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GfK: More eBooks Sold to Fewer Buyers in Germany in 2017

 

The German book trade group Boersenverein just released the latest consumer market survey it conducted in partnership with GfK Entertainment. The report shows that fewer customers bought more but cheaper ebooks in the German market in 2017. An increase in volume was offset by a decline in sales price. The high points of the consumer survey include: A stagnating share of book sales in the public market:  The share of ebooks remained at the previous year's level at 4.6%. More titles sold:  eBook sales in the consumer market rose by 1 million units to 29.1 million units, an increase of 3.9%. Fewer book buyers : An estimated 3.5 million customers bought at least one ebook in 2017, compared to 3.8 million in the same period of the previous year, a decrease of 7.7%. Each buyer bought more copies:  Those who did buy ebooks bought an average of 8.3 copies, an increase of 12.6% over the same period of the previous year. The average price declined: The average ebook price recorded by the survey fell by 5.1% from 2016 to 2017, to 6.38 euros. "The ebook continues to gain in importance among its users as they intensify their purchases and expenses. However, the competition for time and attention of the [...]


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Morning Coffee – 23 February 2018

 

Here are a few stories to read this morning. Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell, Reimagined for Linguistic Transgressions - (McSweeney's) Kobo’s Michael Tamblyn Says Absolutely Nothing Re Walmart and E-books (PW) Disney loses in Redbox copyright row (BBC)


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Internet Archive Ignores DMCA Notices

 

the Internet Archive is burning its positive reputation to the ground Edit: The first version of the title of this post was considerably more incendiary than intended. I changed the title about 15 seconds after publishing this post, and I sincerely hope you did not see my mistake. When Brewster Kahle finally released a public statement on the controversy surrounding the Internet Archive's pirate site, the Open Library, Kahle  didn't say the Open Library was shutting down, and he didn't apologize, but he did make the claim that the IA promptly responded to DMCA notices: When a rights holder wants a work that was uploaded by a user taken down, a well known “Notice and Takedown” procedure is in place. The Internet Archive takes prompt action and follows the procedure, generally resulting in the work being taken down. As I pointed out a month ago, the IA had taken 3 weeks to not respond to a takedown notice, so their response could not possibly be described as prompt. But based on the experiences Victoria Strauss recounted today I would say that "glacial " would be a better term. Victoria Strauss just published a post over at Writer Beware where she lays out the [...]


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Infringement Lawsuit Filed Over “The Shape of Water”

 

There used to be a time where the passing similarities between two works only interested academics and aficionados. Now it is grounds for claims of copyright infringement. The Hollywood Reporter brings us the news that Oscar-contender The Shape of Water is now the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit: With less than a week remaining before Academy Awards voting ends, Guillermo del Toro and Fox Searchlight are being sued for allegedly copying the idea for The Shape of Water. The film, which tells an inter-species love story set against the backdrop of the Cold War arms race, is nominated for best picture and del Toro is widely considered the frontrunner for best director. But, according to the family of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Zindel, the fantasy story is a rip-off of a 1969 play called Let Me Hear You Whisper. David Zindel says his father's work also depicted a lonely cleaning woman who works at a lab, bonds with an aquatic creature and breaks him out after learning authorities planned to kill him. "Despite the glaring similarities between the Play and the obviously derivative Picture, Defendants never bothered to seek or obtain a customary license from Plaintiff of motion picture and ancillary rights [...]


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Morning Coffee – 22 February 2018

 

Here are a few stories to read this morning. The FBI's War on Black-Owned Bookstores (The Atlantic) The Big Five Publishers and the Nutri-Matic Drink Dispenser (Teleread) This app can type every Unicode character ever on your iPhone (Cult of Mac) When Good Links Go Bad: Link Rot in Ebooks (Epub Secrets) Serial Box, A Startup Blending E-Books With Audio, Raises $1.65M Seed Round (Deadline)


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Twitter Changes Rules to Crack Down on Bots, Bans Mass Tweeting and Duplicate Accounts

 

A few weeks back Facebook and Twitter were humiliated by a NYTimes piece that detailed the back alley practices of the social media industry, and now the latter is finally doing something about the problem. On Wednesday Twitter announced new terms of service that effectively ban many of the more blatant sockpuppet activities common both to companies that sell likes and tweets and the 50,000 strong bot army that had been linked to Russian propaganda efforts. From Twitter's blog post: Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts. For example, your service should not permit a user to select several accounts they control from which to publish a given Tweet. This applies regardless of whether the Tweets are published to Twitter at the same time, or are scheduled/queued for future publication. As an alternative to posting identical content, you can Retweet content from one account from the other accounts you wish to share that post from. This should only be done from a small number of distinct accounts that you directly control. Please note that bulk, aggressive, or very high-volume automated Retweeting is not permitted under the Automation Rules, and may be [...]


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Morning Coffee – 21 February 2018

 

Here are a few stories to read this morning. Do we really need to read books anymore? (Emily Cashour) Women better represented in Victorian novels than modern, finds study (Guardian) McGraw-Hill Education Launches Textbook and E-Book Rental Program (Campus Technology) The Newly Revamped Bible Is Meant for Readers Who Love Novels (Bookstr) Money Laundering Via Author Impersonation on Amazon? (Krebs on Security) Farewell to Paper presents an engaging double act on lost things (The Conversation) Scammers Are Using Createspace to Spam Amazon With Pirated Textbooks (The Digital Reader)


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Amazon’s Createspace Now Home to Money Laundering Operation

 

The Kindle Store is rife with scammers who publish spam ebooks and cheat their way to the top of the best-seller lists, and apparently Createspace has its own problems. Brian Krebs brings our attention to what was most likely some type of money laundering scam being run in Amazon's print-on-demand service: Patrick Reames had no idea why Amazon.com sent him a 1099 form saying he’d made almost $24,000 selling books via Createspace, the company’s on-demand publishing arm. That is, until he searched the site for his name and discovered someone has been using it to peddle a $555 book that’s full of nothing but gibberish. Reames is a credited author on Amazon by way of several commodity industry books, although none of them made anywhere near the amount Amazon is reporting to the Internal Revenue Service. Nor does he have a personal account with Createspace. But that didn’t stop someone from publishing a “novel” under his name. That word is in quotations because the publication appears to be little more than computer-generated text, almost like the gibberish one might find in a spam email. The impersonator priced the book at $555 and it was posted to multiple Amazon sites in different countries. The book — which as been [...]


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Sentiment Analysis Could One Day Tell Authors How Readers Feel About a Story

 

There are ebook analytics startups like Jellybooks that can tell publishers how members of a focus group are using an ebook - which pages are the most popular, how far each test subject got before dropping the book, etc. But one thing these startups can't do just yet is tell publishers how a reader feels about a book. Sure, they can survey readers, but that doesn't always result in truthful answers. But sentiment analysis might. According to Wikipedia, sentiment analysis "refers to the use of natural language processing, text analysis, computational linguistics, and biometrics to systematically identify, extract, quantify, and study affective states and subjective information". A simpler way to put it would be that sentiment analysis is when someone uses software to identify the emotional subtext in a text, image, or video. For example, Facebook regularly uses sentiment analysis to understand and filter your updates. The part I want to bring to your attention is how someone might use a camera to watch faces, and then use sentiment analysis software to understand what people are feeling. A story on the topic crossed my desk today. IHE reports on one such effort to use sentiment analysis in the classroom and track students' engagement levels. How's everyone [...]


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Updated: eBooks are a Stupid Product, and Other Blinkered Ramblings

 

Lagardère Publishing CEO Arnaud Nourry gave an interview to Scroll.in this weekend that showed both that he was remarkably ignorant about his products as well as how and why consumers value his products. FYI: Lagardère is the parent company for Hachette Book Group (US) and Hachette (UK), and Hachette Livre (France). The interview also showed that his PR staff needs to be fired (Nourry should never have been allowed to say this). It’s been a little over ten years since ebooks came to the market in the form of Kindle. You mentioned a small decline – do you think the market has plateaued? Are there formats other than ebooks that publishers should be looking at? There are two different geographies to look at for this. In the US and UK, the ebook market is about 20% of the total book market, everywhere else it is 5%-7% because in these places the prices never went down to such a level that the ebook market would get significant traction. I think the plateau, or rather slight decline, that we’re seeing in the US and UK is not going to reverse. It’s the limit of the ebook format. The ebook is a stupid product. It is exactly [...]


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Infographics: What Your Font Choices Say About You (2)

 

I have a two-fer for you today. A lot of people think that the font types you choose for your logo, website, and other text will say something about you, your business, and your personality. I'm not sold on the idea, but there's some truth to the related theory that font choices convey meaning to the reader. I did find a couple fun infographics that make a connection between personality and font choices. The first comes via Twitter, and was hosted on The Visual Communications Guy blog (I could not find the original post, sorry). It makes cracks about the type of person who would choose each font. click to enlarge The second infographic explains the psychology behind font choices. It divides all fonts into 5 general categories, and explains how a reader will see them: You should take careful consideration when choosing a logo font. As you may already know, people have certain feelings, emotions, and associations when they see certain colors. What you may not realize is that they have a similar response to typefaces and fonts. So, for example, if you want to portray that your business is traditional or respectable, you might want to consider a serif typeface. If [...]


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