment.

Kindle developments and a couple of Kindle Deals

First, for your Kindle, two kindle deals –

  1. Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison. Price: $1.99. Genre: Horror, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Dead but not Gone, Supernatural. The normal version is $7.99 and rated 3.5 stars on 55 reviews.

    My name is Madison Avery, and I’m here to tell you that there’s more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I’m there. Seeing it. Touching it. Living it.

    Madison’s prom was killer—literally. 

  2. Beyond Justice by Joshua Graham. Price: $1. Genre: Legal Thriller, Suspense, Riveting & Inspiring, Power of Faith, Redemption. Rated 4.5 stars on 28 reviews. 

Next, let’s look at what’s happening in the Kindlesphere.

Kindle Developments

Some interesting developments in the last few weeks –

  1. Kindle with Special Offers was announced and started shipping. It’s met with such little enthusiasm and press coverage that it seems an incremental move to advertising supported books is both dead and very much alive.
  2. A $25 gift card is being offered with the Kindle 3 and with the Kindle DX. Combine Kindle with Special Offers and the $25 Kindle 3 discount and, as numerous people have suggested, it seems inevitable that a new Kindle or a new Kindle Tablet is around the corner.
  3. Library Book Support was announced. No date but ‘later this year’ could mean anything. There are also rumors that negotiations are going on for library book support in the UK.
  4. Amazon started a Kindle Germany store. That’s rather interesting.
  5. Not only iPad but all Tablets are facing component shortages. This is good for eReaders because it might mean more eReader sales.
  6. Amazon launched a 69-cent MP3 store – giving Steve Jobs yet another reason to support The Agency Model.
  7. An analyst speculates that Amazon is not selling Kindle for a profit. That seems to make sense.

There are also a few interesting Amazon related developments.

Amazon Developments

  1. Amazon suffered a massive cloud outage. Apparently, sometimes the cloud pours down as rain.
  2. Amazon missed its earnings by a mile. The stock went up 5% or so.
  3. Amazon stock is up significantly since its huge earnings miss.

A few analysts think the huge growth in revenue makes up for the low profits (profits are low due to heavy ongoing investment in capacity and technology). Other analysts worry. Overall, Analysts seem to think increasing profit dollars is more important than increasing profit margins. That’s an interesting way to look at things. Well, at least it’s an improvement from the time when revenue was so important companies didn’t even have to make a profit.

Rounding up some Kindle deals for Friday night

For your Kindle, here are a bunch of deals from the Kindle Discounted Books thread –

  1. [Glorified Sample] A Sarah Dessen eBook Sampler by Sarah Dessen. Price: $0. Genre: Young Adult, Sarah Dessen, Excerpts from 3 NY Times Bestsellers, Contemporary Fiction. 4 excerpts in one. 
  2. Husbands and Lovers by Ruth Harris. Price: $1. Genre: Romantic Suspense, Literary Fiction, 1970s and 1980s. Rated 4.5 stars on 3 reviews. A NY Times Bestselling Author brings two of her bestsellers to the Kindle Store for $1 each (the other is Decades – it’s listed in the ‘Customers Who Bought This Book, Also Bought’ section).
  3. Public Domain Books about the U.S. Civil War – J. D. Hoeper has compiled a good list of free books about the US Civil War including Memoirs of General Grant and General Sherman. Other readers are chiming in with more gems. 
  4. [Courtesy Andreiuta at MobileRead] Sons of the Great Satan by Anthony Roberts. Price: $0 with coupon code: SJ82P (Smashwords). Genre: Historical Fiction, American Coming of Age in Iran, Beauty & Revolution. This is rated 5 stars on 6 reviews at Amazon.
  5. Clickers by J. F. Gonzalez. Price: $1. Genre: Giant Venomous Blood-Thirsty Crabs, Something hunting the Crabs, B-Movie Horror. Rated 4.5 stars on 22 reviews.
  6. Starfarers (Book 1 of The Starfarers Quartet) by Vonda N. McIntyre. Price: $0. Genre: Stealing a starship, Space Opera, Science Fiction. Choose either the Mobi format file or the PDF format file for your Kindle.

Friday’s turning out to be quite a day for Kindle deals and offers.