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Monday, November 29, 2010

The Magazine Publishing Research and Market Arena

Why are some magazines going bust and others are struggling just to stay alive AND STILL others are prospering?

Understanding the current industry trends and marketing to them (besides the obvious of possessing great content) could provide the answer...Which brings me to the purpose of this post: to introduce those of you who may not be aware of their existence to Research and Markets dot com.

Presented here is a sample of one of their reports:

2010 Magazine Publishing Industry Report

It's no secret that the magazine publishing sector has been hit hard over the past couple of years. However, while some magazines have folded and some continue to limp along, others have prospered!

In this exclusive report, the first of its kind, the DirectMarketingIQ research team presents never-seen-before data and trend analysis about the magazine publishing industry acquisition and retention customer campaigns from the first half of 2010, 2009 and before.

The report highlights more than 120 magazines using direct mail intelligence gathered from the Who's Mailing What Archive, the largest library of direct mail samples in the world. Detailed analysis on email magazine promotions was taken from the Email Campaign Archive – an online library tracking thousands of promotional emails every month.

Here are just a few of the takeaways you'll learn:

The dominant magazine publishers – by market based on their direct mail and email volume

Read and learn more

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thief Becomes a Best-Selling Author

Does crime pay?

Sometimes it does if you can believe Hajime Karasuyama (the pen name of the career burglar) who not only made over a million a year in burglarizing, but will also make a killing on his best-selling novel which is flying off the shelves!

Especially in this economic atmosphere this book will have great appeal. Hopefully only as a dream-fix and not as an instigator of thievery...You know how many of our fellow world citizens get frustated, impatient and make bad choices.

The book is entitled Occupation, Thief; Annual income, Yen 30 Million with a warning "Please do not attempt to copy me" as a subtitle...Wonder if this warning will dissuade all readers?

These details were published in the Vancouver Sun by Julian Ryall :

Public laps up guide on how to become an expert cat burglar
Editor says manual is targeted at homeowners who want to protect property

A Japanese thief, who describes himself as a gentleman cat burglar, has become a best-selling author after writing a book giving tips on how to carry out burglaries.

Futabasha Publishing says that a first print run of 10,000 copies of Occupation, Thief; Annual income, Yen 30 Million has almost run out in the 10 days since publication.

Hajime Karasuyama -- the pen name of the career burglar -- claims to have developed the uncanny ability to guess where the occupant of any home will have stashed cash and valuables and provides tips on how to gain access to a locked property and then get away without leaving any signs. He says he earns about $2 million a year from burglary.

Read and learn more

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish ALL a Happy and Warm Thanksgiving from the bottom of my heart!

Richard Branson's iPad-only digital magazine to be Called 'Project'

Here is some cutting edge news about the British entrepreneur (pictured) RE publishing and, believe it or not, space travel and space hotels!...I love this guy!

This from RealBusiness.co.uk by Jason Hesse:

Richard Branson takes on iPad-only publishing

In a press conference invitation, Richard Branson said that his iPad magazine, currently called Project, will include entertainment, travel, business, design and international culture.

Richard Branson’s Project, which has previously been referred to as Maverick, is being developed under the creative direction of Anthony Noguera (former editor of Arena and FHM) and Richard Branson’s 29-year-old daughter Holly.

Industry watchers are also speculating that Project will also be used as an in-flight magazine on Virgin Airline flights.

It’s interesting that Richard Branson is keeping away from news and current affairs – presumably this will be left to The Daily, the iPad newspaper Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is working on.

Although speculation has been rife about Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily, the 79-year-old media mogul only acknowledged the project last week.

RE: Writers Thought for Today Blog: B2B Publishers Gain More Investor Interest

Cross reference from my other blog:

B2B Publishers Gain More Investor Interest http://alturl.com/tnap

Publishing, as a whole, has seen an uptick lately...Not B2B publishing models, however.

PaidContent.org, utilizing info from Data Explorers, a financial data aggregator which tracks stock loan information to provide insight on short selling and long-side ownership, has surmised that the B2B publishers are gaining interest and activity from investors that indicate this publishing model may be on the mend...due in some regard (I think) to improved handling of digitization.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SAP to Pay Oracle $1.3 Billion for Copyright Infringement!

Another publishing copyright infringement case...BUT, this one pops for one of the largest settlements ever: $1.3 BILLION!

This one involves SAP, a German software company, illegally downloading millions of Oracle's files...Well, howdy dodo!

From Reuters by Dan Levine:

SAP AG must pay Oracle Corp $1.3 billion for software theft, a jury decided, awarding damages that could be the largest-ever for copyright infringement.

The decision, by a U.S. district court jury in Oakland California, drew a gasp from the courtroom and prompted hugs and handshakes among Oracle's legal team, which has pursued their case for years.

Oracle's shares rose 1.5 percent in after-hours trade, while those of SAP slipped 1.4 percent.

SAP, Europe's top software maker, said it was disappointed by the verdict and might appeal.

"We are, of course, disappointed by this verdict and will pursue all available options, including post-trial motions and appeal if necessary," SAP said in a statement in response to the verdict.

Attorneys for Oracle called the verdict the largest ever for a copyright infringement case.

While SAP could appeal, Oracle attorney David Boies said, that would raise the possibility of a retrial. "If I were SAP, and I'm not, but if I were SAP, I'm not sure I would want to have another trial," Boies said.


At the outset of the trial, the German company acknowledged that its TomorrowNow subsidiary had wrongfully downloaded millions of Oracle's files.

With the admission of liability, the issue before the jury was how much Oracle was owed in damages. SAP said no more $40 million, while Oracle at least $1.65 billion.

"The mark of a leading company is the way it handles its mistakes. As stated in court, we regret the actions of TN, we have accepted liability, and have been willing to fairly compensate Oracle," SAP said after the verdict was announced.

Read and learn more

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Insight into the Scientific, Technical & Medical (STM) Publishing Arena

With increasing budget constraints hitting academic institutions, libraries and corporate advertisers...constraints brought on by the current recession...the scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishers are experiencing shrinking profits.

Though not by too much in this writers opinion! Hell, The global STM publishing market saw total sales of $20.3 billion in 2009! But, then again, I am not an expert nor am I rich...and $20 billion seems a wondrous number to this peasant. This represents a decrease of 1.6% for the STM folks in 2009. Is this all that bad?....Naaah. Many are doing MUCH worse!

This report from "Insights from the Editor" at Simba Information:

After shrinking 1.6% in 2009, the market for scientific, technical and medical publishing is poised to regain modest growth in 2010. However, according to Global STM Publishing 2009-2010, a new report from media industry and forecast analysis firm Simba Information, leading report publishers will require new strategies to maintain growth in what is expected to be a painfully slow recovery.

The global STM publishing market saw total sales fall to $20.3 billion in 2009 due to a broad impact on revenue streams from the worldwide recession. As detailed in the report, academic institutions faced budget pressure, which made subscription renewals difficult. Corporate customers and advertisers also cut back their spending in light of the recession. With the economy expected to slowly recover, the report projects sales in the combined STM markets to finish the year slightly ahead of 2009 results.

These market pressures are not expected to dissipate immediately. The question is how long will they last? If library budget constraints and shrinking advertising expenditures produce a couple of soft years, the market leaders will be able to ride it out with cost containment; however, if the current situation lingers and libraries start cancelling big contracts, publishers will be under the gun to find alternative strategies.

Read and learn more

Friday, November 19, 2010

French Intellectual Property Law Stronger than US Copyright Law for Authors

More clarity and detail RE the Google copyright infringement case with US and French authors and publishers...AND why the French agreement is superior!

For a little background on this intriguing issue, read my 11/18/10 post on Writers Thought for Today Blog .

Diane Mullenex and Jacques Mandrillon, legal beavers for the French legal firm, Ichay & Mullenex Avocats, write this for Lexology.com:

In 2004, Google launched its “Books Library Project” in order to create a universal library online by digitising books and making it available for consultation on one of its application. This initiative was followed, the next year, by a copyright infringement case brought by the US Authors Guild and five majors US publishers.

Finally, in October 2008, they reached a settlement which has been amended some months later. The Google Book Settlement is not finalized yet, awaiting US Department of Justice approval. Nonetheless, the deal was the best they could get at the moment.

On the 17th of November, Google and Hachette Livre, the largest publisher in France and the No.2 trade publisher by sales worldwide, have reached an agreement authorizing Google to scan and sell electronically its out-of-print French language titles under the control of the publisher. This agreement covers about 50,000 French titles, including literature and nonfiction works, still under copyright protection.

The two deals are different: but why?

Judicial history is different, culture is different and political background is different

In December 2009, the search engine company was found guilty of copyright infringement by the High Court of First Instance of Paris for digitising the books of the French publisher La Martinière and putting extracts online without its written prior approval. The case was brought by La Martinière, the French publisher’s union (SNE – Syndicat national de l’édition) and a publishers and authors’ group (SGDL – Société des gens de lettre). All the more, several French major publishers, including Hachette, declared their intentions to sue Google for the same reasons.

These cases are related to the initial version of the Books Library Project. In this Google application, in order to answer to their search queries, users were allowed to read the full text of public domain books but only few paragraphs in titles still protected by copyright.

Read and learn more

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More Than Just a Publisher

A great teacher and publisher with a mission in far off India has moved on to higher rewards.

Professor P. Lal fostered a vibrant literary movement in India in the late 1950's that has grown into a gateway for new Indian writers and translated many great classical Indian works into the English language...He almost single-handedly spurred 'new age writers of an emerging India to the global literary centrestage...'

P. Lal passed away on Nov 3 at age 81...But, not before leaving a giant footprint.

This from Sify India News:

P. Lal's demise marks end of an era in publishing

Every year at the Kolkata Book Fair, a gaggle of literary eager-beavers scouting for a door to the literary world would clutch their maiden published volume of poetry or prose bound in trademark red, white or beige cloth with an embroidered stripe running across the length of the jacket.

The cover textiles were sourced from Orissa saris and the title often calligraphed by hand. The design was distinctive and decidedly Indian. The ethnic cover of their books gave them away.

The youngsters' were part of a vibrant literary movement triggered by Writers' Workshop - an avant garde Kolkata-based private publishing house. And the man behind the publishing movement, which began in the late 1950s, was Professor Purushottam Lal, who passed away at the age of 81 in Kolkata on Nov 3.

He was a man with a mission - to pitchfork new age writers of an emerging India to the global literary centrestage and translate classical Indian language writing into English.

Some of the Writers' Workshop beneficiaries - to name a few - are Vikram Seth, Anita Desai, Shasthibrata Chakravarti, Buddhadev Bose, Jayanta Mahapatra and Keki Daruwalla.

The publishing house has 3,500 titles of poetry, novels and drama to its credit till date.

Read and learn more

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tipping-Point Season for E-Readers

This Christmas season should bring mucho cha ching to e-readers and their manufacturers. Forrester Research estimates that there are 9 million e-readers in use in the USA right now, with a huge expected upswing coming this holiday season! Should be well over 10 million just by the end of the year.

More details on the break-out marketing intro of e-readers to holiday shoppers (and some in-depth numbers) by Julie Bosman in this New York Times article:

Great Holiday Expectations for E-Readers

This could be the holiday season that American shoppers and e-readers are properly introduced.

E-readers will be widely available at stores like Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, and offered at prices that make sense for Christmas gifts — less than $150.

Publishers and booksellers are expecting that instead of giving your mother a new Nicholas Sparks novel or your father a David Baldacci thriller in the hardcovers that traditionally fly off the shelves and into wrapping paper at this time of year, you might elect to convert them to e-reading.

“This is the tipping-point season for e-readers, there’s no question,” said Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the Codex Group, a book market research company. “A lot more books are going to be sold in e-book format. It also means that a lot fewer people are going to be shopping in bookstores.”

Only a small slice of the book-buying public has bought an e-reader. About nine million devices are in circulation in the United States, according to Forrester Research.

That could jump in the coming weeks as consumers begin their holiday shopping, analysts predict. According to Forrester, at least 10.3 million e-readers could be in circulation by the end of the year.

Read and enjoy more

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Myth of the Lonely Writer - More on NaNoWriMo

On 8 Nov 2010, I posted an out-of-the-norm view RE NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writers Month) on my Writers Thought for the Day Blog.

Tonight I'm posting more prestigious poop on the NaNoWriMo on this blog.

This editorial from The New York Times Opinion Pages:

Word After Word After Word

November is National Novel Writing Month. Perhaps you know that already. Perhaps you’re trying to reach word 23,338 by night’s end. If you don’t know NaNoWriMo, think of it as a literary marathon with nearly 200,000 mostly amateur writers. The goal? To write a 50,000-word “novel” in 30 days.

“Novel,” in NaNoWriMo-speak, means “laughably awful yet lengthy prose.” What began in 1999 with 21 friends has grown into a nonprofit called the Office of Letters and Light, whose purpose is to get people to throw their literary inhibitions aside, work within a communal deadline, and have fun.

This enormous coterie of writers had produced nearly a billion words as of a couple of days ago. (In 2009, the total was nearly 2.5 billion.) At the end of the month, writers upload their work for a word count. Last year, slightly more than 19 percent of NaNoWriMo writers won, which proves just how hard it is to keep up a pace of 1,667words a day, even if they’re laughably awful.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Challenges Apple's iPad

I often post on electronic gadgets that are useful to writers and publishers. The iPad and now it's first credible challenger from Samsung, the Galaxy Tab, are such devices.

I love certain aspects of the Galaxy over the iPad...It's more compact size and lighter weight, for one. It can be handled in one hand versus two for the iPad with a screen size of 7" compared with iPad's 9.7". Also, the Galaxy includes the three most-requested features missing in the iPad: a camera (two in fact), the ability to run Web videos and applications written in Adobe's Flash software and multitasking.

This report comes from Walter S. Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal:

After seven months of unchallenged prominence, Apple's hot-selling iPad now has its first credible competitor in the nascent market for multitouch consumer tablet computers: the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

The Tab is being introduced over the next week by three major U.S. wireless phone carriers at $400 with a cellular data contract, or at $600 with cellular capability but no contract. The iPad starts at $499 for a Wi-Fi model with no cellular-data capability or contract, and is $629 for the least expensive model with cellular data capability but no contract.

Like the iPad, the Tab, which uses Google's Android operating system, is a good-looking slate with a vivid color screen that can handle many of the tasks typically performed on a laptop. These include email, social networking, Web browsing, photo viewing, and music and video playback. It also can run a wide variety of third-party apps. But it has major differences, most notably in size.

The Tab has a 7-inch screen versus the 9.7-inch display on the iPad. That may seem like a small difference, but the numbers are deceptive, because screen sizes are always described using diagonal measurements. In fact, the actual screen real estate on the Tab is less than half of the iPad's. That's a disadvantage, but it allows the overall unit to be much smaller and lighter, and thus more easily used in one hand, something some users will welcome.

Read and enjoy more

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembering Every Last Veteran!

From this old veteran to all others:

I want to take a moment and say God Bless each and every last one of you and thanks for your much needed service to our country.

And I wish to include ALL veterans in this remembrance...those still here on this earth and those who have gone to better pastures...Whether they fell in battle, survived wounds, suffered disabilities or lived to a ripe old age...Whether they fought in ancient wars or modern times, veterans who fought for causes they believed in should be proud!...And we should be proud of them!

Thanks Brothers from the bottom of my soul...


I inadvertently forgot to provide a link at the end of yesterday's post that would allow the "rest of the story" to be read...

I have added the link this morning to that post and also here: Read and enjoy more

Sorry I goofed...My normally petrified mind was more so yesterday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An 'Old-Fashioned' Publishing Story!

Lately, stories about eBooks and digital publishing models and platforms have been rampant...So, it was a little refreshing to read a story about the firing of a top executive from a large traditional publishing house (Simon & Schuster, to be exact), his mulling over and re-thinking of publishing career directions AND his eventual hiring by ANOTHER large traditional publisher (Penguin, to be exact) as a top executive in a newly created department.

David Rosenthal (pictured) is the publishing exec who fell from the sky but landed on his feet.

Leon Neyfakh of The New York Observer writes this account:

David Rosenthal Puts on His Penguin Suit

The problem with losing your job when you're a high-level executive in contemporary book publishing is that your options are basically to become a literary agent or do something vague and most likely super-boring involving e-books. So one could have forgiven David Rosenthal for feeling a little gloomy this past summer after being fired abruptly from Simon & Schuster and being replaced by Jonathan Karp, a guy 10 years his junior, at the head of the CBS-owned publisher's flagship imprint.

This week Mr. Rosenthal is celebrating a happy landing. On Tuesday morning, it was announced that come January he will be running his own boutique imprint at Penguin Group USA, arguably the healthiest of the big New York houses as well as home to a number of the 56-year-old's former colleagues. Once he gets going, Mr. Rosenthal—whose roster at Simon & Schuster included Bob Woodward, David McCullough, Bob Dylan and Jim Cramer—will be on charge of a small but full-fledged operation at Penguin, with dedicated publicity and marketing muscle and a list totaling somewhere between 24 and 36 books per year.

Over lunch on Tuesday at the Half King in Chelsea, Mr. Rosenthal said Penguin president Susan Petersen Kennedy reached out to him shortly after his firing, and had been "aggressive and enthusiastic" in their talks. He is stoked to go work for her, he said: "People at Penguin don't bitch about their place of employ nearly as much as people elsewhere. Everybody says, 'The only person you ever want to work for in publishing anymore is Susan.'"

Monday, November 8, 2010

Current Publishing News Hither and Yon

I just love that phrase "Hither and Yon"...and have fond memories of the old song Hither, Thither and Yon sung by the great Brook Benton! Ahhh, memories!
Anyway, a little fresh-off-the-press news from Publishers Weekly from here and there RE:

Barnes & Noble and the Riggio family (read my previous posts on the Board of Directors positions fight b/t the Riggio family and Ron Burkle http://alturl.com/3bjvv and http://alturl.com/izybe). More details at link below.

RoyaltyShare Adds Price Monitoring for publishers to track prices charged by online retailers under the agency model (make sure they are charging the price YOU set)...AND discount prices retailers charge under the retail model. More details at link below.

Get additional info on above and more publishing industry briefs at http://alturl.com/q357c

Saturday, November 6, 2010

U.S. News & World Report Exiting Print

A sign of the times for many magazines: moving away from print and jumping headlong into digital editions.

Digital has also received a booster shot in the arm by mobile gadgets, the current fad and choice of the "new" avant-garde.

Anyway, I've always been a big fan of U.S. News (and their neato "best of" lists) and am glad they will not die an untimely death...as others have.

This report from the staff of U.S. News:

Responding to changing habits in the media marketplace, U.S. News Media Group announced that it will discontinue its subscription-based monthly print magazine, going to newsstand and targeted-distribution print publishing while expanding its array of successful digital products.

In 2011, U.S. News will publish eight newsstand print publications focused on single topics, including its Best Colleges and Best Hospitals rankings franchises. Subscribers to the monthly print magazine will have the remainder of their subscriptions filled by other publications.

"This allows us to continue to grow our online business and position ourselves to take advantage of the emerging platforms for distributing information," says company president Bill Holiber.

The website, usnews.com, now averages more than 9 million monthly unique visitors. The site emphasizes U.S. News's traditional strength as a provider of journalism and useful consumer information including a growing range of rankings and research content. In addition to the well-known college and hospital rankings, usnews.com hosts data and tools that allow consumers to evaluate mutual funds, high schools, cars, online education, health plans, and more. A ranking of Best Law Firms launched in September and a travel site based on finding the best vacation options is in the beta phase. Congress Tracker, an extensive data base allowing citizens to examine the records of every member of Congress, is part of an expanding group of public policy tools.

U.S. News Weekly is a digital magazine that debuted in 2009 and is being adapted for iPad and other tablet devices.

Read and enjoy more

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Publishing is Drowning in Ads!

Ads, ads, ads and more ads! We get bombarded with them everywhere! Not only in digital publishing, but in print, too. They are all over the place on the internet (hell, even on the Merriam-Webster online dictionary when you look up a word!) AND even on the covers of print magazines in the form of corner page-peels, belly bands, ad “windows” of varying sizes and false, glued-on covers and gatefolds#@*%?!

Now, I can understand a reasonable amount of ads to make up lost revenue due to faltering subscriptions, etc...BUT, damn, have a little consideration for the consumer.

My advice to advertisers: Don't overplay your hand! Consumers are overwhelmed with legit data as it is, but the more ads they have to wade through just dilutes not only their effectiveness but the legit site content they are placed on gets a bad rap as well.

A good example of this conundrum is illustrated in this article by Jason Fell in FOLIO magazine:

Does This Cover Push the Ad/Edit Line Too Far?

I’ve seen my share of advertisements on magazine covers over the last couple years. I’ve seen corner page-peels, belly bands and ad “windows” of varying sizes. I’ve also seen false, glued-on covers and gatefolds.

Something like this, however, I haven’t seen.

The cover of the October 7 issue of Canon Communications’ EDN magazine [pictured top, left] features the EDN nameplate as it usually would, but the remaining two-thirds—which normally is devoted to editorial—is all advertising. The space is shared by an ad from a company called Avago Technologies and a corner page-peel ad from Digi-Key Corp (which also has a full-page ad inside the magazine).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Facebook Draped in Risqué 'ity'

After just getting over Halloween with all the ghosts, ghouls and witches...a little fun post tonight.

It seems Facebook is at odds with a site called Faceporn over trademark infringement. How about that? Not surprising...but this infringement suit brings up some interesting, if not down-right funny (and some sad), aspects of the FB site.

This from Violet Blue posting on Tech Broiler, a ZDNet.com blog:

Facebook and adult social networking: A dream that's all wet

How many times have you been stuck in the rat’s maze of Facebook profile settings and thought, “This is such a turn-on. I can’t believe that no one has made a porn version of Facebook, because surely this pleasure must be taken to the next level”?

Many times, we’re sure. As it happens, you’re not alone.

One website, Faceporn (Faceporn.com), decided that the constant stress of agonizing over personal privacy in social networks was going to be the next “Behind The Green Door” for our generations. Billing itself as “the number one socializing porn and sex network,” the site aimed to create an X-rated social network, taking the literal “face book” concept to one of “face porn” which actually sounds a lot less appealing. They launched in April 2009.

Unfortunately for them, and everyone else with a Facebook fetish, Facebook did not like this very much. Two weeks ago, Facebook filed suit against Faceporn at U.S. District Court in Northern California, claiming trademark infringement.

In Facebook’s court filing, the company stated that Faceporn “blatantly copied the Facebook logo, site and Wall trademark” while showing screenshots that exemplified Faceporn’s blue-and-white color palette, Wall-style postings, and where users could send a “flirt” — even though in this instance, you would think a “poke” would be more appropriate.

Faceporn, in their second Tweet ever, made a tiny peep on October 20 saying, “Forced to close down for a while, due to unforeseen circumstances. We’ll be back though. Better than ever!”

In the meantime, Facebook wants the court to order Faceporn to turn over the domain and all of Faceporn’s revenue. As many people know, Facebook has not hesitated in the past to take action over what it deems as potentially violating Facebook’s trademark and intellectual property.

Read and enjoy more (and the neat comments)