Amazon to allow gifting of Kindle books

Amazon has finally allowed people to give Kindle books as gifts. Great for last-minute no-shipping gifts! If you don’t like the book you’ve been sent, you can exchange it for Amazon gift cards of equivalent value.

Small self-publishers still won’t be able to send out no-cost DRM’d review copies. But they could, when they first publish a book, launch it at 99 cents, send a dozen or more secure review copies — and then jack the price up to a more sensible level.

AmazonEncore / AmazonCrossing

Two Amazon author services I wasn’t previously aware of…

1) AmazonEncore is… “a new program whereby Amazon will use information such as customer reviews on Amazon.com to identify exceptional, overlooked books.”

2) AmazonCrossing… “introduces readers to emerging and established authors from around the world with translations of foreign language books, making award-winning and bestselling books accessible to many readers for the first time.”

30 famous book rejections

30 famous authors whose best-selling books were rejected by publishers.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected by a dozen publishers, including biggies like Penguin and HarperCollins. Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, only took it on at the behest of the CEO’s eight-year old daughter, who begged her father to print the book. God bless you, sweetheart.”

Somewhere at Penguin there’s someone who has to live forever with the label “the one who turned down Harry Potter”. Although, on second thoughts, I’d imagine they don’t work there any more.

Ebook reading habits inside the book trade

The Bookseller‘s FutureBook conference has released some advance details of a new 2,000 person survey on ebook habits. Apparently the survey only targeted those working in the book trade?

47% of respondents had paid for an e-book

45% said they had used a dedicated e-reader device

61% of respondents had bought from the Kindle store

The full results will be announced on 30th November 2010.

French stifle ebook market at birth

The French are planning a new law preventing ebooks from being discounted. If one shop sells it or the print version at full retail price, they all have to. How ridiculous. It’ll mean that all books are expensive and ebooks are no cheaper than paper books. Yet a new French research study speculates that… “25% of books will be sold in digital form by 2015”. Not when you have laws like that, comrade.

paper2book

Those old fashioned ‘two-columns per page’ papers, still very common in science and medical journals? How to readify them for the Kindle? Paper2Book, new freeware…

“Utility to re-structure research papers published in US Letter or A4 format PDF files potentially with 2 columns layout. The goal is to try to make them more readable on ebook reader devices with small screen real-estate and without breaking the formatting, fonts, math formulae, etc. It is reported to work quite well for 2 columns papers being converted for the Amazon Kindle 3.”

Nice, but no simple Windows version yet. At present it’s all wrestling with Java and Apache and command lines. I’ve love to see this integrated as a simple one-click conversion service on the Instapaper site.

New Forrester research on the ebook market

Forrester Research (Consumer Product Strategy) has released new details of its latest research in the ebook market…

“we have just published our five-year forecast for eBooks in the U.S. The punchline is this: 2010 will end with $966 million in e-books sold to consumers. By 2015, the industry will have nearly tripled to almost $3 billion, a point at which the industry will be forever altered.” [$3bn is a very conservative estimate, as explained in the article]

“7% of online adults who read books read e-books […] the average e-book reader already consumes 41% of books in digital form [this seems to include people who read via Google Books] For those that have a Kindle or other e-reader, they read 66% of their books digitally”

“[this means] We have plenty of room to grow beyond the 7% that read e-books today and, once they get the hang of it, e-book readers quickly shift a majority of their book reading to a digital form.”