August 25, 2015 Last Updated 3:36 pm

Dow futures point to a market rebound; Best Buy surprises with strong Q2 earnings report

Morning Brief: The Washington Post releases a crash fix update for its newer stand-alone iOS app, while readers complain of crashes on the older Newsstand app now called “Classic”

At the risk of turning TNM into some sort of stock watch website, I should probably start this morning’s news brief by letting readers know that European stock markets are booming this morning. Like a reaction to yesterday’s deep declines. The trigger for yesterday’s huge losses in the markets was pointed out to be the 8 percent drop in the Shanghai market. But the Shanghai index fell another 7 percent today, yet the German DAX, French CAC 40 and FTSE 100 are all sharply up – 3 or 4 percent. (Even the Athens Stock Exchange is up big, up over 8 percent.)

Yet here we are, seeing the markets rebound, why? For the answer to than question you’d be better off elsewhere, but it should be noted that Dow futures are up over 550 points ahead of the opening bell.

If the market was looking for some positive news, Best Buy gave it to them this morning. The electronics retailer surprised investors by smashing through its earnings expectations.

Sales revenue came in at $7.9 billion, an increase of 3.9 percent versus Q2 of last year.

BB-275“We believe these better-than-expected second quarter results are affirmation that our strategy of offering advice, service and convenience at competitive prices is paying off,” said Hubert Joly, Best Buy chairman and CEO.

Best Buy’s online sales surged, on reason for the good quarter.

“In the Domestic business, our comparable sales increased 2.7 percent, excluding the impact of installment billing, driven by continued strong performance in major appliances, large screen televisions and mobile phones. Online comparable sales increased 17.0 percent as our investments in new capabilities continued to drive increased traffic and higher conversion rates,” Joly said.

Joly also commented on the recent moves in the stock market, saying that “while we are cognizant of the recent financial market turbulence, we believe the combination of an opportunity-rich environment and the strength of our competitive advantages leads us to have a positive outlook about our future prospects, starting with the important back-to-school third quarter. We would like to thank all of our associates for their hard work and contributions to our success. The opportunities we have before us today are possible because of the talent and engagement of our entire team – and I am extremely proud of their performance and ability to win.”

Kobo is the latest eBook retailer to begin offering author services, adding a tab to its <strong>Kobo Writing Life website supporting authors. Book platforms such as Amazon and Blurb, among others other services in order to improve covers and general book design, figuring that improving the books should drive sales. Reedsy, of course, has created a business out of the idea.

KoboWL-250Kobo looks to be just experimenting with the idea, before launching a full fledged service.

“For the moment, we’re in Phase 1 of the project: measuring your interest in each service, so we can prioritize which opportunities are most important to our authors,” Kobo said on its site. “Please feel free to go and click on which service or opportunity you’d like to see us focus on first.”

The tab shows up once the author has signed into their dashboard, and eventually promises to help the authors with cover design and editing, as well as print on demand and buying ISBN numbers.

I don’t think anyone has successfully turned these author services into a separate revenue source that is driving profits, instead the goal is simply better books and therefore better sales. Also, these author portals give the impression that the platform offers a full array of support services and so encourages authors to use the platform to publish their books.

WaPo-iOS-iconThe Washington Post last night released a crash fix update for its new iOS app, simply called The Washington Post. This is the stand-alone app that was first released into’s app store before finally appearing for iOS devices.

The app appears in the News category, while the older app, now called “Classic”, remains inside the Newsstand. Of course, the Newsstand will soon be going away, but the “Classic” will then move into a new category called Magazines & Newspapers.

The new app has gotten mixed reviews inside iTunes, but only a few complained of crashes so it doesn’t appear to have been a major issue – and while a number of written reviews contain complains, the ratings for the app are fairly good. Interestingly, it is the “Classic” app that is currently getting all the complaints. Of 36 new written reviews, 29 are 1-star with readers complaining of crashes. Maybe they fixed the wrong app?

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