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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)

You can always tell when a new industry niche comes into it's own or becomes so relevent to the mother industry for transitioning to the next level...It gets it's very own "non-profit trade and standards organization" to handle, and hopefully simplfy, all the new incoming industry business concepts, models, etc., created by it's very existence!

Digital publishing is one such new publishing niche that has exploded in acceptance and popularity to such a degree that it now requires some semblance of standardization to bring order to it's application across many formats and platforms over diverse electronic devices.

Enter The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) !

The following Marketwire press release will give you more insight into this trade organization with a very noble and needed mission, indeed...AND an upcoming IDPF conference in New York:

IDPF Unveils Program for Digital Book 2011 at BEA

Highly Anticipated Conference Will Be May 23-24 2011, NYC -- Platinum Sponsors to Include Ingram, OverDrive

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) announced today the program outline today for Digital Book 2011 at BEA (idpf.org/digitalbook2011). The conference, held in partnership with BookExpo America (BEA), will be held May 23-24, 2011, in New York City's Javits Center, and is expected to draw global leaders in the publishing industry, technologists, marketers, retailers, supply chain management, publishers, agents, and authors. Following on the sold-out success of last year's conference, the 2011 event is expected to sell out once again, and Ingram and OverDrive have renewed their commitment as platinum event sponsors.

The longest-established executive and professional conference focused on digital publishing, IDPF Digital Book 2011 will provide attendees with the opportunity to network with trailblazers and leaders in the digital publishing industry through keynote sessions, expert panels and in-depth demonstrations. Attendees will hear from and about Adobe, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Google and others, as well as major publishers and service providers.

"This event is going to provide attendees from across the globe with a deeper understanding and insight into the accelerating digital transformation of the book publishing industry. Our featured speakers and multiple hands-on workshops are designed to equip attendees with the tools required to achieve success during this critical time of change," remarked Bill McCoy, Executive Director, IDPF.

Read and learn more

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Publishing in 2020 - Problems to Solve

I wrote about the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) on my Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue blog back in October 2010.

Basically, the BISG is a research and think tank group that analyzes and researches all aspects of the publishing industry to anticipate and solve problems to improve the professional lives of all in the industry and set standards and best practices.

Phew! That's a big order...and a noble cause...and they've been at it for 36 years, since 1975. Of course, they have evolved during that time to become what they are today.

One way they perform their mission is to reach out to all professionals for input. Now the BISG is giving YOU a chance to have your say. What is the key publishing problem that must be solved by 2020?

Here is an open forum request from Publishing Perspectives by Edward Nawotka:

What is the Key Problem for Publishing to Solve by 2020?

Today’s feature story discusses how the Book Industry Study Group works to improve the professional lives of those in the publishing industry and establish a set of standards and best practices. This Thursday, BISG is hosting the latest in its series of NEXT conferences. Entitled “Developing the 2020 Publishing Program,” it focuses on innovation and the issues that publishers are going to confront over the next ten years, such as coming up with a mobile strategy and how to get closer to customers.

So, now is your turn to play “futurist.” Tell us, what do you think is the key problem for publishing to solve by 2020? Is it how to avoid being subsumed by Internet companies who merely want to turn publishers into “content farms,” like those sci-fi movies where computers raise humans to use them as living batteries? Is it becoming even more relevant to the mass market by promoting reading as a more attractive pass-time than playing video games or surfing Web video? Is it trying to stay ahead of the curve on technology and device development so writers and editors can devise stories and formats for the new ways in which people will read?

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Publisher Results: Better on Facebook or Twitter?

When we set out to market our newest published work online, does Facebook or Twitter really deliver? Which of these deliver the most exposure, internet buzz and actual sales?

Vadim Lavrusik, of Mashable.Com, has made a study on how these two internet venues delivered results for Mashable...And, although the study had to make certain assumptions...the methodology, parameters and calculations involved are explained in some detail.

Is Sharing More Valuable for Publishers on Facebook or Twitter? [STATS]

In the age of micropublishing, how many people are actually reading what you tweet or share on Facebook? And more importantly, how does the click-per-share ratio compare between the two very different social platforms that are utilized by millions of users every day for consuming and sharing content?

These are questions that keep social media strategists awake at night (or maybe just me). So at Mashable, we decided to take a look at our own data and see how user behavior compares between Facebook and Twitter, the two social media sites that generate the most referral traffic to Mashable.com.

After pulling three months worth of our social data and calculating the click-per-share (CPS), it appears that users on Twitter are more likely to share an article rather than read it, whereas users on Facebook click on more articles than they share. According to our social data, Twitter received roughly 0.38 clicks per tweet, whereas Facebook received 3.31 clicks per engagement (the number of times people posted a Mashable link to Facebook through an action on a social plugin or through a Wall post). This would mean that a Facebook action gets roughly 8.7x more clicks than a tweet.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Google, the Author's Guild, Lawsuits, Publishing Intrigue and Digitizing Copyrighted Books!

Intrigue is popping up all over the place RE the several-year-old lawsuit against Google for trying to digitize millions of (mostly orphaned...[that is out of print]) books.

I previously posted on this publishing intrigue on 2/6/2010: Feds Troubled by Google's Digital Book Deal ...Please feel free to read that post for a little more background.

Back in 2004, authors and publishers first filed suit against Google for copyright infringement...A fairly straightforward lawsuit for scanning millions of books without permission, and then making snippets available online.

Then Google and the Author's Guild (representing these authors & publishers) reached an ASA (Amended Settlement Agreement) that placated all parties.

This, however, angered Google's competitors (like Amazon and Microsoft) who didn't cotton to the prospect of Google effectively becoming the sole publisher of orphan works, and both filed briefs to that effect.

THEN, just two days ago, New York District Judge Denny Chin ruled against the Amended Settlement Agreement (ASA) declaring it would give Google too much power over all authors in the future to digitize complete orphaned books without first obtaining permission from content owners.

What is really a little strange about this case is the fact that the Author's Guild wanted to accept the ASA on behalf of the authors and publishers (original content owners) because it would pay the content owners around 65% of proceeds and make many hard-to-get books readily available to the public (a noble purpose) AND get the authors' names online and in front of millions.

However, the acceptance of the ASA has a problem: the settlement reads like a forward-looking business contract between Google and ALL authors...This would give Google too much leeway for copying/digitizing copyrighted whole books as already mentioned above and is explained in more detail by Sam Gustin of Wired.Com :

Google Books Deal Not Dead, Only Resting, Authors’ Lawyer Says

The current settlement is too broad, and over-reaches, according to Judge Chin, because it draws all authors, including unknown authors, into a class action settlement that exceeds the scope of the original 2004 lawsuit. That was a fairly straightforward copyright-infringement lawsuit by the authors and publishers against Google for scanning millions of books without permission, and then making snippets available online.

In response to the original lawsuit, Google made a fair-use argument, roughly analogous to the one by which it has the discretion to index the entire web and sell ads against search results. It’s important to remember that although Google has scanned millions of books into its database, it only displays a snippet of each copyright book for which it has no license. The purpose of the settlement was to allow Google to open up its database, creating a massive online library of 10 million books, accessible to all.

The problem is that the settlement reads like a forward-looking business contract between Google and all authors.

As New York University law professor James Grimmelmann observed, “This move is what sinks the settlement.”

“Chin has set up a dichotomy,” Grimmelmann wrote in a legal analysis of the opinion. “Google’s past conduct in scanning and searching was the subject of the lawsuit, but it is Google’s future conduct in selling whole books that would [be] authorized by the settlement.”

Read and learn more

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Little About the 'Audit Bureau of Circulations'

People outside of the advertising world (and I'm one of them) probably never heard of the ABC (the 'Audit Bureau of Circulations'), right? Right.

Up front I have to tell you that I hate ads and commercials...especially when I am enthralled in a good documentary, drama or mystery...and my program is interrupted by a f---ing commercial...complete with blaring volume!

"Could switching to GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance?" (Like I really give a shit for that chump-change money anyway?)

This commercial answers with another dumb question: "Does a little piggy cry 'wee, wee, wee' all the way home?" (This really has a lot to do with car insurance, right? I wished the damn piggy would 'wee, wee, wee' all over the commercial's creators AND GEICO for putting it on and polluting the airwaves!)

And then I have to watch some damn pig with it's head hanging out a car window yelling 'wee,wee,wee'!

But, I digress and will get off the soapbox.

In the real world, at least the part built by business & commerce, our shows are brought to us on air for free through paid commercials for sponsors.

Now, to move more quickly to point, magazine ads serve the same purpose...or do they? (We still have to buy the magazines complete with ads...WHY is that? Silly question, huh? Can somebody answer this one for me? Come on, just for fun...Give it a shot.)

Back to the ABC, seems they have changed the rules for counting digital editions toward paid-circulation guarantees (a number used by advertisers to decide if they want to pay and how much to pay to advertise in a particular magazine).

Basically, the ABC now says that the digital versions of print magazines do not have to contain all the same ads that were included in their print sisters to be counted toward that digital magazine's paid-circulation guarantees number.

Nat Ives (Adage.com) , writing for Crain's New York Business, has more details on this intriguing magazine business/publishing/advertising rules change:

iPad changes magazine circulation rules

Life is about to become more complicated for advertisers. iPad editions no longer need to include every print ad to count toward circulation guarantees.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Are E-Book's Surging Sales Damaging Print Sales?

I don't think so...at least not as much as you might think...The e-book sales are up 115% over last year and the print sales ARE down...but kind of negligibly.

Now don't get me wrong, e-books have had an impact, but I feel most of the e-book sales growth have actually come from new reader-consumers that have had their interest in reading tweaked for the first time by the new digital gadgets (and this is a great thing!).

Now there are all kinds of reasons for this downturn in print sales. The biggest and most overlooked one is the economy being in the dump (print books cost more)...But, I believe that printing, paper, binding, distribution, etc. are in for some tech improvements, also, that will lower their costs in the near future. This will be a boon for those that still prefer a physical, 3-dimensional book to curl up with.

Then, too, all the newly-awakened readers (you know, the tech-savvy and e-reader indoctrinated bots) might just want to jump into a 3-dimensional physicality in the future!

So, I'm predicting a print book resurge around the corner.

Audrey Watters of ReadWriteWeb.com has this to say:

E-Books Sales Up 115%, But Does It Come At the Expense of Print?

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) released its figures from January 2011 book sales, and the news echoes what we've come to expect: more readers are turning to e-books, and they're doing so in droves. In face, e-book sales have more than doubled since the same time last year. According to the AAP, e-book sales are up 115.8%, from $32.4 million to $69.9 million year-over-year.

But how does that impact the rest of the publishing industry? Do more e-book sales mean more books are being sold? Are e-readers and iPads engaging a new audience of readers (or at least book buyers)? Or are consumers simply making the switch from print to digital?

According to the AAP figures, the growth in e-book sales didn't save the industry from declining sales. But the drop in sales overall was small - just 1.9% - as total book sales across all platforms and across all categories fell from $821.5 million in January 2010 to $805.7 million in January of this year.

More interesting, however, the breakdown in those sales: the adult mass market paperback section fell the most, declining over 30%. Adult paperbacks dropped almost 20%. Adult hardcover sales fell 11%. Children's hardcover and paperback sales fell, too - 2% and 17.7% respectively. Altogether, the drop in sales of these two key elements of the publishing industry amounted to a $50 million decline.

Read and learn more

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Digital Magazine Covers Now Mini-Movies!

And the world of complex content moves ever onward. At the recent MPA Digital E-Reading event, Esquire magazine introduced some of its unique covers that actually come to life as videos if you press the play button.

The already unique Esquire covers have become what I term "action-unique"...

Matt Kinsman of FOLIO magazine shares more detail:

VIDEO: Esquire's Mini-Movie iPad Covers

At the MPA Digital E-Reading event yesterday, several publishers shared "Two-Minute Drilldowns" of some of their best app ideas. Esquire associate editor Julian Sancton shared how the magazine has turned some of its iPad covers into almost "mini-movies," including live action direction of its subjects, such as "Sexiest Woman Alive" Minka Kelly doing her thing and actor Liam Neeson (a former boxer) throwing a couple shots at the cover/screen. (Sorry about the obligatory sponsor message but it's worth the wait.)

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Newspapers Charging for Digital Content...Logical or Insane?

The mobile devices, especially the new tablets, resuscitated a suffocating print newspaper biz by creating a popular niche for them online...And ever since, powers-to-be have been splitting their mind atoms trying to figure out how to monetize the digital news online!

The Financial Times has been charging for online content for some years, Rupert Murdoch's The Daily is a subscription news rag on the iPad only that you have to subscribe to (haven't heard how successful this is yet) and now the NY Times is implementing a pay model on 28 March 2011.

First, let me say I believe all good content producers should make money.

Second, I also believe that the NET should remain free to users and that good digital content providers will (many already have) monetize through online paid advertisers.

Having said that, now let me move to point: Many newspapers have been forced online to make up for lost print ad revenue...But, from all I've read, this move has been successful and their digital ad revenues are up (and even pulled some of the print ad moolah back up due to pulling in new print subscribers from digital-savy young readers).

If I am right, and I invite opposing points of view, then why in the hell do the newspaper publishers NEED to charge online visitors a subscription fee also?

Could it be old-fashioned GREED? You damn right! At least that's how I'm reading this right now.

You see, The NY Times wants to charge $15, $20, all the way up to $35 (depending on your package) per month! Hell, Rupert only charges around $9.95 per month for his Daily.

If your opinion is otherwise and you have supporting information...convince me.

Matthew Flamm, of Crain's New York Business, has these details on the upcoming NY Times pay model:

NY Times to charge for digital content

After a couple of years of talking about charging for online content to make up for declining print advertising revenue, The New York Times Co. has finally put its pay model where its mouth is. The company's flagship newspaper announced Thursday that its new metering system and paid mobile applications will launch globally March 28. A smart phone app package was made available Thursday in Canada.

Employing a system similar to the one that has been used successfully for years by The Financial Times, NYTimes.com will allow visitors to read up to 20 articles a month without paying. Once they go over the limit, they'll be charged $15 a month for access to the website and to the New York Times' smart phone app. A $20 monthly payment buys access to the website and the paper's tablet app, while $35 is good for complete digital access.

Subscribers to the print edition will continue to have free access to all digital extensions. As of September, the paper averaged 575,000 subscribers to the daily paper, and 990,000 to the Sunday edition, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

In a bid to hold onto advertisers drawn by NYTimes.com's massive audience, visitors who arrive at the site via search, blogs and social media will not be charged either, even if they have gone over their monthly limit. Some search engines will have a daily limit of free links, however.

The long awaited announcement drew a mixed reception from analysts, with some arguing that the Times was charging too much.

“The pricing is pushing the edge of what may be possible,” said Ken Doctor, a media analyst at Outsell Inc., who added that the upward limit on digital payments was generally considered to be $9.95 a month. “It's an uphill battle to get non-print people to pay a minimum of $195 a year for something that was free.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Copyright Intrigue - Courts Still Can't Get It Right!

The supreme court is still trying to decide copyright ramifications? Phew!...I don't care if the intellectural property is domestic OR foreign, the damn work should be automatically copyrighted on behalf of the creator!

Simple concept that should be reflected in any and all agreements between countries...Even the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (“Article 18”), which the United States joined in 1989, requires that signatory nations provide copyright protection to certain foreign works. (John's Note: What's with this certain foreign works? should read: 'signatory nations provide copyright protection to ALL foreign works.'...The copyright concept is simple and should apply across the board in domestic as well as foreign works!).

More details by Dan Himmelfarb on Lexology.com

US Supreme Court grants certiorari in Golan v. Holder

Article 18 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (“Article 18”), which the United States joined in 1989, requires that signatory nations provide copyright protection to certain foreign works. In 1994, Congress implemented Article 18 by enacting Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“Section 514”), which restores copyright protection to certain foreign works that were previously in the public domain. On March 7, 2011, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Golan v. Holder, No. 10-545, to decide whether Section 514 violates the U.S. Constitution’s Copyright Clause or First Amendment. The case is important both to businesses whose works received renewed protection under Section 514 and to businesses that wish to make use of such works.

Petitioners are orchestra conductors, educators, performers, publishers, film archivists, and motion-picture distributors who record, manufacture, and distribute foreign works in the public domain. Under Section 514, certain foreign works are now copyright-protected, and petitioners thus are prohibited from using those works unless they pay a licensing fee.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Twitter Twists for Authors and Publishers

Twitter is a great tool to launch a book campaign. A foundation that can support the walls of the more detailed, strategic marketing effort to follow.

For example, a short blurb giving the title, author's name, etc., gets your book's and your credentials in the minds eye of the readers AND in the search engines (SEO)...PLUS, you can add a link to a more detailed marketing venue such as Facebook, a review page, your website or point of purchase page, etc.!

This is heavy artillery for a little blurb!

More detailed author/publisher Twitter strategy is spelled out by Cindy Ratzlaff in the Business Insider:

5 Twitter Tips for Authors and Publishers Maximum Visibility Playbook Tips

The book is written and ready to publish. So how do you and your publisher spread the word, create excitement and ultimately drive people to take the action of purchasing and reading the book? These days a well-rounded social media strategy must include Twitter. Twitter is a nimble, real-time megaphone ready to create both ambient awareness (“Oh, yeah, I heard about that book…) and advertorial awareness (I read a great review of that book).

Twitter is to a social media campaign what PR is to a book marketing campaign.

Twitter, however, is not a marketing campaign. Twitter is part of a full strategic campaign and acts as a megaphone to blast your message to millions of people and invites them to your website, Facebook page or other venue for a deeper conversation. A book marketing campaign needs distribution, point of purchase display, publicity, an advertising concept and a highly motivated author. With those things in place, Twitter can:

Share the author’s excitement with followers in real time.
Direct people to a link to buy the book.
Blast out late breaking news such as media appearances & live events.
Share excerpts from the book either in short snippets or via a link to a longer passage.
Encourage others to spread the word.

Here are 5 quick tips and techniques that any author or publisher can use right now to enhance a book marketing campaign.

1. Move content. Use Twitter to move content from your Blog and your Facebook posts to your Twitter fan base by installing the Twitter app on your Facebook fan page. This will auto-tweet everything you post on Facebook, with a link back to your Facebook fan page to read any post longer than 140 characters. If you are auto-importing your blog to your Facebook fan page, it will also be tweeted out to your followers automatically, again with a link to continue reading. This serves a couple of purposes. First, it shares content on three different sites, increasing the number of potential readers for every post. Second, it invites Twitter users back to Facebook to become fans whenever they click on the shorten Twitter link. Third, Facebook will have a live link to the post on your blog through Networked blogs. So one post introduces your Twitter fans to two additional

Read and learn more

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Publishing Industry On The Cusp of “Transformational Growth”

At least that's what Barnes & Noble chairman, Len Riggio, thinks and I tend to agree with him...and have said so numerous times on both my blogs.

There has definitely been a resurgence in reading, and, by natural extension, bookselling...due primarily to the new digital e-readers and peripheral tech gadgets...but, a surprising growth in printed book technology and sales has also been hooked to all this new digital enthusiasm.

And printed book sales are also up among the younger, eReader-exposed generation.

My related posts on this topic are listed together here (Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue Blog) and here (Writers Welcome Blog).

These latest details from Publishers Weekly by Jim Milliot:

Riggio Tells Publishers 'Transformational Growth' Ahead

In an upbeat and optimistic keynote speech about the book market at the annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers, Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio said the industry is on the cusp of “transformational growth” led by the sale of digital content, and he urged publishers to produce different kinds of e-books ranging from novellas to books that can be updated. He said it was wrong to view bookselling and publishing as a “zero sum game” in which the only way to grow is to grab market share, with a limit to the number of books people will buy. Riggio said he sees the digital marketplace expanding at a greater pace than many analysts, and said the sale of e-books is adding new customers and is just not replacing bound books. With the addition of e-books, B&N’s long tail is getting even longer, Riggio said. He noted that during the peak two-week holiday period not only did digital sales soar but comp sales of print books rose as well.

As bullish as Riggio is on e-books, he told publishers B&N remains committed to operating its network of stores. He reiterated comments that the bricks-and-mortar stores are crucial to the retailer’s strategy of selling the Nook family of devices and related content. “Our members who own a Nook are buying more than 60% more book units in total, and are spending an average of 120% more with Barnes & Noble,”. Riggio said. Customers have bought “millions of devices,” Riggio said, explaining that some customers come in to a store, browse the shelves and buy an e-book and sometimes buy both an e-book and print book.

He was glad publishers had come to value the importance of full service bookstores and once again predicted that as the mass market paperback fades mass merchants will either downsize or abandon their sale of books. The new bookselling landscape will likely feature, in addition to B&N, smaller format stores and specialty stores as well as independents. Riggio said, telling publishers that he is more confident than ever that booksellers and publishers are aligned.

Read and learn more

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How About a 517 Page Single Sentence Book?

This would be a dream for writers who don't like periods. Talk about a flow of words...like a 300 pound man skiing down Mount Everest!

Writers have to really think outside the box to appreciate this concept. It really shouldn't work at all, but does...and does so with acuity.

Mathias Énard’s Zone is such a tome...and a brilliant work by all accounts! Apparently, once you get into this story (or sentence) you don't want to get out of it or put it down.

Holy shitski, I sometimes have trouble with short sentences! So I was flabbergasted when I read this account of the French author, Mathias Énard (pictured), by Dennis Abrams in Publishing Perspectives:

Mathias Énard’s Zone: Brilliance in a Single 517 Page Sentence

It really shouldn’t work at all — Matias Énard’s Zone.

This novel, the story of Francis Servain Mirkovic, fighter in the Balkan Wars, spy, and amateur historian, traveling from Milan to Rome by train, carrying a briefcase filled with names, photos, and information about the violent history of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean – the “Zone,” as Mirkovic refers to it, information that is being sold to the Vatican, has no right to be as brilliant as truth be told it is.

This is a novel in which the only physical action that takes place in the present is when Mirkovic gets up from his seat to go to the bar car, from there to the rest room to sneak a smoke, and then back to the bar car. But it is about so much more than that.

Mirkovic’s life as a soldier fighting for Croatia. His life as a spy. Unseemly sexual encounters. Venice. Paris. Alexandria. Salonika. The Holocaust. The Spanish Civil War. Algeria. Gaza. Troy. The entire bloody history of the Mediterranean, from modern times to the Trojan War. Not to mention a symbolic overlay of Homer and the Trojan War that would be enough to sink any other book. But it doesn’t.

Read and learn more

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Publishing, Writing and Marketing --> Getting Good Advice

I have been following Kristen Lamb's Blog for some time now and can say with some authority that her blog is an excellent example of a well-written, thoughtful, educational and...best of all... CLEAR advice blog.

Kristen (pictured) was in international sales and marketing before entering the writing field. She has trudged through the trenches of the writing, editing, publishing and public speaking jungle...acquiring a wealth of knowledge along the way and is now a published author and sought after mentor.

Her best-selling book, We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media , is a must have in your reference library.

About Kristen Lamb (excerpted from her blog):

The Warrior Writer Blog is dedicated to teaching authors tactics to survive and thrive in the new paradigm of publishing. The information presented here is designed not only to improve your writing and marketing skills, but to develop the character strength of the elite writer.

Kristen Lamb is the author of the best-selling book We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. She is currently represented by Gina Panettieri of Talcott Notch Literary. Kristen worked in international sales before transitioning into a career as an author, freelance editor and speaker. She takes her years of experience in sales & promotion and merges it with almost a decade as a writer to create a program designed to help authors construct a platform in the new paradigm of publishing. Kristen has guided writers of all levels, from unpublished green peas to NY Times best-selling big fish, how to use social media to create a solid platform and brand. Most importantly, Kristen helps authors of all levels connect to their READERS and then maintain a relationship that grows into a long-term fan base.
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ebook Growth Varies in Different Industrialized Countries->Reasons Why

Why is ebook growth exploding in the U.S. and U.K. and just creeping along in Japan and France?

Different business cultures? Different distribution systems? Different resale structures?

Some of each, but not in the way you might imagine. If you want to learn a little inside poop about publishing and distribution structures in various other industrialized nations and how they may affect and compare to our own system...then here is an exceptionally intuitive analysis given by professor Ken Sakamura (pictured) in the Mainichi Daily News :

E-book publishing industry needs new model that suits all

E-books have finally caught on in Japan. Mobile phone companies and home electronics manufacturers jumped into the market with their latest products starting in the second half of last year. The so-called method of "jisui" (cooking for oneself) -- or the self-digitization of paper books into e-books -- has become popular among people tired of waiting for new books to be digitized, ironically spawning how-to books about doing it yourself.

I have no intention of arguing whether electronic or paper books are better. Just as the majority of music distribution now takes place online, it is clear that in the long run, the e-reading terminals that can talk to the network will make e-books the mainstream. Over 10 million e-readers have already been sold in the U.S., and according to some predictions, over half the books bought there in 2014 will be electronic.

At the same time, however, readers aren't completely happy with their e-readers. Terminals that use reflective electronic paper can be read under sunlight, are lightweight, and have long-lasting batteries. But their display screens are black and white, and the pages are slow to switch. On the other hand, all-purpose tablets with color displays cannot be read under sunlight, are heavy, and the batteries are short-lived. However, it is only a matter of time before such technical problems are addressed and solved.

What bothers me more at the moment is the extremely varied degrees to which e-books have been accepted in industrialized nations, which, at first glance, appear to be facing this new technological era under similar conditions. E-books that are read on dedicated terminals have become very popular both in the U.S. and the U.K., where in just the past few years, many new books have been released in both paper and e-book forms. In the U.S., there are over 800,000 general books available in e-book form for a fee.

Meanwhile, e-books have been very slow to catch on in Japan and France, although Japan is seen to have the world's largest market of e-books read on mobile phones. As it turns out, however, the majority of these e-books are comics, and particularly those that are difficult to buy in general bookstores, so there is a subtle difference between what is taking place in Japan and the shift from paper publishing to e-publishing seen elsewhere.

For Japanese electronic readers, which have been advertised widely in Japan since the end of 2010, their recent appearance on the market actually marks their second try. The first attempt, which went on the market some years ago as the world's first electronic paper terminal, was pulled off the market soon afterward without so much as generating a buzz.

Read and learn more

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Publishing Piracy Intrigue: China Stepping on Japan Copyrights...Oh, and Apple is Bad Boy Too!

Not only is China violating some of Japan's copyrights through it's huge internet search beast Baidu (on it's Baidu library)...but, Apple iPad is also stomping all over portions of Japanese copyrighted material.

And guess what? The Chinese Baidu search beast has made a successful effort at policing it's copyright infringements whereas Apple has NOT! Interesting, no?

This intriguing story unfolds on the Japan & China 'Realtime' Report blogs of the Wall Street Journal:

The publishing business may be in the throes of the unknown, but one thing is for sure: Japanese publishing giants aren’t afraid to pick up the sword – or pen — in the name of copyright protection.

The consortium of four Japanese publishing associations that joined forces to take on Apple Inc. has expanded the reach of their sword to China. The associations requested Baidu, the beast of Internet search in China, to take steps to prevent illegal uploads of copyrighted material on “Baidu Library.” In the absence of effective policing and preventive tactics pirated versions of Japanese manga, anime and novels have run rampant on the free document-sharing service where users can upload and surf files for free, according to a joint press release on Monday. It was signed by the Japan Book Publishers Association, the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, the Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan and the Digital Comic Association.

“Authors and publishers have made removal requests to Baidu each time the existence of these ‘digital bootlegs’ is discovered, but there is no end to the illegal uploading of data and the cat-and-mouse-game continues,” said the statement, adding that “Baidu bears grave responsibility for this problem.”

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Libraries and E-Book Circulation and a Kindle Flaw

E-books have surpassed all expectations of popularity and have actually gained prime beachfront status in the book real estate landscape.

Libraries are now lending out e-books and some publishers are trying to figure out how not to be taken too much advantage of...while concurrently maximizing their e-book profit...Harper Collins is trying to accomplish this by limiting library, e-book circulation to 26 checkouts before the e-book goes up in a puff of electronic smoke.

It seems all this new tech has really simplified and made processes much more efficient...but, nobody has figured out just how to make any money from all the new shitsky!

Aimee Levitt , of the St. Louis Riverfront Times, has this to say:

Publisher Attempts to Limit E-Book Circulation, Libraries Fight Back

It's a brave new electronic world we live in, where blogs like this one that you're reading have replaced daily newspapers, e-mail and Facebook updates have replaced letters and phone calls, and the heavy stacks of textbooks that used to weigh down schoolkids may now be replaced with e-readers.

Only problem is, nobody's figured out how to make money on all this yet, and everybody's afraid of being taken for a sucker. That's why last week HarperCollins Publishers announced that every e-book it sells to a library can only be circulated 26 times. Then it will disappear into the electronic ether. (E-books purchased before last week, however, can continue to be checked out indefinitely.)

Librarians, naturally, were not pleased. Two librarians in the Philadelphia area, Brett Bonfield and Gabriel Farrell, have organized a boycott of HarperCollins, which encompasses more than 30 different imprints. They argue that libraries don't have the funds to keep purchasing e-books; depending on the check-out period, a book that circulates 26 times would only last a year to a year and a half, less time than many printed books.

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