Living in what’s essentially a tiny house on wheels, I love eBooks and eBook readers. They allow me to maintain a complete and growing library without the space and weight gains that owning shelves full of dead tree editions come with. I own over 2,000 eBooks. I review eBook readers and provide tips on using them for one of the other outlets that I write for.
None of this prepared me for the news that Rakuten Kobo has paired with Walmart to sell eBooks and at least one of its lower-end ebook readers at Walmart.
According to The Digital Reader, Walmart will be selling Kobo’s base model Aura reader and possibly some of the company’s other excellent E-Ink reading devices as well, in store and online. This, to me, makes a lot of sense.
Given the issues that Walmart is having with Amazon drinking their fiscal milkshake these past few years, making a bit of space for eBook appliances seems like an easy way to attempt to take a bite out of a market that Amazon pretty much owns in North America—dedicated electronic reading devices. It makes sense for Kobo too: despite their making some really great hardware, they’ve been having a hell of a time making in-roads against Amazon’s Kindle eBook readers and the massive scope of content that Amazon provides. Having their gear in a national chain might help to move Kobo’s pieces a little further across the board.
What I am surprised by, however, is that, in addition to Kobo’s eBook readers being available in-store, Walmart will also be selling gift certificates for particular book titles. Read the rest
The latest Humble Bundle features dozens of Nebula-winning and Nebula-nominated novels and short stories from past and present, everyone from Octavia Butler and Ursula K Leguin to Samuel Delany and John Brunner, to say nothing of Kate Wilhelm, Joanna Russ, and four titles from Serial Box. Read the rest
Pablo Defendini writes, "Fireside Fiction Company has set up the Hurricane Relief Bookstore as a mechanism for all of us to funnel money over to people who need it. 100% of the profits from sales of ebooks on the store will go to three organizations: one for the Caribbean, one for Houston, and one for Florida. The store features DRM-free ebooks from Fireside Magazine, as well as Uncanny Magazine, Lightspeed Magazine, Mothership Zeta, Angry Robot Books, Apex Books, and many more individual authors who have contributed independently. Read the rest
My latest Publishers Weekly column announces the launch-date for my long-planned "Shut Up and Take My Money" ebook platform, which allows traditionally published authors to serve as retailers for their publishers, selling their ebooks direct to their fans and pocketing the 30% that Amazon would usually take, as well as the 25% the publisher gives back to them later in royalties. Read the rest
Chris Meadows writes, "Barnes & Noble is coming out with a $50 Nook Android tablet, with hardware specs similar to Amazon's $50 Fire. The kicker is, this new Nook tablet will run plain-vanilla Android 6.0 Marshmallow and include the full suite of Google Play apps--unlike the Fire, which only permits installation of those apps Amazon deems suitable. Will this be enough to rescue the ailing Nook brand?" Read the rest
Arizona State University's Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative held a short story contest to write "climate fiction," judged by Kim Stanley Robinson and others; now the best stories have been collected in a free downloadable ebook that includes a forward by Robinson, and an interview with Paolo Bacigalupi. Read the rest
Leonard Richardson isn't just the author of Constellation Games, one of the best debut novels I ever read and certainly one of the best books I read in 2013; he's also an extremely talented free/open source server-software developer who has been working for the New York Public Library on a software project that liberates every part of the electronic book lending system from any kind of proprietary lock-in, and, in the process, made reading library ebooks one trillion times better. Read the rest
Ink on paper is a better product, at least for now, and it's showing at British tills. Sky UK's Lucy Cotter reports the first better year for print since 2007, and the worst one for ebooks since 2011.
Last year saw the first rise in sales since 2007, while digital book sales dropped for the first time since 2011.
Betsy Tobin, who runs the independent bookshop Ink@84 in Highbury, London, offers her customers a personalised service.
The bookshop offers coffee and alcohol and runs events and special author evenings.
Diversifying is part of her success but she says her customers also like buying in person rather than online.
They take pleasure from handling and owning books, she said.
I wonder if this has something to do with how well-run major UK bookstore chains are (small stores in high-traffic areas) compared to American ones (strip-mall big boxes, full of trashy ancillary merch and empty of foot traffic.) The literary retail culture there makes people want to drop in and fuss around with books, while the one here just means no-one is ever in a bookstore in the first place, so they just order stuff on Kindle. Read the rest
Laurel writes, "Holdfast is an award-winning free online speculative fiction magazine that celebrates all things fantastic. We are trying to raise enough money to pay our writers and artists for their valuable work and also print a beautiful paperback. After a successful campaign for anthology #1 and winning the British Fantasy Society award for best magazine 2015 - we're hoping to create an even bigger and better anthology this time." Read the rest