November 2016

Here’s our publishing industry news roundup for November 2016.

Rapids, Amazon’s New Kid’s Reading App Now Available For Download

Amazon has launched a new reading app called Rapids, which allows kids to read hundreds of illustrated short stories in several different genres in a unique, chat style way. The app is available for iOS, Android, and Amazon fire devices for only $2.99 a month.
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Overdrive Marks 30th Anniversary by Donating hundreds of eBooks to 1,000 elementary Schools

Digital reading platform, Overdrive, is working with several publishers on the initiative, including Lerner Publishing Group, Britannica Digital Learning, Open Road Integrated Media, Dawn Publications and ABDO.
The collection of donated ebooks includes a variety of subjects for young readers. It also has read-alongs and interactive titles that sync recorded narration with highlighted words as the narrator reads.
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Forbes’ “Co-storytelling” approach the answer to the failing banner advertising model

In 2010, Forbes launched BrandVoice, a system which enables companies to publish their own content on the Forbes website.
“That was a big deal,” chief product officer Lewis DVorkin told City AM. “Because everybody said ‘you’re going to ruin journalism or you’re going to ruin Forbes’.
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US Publishers in France Increases as Elections Draw Near

In the past year, American digital publishers Mashable, Business Insider and, most recently, Forbes, have eyed France as their latest region for international expansion.
“Western Europe has traditionally been more difficult to enter due to entrenched local competition,” said Mike Federle, president and COO of Forbes Media. “The internet changes that somewhat.”
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The Guardian’s New VR Experience is a Tour of London’s Victorian sewers

Fittingly named Underworld, this new VR experience created by the Guardian’s in-house VR team and The Mill, offers viewers a chance to explore and travel from one of London’s lost waterways, the old River Fleet, through to blood sewers under Smithfield Market and then on to the floodgates of the River Thames.
Francesca Panetta, executive editor, virtual reality, at the Guardian said, “We are looking to do a range of virtual reality projects at the Guardian – everything from hard news to softer pieces, and this experience really represents a feature within VR,”.
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Google Awards Innovation Cash to Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press and FT

Trinity Mirror is the biggest recipient in Google’s newest round of grants and is the only UK grant recipient among 31 large projects to receive grants of up to €1m. Trinity Mirror is using the money to support Project Vario, a new approach on “promoted content”. Trinity Mirror said in its pitch for Project Vario: “Project Vario will attempt to develop a compelling alternative to promoted content links in publisher apps; instead focusing on exclusive, targeted promotional offers that have real-life value to the users who wish to redeem them.”
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Barnes & Noble Reports a 4% Drop in Second Quarter Sales

B&N’s total revenue plunged 4.0% in the quarter compared to last year, at $858.5 million. Chairman and CEO Len Riggio acknowledged that sales were sluggish in the quarter, which he said were “directly related to the election cycle: “With the election behind us, we hope and expect sales will improve over the holidays.”
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Pottermore’s Sales Doubled After Selling eBooks on Amazon and Others

Pottermore, the digital company for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, has reported an enormous increase in sales following its decision to make its ebooks and audiobooks available through Amazon, Apple, Audible and others. The company recorded a pretax loss of £4.9m, compared to a loss of £6m a year before, as it continued to invest in its website, new products, and e-commerce site.
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IPA-FEP Report VAT’s Negative Impact on Book Sales

The IPA’s summary of the VAT report says “Books, as a strategic commodity that activates the knowledge economy, should be exempted from VAT or subject to a zero-rate regime.
“There is strong evidence,” the statement reads, “that exempting books from tax brings widespread medium- and long-term social, cultural and economic benefits.
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Demos Parneros is Barnes and Noble’s New COO

American bookselling chain Barnes & Noble has appointed Demos Parneros to the role of chief operating officer, effective immediately.
Parneros will report to Len Riggio, chairman and c.e.o. of Barnes & Noble, working closely with him on all aspects of company operations including stores, merchandising, e-commerce, systems and real estate.
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