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News and tech help for the indie author

Walmart Now Partnered with OverDrive
by Nate Hoffelder
21 Aug 2018 at 8:23am

The hot news this Tuesday morning is the launch of Walmart's new ebookstore (powered by Kobo), but that is not the only potential bombshell dropping today. I have just learned that Walmart has also partnered with Kobo's sister company Overdrive to launch some kind of library ebook service. There has been no announcement, and this is literally the first time that this has been mentioned anywhere, so details are scarce, but I can confirm that the site is now live. While I'm sure everyone's first thought was that this is some kind of bid to compete with Amazon's Kindle Unlimited, I have been assured by OverDrive that this is just an internal project for Walmart employees. This site is a corporate library for a subset of Walmart employees.  It?s been live for a few years.  As you know, we serve public libraries, schools and colleges, and also corporate libraries. Like many of our corporate library customers, they don?t promote it publicly.  So, nothing new to announce. I have browsed the collection, and I have to concur. All 321 titles in this collection are non-fiction, and with categories ranging from self-help to finance, tech, and business this looks like the kind of [...]

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Walmart?s eBookstore is Launching Today
by Nate Hoffelder
21 Aug 2018 at 5:17am

Walmart is in the process of setting up new ebook sections in the book departments of its stores, Kobo has let slip a promo video for "Walmart eBooks", and multiple references have been found in Walmart's help pages. While there is no sign of the Walmart eBook apps, I did report a few weeks ago in an exclusive scoop that this would launch on the 21st, and here it is. Walmart is going to be selling ebooks both on its site and in stores. The ebookstore will be located at www.walmart.com/ebooks when it goes live, and it will be managed by Kobo and supported via a subdomain on Kobo's website. Walmart will sell just one Kobo model in stores at launch, the $99 Kobo Aura. (While the ebook display has clamps for two devices, the second one is sized for a tablet and has a label that mentions the ebook app, not a Kobo device.) I know there's a report that Walmart will sell 3 models, but there is just the one card and one price tag for the one model. The Kobo Aura will not be on the display itself; instead, customers will take a hang card from the display, use it to buy the [...]

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Kobo?s Next eReader Clears the FCC
by Nate Hoffelder
20 Aug 2018 at 8:40am

Kobo's next ebook reader showed up on the FCC website today, and the listing raises far more questions than it answers. With previous Kobo models, we have usually been able to at least glean the device's name, but the new device is identified only by its model number, N782. Kobo not only took steps to obscure interesting specs such as the dimensions, screen size, etc, they also decided that this time they would hide even the model name. Since Kobo won't tell us the name, I'll make one up. I'm going to call this the Kobo Aura Two. The Aura Two was tested for Wifi, and they used a microSD card during the test, which means the Aura Two could have an external card slot. It was not tested for audio or Bluetooth. A careful reading of the test reports doesn't reveal any other details, leaving us to speculate about the device's specs, functions, and launch date. For example, there is a 50-50 chance that the Aura Two will launch with the Kobo-Walmart partnership. That was scheduled to happen tomorrow, which means we could find out more about the Aura Two in as little as 24 hours. On the other [...]

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Morning Coffee ? 20 August 2018
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Aug 2018 at 9:55pm

Here are a few stories to read this Monday morning. The next big ebook tech flop is here, and its name is blockchain.  The etymology of the word teledildonics (funnily enough, William Gibson didn't invent the term). Ugh - Amazon's system is chewing up POD listings and spitting them out.  On choosing a writing desk.

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Making Your First Infographic Is Easier Than You Think
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Aug 2018 at 3:33pm

A reader left a comment on last night's infographic post, and I thought it deserved its own post. Mark Williams asked: The possibilities are endless, but can you point us to any beginner?s guides to actually making these things? That is a good question; while I know of any number of comprehensive guides to making infographics (The Creative Penn has a good one) I have never been able to find a post that helped me figure out how to make infographics. I had always had the requisite tools at hand; for example, Canva is free, online, and has dozens of infographic templates you can take apart and modify, thus learning by doing. But all the tools and all the guides were useless because I struggled with the first step in making anything, which is understanding the concept of the activity. I made my first infographic in January, and once I did I realized what no one had told me before. I already had the requisite skills and knowledge, but what I lacked was the understanding how to apply them. In fact, most of those who are reading this post have the skills you need to make an infographic, you just don't know [...]

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Toronto Public Library Hits Milestone with 20 Million eBooks Borrowed
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Aug 2018 at 2:16pm

The major publishers may be blocking libraries from buying ebooks, but that has only slowed adoption; it didn't stop the Toronto Public Library from reaching a new milestone. The TPL announced on Wednesday that patrons had checked out ebooks 20 million times since it started its first digital collection in 2007. That collection started small, with only  25 ebook titles, including Astrology for Dummies, a book titled Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse, 17 travel guides, and a book on Joan of Arc. A year later, the collection had grown to 1,500 titles, which had been borrowed nearly 30,000 times.  By 2017, it had reached over 170,000 titles, which were borrowed over 4.6 million times that year.  Cipriano, who has been responsible for the collection since 2011, says that ebooks, eaudiobooks and evideo accounted for about 18 % of the library's circulation last year. "We've always said Toronto was a city of readers," says Maria Cipriano, the library's Senior Collections Specialist responsible for ebooks. "This proves it."

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Infographic: How Authors can use Infographics to Connect with Readers
by Nate Hoffelder
18 Aug 2018 at 6:17pm

Infographics are a popular marketing tool in the business world because they are a great way to get a company's name out in front of potential customers. A popular infographic could be shared widely, giving a company both an SEO boost and adding to its brand recognition. We don't see infographics used much in the book world, but they could be a boon for authors who are willing to invest the time and energy. Here are five ways authors could use infographics. If you have another use for them, we'd love to hear about it in the comments. 1. Reveal background details for setting, characters, or events There's no better way to keep fans coming back for more than to reveal how a character got their scar, or explain the history of a royal guard, a gang of cutthroats, or a secret society. JK Rowling, for example, even has a whole site built on background details for the Harry Potter books, and has published several spin off books. 2. Show how your book is similar to popular books Readers are always looking for books similar to their favorites, If your book shares themes and tropes with popular series like the Foundation, [...]

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Morning Coffee ? 17 August 2018
by Nate Hoffelder
16 Aug 2018 at 9:32pm

Here are a few stories to read this Friday morning. Here are some truly weird things that library patrons have asked for from librarians.  With Amazon winding down Createspace, it's time to move your books over to KDP Print.  The EFF is suing to invalidate the DMCA and free security researchers from bogus legal threats.  Do you think they'll succeed? Did you know you can build and play a game of Battleship using only CSS? 

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Amazon to Open Two Bookstores in Denver, Could Buy a Movie Theater Chain
by Nate Hoffelder
16 Aug 2018 at 12:17pm

Brick and mortar retail is dead, they say - so dead that Amazon continues to open bookstores, and is now rumored to be bidding on a small chain of movie theaters. Business Den reports that Amazon has chosen a second location for an Amazon Books in the Denver region. Amazon has settled on a spot in Cherry Creek for its bookstore. The online retail giant plans to open Amazon Books on the ground floor of Financial House, the eight-story office building under construction at the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Detroit Street, according to tenant finish permit applications submitted to the city. The company will occupy the building?s sole retail unit, which is approximately 5,000 square feet. When rumors first broke about Amazon opening a bookstore in Denver, the location was said to be in Cherry Creek. A few months later Amazon announced they would open an Amazon Books in a different part of Denver, but now it seems the earliest rumors were true all along. When it opens, the second Denver Amazon Books location will be either the 19th or 20th Amazon Books store. That will hardly be a newsworthy event; however, the same cannot be said for today's [...]

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German eBook Market Estimated to Exceed 100 Million Euros in First Half of 2018
by Nate Hoffelder
16 Aug 2018 at 10:13am

GfK Entertainment and the German publishing trade group Boersenverein  have released their estimates for the German ebook market in the first half of the year. The projections are based on a GfK consumer survey with a total of 25,000 respondents. The results for the first half of 2018 include: Rising unit sales:  Sales of ebooks  increased by 16.4% to 16.7 million units. Falling prices:  The average e-book price drops by 4.3%. Increasing sales volume:  The higher demand with falling prices resulted in an estimated sales growth of 11.3%. At 100.6 million euros, sales for the first half of the year exceeded the 100 million euro mark. Growing number of ebook buyers:  The number of customers who purchased at least one ebook increased by 6.1% to 2.7 million in the first half of the year. More frequent purchases:  eBook buyers bought  an average of 6.2 ebooks, an increase of 9.7% from the same period last year. There is currently no publicly available data on which retailer has what market share. Tolino used to release new estimates on a regular basis, but they stopped a few years ago when their market share started to decline. The current best guess is that Amazon has the largest share, with Apple and/or the ebokstores that [...]

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Kindle Unlimited Funding Pool Grew in July 2018 While the Per-Page Rate Fell
by Nate Hoffelder
15 Aug 2018 at 2:41pm

Amazon announced on Wednesday that the Kindle Unlimited funding pool grew to $23.1 million in July (plus bonuses), up from $22.6 million in June 2018. At the same time the per-page rate royalty fell to $0.00449 in June, compared to $0.004460 in June and $0.00454 in May 2018. US: $0.0045 (USD) UK: £0.0034 (GBP) Germany: ?0.0029 (EUR) Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy: ?0.0045 (EUR) Mexico: 0.0748 (MXP) Brazil: R$ 0.0111 (BRL) Japan: 0.5569 (JPY ) India, Canada, Australia: unknown Here's a list of the monthly funding pools. It does not include the bonuses paid out each month. July 2014: $2.5 million (Kindle Unlimited launches early in the month) August 2014: $4.7 million September 2014: $5 million October 2014: $5.5 million November 2014: $6.5 million December 2014: $7.25 million January 2015 - $8.5 million February 2015: $8 million March 2015: $9.3 million April 2015: $9.8 million May 2015: $10.8 million June 2015: $11.3 million July 2015: $11.5 million August 2015: $11.8 million September 2015: $12 million October 2015: $12.4 million November 2015: $12.7 million December 2015: $13.5 million January 2016: $15 million February 2016: $14 million March 2016: $14.9 million April 2016: $14.9 million May 2016: $15.3 million June 2016: $15.4 million July 2016: $15.5 million August 2016: $15.8 million September 2016: $15.9 million October 2016: $16.2 million November [...]

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