Amazon, Hachette Settle Long-Running Dispute Over E-Books

Amazon and Hachette have finally resolved their ongoing public dispute, which began back in January. Hachette will now have the ability to set its own prices for e-books and print books, but will be offered incentives for selling at lower prices. Despite yesterday’s announcement, seen by most as a victory for Hachette (in the short term), Amazon still controls almost half of today’s book trade. In addition, the long-running dispute showed the industry that Amazon is not afraid to use its power to affect sales. Continue reading Amazon, Hachette Settle Long-Running Dispute Over E-Books

Scribd Offers Unlimited Access to Audiobooks via Subscription

Scribd recently announced that in addition to its collection of e-books, subscribers now have access to a compilation of over 30,000 audiobooks. The company is one of the first e-book companies to have implemented a monthly subscription fee in exchange for unlimited access to its content. Joining the likes of models offered by Netflix and Spotify, Scribd subscribers can pay a monthly fee of $8.99 to access all available e-books and audiobooks belonging to the service’s catalog.  Continue reading Scribd Offers Unlimited Access to Audiobooks via Subscription

Streaming Services Grow While iTunes Music Sales Decline

Music sales via Apple’s iTunes Store have dropped about 14 percent since the start of the year. Meanwhile, streaming services now supply one-third of the recorded music revenue in the U.S. The total number of streams reported for services such as Spotify and Pandora have increased 46 percent this year over 2013. This shift may be one reason behind Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics. The company is reportedly planning to relaunch Beats next year as a part of iTunes. Continue reading Streaming Services Grow While iTunes Music Sales Decline

Consumers Transitioning from Purchasing to Renting Media

Apple and Amazon, two of the world’s most successful retailers, find themselves struggling in today’s market to increase the sales of books, movies, music, and games because of a shift in consumer priorities. It seems that consumers no longer want to buy media; they want to rent it. The two companies can be considered largely responsible for creating the problem because they made it so easy to rent books and stream music that consumers didn’t feel the need to buy media anymore. Continue reading Consumers Transitioning from Purchasing to Renting Media

Simon & Schuster and Amazon Strike New Deal for E-Books

Publisher Simon & Schuster announced yesterday that it has negotiated a multiyear agreement with Amazon for print and electronic books. According to a letter signed by CEO Carolyn Reidy, the deal “is economically advantageous for both Simon & Schuster and its authors and maintains the author’s share of income generated from e-book sales.” The letter also indicates that the contract gives control of e-book pricing to Simon & Schuster, “with some limited exceptions.” Continue reading Simon & Schuster and Amazon Strike New Deal for E-Books

YouTube Personalities Try Out New Markets, Including Books

YouTube personalities are venturing into the world of books as publishers continue to seek the next popular authors. These content creators explain that they do not make much from YouTube, which takes 45 percent of advertising revenue, and see publishing as a new market to earn income. For instance, U.K. video blogger Alfie Deyes released “The Pointless Book” in Britain last month, and it rapidly became a bestseller. Meanwhile, others are looking into television shows, radio gigs, and even movie deals. Continue reading YouTube Personalities Try Out New Markets, Including Books

The Makers of ‘Ingress’ Create Another Alternate Reality Game

Google’s Niantic Labs has just released the first phase of its ambitious new project to create a fictional universe through a series of interconnected novels, movies, and alternate-reality games. The first novel, “Endgame: The Calling” and the alternate reality game made their debut this week. During the first phase of the launch, what happens in the game will affect the story of the upcoming books. The mobile game that accompanies the story will be launched next year. Continue reading The Makers of ‘Ingress’ Create Another Alternate Reality Game

Deal Now Complete: Amazon Acquires Twitch for $970 Million

According to a new SEC filing, Amazon’s buyout of online video game streaming company Twitch is now complete. The acquisition, worth $970 million and first revealed in late August, marks Amazon’s largest and most expensive deal to date. This follows earlier reports that suggested a similar deal was in the works with Google subsidiary YouTube. Twitch touts more than 55 million active monthly users, and is currently the largest live-streaming website in the U.S. by a significant margin. Continue reading Deal Now Complete: Amazon Acquires Twitch for $970 Million

Amazon Draws Distinction Between its Tablets and E-Readers

Amazon recently announced the expansion of its tablet line and e-reader offerings. As part of an effort to strengthen ties between its tablets and other new hardware, Amazon has dropped the name “Kindle” from its tablets. Formerly called Kindle Fire tablets, the simply named Fire HD and Fire HDX will be more closely aligned with the company’s Fire TV and Fire Phone. The rebranding highlights the distinction Amazon hopes to make between the Kindle e-readers and more advanced Fire tablets. Continue reading Amazon Draws Distinction Between its Tablets and E-Readers

Apple and Amazon Planning Programs for Sharing Digital Media

In what could prove to be a bold move, Amazon and Apple are planning to allow customers to share media purchased from their digital storefronts with family members. Similar language is being used by both companies to describe the programs, and both are launching around the same time. Apple’s “Family Sharing” program will be available via its new iOS 8 software, while Amazon’s “Family Library” is scheduled to join hardware and software updates slated for the end of October. Continue reading Apple and Amazon Planning Programs for Sharing Digital Media

YouTube Stars Hire Agents, Managers in Traditional Media Push

More than 20 talent agencies and management companies are vying to represent some of YouTube’s biggest celebrities with the promise of growing these stars’ online audience and traditional media presence. Agents often negotiate endorsement deals, acting gigs, music deals and book deals. They can also help the young-adult and teenage stars navigate licensing contracts. YouTube stars have started attracting traditional media companies, and now traditional management companies. Continue reading YouTube Stars Hire Agents, Managers in Traditional Media Push

Hachette and Amazon Continue to Battle Over E-Book Prices

As Amazon and Hachette continue to battle over the prices of e-books, Hachette’s authors have decided to appeal directly to Amazon’s board. Authors United is warning the board of the reputation that the retailer will develop if it blocks the sale of books, a tactic that may prove helpful considering the significance Amazon places on its reputation. Authors United members have until Wednesday to sign the letter, which will be sent to Amazon’s 10 board members. Continue reading Hachette and Amazon Continue to Battle Over E-Book Prices

Companies Look to Meet Demand for Faster, Cheaper Delivery

According to a recent Harris poll, 14 percent of respondents and 25 percent of millennials would accept an added fee for same-day delivery of online purchases. The mean price these consumers are willing to pay is $13.90. Customers want faster, but affordable delivery, so startups are taking on the traditional infrastructure approach of Amazon (involving warehouses, vehicle fleets and full-time employees) by rethinking operations and, in many cases, turning to crowdsourced workers. Continue reading Companies Look to Meet Demand for Faster, Cheaper Delivery

Podcasting App Swell Shutters Following Acquisition by Apple

Earlier this week we reported that Apple would acquire recommendation startup BookLamp, often referred to as “the Pandora for books.” In related news, Apple has purchased podcasting app Swell, described as “the Pandora of talk radio.” Following the acquisition, Swell announced that its service is no longer available. Disappointed users may be hoping that Apple will somehow integrate Swell into its offerings. Meanwhile, NPR just launched its NPR One app, which offers similar functionality. Continue reading Podcasting App Swell Shutters Following Acquisition by Apple

Apple Quietly Acquires Startup BookLamp: Pandora for Books

Over the weekend news broke that Apple has acquired BookLamp to expand its ebook offerings and better compete with Amazon. The Boise, Idaho-based startup is best known for developing big data-style book analytics services, which could be used by Apple for new iBooks features. BookLamp’s e-reading recommendation service is sometimes referred to as the “Pandora for books.” According to one source, Apple is paying more than $10 million for the startup’s tech and employees. Continue reading Apple Quietly Acquires Startup BookLamp: Pandora for Books

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