Round up #199: bundles, B&N

Round up #199: bundles, B&N

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Digital downfall! 

Okay, I would not want to be Barnes & Noble trying to compose this

Press Release on Q1 finances

Actually, I might…I do love a challenge. ;)

Maybe you could hire somebody like an old Catskills comedian to do it like a stand-up routine…

“Hey, it’s nice to see all the investors in the audience. You know, I was afraid this place was going to be like one of our stores…empty. Just kidding…revenues were only down 9.9%, which comes out to 111,000,000 bucks. With all those ones and  zeroes, it looks like our name on the internet. Speaking of digital, if you think our retail sales are bad, you should see our NOOK sales! Yeah, take a look at them…no, lower…lower…lower…yep, that’s them down there. Our NOOK sales were down 20.2% over last year. A 20% decrease…that’s like saying you have a perfect attendance record at work…if you don’t count Fridays. On the other hand, we only dropped $39 million there…so we lost almost $72 million less than we dropped in the bookstores: go, progress! You ready for the good news? Wait, wait, don’t get so excited…I didn’t say there was any good news, I just asked if you were ready for it. Actually, the college bookstores did have a 2.4% increase…up 5 meeeeeeellllllliooon dollars! Let’s see…five million up, compared to $111 and $39 million down: I’d do the math for you, but I couldn’t afford my algebra textbook after I paid ten dollars for a pack of Post-It notes in my campus Barnes & Noble…”

;)

This

GIGAOM article by Laura Hazard Owen

does a nice job of analyzing the Q&A part of the investor call. Are they going to stop making tablets inhouse? Um…maybe not. They are committed to continuing with the NOOK side of the business…at which point, I’m all of the investors in the room snuck a sideways peek at the person next to them, to see if they were dumping the stock and making a break for the exit.

Owen included this quotation:

“At least one new Nook device will be released for the coming holiday, and further products are in development. At the same time, we will continue to offer our award-winning line of Nook products, including Simple Touch, Simple Touch with GlowLight, Nook HD and Nook HD+ at the best values in the marketplace today.”

I think we may continue to see reductions in NOOK hardware prices, which does exert a downward price pressure on Amazon…which the latter might choose to ignore, of course.

The USPTO wants your input on “Copyright Issues in the Digital Economy”

There is a debate going on right now about extending copyright terms.

This is going to be worth another, separate post from me, but I wanted to go ahead and give you the place to make your comments, if you want:

http://www.uspto.gov/blog/director/entry/we_want_to_hear_from

It relates to this

PDF entitled COPYRIGHT POLICY, CREATIVITY, AND INNOVATION IN THE DIGITAL ECONOMY

I plan to listen to that in the car today, after which I’ll write my response.

Listen to a PDF?

Yep. I recently bought

ezPDF Reader PDF Annotate Form

which has text-to-speech for PDFs. I actually finally spent some of my Amazon Coins on an app, and that was it and this is why. :)

Remember when a “bundle” in publishing meant newspapers tied together with kite string?

Many people bring up the idea of “bundling” e-books and p-books (paperbooks) in the Amazon Kindle forums.

The idea is that you would buy a p-book and get a free e-book, or vice versa.

That often comes from a position of  naivety: they think that Amazon can just give you a digital copy, I guess by scanning the p-book. They don’t understand (and there is nothing wrong with not understanding, as long as you are willing to learn) that Amazon pays the publisher for both the e-book and the p-book, and that in turn is part of how authors get paid.

However, a publisher (not Amazon) could work out a deal with the author that included both the e-book and the p-book…and some publishers (not a lot so far) are.

PM Press in Oakland is one, according to this

Publishers Weekly article by Judith Rosen

I have to warn you, though, when I went to the PM Press site to check it out, the home page had an NSFW (Not Safe For Work) image right at the top.

I tried to find something about their Paperback Plus! program, and they don’t seem to be promoting much. When I searched for Paperback Plus, I did find these eleven results:

https://secure.pmpress.org/index.php?l=search_list&s[search]=paperback+plus&s[title]=Y&s[short_desc]=Y&s[full_desc]=Y&s[sku]=Y&s[match]=all&s[cid]=0

So, you buy a paperback, and get a free e-book copy.

Now, honestly, I’m not sure to whom this appeals. I don’t want p-books any more, even for free. I’m sure I’m not the only person in that category. I love the ones I have, but I don’t want more in my house and I don’t like the ecological impact of the manufacturing process.

Also, I’m never quite sure what prevents somebody from simply doing a deal like this, and then selling the p-book. One barrier is that you would pay more for this combo than you might pay for the e-book alone, but I still don’t quite get it. It used to be different with DVDs and CDs, because there was a clear division in the player. You wanted a physical version to watch/hear on your superior, non-portable hardware, and a convenient digital version. I think increasingly, though, people don’t want the CDs or DVDs either, and for the same reasons that many of us don’t want the p-books.

Alexander Turcic reported in this

mobileread post

that the University Press of Kentucky is doing something interesting. You send them a picture of you holding the p-book, and they send you a pdf of it for free. Again, a kind of bundling…and I’m guessing they can use your picture for promotional purposes, although I haven’t checked.

I don’t expect bundling to become commonplace, except on expensive books, where it will be just part of the luxury service.

What do you think? How good/bad does the Barnes & Noble report look to you? Do you want both an e-book and a p-book when you buy something? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Update: bonus deal

I meant to include this this morning. :)

End of Summer Savings: Kids & Teen Kindle Books up to 75% off

Right now, there are 149 titles in there, and there are some good and “brand name” choices. They don’t say how long this will last, and it may not be available in your country, so as always, check the price before you click that Buy button.

Good time to look for gifts for the holidays…you can delay delivery.

Enjoy!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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5 Responses to “Round up #199: bundles, B&N”

  1. Tuli Reno Says:

    When I was in the Army we had to go to a bunch of different agencies to sign in. The first place I would go was the post library. It was also the last place I would go because I didn’t want to give up my library card until the last minute.

    Well, I developed an allergy to p-books (or the mold, mildew, cooties they developed over the years) so I have been staying away from p-books and libraries. Until yesterday. Funny thing, going in, I was a little anxious I wouldn’t know how to find a book I was looking for, it had been so long since I had been in a library. They made it easy for me with signs all over the place.

    I am now in possession of a p-book I would have bought as an e-book but it hasn’t been published that way yet, “The Book of Sand.” Did I read about this book in one of your blogs recently?

    I haven’t started reading it yet as I am in the middle of plowing through “The Hobbit.” So, I don’t know if I am still allergic. It has been ages since I read a p-book. And to answer your question: No, I don’t want any more p-books in my life either.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tuli!

      Interesting! I was a competitive swimmer for about ten years, and then developed this terrible reaction to chlorine. I can’t even be in a room that has been cleaned with a chlorine cleaner without a reaction. I was aware that some exposure was necessary for an allergy, but not really that over-exposure could lead to these kinds of responses.

      A lot of people have negative physical reactions to p-books, I think…people underestimate that, I believe.

      If that’s the Borges book, I don’t think I’ve written about that lately…

      • Tuli Reno Says:

        It is the Borges book I am referring to. I read a blog recently that referred to it. I feel fortunate that my library, which is very small, had the book.

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Bundles are quite common on the technical/professional side of things. Two publishers that I deal with extensively: O’Reilly (which also handles Microsoft Press and Wrox), and Manning always offer 3 prices: ebook only, pbook only, or pbook + ebook.

    Baen books the scifi publisher(which also carries some Tor and Del Rey titles) has a different take on bundles. They combine several titles (usually 5 or 6) into an ebook bundle for one price (usually $12-18). They create a new bundle every month, but all the past month’s bundles remain available. Usually one of the titles in the bundle is an “Advance Reader Copy” (ARC) which means it is in a prepublication state. I have found ARC copies to be generally fine — they are usually in a very advanced pre-pub state. Each title in the bundle will appear as a separate ebook on your kindle.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Yes, there are some publishers doing it, and you are right that the audiences that presumably were more likely to be early adopters of e-books (tech and sci-fi) have been better served.

      When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, we would get “galleys”, which are essentially the same thing as ARCs. The point was to get us excited about the book so we would order more and promote it more. The main difference was typically the quality of the physical manufacture (a hardback might come paperbound, for example)…which is irrelevant with e-books, for the most part.

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