September 23, 2010

Amazon Now Sells More eBooks Than Hardcovers

eBooks have FINALLY hit the mainstream, and for the first time are consistently outselling their pulp-and-ink brethren, according to

Last holiday season Amazon hit a symbolic milestone, when for one day its sales of e-books exceeded the number of dead-tree books it had sold.

The company now has hit a more significant milestone, selling 143 e-books for every 100 hardcover books sold over the course of the second quarter. And the rate is accelerating: in June, Amazon sold 180 e-books for every 100 hardcovers; it also sold three times as many e-books in the first six months of this year as it did in the first half of 2009.

Amazon’s Kindle bookstore now offers more than 630,000 books -- including Predatoress and some of our other titles of course -- plus 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright titles.

The overall e-book market is still a mere weakling next to print publishing. According to a report from Publisher’s Weekly last year, hardback sales were projected to be about $4.4 billion in 2009 (including both adult and children’s titles), while paperbacks were expected to generate $5.1 billion in revenue, audiobooks $218 million, and e-books just $81 million — less than 1 percent of the print equivalents. That’s not even counting textbooks, Bibles and professional books — with those included, Publisher’s Weekly estimated the overall book market at $35 billion in 2009.

According to Amazon, sales of its Kindle e-book reader have tripled since it cut the price from $260 to $190, although it did not provide any hard numbers about how many it had sold. The Kindle has topped Amazon’s list of bestselling products almost since it was first released two years ago.

You don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle books, however. Amazon also offers Kindle e-book readers for the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android phones, and for Mac and Windows PCs. This cross-platform reach is no doubt helping to increase the customer base for Amazon’s e-books, but it also provides a security blanket: even if you break your Kindle or lose it, you’ll still be able to read the ebooks you’ve bought.

September 8, 2010

Is Successful Farming Magazine the Future of Publishing?

Successful Farming Magazine's owner, Meredith Corp., has found a new way to use multimedia: a video inside a magazine.

The August issue of Successful Farming has an insert from Bayer Crop Science. When readers open the page, a video plays a commercial for Votivo, a pesticide that protects crops from nematodes.

About the size of a cell phone screen, the video also plays four other commercials when readers push "play" buttons on the advertisement. Now, why they'd do that is a different question altogether…

The magazine, which was first published in 1902, included the insert in 17,000 copies or about 4 percent of its subscribers, said Publisher Scott Mortimer. Meredith matched its database with Bayer's list of customers, and the advertisement also went to some farmers who have more than 1,000 acres.

According to the Des Moines media company, video-inserted advertisements have appeared in magazines only twice before. Americhip, which created the Successful Farming ad, also created similar advertisements for Pepsi and CBS to run in Entertainment Weekly last fall.

Two or three advertisers have requested information after seeing the ad in the August issue Mortimer said. "I imagine we'll see more of them. This is client-driven. It depends how much they want to push the envelope."

The U.S. Postal Service required that Successful Farming include the words "Magazine contains lithium-ion batteries" on its table of contents. This warning confused at least one reader who didn't receive the ad, Mortimer said.