Book Biz: Audio Book Sales Surge, Authors Sue Amazon, Facebook to Set Up Book Store Fronts

Closeup portrait of beautiful young woman laying on grass and listening to music with headphones
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Amazon Sued Again

Authors United (AU) and the American Booksellers Association (ABA) have partnered in a lawsuit charging Amazon with monopolizing book sales. Did the authors and book sellers just now realize that selling Kindles and ebooks at a loss just might have been the key to monopolizing the ebook market?

Audio Editions Continue GrowthAudioBook_sm

Forget eBooks. Revenues for 2014 showed audio books climbed 13.5% over the previous year while eBook revenues rose just 3.8%.

Facebook Wants In

Now that various Facebook pages have sold millions of books, Facebook wants a cut of the action and is working on providing book specific retailing pages.

Publishing Thresholds

That this is causing such a stir up north surprises me. A successful American publisher told me 15 years ago that he didn’t want to develop books that couldn’t support a 25,000 copy first printing.

gremlinsPrint Gremlins Still Run Loose

The digital revolution in book production seems not to have been successful in eradicating the fiendish print gremlins. The UK edition of Harper Lee’s new title shipped with text missing from six pages. Eye-witness accounts of the gremlins have yielded these renderings.

Following Literary Footsteps

Is there a book in your past that left you with new insights about America seen with fresh eyes? Follow the paths of Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck and ten other novelists (whose stories were published from 1872 to 2012) with routes from this map of their literary travels.

NYC Library Confronts Illiteracy

For a variety of reasons the availability of ebooks hasn’t affected illiteracy rates for the poor, a problem the NYC library is addressing.

Sorry, This Just Sounds Stupid

New Zealand start-up Booktrack has just secured another $5 million in funding. It sells apps that play music while you read your ebook, presumably for folks that worry their iPod doesn’t have just the right tunes for serious reading.

Roald Dahl Apps Available

mrs twitWhen my children were young they found Roald Dahl stories strange, funny and sometimes frightening. If you have Roald Dahl fans in your family, Penguin’s new apps feature Dahl’s characters the Twits (e.g. Don’t Wake Up Mrs. Twit!) and are available for both Android and Apple devices.

Social Media for Writers

The premise behind this infographic seems disheartening to me, but for the self-promoters among us there may be some worthwhile tips.

B&N’s Nook Circling the Drain?nook

B&N’s new CEO, Ron Boire, may feel some pressure to kill the unpopular Nook ereader, despite the fact that B&N stockholders believe in it. B&N has spent over $1 billion developing the Nook and an updated version will be introduced in early fall, just as Boire assumes control.

The Problems (and Joys) of Moving

As my son begins moving into his first house, I’m reminded of one of the sweatiest, yet most enjoyable aspects of a move.

eBooks Allow Better Editing

Can ebooks rushed to print allow authors to edit more carefully before committing to print?

Final Thought

For a moment I was distracted. Books always did that to me… I liked the creamy pages, the smell of ink, all the secrets locked inside.” Elizabeth C. Bunce

About Wayne Johnson 69 Articles

I’ve worked in book manufacturing for over 30 years, closing my company Baker Johnson, Inc. in 2005. Currently I work freelance with a large group of publishers, advising them on the printing options available to them as the book industry endures major restructuring.
My wife Cathy is a retired psychologist and spent most of her career working with the youth at Maxey Boys Training School. She is a small mammal rehabilitator with Friends of Wildlife.
Our daughter Whitney is a PharmD working in the Denver area evaluating the pharmaceutical requirements of nursing homes. Our son Eliot lives in Waterloo and is an editor at Mathematical Reviews in Ann Arbor.