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AAP Estimates US Book Publishing Industry Generated $26 Billion in Revenue Last Year


The Association of American Publishers released its annual StatShot estimate on Friday. You can buy the report from the AAP, or find the press release below. There isn't much detail in the public press release, so I won't be adding much commentary. However, as I have previously reported, the AAP's annual estimates are not considered reliable, so you should take these figures with a grain of salt. Press release: The Association of American Publishers (AAP) issued its 2018 StatShot Annual Report today which found, among other things, that the U.S. book publishing industry generated an estimated $26.23 billion in net revenue for 2017, representing 2.72 billion units. All figures represent publishers’ net revenue from tracked categories (trade, higher education course materials, preK-12 instructional materials, professional books, and university press), in all formats, from all distribution channels. These are not retailer/consumer sales figures. Publisher revenue for trade books (fiction, non-fiction and religious presses) were flat (0.3%) increasing by $45 million in 2017 over 2016. Since 2013, publisher revenue for trade books increased by around $820 million. StatShot Annual is based on a unique methodology that combines annual data submitted by publishers, along with market modeling, to estimate the total size of the U.S. [...]

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Morning Coffee – 20 July 2018


Here are a few stories to read this Friday morning. Famous first lines of novels, as improvised by your phone's auto-suggest.  Comic book sales are down - It just doesn't make a lot of sense to buy print comics any more - not when you can wait and get the graphic novel for less.  Tor is delaying library ebooks. What authors get wrong about newsletters.  A hoarder is turning his book collection into a bookstore. 

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Updated: Tor Books is Now Windowing Library eBooks


Tor Books has just demonstrated that the decision makers at Macmillan are surprisingly ignorant on the basic principles of microeconomics in general. Earlier this weeks Tor Books informed libraries that it was windowing library ebooks. Starting this month, ebooks would be delayed by as much as 40 months. Here's the statement, as reprinted by one of the Upper Arlington Public Library: Tor Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers and a leading global publisher of science fiction and fantasy will be changing our eBook lending model to libraries as part of a test program to determine the impact of eLending on retail sales. Our current analysis on eLending indicates it is having a direct and adverse impact on retail eBook sales. Effective with July 2018 publications, all new titles from Tor Books will become available for library eBook distribution four months after their retail on-sale date rather than the current program which allows libraries to purchase the titles on their retail on-sale date. During the test period, we will work closely with our library vendors who service this channel to evaluate the results and develop ongoing terms that will best support Tor’s authors, their agents, and Tor’s channel partners. In addition, Macmillan will actively participate in [...]

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Someone Filed a Trademark on the “Guy Holding Axe” Book Cover Design


If you found Faleena Hopkins's attempt to trademark the word "cocky" infuriating then this next trademark could give you a stroke. An author in the SPF Community FB group just brought my attention to a newly filed trademark. It seems someone is trying to trademark one of the fundamental designs for book covers. Note: We're not talking about a trademark on a design for a specific series but on the most broadly generic design possible. This is what was included in the paperwork: Here's the description: The mark consists of a title and/or series name at the top of the trade dress; one or more human or partially human figures underneath, at least one of the figures holding a weapon; and an author's name underneath the figures; wherein the title/series and author's name are depicted in the same or similar coloring. The dotted lines represent the product, and are used to show the location of the trade dress on the product, and do not constitute part of the trade dress. Most trademarks (not including other trademarks filed by this company) very specifically name the title or series that is covered by the mark. By leaving out that detail this filing is [...]

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The Not-So-Curious Case of the $2,630.52 Used Paperback


The NYTimes has finally discovered that under capitalism, sellers can price their products however they want. Earlier this week they published a story on books being listed on at prices ten times or greater than the market rate. I know, I know, this has been going on for years, but apparently it was news to David Streitfeld. Many booksellers on Amazon strive to sell their wares as cheaply as possible. That, after all, is usually how you make a sale in a competitive marketplace. Other merchants favor a counterintuitive approach: Mark the price up to the moon. “Zowie,” the romance author Deborah Macgillivray wrote on Twitter last month after she discovered copies of her 2009 novel, “One Snowy Knight,” being offered for four figures. One was going for “$2,630.52 & FREE Shipping,” she noted. Since other copies of the paperback were being sold elsewhere on Amazon for as little as 99 cents, she was perplexed. “How many really sell at that price? Are they just hoping to snooker some poor soul?” Ms. Macgillivray wrote in an email. She noted that her blog had gotten an explosion in traffic from Russia. “Maybe Russian hackers do this in their spare time, [...]

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Morning Coffee – 18 July 2018


Here are a few stories to read this Wednesday morning. There was a book focused ad network, but it is gone now.  There is a special honor to having scooped several parts of this story on Kindle Unlimited shenanigans, and yet not being cited anywhere. On ebook design. A study found that British kid's books are so white, they cold join a country club.  Audiobook distributor RBMedia has been sold by one private equity firm to another private equity firm.

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Audiobook Distributor RBMedia Has Been Sold – And Not to Rakuten


Along with Findaway and Blackstone Audio, RBMedia is one of several small audiobook distributors operating in the shadow of Amazon's Audible. RBMedia was sold yesterday to private equity firm KKR. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. From WSJ: Investment firm KKR KKR 1.13% has agreed to acquire RBmedia, a major producer of digital audiobooks and spoken content, from investment firm Shamrock Capital, the latest sign of the growing popularity of audiobooks as a consumer-entertainment format. The deal is expected to close by early fall. Terms weren’t disclosed. Audiobooks have emerged as the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. book-publishing industry, in part because they can be accessed through a range of mobile digital devices. Consumers can listen while commuting or working out. “We love the industry sector and its growth, and we think it will continue,” said Richard Sarnoff, chairman of media, entertainment, and education for KKR, in an interview. “Audiobooks create incremental time for enjoying great books, and one thing we lack today is time. We think this type of content will continue to take up more mind share, especially among younger consumers.” KKR estimates that consumers will spend $900 million on audiobooks in 2018, up about 20% from the year before. RBmedia [...]

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No One Wants to Own Instapaper


Originally launched by Marco Arment as an iPhone app, the save for later service Instapaper was sold to Betaworks in 2013, who then sold it to Pinterest in 2016. Now Instapaper is being spun out as an independent company. Today, we’re announcing that Pinterest has entered into an agreement to transfer ownership of Instapaper to Instant Paper, Inc., a new company owned and operated by the same people who’ve been working on Instapaper since it was sold to betaworks by Marco Arment in 2013. The ownership transfer will occur after a 21 day waiting period designed to give our users fair notice about the change of control with respect to their personal information. We want to emphasize that not much is changing for the Instapaper product outside the new ownership. The product will continue to be built and maintained by the same people who’ve been working on Instapaper for the past five years. We plan to continue offering a robust service that focuses on readers and the reading experience for the foreseeable future. Playing the game of musical owners does not instill confidence about the stability or direction of the company (just about the only way it could be worse is if [...]

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Amazon Website & Services Crash on Prime Day


Amazon just gave us a practical demonstration of why you might want to use someone else's hosting services. The retailer is 16 hours into its 36-hour Prime Day sale, and its site has gone down under the entirely predictable load.  The crash has taken other Amazon services with it, including Prime Video, which has failed twice in the past hour. In place of the promised deals, shoppers are being treated to photos of Amazon employee's dogs. There's no word on when service will be restored, but the most likely possibility is that the site will be up and down throughout the Prime Day sale. Amazon was queried before this post was published, and has not responded.    

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Kindle Unlimited Funding Pool, Per-Page Rate, Rose Slightly in June 2018


Amazon announced on Monday that the Kindle Unlimited funding pool total $22.6 million in May (plus bonuses) up from $22.5 million in May 2018. At the same time the per-page rate royalty rose to $0.0046 in June, compared to $0.00454 in May and $0.00456 in April 2018. US: $0.0046 (USD) Germany: €0.0031 (EUR) Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy: €0.0046 (EUR) Canada: $0.0045 (CAD) Brazil: R$ 0.0111 (BRL) Japan: 0.5702 (JPY ) India, UK, Mexico, Australia: unknown Here's a list of the monthly funding pools. It does not include the bonuses paid out each month. July 2014: $2.5 million (Kindle Unlimited launches early in the month) August 2014: $4.7 million September 2014: $5 million October 2014: $5.5 million November 2014: $6.5 million December 2014: $7.25 million January 2015 - $8.5 million February 2015: $8 million March 2015: $9.3 million April 2015: $9.8 million May 2015: $10.8 million June 2015: $11.3 million July 2015: $11.5 million August 2015: $11.8 million September 2015: $12 million October 2015: $12.4 million November 2015: $12.7 million December 2015: $13.5 million January 2016: $15 million February 2016: $14 million March 2016: $14.9 million April 2016: $14.9 million May 2016: $15.3 million June 2016: $15.4 million July 2016: $15.5 million August 2016: $15.8 million September 2016: $15.9 million October 2016: $16.2 million November 2016: [...]

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Want a Sword, Get Well Card, or Coffee Mug With That Book?


Earlier today The Book Designer published a post where I argue that authors should invest in swag to give away or sell to their fans. This is still be a rather controversial idea in the indie author community, but it is widely accepted in the larger business community, and it's high time that indie authors followed suit. I'm sure everyone knows about the immense number of product tie-ins  for successful movie and TV adaptations.  Rowling's Harry Potter series has everything from collectibles to theme parks, while Tolkien's The Hobbit George RR Martin's Game of Thrones have swords, armor,  figurines, and what have you. (The letter opener pictured above is The Hobbit merchandise.) Indie authors don't have access to the resources of HBO or Warner Brothers, but they can still take advantage of this booming market. For those who are looking for inspiration, here are a few examples of authors who offer swag of one kind or another. In addition to the official HBO merchandise, George RR Martin also has 1" figurines modeled after Game of Thrones characters (the books, not the tv series). Larry Niven has get well cards you can download and print out. Cassie Clare has scarfs, temporary tattoos, collectible card sets, and even [...]

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