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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Books Becoming Popular Marketing Tools-Generate 'Invisible Income'

Another view on book publishing...or reasons to publish a book.

Nontraditional authors (entreprenuers, dentists and other professionals) published over 764,000 titles in 2009! That's double the number in 2008 and six times the number published in 2007 according to Bowker LLC, which assigns the unique ISBN numbers that identify books.

These authors do not write and publish in hopes of writing a best-seller...but, instead, to generate what has become known as 'invisible income'.

When you publish a book you become somewhat of an expert and the 'invisible income' results from speaking engagements, consulting, press and new customers.

Makes sense.

Sarah E. Needleman writes this for the Wall Street Journal:

Charles Martin is among hundreds of dentists doing business in the Richmond, Va., metro area. But his resume lists one credential that few of his peers boast: Author.

"If you write a book, you are an expert," says Dr. Martin, who spent roughly $40,000 to publish and market five books, including "Are Your Teeth Killing You?" and "This Won't Hurt a Bit."

Dr. Martin says those books have brought in roughly 450 new patients to his practice. "Who would you rather go to?" he asks. "Someone who has written a book, or someone who hasn't?"

Books are becoming popular marketing tools for the self-employed. An estimated 764,448 titles written by entrepreneurs and other nontraditional authors were published in the U.S. in 2009, including reprints. That's more than double 2008's figure and six times as many as in 2007, according to Bowker LLC, which, for U.S. publishers, assigns the unique ISBN numbers that identify books.

Entrepreneurs in most cases aren't actually looking to produce best-sellers. Instead, most are taking advantage of new forms of publishing, including electronic publishing and print-on-demand, to generate "invisible income," says Adam Witty, founder of five-year-old Advantage Media Group Inc., a Charleston, S.C., publisher. That income stems from "speaking, consulting, press and new customers. It's not about selling copies." Mr. Witty is the author of "21 Ways to Build Your Business with a Book."

Read and learn more

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reader's Digest Takes Center Stage with New Products

Readers Digest (RD), having emerged from Chapter 11 last February, is rolling out new print AND online products to grow and , hopefully, prosper in the 21st century!

Read my previous posts on the RD dilemma for background: RD Morphing into 24 New Products, RD Association(RDA) Emerges from Chapter 11 and RD, Playboy and Others Miss Rate Base

Readers Digest is 88 years old (that's even older than I am!) and it's editorial insight and expertise is unsurpassed! Not to mention the extremely relevant cutting edge humor. I wish them all the success in the world...and then some...

Matthew Flamm, writing for Caine's New York Business, has these details:

Reader's Digest gambles on new products

The venerable company is rolling out several mobile products next month, as well as a new brand, Best You, which will target women over 35 with e-mails, magazines and books.

The 88-year-old brand, which previewed a coming overhaul in September, will debut a slew of new online and print products next month. First up is Best You, a brand launching Jan. 6, the New York City-based Reader's Digest Association Inc. announced on Tuesday.

Best You, which will target women 35 and older, will include a free daily e-newsletter, a series of newsstand-only magazines and a new book imprint, all focused on health and wellness subjects. The imprint's first title will be Le Personal Coach, by French trainer Valerie Orsoni.

Reader's Digest had initially planned to roll out a Best You magazine last March, but cut back on plans for that title and others following the continued weakness of the economy and the company's bankruptcy filing last summer. The publisher emerged from bankruptcy in February.

A new Reader's Digest will also debut next month when the redesigned magazine hits newsstands Jan. 18. In a money-saving strategy that the company describes as going back to its roots as a content curator, the 10-times-a-year title will mostly consist of stories that have already appeared elsewhere.

Read and learn more

Monday, December 27, 2010

U.S. Publishers Dove Deeper Into Digital in 2010

This year big house publishers have experimented with video ebooks and complex content, digitized their older titles and made their new publications available in both digital and print.

They are accepting and learning to utilize digital e-formats instead of fighting the new trending technology...And, that's good if they want to adapt, survive and ultimately thrive again!

As a result of this digital acknowledgment, U.S. publishers' profits are up and looking brighter.

This report by Julie Bosman of the New York Times through the Stateman.com, an Austin, Texas news site:

U.S. publishers expanded digital offerings in 2010

Industry embraces electronic books, sees big jump in sales, but hardcover concerns linger.

The publishing industry used to be afraid of electronic books. In 2010, it embraced them.

Publishers expanded their digital divisions, experimented with video-enhanced e-books, worked on digitizing their older titles and made sure new books were available simultaneously in e-book and hardcover editions.

Now, having laid the tracks for digital growth, they are waiting to see what their efforts will bring in 2011.

"Is it going to be cause for celebration because it takes us to another level and makes books accessible and popular in new ways?" said Anne Messitte, publisher of Vintage/Anchor, a division of Random House. "Or will the story be different?"

E-books now make up 9 to 10 percent of trade-book sales, a rate that grew hugely this year after accounting for less than half that percentage by the end of last year. Publishers are predicting that digital sales will be 50 percent higher or even double in 2011 what they were in 2010.

January could be the biggest month ever for e-book sales, as possibly hundreds of thousands of people download books on the e-readers that they receive as Christmas gifts.

The anticipation of that jump in sales, and a feeling that the recession might have loosened its grip, has dissipated some of the death-of-print malaise that has lingered in the publishing industry for years — and helped soften the blow of a significant drop in hardcover sales this year.

"There's definitely less doom and gloom," said Peter Ginna, publisher and editorial director for Bloomsbury Press. "Most of us publishers have seen big gains from electronic books this year. We've seen some tailing off of the print sales, but for most companies, the growth of e-books has been so great that there's a lot of revenue coming from that side that's sort of gravy for us."

Read and learn more

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How Many Authors Are Dumping Their Publishing Houses to Self-Publish?

"Until someone comes up with an algorithm to sort the good manuscripts from the bad, publishers and their human network of agents and editors maintain an advantage," McQuivey said. 'But sooner or later someone will create a new way for readers to find the books they most want to read, and that someone may or may not be a traditional book publisher.'"

Great, previously-traditionally-published authors are jumping from their old publishing houses to self-publishing to take advantage of higher percentage earnings, cheaper operational costs and faster distribution directly to their readers.

New technology, eBook stores, apps and platforms are blooming all over the bloody place!

This phenomonon, coupled with the fact that big plublishing has been lousy "gatekeepers" for at least the past three decades (or since they essentially sold out new authors and talent for their quick bottom-lines--sort of the greedy condition that happened on Wall Street), was exactly the stimuli needed to invent better ways to accommodate writers, recognize more talent and satisfy the vast market of unquenchable readers.

I believe big publishing has always underestimated the reading market.

Further, big publishing became arrogant and got the cart before the horse; putting greater value on just the business of selling a creative commodity over the commodity-creators themselves and just leaving the real producers/artisans chump change.

Alex Pham reports these details in the LA Times:

Book publishers see their role as gatekeepers shrink

Writers are bypassing the traditional route to bookstore shelves and self-publishing their works online. By selling directly to readers, authors get a larger slice of the sale price.

Joe Konrath can't wait for his books to go out of print.

When that happens, the 40-year-old crime novelist plans to reclaim the copyrights from his publisher, Hyperion Books, and self-publish them on Amazon.com, Apple Inc.'s iBooks and other online outlets. That way he'll be able to collect 70% of the sale price, compared with the 6% to 18% he receives from Hyperion.

As for future novels, Konrath plans to self-publish all of them in digital form without having to leave his house in Schaumburg, Ill.

"I doubt I'll ever have another traditional print deal," said the author of "Whiskey Sour," "Bloody Mary" and other titles. "I can earn more money on my own."

For more than a century, writers have made the fabled pilgrimage to New York, offering their stories to publishing houses and dreaming of bound editions on bookstore shelves. Publishers had the power of the purse and the press. They doled out advances to writers they deemed worthy and paid the cost of printing, binding and delivering books to bookstores. In the world of print, few authors could afford to self-publish.

The Internet has changed all that, allowing writers to sell their works directly to readers, bypassing agents and publishers who once were the gatekeepers.

Read and learn more

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, Inspirational Writing and Ingenious Publishing!

I want to wish all my readers (and those that stumble here accidently) a warm and happy Christmas filled with love and inspiration.

I sincerely hope that you all receive the truly important gifts this season. Gifts of love, caring, family, giving, insight, compassion and passion...
Keep writing and publishing!

***Merry Christmas***

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Will FTC Privacy Restrictions Damage Online Publishing?

There already exists a good deal of privacy protections on the net. There's opt-out choices, opt-in choices and other notices that one must give permission to in order to have your preferences tracked.

This tracking (through cookies is one example) is simply done so more targeted ads can be sent to you...You know, ads that you will be more interested in.

Now, I must admit, I'm conflicted on this subject because I DO NOT LIKE ADS!

However, I'm also a pragmatist and realize that paid ads make possible more free web content. And these paid ads might even monetize your own web site one day (if they don't already).

Legal firm, Wiley Rein LLP, has this to say about the proposed Federal Trade Commission's privacy framework for online eCommerce:

Privacy threatens online ads

Broadcasters may comment until January 31, 2011 on how the proposed privacy framework of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should be improved. Without changes, the FTC's proposals could reduce online advertising revenues while not significantly enhancing privacy.

Broadcasters with websites, mobile applications or a social networking presence supported by advertising have a stake in this debate. The "Do Not Track" proposal-discussed in a previous article-is one among several concerns raised by the FTC's recent Preliminary Staff Report. Without careful consideration, "do not track" could erode the ad-based funding that allows broadcasters to provide free or affordable online services that consumers want. Likewise, requiring third party marketing networks to "enhance" privacy could block customized ads on broadcasters' sites that individuals find convenient, without materially improving on the notice-and-choice that such networks often already provide.

FTC actions like publishing the report have an outsized influence. They frame the national debate about privacy and preview the agency's enforcement actions. Such "soft legislating" has already spurred industry to provide consumers with more notice of online advertising and opportunities to opt-out. So, while further formalities seem unnecessary to protect privacy, strong voices from broadcasters and others are needed to demonstrate the benefits online advertising provides to consumers and industry alike.

Read and learn more

Monday, December 20, 2010

Random House and Marketing Books Directly to Consumers

When you know who is looking for something to download, you can make suggestions directly to that person! Right on. AND, when you know that the download device is a new eReader, you know what that person wants...EBOOKS!

Simple enough concept, even for me.

Well, Random House has used this simple concept to come up with a delightful, functional and FREE marketing device for the holidays helpful to us consumers.

Julie Bosman, New York Times, has the details:

A Christmas Morning Spree

This year, the book publishing industry has its own version of Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It’s called Christmas Day.

On that day, hundreds of thousands of consumers are expected to unwrap new e-readers that they received as gifts, and quickly begin downloading books to read.

Random House, the publisher of Stieg Larsson, John Grisham and Stephen Sondheim, is hoping to be there to make a few suggestions. It has prepared a free e-book, “The eBook Insider,” that is full of recommendations, reviews and book excerpts directed squarely at consumers who have just received e-readers.

“With so many people receiving an e-reader for the first time on Christmas, one of the things they’re going to want to do is go looking for the books they want to read,” said Anne Messitte, the publisher of Vintage/Anchor, a division of Random House. “And we think it’s an ideal moment to really begin helping a reader curate the collection of e-books that they want.”

Unlike the traditional holiday book advertising that takes place in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the promotion for “The eBook Insider” is scheduled to begin on Dec. 25, first with social media messaging and then with Google ads and also print ads in The New York Times Book Review and The New Yorker.

Read and learn more

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Publishers Claim Google Stuffs Competition

Some powerful newspaper and magazine European publishers have filed complaints that Google has stopped acting simply as a search engine and has entered into direct competition with them by adding more and more of their own related content and ads on search pages (placed right next to the requested service data) and are not properly compensating or ranking companies that offer similar services.

Looks like Google wants to expand but doesn't know how with the proper online etiquette...and may be stepping on some toes...and that's putting it politely!

I wouldn't dare say that they are strong-arming the competition, trying to take over territories, taking without compensating and generally acting like 1930's thugs and assholes.

The New York Times ran this pointed article by James Kanter:

European Antitrust Inquiry Into Google Is Broadened

BRUSSELS — The European Commission has widened its investigation into Google by taking on two German cases involving complaints from a powerful group of newspaper and magazine publishers and an online mapping company, officials said on Friday.

Joaquín Almunia, the European competition commissioner, announced a wide-ranging case against Google at the end of November, saying investigators would focus on whether the search engine company gave preferential treatment to its services when ranking search results, and whether it discriminated against competitors.

By taking over the German cases as well, Mr. Almunia will get access to additional evidence collected by authorities in Germany, where more than 80 percent of computer users rely on Google to search the Web.

The German cases also give a more European appearance to an investigation that so far has been dominated by complaints by companies that have received support from the software giant Microsoft.

Google said the decision was largely procedural because the European Commission takes over cases from member countries when there are overlapping issues.

“We continue to work cooperatively with the commission and national regulators, explaining many aspects of our business,” a Google spokesman, Al Verney, said. “There’s always going to be room for improvement, so we are working to address any concerns.”

Read and learn more

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Making of a Book Publisher

How does one come to be an independent publisher? What training have they had? Must they have? Do they need any training? What winds of fate shake the magic dust on an individual that knights him/her with the commitment to publish inspirational works (admittedly subjective) by others?

Dave Newhouse, Oakland Tribune columnist, describes the circumstances of fate that drove one such person to take the plunge in this tumultuous publishing environment:

Newhouse: A Rose blooming in publishing

A ROSE IS A ROSE is Naomi Rose (pictured in her tiny one room writing-publishing office), a courageous woman who's seeking to blossom as a neophyte independent book publisher in the age of the Internet.

With book sales dropping and book stores closing, this Rose of Oakland is one brave 65-year-old, who hopes for a book that will pay her office overhead.

Her first release by Rose Press is "Healing Civilization" by Claudio Naranjo, which blends perfectly with her plan to publish books that deal with healing.

"Do I think of myself as courageous?" she said. "I don't feel that way very often. Periodically, I say, 'What have I got myself into?' It seems so difficult and expensive. Some people were wonderful, some people were not wonderful.

"There are so many pieces to it. But it's the inspirational part of publishing that keeps me going. I keep reinspiring myself."

Naomi Rose is her business name. She was born Naomi Rose Berton in New York City, and now is married to Ralph Dranow, 71, a former journalist and poet who works with potential biographers and memoirists.

Rose's parents were writers, so she majored in English literature at City College of New York before earning a masters in her major at the University of Connecticut. But it all seemed so preordained.

"I was sort of in a drifting stage," she said last week in her tiny one-room writing-publishing office in Oakland near the Emeryville border. "I was feeling like I had one foot in the real world."

Read and enjoy more

John's Note: God bless Naomi's entrepreneurial spirit and good luck and fortune in her journey!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reuters Positioning to Compete with AP & CNN

With newspapers and other news media scrambling to find ways to cut costs and streamline to improve their bottom line (due to falling advertising, print sales and subscriptions) Reuters has created an alternative for aggregating, selling and distributing news.

The operational process being employed by Thomson Reuters will create more journalism jobs, utilizes more sources and really is quite exciting!

The vetting of news stories could be an issue, but I'm sure that will become a non-issue with this company's expertise.

Jennifer Saba, a correspondent and blogger for Reuters reports these details:

Thomson Reuters starts service for U.S. news media

Thomson Reuters Corp has launched a news service for U.S. publishers and broadcasters in a bid to win business from the Associated Press and CNN.

The new service, Reuters America, provides text stories, photos and video by Reuters journalists for newspapers, television stations and online publishers. Newspaper publisher and broadcaster Tribune Co is its first customer.

As part of the service, Reuters America also will offer sports and entertainment news from six partners: the Wrap, SportsDirect Inc, the Sports Xchange, US Presswire, SB Nation and Examiner.com

The service comes as newspapers and TV stations try to recover from the worst financial recession in recent memory.

Tribune Co, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and TV stations in New Orleans, San Diego and Denver, has signed a multi-year deal. Terms were not disclosed.

Reuters is hiring journalists and using outside journalists, or "stringers," to provide general news stories in addition to its business and financial news. It also will write stories commissioned by its news clients.

"This is being designed and being run in a way that is not one size fits all," said Chris Ahearn, Thomson Reuters' president of media. "It gives (publishers) comfort and flexibility that there are other choices than... some of the legacy providers."

Read and learn more

Another great take on this story Selling the News: Reuters, the AP and Tribune by Robert MacMillan, also of Reuters.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ebooks: Leading the Digital Culture Revolution

The digital revolution has 'only just begun' (I love that 70's Carpenters song We've Only Just Begun!)...The first main wave is about to crest, but many after-waves are already forming!

And what is carrying the digital revolutionary message? What is the crucible containing the crital content...the secret strategy?

Ebooks, that's what!

As Wesley Lynch, writing for Tech Leader, says in his report, E-books: Publishing on the eve of a revolution,...'Not even Facebook reaches out from the digital into the physical world to the extent that e-books do.'

Lynch reports:

The mercurial world of the internet remains a catalyst for change. In recent history, iTunes, the seminal digital music download platform, has turned music distribution upside down.

Now, with e-books poised to hit the mainstream, we’re on the eve of a revolution to rival that.

People don’t appreciate how deep the impact will be on our day-to-day lives. Not even Facebook reaches out from the digital into the physical world to the extent that e-books do. Mobile phones and One Laptop Per Child don’t add value in and of themselves. An e-book reader such as Amazon’s Kindle, however, comes with a content value proposition so compelling that it is single-handedly changing the way books are distributed, bought, sold and read.

So how will the comely, harmless-looking Kindle change how we think about, interact with and deal in books?

Print (books, magazines and newspapers) will die
(John's note: I don't think print will ever die out completely. New tech is in the works to simplify & make print more value added)

Gutenberg’s printing press (invented in 1439) is widely regarded as the most important development of the modern era, notes Wikipedia, putting paid to handwritten manuscripts and paving the way for the Renaissance, Reformation and Scientific Revolution. Now, after almost 600 years, the e-book is signalling the death of the printed book.

Read and learn more

Saturday, December 11, 2010

States Adopt Digital Textbooks--What Took Them So Long?

For the un-initiated (of which I was a member until very recently) many states have what they call adoption state review boards for approving educational and instructional materials/textbooks for use in their school systems.

Well, these 'know-what's-best-for-you' review boards have finally begun to approve digital formatted textbooks as legitimate...primarily to save costs in this currently ruptured economy...but, hopefully, they also realize the new digital formats encourage student interaction and engagement with more complex content.

Cool insights from "Insights from the Editor" at Simba Media Intelligence:

In an effort to increase student engagement with content while decreasing spending on textbooks, adoption state review boards are incorporating digital programs into their strategy. According to 2010 National Textbook Adoption Scorecard and 2011 Outlook, a new report published by Simba Information, the lingering recession is pushing adoption boards to reconsider how they define the textbook in the 21st century.

Expanding the adoption process to include digital programs is a growing trend in the adoption states, first pioneered in West Virginia. Motivated by anticipated cost savings, various adoption boards have purchased more digital materials than in previous years; however, they have not yet begun to replace textbooks.

Quite often, there is confusion in the relationship between print textbooks and their digital counterparts. Some people incorrectly assume that they compete with each other, when in fact, they are the same product offered through a different medium.

Top publishers, such as Pearson’s enVisionMATH and Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt’s Journeys, offer a multimedia-formatted digital program that mixes a full digital path with print textbooks. Simba expects publishers to expand digital offerings, especially for reading, in their bids for Texas adoptions next year.

Next year may well be the strongest outlet for digital programs in textbook adoption states we will see.

Read and learn more

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Romance is Alive and Well! And Serious E-Book Business

Well, poke me in the eye with a creamy, firm, bodacious boobie! I'm surprised (but not too much, really) to learn that lusty, bawdy romance is the fastest growing genre in ebook sales. I would think that thrillers, mysteries and adventures would do better; I must be getting old in my old age!

This proves that the younger generation can read and is reading a lot more in the digital age. According to reports, more are buying sexy ebooks now because they are not given away by the sexy covers of their print cousins.

It's nice to know that we do not have to worry about the propagation of the human species.

Julie Bosman of The New York Times has this to say:

Lusty Tales and Hot Sales: Romance E-Books Thrive

Sarah Wendell, blogger and co-author of “Beyond Heaving Bosoms,” is passionate about romance novels.

Except for the covers, with their images of sinewy limbs, flowing, Fabio-esque locks or, as she put it, “the mullets and the man chests.”

“They are not always something that you are comfortable holding in your hand in public,” Ms. Wendell said.

So she began reading e-books, escaping the glances and the imagined snickers from strangers on the subway, and joining the many readers who have traded the racy covers of romance novels for the discretion of digital books.

If the e-reader is the digital equivalent of the brown-paper wrapper, the romance reader is a little like the Asian carp: insatiable and unstoppable. Together, it turns out, they are a perfect couple. Romance is now the fastest-growing segment of the e-reading market, ahead of general fiction, mystery and science fiction, according to data from Bowker, a research organization for the publishing industry.

Publishers and retailers, spying an opportunity, have begun pursuing in earnest those enthusiastic romance readers who have abandoned print for digital.

“Romance,” said Matthew Shear, the executive vice president and publisher of St. Martin’s Press, which releases 40 to 50 romance novels each year, is “becoming as popular in e-books as it is in the print editions.”

When “Maybe This Time,” a lighthearted ghost romance by the best-selling author Jennifer Crusie, went on sale in August, it sold as many e-books as hardcover books in its first week, Mr. Shear said, a phenomenon that he began noticing this summer with other romance titles.

Read and enjoy more

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Digital Newspapers with 'Live Layer' Can Stream Live Breaking News Stories!

Digital newspapers using Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite for Newspaper Tablet Editions can stream live breaking news stories and updates using the 'Live Layer' function of the suite.

Damn, this is good, no?

Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, and part of the Bonnier international publishing group, is the first publication to enter daily production using the subject Adobe Suite.

This BusinessWire press release has details:

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced that the Bonnier international publishing group has selected the Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite for its development of the tablet newspaper publishing platform, News Plus. Bonnier’s News Plus platform will be used to create tablet editions of leading Bonnier Group news magazines with a total daily print circulation of more than 800,000. The first News Plus based edition expected to enter daily production is Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, which launched its Apple iPad News Plus app in the Apple App Store yesterday.

Following Dagens Nyheter, Bonnier plans to launch four additional dailies on their News Plus platform, including Sydsvenskan, Expressen, Dagens Industri and Børsen. Built using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, the Bonnier news magazine initiates a dialogue with readers, while staying on top of a 24-hour content cycle. Beginning with Dagens Nyheter, Bonnier is making innovative use of the Web View functionality in the Adobe Content Viewer to display and push HTML5 content to readers as it happens throughout the day. In addition, the company has implemented a publisher direct model for subscription payments and scheduled content distribution using the Digital Publishing Suite.

“Adobe Digital Publishing Suite has been a key element in the development of our News Plus platform,” said Tore Fjaertoft, chief technology officer, Bonnier Digital. “We were challenged to efficiently and quickly create novel reading experiences that map to our business goals. The innovative Adobe Digital Publishing Suite enables us to design and produce a daily newspaper application within a very rigorous and fast paced production cycle while supporting our subscription based business model.”

Following Dagens Nyheter, Bonnier plans to launch four additional dailies on their News Plus platform, including Sydsvenskan, Expressen, Dagens Industri and Børsen. Built using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, the Bonnier news magazine initiates a dialogue with readers, while staying on top of a 24-hour content cycle. Beginning with Dagens Nyheter, Bonnier is making innovative use of the Web View functionality in the Adobe Content Viewer to display and push HTML5 content to readers as it happens throughout the day. In addition, the company has implemented a publisher direct model for subscription payments and scheduled content distribution using the Digital Publishing Suite.

“Adobe Digital Publishing Suite has been a key element in the development of our News Plus platform,” said Tore Fjaertoft, chief technology officer, Bonnier Digital. “We were challenged to efficiently and quickly create novel reading experiences that map to our business goals. The innovative Adobe Digital Publishing Suite enables us to design and produce a daily newspaper application within a very rigorous and fast paced production cycle while supporting our subscription based business model.”

Read and learn more

Monday, December 6, 2010

Google Bookstore Snuffs E-Book Market Monopolies

In my post yesterday I ranted about the dumb Apple mis-management of their clients' subscribers' data; and mentioned that they would lose clients to Google and others if they didn't change their hoarding of actual content provider subscription info...gained through docking on and selling through their iPad store.

Well Google opened their eBook store today! This should change the competitive landscape a little more than just a tad, my friends.

This account of the Google eBook store opening by Matthew Flamm of Crain'e New York Business:

Google shakes up e-book market

The long awaited Google e-bookstore opened for business Monday, heralding a possible sea change in the business of selling digital books.

Describing itself as the world's largest e-books collection, Google eBooks has an inventory of more than 3 million titles, which includes millions of public domain books that are available for free, and several hundred thousand titles that are for sale.

Though some analysts have noted that Google is untested at e-commerce, the search giant's digital bookstore has enough distinctive features to make it attractive for users, publishers and bookselling partners. Most significantly, Google is using a device-agnostic open e-publishing format, which makes its e-books compatible with computers and e-readers from Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo, which also use the open format.

A Google eBooks application can be downloaded for the Apple iPad and iPhone.

In addition, since Google has placed the titles in what is known as an “open cloud” platform, they can be accessed by the same user from a range of devices, each one picking up on the same page where the user left off.

Read and learn more

Sunday, December 5, 2010

iPad Falling Behind in the "Savior of Publishing" Race - And Rightfully So!

Holy shitswowski! What's going on with Apple and it's stupid approach to putting up roadblocks to potential magazine and newspaper publishing clients in it's iTunes Store RE handling of subscriptions?

Many popular magazine and newspaper iPad apps have already been developed to allow selling digital versions through Apple...AND the so-called Apple visionaries (idiots is more like it) are not allowing the personal information of subscribers to be accessed and managed by the content providers themselves!

Why? What is the purpose of this greedy hoarding? This should be a win-win situation for all parties to be more monetarily successful. The more direct use of personal demographic info will result in more targeted success for the newspaper and mag clients AND should result in more volume biz for the Apple iTunes Store.

Can someone with more insight than I explain this to me?

If Apple stays on this dumb course I think the popular mags and newspapers will take their business elsewhere. And where is that, you might ask? To the upcoming and surging Google and Android platforms, of course!

Also, Apple is demanding too damn much of a cut (30%) to allow the apps! Remember that great line from the New York gubernatorial campaign: The rent is too damn high!

Read these previous posts of mine for more background on this issue:

From this blog, Time Magazine is Unhappy with iPad Publishing

From Writers Thought for Today Blog, Publishers Becoming Wary of Apple

Here is a current little ditty on iPad News: Apple, Publishers Clash on Subscriptions from iPad.net :

The iPad has been looked upon as the “savior” of the publishing industry, but relations between Apple and major publishers have hit an impasse that may be insurmountable. If the two cannot agree on key issues, the publishers may be taking their business elsewhere.

We’ve been hearing rumors for months that iPad apps for numerous popular magazine and newspaper titles will become available for subscriptions at the iTunes Store. Now the reasons for the delay have surfaced. According to Peter Kafka at MediaMemo, Apple and the publishers are “still miles apart” when it comes to the terms for how to sell subscriptions.

Read and enjoy more

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mag Publishers Branching Out

In order to save money, and also seek new revenue in non-traditional functions, magazine publishers are taking on related tasks usually contracted out to vendors. Actually they are strengthening their own vertical (business model) in-house capability.

These tasks include such things as launching all kinds of media products, from Web sites to custom publishing, virtual events, databases, books, supplements and spinoffs...Afterall, if you're going to branch out you might as well stick to your core business and who knows what a publisher needs more than a publisher?

This magazine publishing branch-out (or in-house vertical strengthening, as I like to call it) kind of reminds me of what writers (novel writers as well as others) have had to do to break loose from traditional publishing "slush piles" and non-action by learning and taking on more of the tasks performed by publishing houses in the past...This all was made more possible and easier through the new digital technology. Let's all drink a scotch on the rocks to that!

Tony Silber and Matt Kinsman, reporting for FOLIO magazine, analyze it this way:

When Publishers Become Vendors

Dave Schankweiler, CEO and publisher of Journal Publications Inc., a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania regional publisher, remembers the day he became not just a publisher, but a vendor to publishers too.

Back in 2004, the company, which publishes the Central Penn Business Journal, Central Penn Parent, and NJ Biz, launched a new survey, called Best Companies in Pennsylvania. It used an outside survey firm to do the first report. The night the winners were presented was a huge success. "That night," Schankweiler remembers, "it was loud, and there was a countdown and a lot of excitement. And that's exactly when we decided to change the company, because we were coming down from the high of the event. We said, ‘Why don't we take this out into the market and do it as a service to other publishing companies?' "

Magazine publishers are by nature entrepreneurial types. They like to tinker with their businesses. They're incessantly launching all kinds of media products, from Web sites to custom publishing, events, databases, books, supplements, spinoffs. But there aren't a lot like Dave Schankweiler. Most media companies tend to stick to their knitting and limit their creative impulses to media products.

Some companies, though, are transforming themselves into a different kind of hybrid, media companies that have branched out into businesses traditionally occupied by publishing-industry vendors. Gulfstream Media, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based regional publisher is one. Gulfstream is the parent company of Magazine Manager, a popular ad-sales management software. UBM's TechWeb is another. TechWeb created UBM Studios, which develops in-house virtual events for tech publisher UBM as well as for external clients.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Does Twitter Have a Publishing Problem or Opportunity?

I just recently discovered John Battelle, author and publisher of John Battelle's Searchblog and a founder and Executive Producer of the Web 2.0 conference.

He wrote an interesting viewpoint RE Twitter publishing and what he thinks makes the social site tick and what possibly would/could solve it's existing scaling problems (keeping provided service balanced with demand and growing and branching out that service?).

This from his Searchblog through Business Insider:

Twitter's Major Publishing Dilemma

One of the many reasons I find Twitter fascinating is that the company seems endlessly at an inflection point. Eighteen months ago I was tracking its inflection point in usage (holy shit, look how it's growing! Then, holy shit, has it stopped?!), then its inflection in business model (hey, it doesn't have one! Wait, yes it does, but can it scale?!), and more recently, its inflection point in terms of employees (as in growing from 80+ staff to 350+ in one year - necessitating a shift in management structure....).

Twitter now faces yet another inflection point - one I've been tracking for some time, and one that seems to be coming to a head. To me, that inflection has to do with usefulness - can the service corral all the goodness that exists in its network and figure out a way to make it useful to its hundreds of millions of users?

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