Entries in eBooks (5)


Facing Decline in Book Sales, Publishers Unveil Disappearing Ink

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Ebooks continue to gain in popularity while old fashioned books with covers and pages are losing readers.

The decline of traditional books is happening everywhere, including Latin America, where sales of new Spanish authors have dropped 37 percent over the past 20 years.

Hoping to revive interest in books, Argentinean independent publishers Eterna Cadencia are creating a sense of urgency with something called “The Book That Can’t Wait.”  And they mean that literally: The print is done in a special ink that evaporates two months after the pages are exposed to light and air.

Thus, buyers of these books are on a tight deadline to finish the stories by new Latin authors or else they’ll vanish.

While forcing people to read books in this way might not exactly please consumers, the publishers believe this will help expose the public to fresh talent.

Otherwise, the publishers warn, “if people don’t read their first books, they’ll never make it to a second.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


"Harry Potter" e-Books Coming to Amazon Kindle

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Back in March, J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular Harry Potter books were released as e-books. But digital book readers were only able to download them as e-pub books through the Pottermore website and then transfer them to their e-readers.

Now things are getting a bit easier for Kindle owners. Starting June 19, all seven Harry Potter books will be available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

There are some restrictions: The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is only available to Amazon Prime members. Amazon Prime is a service that provides free shipping and discounts for $79 a year. The Lending Library allows Kindle owners to borrow books for free, rather than pay for each particular title. There are more than 145,000 e-books available now through the Lending Library, according to Amazon.

“Over a year, borrowing the Harry Potter books, plus a handful of additional titles, can alone be worth more than the $79 cost of Prime or a Kindle,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library also has an innovative feature that’s of great benefit for popular titles like Harry Potter – unlimited supply of each title – you never get put on a waiting list.”

Bezos also stated that Amazon purchased an exclusive license to make the books available directly through Amazon’s digital store.

The books will be available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish on June 19.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Justice Dept. Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department has filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Apple and five major publishers over allegations of price fixing of eBooks.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, alleges that Apple and publishers Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Hachette and Pearson agreed to fix the price of eBooks ahead of the debut of Apple's iPad in 2010 as eBooks gained popularity with the rise of Amazon's Kindle in 2007.

"Beginning in the summer of 2009, we allege that executives at the highest levels of the companies included in today's lawsuit – concerned that e-book sellers had reduced prices – worked together to eliminate competition among stores selling e-books, ultimately increasing prices for consumers," said Attorney General Eric Holder at a press conference Wednesday. "As a result of this alleged conspiracy, we believe that consumers paid millions of dollars more for some of the most popular titles."

Holder alleged that the price fixing occurred during "regular, near quarterly meetings" during meals in private dining rooms at expensive Manhattan restaurants and constituted a "conspiracy to raise, fix and stabilize retail prices."

According to Holder, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster have agreed to a proposed settlement but the settlement will have to be approved by a U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan.

Three other companies -- Apple, MacMillan and Pearson's Penguin Group -- have chosen to fight, said Antitrust Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Sharis Pozen. "We will pursue vigorously our claims against those companies to ensure that consumers get the full benefits of the competition they deserve."

"We are taking action to stop what was an illegal conspiracy," said Pozen.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple had long believed it would be able to "trounce Amazon by opening up [its] own ebook store," the lawsuit alleges, "but the intense price competition that prevailed among e-book retailers in late 2009 had driven the retail price of popular e-books to $9.99 and had reduced retailer margins on e-books to levels that Apple found unattractive."

The Justice Department claims that Apple and the publishers "reached an agreement whereby retail price competition would cease…retail e-book prices would increase significantly (which the publisher defendants desired), and Apple would be guaranteed a 30 percent 'commission' on each e-book it sold."

According to the Justice Department, Apple's agreement with the publishers set the price of the eBook version of bestsellers and newly released hardcovers at $12.99, $14.99 and $16.99 instead of Amazon's $9.99.

"Apple was perfectly willing to help the Publisher Defendants obtain their objective of higher prices for consumers," charges the lawsuit, "by ending Amazon's '9.99' price program as long as Apple was guaranteed its 30 percent margin and could avoid retail price competition from Amazon."

Under their proposed settlement with the Justice Department, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster will end their agreements with Apple and other eBook retailers and will not be allowed to enter into new agreements for two years that limit customer discounts.

Apple declined comment to ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Harry Potter eBooks Now Available

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Harry Potter books are finally available as eBooks.

All seven of J.K. Rowling's popular science fiction novels are now available as digital books and as audio books on the Pottermore website. While they aren’t available directly through Amazon’s Kindle or Sony’s Reader Store, the ePub format is compatible with most e-readers, tablets, and smartphones.

All books are priced at $7.99 (or £4.99), while the audio versions are $29.99.  The books are currently only available in English.

Rowling was one of the last holdouts against digital publishing; she announced last June that the Potter series would be available in October as eBooks. It took longer than she predicted.

Rowling is currently working on an adult novel. She hasn’t revealed much about the new book, including whether it will be available as an eBook.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google Opens eBook Service

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- Google has entered the billion-dollar digital book business with Google eBooks, where users can buy electronic books, read them on most devices and store them on a digital bookshelf.

The service, the company says, “is all about choice, so you can use just about any device you own to read any book, anywhere.”

Google says all of the major publishing houses are participating, so prices are competitive.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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