Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


A Popular App Based on a Book Drives Sales of Both


The Solar App

Could the reverse be true? Could a book based on an app produce the same results?

This is the premise in an article by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg in the Wall Street Journal … and it really caught my eye. The reason it grabbed the attention of this non-techie is simply this: I thought an app was nothing more than a computer language code that told software to do something … and I’m having trouble visualizing that into a book 🙂

Perhaps it’s a written code that translates the content of a printed book so it can go digital … But, if that is the case, isn’t that just an e-book and not an app? (Is an e-book itself an app?)

Maybe one of the more enlightened can educate me on this. I’m probably making this more complicated than it is. My mind suffers from tunnel vision sometimes. 

Jeffrey’s article follows:

Last year, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers Inc. learned that a popular iPad application based on a book could drive sales of both. Now the publisher will see whether the reverse works: a book based on an iPad app.

Black Dog this month published the print book “Solar System: A Visual Exploration of the Planets, Moons, and Other Heavenly Bodies that Orbit Our Sun” by Marcus Chown. The 224-page book, priced at $29.95, is filled with space photos and graphics that track the planets as well as asteroids and comets.

It was originally published as an iPad app for Christmas 2010 as a joint venture between the U.K.’s Touch Press LLP and Faber & Faber Ltd. Priced at $13.99, the app has sold 75,000 copies globally, said Max Whitby, chief executive of Touch Press.

In addition to presenting an interactive experience with the solar system, it contains 30,000 words of text by Mr. Chown, a science writer. The partners subsequently licensed the U.S. and other print rights to Black Dog & Leventhal. The physical book is being published in the U.K. by Faber & Faber.

Black Dog will be watching to see whether the parallel effort does as well as Theodore Gray’s “The Elements,” published in 2009 originally as a physical book. Mr. Gray subsequently teamed up with Mr. Whitby to publish an app version of “The Elements” that went on sale in April 2010 at the same time that Apple Inc. launched its iPad. “We were in the app store on day one,” said Mr. Gray.

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Publishers, Do You Know What ‘Genericide’ Is?

A publisher’s or writer’s (and writers are their own publishers today) brand is their trademark. Yes, as we become better known for our works we are identified with a certain brand…of genre, style, savoir faire, etc.

Once we begin to establish a unique and certain writer’s personality (our own brand, so to speak)…how do we keep it from becoming too generic…or suffering from ‘genericide’?

I bring this topic up tonight because Apple is fighting with Amazon on exclusive trademark rights to APP STORE, a software application store.

“… it may be a good reminder to trademark owners to formulate a strategy for avoiding the worst fate to befall a trademark…genericide. Yes, it is actually as deadly as it sounds. Genericide occurs when a trademark becomes generic, meaning it is no longer an indicator of the source of a particular product or service, but rather, has become synonymous with its general class.”  Linda M. Norcross of Lewis and Roca Law Firm LLP.

I feel all app developers, no matter who they write apps for, should keep their apps well trademarked to identify their own unique work…AND, those who use (buy) their apps (e.g. Apple, Amazon, etc) should provide for this accommodation. 

Details from Linda M. Norcross of Lewis and Roca Law Firm LLP: 

Genericide – let’s hope it’s not contagious

As Apple fights with to assert exclusive trademark rights in APP STORE for, ahem, a software application store, it may be a good reminder to trademark owners to formulate a strategy for avoiding the worst fate to befall a trademark…genericide. Yes, it is actually as deadly as it sounds. Genericide occurs when a trademark becomes generic, meaning it is no longer an indicator of the source of a particular product or service, but rather, has become synonymous with its general class.    

Trademarks function as indicators of source. In other words, they identify the source from which a product or service originates so that consumers will be able to distinguish a trademark owner’s products and services from another’s, and come to expect a certain level of quality from that product or service. For example, no matter where you purchase a McDonald’s cheeseburger, you can anticipate exactly how it is supposed to look and taste, and it’s not the same as a cheeseburger from Burger King. That’s how a business’ reputation for quality, or its “goodwill” is established.

There are four levels of distinctiveness that fall along a spectrum of trademark strength. The first level, comprising the strongest trademarks are fanciful, or coined terms. Fanciful trademarks have no meaning until they become associated with a product, such as PEPSI cola or XEROX photocopiers. The second strongest is an arbitrary trademark, which is composed of a word that exists, but is then associated with a completely unrelated product or service, like APPLE (how ironic) for computers, or DELTA for an airline. The third strongest is the suggestive trademark, which requires the consumer to use his or her imagination to appreciate the relevance of the trademark in conjunction with the product or service it identifies. COPPERTONE, for example, doesn’t come right out and tell the consumer that the corresponding product is tanning lotion. Finally, descriptive trademarks are the least strong of the four trademark types. In fact, descriptive trademarks are not considered distinctive from the get go, as is the case with the first three trademark types, rather, but they can become distinctive in the minds of the relevant consumer over time, or based on a combination of factors including advertising dollars and unsolicited publicity. TV GUIDE and FROSTED MINI WHEATS are descriptive, because the identify a quality, characteristic, feature or function of the product being offered.

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Apple iPad Too Dictatorial to Publishers?

 Is Apple getting too much into its publisher-clients’ business and dictating how to do their business? NIM (Next Issue Media) thinks so…And I

Android Tablet

think with some justification.

NIM is a new venture owned by Time Inc., Condé Nast, Hearst Corporation, and Meredith Corporation, formed so these publishers can have their own tablet app store to publish and distribute their products as they see fit and not as Apple wants to dictate to them.

I think Apple is making a big mistake. Especially with all the new, more inclusive and improved android tablets preparing to hit the market!

Chris O’Shea writes this for MediaBistro:

Publishing Companies Prepare Tablet App Store

Time Inc., Condé Nast, Hearst Corporation, and Meredith Corporation are adding the finishing touches to their tablet app store. Morgan Guenther, the Chief Executive of Next Issue Media (NIM), the new venture owned by the publishing companies, says that it should launch within the next few months.

He says that when the store launches, it will feature at least two titles from each of the companies, and by this summer, every magazine will be available. Guenther also says that News Corporation’s (another owner of NIM) newspapers will be available by then.

For now, the app store will only be available on Android tablets. This is because NIM is the result of publishing houses not wanting other companies (read: Apple) to dictate how their products are distributed.

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Apple to App Developers: Screw You RE Guidelines!

Filed under: App Store,App Store Review Guidelines,Apple,Scott Rosenberg — gator1965 @ 6:08 pm

The supposedly new guidelines (some say with ‘relaxed’ restrictions) for app developers for use in the App Store are anything but. Essentially Apple is saying: “submit your new apps to us but we will decide if you cross any lines (undefined by us) and will reject at will.”

For software developers, the new ability to use third-party frameworks and toolkits is a good thing…But, from a content writers point-of-view, Apple may be positioning themselves to reject ideas as well as just bad code.

This excellent analysis by Scott Rosenberg, author of Say Everything and Dreaming in Code, is from his Wordyard blog:

For all of you out there in media-land who still think that the iPad represents salvation for old business models and who welcome the App Store as a new platform for distributing content, I recommend a reading of Apple’s new App Store Review Guidelines as helpfully summarized by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber. (It seems you have to be a registered Apple developer before you can actually read the guidelines in full, but they’re available at Gizmodo.)

Discussion of these guidelines in the tech press initially framed the move as a “relaxation” of Apple’s policies, because the company will now allow developers to use third-party frameworks and toolkits. But view the guidelines from the perspective of content publishing and “relaxation” is not the word that will spring to mind.

This item stands out:

We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it”. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.

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