The Kindle on iPhone and iPod turns out not to be a vapor app.
Effective today, Amazon is offering a free app on Apple's store allowing the Kindle to be used on iPhones and iPods. The service will allow use only of Amazon e-books, which can be bought whether or not the reader has a Kindle.
Speaking of books on the iPhone, in the past three months, books have grown the fastest of all iPhone applications measured by "number of unique applications," O'Reilly Radar reported. Some 60% of books on the app store sell for 99 cents or less, and 5% are free. The number of higher-priced books (defined as $10 or more) has grown from 2% of books available to 10%. (These statistics don't include the Kindle.)
Games do remain the most popular iPhone app, measured by number of apps and sales.
Bookstore bliss online.
Replacing Costco, Barnes & Noble was No. 1 on Forrester Research's 2008 online customer experience rankings, Seeking Alpha reported. B&N was followed by Borders.com and Amazon.com.
The rankings were based on a survey of 4,600 customers and included 113 companies in 12 industries.
On her Bookavore blog, Stephanie Anderson, manager of Word bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y., and a new columnist at Shelf Awareness, observed that "very few indies (although there are notable exceptions) have done a solid job of harnessing their websites to really increase sales." This is a problem that will continue to grow, she went on, because "people who love to read tend to spend more time online--and most of online is littered with Amazon links. . . . Too many customers don't know that they can have essentially the same experience on your website, if you have one. They can have the instant gratification of BUY IT NOW and also support their favorite indie bookstore--why don't they know that? They can order a book online for in-store pickup, so they never have to worry if the book they want is in stock. They can have all the convenience of shopping online AND all the things they are telling you they love about our stores. Why aren't we telling them?"
Four large publishers who say Anderson News owes them a combined $37.5 million have sued in federal court in New York City seeking to force the book and magazine wholesaler into bankruptcy, according to Reuters. The plaintiffs are Hachette, HarperCollins, Random House and Simon & Schuster.
Last month Anderson laid off at least 110 employees and effectively shut down (Shelf Awareness, February 18, 2009). At the beginning of February, Anderson and Source Interlink had raised prices to publishers by seven cents a magazine; in response, most publishers stopped shipping to them.
A million little strikeouts.
Another memoir, Odd Man Out by Matt McCarthy, about the author's summer "as an obscure minor league pitcher," appears to be more a work of the imagination than reality: the New York Times has effectively thrown Odd Man Out out of the game, writing that "statistics from that season, transaction listings and interviews with his former teammates indicate that many portions of the book are incorrect, embellished or impossible."
McCarthy, who is an intern at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Hospital in New York City, has defended his story, which he said is based on detailed journals he kept while playing.
More baseball fiction! Spring training is in full swing and the World Baseball Classic begins this week, so ESPN
decided this was the perfect time to get in the satirical spirit of the
season by showcasing an inspired, if fictional, collection of Yankee
and Red Sox books for 2009.
Vbuzz for Little Bee.
Chris Cleave, just beginning a two-week tour for Little Bee
(Simon & Schuster), a bookseller favorite published here
last month, has begun posting videos he's made at each stop. As he put
it on his website, "Ever wondered what a book tour looks like from a
writer's point of view? I'm filming my U.S. tour as I go along. I'm
enjoying it and I hope you will too!" Check out his interviews with
people in Milwaukee here.
Today's New York Times surveyed the prospects for The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell, the 983-page fictionalized memoir of an SS officer first published in France and released here just this week. The book is receiving strong reactions, some negative, others kindly.
Bookseller reactions vary. Barnes & Noble has ordered The Kindly Ones in "bestseller quantities." The book is a March Indie Next pick. Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt., bought a "stackable" number of copies. (Buyer Stan Hynds said, "It's a controversial book, and we're going to offer it to our customers who are interested in it.")
On the other hand, Gerry Donaghy of Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., told the Times that he had "made a very tempered, cautious buy. . . . It sounds like something where the curiosity factor might be really high. But on the other hand, it's: 'Do I have the time and emotional resources to invest in a 1,000-page book on the Holocaust that sounds like a transcription of Pasolini's 120 Days of Sodom?' "
For a twist on Twitter, check out a segment called Old Man Stewart Shakes his Fist at Twitter on the Daily Show Monday night. Shake this non-TinyURL.
Finalists have been chosen for the first Indies Choice Book Awards, successors to the Book Sense Awards. Through the end of the month, owners and staff at all ABA member stores may vote for their favorites in the seven categories. Winners will be announced in April and be honored at the Celebration of Bookselling luncheon at BEA. See the finalists here.
Cool Idea of the Day. Changing Hands, Tempe, Ariz., is turning 35 in April, so it's throwing a party. But, the store noted in its newsletter to customers, the party is "not for ourselves. We're throwing a party for you, the same passionately dedicated community of readers that has supported us for all these years."
The party platform for Saturday, April 4:
- 1-3 p.m. Martha Beck signs Steering by Starlight.
- 2 p.m. Newbery-winner Susan Patron promotes her YA novel Lucky Breaks.
- 6:30-8:30 p.m. Community Music Night, co-sponsored by Hoodlums Music & Movies. (Some 12 customers may make seven-minute musical presentations if their demos pass an audition.)
With a headline we don't see much these days--"Business is brisk for indie booksellers as chains struggle"--the Chi-Town Daily News
profiled two Chicago area bookstores in the wake of the announcement
that Borders would close its South Michigan Avenue flagship store (Shelf Awareness, February 27, 2009).
Christmas, I enjoyed a stronger sales season than in years past," said
Jim Mall, owner of Ravenswood Used Books. "This month has been kind of
up and down, but overall, I think it's been above average."
Judd, owner of Myopic Books, "reported steady sales from 2007 to 2008 .
. . [and] was generally confident the bad economy wouldn't decrease his
sales," the Daily News added.
Spinning off a marketing strategy used by the band Radiohead two years ago to promote In Rainbows,
Faber & Faber is "launching its own digital experiment, giving
readers the chance to pay what they deem appropriate for historian Ben
Wilson's latest book, fittingly titled What Price Liberty?" according to the Guardian, which noted that the book will be available for download April 27, six weeks before the publication date.
taking the classic advice that one should "write what you know," former
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich "plans to write a book 'exposing the
dark side of politics,'" the Associated Press reported, adding that the book "will be published by Phoenix Books and released in October." Michael Viner strikes again.
The Del Mar Times (and four other local papers) asked 10 questions of Lisa Stefanacci of the Book Works, Del Mar, Calif., who just marked her third year as owner. She noted that the store was founded "33 years ago by Milane Christiansen (so the store is 3 and 33). We're having a small staff party, and later in the month we're having a 3-33 celebration with the community--music, food, and a special: buy 3 books and get the third book at 33% off."
Quayside Publishing Group, Minneapolis, Minn., has launched a new imprint, MVP Books, which will publish books for sports enthusiasts. MVP's first titles going to bat this spring are: The New York Yankees and the Meaning of Life, The Boston Red Sox and the Meaning of Life, Dodgers Past & Present and St. Louis Cardinals Past & Present. The imprint will also expand into fitness and health how-to subjects.
Josh Leventhal, publisher of MVP Books, said the imprint aims "to create books that offer something beyond what is available through other media." The titles may be "a lavishly illustrated coffee-table-style book celebrating the history of a favorite team or sport, an in-depth account of a pivotal athlete or event, or an essential reference guide to keep handy while watching your favorite sport on TV or at the stadium."
Quayside's Voyageur Press imprint has published several popular regional sports books, including Green Bay Packers, Rebound!, Herb Brooks, Sid Hartman's Great Minnesota Sports Moments, Chicago Cubs Yesterday & Today and The Surfboard.