By Australian, Buy Australian

8There’s been a bit in the news lately about how Amazon have finally entered the Australian book market and are selling Australian titles for the first time. Not only have they done this in an underhanded manner using a third party to fulfill their book orders but they have also done it in a way to minimize their tax bill in this country.

10They haven’t made this move because they love Australian authors and stories. This is just another piece in Amazon’s strategy to have a monopoly on all books sales around the world.

Here at Boomerang Books we love Australian authors and stories. It is the reason why we went into business in the first place. 14We have always had a distinct focus and emphasis on Australian books, Australian authors and Australian publishers. We also love Australian independent bookshops, in fact we’re owned by one making us Australia’s online independent bookstore!

We truly care about the Australian Book Industry and we don’t want to see Amazon gut the industry from the inside out and become like the UK book market where books must either appease the giant supermarket chains or one retailer’s internet algorithm. What a boring, stale literary culture that would be for Australia. 

Show your support for Australian books and when you want to buy a book by an Australian writer make sure you buy it from an Australian bookstore!  We’ll make it even easier for you by offering you great discounts on Australian books and free postage if you use the promo code OzBooks.



News wrap: Overdrive, Book Depository, Kobo and The Canberra Times

Just in case you read my last post and thought I’d lost touch with developments in the ebook world while reading Game of Thrones, here are my thoughts on some recent happenings.

1. Opening of OverDrive’s Australian office

Earlier this month US-based ebook distributor to OverDrive announced it is opening an Australian office (in Collingwood in Melbourne).

This follows on from earlier news that they are working with the team from recent acquisition and Australian start-up on a browser-based ereading platform called OverDrive Read.

It’s great for customers that our supplier now has a base here. It’ll mean a boost to local content as the team seals more deals with Australian publishers.

2. Book Depository’s ditching of ebooks

The company second only to Amazon as that most despised by independent booksellers, and indeed owned by Amazon these days in any case, has ceased selling ebooks, Bookseller + Publisher reports.

The people at Book Depository, which is UK-based and gained a huge share of the global printed book market by selling online and delivering free of postal charges, probably figured it wasn’t worth trying to compete with Amazon in the ebook space (or were given instructions to that effect by their US masters). If they’d continued, they’d essentially be competing with themselves, and given Amazon has so much of the market sewn up, why bother?

One Australian publisher told me he believes Amazon has as much as 80 per cent of the ebook market in Australia.

All this makes you wonder how long Book Depository will continue to compete with Amazon in the printed book space.

3. Launch of Kobo’s Writing Life

Self-publishing authors have a new starting point for ebook production following the arrival of Writing Life at Kobo.

Digital publishing consultant Anna Maguire has written a comprehensive post on the news here.

The coolest thing about Writing Life as far as I can see is that it allows authors to download the ePub (ebook file) version of their work created through Kobo, store it on their own hard drives, share it with friends, or sell it via other platforms (yes, including Voldemort Amazon).

The other most interesting point in Anna’s post is that a Kobo spokesman told her they claim to have 15 per cent of the Australian ebook retail market. If that figure is tallied with the Amazon one above, that leaves 5 per cent for the indies, Google and Apple. That seems unlikely to me and is, we can hope, indicative that the 80 per cent figure for Amazon is inflated.

4. Axing of The Canberra Times Literary Editor

During my seven years at The Canberra Times I occasionally filled in when the current literary editor, Gia Metherell, was on leave. I wrote regularly for her and continued to do until very recently. I read her section every week. I’m very sad that the pages will shortly be filled with content from the SMH and The Age and that her position has been made redundant. Not because I don’t rate the Sydney or Melbourne content, but because the local perspective on national and international works and coverage of the local literary scene will disappear from the newspaper.

That said, I believe the literary community here will rise to the challenge and build a new forum for book reviews, author interviews and literary news. Perhaps it will be crowdfunded – if so, it’s sure to succeed, because the audience is strong and loyal. The readership will grow, too, because such a publication will of course be digital and thus have broader reach.

The business model for newspapers may not be sustainable as it stands, but that doesn’t mean there is not a demand for their style of content if it is published in new and innovative ways.

If you’re interested in keeping track of developments in this story and showing your support for literary coverage in newspapers, you could join the Facebook group Save the Canberra Times Literary Pages.

Non-Stop News November: Part II

Gleebooks’s ebooks site.

Google has announced that it will power ebook offerings from national retail chains The Co-op Bookshop (which sells primarily academic and trade books on-campus) and QBD The Bookshop (a clearing house and discount specialist) soon (in addition to those of launch partners Dymocks and Booktopia, whose Google eBooks-fed sites went live three weeks ago).

Like Amazon, Google has an affiliate program whereby booksellers, publishers, web site operators and bloggers can sign up to take a commission on books sold when they refer their users to Google eBooks.

It sounds tempting to a blogger like me until you consider the fact that you’re sending your readers’ money offshore, rather than supporting a local business like Booku or your local bricks and mortar indie, an thus potentially encouraging the contraction of the market. One of the main reasons I still buy the odd printed book is to make sure my local indie, and its equivalents in various holiday destinations, stay in business.

Hopefully the indies are looking at options for offering a similar set-up to like-minded bloggers and publishers.

Speaking of indies, other adventurous bricks and mortar bookshops (in addition to those working with ReadCloud as mentioned in the previous post here) that will face the search engine results challenge from Google are those in partnership with another cloud-based ereading start-up, Melbourne’s, which is based on a web browser rather than downloadable file model, partnered with Victorian indie chain Readings to launch a pilot store in January this year. In November, they helped Sydney favourite Gleebooks, Tasmania’s Fullers, Queensland’s Mary Ryan’s (also in Byron Bay), Melbourne’s Books for Cooks and Brisbane’s community minded Avid Reader to enter the ebook market.

All of the indies battle existing giants The Book Depository and its new owner Amazon as well as Apple and Kobo (which powers Collins Booksellers’ ebook offerings here as well as the now Pearson-owned Borders/Angus & Robertson online store and the standalone Kobo online store).

Speaking of giants, Pearson is the parent company of Penguin Books, and speaking of a big month in the book industry, Canadian-founded Kobo was bought out (for $US315 million) a few weeks back by Japanese ecommerce company Rakuten in a move expected to encourage its growth.

On Kobo, did you know that like Dymocks, it has recently followed in Amazon’s footsteps and announced plans to publish books as well as being a seller of them?

Are you keeping up with the nation’s most recent book news? It’s exhausting, isn’t it?

I haven’t even gotten to the Federal Government’s Book Industry Strategy Group, which handed down its final report on November 9 (the same day as the ReadCloud/Pages & Pages event and the day after Google eBooks arrived in Australia), or the planned Australian Publishers Association/Bowker Titlepage-based ebook retail platform (the final piece in the ebook retail puzzle in this country).

My take on those in the next post, Part III, coming soon to uBookish. Read Part I here.