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Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Final Analysis of the Tools of Change Publishing Conference

I posted about the Tools of Change Publishing Conference three days ago on the 25th, but I think another mention and wrap-up view of it would be apropos. Especially from a promonent publisher like Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers:

'I have spent the last three days at the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference in New York. This conference is designed to address the issues related to publishing and technology. This was my second year to attend. Five of my colleagues from Thomas Nelson accompanied me.

As was the case last year, my head is exploding. The presentations were excellent. They covered all the current issues and gave us a glimpse of the future. I am always surprised by who doesn’t show up at this conference. (If you are in book publishing and don’t attend this conference, you are putting your company and your career at serious risk.)

From my perspective, three presentations stood out. If I had to give Olympic Medals, I would have awarded them as follows:

Gold Medal: Skip Prichard, President and CEO of Ingram Content Group, spoke on the topic, “Are Ebooks Dead?” In my opinion, this was the best presentation of the conference. Skip’s slides were killer. (Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds would have been proud.) His delivery was flawless. He was totally engaged and played “full out.” His message was inspiring and made me proud to be involved in publishing. You can watch his presentation—and sample the TOC conference—on YouTube.

Silver Medal: Ariana Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, was also outstanding. She spoke on the topic, “Publishing is Dead; Long Live Publishing!” Her presentation was stylistically very different from Skip’s. For starters, she didn’t have any slides. But her content was provocative and engaging. She definitely “gets it” in terms of new media and is a true practitioner rather than a theorist. You can watch her presentation on YouTube.

Bronze Medal: Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, was the host of the conference and the final speaker. He spoke on “The Future of Digital Distribution and Ebook Marketing.” He made a powerful case for why publishers are not going away any time soon. For starters, retailers want and need someone to aggregate the content. They are unwilling to deal with thousands of individual authors. Second, publishers act as a filter and bestow status on the authors they publish. Both of these functions are still valuable in the digital world.

There’s no way I can recap all that I learned. Frankly, I am still processing much of it. However, I thought I would share just a few of the quotes that I jotted down in my notes:

“Nearly one quarter of Ebook consumers are exclusively buying Ebooks (unless no Ebook option exists).” —Kelly Gallagher, R.R. Bowker

“Compare how long it takes to consume various media: Songs take three minutes, sitcoms take thirty minutes, movies take one-hundred minutes, and books nine hundred minutes.” If you are a publisher, you better make it worth the consumer’s investment.” (I didn’t note who said this.)

“Klout.com measures your Twitter clout. It is an amazing tool with lots of important metrics.” –Mike Hendrickson, O’Reilly Media

“There is no fundamental right to survive.” –Skip Prichard in reference to publishers and booksellers

“The more we try to go back to the Golden Age of publishing, the more we miss the current Golden Age. We are living in the age of engagement.” —Arianna Huffington

“Often book reviews are conversation-enders. They need to be conversation-starters.” –Arianna Huffington

“Self-expression is the new entertainment. This is why millions of people blog.” –Arianna Huffington”

“As publishers, we have to run two companies: a traditional print business and a digital startup.” -Dominique Raccah, Founder and CEO of Sourcebooks

“I could have titled my talk ‘Why There Will Always Be Publishers.’” –Tim O’Reilly

“The ugly stuff will always have to be done.” –John Ingram, as quoted by Tim O’Reilly

“Obscurity is a bigger problem for authors than piracy.” –Tim O’Reilly

“There are more than 21 eBook channels already. Authors can’t possibly get to these and do what they do best.” –Tim O’Reilly

“In social networks, you gain and bestow status through those you associate with.” –Tim O’Reilly

“A key function of a publishing brand is the bestowal of status by who and what you pay attention to.” –Tim O’Reilly

“Create more value than you capture.” –Tim O’Reilly

I hope to expand on some of these idea in future blog posts. I was particularly struck by Tim O’Reilly’s statement on “Why There Will Always Be Publishers.” He made it crystal clear what publishers must do to remain relevant in the publishing eco-system.

Questions: Did any of these quotes strike you? If so, which ones?'

John's observation note: If these quotes were jotted down in notes as Michael was listening to the speakers (without the help of some recording device), he is, indeed, a SUPERIOR note taker (he did have a prior post on the art of note taking). BUT, even with expert training, this many quotes with given source would be impossible to this writer! My already feeble mind has slowed even more as old man "Age" has been introducing himself to me...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Inside Random House's New Digital Transition Team

Ever wonder how the BIG publishing houses are organizationally structured to deal with everyday publishing tasks? Especially in the present upheavel and transition turmoil? Good preview for those who want to enter the more formal publishing industry. John's editorial note: This writer sees the publishing industry as becoming de-centralized and more individual-empowered.

Today's post gives an insight into Random House's (RH) personnel structure and decision-making process through two high-ranking memos.

Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly, reports on the memos:

In memos distributed to Random House employees Thursday, chairman Markus Dohle and Madeline McIntosh, president of sales, operation and digital, detailed new plans for the publisher's digital operation while also announcing new homes and leadership for the audio and information group units that had been part of the old Crown Publishing Group.

Random House Audio Publishing and the Fodor's Travel Group will now report to Nina von Moltke who has been promoted to v-p digital publishing development, a newly created position. Amanda D'Acierno publisher of RH Audio, and Tim Jarrell, Fodor's publisher, will report to von Moltke. RH's large print operations and Living Language brand will be overseen by D'Acierno. The other parts of the information group--The Princeton Review, Sylvan Learning and Prima Games--have become part of the Children's Book division. Tom Russell, head of TPR and Sylvan, and Debra Kempker, head of Prima, will report to children division president Chip Gibson.

In explaining the moves, Dohle said TPR, Sylvan and Prima "share a core consumer base" with the children's group and will benefit "from the educational orientation and consumer-marketing focus" of the children's group. Moving RH Audio and Fodor's under von Moltke will let them continue to further develop their digital capabilities.

Von Moltke's appointment to v-p of digital development is one of three appointments made by McIntosh to create a senior leadership team that will direct new digital units that will support digital initiatives within the Random House publishing groups. In addition to von Moltke, Amanda Close has been named v-p ditgital sales and business development. She will lead a team that will establish strategy, terms, policy and programs relative to new business models, identify new business opportunities and mange existing digital relationships with different partners. Pete McCarthy has been appointed v-p, online marketing charged with developing online methods to fulfill his mission to "partner with our sales reps, our publishers, and our retailers to ensure we're maximizing our ability to convert consumer interest to incremental purchases." All three report to McIntosh.

Matt Shatz, who as v-p of digital had been a primary spokesperson for Random's digital efforts, has left the company to join Nokia.

The memos, which contain a number a new appointments, are printed below.




February 25, 2010


We want to share with you today our next steps forward in accelerating the company's transition to digital, growing our physical book sales, and increasing the efficiency of our customer- author- and publisher-support services. To best position ourselves to accomplish these strategic priorities we are making a number of changes and appointments in our Sales, Operations and Digital areas under Madeline McIntosh, which she presents in accompanying memos. We also have completed the new lines of reporting we began undertaking in December for the Audio division and for the businesses that have comprised the Information Group.

Madeline is announcing the formation of new teams that will be fully dedicated to digital-content development, digital sales development, and online marketing. I am very excited about these moves and about the additions she is making to her senior leadership team. Their mandate is to create and to catalyze publishing and entrepreneurial opportunities, both self-starting and in partnership with our publishing divisions. The e-publishing and online marketing activities originated and executed by the Crown, Knopf Doubleday, Random House, and Random House Children's Books Publishing Groups will be indispensable to our authors and to our creative and commercial growth, and I am confident that the new support provided to those groups at the corporate level will be key ingredients in ensuring our success during and after the digital expansion.

Among Madeline's new executive team, I have worked most closely with Nina von Moltke, who has reported to me as Vice President, Corporate Development. Nina's new responsibilities as Vice President, Digital Publishing Development, are a natural progression from her previous role in which she applied her tremendous understanding of the evolving digital-publishing financial models to evaluating new corporate and divisional business opportunities. Aside from her new task of supporting the development of our digital content offerings across the divisions, Nina will also oversee the Random House Audio Publishing and Fodor's Travel Groups. Both groups provide excellent models of successfully transitioning from analog to digital businesses, and I know that they and our traditional trade publishing groups will benefit by having them integrated into the corporate-level digital publishing team.

Amanda D'Acierno, Vice President, Publisher, Random House Audio, Books on Tape, Random House Large Print, and Tim Jarrell, Vice President, Publisher, Fodors, will continue to run their respective businesses, setting and implementing their publishing priorities and choices, reporting to Nina. We will further integrate the publishing activities under the Living Language brand into the digital content group, reporting to Amanda D'Acierno.

We also foresee expanded opportunities for The Princeton Review, Sylvan Learning, and Prima Games imprints as we bring them into the Random House Children's Books division. Tom Russell, who leads TPR and Sylvan, and Debra Kempker, who heads Prima, will report to Chip Gibson. The former two businesses will complement and benefit from the educational orientation and consumer-marketing focus of Chip's publishing teams. Prima and the Children's Group share a core consumer base as well as a like focus on brand management and strong license partnerships. The combination of this considerable expertise will benefit them both.

Children's Books will further expand to include the Tricycle Books young readers publishing program under Nicole Geiger, currently part of Crown's Ten Speed Press. Tricycle now will be a Berkeley-based imprint of Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers and its frontlist and backlist will continue to be sold by Children's Sales.

These new homes for Audio, Fodor's, The Princeton Review, Prima, Sylvan Learning, and Living Language; our newly established digital-development teams; and Madeline's appointments in Sales and Operations will help us grow sales and foster greater collaboration internally and with our authors, customers, and readers. I thank you for your support of these growth initiatives and for all our colleagues who will implement them.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________MADELINE MADELINE McINTOSH



February 25, 2010


Since returning to Random House in December, I have had the great experience of re-engaging with many of my former colleagues in Sales and Operations. I've been gratified to learn more about the ways in which the teams led by ANDREW WEBER, Senior V.P., Director, Operations and Technology, JOAN DEMAYO, Senior V.P., Director, Children's Sales, and JACI UPDIKE, Senior V.P., Director, Adult Sales, have risen to the various marketplace challenges presented in the last few years. Of those, one of the greatest has been to create new systems, policies and programs to harness the opportunities presented by the explosive growth of the digital channel.

While everyone in my group has played a part in "managing digital" over the last year, the time has come to be more explicit regarding those individuals to whom we will look for digital business leadership in the future. The great news is that, in working with Andrew, Joan and Jaci to map out our needs for our digital and physical businesses, we have found that the people we need are already here at Random House: we have been able to realign our group to provide the resources required to ensure healthy digital growth while also continuing to invest in maintaining our leadership position in the print marketplace.

It is in this context that I'm delighted to announce the new leadership structure for Random House Sales, Operations and Digital. Andrew, Jaci and Joan continue in their current roles. Joining them as my direct reports are: NINA VON MOLTKE, V.P., Digital Publishing Development; AMANDA CLOSE, V.P., Digital Sales and Business Development; and PETE MCCARTHY, V.P., Online and Digital Marketing. Their new roles and departments are detailed below. A number of related changes within Andrew, Joan and Jaci's departments are described in a following memo.

Digital Publishing Development

As V.P., Digital Publishing Development, NINA VON MOLTKE will have two key areas of responsibility: partnering with our publishing divisions to help accelerate and broaden their own digital programs, and oversight for those Random House, Inc. publishing lists for which digital distribution and web-enabled commerce are already the core business.

Reporting to Nina will be ANDREA SHEEHAN, formerly V.P. & Director, Digital Strategy and Business Development at the Random House Publishing Group, now in the newly created position of V.P., Digital Publishing and Product Development, which she will take on upon her return from maternity leave. In Andrea's time in the Random House Publishing Group, she has provided critical leadership in the area of digital product innovation: together with her team, Andrea has spearheaded various initiatives around e-book format development, e-only content, IP development, redesign of online presences and mobile applications for major brands and authors, and innovations in digital marketing tools.

A Random House hallmark and point of pride has always been our decentralized approach to publishing entrepreneurship, and that will not change for our expanded digital mandate. By acting as facilitators and catalysts, Nina and her team's role will be to help each publishing division bring its own unique vision to market as successfully as possible. Initial examples of services to be provided by this team include: strategic support in driving digital growth for key content categories; expertise in alternative business models (such as serializations, subscriptions, and advertising), content bundling or disaggregation; and start-up support for original digital publishing programs. The team will also be responsible for the ongoing backlist conversion project.

Also reporting to Nina will be AMANDA D'ACIERNO, V.P., Publisher, Random House Audio, Books on Tape and Living Language; TIM JARRELL, V.P., Publisher, Fodor's Travel Publishing; FABRIZIO LAROCCA, V.P., Creative Director; and SUSAN LIVINGSTON, newly appointed as Director, Digital Business Management and Planning. All four are crucial "digital veterans" who will now be able to share their expertise more broadly.

To ensure that our digital efforts receive the appropriate publicity support and that we communicate effectively to our internal and industry stakeholders, SHEILA O'SHEA is named Director of Publicity, Digital Initiatives, reporting to Nina. She will work closely with the publicity departments across the divisions, as well as coordinate publicity efforts for the Fodor's Travel group. Stuart Applebaum will continue to be our main media contact for any major corporate announcements and inquiries.

Digital Sales and Business Development

AMANDA CLOSE, currently V.P., Group Sales Director, Crown Publishing Group, will now become our V.P., Digital Sales and Business Development. Amanda earlier served as our V.P., Online Sales, and she stepped in with great agility when Jaci and I asked her to coordinate the cross-functional team evaluating Apple's new e-book program. Her expertise, infectious enthusiasm, and astute analytical, technological, and product instincts will be invaluable in maintaining our position as the market leader in digital sales.

Reporting to Amanda will be JEFF WEBER, formerly Associate Sales Director, Amazon, now Director, Digital Sales; RANDI ROSENKRANZ, Senior Manager, Digital Channel Development; and LILLY KIM, Account Manager, Digital Sales.

This team's responsibilities will include: establishing strategy, terms, policy and programs relative to new business models; identifying and prioritizing new opportunities for sales or licensing; connecting potential partners with the appropriate internal stakeholders; developing expertise in activities in other media categories that might apply to our own; and crafting programmatic merchandising support for our publishers' new lists of original digital content.

They also will manage the overall digital relationships with our existing partners, including Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Google, Ingram Digital, Overdrive and Sony. Selling and merchandising our publishers' lists will continue to reside within Jaci and Joan's existing Online Sales departments, thus providing our publishers and accounts with sole points of contact at the product level. By focusing entirely on the opportunities and challenges of the digital channel, Amanda's team will ensure we are maximizing volume and profitability, embracing innovation, and learning from our experience.

Online and Digital Marketing

PETE MCCARTHY, V.P., Online Marketing has been leading Random House's corporate consumer online marketing efforts for the past two and a half years. During this time, he and his team have partnered with divisional marketers and with Chris Hart's Applications Development group to create increasingly innovative approaches to reaching consumers online. While his department was originally created to explore direct-to-consumer sales, they have found their greatest success in driving consumers directly to retailers' shopping carts - whether on the web or in bricks & mortar. Their recent work with Doubleday on the "second wave" campaign for Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol is an excellent example of the sales magic that can be created by combining corporate technology and analytics expertise with the publisher's stellar creative campaign.

To be successful in connecting our books with the largest audience possible, it is exactly this type of innovative, retailer-aligned approach that we believe will help to set Random House ahead of our competition. Therefore, we are now formally repositioning and expanding this department. As a member of our digital senior management team, Pete's mission will be to partner with our sales reps, our publishers, and our retailers to ensure we're maximizing our ability to convert consumer interest to incremental purchases.

Newly reporting to Pete will be CHRISTINE MCNAMARA, currently our V.P., Director, Adult Sales, Borders Group and Books-a-Million. Taking on the newly-created role of V.P., Partnership Development, she will be fully dedicated to integrating our online marketing efforts with those of our retailers and vice versa. We can look forward to having her bring her deep understanding of sales and publishing (as well as her excellent sense of humor) to bear in these new efforts.

Continuing to report directly to Pete is CHELSEA VAUGHN, Director, Online Marketing Operations. Chelsea will oversee the project management and analytics components of the campaigns in which her highly creative team, which includes Senior Managers Erica Curtis and Joanne Korn, is involved and ensure the dissemination to marketers throughout the company of any new techniques or tools created or discovered at the corporate level. Her team has continually helped us improve our ability to precisely and efficiently spur frontlist and backlist sales.

Pete's department will continue to have oversight for randomhouse.com, corporately-managed e-mail marketing lists, and our activity on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere on the web. They will be working to further develop category-based online communities such as suvudu.com, the highly successful science fiction & fantasy site launched last year. Making all these efforts possible are CAMILLE COLLETT, Director, Web Production and JINNY KWON, Creative Director, newly transferring from Crown online marketing.

As with Nina von Moltke's digital publishing department, Pete's team will act as incubators and catalysts, adding extra creativity and support to the excellent title and category marketing programs that will continue to be anchored at the divisional level.

As you may already know, Matt Shatz, until now V.P., Digital, has accepted an exciting new opportunity as Head of Strategic Content Relationships at Nokia, where he will be working to develop and grow Nokia's digital content business. Matt has been instrumental in advancing the Random House digital strategy and initiatives since 2007. While all of us are very sorry to see him go, we do take comfort in the fact that we'll be able to work with him as a partner as he establishes Nokia's publishing related initiatives.

Please join Andrew, Jaci, Joan and me in congratulating Nina, Pete, Amanda and their teams on their exciting new responsibilities as we expand and advance our digital-publishing opportunities.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Demanding Diversity In Publishing

Racial prejudice exists and raises it's ugly head in the publishing world just like it does everywhere else...and especially in America, I think. This affliction in our society and the publishing world (as if publishing didn't already have enough problems!) harms creativity, production, talent, business decisions and even the covers of books! Imagine a book about people of color with a cover depicting white people...How hypocritical is that!

Zetta Elliot: a Black, Canadian, PhD, writer, teacher and poet wrote "Demanding Diversity In Publishing" for the Huffington Post:

Last week I was invited by Justine Larbalestier to write a guest post for her blog. I met Justine online last summer in the midst of the outrage over Bloomsbury USA's practice of "whitewashing" books (putting white models on the cover of books about children of color). Despite the controversy and potential risk to her career, Justine bravely spoke out about her disappointment with the cover and made another statement when--just last month--Bloomsbury did it again. Teen blogger Ari made an earnest appeal to Bloomsbury:

I'm sure you can't imagine what it's like to wander through the teen section of a bookstore and only see one or two books with people of color on them. Do you know how much that hurts? Are we so worthless that the few books that do feature people of color don't have covers with people of color?...Can you imagine growing up as a little girl and wanting to be white because not only do you not see people who look like you on TV, you don't see them in your favorite books either?

In both cases, public pressure forced the publisher to stop production and issue new covers (though both feature models of color who are very fair-skinned). LaTonya Baldwin, who blogs at Color Online, mobilized her followers and founded Readers Against WhiteWashing (RAWW). For the moment, at least, many of us in the kidlit blogosphere felt victorious--we had conquered one publishing Goliath!

When Justine asked me to write on a topic of my choosing, I opted to share my preliminary thoughts on race and reviews. Yet I found myself reflecting on Gwen Ifill's book about the strategies that enabled a new wave of black politicians to "breakthrough" in the political arena:

Candidate Obama had to assure white voters that he was neither angry nor bitter about the nation's history of racial oppression, and no mention was ever made of the unearned advantages that come with being white. Fortunately, I'm not running for political office. And I assure you that at times I am angry and bitter, and I must insist that we talk about white privilege.

I don't think people of color will "breakthrough" in the publishing arena in significant numbers until publishers are held accountable for the discriminatory practices that marginalize diverse voices. My friend Stefanie used to say, "Hope and a token will get you on the train." Effecting change requires more than good intentions--it takes a lot of hard work, persistence, and a clear vision. I often tell people that I'm "not a joiner," but I know that collaboration is key to transforming the children's publishing industry. So I was heartened when my good friend, Laura Atkins, forwarded me a draft of the UK Publishing Equalities Charter.

Read more: http://alturl.com/eizx

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book, Everybody Wants To Be Your Friend!

The book industry has taken many knocks over the past few years due to the introduction of "digital" dynamics. But, the industry is now poised to sell more books in the near future than it has over the past 200 years, again due to the same "digital" dynamics! At least, that's what Bruce Upbin, a managing editor at Forbes, is intimating on their blog: Booked:

Two days ago I went to the O'Reilly Tools of Change Publishing conference at the Marriott in Times Square. It's a well-attended conference, focused on e-books, e-book readers and embracing digital change. While the last decade has not been pretty to the book industry--it has not grown in revenue much in the last six years (neither has the U.S. economy)--everyone wants to know what's next.

Twelve hundred people showed up at Tools of Change. Bookselling, after all, is going to change more in the next six years than in the previous 200. Many participants have gotten beat up by digital change, but at TOC 2010, everyone wants to be the book's friend: the vendors, the consultants, the keynoter thought-leaders. David "Skip" Pritchard, the chief executive of Ingram Content Group, gave a talk about embracing change. His business serves up the software for e-books and electronic libaries. He also got so friendly he threw what looked like a travel coffee mug into the audience to punctuate one of his ideas. People seemed more alert after that happened.

The highlight of the day was Arianna Huffington's keynoter, which went over embracing change and the Golden Age of Engagement. She ended with an invitation to the audience and all publishing industry people to come write for free on her book chat site. "Books don't end," she said. "Publication dates are meaningless." "Start saying something about your book." Right on, sister.

Well, we're a friend, too. We're a publisher ourselves! And we love books and conversations about big ideas and great stories. So, friends in the publishing industry, I heartily invite you to come blog for us, instead. We'll match Arianna's rates right here at Booked. You can have your own account and talk with your friends and the public about agenting, bookselling, book making, writing, criticizing, dreaming about fiction. We want your conversation. We're your friend.

Contact me or editor Michael Noer.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Autopsy of a Successful Writing Career

Successful authors oftentimes come from the most unusual places and with surprising unprepared backgrounds. Paul Lindsay, now 66 and the author of 7 novels beginning with Witness to the Truth, is one of these surprising individuals. Jim Sullivan of the Boston Herald dissects his story this way:

It was 1986. FBI agent Paul Lindsay, fresh off a three-month job working on the infamous Green River serial killer case in Seattle, was back home in Detroit. He found himself bored, sitting on the couch, watching “The Smurfs” with his two kids.

“My brain was rotting,” Lindsay said from his home in Rye, N.H. “I had no other cultural interests.”

So he enrolled in an adult-education course. Math was his first choice, but Lindsay, who failed English in college, ended up in a creative writing class.

“The teacher asked us to write a three-page short story,” he said. “So I wrote this thing and she said, ‘With your background, life experience and the way you write, you can do this professionally.’ ”

Lindsay, who just published his seventh novel and comes to Andover this week to read from it, took the advice to heart. His first book, “Witness to the Truth,” came out in 1992. It landed him in hot water with his superiors at the FBI, who said the book revealed too much inside information and cited him for insubordination.

Then a 1993 Vanity Fair article quoted Lindsay calling then-FBI director William Sessions a very bad name. Another insubordination charge, which came, ironically, just as Lindsay received a commendation for solving the Highland Park serial killings in Detroit. He decided it was time to retire.

“My first 15 years in the FBI were a dream,” Lindsay said. “If I’d had the money, I’d have paid them to let me do it. But the last five years, ever since I came back from the Green River murders, it started getting really bad. There were so many career-building managers who’d never worked a case and ended up becoming bosses.”

Meanwhile, Lindsay’s new career was on the rise. Movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer bought the rights to “Witness to the Truth.” And the G-Man-turned-author wrote five more novels for Simon & Schuster.

Now Lindsay, 66, has a taut new thriller, “The Bricklayer.” It features Steve Vail, an ex-FBI agent and loner-renegade, and Kate Bannon, the FBI gal who pulls him back in. But the book was written under a pseudonym, Noah Boyd, for a new publisher, William Morrow.

“My writing has taken a new direction,” Lindsay said. “So they wanted a fresh start with a new name. It’s a three-book deal and the only stipulation is it be the same two male-female characters.”

Best-selling crime writers Patricia Cornwell, Lee Child and James Patterson have all praised the book, which is on The New York Times [NYT] bestseller list at No. 22. Lindsay will read excerpts from it Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Andover Bookstore and on March 4 at 7 p.m. at Book Ends in Winchester.

“The Bricklayer” features new characters, but Lindsay said it continues the theme of his previous books.

“I divide the FBI into two groups,” he said. “Street agents who go out and take chances and get the work done and the managers who are mainly concerned with being promoted and retiring at a higher salary. I always try to make the street agents look like good guys and the managers look like the idiots they are. I’ve sent in a few books where the editors have said, ‘You make these guys look so dumb,’ and I’ve said, ‘You don’t know how much I smartened ’em up.’ ”

Is Vail an idealized version of Lindsay?

“To a certain degree,” the author said. “Or maybe the guy I’d like to have been.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) Emerges from Chapter 11

One of my very favorite magazines is the venerable Readers Digest...I grew up reading the interesting, knowledgeable articles and laughing out-loud at the true- life humorous anecdotes. So, I am ecstatic that this old favorite has re-structured, emerged from bankruptcy and will continue to provide the reading public with it's unique brand of content...in all the media formats available, I hope!

On 2/22/2010 Jason Fell of FOLIO magazine had this to say about RDA emerging from bankruptcy:

After six months of restructuring its debt through a pre-packaged bankruptcy, the Reader’s Digest Association Monday said it officially emerged from Chapter 11 protection.

“This is a very important day for our company, and emerging with a de-leveraged balance sheet and a strong new capital structure is a significant step forward as we continue to transform RDA into a global media and marketing leader,” president and CEO Mary Berner said in a statement announcing the emergence.

As part of its restructuring, RDA reduced its debt by 75 percent from roughly $2.2 billion to approximately $525 million. Holders of RDA’s senior secured debt will receive equity, effectively transferring ownership of RDA to the lender group.

RDA said its gross operating leverage was lowered from 17.5X to 3.2X.

The company said it secured $525 million in exit financing as a result of a recent bond refinancing. It will provide RDA with $30 million in cash interest expense savings annually, compared to its previous credit facility. In addition, RDA said it has access to $50 million of revolver credit.

In connection with its emergence, RDA announced a new board of directors. In addition to Berner, the members are: chairman Norman Matthews, former vice chairman and president of Federated Department Stores; James Hawkes, former chairman and CEO of the Eaton Vance Corporation; Karen Osar, former exectuive vice president and CFO at Chemtura Corporation; Fredric Reynolds, ex-executive vice president and CFO of CBS Corp.; Webster Capital managing partner Donald Steiner; Time Warner Cable vice president and chief strategy officer Peter Stern; and Carl Wilson, an executive vice president and CIO of Marriott International.

RDA reportedly was expected to announce a new corporate name around the time of its emergence. An RDA spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment about a name change.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Publishers Bet on "Enhanced" Textbooks for the Digital Future

Sarah Weinman of Daily Finance has written an excellent article on what a significant player enhanced digital books will be in the future educational world. The increased visual and audio interaction coming in textbooks will be immediately wondrous and engrossing to students.

By Sarah Weinman:
The publishing industry is chockablock with jargon, but one word we're going to hear a whole lot more of over the next few months and years is "enhanced." After all, as the world increasingly goes digital, stand-alone texts may not be enough to justify pricey new gadgets, be they e-readers, smartphones or tablets like Apple's (AAPL) iPad. That's apparently the rationale behind the investment of $2.5 million in seed funding in Vook, a company specializing in multimedia-enhanced books, by a group of backers including Huffington Post Chairman Ken Lerer.

Enhanced books may provide a method for textbook companies to make money on new digital editions at a time when the rental-book market appears to be booming faster than the e-book one, as I reported on DailyFinance last week. So get ready for DynamicBooks, a subsidiary of Macmillan that promises a more interactive textbook experience.

As The New York Times reported Monday morning, DynamicBooks aims to deliver textbooks Wikipedia-style, allowing college instructors to edit, modify, add video and pictures to, and rewrite chapters or paragraphs of textbooks as they see fit -- all without consulting the original authors. "Basically they will go online, log on to the authoring tool, have the content right there and make whatever changes they want," Macmillan president Brian Napack told the newspaper. "And we don't even look at it."

Digital textbooks will be much cheaper than print editions -- the e-book edition of Psychology will sell for $48.76, a far better deal than the list price of $134.29. And there's some financial incentive for the instructors, too: According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, "for each customized copy that a student buys, the professor who contributed the material gets a dollar." Changes made by professors would be clearly noted in the text.

But Will They Sign Up?

Macmillan's partnership with Dynamic Books joins a number of other enhanced-textbook alliances, such as McGraw-Hill's (MHP) Connect, WileyPlus from John Wiley & Sons (JW.A), Follett Higher Education Group's CafeScribe, and Flat World Knowledge, which charges for print editions but gives away digital versions for free. In theory, where Dynamic Books will differ from its rivals is that it will allow other publishers to upload their own textbooks onto the service, so long as Macmillan gets an 18% markup.

In practice, that hasn't happened yet, and it remains to be seen if other publishers will sign on to a competitor's service when they'd have to pay extra for the privilege, and when the existing consortium, CourseSmart, may not be subject to the additional service fees.

Another unanswered issue is how instructor modifications will be regulated. The $1 cut each instructor could make for every DynamicBook bought was defended by the company's general manager, who said that "only professors who make significant changes in a book will qualify for payment." But that in turn raises larger questions of whether personal agendas or misinformation will make their way into the enhanced editions. As Neil Comins, co-author of the astronomy textbook Discovering the Universe, told The New York Times, if an accepted change contradicted basic scientific tenets -- like putting a creationist slant on the universe's origins -- "I would absolutely, positively be livid."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Scribd Inks Distribution Deal With Indie Book Publisher Author Solutions

Scribd, a social publishing site that helps writers get published, has already inked partnership deals with many major publishers such as Random House and Simon & Schuster. Now, they have inked a deal with independent publisher: Author Solutions (aka Author House). This deal allows authors to sell their books on the Scribd site and with higher royalty fees...50% for each sale. Interesting!

Robin Wauters of TechCrunch (techcrunch.com) describes the details thusly:

Independent book publisher Author Solutions today announced a distribution deal with social publishing startup Scribd. Under the terms of said agreement, all new ASI titles published through the AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford Publishing, and Xlibris will be made available for purchase through the Scribd website.

In addition, a portion of its backlist of more than 120,000 titles will be put up for sale on Scribd, although there was no indication of exactly how many books that represents.

In March 2009, Scribd had already scored partnerships with a number of major publishers, including Random House, Simon & Schuster, Workman Publishing Co., Berrett-Koehler, Thomas Nelson, and Manning Publications. And all that content is attracting a lot of users too, apparently.

In a statement, Author Solutions says the Scribd portal currently attracts over 50 million users per month, and that the startup’s platform will help authors make more money from book sales because it brings higher royalty percentages than are possible with traditional paper-and-ink books. In its promotion video, which I embedded below, Author Solutions says it has helped some 85,000 authors get their books published to date.

Under terms of the agreement with Scribds, authors will receive 50 percent of the net sales of their titles through the startup’s social platform. A default price of $9.99 will be set for each title, but authors will have the opportunity to set their own prices.

Distribution to Scribd will be included as a free service for all new ASI titles.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Are Video-Enhanced Books (Vooks) the Next Step for the Publishing Industry?

I posted about "vooks" on 2/11/2010 on my other site, John R. Austin-Writer http://alturl.com/o77a , where I mentioned that noted author Anne Rice, of vampire book fame, had sold the multi-media rights to a 26 year old short story to be made into the first video-enhanced book or "vook"...

Well, according to Matthew Shaer of the Christian Science Monitor, the vook just might be the next big thing in publishing:

It's been panned for degrading the sanctity of the written word. But that hasn't stopped Vook, a maker of multimedia e-books – part-video, part-text – from scooping up a hefty sum of cash in a recent round of funding. According to the New York Times, Vook has raised $2.5 million in seed money from a group of investors that includes Kenneth Lerer, the chairman of the Huffington Post.

New to the whole Vook thing? Here's the basic gist: The Vook is a hybrid application which runs on computers or on mobile devices such as smart phones and the forthcoming Apple iPad. As e-books gain ballast among readers, so has the idea of the Vook, which could presumably be used to market upcoming dead-tree books or to give readers a blitz tour of a title already on the shelves.

Right now, Vook is a pretty small operation. But with the seed money, Vook founder Brad Inman says he has plans to expand his company's reach. On the table: More authors, more books Vooks, and a host of self-publishing tools, so authors can create their own Vooks without too much hassle.

“There are infinite possibilities bringing together authors with filmmakers, photographers and all the other creators of media," Inman told the New York Times. “New devices such as smartphones and tablets are creating a huge surge in creativity.”

We want to hear from you. Is the Vook a logical next step for the publishing industry? Or are you a paper-and-ink purist? You can drop a line in the comments section, or track us down on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Publisher Says Print Not Dead Yet...Elsewhere, Publishing Wars Heat Up: Apple Offering Kindle on iPad

Two intriguing topics today re Apple, publishers, Kindle and other e-readers:

By Ross Marowits of Canadian Press: Transcontinental (TSX:TCL.A) says the print medium isn't dying even though digital media is forcing Canada's largest printer to adjust to rapid transformation in the communications and advertising business.

"We see print and the new media co-existing for a very, very long time," chief executive Francois Olivier said in an interview Thursday following the company's annual shareholders meeting.

The Montreal-based company said that the printing, newspaper publishing and marketing firm will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of customers.

While printed flyers will remain a primary way for advertisers to reach customers, book publishing faces dramatic challenges.

"We believe that things like the Kindle (and) iPad are probably going to take anywhere from five to 20 per cent of the printed market away . . . in the next couple of years, so it's a big big big thing for us," Olivier said.

The impact would be significant, he cautioned, but it won't mark the end of printed books. The market already has overcapacity and will lose further volumes.

Transcontinental recorded $150 million in book printing revenues in 2007, the last year it was broken out separately from magazine and catalogue revenues.

Transcontinental continues to see rapid growth of new media but Olivier is cautious about pursuing dramatic changes to its operations.

"We've got to be careful because sometimes we and our customers get carried away," he said.

The company has created a new sector that is focused on one-to-one advertising and new digital communications such as email-based marketing, e-flyers and custom publishing.

Digital media generated about $150 million last year, less than seven per cent of total revenues. But the sector grew by 30 per cent in each of the last two years. Its email marketing business has doubled its sales annually.

Olivier believes new media will increasingly be used to complement flyer printing, which remains popular and well-read.

Next month, Transcontinental will launch a web version called Dealstreet.ca for English consumers and Publicsac.ca in French.

The goal is to help retailers get more bang out of their advertising dollars while giving consumers another venue to search for and compare shopping deals.

It will also give the company a further window to changes in marketing spending and allow it to adjust to any impact on its traditional business.

Founder Remi Marcoux, who has endured several recessions, said change is inevitable but there will always be printing.

"Transcontinental was born out of change," Remi Marcoux told shareholders.

"We will continue to evolve in pace with our customers, whether businesses or consumers, to meet their new needs and new expectations."

Transcontinental acted quickly to counter the effects of the recession by closing plants and shedding 2,000 workers. The moves will trim $110 million in annual costs, including $80 million in savings last year. More jobs could be lost as the company shifts work to more efficient operations.

It also plans to dramatically reduce its U.S. footprint by agreeing to sell its direct marketing business. It remains the leading direct marketer in Canada.

The company expects its key printing sector will continue to grow slowly with a gradual recovery of advertising, which directly or indirectly drives more than 80 per cent of its business.

"What we have seen so far in the beginning of the year is no further deterioration but so far we don't have a whole lot of growth," he said at a news conference.

While Olivier said Transcontinental is willing to consider acquiring a portion of Canwest Global Communication's (TSX:CGS) newspaper assets, it has no interest in becoming a daily newspaper publisher.

"We have no interest if the assets are sold as a block. If they are sold as a piece there might be a few pieces of the Canwest assets that we might be interested in," he said.

Transcontinental is Canada's leading publisher of consumer magazines and the second-largest community newspaper publisher. Its digital platform delivers content through more than 120 websites.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, its shares gained 10 cents to $12.67 in trading Thursday.

And in other publishing circles:

By Chris Seabury of Financial Advisory.com: Amazon and book publishers have been having heated discussions about how to sell the different e books using Kindle. At the heart of this issue, was the overall amount that would be charged to access the different e books. In the case of Amazon, the fee was determined to be $9.99 (which is to low according to the publishers). In a move to offer e books on the i Pad, Apple opened independent negotiations with publishers. The company agreed to sell e books through Kindle for: $12.99 to $14.99.

What this shows, is that various ebook readers are becoming a common feature that will be offered with different electronic devices. The news from Apple is significant, because they have been known as an innovator in technology over the last ten years. As a result, it would not be surprising to see similar deals that Apple made with publishers, involving Kindle in the future with key competitors.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Apple’s Prices for E-Books May Be Lower Than Expected

More intrigue and drama coming from inside the meetings between Apple and publishers re eBook pricing. Motoko Rich, New York Times, reports:

Maybe e-book prices won’t be rising so much after all.

Since Apple announced plans to sell digital books on its forthcoming iPad, it has been cast as something of a savior of the publishing industry for allowing e-book prices to go above the $9.99 that Amazon charges for e-books on its Kindle device, a price that publishers say is too low to sustain their business.

But as more details come to light of the actual negotiations between Apple and publishers, it appears that Apple left room to sell some of the most popular books at a discount.

When Steven P. Jobs showed off the iPad last month, he announced agreements with five of the six largest publishers to offer their content through a new iBooks application. Those publishers — the Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan, the Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster — agreed to terms under which they would set e-book prices and Apple would serve as an agent to sell the books to consumers. Apple would take 30 percent of each sale, leaving 70 percent for publishers to split with authors.

Publishers indicated that e-book editions of most newly released adult general fiction and nonfiction would sell in a range from $12.99 to $14.99, under a complicated formula that pegs e-book prices to the list prices of comparable print editions. Publishers liked Apple’s deal because it resulted in a marked increase above Amazon’s $9.99 price for most new releases.

But according to at least three people with knowledge of the discussions, who spoke anonymously because of the confidentiality of the talks, Apple inserted provisions requiring publishers to discount e-book prices on best sellers — so that $12.99-to-$14.99 range was merely a ceiling; prices for some titles could be lower, even as low as Amazon’s $9.99. Essentially, Apple wants the flexibility to offer lower prices for the hottest books, those on one of the New York Times best-seller lists, which are heavily discounted in bookstores and on rival retail sites. So, for example, a book that started at $14.99 would drop to $12.99 or less once it hit the best-seller lists.

Moreover, for books where publishers offer comparable hardcover editions at a price below the typical $26, Apple wanted e-book prices to reflect the cheaper hardcover prices. These books might be priced much lower than $12.99, even if they did not hit the best-seller list.

Tom Neumayr, an Apple spokesman, declined comment.

While e-books still represent a relatively small proportion of total book sales, they are the fastest-growing part of the industry. How they are sold and priced has become a matter of fierce debate within the publishing industry.

For Amazon, the $9.99 price on new and best-selling e-books helped it market the Kindle device — which now sells for $259 — and build market share quickly. But Amazon has effectively lost money on each sale at that price because it buys and resells e-books as it purchases printed books, by paying publishers a wholesale price generally equivalent to half the list price of a print edition. That means that on a $26 hardcover book, Amazon would typically pay the publisher $13, losing just over $3 on a digital edition it sells for $9.99.

Under the agreements with Apple, both the publishers and Apple should make money on each book sale.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Before The iPad, IBM Had The ThinkPad

Todays post reveals a little history about the technology (not as new as the uninitiated may have thought) behind Apple's iPad.

Brooke Crothers, writing for CNET News, gives us the lowdown...going back to IBM in 1990.

The ThinkPad came long before the Apple iPad. Lenovo makes this clear in a video showing the genesis of the ThinkPad brand name, though the clip raises some pesky questions.

As some quick background--and as many readers probably know--a line of laptops using the same ThinkPad brand name ultimately became a hit for IBM, though the PC business overall didn't pan out financially for Big Blue, which sold it to Lenovo in 2004.

IBM was first: In the video, the Lenovo marketing executive (originally an IBM employee) talks about how IBM, in 1990, designed the ThinkPad 700T slate computer with a cutting-edge (at that time) magnesium case; how it used an "integrated heatsink" to obviate the need for a fan; and used a flash drive instead of a hard disk drive. Again, all of this way back in 1990.

While certainly an enlightening video, it still leaves one wondering why Lenovo is talking about this in the past tense. In other words, if IBM had such a head start in 1990, why is everyone fixated on Apple's tablet and why aren't we drooling over some highly evolved Lenovo Pad today? (Note: the Lenovo U1, though compelling, is a little late.)

I'm sure there are hundreds of reasons why IBM, and later Lenovo, didn't have a commercially successful consumer slate device (no, I'm not talking about a convertible laptop), but it seems odd that consumers have to wait for Apple to bring out a tablet before anyone takes serious notice of the slate computer.

So, what happened? Here's one facile answer. In the intervening 20 years, IBM sold off its PC business while Apple actually made a commercial success of innovative consumer designs and ballooned into one of the largest and most successful consumer device makers in the world.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reader’s Digest, Playboy, Others Miss Rate Base

A magazine's "rate base", as I understand it, is the rate charged to advertisers in the magazine and is related to the circulation figures of the magazine...The higher the circulation the higher the cost to advertise in the periodical since it reaches more potential buyers.

FOLIO magazine's Jason Fell wrote an informative article on this subject today:
While many of the consumer magazines included in the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ FAS-FAX report for the second half of 2009 made their rate base requirements for the period, many others, including some heavyweights, did not.

Of the 30 or so large circulation magazines with rate bases of 2 million or higher—including AARP, Time and Better Home & Gardens—Reader’s Digest and Playboy were the only titles to fall short of their circ. guarantee. Playboy reported an overall circ. of 2,021,751, more than 570,000 off its 2.6 million rate base. The magazine also fell short during the first half of 2009, delivering a total paid and verified circ. of 2,453,266.

With an 8 million rate base, Reader’s Digest delivered an overall paid and verified circulation of 7,099,558 during the second half. Last summer, the magazine said it was cutting frequency and reducing its rate base to 5.5 million—an 18-month process that would start with the February 2010 issue. A Reader's Digest spokesperson told FOLIO: that missing its rate base during the second half last year was part of that strategy.

Generally, when a magazine doesn’t make its rate base, its publisher is required to issue refunds to its advertisers or make other concessions.

A number of celebrity titles also had trouble reaching their minimum circ. numbers during the second half of 2009. Among them were American Media’s Star (1.1 million rate base compared to 1,035,713 overall circ.), OK! (800,000 rate base vs. 753,886 overall circ.) and Bauer’s In Touch (800,000 rate base vs. 790,395 overall circ.).

Chicago-based Johnson Publishing also failed to reach its circ. promises. Ebony reported an overall circ of 1,169,870 compared to a rate base of 1,250,000. Jet, meanwhile, missed its 900,000 rate base, reporting an overall circ of only 795,055.

Other notable titles that missed rate bases were Harper’s (200,000 rate base vs. 195,114 overall circ.), Soap Opera Digest (500,000 rate base vs. 487,629 overall circ.) and Emmis Publishing’s Los Angeles (150,000 rate base vs. 140,022 overall circ.).

Biggest Overall Gainers

Although the vast majority of magazines claiming rate bases saw overall total paid and verified circulation declines during the last six months last year, some in fact reported significant gains. The biggest growth came from Rodale’s Women’s Health, which saw overall circ grow 21.5 percent to 1,454,545.

That was followed by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s Body + Soul (+19.7 percent to 678,136), Birds & Blooms (+14.7 percent to 1,737,397), Meredith’s Siempre Mujer (+11.8 percent to 458,000) and All You (+10.6 percent to 1,023,242).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Literary Armageddon: Technology Is Beating the Hell Out of Publishing

Publishing in recent years has just gotten too damn big for it's baggy britches and needed a restructuring of some sort to come into alignment with the literary god's invisible but real and moral principal of justifiable publication for all worthy projects... not just the ramblings of the latest celebrity fad or news-drenched idiot for a quick buck! So, the literary god sent down Kindle and iPad as a jumpstart rejuvenator.

Dan Agin, author and neuroscientist (you REALLY need to look up this interesting professor) wrote on this subject for the Huffington Post:

Kindle Armageddon: How the Publishing Industry Is Slitting Its Own Throat
Once upon a time, the only books that existed were books copied by hand by monks and scribes and sold to the very rich for the equivalent of $5000 or $6000 a book. Then along came the printing press, and all the monks and scribes had to find another way to earn their bread.

Once upon a time the only books that existed were books on paper made by printing presses and sold to the rich and not so rich and not rich at all for enough money to make publishing houses worth hundreds of millions of dollars, enough money to pay high salaries to publishing executives. Then along came the digital book, and many thousands of people in and around publishing had to find another way to earn their bread.

The subtext of the story is the impact of technology on culture and commerce, and the unfailing collapse of any industry that allows itself to be blinded by sloth, short term greed, and general mediocrity of attitudes.

Anyone with an imagination about the future of technology and commerce knows that the printed book on paper is already on its way to obsolescence. The wrangling and beefing and whining about prices and protecting demand for printed books by publishing executives is both amusing and tragic.

It's tragic because when an industry dies because of corporate blindness, people do get hurt. When the automobile put the horse and carriage trade out of business, blacksmiths and carriage makers became irrelevant overnight. But before that happened people were up to their eyeballs in media baloney that the automobile was only a fad.

Some fad.

The same will happen to the entire printed-book industry, editors, publishers, printers, salesmen, publicists, marketeers, whatever. They will be gone or transformed -- to be remembered in anecdotes about the old days.

Which brings us to the Amazon Kindle. Although most people don't know it, you don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books. The current high price of the Kindle device is irrelevant. Amazon is now offering free software for download to any PC, the software allowing Kindle books to be downloaded in seconds to be read at once. Anyone with a laptop that runs Windows can read Kindle books. There are now 400,000 Kindle titles available, everything from high and low class lesbian erotica (Spectrum Diva Books) and erotic romances (Harlequin Blaze) to high and low class Supreme Court decisions and books about string theory in cosmology. In short, nearly everything is now available -- and soon it will ALL be available in digital format.

My personal view is that apart from the ease of access to books, the most important feature of Kindle books is that the type size can be adjusted to anything you like at the click of a button. No more eye strain. No more visits to a bookstore that may be miles from your house. No more waiting for printed books in the mail. No more crowding your living space with thousands of books that you can't throw out because they are part of your life and represent what you once were and what you are now. The Kindle (or your computer hosting Kindle books) can hold thousands of books in no more space than that occupied by a single school notebook.

Anyone who believes this new technology is going away is dreaming. Anyone who believes the print publishing industry has a chance to survive in its present form is dreaming. It's now possible for any small publisher to have free and almost immediate access to the largest bookstore in the world -- Amazon. In a few days, a small publisher can have its entire backlist in Kindle format available at Amazon to readers. Salesmen are bypassed, distributors are bypassed, bookstore buyers are bypassed. What will not change much is marketing and promotion -- new books will still need to be brought to the attention of the public. But the new books will be Kindle or Kindle-like digital books.

The big print publishers need to understand the reality of the 21st century: either you roll with new technology or you get rolled over by it. That's the lesson of the history of technology in commerce.

Requiescant in pace, big print publishing. The run is finished.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

LG To Launch New Product Competing with Apple and Amazon!

LG Electronics in South Korea, the world's second largest manufacturer of televisions and third-largest producer of mobile phones announced it will launch a product to compete with iPad & kindle. The company has 75 subsidiaries worldwide that design and manufacture televisions, home appliances, and telecommunications devices. LG Electronics owns Zenith Electronics and controls 37.91 percent of LG Display.

Only Gizmos (onlygizmos.com) revealed:

LG’s CEO, KW Kim, told Emirates Business: “We will soon launch a new product, maybe by April. It will compete with Apple and Amazon.” LG is not releasing any other information about this ‘new product’. But seeing LG’s keen interest in the new e-reader market and Mr. Kim mentioning Apple and Amazon, its hardy difficult to guess what he’s talking about.

LG is already working on e-ink based displays, and have also recently shown-off their 19″ flexible e-paper display, shown in the above pic. LG also showed a solar-powered e-reader not so long ago. Even though LG might comeup with their own e-reader, would they really be able to compete with Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle? While Apple and Amazon work closely with the major publishers, would LG be able to develop a publisher partnership that can compete with them? Entering the e-book market with just the hardware is like giving the customers a blank book with a great cover to read. Your move LG.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

USA Today Reminds Staff What "Furloughed" Means

Some interesting statistics and accounting figures inside one of the biggest newspaper (USA Today) publishers: Gannett Company.

Jonathan Beer of Daily Finance reports:

Employees at Gannett Co.'s (GCI) USA Today must be insanely dedicated.

Why else would the nation's largest newspaper publisher need to explain to the workers at its flagship paper what it means to be forced to take a week off. But that's exactly what Publisher Dave Hunke decided his depressed workforce needed to hear.

"To be clear, a furlough means no one will be permitted to work while on furlough and no one will be exempt, except for business necessity," he wrote in a memo to employees that was leaked to the press. "That means when you are on furlough, there is no work, no office phone calls, no voice mail, no e-mail and no PDA checking."

This raises all sorts of depressing questions. Why is Gannett so worried about employees working for free on their own time? How is this going to be enforced? Should reporters hang up on sources who phone them at home or screen their calls? What if they find Lindsay Lohan and Warren Buffett having a romantic dinner? Should they avert their eyes, or just phone the National Enquirer?

No Longer No. 1

As the independent Gannett Blog noted, other company papers are already doing furloughs, and at least 26 USA Today employees were recently laid off. A one-year wage freeze at the national newspaper, which was scheduled to end April 1, will be extended for another 90 days because business still stinks. Fourth-quarter paid advertising pages at USA Today fell 10.5%, to 705 from 788 a year earlier. Company-wide publishing advertising revenue fell 17.9% to $790.8 million in the fourth quarter.

Last year, USA Today lost its spot as the nation's No. 1 newspaper after its circulation fell a mind-numbing 17.5%. That was the biggest circulation decline in the 27 year history of the publication that earned the unflattering nickname McPaper. Shares of the McLean, Va.-based company have soared more than 212% over the past year, coming back from record lows as investors bet that the company's cost-cutting would pay off. Some big shareholders, though, are now unloading shares, according to the Gannett Blog.

To be sure, newspapers have nowhere to go but up. Analysts Borrell Associates expects newspaper advertising revenue to reverse its 2009 decline and post a modest 2.4% gain this year. The forecasters expect newspaper ad sales to be up about 8.7% over 2009 levels in 2014. (Yes, you read that right.)

By the time the publishing industry makes its tepid comeback, the companies will be a rotting shell of their former selves. Workers won't need to be told what it means to be on a furlough. They will be painfully aware of it.

Jonathan Berr is a former reporter with Bloomberg News whose work has appeared in The New York Times, BusinessWeek and The Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2000, he won the Gerald Loeb Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in business journalism.

Friday, February 12, 2010

What Does iPad and Kindle Mean for the Future of the Publishing Industry?

Amazon introduced the Kindle THEN Apple introduced the iPad to fight the Kindle and BOOM we have new business models that have drastically overhauled the way publishing will make money and who will get what share of the booty.

This from the iPad News Tracker:

“Publishing executives have an unprecedented opportunity to grow the industry. Yet, what they are doing is defending their old business model – which, frankly, is now antiquated”

NYU Stern Professor Vasant Dhar, an expert in the strategic implications of information technology, warns that the publishing industry will be the next “carcass” if it doesn’t embrace a new business model, and he proposes what this new model should look like.

Professor Dhar, who conducted the first study to quantify the economic impact of user-generated content for the music business, cites the music trade as a perfect example of an industry that failed because it was unprepared and resistant to adopting new technologies. Instead of focusing on providing their customers value and reasonable rights of usage, they became obsessed with preventing piracy, and it cost them dearly.

He argues that publishers should adopt a more market-back-focused business model that welcomes technological innovation. “Executives are disconnected from their rising consumer base. They underestimate the power of and the cultural shift that has been brought on by emerging technologies.”

Professor Dhar explains the drivers behind the technological shift:

Moore’s Law – which states that raw computing power doubles every 18 months, making general purpose devices capable of rendering content at high quality The increasing level of digitization of virtually all types of content and the explosion of user-generated content: data on the Internet doubles every three months, and roughly 20 hours of new content is currently uploaded every hour on YouTube The modularity of software, which makes it easy to build new applications: while software productivity languished for decades, it has now kicked into high gear as object-oriented software makes it easy to plug-and-play self-contained modules into high-quality systems very quickly Taken together, the three drivers are powerful disruptors of existing business models.

He suggests the publishing industry implement a digital strategy based on simple pricing and digital rights aimed at growing the market of readers. “Increasingly, consumers prefer electronic delivery of their content. Publishers should tap this market and see it for what it is – growth,” said Professor Dhar. “Would you rather have a piece of a growing market even if it’s a smaller percentage than before, or try and hold onto a larger piece of one that is crumbling?” he asks. All the evidence to date suggests that defending obsolete business models isn’t a good idea, he says.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Future of Reading

Is there still a desire for the written word? Yes there is, and by 12 year olds at that, as Josh Quittner of Fortune magazine found out from his own daughter:

A few months ago the most amazing thing happened: Unbidden, unpressured, and all by herself (armed only with my wife's credit card), my 12-year-old daughter subscribed to a magazine.

While Clem has long harbored a fantasy of one day being the editor of the French version of Vogue (inexplicably, she is a life-long Francophile), it still surprised and thrilled me when Vogue started showing up in the mail.

Magazines, books, newspapers -- all that printed stuff is supposed to be dying. Advertising pages, which have been steadily declining, dropped 26% in 2009 alone. But here, surely, was some evidence that publishing might have a chance. If an adolescent who otherwise spends every waking hour on a laptop still craves the printed word, then maybe, just maybe, there's a little new growth left in old media.

This tender, green, old-media sprout began to bloom in a curious way, however. Each month Clem was excited when Vogue arrived. She'd rip into the issue and scamper up the stairs to her chambre à coucher, with enough enthusiasm to do Anna Wintour proud. But after digesting each issue, Clem would reappear with it hours later -- only now a zillion Post-its jutted from its pages, stegosaurus-like.

Over time, one by one, those stegosauri began to stack up, spines out, in her closet. One day I decided to take a peek at the dinosaur graveyard to see what my daughter was tagging so furiously. It turned out that she was trying to annotate each issue, sorting the material by outfits, accessories, footwear, and other categories for later reference. I noticed that the more issues she tagged, the more frustrated she became. This was a lot of work. So why was she doing it?

"Don't you get it?" my wife observed. "She's trying to turn the magazine into a computer."

Et voilà! Of course she was.

The more I thought about it, the more I decided there was good news for the evolution of the publishing industry here -- and better news. The good news is that 12-year-olds, just like their parents and their parents before them going all the way back to the publication of the first magazine in 1731 (the year Charles Darwin's grandfather was born), still enjoy the medium. But they want it delivered in an exponentially more useful way.

Raised to expect instant, sortable, searchable, savable, portable access to all the information in the world, these digital natives -- tomorrow's magazine subscribers, God and Steve Jobs willing -- could well become the generation that saves the publishing industry.

Read more @ http://alturl.com/qq26

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Publishers, Amazon Inch Toward Truce In Post-iPad World

More insider opinion Re e-book pricing and battles between Amazon and publishers. Who is going to make more money under the new materializing business model? Who is offering olive branches to get on the new book media distribution bandwagen?

Dan Gallagher of the Wall Street Journal reported thusly:

Since Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) debuted its first Kindle e-book reader late in 2007, the reaction within the book industry has been some mix of welcome and scorn.

Welcome because of the potential to tap an entirely new market--before a wave of digital piracy similar to the one that decimated the music business. Scorn because of fears that the online retail giant, which already has a commanding share of the market for physical books, might use its leverage to seize control of the new market and push down prices even further.

Publishers have been fighting back, and seemed to score an important victory over the last week, with Amazon reportedly agreeing to a model that would let them set higher prices for e-books sold for the Kindle.

Analysts say a truce is likely but won't do much harm to Amazon even if the company loses the $9.99 price tag for e-books that has helped make the Kindle a major hit.

The company discloses little data for its Kindle business, but it is widely estimated that Seattle-based Amazon loses money on most e-books that it sells for that price. Higher prices would mean a better margin for the business even if sales take a small hit in terms of volume, experts say.

But concerns persist about whether publishers will give any ground at all on e-book prices. In theory, the companies should still make good profits on e-books at lower prices, because they are saving on the costs of printing, binding and distribution that make up an estimated 10% to 12% of a hardcover book's total price.

"Publishers seems to be fighting a rear-guard action against Amazon," Stephen Windwalker, a small book publisher and author of the Kindle Nation Daily blog, said on a conference call hosted by the brokerage Collins Stewart on Monday.

"I'm not seeing a lot to be excited for," he added.

Turning Off The 'Buy Button'

Ironically, the company that has thrown the biggest wrench into Amazon's plans for the e-book market is the very company that Amazon was trying to emulate--Apple Inc. (AAPL).

Apple, with the launch of the iPod and its iTunes online music store, turned the music industry on its ear.

The store sold single tracks for 99 cents and kept most full albums under the $10 mark. The music industry had already seen its profits socked by digital piracy, so it begrudgingly accepted a model that allowed for some revenue--even if it was less than what the industry was accustomed to.

Amazon tried the same simplified pricing scheme for e-books, pushing publishers to keep the prices below $10.

But last month, Apple introduced the iPad tablet device and with it, announced a new service called iBookstore. No prices were announced for the store, but the company said it would let publishers set their own rather than force them to accept a set price.

Six major publishers announced support of the iPad and have been pushing Amazon to allow them to set higher prices. Things came to a head last week when Amazon removed the titles of one publisher--Macmillan--from its site in protest of its new e-book prices, even as the company admitted that it had "capitulated" to Macmillan's demands to set higher prices.

Macmillan's books are back for sale on Amazon this week, and neither company will say what sort of deal they reached.

"It's fair to say that no one in the book industry wants to see a major channel of distribution shut down, and that's what happened when Amazon turned off the buy button on Macmillan's books," said Al Greco, a professor of business at Fordham University who studies the book market.

An Olive Branch?

In an op-ed column in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, the head of a major publishing house noted the changes rippling through the book business and offered what some considered to be an olive branch in the battle over pricing e-books.

John Makinson, chairman and chief executive of the Penguin Group, wrote that publishers need to understand that "it's fruitless to stand between the reader and his choice." But he also noted that the physical cost of a book is roughly on par with the average margin of the consumer book-publishing industry, "and what's needed to keep investing in new writing and new ideas." (John's editorial note: The last part of the last sentence makes absolutely NO sense to this author)

"So there's some room for discussion but not that much," he wrote.

Greco called Makinson's piece "an attempt to calm the waters." He noted that five of the six major publishers have entered into what is called an "agency agreement" with Apple to allow the company to sell e-books for its iPad, but it gives publishers control over pricing.

Such a model "will become the norm for all sales of e-books in the future," Greco said.

"Ironically, while Amazon seems to not like that agency approach, they lost money on every transaction under their current model," he said. "From a financial point of view, Amazon will make more money this way."

He noted the risk, however, that consumers have now become used to a $9.99 price tag for e-books, which may make some resistant to the idea of paying higher prices.

"Will consumers walk away? I don't think so," Greco said.

Windwalker, the Kindle Nation Daily blogger, agrees that Amazon will likely do well financially even under higher prices. But he added that consumers will likely resist the higher prices--providing an incentive to publishers who break from the pack to keep prices low.

He also noted that publishers may be ignoring Amazon's key strengths--at their own peril.

"There are two things that Amazon knows more about more than anyone else in the world: Price elasticity and their own customers," he said. "If higher prices begin to suppress sales and profits, then I think it's fair to assume they [publishers] will not march in lockstep."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Penton Media to File for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Penton Media, one of the giants in business-to-business and trade publications, had to restructure it's debt load or die! They have done so and I, for one, am greatly relieved they have survived...What would we do without Barron's, FitPregnancy, Musician's Friend, Museum of Modern Art Design Store Catalog, Crutchfield, Broadcast Engineering, Radio Magazine and so on and so on and so on! Penton publishes in 17 different industry markets...Can you imagine!

Jason Fell of FOLIO magazine describes Penton's reorganization and shedding of $270 million dollars in debt:

Trade publisher Penton Media Tuesday announced that it has reached an agreement with its lenders on the terms of a restructuring through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. If approved, the plan is expected to eliminate $270 million in debt.

In addition to the agreement, the company said a number of its existing shareholders have agreed to make “a significant” new investment in the company. When contacted by FOLIO:, a Penton spokesperson declined to say exactly how much of an investment will be made.

In financial restructurings, it's common for an equity exchange to happen between company owners and their lenders. The spokesperson, however, said there will be no changes in the company’s ownership, which includes MidOcean Partners and Wasserstein & Co. No layoffs are associated with the restructuring, she said.

Roland DeSilva, co-founder and managing partner of media investment bankers DeSilva + Phillips, called the Chapter 11 filing “unfortunate” but said the restructuring, overall, is a positive move for Penton. “Penton is going through an effective transition from a traditional b-to-b publisher to an information and digital media company,” he said. “This reorganization will be effective because Penton will now be able to manage the transition in the markets as opposed to managing the balance sheet and servicing the debt, which was the problem.”

Last fall, Penton hired global investment bankers Rothschild Inc. to assist with an evaluation of its current capital structure. MidOcean and Wasserstein acquired the company in 2006 for $194.2 million, plus assumption and payment of debt, putting the total value of the deal at $530 million. The company’s current debt has been estimated at close to $1 billion.

The Penton spokesperson, however, declined to say how much debt Penton carries and said she was not immediately sure what type of debt will be eliminated as part of the pre-packaged reorganization plan.

In announcing the reorganization, Penton CEO Sharon Rowlands called the restructuring a “positive, strategic step” for Penton. “This restructuring will allow us to achieve a debt level that is more sustainable in the current economic environment. With a strengthened capital structure, we will be better positioned to fully leverage our operations, which have been and continue to be profitable.”

Penton said it will operate with “business as usual” through the restructuring process. It said it expects to emerge from Chapter 11 within 30 to 45 days.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Posthumous Publishing and the Dead Authors Society

Did J. D. Salinger, author of the best seller Catcher in the Rye, REALLY do a lot of writing and elect not to have it published? If the one-novel writer, recently deceased...God bless his soul, DID write in his seclusion, then his works will be a bonanza for all readers when and if they do come to light.

Will Gompertz, BBC Arts Editor, had an interesting and insightful conversation with a publisher about possible Salinger unpublished works:

While I was discussing the death of ­JD Salinger with a publisher the other day, he speculated on the possibility of unpublished Salinger manuscripts coming on to the market.

If they were around, he would like to see them, principally to understand why Salinger chose not to publish while apparently still writing. "Writers", he remarked, "have egos. They want people to read their work."

If the manuscripts exist, and if they ever come to the market, they are likely to become the next posthumous publishing sensation - regardless of how good they are. Of course, posthumous publishing is not new: novels by Jane Austen were published after her death, including Northanger Abbey. But I am told by publishers that they sense a growing trend.

Recently books by Vladimir Nabokov, Irene Nemirovsky and Siobhan Dowd have captured a great deal of attention. And in the near-future, two of the most hotly-anticipated new books come from authors who are no longer alive: a new Roberto Bolano following the success of ­2666 and David Foster Wallace's Pale King.

But that is the tip of the beyond-the-grave publishing iceberg. Tens of thousands of books by authors long-since dead - and correspondingly out of copyright - will be available this spring in a new initiative of the British Library. Readers will be able to see 65,000 books from their collection, 35-40% of them unique to the library. This can be for free using Amazon's Kindle device - I am told they are talking to other suppliers - or as a purchase of a print-on-demand physical book from Amazon.

Meanwhile Google is driving forward its Google Books platform, which is the subject of an ongoing wrangle between retailers, executors, publishers and lawyers. The debate centres on Google's ambition to digitise the millions of books that are out-of-print, but crucially, still in copyright. Google presents the plan as a public service and as a revenue-generator for authors and their estates. Others, such as the US Department of Justice, are concerned that it may be monopolistic and market-distorting.

We may be looking at a new boom in publishing, though some think there are already too many books published each year; it will be interesting to see the effect on new novels by new authors.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Roberts Beats McCaw, $900,000 - $0

More intrigue and drama in the publishing world! Another lawsuit involving a former editor vs his employer-publisher...only this time the publisher bought the suit AND lost.

More on this story by Nick Welsh of the Santa Barbara Independent:

Jerry Roberts

Ampersand Publishing, the parent company of the Santa Barbara News-Press, was ordered to pay roughly $915,000 in legal fees and arbitration costs to former News-Press editor and publisher Jerry Roberts in the wake of Roberts’ protracted contract dispute with that paper after his much publicized resignation in July 2006. Roberts quit — along with five other editors — during stormy and prolonged controversy over what they termed a breach of journalistic ethics by Ampersand owner Wendy McCaw.

Though this order was part of an arbitrated settlement that concluded in October 2009, the details were just released for the first time Friday, February 5 when attorneys for McCaw filed legal papers in Santa Barbara Superior Court to have the arbitrated ruling vacated.

From a strictly technical perspective, the ruling was a draw. The arbitrator, Deborah Rothman, rejected McCaw’s claims that Roberts had breached his contract by divulging confidential information about the management of the News-Press or that he has made defamatory remarks about McCaw and the paper. But she also rejected Roberts’ counter-claims that McCaw had effectively forced him to quit by making working conditions so impossible he had no other choice. Likewise, Rothman rejected Roberts’ contention that McCaw was legally responsible for a libelous blog authored by McCaw’s fiancé — and News-Press co-publisher — Arthur Von Wiesenberger.

Even so, the arbitrator declared Roberts the prevailing party. As such, Roberts is entitled to recoup many of legal costs from McCaw that he expended defending himself from her. To that end, Rothman ordered McCaw to pay Roberts $629,643.63 in legal fees. Roberts had expended $750,000 in attorneys’ bills. The arbitrator also ordered McCaw to pay Roberts $167,516 in arbitration costs.

Despite rejecting arguments for both sides, Rothman provided a detailed accounting of why she determined Roberts was the prevailing party. Ampersand’s stated litigation objective, Rothman said, was “to pin the blame on Roberts’ media statements for its lost prestige and credibility in the Santa Barbara community. . . Further, Ampersand pursued its objectives in this proceeding in a scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners, go-for-broke fashion. . . to punish Roberts for Ampersand’s public drubbing.” In this objective, Rothman, concluded, McCaw had failed utterly to demonstrate Roberts had violated the terms of his confidentiality agreement with the News-Press or that he had defamed her in any way. She did acknowledge, however, that Roberts had spoken disparagingly of McCaw and the News-Press. “What Ampersand probably wishes Roberts had signed is a non-disparagement agreement. Ampersand cannot retroactively prevent Roberts from disparaging Mrs. McCaw or the News-Press.”

Rothman noted that it was McCaw, not Roberts, who initiated the legal dispute which, under the terms of Roberts’ contract with Ampersand, had to be resolved through mandatory arbitration. McCaw initially filed a $500,000 action against Roberts, but when he responded with a counter-claim, Rothman noted McCaw upped the ante by increasing her complaint against Roberts from $500,000 to $25 million. “I infer from the evidence before me that Mrs. McCaw is capable of great vindictiveness and appears to relish the opportunity to wield her considerable wealth and power in furtherance of what she believes to be a righteous cause,” Rothman declared in her ruling.

Read more at http://alturl.com/wevg

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Feds Troubled by Google's Digital Book Deal

More drama and intrigue in the publishing world! You got to love it!

Michael Liedtke of Business Week reports further on the Google digital rights deal giving them exclusivity over millions of hard-to-find books...

The U.S. Justice Department still thinks a proposal to give Google the digital rights to millions of hard-to-find books threatens to stifle competition and undermine copyright laws, despite revisions aimed at easing those concerns.

The opinion filed Thursday in New York federal court is a significant setback in Google's effort to win approval of a 15-month-old legal settlement that would put the Internet search leader in charge of a vast electronic library and store.

A diverse mix of Google rivals, consumer watchdogs, academic experts, literary agents, state governments and even foreign governments have already urged U.S. District Judge Denny Chin to reject the agreement.

The Justice Department's perspective presumably will carry more weight with Chin, given its position as the chief U.S. law enforcement agency.

In its 26-page brief, the Justice Department praised the revised settlement for making "substantial progress" since it objected to the original agreement in September.

But the government advised Chin that the agreement still oversteps the legal boundaries of a class-action settlement, describing the proposal as "a bridge too far." The Justice Department also raised concerns that Google's partnership with the participating U.S. publishers could turn into a literary cartel that would wield too much power over book prices.

"The United States believes that the court lacks authority to approve" the settlement in its current form, the government's lawyers wrote.

The filing also asserted that the modified agreement doesn't adequately protect the copyrights and financial interests of "orphan works" -- out-of-print books whose writers' whereabouts are unknown.

Despite its misgivings, the Justice Department urged the parties to take another stab at making changes that would eliminate its legal concerns. The department provided a list of recommendations on how to achieve that.

In a statement, Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker gave no indication whether the company and other settling parties are willing to amend the agreement again.

"The Department of Justice's filing recognizes the progress made with the revised settlement, and it once again reinforces the value the agreement can provide in unlocking access to millions of books in the U.S.," Stricker said.

Chin has scheduled a Feb. 18 hearing to consider approving the class-action settlement.

Consumer Watchdog, one of the groups fighting the settlement, applauded the Justice Department for taking a stand against a deal "that unfairly benefits the narrow agenda of one company."

But a former policy director for the Federal Trade Commission lashed out at the Justice Department and predicted Chin would approve the settlement.

"The DOJ's view is clouded by taking a microscopic and static view of an incredibly dynamic marketplace," said David Balto, now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a think tank.

The government's antitrust concerns extend beyond the settlement's potential for driving up book prices. Thursday's filings also pointed out that the deal could make Google's search engine even more dominant by giving it a digital database of books built up largely by ignoring copyright laws.

"Content that can be discovered by only one search engine offers that search engine some protection from competition," the Justice Department wrote. "This outcome has not been achieved by a technological advance in search or by operation of normal market forces; rather, it is the direct product of scanning millions of books without the copyright holders' consent."

Google already processes about two-thirds of the search requests in the United States, an advantage that led the company to rake in $79 billion in revenue during the past five years -- mostly from short ads posted alongside search results and other Web content.

That success has emboldened Google to make digital copies of more than 12 million books during the past five years, it has shown only snippets from most of them while trying to revolve a class-action lawsuit filed in 2005 by groups representing U.S. authors and publishers. The suit alleged Google's book-scanning project trampled their intellectual rights.

A $125 million truce reached in October 2008 has remained in a holding pattern while Google tried to notify the affected parties and overcome staunch resistance to the deal. Some of the most strident opponents have been Google rivals, including Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

The agreement also has prominent supporters, including college libraries, publishing groups and Sony Corp., which wants to tap into Google's digital book index to feed its own electronic reader, which is competing against Amazon.com's Kindle.

Tweaks made to the settlement in November were supposed to end the bickering.

Among other things, the revisions provide more flexibility to offer discounts on electronic books and promise to make it easier for others to resell access to the electronic library.

The changes also narrowed the settlement's scope so it would only apply to books registered with the U.S. copyright office or published in Canada, the United Kingdom or Australia.

Nevertheless, the French and German governments still maintain the deal will infringe on the rights of writers in their countries. And groups representing authors in Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy remain opposed.

Friday, February 5, 2010

How To Charge for Online Content

From Business Wire: Paid Content Initiative by ClickandBuy with Axel Springer Publishing House.
Leading European Media Company Launches Chargeable Online Services with ClickandBuy, One of the Internet's Leading Payment Systems.

As a partner of the premium initiative implemented by Axel Springer, ClickandBuy provides readers in Berlin (BERLINER MORGENPOST) and Hamburg (HAMBURGER ABENDBLATT) with a convenient and secure method of paying for chargeable online material. In addition to being Germany's largest newspaper publishing house and third largest magazine publisher, Axel Springer is also one of Europe's leading media companies.

The top two regional brands are now providing access to local and regional editorial content via their internet platforms in return for payment. The online archives offered by both regional newspapers are likewise subject to a fee.

The use of all content on morgenpost.de costs EUR 4.95 per month ($7USD) and the premium package offered by abendblatt.de is available for EUR 7.95/$11.30 (USD). When the month has elapsed the user is able to extend his/her subscription on a monthly basis. The payment for these services, as is the case with existing paid content offers, is concluded in a few steps via a secure and reliable payment function provided by ClickandBuy, which has been established in the market as a full service e-payment system since 1999.

The premium initiative from Axel Springer already incorporates numerous fee-based services with attractive content and a simple billing method. Since 9 December 2009 the iPhone Apps from BILD, Europe's largest daily newspaper, and WELT, one of Germany's leading newspapers, feature among the best-selling applications on the market (BILD is ranked no. 1 in the AppStore, while DIE WELT is no. 9). As a long-term partner of Apple iTunes and Axel Springer AG, ClickandBuy is seeing evidence of a trend reversal for paid content.

ClickandBuy CEO Charles Fraenkl, commented on this very positive development from the perspective of an Internet payment system with a decade of experience in paid content: "Outstanding products like the new Apps from Bild and Welt have generated a significant degree of enthusiasm, thereby clearly demonstrating that if paid content has a distinctive value, people are willing to pay for information and entertainment when it is convenient, easy and secure. The great age for paid content has just begun", states Fraenkl.

"With quality offers directed at target groups and the corresponding pricing models, paid content will soon be able to make the breakthrough in Europe and the USA. And, as a partner of major media companies, ClickandBuy is ideally positioned: To successfully implement the various pricing and business models for publishing houses it requires many years of expertise, which only ClickandBuy can offer at the necessary depth and breadth for the online payment market", continues Fraenkl.

About ClickandBuy

ClickandBuy is one of the leading online payment systems. The online payment system is already being used by more than 14 million people to pay for their purchases on the Internet. After doubling its turnover with retailers and end customers to 922 million euro (TTV) in 2008, the ClickandBuy group was able to break the billion euro barrier for the first time in 2009.

More than 16,000 online retailers use ClickandBuy for their e-commerce, online entertainment and paid content & services transactions, including Apple iTunes, Electronic Arts (EA), McAfee, Panda, Deutsche Telekom, T-Online, Vodafone, Napster, AOL, Telefonica, Orange, Meetic, Parship, AutoScout24, RTL, Axel Springer Publishing Group, Playboy, Financial Times Deutschland, Deutsche Borse Group, KPMG etc.

A study carried out by the E-Commerce-Center Handel at the University of Cologne revealed that online stores are able to benefit significantly and boost their sales by up to 150 percent by using ClickandBuy. The online payment system that was founded in 1999 is operated by ClickandBuy International Ltd. in London. As an e-money institution licensed by the British Financial Services Authority (FSA) ClickandBuy offers its customers 50 national & international payment methods in 30 countries.