Starbucks Unveils ‘Upstanders’ Original Video, Podcast Series

Starbucks launched “Upstanders,” an original multi-platform 10-episode series that tells “stories of compassion, citizenship and civility” through video, podcasts, and text. The content will be distributed in the company’s in-store digital network, online and via its mobile app. Starbucks chairman/chief executive Howard Schultz wrote and produced the series with Starbucks executive producer Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who left his post as senior editor at The Washington Post to establish the production company in Seattle. Continue reading Starbucks Unveils ‘Upstanders’ Original Video, Podcast Series

Amazon Plans to Open Additional Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores

Although not on the scale originally reported, online retailer Amazon is expanding its business to more physical storefronts. Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar store last year in Seattle. The store features thousands of books alongside Amazon’s electronic devices, including the Kindle tablet, the Fire TV set-top box, and the Echo Internet-connected speaker. The expansion of the brick-and-mortar side of the business suggests that the appeal of browsing shelves, particularly for book aficionados, isn’t quite yet lost. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Open Additional Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores

Amazon Doubles Market Value, Plans to Launch Music Service

Amazon’s growth is impressive — but it still, apparently, does not meet investors’ high expectations. With profits in Prime and Amazon Web Services, the company just delivered the largest quarterly profit in its 20-year history, but its shares plummeted 15 percent in after-hours trading, erasing more than $30 billion in market value. Shareholders were perhaps spooked by a 20.5 percent jump in operating costs, to $34.6 billion. Yet Amazon still out-performed other tech titans, including Alphabet, Apple and Facebook. Continue reading Amazon Doubles Market Value, Plans to Launch Music Service

Court Win for Google Books Could Impact Film, TV and Music

In the latest page of Google’s decade-long saga to scan the world’s books and make them searchable, the company won a case that decided in its favor and against the Authors Guild, on whose behalf the Motion Picture Association of America and the music licensing organization ASCAP filed amicus briefs. The October 16 ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit means that writers cannot stop Google from adding their books to Google’s 20-million book library, which the Court calls “non-infringing fair uses.” Continue reading Court Win for Google Books Could Impact Film, TV and Music

Ruling on YouTube Viral Videos Parses Fair Use Versus Theft

The line between “fair use” in copyright law and outright theft has often been unclear, but a recent U.S. District Court ruling drew the line on a case involving Equals Three Studios and viral-video aggregator Jukin Media. Jukin accused Equals Three of illegally taking dozens of clips for use in its own YouTube show. Equals Three sued Jukin, saying its actions were protected by fair use, and that Jukin’s takedown deprived it of ad revenue. The Court’s ruling sides with Equals Three on all but one of the videos under consideration. Continue reading Ruling on YouTube Viral Videos Parses Fair Use Versus Theft

Authors and Booksellers Accuse Amazon of Antitrust Violations

A group of authors, their representatives and booksellers have banded together to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Amazon for antitrust violations. The move by authors and booksellers comes on the heels of an ugly contract dispute, during which Amazon made it difficult to buy books from publisher Hachette. Five years ago, Amazon secretly asked regulators to examine the practices of leading publishers, a move that ultimately gave the e-commerce company more influence. Continue reading Authors and Booksellers Accuse Amazon of Antitrust Violations

Scent Messaging Tech Allows for Aromas to Be Shared Digitally

An increasing number of startups are looking to integrate scent into the world of digital messaging. Similar to how perfumed stationery would help spark memories, new technologies are bringing scents to books, video, clothing and more. Companies such as Scentee and Vapor Communications are already in the process of releasing products to create scent messaging. David Edwards, one of the three founders of Vapor, describes the goal of the product: “To be able to deliver scent like iPod delivers sound.” Continue reading Scent Messaging Tech Allows for Aromas to Be Shared Digitally

Appeals Court Agrees That Apple Conspired on E-Book Pricing

A federal appeals court has upheld an earlier ruling that determined Apple conspired with publishers to raise digital book prices. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit voted 2-to-1 in agreement of Judge Denise Cote’s 2013 decision when the case originally played out in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Apple and five publishers had been accused by the Justice Department of conspiring to increase prices above Amazon’s standard for new e-books through an ‘agency pricing’ model. The publishers settled prior to the trial, but Apple opted to fight the accusation. Continue reading Appeals Court Agrees That Apple Conspired on E-Book Pricing

Scribd Adds 9,000 Audiobooks to E-Book Subscription Service

Subscription service Scribd — the “Netflix for books” — now has 45,000 audiobooks in its library after striking a deal with Penguin Random House Audio. The new titles include popular works by Lena Dunham, John Grisham, and George R. R. Martin. According to Scribd, audiobooks have doubled the time users spend reading on the service. Audiobooks also help bolster Scribd’s catalog, which currently does not include digital books from two major publishers: Penguin Random House and Hachette. Continue reading Scribd Adds 9,000 Audiobooks to E-Book Subscription Service

Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

Google is becoming a major player in same-day package deliveries, taking on the likes of Amazon and eBay this holiday shopping season. The Google Express service — currently available in cities such as Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — handled 50 percent more toys during the two weeks after Thanksgiving, while book sales jumped more than 30 percent. Analysts estimate that up to 40 percent of Google’s core search business is tied to e-commerce. Continue reading Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

Disney Imagicademy Develops New Learning Apps for Children

Disney Publishing Worldwide is developing a series of learning apps for children. The apps belong to a greater learning initiative called Disney Imagicademy aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 8. Under Imagicademy, Disney plans to launch as many as 30 apps to cover a wide range of academic subjects. The company also plans to release books and interactive toys to complement the apps. Disney expects these toys to encourage active participation in completing game lessons. Continue reading Disney Imagicademy Develops New Learning Apps for Children

Hearst Makes a Major Investment in DWA’s AwesomenessTV

Publisher Hearst is paying $81.25 million for a 25 percent interest in DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV. Announced yesterday, the deal will help Hearst leverage a younger audience, while DWA will use the cash infusion to help develop the fast-growing AwesomenessTV business. The pact plans to help AwesomenessTV expand into new content channels, broaden its audience and expand its geographic reach. AwesomenessTV will also gain access to Hearst’s subscription VOD platform. Continue reading Hearst Makes a Major Investment in DWA’s AwesomenessTV

Hachette Launches Twitter Experiment to Boost its Book Sales

Hachette Book Group, which publishes best-selling authors including Michael Connelly, Malcolm Gladwell and James Patterson, announced on Monday that it is partnering with Gumroad to determine whether author tweets can help push book sales. In today’s social media landscape, authors with significant Twitter followings — such as John Green and Paulo Coelho — have experienced major success. Gumroad enables creators to sell products directly to social media followers without leaving Twitter. Continue reading Hachette Launches Twitter Experiment to Boost its Book Sales

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Conclude Their Nook Partnership

In 2012, Microsoft invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division, a deal which valued the Nook business at $1.7 billion. The plan was for Microsoft to continue investing, while Barnes & Noble would create content for Microsoft products. Since the initial deal, the Nook business has lost more than half its value (revenue fell 41 percent in the most recent quarter compared to last year). Yesterday, the two companies ended the partnership, with Barnes & Noble buying out Microsoft for $120 million. Continue reading Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Conclude Their Nook Partnership

Amazon Loses Senior Editor as Publishing Struggles Continue

Novelist Ed Park, a senior editor at Amazon’s publishing office, has decided to leave the company and move to Penguin Press as an executive editor. The shift highlights Amazon’s battle with its image as competition grows within the publishing ecosystem. Amazon faces obstacles as bookstores refuse to carry books published by Amazon, and authors and agents are therefore disinclined to join. However, Park explained that such conflict was not the main reason for his departure. Continue reading Amazon Loses Senior Editor as Publishing Struggles Continue

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