Felix Salmon

Is Amazon bad for publishers?

November 3, 2013

Duff McDonald has a wonderful review of Brad Stone’s new book on Amazon in the NYT; he’s a fantastic nonfiction book reviewer. There is one part of the review, however, which could do with a bit more explanation:

Adventures with e-books, Kindle single edition

September 13, 2011

Ryan Avent’s 90-page Kindle single, The Gated City, is a bargain at $1.99. It was produced in close consultation with the Kindle Singles editor, David Blum — the gatekeeper who determines what gets chosen to be a Kindle Single, and what gets relegated to the long tail of Kindle Direct Publishing.

The NYT toughens up its paywall

December 7, 2010

Martin Niesenholtz, the head of digital at the NYT, clearly hasn’t been taking my advice when it comes to how to build a paywall. Instead, he’s pre-emptively cracking down on a tiny and financially meaningless minority of hypothetical readers who might want to find ways around his wall:

Book pricing datapoints of the day

November 18, 2010

When a big new book comes out, the publisher has two choices. It can allow Amazon to sell the Kindle edition at a much lower price than the hardback, increasing the number of copies sold but possibly cannibalizing hardback sales. Alternatively, it can force Amazon to charge a high price for the Kindle edition, garnering a passive-aggressive note on the website saying “This price was set by the publisher.”

The financial crisis as PR tool

July 2, 2010

There’s been an awful lot of weird and unusual PR surrounding The Zeroes, by Randall Lane. My copy has a big white sticker on it: EMBARGOED, it says, until Tuesday June 29 — as though there is hot breaking news buried somewhere in the book. (It’s definitely not in the Vanity Fair excerpt, which came and went with barely a ripple of notice.)

Pricing kindle nonfiction

February 25, 2010

Yves Smith, of Naked Capitalism, has sent me a note to tell me how unhappy she is about the kindle pricing of her new book, which has a cover price of $30, an Amazon price of $19.80, and a kindle price of $16.50. Her publisher, Palgrave, is part of Macmillan, which just won a fight to force Amazon to sell e-books at more than $10, but part of the fallout from that fight is that books which cost much more than that on the kindle often get one-star reviews on the basis of their pricing alone.

Why BusinessWeek shouldn’t ape Time.com

November 23, 2009

Why was Josh Tyrangiel hired to be the new editor of BusinessWeek? One reason, the pundits agree, is that he successfully dragged Time — another weekly — onto the web. Ryan Chittum writes about “his eye-popping numbers at Time.com”, with pageviews rising from 400 million in 2006 to an estimated 1.8 billion this year, while Marion Maneker says that “he had tremendous success in building Time.com’s Web traffic over a few years”.

Disclosing journalists’ pasts

November 19, 2009

Dear Henry,

I’m not annoyed by you! How could I be, when you call me the “king of financial bloggers” no fewer than four times in one piece? I think you’ve created a powerful, innovative, and disruptive franchise in The Business Insider, which employs some very smart people and publishes some great journalism — even if sometimes it’s neither checked nor correct. I’m entirely happy that you’re out there hiring people even as most publications are doing the opposite, and I wish you and your investors the very best of fortune.

Navigating the news

November 19, 2009

The indispensable Abnormal Returns has a smart post up on aggregation:

Aggregators, investment or otherwise, are not the cause of the downfall of traditional news gatherers like newspapers. They are simply a sign that people are hungry for information and analysis presented in an efficient manner. For better or worse, that instinct to seek out order in an increasingly complex world is here to stay.