All Articles Tagged "digital books"
(Wall Street Journal) — The economics of the book business are changing so rapidly the industry barely looks like it did just six months ago. The era of the book superstores, with their big windows and welcoming tables stacked high with books, has gone into decline. Many of the country’s most enthusiastic readers have already switched to less-costly digital books. Amazon customers now buy more Kindle titles than hardcovers and paperbacks. Divining the profitability of a book is a mysterious art. But basic book economics suggest an e-book is more profitable than a hardcover, even at substantially lower consumer prices, due mostly to the inventory and return costs associated with physical books. At least 80% of all books purchased are still physical copies, however, which means that publishers must still pay legacy costs at the same time as building their e-book business.
By Christina Burton
For everyone who got a dose of “Why Black Men Love White Women” by Rajen Persaud, “Confessions of a Video Vixen” by Karrine Steffans and “Mama Dearest” by E. Lynn Harris, here’s the woman behind those hot titles and now, the first digital book publishing venture.
An author and a Pulitzer –prize winning former journalist, Karen Hunter has been on a successful streak in her publishing career. She has co-authored J.L. King’s “On the Down Low” and books by Al Sharpton, Donda West and Mason Betha. In 2007, she teamed with Simon & Schuster to launch Karen Hunter Publishing, an S&S imprint focused mostly on popular nonfiction aimed at the market for African-American titles. In January of this year, the New Jersey native launched First One Publishing, a completely digital book publishing company focused on releasing fiction and nonfiction books by veteran and emerging authors.
We caught up with Hunter to learn more about starting an e-book firm, about her not being a primarily black book publisher, and turning this part of her career toward faith.
Have you done like your publishing house and gone “all things digital?” Is there even a bookshelf in your house anymore?
I have several bookshelves; my movement is not about eliminating the physical book, it’s about embracing technology and the future and helping others get there. I have several computers, but I still write down my goals on paper with a pen. I still write notes and letters to people.
As a mastered journalist, I’m sure there’s always breaking information and research coming at you. What news helped birth First One Digital Publishing?
[It had] nothing to do with journalism. What inspired First One was [my] watching [nearly] five years go by since Sony produced one of the first e-readers, and watching the industry I was involved in do nothing to incorporate this new, very convenient form of reading. I saw the music industry implode because of its unwillingness to accept the technology and innovation shown by Napster and others. I saw that very same thing happening to publishing. I didn’t want to be left behind. Before First One, there was Karen Hunter Media, [which was] devoted to e-books. First One, through Mgmt-One [a Cincinnati business advisory firm], allowed me to take that vision to a new level.
(Fast Company) — Since April the first, for every 100 print-and-paper books Amazon has sold, it’s also sold 105 e-books, according to a fresh Amazon announcement. Kindle e-readers arrived, along with a small but fast-growing digital bookstore, in November 2007–by July 2010, Amazon notes, Kindle book sales had surpassed hardcover book sales, and then six months later beat the paperback books sales rate. Now Amazon’s customers are “choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly,” says CEO Jeff Bezos, comparing Amazon’s 15-year heritage of selling physical books to just four years of e-book sales.
(Wall Street Journal) — Buying a new book isn’t as easy as it used to be. Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Bertelsmann AG’s Random House Inc., last month put Jay-Z’s memoir and lyric guide, “Decoded,” on sale as a $35 hardcover. It also made a digital edition available at the same price, although Amazon.com Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc. sell it for only $9.99. The book has been a big hit. Published on Nov. 16, it has 330,000 copies in print, according to its publisher, a significant number of copies in this economy.