Amazon Offers Echo Through Staples, But Exclusively Online

Amazon announced it will sell its Amazon Echo device with office supply chain Staples; however, it will only be available online. The Echo, a voice-activated speaker with the ability to answer questions, dim lights, and play music and more will be available for $179.99. The decision to sell the product through a third party has received mixed feedback, because the device still lacks a retail presence. While Staples carries Kindles, Fire TV and the Fire tablet, the Echo will not be showcased in stores. Continue reading Amazon Offers Echo Through Staples, But Exclusively Online

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

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

Amazon Streams U.S. Premiere of British Comedy on Facebook

British comedy “Catastrophe” made its streaming debut in the U.S. this week exclusively on Amazon’s Facebook page. The move is a new approach to promoting Netflix competitor Amazon Prime Instant Video. Two days after Monday night’s premiere, the show will be made available for streaming only to Amazon Instant Video subscribers (the entire season will be available Friday). This is not the first time social media has been leveraged this way. Hulu has been posting select videos on Facebook, while studios have been offering movie rentals and purchases via social platforms. Continue reading Amazon Streams U.S. Premiere of British Comedy on Facebook

Walmart to Test New Shipping Service Similar to Amazon Prime

Walmart plans to launch a new loyalty program that will offer online customers unlimited free shipping for $50 per year. The program is half the cost of Amazon Prime, but does not include some of Prime’s popular perks such as streaming movies and TV shows, photo storage, and e-books. Walmart’s new service is part of a larger competition between retailers and e-commerce marketplaces for loyal customers. Walmart did not specify which markets will be part of the initial launch. Continue reading Walmart to Test New Shipping Service Similar to Amazon Prime

JetBlue to Offer More Inflight Entertainment via Amazon Prime

Beginning next quarter, JetBlue passengers on select aircraft will be able to stream movies, TV shows and music on seat-back display screens and personal devices through their Amazon Prime accounts at no additional charge. According to JetBlue, passengers who are not Prime members will have the option of registering inflight for a 30-day free trial to watch videos immediately. Passengers will also be able to rent or purchase content. The new service will be transmitted via JetBlue’s Fly-Fi inflight broadband. Continue reading JetBlue to Offer More Inflight Entertainment via Amazon Prime

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

Oyster Boosts Subscription Service with Digital eBook Store

Oyster recently announced it plans to start offering customers the option to buy select books that may not otherwise be included as a part of the company’s all-you-can-read subscription service. With its new offering, the company hopes to compete with major e-book retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Despite having deals with three major publishers, Oyster’s e-book subscription service has been missing key titles from publishing companies such as Random House and Hachette.  Continue reading Oyster Boosts Subscription Service with Digital eBook Store

Mobile Gaming Revenue on an Upswing, Supercell is Top Earner

Revenue from mobile gaming is expected to rise 16.5 percent this year to $3.04 billion, surpassing the revenue growth of e-books, music, and videos. An estimated 60 percent of that growth is expected from in-app purchases. Mobile gaming companies will likely make most of that revenue from only a few strong-performing games because the revenue distribution is highly skewed towards the top. Currently, European gaming companies are making the most successful mobile games. Continue reading Mobile Gaming Revenue on an Upswing, Supercell is Top Earner

E-Book Subscription Service Scribd Now Includes Comic Books

Scribd customers now have unlimited access to some of the biggest names in comic books. The startup added comic books and graphic novels to its catalog of e-books and audiobooks that subscribers pay to access for $8.99 per month. Scribd currently has more than 100 million subscribers worldwide and over one million e-books, audiobooks and comic books. Marvel, Archie and Valiant are just a few of the comic book publishers that have signed on to offer their titles via Scribd. Continue reading E-Book Subscription Service Scribd Now Includes Comic Books

Amazon Lets Users Convert Print Books into Kindle E-Books

Amazon has designed a Windows program that allows users to convert traditional print books to digital files (for personal, non-commercial use), which can then be read using Amazon’s Kindle software. Once converted, the digital version of these print books will function as any other Kindle e-book with adjustable font features, free cloud storage and Whispersync capabilities. However, Kindle Convert may prove to be too tedious for some readers, since it requires that users physically scan the pages of the book. Continue reading Amazon Lets Users Convert Print Books into Kindle E-Books

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

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