En Words

A place to talk about words - whether from books, stories, magazines, brochures, or matchbook covers.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Amazon.com Tries to Bully Publishers

Print-on-demand, or POD, has become an important technology in book publishing and will only become even more so. Instead of having to pay for a run of thousands of books, individuals and companies can have single copies turned out when needed. They are more expensive, but can be the difference between financial feasibility of a new book or non-existence.

But Amazon.com is trying to force publishers that use POD technology to get it from the reseller's own division. Don't buy from them, and they disable the Buy button on a book's listing. Here's a Publishers Weekly article, and one from a writers' weekly newsletter called, appropriately, Writers Weekly.

Think I'm going to reconsider from where I buy any of my books. Any reseller with this much of a stranglehold is too big for the good of us all.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jobs Dismisses Written Word?

Steve Jobs, when asked by the New York Times for his opinion of the Amazon Kindle, was apparently dismissive:
“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”
Media observer Simon Dumenco had a pretty funny and pointed take on this in Advertising Age (disclosure - I write on occassion for the magazine):
By all rights I shouldn't be writing this -- and for God's sake, you certainly shouldn't be reading it! Because reading is, officially, dead.
My own reaction is simpler: 40 percent of the country read one book or less a year? Simple arithmetic suggests that the remaining 60 percent must read at least one book a year, to say nothing of magazines, newspapers, and the occasional amusing product packaging. Sounds like a good sized market to me - maybe even more than the number of people who would buy a Mac.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Homage to the Bic Stick

Some people in the UK seem to have a bit of time on their hands - just witness the parade of amusing reviews at Amazon.co.uk of the classic cheap Bic pen. Black. Medium point. What, you were expecting blue and fine point? So was one of the reviewers.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Amazon to Cut Number of Visible Reader Reviews

An article on gather.com notes that Amazon.com is reducing the number of visible customer reviews of books. Only three reviews will appear on the page with the book, and those will be the ones voted "most helpful" by others. New reviews will head right to a link page with all the reviews. So book sales are going to be heavily influenced by three reviewer voices per title.

I know that at times I've used Amazon I look at the reviews, see if there's a pattern, and then jump to other reviews if there seems to be some real disagreement. But three reviews? Hardly seems enough opinion - which is really pretty amusing, given how often in other areas I find myself heavily influenced by a single "professional" reviewer, who might know less than I do.

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