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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Apple Counterpunches the Government's E-Book Lawsuit

Apple, Amazon, DOJ
Courtroom Drama
Most who are familiar with this blog know I have posted many updates on the intrigue RE Apple, Amazon, the Justice Department and the price-fixing debacle. 

Apple, on appeal, accuses the government of siding with “monopoly, rather than competition” when it handed down it's first ruling.

What do you think are Apples chances on this countersuit? Did the DOJ jump the gun? Did they make too many suppositions? Did they have the actual evidence on price manipulation? Did they in fact side with monopolistic practices?

I feel one thing --- whoever wins, the market prices will be set by the buying public. The old supply and demand will be the price driver, not an agenda-ridden retailer. And this is true competition.

Nick Wingfield, The New York Times, has this latest update:

Apple Strikes Back at Government E-Book Lawsuit

A few days ago, Apple filed a formal response to the antitrust lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice in April against it and several book publishers.

The gist of the 31-page filing is the same as Apple’s previous comments on the case: the company denies that it conspired with book publishers to raise e-book prices in a bid to give Apple’s new iPad a boost and to thwart the low e-book pricing of Amazon. But Apple put its objections to the case in somewhat sharper terms in the new filing, accusing the government of siding with “monopoly, rather than competition,” a reference to Amazon, the leader in e-book retailing.

“The government starts from the false premise that an e-books ‘market’ was characterized by ‘robust price competition’ prior to Apple’s entry,” Apple said in its filing. “This ignores a simple and incontrovertible fact: before 2010, there was no real competition, there was only Amazon.”

One noteworthy part of Apple’s response is a denial of one of the more juicy accusations in the government’s suit: namely, that in 2009 Apple “contemplated illegally dividing the digital content world with Amazon, allowing each to ‘own the category’ of its choice — audio/video to Apple and e-books to Amazon.” The government did not say in its filing exactly what evidence it had to prove that accusation.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Some Revealing Numbers in the Global Publishing Industry Profile

Look At These Stats
On Global Publishing!
In researching, I often come upon professional industry reports (most are rather costly in their entirety) that offer interesting insights and analytical statistics in the summary report for press releases.
Global Publishing Industry Profile is such a report.

Reportstack distributes the report and is one of the largest online libraries of market research and business intelligence.

Reportstack.com hosts more than 150,000 research products from the world's top publication houses. These publications are distributed amongst 12 top industry verticals and 62 sub verticals, which are then further classified into 257 business categories and 5000 micro markets. The vast selection criterion provides granular data from the length and breadth of all these industries delivering Reportstack.com members with cutting edge research products to facilitate strategic business decisions.

So, here then, is an insight into the monetary size and growth of the various segments of global publishing and the forecast of same through 2016:

Global Publishing Industry Profile - Latest Report

Naperville, IL -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/22/2012 -- Global Publishing industry profile provides top-line qualitative and quantitative summary information including: global publishing market size (value 2007-11, and forecast to 2016). The profile also contains descriptions of the leading players including key financial metrics and analysis of competitive pressures within the market. Essential resource for top-line data and analysis covering the Global publishing market. Includes market size and segmentation data, textual and graphical analysis of market growth trends, leading companies and macroeconomic information.


The publishing market consists of books, newspaper and magazines segments. The book publishing industry comprises publishers of academic, professional, general and other (fictions, non-fiction etc) books. The market value of this segment refers to the domestic B2C sales of books only at the retail sales price (RSP). The newspaper and magazine segment value is calculated as the revenues generated by publishers from B2C sales of copies of their products, and does not include advertising revenues. Any currency conversions used in the creation of this report have been calculated using constant 2010 annual average exchange rates.

The global publishing market is expected to generate total revenue of $244,431.8 million in 2011, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.5% between 2007 and 2011.

Book sales are expected to be the most lucrative for the global publishing market in 2011, with total revenues of $90,308.9 million, equivalent to 36.9% of the market's overall value.

The performance of the market is forecast to accelerate, with an anticipated CAGR of 2.2% for the five-year period 2011 - 2016, which is expected to drive the market to a value of $273,048 million by the end of 2016.


Save time carrying out entry-level research by identifying the size, growth, major segments, and leading players in the publishing market in the global

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Friday, May 18, 2012

American Book Industry Growing Overseas (Print & Digital)

American Books Export Growth
TV shows and Hollywood blockbusters have always been good American cultural exports --- But, guess what? American books have joined the "great American cultural exports" group.

The Association of American Publishers, tracking book exports for the first time, have found some interesting facts about why non-English speaking countries are now seeking American English titles.

And, AAP offers some good statistical growth figures over the past couple of years.

More details by Matthew Flamm, in Crain's New York Business:

New York books find foreign audience

Sales of American-published authors rose 7% in 2011 thanks to a 333% spike in e-book sales, report says. Young readers overseas want to learn English.

TV shows and Hollywood blockbusters aren't America's only cultural exports. The book industry is also expanding overseas, according to a report released Friday by the Association of American Publishers that looks at book exports for the first time.

Exports by U.S. publishers, which are dominated by the big six New York houses, rose 7% in 2011 over the prior year to $357 million. That included $22 million in e-books purchased overseas—a 333% spike—and $336 million in print books, a bump of 2%.

Continental Europe made up the biggest market, with sales of $83 million, up 15%. The United Kingdom was second, with $64 million in sales, up 23%, followed by Latin America, which was up 15% to $17 million.

The report attributed the growth to the spread of online booksellers and the international emergence of e-books in 2009. Historically, foreign distributors, particularly in non-English language countries, offered only 5% to 10% of U.S. publishers' English-language titles.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Traditional Printers Diversifying

Printed content, I believe, is still the biggest revenue producer in the publishing industry --- don't know how much longer this will be the case with digital gnawing at it's heels.

But, the print portion of the industry has suffered enough to decimate many traditional printers and their peripheral support such as suppliers, etc.

Though many have gone out of business, many have survived --- and prospered to the point of actual expansion.

How did they do this? Diversification, of course. AND diversification in the direction of services complementing, what else? Digital, of course.

Here are three examples of traditional printing companies and just how they are redefining themselves.

From the May issue of Folio magazine by Ioanna Opidee and Stefanie Botelho:

The Expanding Role of Printers
With the race on for expanding magazine brands onto a variety of platforms, particularly the kind that don’t involve paper, printers are finding new ways to serve clients and draw in new revenue. Some of these tactics include launching multiplatform services, in addition to combining digital and print solutions for a one-stop shop for publishers.

Digital Diversification

Continuing to diversify beyond its role as a printer, RR Donnelley recently made a $2.5 million investment in catalog shopping app CoffeeTable, which allows tablet users to browse and purchase from multiple retailers’ catalogs directly within the application.

“Our core business is delivering multi-channel solutions,” says Ann Marie Bushell, president of RR Donnelley’s CustomPoint Solutions. Like cataloguers, she adds, “[Publishers] want a provider that can take content from creation to delivery, across a variety of media.”

This news follows RR Donnelley’s touting the success of its Press+ platform, now used by 323 publications to launch paid content models online.

In June 2011, the company acquired Helium.com to enhance its content creation offerings—one of a series of acquisitions it made to broaden its services. In August, it purchased LibreDigital, which provides digital magazine replicas, data analytics and content for more than 40 e-commerce sites. That same month, the company bought software company Sequence Personal to bolster its custom digital publishing services. Finally, in October, all of that build-up paid off when it struck a $550 million deal through 2020 with American Media Inc. to assist the OK! and Star publisher with its digital convergence.

Greater Reach, Smarter Solutions

Recently, Wisconsin-based printer Quad/Graphics bought a minority stake in India-based print service and business solutions provider Manipal Technologies.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Futureproofing Publishing

First, a definition (as I think it applies to this post) of futureproofing (or future-proofing):

A slang term used to describe any technology that will not become outdated any time in the near future --- Webopedia


Futureproof is a collection of articles, experiments, and tools that enrich your life by helping you develop a more sophisticated relationship with technology.

We explore the larger personal and interpersonal implications of technology use through research and philosophy. Based on this research and philosophy, we design interactive experiments to help you discover how technology use affects you. We also create tools that help you use technology better–by mitigating the bad effects and nurturing the good. In other words, we think deeply about technology use and well-being, and we create tools to make them complementary.

Our ambition is to create a new understanding of what it means to use technology well. This new understanding evaluates technology by referring to human needs and values, rather than by comparing technology to itself. With this human-centric perspective, our conception of skillful technology use shifts focus from technical proficiency, to using technology in ways that promote health, happiness, and compassion --- I Am Futureproof

Pottermore, JK Rowling’s online ebookstore, has presented a model/platform that has had an immediate impact on the publishing industry and will have, if developed properly, a more intense and substantial impact in the future.

Key to the Pottermore ebookstore's game changing concept is forcing Amazon to send buyers of its books, showcased on Amazon, to its own ebook site for purchase (Amazon gets a finder's fee). This gives Pottermore direct access to end user data and control over the selling price :)

More info provided by Suw Charman-Anderson in Forbes:

Pottermore: Developing A Blueprint For Futureproof Publishing

Matteo Berlucchi has written a great piece on Pottermore and its potential impact on the publishing industry over at FutureBook. In it, Berlucchi suggests that Pottermore, JK Rowling’s online ebookstore, is an “extremely important” precedent which shows publishers that it is possible to rework their relationship with Amazon in a way that forges stronger ties between publisher and reader.

“Pottermore transformed Amazon from a fierce ebook retailer into a tame ebook shop window. Pottermore uses Amazon (and all other ebook retailers online) as an affiliate which attracts customers to their ebook store in exchange for a finder’s fee. Thus, Pottermore gains direct access to the end user details (alongside Amazon as both companies know that the user has purchased the ebook).

In this model, says Berlucchi, publishers get control over the cost of ebooks and how much retailers earn in ‘introduction fees’. They also benefit from the creation of a direct relationship between publisher and reader, invaluable for marketing and market research, and unprecedented access to user data.

Berlucchi’s right, but the industry needs to take the Pottermore idea several steps further if they are to reap all the rewards it has to offer. There is a window of opportunity now to expand upon the concept of a publisher-centric ebook hub, to take Pottermore’s partial blueprint and use it to futureproof publishing.

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Publishing Not Evolving -- It's Going Away

Gone With The Wind ?
So says Clay Shirky, a professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU.

"Publishing is not a job anymore. It's a button. There's a button that says `publish,' and when you press it, it's done.'' This also attributed to professor Clay Shirky.

I love both of these statements :)

The publishing industry is definitely morphing into something totally unrecognizable, but into what?

I believe that all the big and little digital screens that more and more people are reading on are just a way station in a longer journey to some as yet undiscovered reading media.

Jason Magder, Canada.com, gives us a peek into a possible future state of (what used to be called) publishing:

What will become of publishing industry now that anyone can do it?

When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 15th century, it was a marvel of modern technology.

Publishing became a major industry, as books, newspapers and magazines were the primary means for ideas to be shared.

Today, publishing is in everyone's power: anyone can write their opinion on Facebook, start a blog, shoot a video or even put together an online newspaper - with instant access to a mass audience.

``Publishing is not evolving. Publishing is going away,'' argues Clay Shirky, a professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. ``Because the word `publishing' means a cadre of professionals who are taking on the incredible difficulty and complexity and expense of making something public. That's not a job anymore. That's a button. There's a button that says `publish,' and when you press it, it's done.''

With publishing gone, the post-publishing era means reading will be done on screens, from iPads to Kindles, smartphones and perhaps one day eyeglasses, with Google working on a prototype to bring the Net to your bifocals.

In this era, the dinosaurs of publishing - newspapers, magazines and books - have not yet figured out what role they will play.

That's why when the iPad came out two years ago, followed by a multitude of tablets, many hailed it as the shot in the arm newspapers needed. By creating their own applications, newspapers can once again do what they do best: create informational packages in an easy-to-read format. But with more resources being poured in to create iPad or Android tablet editions, will the new newspapers simply become apps? Can tablets alone save the industry?

Ken Doctor, a former executive with Knight Ridder newspapers, believes tablets can help newspapers make the transition away from ink and paper. Now an industry analyst, he said tablets have helped to bring about a shift in the mentalities of readers, making it acceptable to pay for news.

``Kind of by historical coincidence, the tablet came out at the same time newspapers started experimenting with paywalls,'' Doctor said.

He said many newspaper companies have been able to use their tablet editions as selling points for digital subscriptions, or print subscriptions that include digital access.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

B&N's Nook Gets Huge 'Shot In The Arm' from Microsoft - Sparks Ebook Battle

Propelled by its Nook devices,
Barnes & Noble has more than
 25 percent of the e-book
 market, but it still
lags behind Amazon.
Could Amazon (as well as Apple) be getting a real competitor?

This $600 million dollar investment by Microsoft in Barnes and Noble's Nook will lift both past market leaders who have lost some ground in the recent past.

This deal will give the largest bookstore chain (with 25% of ebook market)a global reach while giving Microsoft a foot in 'one of the the most important battles reshaping the landscape in technology, retailing and media.'

in the New York Times:

Microsoft Deal Adds to E-Book Battle


Microsoft agreed to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division on Monday, giving the bookstore chain stronger footing in the hotly contested electronic book market and creating an alliance that could intensify the fight over the future of digital reading.

The deal, which gives Microsoft a 17.6 percent stake, values the Nook unit at $1.7 billion — roughly double Barnes & Noble’s entire market value as of last Friday — and bolsters the bookseller’s efforts to make its digital business the linchpin of its future growth.

The announcement was the latest surprise in an unpredictable and rapidly shifting e-book market, which is crowded with technology giants trying to chip away at Amazon.com’s dominance. Amazon once had close to 90 percent of the e-book market, but since then, a handful of players, including Apple, Google and now Microsoft, have edged in.

The alliance binds together two onetime market leaders that have lost ground. Barnes & Noble, which is the nation’s largest bookstore chain and has more than 25 percent of the e-book market but still lags well behind Amazon, has a rich and powerful partner with global reach. At the same time, the deal will give Microsoft a close ally in one of the most important battles reshaping the landscape in technology, retailing and media.

Microsoft has been forced to radically reimagine Windows, its flagship software franchise, for a future in which much Web browsing, movie watching, book reading and other activities occur on tablets.

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