Amazon Set to Open Non-Virtual Bookstores

After spending the last decade laying waste to the bookstores of the world, it now seems vaguely possible that Amazon is about to build a few of its own. That's right: physical bookstores, with actual books on actual shelves. And actual customers, one assumes. Amazon doesn't do anything without a plan, and without a preternatural understanding of their customers, so their business model must be pretty robust. As this blog post points out, the massive number of print on demand titles that Amazon hosts gives it the ability to tailor store offerings in a granular way without having to maintain huge warehouses of stock. And no-one does logistics and fulfillment as well as Amazon. Lovers of books may find it reassuring that Amazon evidently subscribes to the view that print books will be around for the foreseeable future.

Children's Book Council Reviews

Best known as the organisers of the CBCA awards, the Children's Book Council of Australia also offers (but does not guarantee) to review childrens and YA books sent to them at this address: 

Reading Time Online
PO Box 216
Kallangur LPO   QLD   4503

The reviews are published at  readingtime.com.au

The overwhelming majority of reviews are of books published by mainstream publishers, but independent authors should still give it a go. The criteria for inclusion genuinely seems to be quality rather than origin.

Using Facebook to Sell Books (really)

Despite the presence of 'book' in the name of social media's behemoth, Facebook is usually not associated with book selling or promotion. But with 1.6 billion regular users (about which it knows a great deal), Facebook offers a massive opportunity to engage in savvy marketing.  Digital Book World recently published an article by Mark Dawson, who describes himself as "pretty much the definition of a midlist author". He cites specific strategies, gives his own sales figures and engages with commenters. Well worth a read.

Content Marketing: an Inch Wide and a Mile Deep

A very interesting discussion on the topic of content marketing. Mark O'Brien, CEO of Newfangled (a US-based agency partnering with agencies "to make digital business development platforms for themselves and their clients") makes a good case for highly targeted content-based marketing. He discusses the approach with one of his clients, who gives many examples of the effectiveness of this approach. The client has gone from trying to attract clients from many industries to focusing on one very small industry segment. Using social media tools and creating useful, responsive content, the client was able to reposition his business, resulting in a massive increase in client engagement, meaningful lead generation from his website, all through quality content. No hard-sell, no desperate cold-calling. 

[these new businesses are] looking at a much smaller, smaller, smaller sector of the economy, but they’re marketing to thousands of those people. Funny, it’s like the magnifying glass. You’re putting that on there but you’re actually reaching far more people ultimately in a far more effective way, even though you’re looking at a much smaller slice of the economy.



Lightning Source versus Createspace

One of the benefits of digital printing combined with online bookselling is the capacity of printing books as they are ordered, rather than pre-printing and warehousing. This massively reduces costs for small presses and self-publishers. Two major players dominate this field — Createspace, owned by Amazon, and Ingrams Spark (Lightning Source in Australia). The two services offer a very similar level of functionality, but there are differences in pricing, approach, assistance and sales channel availability. Check out these interesting articles discussing  the relative merits of each service, and identify which one better fits your particular use-case.

Getting a Title Removed from Amazon / Reassertion of Copyright

Recently, a local publisher (Jo Jo Publishing) went into bankruptcy owing authors, printers and suppliers a great deal of money. The liquidators indicated the authors were free of any contractual obligations to the now-defunct company. Many of the authors published by Jo Jo wished to remove their books from Jo Jo-badged online listings (with Amazon in particular) so they could re-upload their titles with new ISBNs. As Jo Jo was now unstaffed, they had to take matters into their own hands. Amazon has a facility for authors in this kind of situation:

If you believe that your digital content is being sold by a publisher no longer authorized to sell your copyrighted content, please provide Amazon.com’s copyright agent the written information specified below. This procedure is exclusively for notifying Amazon.com and its affiliates that your copyrighted material has been infringed.

Amazon's requirements / contact details continue as follows:

  • An electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright interest;
  • A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed upon;
  • A description of where the material that you claim is infringing is located on the site;
  • Your address, telephone number, and e-mail address;
  • A statement by you that you have a good-faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
  • A statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf.

Amazon.com 's Copyright Agent for notice of claims of copyright infringement on its site can be reached as follows:

Copyright Agent

Legal Department
P.O. Box 81226
Seattle, WA 98108-1226
Fax: (206) 266-7010
E-mail: copyright@amazon.com