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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Substance vs Book Packaging

I, and really most folks associated in any way with the publishing (and by extension writing) industry, have understood for many years the deep inequities in that industry.

Traditional publishing (TP) has always stood on a foundation of pure jelly, sinking little by little from it's very birth. TP's survival was sustained, not by any inherent brilliance, but by a lack of any alternate, competent competition.

TP's jelly foundation really turned into liquid juice back when the main consideration turned away from the written words on the pages of a book to the eye candy of packaging and the celebrity of the authors.

Simply put, traditional publishing lost it's soul.

Dan Agin (Author/Neuroscientist), writing a blog for HuffPost, has an interesting take on the demise of publishing...A little oversimplified RE the eReader technology being the core cause...but, he nailed the shallowness of the so-called publishing business pros in the writer-to- reader chain RE not reading and just packaging books.

Dan Agin:

American Publishing: A Lesson From Tolstoy's Inkwell

My first published literary effort, an article about New York City, appeared in 1945 in a magazine called Gotham, the house organ of the New Yorker Hotel. Since this is 2011, I claim 66 years as both a participant and observer of American publishing.

The magazine Gotham folded.

The New Yorker Hotel eventually also folded.

Traditional American publishing is in the process of folding.

From the standpoint of philosophy, everything folds eventually, so what's the big deal?

Well, the fact of folding is usually not as important as the reasons for folding. Looking at reasons, causes, provoking events, often helps us understand how the world works.

For the folding of traditional American publishing, the most provoking recent event is the appearance of the new technology of hand-held E-readers, especially the Kindle, which at present outclasses them all.

But aside from this new technology and its consequences now apparent to almost everyone, there are other reasons for the present collapse of traditional American publishing.

I say "collapse" because the collapse of Borders is akin to the collapse of Lehman Brothers on Wall Street, and like that collapse the collapse of Borders suggests that too many people in American publishing don't know what the hell they're doing.

Why is that?

After 66 years of watching the American publishing circus and publishing as an "author," my personal views are as follows:

•Most publishers don't read books, they just display them on shelves in their offices.
•Most acquiring editors don't read books, they just acquire them and negotiate contracts.
•Most copy editors don't read books, they use software to locate possible grammar and punctuation problems.
•Most literary agents don't read books, they just read opening chapters or proposals for books and sell books to editors based on the book's apparent "handle", its "take-away", its "feel-good" score.
•Most marketing and publicity people in publishing don't read books, they read blurbs and look at book jackets and attach a book to market demographics.
•Most publishing accountants don't read books, they just add up the profits and losses of the various imprints of a conglomerate.
•Most booksellers don't read books, they sell books the way most people in publishing acquire books -- as physical objects with "handles."

Read and learn more

Friday, February 25, 2011

Adobe Publishing Suite Corrals Both Apple Subscription Plan & Google One Pass

Lately I've bad-mouthed Apple's subscription plan for newspaper and magazine publishers for being too damn greedy (Apple takes 30%) and for not properly managing subscribers' demographics and detail data (Apple NOT releasing subscriber info to the newspapers and magazines they subscribed to, for goodness sakes!)

And I've talked about Google's One Pass (a pay-per-issue-read rather than a whole subscription plan)

But, we're going to have to live with whatever shitsky, greedy plans these neophyte entities come up with until the growing market competition levels the playing field.

Adobe, in the meantime, comes riding to the rescue a little with a publishing solution that combines BOTH Apple's subscription plan and Google's One Pass payment plan.

From Adobe web site: "The Adobe Digital Publishing Solution consists of digital publishing applications, software technologies, and service solutions that allow publishers to cost-effectively author, produce, and distribute groundbreaking content to the broadest possible audience on a wide variety of digital devices. With this solution, Adobe is helping publishers and advertisers revolutionize how they create and deliver digital content, and how their audiences consume it."

More details here by Business Wire:

Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Supporting Major Subscription Models

End-to-End Solution for Digital Publishing Will Include Support for Apple Subscriptions and Google One Pass

Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE) today announced that Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite will support both Apple App Store Subscriptions and Google One Pass for magazine and newspaper publishers. Currently available as pre-release technology, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite is already being used by leading global publishers to create and distribute their iconic titles on tablet devices.

With 130 Adobe produced titles available for purchase and download today, the addition of subscription capabilities increases the business opportunity for publishers – including more than 3,000 publishers and content authors currently participating in the pre-release program for Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

“The publishing industry has been eager to deliver subscription editions of their magazines and newspapers – and our Digital Publishing Suite will support both Apple subscriptions and the Google One Pass service,” said David Wadhwani, senior vice president, Creative and Interactive Solutions, Adobe. “We think Google One Pass will open up the market for publishers and that healthy competition between technology providers will ensure a vibrant future for digital publications. Whatever device readers choose, they can now expect a lot of great digital editions heading their way.”

Read and learn more

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Google's 'One Pass' Micro-Payment Model

For those not aware, Google Publishing has introduced a micro-payment (in other words: pay-per-piece) system called One Pass for content that readers may not want a complete subscription plan for.

Good idea for premium content...And Google will take a reasonable 10% for the set-up trouble.

This kind of model is great for allowing good writers to get paid for their product while still allowing readers to access targeted content at a reasonable price without having to subscribe to a bunch of extraneous data of no interest to them.

Seth Weintraub of Fortune 500 Tech/CNNMoney, spells out more details in this account of Focus Online, the third largest German publisher, trying out the new 'OnePass' model:

A German newspaper gives Google's One Pass a shot

Google's model of making a few bucks per article may make the most sense in the long run
Focus Online, the third largest German publisher, is Beta-testing Google's (GOOG) publishing system, according to the Guardian. The One Pass system is a web-based tool for publishers who want to charge micro-payments for content rather than use a subscription service. Each piece of content is paid for through Google's Checkout system and for the trouble, Google takes a 10% cut. Publishers decide how much to charge and can update the content at any time, rather than having to go though an app store approval process.

For Focus, One Pass is currently just an experiment, which they have very low expectations of monetary gains. They are charging 10 (Euro) cents per article of which Google will receive a penny per view.

We believe it could be a success but don't know yet. We don't expect it to make much money in the beginning. But if articles are relevant in the longer term then it could be a good way to earn money – I'd say 500 euros (£421) each year [5000 articles a year, or 14 articles a day] is okay for four or five years. This isn't about transforming our business, the majority of our income will be advertising for a long time to come, but it is about testing what else could work.

But will the system work?

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Apple's Policies Downright Orwellian

More on Apple's subscription policy for publishers.

There is another slant to Apple's bad subscription policy for publishers; one I hadn't contemplated until I read yet another piece on this head-knocker issue by Larry Magid in MercuryNews.com.

Simply put, Steve Jobs, by the level of control he wants to exert, wants to tell the rest of us what we can and can't download on his devices. He is acting like the supremo censor king!...And it will hurt his business in the future.

In my opinion, Mr. Jobs should get back to the business of improving and facilitating the internet with top quality products and remove all roadblocks to designers to create apps that will further enhance his core products...Good for his business...Good for sharpening his competitive edge...Good for all of us.

Excerpt from Magid's article: "That level of control has allowed Apple to censor apps for a variety of reasons, ranging from duplication of existing apps to its efforts to keep porn and malware from being used on its products. While that latter motivation may seem noble, it's also presumptuous. Steve Jobs has a perfect right to keep legal adult content away from his own devices and those of his minor children, but I don't see why he has a right to decide for the rest of us."

The key word here is 'presumptuous' and Mr. Jobs has to escape this kind of arrogance.

From MercuryNews by Larry Magid:

Apple, Google offer publishers competing online payment systems

Google and Apple last week announced competing online payment systems to allow publishers to charge for content on digital devices. Apple's system is designed to work with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, while Google announced its will work with "tablets, smartphones and websites." Presumably most of the tablets and phones will be running Google's Android operating system but it's possible that its system will also work on other mobile platforms.

One difference between the Apple and Google platforms is that Apple will charge publishers 30 percent of the subscription revenue while Google plans to keep only 10 percent. But perhaps more important distinction is the way the two companies plan to handle customer data.

On its website, Apple said that "customers purchasing a subscription through the App Store will be given the option of providing the publisher with their name, email address and zip code when they subscribe." The key word is option. By default, only Apple will have that information. Google, which in general takes a more open approach to developers, will reportedly pass that information on to publishers.

The issue of access to customer information is important to the publishing industry, according to Nina Link, CEO of MPA -- The Association of Magazine Media. In an interview, she said that "publishers have historically had relationships directly with the consumer and have access to data as they renew them year after year and as they offer them additional products that are targeted to their interests."

Read and learn more

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Difference Between a Bookseller and a Corp. that Sells Books

The invasion of the new, fast-paced, glittering, technological world has presented circumstances forcing many of the large, colder and impersonal big-box bookstores out of business...Oddly enough, it was the beginning of this tech invasion that brought the big chains into existence in the first place. Maybe you can, afterall, get too much of a thing.

And now the singularly unique, personalized, familiar and intimate ambiance of the independent bookstores is beckoning us back...offering book-lovers, authors, scholars and readers a warmer refuge to return to.

Even though some indies did fail in the initial technology rush, many survived...and it looks like they will survive the big chains, too...I never thought they wouldn't.

The reason the indies will survive is because they do, indeed, have soul.

Edward McClelland has an interesting piece for Salon.com RE the bankruptcy of big-box Borders bookstore that further illustrates my point:

How Borders lost its soul

The store went from a true alternative to a big-box bore. Now, it's the independent shops who come out the winners

When I was a teenager, there were two off-campus bookstores that shaped my reading life. The first was Jocundry's, in East Lansing, Mich., which I discovered when I was in high school. I could always go there for a copy of Michael Moore's alternative newspaper, the Michigan Voice, or a book by George Bernard Shaw or Friedrich Nietzsche, two authors I liked to be seen reading. A bearded Michigan State University historian was always sitting inside the front door of Jocundry's with his dog, reading The New York Times.

The second was Borders, the chain bookseller that declared bankruptcy on Wednesday. As a freshman at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, I was awed by the sight of the original Borders, on State Street. Never in my 18 years had I seen two stories of books. I spent nearly as much time reading at Borders as I spent reading in class while my professors lectured. There was nothing to do at Borders but read. In the mid-1980s, a coffee shop was still a diner that served pancakes until 11 a.m.

A decade later, as Borders spread nationwide, I was as excited as a Starbucks drinker from Seattle. In those years, on the cusp of the World Wide Web, I was living in a small industrial city in Central Illinois. Its only literary outlets were a newsstand, whose owner constantly reminded me he wasn't running a library, and a Waldenbooks at the Hickory Point Mall. When I wanted a book of short stories by V.S. Pritchett, I ordered it through a clerk, and waited two weeks. But with Borders invading shopping malls in Erie and Wichita and Normal, everyone in America could have the same instant access to V.S. Pritchett that I'd enjoyed in Ann Arbor.

Unfortunately, the ascendancy of the mega-bookstores ended up destroying Jocundry's, and its dog-friendly atmosphere. Barnes & Noble took over an empty supermarket a few miles from Michigan State's campus. Jocundry's moved into a bigger space to compete with B&N's inventory. The expense ruined them. Jocundry's closed in 2001. Soon after, Barnes & Noble moved into downtown East Lansing, claiming its independent rival's turf.

Read and learn more
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Apple's subscription Plan for iPad & Mobile Publishers: Good or Bad?

I personally think Apple's subscription plan for digital newspaper and magazine publishers leans more to the bad side of the scale.

Why do I think this? For two main reasons:

First, the 30% Apple-keeper-cost is too damn high, and

Second, Apple's withholding of subscribers' info from the publishers (so the publishers cannot manage this vital info for future sales and service improvements).

Unless something has changed, these are the two negatives of the Apple subscription plan that weight it down to hell.

I have posted on this subject in recent posts on this blog (go here) and on my Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue blog here. You are cordially invited to read those posts for more detailed background on this fascinating issue.

This from PaidContent.org by Robert Andrews:

Apple Subs: Publishers Seek Clarity, FT Concerned, Some Sign Up

The response from many publishers to Apple’s subscription announcement has been a shellshocked “errrr…” - many are confused exactly how they are impacted and are quickly seeking clarity from Apple.

“It is still unclear how Apple’s proposed new subscription business will work for publishers,” a Financial Times spokesperson tells paidContent:UK. “But we obviously have concerns over changes to an approach that has so far worked well for our readers and the broader publishing ecosystem around tablet devices, and that may compromise our business model.

See more of our latest FT.com coverage
or add an alert for future coverage of FT.com

“We have a fair and open approach for customers whereby we offer digital access to FT journalism for one price and enable access across multiple platforms for no additional fee. It is necessary to have a direct relationship with the customer to enable this to happen. The iPad and iPhone are two of those channels, but it is a market that is developing quickly and new devices are coming to the market at an increasing rate.”

See our maths on how the FT could be affected.

News International is believed to be assessing what the changes mean via its U.S. mothership News Corp. (NSDQ: NWS), whose The Daily app was a template for Apple’s subscriptions and was developed closely with Apple.

Telegraph Media Group is understood to be considering using Apple’s system for a paid upgrade to its debut iPad app, due in the next couple of months.

Read MG Siegler's (TechCrunch) special article to CNN for even more on this topic.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is Copyright a Relic?

Copyright a relic?

Many, especially since the birth of the internet, believe that the copyright concept is passé...

Excerpt from New York Times article: "They (John's note: the copyright non-believers) are abetted by a handful of law professors and other experts who have made careers of fashioning counterintuitive arguments holding that copyright impedes creativity and progress. Their theory is that if we severely weaken copyright protections, innovation will truly flourish (John's note: this is pure bull shit!). It’s a seductive thought (John's Note: I don't see how!), but it ignores centuries of scientific and technological progress based on the principle that a creative person should have some assurance of being rewarded for his innovative work."

Ok, so I editorialized the excerpt a bit.

I found this NYTimes article by Scott Turow, Paul Aiken and James Shapiro intensely informative about this modern copyright issue and it also provides historical background facts that are quite entertaining:

Would the Bard Have Survived the Web?

ARCHAEOLOGISTS finished a remarkable dig last summer in East London. Among their finds were seven earthenware knobs, physical evidence of a near perfect 16th-century experiment into the link between commerce and culture.

When William Shakespeare was growing up in rural Stratford-upon-Avon, carpenters at that East London site were erecting the walls of what some consider the first theater built in Europe since antiquity. Other playhouses soon rose around the city. Those who paid could enter and see the play; those who didn’t, couldn’t.

By the time Shakespeare turned to writing, these “cultural paywalls” were abundant in London: workers holding moneyboxes (bearing the distinctive knobs found by the archaeologists) stood at the entrances of a growing number of outdoor playhouses, collecting a penny for admission.

At day’s end, actors and theater owners smashed open the earthenware moneyboxes and divided the daily take. From those proceeds dramatists were paid to write new plays. For the first time ever, it was possible to earn a living writing for the public.

Money changed everything. Almost overnight, a wave of brilliant dramatists emerged, including Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, Ben Jonson and Shakespeare. These talents and many comparable and lesser lights had found the opportunity, the conditions and the money to pursue their craft.

The stark findings of this experiment? As with much else, literary talent often remains undeveloped unless markets reward it.

At the height of the Enlightenment, the cultural paywall went virtual, when British authors gained the right to create legally protected markets for their works. In 1709, expressly to combat book piracy and “for the encouragement of learned men to compose and write useful books,” Britain enacted the world’s first copyright law. Eighty years later, America’s founders expanded on this, giving Congress the authority to enact copyright laws “to promote the progress of science and useful arts.”

Copyright, now powerfully linking authors, the printing press (and later technologies) and the market, would prove to be one of history’s great public policy successes. Books would attract investment of authors’ labor and publishers’ capital on a colossal scale, and our libraries and bookstores would fill with works that educated and entertained a thriving nation. Our poets, playwrights, novelists, historians, biographers and musicians were all underwritten by copyright’s markets.

Read and learn more
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sports Illustrated's All-Inclusive Print/Digital Subscription Plan

Excerpt from Mashable: ... "At a press event in New York City Friday, Sports Illustrated and parent company Time Inc. announced a new subscription plan that spans the web, and several major mobile and tablet devices — excluding, notably, the iPhone and the iPad."

Make special note of the last phrase above...it spills forth an intriguing issue discussed in some of my previous posts of late.

Although this post is interesting and informative (if I do say so myself) on it's own...please read my yesterday's post on Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue Blog (Time, Inc. Tells Apple iPad:‘Screw You!’), and the links therein, for more juicy background.

From Mashable by Lauren Indvik:

Will Sports Illustrated’s Subscription Plan Rescue Digital Magazine Sales?

At a press event in New York City Friday, Sports Illustrated and parent company Time Inc. announced a new subscription plan that spans the web, and several major mobile and tablet devices — excluding, notably, the iPhone and the iPad.

To subscribe, Sports Illustrated readers will need to elect one of two subscription options at si.com/magazine (see below), and then download the apps through the Android Marketplace. Google will take an undisclosed cut of sales, Time EVP and Chief Digital Offer Randall Rothenberg said.

The subscription options are as follows:

Print/Digital Bundle: Print delivery plus full access to web content, and apps for Android-powered tablets (currently only the Galaxy Tab) and smartphones. Costs $4.99 per month, or $48 per year

Digital Only: Full access to web content, and apps for tablets and smartphones running Android. Costs $3.99 per month

Current print subscribers will have free access to all digital properties through the end of their current plan. Those who prefer to read Sports Illustrated on their iPhones or iPads can continue to purchase and download single issues of the magazine through the apps [iTunes link] designated for each device.

Read and learn more

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Friday, February 11, 2011

E-Books Outsell Paperback Books on Amazon

E-books and e-book pricing are on the fast track. It is estimated that e-book sales will reach over two billion (that's with a "b" not a "m") by 2013, up from 313 million in 2009 (Yankee Group research firm).

Mach speed, indeed, best defines e-book growth!

And this is good for business owners, as well as writers and authors, as it presents an opportunity for business types to offer a value added service (published books, journals, papers about their products and services) to their clients across many retailer sites and platforms while making extra income simultaneously.

But writers/authors are uniquely benefited in that e-books and their ease of publication have busted down the constrictive city walls of traditional publishing and exposed the wide open publishing prairie to go write and play in, so to speak.

This from Mike Phillips of Website Magazine:

E-books Becoming Big Business

Research firm Yankee Group estimates that the U.S. e-book market will reach $2.7 billion in sales in 2013, up from just $313 million in 2009. That's good for a growth rate of 83 percent, above even paid mobile apps, at 72 percent.

Already, Amazon claims that Kindle e-books now outsell paperback books on Amazon.com. This is great news for authors but they are not the only ones who can benefit. One of the advantages of e-books is the efficiency in which they can be published. Websites such as LuLu.com and CreateSpace.com (Amazon) make it quite easy to publish an e-book across multiple retailer sites on any topic. For business owners, this presents an opportunity to offer yet another added value to their customers and even add revenue along the way.

Expertise in any industry can be used to create an e-book in short order, then sell that material or use it as a promotional or cross-sell incentive. Amazon recently announced Kindle Singles - e-books in the range of 5,000-30,000 words. This could mean publishing white papers, how-to's or even re-packaging a series of blog posts around a particular topic as an e-book. Kindle Singles are currently selling anywhere from $0.99-$2.99, in most cases. Amazon typically takes 30 percent of each sale.

Read and learn more

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Self-Publishing Pulling Big Money for Some

Ever wonder what happened to all the great stories that died before self-publishing came into it's own? Oh, when I think of the waste!

Back in the traditional publishing heyday, when we had dictators and self-appointed "experts" that knew just what everybody else wanted to read (and what they thought would sell)...some actually granted a few (damn few for what they should have been publishing) aspiring authors an audience with King Publication, himself.

Here is another example of an obscure but aspiring author, Amanda Hocking (pictured), who, after trying to no avail for traditional publication, embraced self-publishing and found success by selling 164,000 copies of her books in 2010.

Now don't get me wrong, it does take talent...and a hot genre...and blessings from God...and magic stardust...and ad infinitum!

Here then is Amanda Hocking's story By Carol Memmott, USA TODAY:

Authors catch fire with self-published e-books

You may not know her name, but Amanda Hocking and others like her are riding the comet of digital publishing.

Fed up with attempts to find a traditional publisher for her young-adult paranormal novels, Hocking self-published last March and began selling her novels on online bookstores like Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com.

By May she was selling hundreds; by June, thousands. She sold 164,000 books in 2010. Most were low-priced (99 cents to $2.99) digital downloads.

More astounding: This January she sold more than 450,000 copies of her nine titles. More than 99% were e-books.

"I can't really say that I would have been more successful if I'd gone with a traditional publisher," says Hocking, 26, who lives in Austin, Minn. "But I know this is working really well for me."

In fact, Hocking is selling so well that on Thursday, the three titles in her Trylle Trilogy (Switched, Torn and Ascend, the latest) will make their debuts in the top 50 of USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.

A recent survey shows 20 million people read e-books last year, and more self-published authors are taking advantage of the trend.

Read and learn more

Monday, February 7, 2011

REAL Push-Button Publishing

Holy shitswowki! A 10-year old company, Really Strategies, Inc., has broken through the next-level-tech-publishing-ceiling and designed a system that seamlessly ingests Word documents and automatically converts them to XML. More than that, this system offers output to all major publishing formats in 70 languages without changing a publisher’s existing production systems...AND it performs all this in literally seconds...figuratively speaking.

The system is dubbed RSuite Cloud. It will improve content management systems (CMS), increase production and decrease costs!

Talk about putting a Speedo workout suit on your editorial and production workflow tasks!

Great details here by Barbara Brynko in Information Today, Inc.:

RSuite Cloud: Push-Button Publishing

Publishers today are scrambling to keep profits up, costs down, and users happy. But keeping a secure foothold in the information industry isn’t easy, especially with the increased demands of changing technology and multichannel delivery.
“Some publishers are very good at managing technology and some are not,” says Barry Bealer, CEO of Really Strategies, Inc. That’s one of the reasons the company rolled out its latest product called RSuite Cloud, a cloud-based, push-button publishing system for print and digital products. It’s designed to automate the publishing process, offering output to all major publishing formats in 70 languages without changing a publisher’s existing production systems. “This is for the publisher, whether big or small, that doesn’t have a large in-house staff,” says Bealer. “You don’t have to manage the service; it’s all in the cloud.”

During Really Strategies’ 10-year history, the company has continued to meet the changing needs of its growing list of clients, including IEEE, Oxford University Press, The McGraw-Hill Cos., and The New York Times. And during that decade, the company also expanded its global reach from its headquarters in Audubon, Pa., to offices and development partners worldwide, from Australia to China and points in between.

In the past year, Bealer says Really Strategies has fine-tuned its mission, “which is really about accelerating publishers’ revenue and profit growth by providing better content management.” The bottom line: “If you can’t get your products out, you can’t generate revenue or profits,” he says. “But if you have the right technology in place, you can create new derivative products literally on the fly.”

RSuite Cloud was created with better content management in mind. It joins the company’s two other solutions: RSuite CMS, a content management system designed specifically for publishers, and DocZone, an end-to-end SaaS XML content management system for technical publishers.

For Dan Dube, senior vice president of cloud solutions at Really Strategies, RSuite Cloud is nothing short of revolutionary. “What we’re talking about here is revolutionary,” he says. “Our differentiator is the automated production of a multilingual tool that will print an ebook completely online.” Although there is some standardization in the process of preparing content in RSuite Cloud, publishers can literally push a button to generate an ebook in 70 different languages within seconds or minutes, he says.

Read and learn more

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Reborn Nation of Readers!

God bless e-readers! They just may be our nation's salvation from a very dangerous dumbing-down period.

The recent mass availability of economical e-readers has sparked young adults and teens to devour e-readable media and re-introduced many of the old intellectual classics (as well as new knowledgeable and intelligent word-fare) to an excited and hungry audience.

E-readers are common riders in backpacks, purses and briefcases...AND this is good!

It's good for our future as a country as well as for those who write and publish and/or will be doing so in the future.

This from Julie Bosman of the New York Times:

E-Readers Catch Younger Eyes and Go in Backpacks

Something extraordinary happened after Eliana Litos received an e-reader for a Hanukkah gift in December.

“Some weeks I completely forgot about TV,” said Eliana, 11. “I went two weeks with only watching one show, or no shows at all. I was just reading every day.”

Ever since the holidays, publishers have noticed that some unusual titles have spiked in e-book sales. The “Chronicles of Narnia” series. “Hush, Hush.” The “Dork Diaries” series.

At HarperCollins, for example, e-books made up 25 percent of all young-adult sales in January, up from about 6 percent a year before — a boom in sales that quickly got the attention of publishers there.

“Adult fiction is hot, hot, hot, in e-books,” said Susan Katz, the president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books. “And now it seems that teen fiction is getting to be hot, hot, hot.”

In their infancy e-readers were adopted by an older generation that valued the devices for their convenience, portability and, in many cases, simply for their ability to enlarge text to a more legible size. Appetite for e-book editions of best sellers and adult genre fiction — romance, mysteries, thrillers — has seemed almost bottomless.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

When You Merge Newspaper Format With Web Capabilities What Do You Get?

What do you get with subject merger? A complex content, digital newspaper that updates in real time and in 3D clarity and color just to name some benefits.

Believe me, this concept was inevitably coming anyway...BUT, Rupert Murdoch's Daily was the first to materialize.

It won't be the last.

As far as I can interpret, the Daily will only be available through the iPad...This could be a problem that grows down the road. I suspect that future digital newspapers will be apped out so they can be accessed on all devices.

It will be interesting to observe the success of the subscription concept and rate
(99 US cents a week or $39.99 a year). Will the Daily be the future business model that will save newspapers?

Rob Spiegel of MacNewsWorld writes this (picked up through E-Commerce Times):

The Daily on the iPad Could Ring In New Publishing Era

"The Daily is an innovative showcase for what a newspaper can do in the modern tablet era," said tech analyst Azita Arvani. "It is an explosion of all types of content in a stunning layout. The Daily app design is very Applesque: beautiful and intuitive. ... You can flip the paper around like a newspaper, watch videos, etc. ... I think we have seen the future of the newspaper. It looks good!"

Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWS) hope to revolutionize the way readers experience the newspaper. On Wednesday, News Corp. unveiled and launched its iPad-exclusive digital "paper" called The Daily. Held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the launch was hosted by News Corp. Chairman Richard Murdoch and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) Vice President of Internet Services Eddy Cue. The Daily will integrate different forms of media, including, text, video, audio and social networks.

The Daily will be free for its first two weeks and then 99 US cents a week or $39.99 a year. The publication includes advertising . The Daily will collect subscription dollars through a new platform for subscriptions in iTunes.

The publication contains a carousel of tiles representing different stories. Readers can shuffle unread stories and read in random order. Professional audio readings of top stories are available, so it can be used like a radio. Top stories are hosted by an anchor.

Breaking news is delivered throughout the day to subscribers. The Daily will take advantage of iPad technology by presenting HD videos and 360-degree pictures. Users will have the ability to share articles to Twitter, Facebook and email. They can also opt to view Twitter feeds pertaining to stories. Other sections include customizable sports, weather, games and crossword content.

Read and learn more

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More on Apple's Dictatorial Asininity

Please read my two posts on the Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue Blog RE specific Apple issues with publishers' content management for background on this post.

Apple is further restricting access apps for other than Apple devices (e-readers, tablets, etc) to read mags and newspapers to be offered through their iStore...even to the point of forcing some to have to buy Apple's own iPad tablet if they want to read the iStore offerings.

At least, that is the way this humble boob interprets the situation.

In my past posts, referenced above, I discussed Apple's outrageous fee (30%) charged to publishers who want to sell their content through the iStore, AND the fact that Apple did not want to share the subscribers data with the publishers...A BIG mistake.

Me thinks Apple is getting too big for it's britches...and they should stick to selling devices and not messing with content and all it derives.

Wonder if Apple's deal with Rupert Murdoch's "The Daily" has influenced the "money-grabbing" messy management?

Apple is definitely not the only kid on the tablet block anymore (and probably doesn't even have the best tablet computer!) with the introduction of Motorola's Xoom among others.

I believe Apple is managing itself into the cellar...and they will need a completely "new device" to start over again. They are taking the bite out of their own apple!

Matt Kinsman, managing editor of FOLIO magazine, has more details RE Apple's tightening grip on content sales:

Apple Rejects Sony Reader App, Tightens Grip on Content Sales
From now on, all in-app purchases must go through Apple.

Apple has reportedly rejected Sony's reader app from the App store for selling content within the app and letting customers make purchases outside the App store (such as within the Sony Reader Store, according to The New York Times.

From now on, all in-app purchases have to go through Apple, according to Steve Haber, president of Sony's digital reading division. "It's the opposite of what we wanted to bring to the market," Haber is quoted as saying by The Drum. "We always wanted to bring the content to as many devices as possible, not one device to one store."

The news comes the day before Apple and News Corp. are supposed to debut News Corp.'s new digital magazine The Daily, and many observers predict Apple will use that opportunity to unveil a new subscription system.

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