Saturday, June 25, 2011

Catching up on E-book News

My last three posts have featured Kids' E-Book Bestselling authors Cynthia Leitich Smith and Rachel Caine. Both had a wealth of information and insights for us. This week, it's time to catch up on the latest news in the e-format world, which continues to change fast!

The hottest news this week? J.K. Rowling announced her new website, Pottermore, where she will be offering all the Harry Potter books in e-format for the first time.  The site will have many other interactive features for Potter fans.  While it will not be operational until October, Rowling's short introductory film on the home page explains it all AND includes some fascinating special effects. I recommend it!

According to the Associated Press article, this move by Rowling "alarmed the book industry that helped make creator J.K. Rowling a billionaire."  She has always retained the electronic publishing rights to her books, allowing her to now sell directly to her fans, bypassing  not only the traditional publishing industry and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also the popular e-book stores such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Her certain success is sure to have far-reaching ramifications as authors consider what publishers have to offer them versus what they can do on their own.

For more on Pottermore and its impact, check out this International Business Times article.

In the meantime, Barnes and Noble has been looking for a buyer since August of 2010. (I didn't know that!) For a while, the press was guessing that Amazon would scoop them up, but that no longer seems to be an option. According to a BusinessWeek article from March, Barnes and Noble launched the Nook two years after Amazon's Kindle. While the Nook went on to become their bestselling item, its profit margin is extremely low and it has always had to compete with the Kindle which holds the majority of the e-reader market.

Meanwhile, Borders is still slogging through bankruptcy court, and you may have seen news that they were going to close another 50 stores. This was prevented by an 11th hour decision this week by the bankruptcy court judge who approved a "DIP ammendment". That requires them to pay a million dollar fine, but it extends their time to find a buyer, as explained in a Publishers Weekly article.

Speaking of Borders, this week you'll see that I've removed them from my Kids Ebook Bestseller list, and I've added Apple's iBookstore. For the last couple weeks, I have not been confident with how Borders sorted their juvenile best sellers -- quirky adult titles were showing up, and one week they only listed 4 books as bestsellers. Also, Borders sells the Kobo e-reader, and I already feature the Kobo store on my list.  So it's out with the old and in with the new.

I'd like to add the Google ebookstore to my list, but despite several e-mails from me, they have not confirmed whether they list their children's books automatically in bestseller order. (From the looks of it, I don't think they do.) They do not currently give users the option to sort by bestseller.

Off to e-mail some of my Kids E-book Bestselling authors to line up more insightful interviews for you!