Posted on 2013-Dec-02
Is there so much to tell about eBook as early as the first day of the week unfolds? The answer is yes. The three most outstanding picks of today’s blog covers Amazon’s operation outside the virtual realm, a new ad-based eBook subscription service, and an indie authors’ lessons on organizing their own event at a book festival.
Although Amazon is never shy from devising different sales strategies to appeal online customers, their physical aspiration is somewhat desirable. Unfortunately, it is often cut short by negative receptions from physical competitors and frenemy partners through the Amazon Source program. Apart from causing a stir among the bookstores, physical chain stores tend to abandon Amazon’s hope that their line of eReading products will be integrated harmoniously with other shelved products. So far, retail giants like Target, Walmart, along with other retailers, have stopped selling the Kindle. What does this mean? Amazon does not have much choice left but to merely work with 2 official partners according to their sources.
Instead of abandoning their physical shop opening, Amazon unconventionally set up a “pop-up” shop temporarily in a San Francisco mall where bystanders could spot their signature eReader, Kindle Paperwhite. The shop showcases featured products (e.g. eReader accessories, sample eBook, actual eReaders on display beside hardcover books). Given the large scale of chain stores’ coverage and Amazon’s low price entry, the internet retail behemoth might face an uphill climb to compete with the competitors. For a retailer, Amazon’s low-priced eReaders might not generate a lot profits as compared to other gadgets from Apple. However, there is a lot of speculation worthy of studying why Amazon would go an extra mile just to open a physical shop. Among curious speculation is data mining to collect the buyer’s behaviors.
Free Ad-supported eBook Subscription
With so many eBook subscription models out in the market, most of them strive to achieve one aim to sustain readers from using their monthly paid service from one month to the next. Readfy proposes a radical solution by offering the ad-embedded eBook for free. They will release the official details early next year. Unfortunately, readers do not like the idea of chancing upon the ad inside their eBook. It remains to be seen how their service will play out early next year when eBook subscriptions become more mature and readers growing accustomed to social reading.
Lessons about Indie Alley
Indie author Christine Frost chronicles her disappointment how indie authors were treated by the organizers at this year’s Boston Book Festival (BBF). Last year, indie authors were not on the invitation list to meet more than 25,000 attendees but there was a big change this year. Indie Alley was the dedicated section where indie authors can promote their work in the exhibitor list. Although Indie Alley was preserved for indie authors as a new addition, the print program showed no specific details where attendees should go. As a literary buff, Christine deplored how she missed out the opportunity to mingle with fellow indies as they were misplaced in a hard-to-find location plus the schedule of the main events was just too busy. Eventually, indie authors voiced their disappointment when the organizer misplaced them in an “out-of-the-way” area.
When she contacted the organizers, she found an alarming fact about having no location to place the indie authors. Due to a miscommunication that wrongly booked an empty space in John Hancock Tower where there was supposed to be poetry reading, managers at the tower could not organize the space within the building. Despite the argument by authors from Indie Alley who were charged $150 for a table as they needed a space where they could be discovered by other exhibitors near the church, the rejection was the nail in their coffin.
What if indie authors could organize their own event as a group? Christine admitted that it was a failure from both sides as they struggled to collaborate efficiently but there is room for improvement for indie authors to meet their target audience. Apparently, more authors turn to self-publishing and they can offer guidance or experience through exhibition and panel discussion. Carrying a the indie author label is already a stigma that prevents them from being welcomed by the organizers with arms wide open, but collaborating with ALLi can help indie authors to organize an event to attract indie lovers. James Fontana exemplifies a book fair’s success for indies that is organized by Ottawa Independent Writers (OIW) every year. Maggie Lynch raised several points how they need to form a group in order to ease the event planner’s burden to contact individual authors. The planners are more likely to deal with one person responsible for communicating with authors rather than contacting different people just to sort out confirmation and answers.
Regardless of how successful Amazon has done their business online, it seems they have not totally given up the plan to have their own shop. Finally, the temporary shop is set up to see how actual readers will respond to their demonstration site to tangibly toy with eReaders and read the actual eBook under different light conditions. Speaking of eBooks, Readfy tries to come up with an idea to offer ad-support eBooks for free as opposed to other eBook subscription’s paid services. There are concerns whether readers will be converted to customers and how they will be bombarded with eBooks. Who knows what the reader will need in the near future from eBook-reading once Oyster, Scribd, along with other providers become more recognizable? Last but not least, Indie authors need to stick together if they will organize an event to promote their books. Lessons learned from the BBF are too costly to let it happen again.
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