The European Commission announced Tuesday that it has opened formal proceedings to investigate whether or not major eBook publishers, possibly “with the help of Apple,” are “engaged in anti-competitive practices affecting the sale of eBooks.” The publishing companies named in the investigation include Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck. “The Commission will in particular investigate whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition in the EU or in the EEA,” the European Commission said in a statement. It is unclear how long the investigation will take. A press release from the European Commission follows after the break. More →
Twitter’s CEO, Dick Costolo, has confirmed that his firm has purchased TweetDeck, the popular third-party client. In a blog post published on Wednesday morning, Costolo said that Twitter will continue to invest in TweetDeck, which Costolo sees as a powerful platform for brands, marketers, and publishers. Iain Dodsworth, the CEO of TweetDeck, said his team will remain in London “with the same focus and products, and now with the support and resources that allow [it] to grow.” While Twitter.com will still be the go-to destination for consumers, TweetDeck hopes that its service will continue to be used by “brands, influences, the highly active and anyone that just needs “more power.” Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed although early reports suggested Twitter paid $40 million in cash and stock. More →
Could all the recent hoopla stirred up by Apple’s decision to enforce its existing App Store subscription policies be much ado about nothing? Earlier this month, Apple announced that its new App Store subscription service became available to all publishers. In a related note prior to that announcement, Apple noted that it would begin cracking down on content providers who had been skirting a rule stipulating all apps providing links to Web-based content purchases must also make the same content available using Apple’s in-app purchase mechanism — therefor forcing them to cough up Apple’s 30% cut. As a result, developers were enraged. Apple’s typically unclear wording left each developer guessing as to whether or not it might be affected by the policy. Some publicly jumped to conclusions while others went further still and announced that they would abandon iOS all together. One developer recently decided to email Apple CEO Steve Jobs and inquire about the matter, however, and claims to have received a response. Both emails are found after the break. More →
Just one day after Apple made its App Store subscription service available to publishers, Google has already responded by announcing a similar service for its Android platform. The solution will also work in Web-based clients, allowing publishers to reach users on multiple platforms with a single solution. Much like Apple’s implementation, Google’s One Pass provides users with a single interface where they can access and manage all of their digital newspaper, magazine and other content subscriptions. Unlike App Store subscriptions, however, Google gives publishers much more freedom with regard to pricing models and flexibility. Publishers will also be able to give free or reduced subscriptions to paid print subscribers, and they can even utilize a freemium model if they so desire. Hit the break for a video from Google outlining the One Pass product. More →
Back in June, Steve Jobs claimed that the iPad had captured 22% of the ebook market since its release in April of this year. J.A. Konrath, a popular fiction author, has recently stated that he is not seeing anywhere close to the figure touted by Apple’s CEO. In a recent blog post, Mr. Konrath wrote:
Publishers might be looking at enriched or enhanced ebooks as their new big-ticket items to replace hardcovers. But the major ebook retailer, Amazon, isn’t set up for video. Kindle isn’t even able to do color yet. That leaves Apple, and according to my numbers Apple is a very small part of the ebook market. I sell 200 ebooks a day on Kindle. On iPad, I sell 100 a month.
Konrath, who is a huge proponent of eBooks, goes on to say that author’s can net 70% of their work’s profits by publishing directly to ebooks; as well as pick their own cover, price, and title. Compare that with the standard 17.5% profit-sharing model publishers typically offer authors who go to print. This is just one authors tale, but you would think that if that 22% figure thrown around by Apple were accurate the numbers would not be this far off.
According to La Repubblica, Google has spent the past year working on a paid content system for publishers to be known as Newspass. The system would see Google offer simple access content from an assortment of publishers using a single login. Publishers decide how much they charge for access to their content, but users will be able to easily make payments with Google Checkout. It’s not clear how many markets Newspass will be available in, but recent comments made by Google seem to indicate that a launch of a system like Newspass would be far and reaching.
In the waning moments before Apple’s highly anticipated tablet event, a few last minute leaks are stirring up the excitement. First, we have some blurry pictures of a tablet device of approximately 9-10 inches in size running a version of the iPhone OS. The device is encased in a plastic housing, bolted down to a table and covered with a black drape. This cloak and dagger treatment is reportedly standard practice for any super secret Apple device so these images may indeed be the Apple tablet. Apple is also reportedly in last minute negotiations with book publishers and television studios to finalize pricing for its rumored tablet device. Apple is rumored to be pushing Hollywood to offer $1 per episode pricing on television shows in iTunes and is offering book publishers a pricing scheme that would set book prices at $12.99 to $14.99 for best sellers with a basement price of $9.99 for less popular books. Apple would reportedly take a 30% cut of all sales, leaving book publishers with a take home price of $10.49 or less. This could place them between a rock and a hard place with Apple offering a potentially larger audience with less revenue per book, or going with Amazon which offers greater revenue per book with its Kindle but may not have the reach and allure of this rumored tablet.