HMV collapse ‘inevitable’ – but music fans will miss the magic


THERE was a ray of hope today that some of the 230 branches of HMV could still be rescued from oblivion following the 92-year-old high street chain’s decision to call in the administrators. But most music lovers fear that music shops will now be a thing of the past.

Writing in The Independent, David Hepworth recalls his days working at HMV’s Oxford Street branch in the 1980s, when a new release would trigger excitement and long queues from the tills to the back of the shop.

“A download’s all very well, but it’s not magic,” he writes. “Record shops were magic.”

Neil McCormick of the Daily Telegraph says HMV’s predicament is another nail in the coffin of the record shop, a “holy” place where you can “luxuriate in longing and nostalgia, filled with the warm sense of being somewhere your musical obsession is treated as venerable and even sacred”.

It’s not just disappointing for music fans, says McCormick – it’s also bad news for the record industry because the end result may be an overall reduction in the amount of music that is purchased.

It’s possible the disappearance of HMV “may well suit” some small, independent record stores who will get some extra business, McCormick notes. But he adds that such “indie stores” are not in every high street and shopping mall, which means even more people will migrate to the web where “music is cheap or free” and can be obtained “at the click of a mouse”.

The Financial Times says the failure of HMV marks a “grim start to the year” following the closure last week of the camera retailer Jessops. But the paper says there is cause for hope because Hilco, the “retail restructuring group” that already owns HMV Canada, may be interested in acquiring “some HMV stores” in the UK.

The Guardian also says analysts expect a buyer for “at least a part of the group”. But Neil Saunders, managing director of research group Conlumino, spoke for many when he said HMV’s plight was “inevitable”. In an age when 73.4 per cent of music and film are taken directly from the internet, HMV’s business model had become “increasingly irrelevant and unsustainable”.

Article from The Week


San Antonio launching ‘bookless’ BiblioTech library in fall, places its eggs in digital basket



Hardbound books, apparently, are soooo 20th century — at least for the upcoming BiblioTech library in San Antonio, Texas’ south side. When the shiny, new public library opens its doors to bookworms this fall, visitors will notice something important missing: actual books. Instead, the facility will be serving up ebooks — about 10,000 digital titles or so — in an attempt to supplement the area’s traditional library system with some new-school cool. To help users partake in its content, BiblioTech will also carry actual e-readers for users to check out. Footage of the media event shows what appears to be a Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch as the facility’s e-reader of choice. Checked-out ebooks are also programmed to be accessible by the borrower for a two-week period. Going the digital route has certainly been a growing trend — 3M recently launched a Cloud Library lending service while one Austrian town kicked off its own unique e-book repository based on stickers equipped with QR codes and NFC chips. As ongoing issues involving Penguin show, however, digital lending sadly still has some hurdles to overcome.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Bexar County says that the Nook featured in the event was just a prop and not the e-reader of choice for the project. A request for proposals is now before the Commissioners Court and is awaiting approval on Jan. 15. The project will be going through a public bidding process to procure its e-readers.

By Jason Hidalgo, Engadget


UK eBook sales data, the truth is out there..

Published for the first time in the UK e-book sales data throws a chink of light on the size and variance of the e-book market and its relationship to print book sales. The basic numbers are clear. The data shows that the e-book market for traditionally published digital books is much bigger than previously thought, with estimates suggesting that a total number of 65 million e-books were sold in 2012, representing a value of about £200m – at least double what it was in 2011 (in volume terms more than double). That would mean the overall book market grew in 2012, despite spending on print books falling £74m.

The data was gathered from the major trade publishers, and those smaller presses with books in The Bookseller’s Top 50 of 2012, including Hesperus Press. The approach harks back to pre-Nielsen BookScan days when Peter Harland of Bookwatch and Alex Hamilton of ‘fastsellers’ fame would compile bestseller lists based on publishers’ sales. Unlike those days, when publishers could inflate sales by ignoring returns, and including exports, the data we have is based on e-books that have actually sold (there are no returns in the e-book world, and we asked for UK sales only).

Excluding titles where e-book sales data wasn’t given, the average share of book sales in the top 50 that came from digital editions was 16% – but there were huge fluctuations within the data, not least within genre. Just 7% of total sales of the non-fiction titles in the chart came by way of “e”, however, the e-book share of cheaper non-fiction titles that are currently available in paperback formats (Call the Midwife, A Street Cat Named Bob, Thinking Fast and Slow), were higher at between 12% and 21%.

The e-book share of adult-audience novels in the Top 50 is significantly higher than non-fiction and children’s, with the print/e-book share averages being 74%/26%. But even within the fiction sector, there are fluctuations. A massive 45% of sales of S J Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred-Year-Old Man came in “e” in 2012, but just 8% of sales of Sue Townsend’s The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year were digital.

Of course not all the titles listed in the top 50 will have been the biggest e-books of the year, and had we re-ranked the list according to total print and e-book sales, fiction titles would have moved up the list (and new ones come in) at the expense of non-fiction books. Anchoring the chart by print sales allows us to limit the universe, and also un-artificially exclude most 20p e-bestsellers and self-published titles. I have nothing against either, but the chart needs to be meaningful beyond a duplicate of the Kindle bestseller lists. Of course the intention is not to replace third-party e-book bestsellers lists when they become available, but to use this data to supplement The Bookseller’s analysis of the physical book market each week. (Contrary to what I’ve read elsewhere the lack of e-book sales data from NielsenBookScan does not undermine that service, but serves to emphasize how important it has become as a service to the trade.)

The current lack of e-book data helps no-one but Amazon. Only this week the internet company announced that 15 of its top 100 best-selling Kindle books of 2012 were written by independent (i.e. self-published) authors and published using Kindle Direct Publishing: according to Amazon 12 authors have sold in excess of 100,000 copies. One would think from Amazon’s publicity that it was the only game in town. But judging by our top 50 list, and other figures supplied privately, there are many traditionally published writers selling far more, in e-book alone. When you include print sales the list grows to beyond 200.

Amazon’s own bestselling KPD bestseller list contains titles that I now know have sold far fewer copies that e-books published by publishing companies such as Hachette and Simon & Schuster. In fact there are books I’ve not even heard of that have sold more copies than those books feted over the year by Amazon. I don’t write this to undermine those self-published writers or their hits, in fact I greatly admire how they’ve seized the opportunities open to them and given publishers a bloody nose, and in some cases managed to earn a living publishing direct to the consumer. But readers deserve more. Amazon should be promoting the most popular titles available, not just those titles that serve its business aims.

There is a wider argument too. As I wrote in my Leader article in this week’s Bookseller for years we’ve been labouring under the assumption that books were somehow in decline, that reading, particularly of traditionally published books, was going out of fashion—pushed out by smartphones, iPads, computer games and, of course, the digital slush-pile. But the aggregate numbers we have been able to gather this week, and which we hope to build on in the weeks and months ahead, show a different picture. By no means the complete picture, but a better one than we’ve previously had access to, and an encouraging one both for authors and their publishers.

By Philip Jones, Futurebook, Bookseller digital blog
Pos Title Author Publisher Print volume E-book volume Print + E-book

Fifty Shades of Grey James, E L Cornerstone 4,500,248 1,609,626 6,109,874
4 The Hunger Games Collins, Suzanne Scholastic 851,066 405,000 1,256,066
7 Bared to You Day, Sylvia Penguin 635,170 302,000 937,170
12 The Casual Vacancy Rowling, J K Little, Brown 394,754 59,413 454,167
13 Is it Just Me? Hart, Miranda Hodder & Stoughton 382,807 23,964 406,771
14 Before I Go to Sleep Watson, S J Transworld 362,177 286,740 648,917
17 War Horse Morpurgo, Michael Egmont 339,436 121,652 461,088
18 Call the Midwife Worth, Jennifer Orion 324,798 84,287 409,085
48 The Hundred-Year-Old Man . . . Jonasson, Jonas Hesperus 175,531 145,000 320,531

e-Sentral iOS App New updates

e-Sentral iOS apps have had a new update to version 1.2 recently. With the updates, few bugs were fix and new functions have been inserted for iPad and iPhone reading. Shortly, version 1.3 will also be made available at Apple Appstore.

Ulasan Buku: Rahsia Bisnes Mamak

9789673691821-mediumSatu bahan bacaan yang menarik dan sangat bermanfaat tentang peniagaan ‘mamak’ kepada para peniaga yang selama ini tertanya- tanya tentang rahsia disebalik kejayaan mereka.Penulisan yang ringkas dan padat disertakan dengan gambar rajah serta kajian melibatkan temubual dan pandangan seharian. Persoalan-persoalan yang selama ini membuatkan kita tertanya-tanya tentang strategi dan kebijaksanaan perniagaan mereka akan terjawab melalui pembacaan buku ini.

Dalam buku ini ada di ceritakan strategi mudah yang digunakan oleh kebanyakan peniaga mamak yang boleh dijadikan amalan kepada peniaga lain.
Beberapa cerita menarik mengenai sejarah peniaga mamak turut diselitkan membuatkan buku ini menjadi bahan bacaan yang tidak terlalu serius.


Kategori: Pengurusan & Perniagaan

Penerbit: PTS Publications

Harga: RM 16.10


Ulasan Buku: Awang Kenit: Pencarian Haiwan Kesayangan


Naskah klasik remaja ini dimulakan dengan kisah Pak Ali dan Mak Munah suami isteri yang tidak disukai oleh orang kampung, terutamanya ketua kampung sendiri. Bertambah sedih lagi apabila Mak Munah didapati mandul dan Pak Ali menghidap penyakit kusta. Akibat tidak tahan dihina oleh orang kampung, mereka berdua melarikan diri ke Gunung Hijau untuk mencari nenek kebayan bagi mengubati penyakit kusta Pak Ali. Malang bertambah malang apabila Pak Ali pula meninggal dunia. Tinggallah Mak Munah bersama nenek kebayan dan tidak disangka-sangka Mak Munah telah mengandung. Kelahiran anak yang mempunyai susuk tubuh kerdil membuatkan Mak Munah menamakannya Awang Kenit. Awang Kenit membesar menjadi seorang yang kerdil tapi rajin dan baik hati. Awang Kenit mempunyai seekor lembu bernama Badang yang boleh berkata-kata tetapi dengannya sahaja. Kehilangan Badang pada suatu hari telah merunsingkan Awang Kenit, dia telah pergi mencari haiwan kesayangannya itu. Ketika dia keluar mencari Badang berlaku pelbagai keanehan. Cerita ini ditulis dengan baik memudahkan remaja untuk membacanya. Banyak tauladan yang dapat dipelajari dari hasil penulisan Aqmaer Halim ini.


Kategori: Novel Remaja

Penerbit: KarnaDya Solutions Sdn Bhd

Harga: RM 6.99


Ubuntu New Smart Phone OS to compete Android

Just days after London-based Canonical unveiled its brand-new Ubuntu operating system for smartphones, the company took a trip out to Las Vegas to attend the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to show off the new open-source mobile interface in person.

(Photo: Courtesy/
According to Canonical, the “welcome screen” on the Ubuntu phone OS is designed to be a visual representation of you. The art will evolve in various ways depending on how you use your phone.

Mark Shuttlesworth, the founder of Canonical, offered demonstrations of the new Ubuntu smartphone OS at his company’s booth at CES 2013.

In Shuttlesworth’s demo, given to our friends over at,  the Canonical founder shows off what it’s like to navigate through the Ubuntu OS, browsing through a a number of native applications and system features. One thing’s for sure: This isn’t your average smartphone.

“Generally, you see a lot of content [in the Ubuntu OS],” Shuttlesworth said. “It’s very open, very beautiful. Apps on the left, so it’s just like the Ubuntu launcher on the laptop. On the right, you can go back, and you can go back through a series of apps essentially, just cycle through them. The home screen is down here, and there are scopes [applications], just like you see on your desktop. You can search anything that you’d be searching on the desktop right from your phone.”

Ubuntu’s phone OS is based on Linux, and while it’s open-source like Android, it looks much different than what either Google or Apple currently offers in the way of smartphone interfaces.

During his demo, Shuttlesworth shows off the native photo application, which looks a lot like Pinterest, but with a very clean and open interface. Without buttons, the application uses a carousel of options along the top to let users view all of their photos, or organize their photos by events.

“You can see how beautiful it is when you pull your content together like this,” Shuttlesworth said, showing off the photos app. “The reason it’s so open is because our developer guidelines have no chrome, no buttons, by default. You can bring in the chrome only when you need it.”

While the Ubuntu demo showcased many of the features, Shuttlesworth went one step further, explaining his plan for integrating all of Canonical’s next-gen devices into one cohesive smart ecosystem, all run on Ubuntu.

“Because of the full-code basis, you can dock this [Ubuntu smartphone] and you get the full desktop, so there is a full convergence story,” Shuttlesworth said. “In due course, we’ll have a tablet edition as well, so you could imagine taking this phone, docking it into a big piece of glass, now you’ve got a tablet. Give it a keyboard, now you’ve got a desktop. Point a remote control at it, you’ve got a TV. Media center. All of that running off one device.”

Canonical had introduced its intentions to enter the mobile arena of smartphones and tablets at the 2011 Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, Fla.

“This is a natural expansion of our idea as Ubuntu as Linux for human beings,” Shuttlesworth said at the event. “As people have moved from desktop to new form factors for computing, it’s important for us to reach out to our community on these platforms. So, we’ll embrace the challenge of how to use Ubuntu on smartphones, tablets and smart-screens.”

By Dave Smith, International Business Times