Amazon.com Inc. said it plans to launch a publishing imprint that will produce English-language translations of foreign-language books. The imprint, AmazonCrossing, will acquire rights to books and hire writers to translate them into English before printing and selling them through Amazon’s retail website, said Jeff Belle, Amazon’s vice president of books. The new AmazonCrossing imprint will also sell its translations through and national and independent booksellers via third-party wholesalers and will sell digital versions through its Kindle e-bookstore. Amazon will use customer reviews, sales and other data from the online retailer’s international websites to pick books that might attract a wider audience. As a retailer, Amazon has a wide international exposure, with about 25% of its revenue coming from sales of media, including books, music and DVDs, on its websites outside of the U.S. The first AmazonCrossing title, which will be released in November, will be French author Tierno Monenembo’s 2008 novel, “The King of Kahel.” It won a French literary prize, the Prix Renaudot. Still, translations can be expensive. Chad Post, director of the University of Rochester’s Open Letter Books, which specializes in literature in translation, said translators typically command between USD 100 and USD 125 per thousand words. A 60,000-word novel, for example, could cost between USD 6,000 to USD 8,000 to translate. Well-known translators, he added, command as much as USD 175 to USD 200 per 1,000 words.
Google Editions will allow customers to download and read books on any device with a browser
Google is planning to launch its own ebook store this summer, setting the scene for an all-out war with Apple and Amazon over the future of the digital book market. Chris Palma, Google’s manager for strategic partner development, said Google Editions would launch in June or July, offering digital versions of the titles on its book search service. The company says the ebooks will work across multiple devices, and, unlike the ebooks of iPad and Kindle, any device with a browser will be able to view the books. Customers with a Google account will be able to access the service. Readers will be able to buy digital copies they find through Google’s book search function and book retailers will be able to sell Google Editions on their own sites, getting most of the revenue from sales. Google Editions will be browser based, offering the latest digital books without locking customers to a specific device.
Amazon has announced that an upcoming software update will allow Kindle users to share their favourite book passages on Facebook and Twitter. The Version 2.5 enhancement for Kindle and Kindle DX is currently being rolled out to a limited group of users, and a wider release is planned for late May. Other new features include larger and sharper fonts, password protection, an ability to organise books and documents into separate collections, and a highlights feature that will allow a reader to see what the Kindle community thinks are the most interesting sections of a book. The social networking updates may well be a sign that Amazon is looking to widen the appeal and use of Kindle following strong competition from Sony, Barnes & Noble and potentially Apple with the iPad. Several major book and magazine publishers are said to be onboard with the iPad, threatening further competition to the Kindle, which only released its DX and Global Wireless versions in the UK in January. Amazon announced earlier this month that global sales rose 46 per cent in the first quarter of this year, although the firm continues to withhold sales figures for the Kindle device, saying only that they “remain very strong”. The Kindle 2.5 update will be delivered to devices wirelessly, and users will not need to take any action to receive the enhancements
Twitter CEO Evan Williams took no time in getting to the juicy part of his keynote address at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival on Monday afternoon. He announced the “@Anywhere” platform, a way to pull Twitter links and data onto partner sites and media outlets. A brief demo of @Anywhere showed off “hovercards” that bring up Twitter information with a mouse-over, let readers or users connect with their Twitter accounts much like Facebook Connect, or explore more specific possibilities, like instantly following a newspaper columnist’s Twitter account by clicking on his or her byline. The company has 13 launch partners, including Digg, The New York Times, MSNBC.com, eBay, Amazon, and Bing. As Williams describes it, “it’s not an ad platform, it’s an ‘@’ platform,” referring to the syntax of using the ‘@’ symbol to denote communication between individual Twitter users.
Amazon has announced the expansion of its Kindle self publishing solution, otherwise known as Digital Text Platform, that will allow authors to push out their own content.
The scheme, which was only available in the US previously, will support English, German and French languages, but neither Mandarin or Spanish, two more popular languages. Amazon has confirmed that it will be adding more languages to the Kindle in the forthcoming months.
Published works can then be sold through Kindle store to customers across the world who can download them to their Kindle devices over the air for a fee of which Amazon will keep 65 percent (ed: that is shocking).
However, the DTP is not without flaws, as reported by Betanews’ Tim Conneally, Kindle supports only Latin-1 ASCII alphabet and ignores the nine other ISO 8859 8-bit alphabet sets.
The Kindle DX e-reader is expected to be launched over the next few days in the UK and in more than 100 other countries for around £350
Observers anticipate that DTP might lead to a significant increase in the number of litigation as right holders dispute ownership of titles across various territories.
Amazon hasn’t described the details of its vetting process but it is likely to have a simple, but effective one to cope with the massive amount of publications the system is expected to receive at launch
Amazon.com Inc is to sell its larger Kindle electronic reader, aimed at students, businesspeople and newspaper readers, in more than 100 countries for $489, following the rollout of its original device last year
Amazon, which introduced the smaller wireless electronic reader last October, said the new Kindle DX would be available for pre-orders now and would ship on January 19.
Analysts were not immediately convinced when the larger Kindle launched, saying consumers had previously shown a desire for increasingly smaller gadgets and they worried the price would put many off during the tough economic times.
But Amazon, which has not given sales details for the device, says the Kindle DX is designed to be a more friendly vehicle for textbooks and newspapers, which often need a larger space to display their content effectively.
It also allows people to read personal documents and is touted as a way for businesspeople and others to avoid having to carry around an assortment of loose papers.
“On a global basis customers love the 6 inch device and we know in the U.S. that customers are also loving the 9.7 Kindle DX,” Ian Freed, Vice President of Amazon Kindle, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
The Kindle DX has a 9.7 inch display and has about 2.5 times the surface area of the normal Kindle. The wireless device includes a PDF reader and storage for up to 3,500 books.
Electronic readers, made by a growing number of companies, allow users to read content on a paper-book sized tablet that downloads content digitally. Amazon said in December the Kindle had become the most-purchased gift in the company’s history.
The Kindle store offers international customers more than 300,000 English-language books which it says are typically priced less than the physical editions.
The store also offers more than 100 newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Financial Times, The Times and Le Monde either for single purchase or subscription.
Sony said Thursday that it will offer subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal and New York Post on its new electronic reader. In addition, Sony will offer a daily summary of news for owners of the e-reader. Sony will be the exclusive seller of the Post’s digital edition, which is expected to launch in January. The move by the two News Corp.-owned newspapers underscores the rising competition to Amazon’s Kindle device, which has dominated the market for newspaper and magazine subscriptions on e-readers. The Journal also offers subscriptions through the Kindle. Sony said the Journal will cost USD 14.99 a month for its digital edition. A subscription to MarketWatch news and columns will cost USD 10.99 a month. The Post subscription will cost USD 9.99 a month.