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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Way Beyond Publishing - The Disrupted Publishing Field Is Just the Tip of the Future Iceberg!

The future is just an arm length away!
 
Leila Villalobos from Caracas, Venezuela, a classmate from my high school days in Key West, Florida, sent me an interesting article that will energize your thoughts about our rather immediate future.

We are getting ready to enter an even more disruptive and rapidly changing world AND the changes will be coming faster than ever! All of the prognostications may or may not come to pass in the exact time frame forecast, but, I feel they will come to pass. Fun reading:

In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years - and most people don't see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on paper film again?

Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore's law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a long time, before it became way superior and got mainstream in only a few short years.

It will now happen with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs. Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Welcome to the Exponential Age.

Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

Uber is just a software tool, they don't own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world.

 Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don't own any properties.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected. In the US, young lawyers already don't get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% less lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.

Watson, the Computer, already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, 4 times more accurate than human nurses.

Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans.

In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear to the public. Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. You don't want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving.
Our kids will never get a driver's license and will never own a car. It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% less cars for that. We can transform former parking space into parks. 1,2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 100,000km, with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 10 million km. That will save a million lives each year.

Most car companies might become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.

I spoke to a lot of engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; they are completely terrified of Tesla.

Insurance companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.

Electric cars will become mainstream in 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all cars will be electric. Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can only now see the impact.

Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil. The price for solar will drop so much that all coal companies will be out of business by 2025.

With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter. We don't have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.

Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There will be companies who will build a medical device (called the "Tricorder" from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and your breath samplet. It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease. It will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medicine, nearly for free.

3D printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. In the same time, it became 100 times faster. All major shoe companies started 3D printing shoes. Spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to have in the past.

At the end of this year, new smartphones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home. In China, they already 3D printed a complete 6-storey office building. By 2027, 10% of everything that's being produced will be 3D printed.

Business opportunities: If you think of a niche you want to go in, ask yourself: "in the future, do you think we will have that?" and if the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner? If it doesn't work with your phone, forget the idea. Any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century.

Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a small time.

Agriculture: There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future. Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all day on their fields. Aeroponics will need much less water.

The first petri dish produced veal is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced veal in 2018. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces is used for cows. Imagine if we don't need that space anymore.

There are several startups who will bring insect protein to the market shortly. It contains more protein than meat. It will be labeled as "alternative protein source" (because most people still reject the idea of eating insects).

Lie detection: There is an app called "moodies" which allows anyone to know immediately in which mood you are. In 2020, there will be apps that can tell by your facial expressions if you are lying. Imagine a political debate where it's being displayed when they are telling the truth and when not.

Currency: Bitcoin will become mainstream this year and might even become the default reserve currency.

Longevity: Right now, the average life span increases by 3 months per year. Four years ago, the life span used to be 79 years, now it's 80 years. The increase itself is increasing and by 2036, there will be more that one year increase per year. So we all might live for a long, long time, probably way more than 100.

Education: The cheapest smartphones are already at $10 in Africa and Asia. In 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smartphone. That means, everyone has the same access to a world class education. Every child can use Khan academy for everything a child learns at school in First World countries.

Interesting ~  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Supreme Court Authorizes Stealing Books From Authors!


Stolen Books
On Monday, 18 April 2016, the Supreme Court (SC) let stand a lower court's ruling that allowed Google to mass copy/scan millions of authors' books without their permission or granting them any remuneration.

By legitimizing Google's mass digital scanning of authors' books without their permission or remuneration, the Supreme Court believes that authors' work, created from their own imaginations, is NOT their own property! I guess then Google owns our very imaginations?

Hogwash! What a bunch of rubbish. What is the sense or purpose of copyright laws, if the SC won't even recognize or uphold them?

Books no longer under copyright are excluded. But, books still under copyright law should not be copied, in part or in whole, without the permission of and some kind of remuneration to the authors (or their estates), especially when the use of the scanned/copied books results in profits.

Something is rotten in the state of supreme law (if there is such a thing on this earth). Could it be that the SC is overly influenced by the wealth of some corporations and not enough by fairness in law and true ownership?

What say you?

Read more about this topic in the research article for this post:

US Supreme Court Rules in Google’s Favor After Decade+ Legal Fight With Authors 

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

It's All About Freedom and Creative Control

Breaking Publishing Chains of the Past
How many books have been written, songs composed and sang, plays performed and movies produced about breaking some kind of boundaries and rushing into new found freedoms?

Literally thousands and thousands, I suspect. In stories from history, in present time and in futuristic presentations. 

Well, one such present time occurrence has and is taking place in the publishing/writing industry. 

Some refer to it as the changing state of affairs in the legacy and the indie publishing arena --- Some even are calling it a revolution!

I, for one, say the revolution part has already beckoned and been fought - and what is advancing now is the resulting growth and evolution of the new order, so to speak.

Both newbie and established authors are now self-publishing books for various reasons - such as a newbie not finding a traditional publisher for his/her new masterpiece or an established/published author who wants to shift more of the financial, risk and creative control to his/her side of the equation.

After the initial exit from traditional publishing (TP), due to the ever growing realization that TP's were really not manned to process and market the writing supply nor were they structured (interested) to develop new talent as much as they were geared for immediate profit margin AND the introduction of slick, new technologies, writers (the product producers) started to don entrepreneurship clothing and became more knowledgeable Re the business side of the publishing/writing industry as a whole - especially the new tech allowing more professional self-publishing and distribution avenues.

Even independent publishing has evolved into something new today. Fifteen to twenty years ago it referred to small presses that were not associated with the big corporate publishing houses. Today it refers to indie authors who are okaying, processing and publishing their own work.

Indie authors today have truly broken through the old boundaries and burst out upon a new landscape scattered with more level playing fields.

There are some land minds to be aware of, however.

As publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of Green-light Your Book, says "Self-publishing still carries some stigma, largely for two reasons: (1) because anyone can publish a book, and people who don’t care about standards do—and often; and (2) because the industry itself—steeped in tradition and invested in retaining the status quo—actively resists implementing changes that might truly level the playing field for indie authors."

It is also important for the indie authors/publishers to learn and maintain the highest standards of writing/editing, publishing and professionalism. If not, the real gatekeepers of worthwhile books, the reading public, will simply not buy - Talk about a 'self-correcting' feature!

I have said many times that a self-published book today is like the query letter of old - with benefits! If your self-published effort is somewhat successful a big publishing house may offer you a traditional deal, also. In fact, many authors have chosen to be so-called 'hybrid' authors; those who publish both traditionally and non-traditionally.

Yes, I would say that the freedom and creative control now enjoyed by successful indie authors will guarantee their continued growth.    




Monday, December 14, 2015

A Certain Level of Wisdom

Yesterday When I Was Young
Tonight's topic goes outside of the publishing industry block and concerns itself with 'other life stuff' - although it is related to published words (delightfully crafted) that can only come with age and experience.
"Hier Encore", whose original French title translates as "Only Yesterday", is a song written by Charles Aznavour and released in September 1964. [1] It was subsequently released in English as "Yesterday, When I Was Young", in Italian as "Ieri Si", in Danish as "Hvor tiden går", in Japanese 帰り来ぬ青春, and in Spanish as "Ayer Aún". It is considered one of Aznavour's greatest hits.
The English-language lyrics, were written by Herbert Kretzmer. 
This post is taken from a recent Facebook posting of mine.
The words to this thoughtful poem and song about life hit me especially hard today:

Yesterday when I was young,
The taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue,
I teased at life as if it were a foolish game,
The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame;
The thousand dreams I dreamed,
The splendid things I planned
I always built, alas,
On weak and shifting sand;
I lived by night and shunned the naked light of day
And only now I see how the years ran away.
Yesterday, when I was young,
So many happy songs were waiting to be sung,
So many wayward pleasures lay in store for me
And so much pain my dazzled eyes refused to see,
I ran so fast that time and youth at last ran out,
I never stopped to think what life was all about
And every conversation I can now recall concerned itself with me, and nothing else at all.
Yesterday the moon was blue,
And every crazy day brought something new to do,
I used my magic age as if it were a wand,
And never saw the waste and emptiness beyond;
The game of love I played with arrogance and pride
And every flame I lit too quickly, quickly died;
The friends I made all seemed somehow to drift away
And only I am left on stage to end the play.
There are so many songs in me that won't be sung,
I feel the bitter taste of tears upon my tongue,
The time has come for me to pay for Yesterday
When I was Young.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2015 Digital Publishing Trends

The Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL) and Bowker have teamed up for their second annual survey on digital publishing trends and stats. Some cool data.

The results will be shown in colorful charts and graphs indicating statistics Re just who in the industry has published digitally, what genres were published more frequently digitally, the quality of digital works compared to print, etc.

Useful info that delves into some actual numbers. An interesting look-see into the digital publishing landscape.    

This news from E-ContentXtra: "The “2015 Digital Publishing Survey” shows that about 73% of respondents have published digitally (up from about 64% in 2014) and that about 45% have self-published. About 13% of respondents feel that ebooks are held to a lower standard than print books, but about 53% believe that the quality of digitally published content is improving.
Publishers are including quality assurance (QA) measures in their workflows: About 36% are performing self-checks, 36% are hiring editors, and 23% are performing QA before conversion." 

Excerpts from tonight's research article:









Many more categories of 2015 digital publishing data are presented in the 2015 Digital Publishing Survey

Please go read, ingest and enjoy :)

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

'Predatory Scholarly Publishing Practices' are Contaminating the STM Publishing Industry

For those of us who forgot, the STM publishing industry refers to the Scientific, Technical and Medical publishing field; generally encompassed within the academic journal genre.

I have long had an interest in the internal workings of the academic publishing field, due mainly to the enormous money making capabilities of the academic journal publishers and their shabby treatment of the researcher-authors (from whom they make their livelihood). Even to requiring the authors to pay an APC (article processing charge)! 

AND, mind you, the authors of academic research never receive a percentage of compensation based on article usage (for further research) or overall journal profit - even for a specified time. Talk about corralling intellectual knowledge into academic slave labor!

At any rate, tonights research article comes from Knowledge Speak, the daily intelligence resource for the STM Publishing industry and discusses 'a study conducted by researchers from Hanken School of Economics and published in the open access journal BMC Medicine, which sheds new light on the volume and market characteristics of so-called ‘predatory’ scholarly journal publishing.'

Key excerpts:

"The study shows the number of articles published in journals defined as such that have increased nearly eightfold since 2010. However, it concludes that the problem of ‘predatory journals’ is limited to a few countries where researchers are known to be placed under pressure to publish in international journals."

"The success of open access publishing, which has seen enormous growth in the last 15 years, has also seen the unwelcome development of what has become known as ‘predatory’ journals. These are APC-charging journals, which publish articles rapidly without proper peer review."

"In the past few years, there have been investigations or journalistic stings into ‘predatory’ publishing but very few systematic research studies. To address this, an empirical investigation was undertaken, which took as its starting point Beall’s List. Beall’s List is a blacklist of over 600 ‘predatory’ publishers and 400 individual journals compiled by the librarian Jeffery Beall based on a number of criteria that he believes reveal the true nature of such journals, for instance obscuring where the journal is operating from, faked editorial boards, and marketing unrealistically low delays from submission to publishing. The researchers utilized this list as the basis for their study, as it is currently the most widely known list available."

Read the rest of this insightful article: New study reveals characteristics of the ‘predatory’ scholarly publishing market 


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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Corporate Publishing Booming on the Backs of Slave Wage Authors

Corporate Publishing Profiting
On Authors' Slave Wages
Sad to say, but, the corporatized publishing industry has no heart left! It apparently donated it to make room for balance sheets, algorithms, marketing deception and other faceless, detached, formulaic 'analysis-crunchers' to determine the probable success of an author's work. These so-called new tech 'advances' have replaced human, heartfelt, intuitive relationships between authors, agents, editors and other blood and flesh homo sapiens that actually considered little things like writing style, grammar, flair, character development, intuition, plot creativity and twists, etc., etc., etc. NOT TO MENTION the nurturing of newbie talent that can only take place between two humans who breathe and understand raw talent, creativity and their fulfillment through guidance, learning and experience.

I hate to say this, but it would be neat if ALL writers (from all fields) took a stand and ONLY self-published from now on!

Or, at least, until the true creators (product producers) get their rightful share of the profits! 

Tonight we will investigate the heartless, robotic state of modern corporate publishing and how its success is tied to the slave wages of authors. 

Tonight's research article “A Lament for Modern Publishing” was published in The Irish Times and written by Fiona O’Connor, a former Hennessy Short Story Prize winner. She lectures at the University of Westminster and is artistic director of St John’s Mill Theatre Company, Beaufort, Co Kerry

Key excerpts:

‘Publishing is a corporatised, market-driven, bottom-line privileging of the blockbuster, maintained by writers’ low-wage drudgery; in this case it is writers who toil for poverty-line rates with no security and few rights. Marketing is king, and critics absorb the advertising code: do not offend.’

‘In 2014-15 the British and Irish publishing industry turnover was £4.6 billion, up from £3 billion in 2013. Against this apparent boom the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society warns that authors’ incomes have collapsed. The median income of established professional authors is £11,000, down 29 percent since 2005. But the typical median income of all writers is less than £4,000 and declining yearly. Output of books is rising steadily: 185,000 releases this year in the UK and Ireland. The writer’s share of this Benison is about 2.8 per cent – that’s 28 cents on a €10 book.’

‘The Big Five publishing giants – Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin/Random House and Simon & Schuster – point to the techno revolution, evidencing their struggle with even bigger monoliths such as Amazon as the problem, rather than their own exploitative tendencies. But it is in the nature of corporatism to externalise costs wherever possible. The costs of living as a writer get passed on – writers teach, edit, review, ghost-write, cab-drive, put out in myriad ways so that they may write the books that support the global corporate entity that is modern-day publishing.’

Read the rest of the research article and learn more about the vast difference between a seemingly buoyant industry and third-world income-streams for those generating the product – this is deeply appalling, actually.

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Research article: http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/a-lament-for-modern-publishing-1.2292101