Sunday, January 5, 2014

Indie News: What Did You Miss in eBooks in 2013?

Thanks to the wide availability of smartphones and tablets, things are happening quickly in the world of self-publishing...maybe too quickly. What did you miss in the market in 2013? 

Looking Back

If you weren't keeping an eye on self-publishing news in 2013, you missed a few big events. The year was packed with precedents in an industry that's still finding its way. 

One of the most notable incidents was the Apple ebook conspiracy. The company actually went to trial for being in cahoots with publishers to raise the cost of ebooks. Seriously, that happened. There were 5 companies named in the conspiracy, all of which settled before the trial. Apple didn't, and they were found guilty of violating anti-trust laws. And get this, several publishers filed motions saying that any action against Apple would actually end up hurting them

So in August, a judge assigned a monitor to look over Apple's shoulder and make sure the company doesn't again attempt to fix ebook prices. But Apple countered with legal action against the person who was appointed, so the status of this watchdog is currently unknown (to me, anyway, and you're welcome to do the research). Either way, the average price of ebooks lowered in 2013 instead of going up. It's down to about $7, compared to $13 in 2012.

So while Apple was dealing with criminal charges, Amazon was facing civil court. The company was sued by three physical bookstores (known as brick-and-mortar) for forcing them out of the market. The judge threw the case out, but it still made headlines in 2013.

Two programs appeared in 2013 that are definitely going to change the future of ebooks. Amazon introduced the Matchbook program which allows users to purchase digital copies of print books they own at a discounted rate. Meanwhile, Oyster launched. This program is a bit like a Netflix for ebooks. It's a sharing library with more than 100,000 titles, and it's growing. The idea launched iStoryTime, a similar service that provides children's books.

And through the year, Nook continued to lose money. The device's steady decline could be a sign that it will soon go the way of the VHS.

What you missed in ebooks in 2013 could dictate how you market and sell your books in 2014. So get caught up on the now, and you'll be better prepared for tomorrow.

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