Round up #266: genre map, Hachette’s sales are…

Round up #266: genre map, Hachette’s sales are…

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

Hachette e-book sales down 34%

Behold the awesome power of Amazon!

Er…sort of. 😉

According to this

Publishers Weekly article by Jim Milliot

traditional publishers didn’t have a great first six months of 2014.

It’s worth reading the article to get the stats for the reporting publishers involved (HarperCollins, which I now tend to think of as one of the most customer-friendly of the tradpubs…traditional publishers…seems to have done the best).

While not taking too much away from it, I will call out this:

“The increase came despite a decline in U.S. e-book sales, which fell to 29% of trade HBG [Hachette Book Group] sales in the first half of 2014, down from 34% in the same period last year. HBG cited fewer movie tie-ins and the “punitive” action of Amazon as causes of the drop in revenue.”

Book Country interactive genre map: are publishers figuring out how to do discovery without Amazon?

I’ve written before about how Amazon is looking for a way not to be dependent on the tradpubs, and the tradpubs are looking for a way not to be dependent on Amazon.

I think Amazon is making progress…

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

may train people away from just reading “People Magazine books” (the books you would read about in that mainstream periodical). That’s just one place.

The tradpubs?

Well, they do keep trying things, but I’m not sure I’m seeing that much evidence of success.  HarperCollins is participating in the Oyster subser (subscription service), which is one path…and could have contributed to the better year we see above (although it’s hard to say how much influence that income could have, since we don’t know what it is).

One main reason why tradpubs need Amazon is for discovery: how will people find your books if they aren’t on the increasingly easy to access e-tail behemoth?

Here’s an interesting (and useful) attempt at a solution:

Book Country Genre Map


for the heads up on that!

What you do is hover over the map to find a genre you like, then click on it.

Once you do that, you’ll get

  • a definition of the genre (those seemed okay to me)
  • subgenres
  • “landmark” titles in the genre (I wouldn’t have picked the ones listed
  • Book Country titles in the genre (I got 165 results for science fiction…none of them well-known that I noticed at first)
  • latest science fiction discussions
  • Book Country science fiction people

As you can probably tell, there’s quite a social component to this (there are reviews and such) and what certainly seems to be independent publishing.

The “landmark” titles could be clicked on and purchased…and those appeared to be from tradpubs (traditional publishers).

The site is run by…Penguin Random House.

I think this shows that the tradpubs are trying new things…not sure how successful it will be.

You may find it useful for discovery.

Back in 2009, I listed literary websites, and one of the ones I mentioned (still in operation) is I think that has an interesting discovery system, where you can put in elements, and it will find books for you. For example, you could search for a humorous time travel book with clones (I found several). You can search for a librarian who is a super genius (aren’t they all), and so on.

I think we’ll continue to see Amazon and the tradpubs try to make it on their own. I have to say, I probably give the edge to Amazon, since I would guess they have many more customer transactions in a year, giving them more opportunity to figure out what works.

Win a Kobo Touch

You can enter this


to have a chance to win a Kobo Touch. You have to enter by September 1st.

Kobos get good reviews and have a lot of fans…I would say they are seen as somewhat upscale compared to Amazon. In fact, their new “waterproof”

Kobo Aura H20

can be ordered starting September 1st (that’s not the one being given away).

It is $179.99, so certainly on the high end for an EBR (E-Book Reader)…but lots of people worry about reading their Kindles in the bath or at the beach, and this seems like a good solution. In case it starts to rain, I carry a gallon-size Ziploc bag. I can seal it…and keep reading. 🙂

What do you think? Besides Amazon, where do you find out about books? What’s the weirdest, most specific book topic for which you’ve ever searched? Had a Kobo? Have you had an EBR/tablet water damaged? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


3 Responses to “Round up #266: genre map, Hachette’s sales are…”

  1. jjhitt Says:

    Kobo also quietly dropped the Mini with the addition of the H2O. I enjoy mine. It does a poor job on graphics and PDFs, but it performs as a text reader just fine. Kobo’s Pocket integration is something I’d like to see on Kindles.

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I have found Amazon’s store (and for that matter virtually all internet app store’s) search mechanisms less than ideal. They don’t do a very good job of showing book series in order — nor do they show first publication dates (instead showing the date of publication of the item at hand — which for back list eBooks is not a very useful date).

    Also Amazon’s sorting and drill down capabilities are not very fine grained. This latter is driven, I think, by the need to keep a relatively broad list of search results displayed — so the many 3p providers don’t feel hampered in their ability to sell their wares (this is true of all internet stores where attracting lots of 3p providers is a necessary goal).

    To address these issues, I often go to publisher web sites directly like Baen books (although their search engine is even worse than Amazon’s :grin), or especially professional and textbook publishers. For the mass market, I have found Goodreads (an Amazon property) to be helpful — especially in getting lists of series in order.

    I wish that Amazon would provide some integration of the reviews on their selling pages with the reviews on Goodreads (and Shelfari for that matter).

    When all else fails, I can “go up a level”, and use Google search which has excellent drill down and sorting capabilities via a parameterized search language that is imperfectly documented, and few use or even know about.

    I do agree that Amazon is likely to be the winner in the “title discovery” sweepstakes — they are large, span most publishers, and have many untapped resources (like the aforementioned Goodreads and Shelfari services) with which to improve.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Oh, I agree! It’s easier to search an Excel spreadsheet than it is to search the Amazon website. 😉 Why can’t we at least limit a search to a particular field…like searching for an author’s name under “author”, so that’s all we get?

      It could be because they think serendipitous discovery is a valuable tool. If you search for…Stephen King, and the search includes books that are merely described as being “like Stephen King”, that may lead you to buy something which you otherwise wouldn’t have bought.

      I do often see series order listed now, and frequently, series have their own pages…but they don’t make those easy to find, either.

      The issue with series order or actual original publication date, I assume, is that the publisher isn’t obligated to provide those (or even to know what they were in the latter case). That means that Amazon would have to do research on every book submitted, which would add to costs…and could even add to liability if they were wrong. Series order can be hotly debated…for example, does publication order trump story order?

      However, Amazon does “push discovery” pretty well…they can make you notice a book which you would not have noticed otherwise, and that’s what the publishers want. If you want the new Stephen King, you’ll find it…first time author? That needs to be placed in your path so you metaphorically trip over it. 😉

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