Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

01/19/2013

Publishers Outclassed by Digitally Savvy Writers


Digitally S a v v y Writer

Digitally S a v v y Writer

Actually, publishers have ALWAYS been outclassed by writers — who created the very content (product) that made publishers their living in the first place.

Publishers, as discussed in this post, are traditional publishers, OK? I make this clarification because today more and more writers are publishing their own works through self-publishing platforms — and are, therefore, publishers themselves 🙂

Michael Drew writes this nice piece in Huffpost, Books, that further details the slowness of TP’s to take full advantage of the new digital publishing landscape:

As E-Books Rise, Publishing Still Waivers

(John’s Note: I think Michael means publishing TP decision-making waivers – not the publishing business as a whole)

There’s probably no going back: e-books are going to be the dominant form for publishing pretty soon.

Consider that 23 percent of Americans now read e-books, up from 16 percent in 2011, and that the number of people reading “traditional” books is declining. On top of that, according to a study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “the number of owners of either a tablet computer or e-book reading device such as a Kindle or Nook grew from 18 percent in late 2011 to 33 percent in late 2012.”

Okay — and tablets are likely even to overtake e-readers, as tablets grow smaller and more comfortable to hold and still more versatile than many models of e-reader.

And publishers may be embracing e-books more than they had in the past. They have, for one thing, the ability to change prices. As Dominique Raccah, president of Sourcebooks said in an piece on NPR, “The exciting thing about digital books is that we actually get to test and price differently,” Raccah says. “We can even price on a weekly basis.”

On top of that, too, publishers can release books more quickly. Although in traditional publishing, you still have to wait a good year for a book to appear on shelves once it’s been accepted for publication, with e-publishing, of course, those delays — brought about by distribution, printing schedules, etc. — no longer exist.

Read and learn more

This Writing/Publishing Blog is available on Kindle :)))

Advertisements

09/04/2012

Intense Publishing Intrigue – Fighting for Privacy, Free Expression AND Profitability


Fighting for privacy, free expression and profitability all at the same time is, indeed, intense intrigue. It would turn my hair gray then take it away.

But, these big issues are facing the online social media sites/businesses every day — and how they are handled by the individual sites should determine their success or failure — Especially if they go public — It’s all related to trust of the users.

An example: Can we rely on these sites to publish our content (even unpopular) and protect our privacy; doing all this while still making a profit even if their sponsors are the target of the content? 

Twitter’s top legal beagle, Alexander Macgillivray, a young (40-year-old), Princeton and Harvard trained attorney and seasoned corporate lawyer, will demonstrate tonight how Twitter handles these online publishing problems:

Twitter’s Free Speech Defender  (The New York Times by )

Alexander Macgillivray, Twitter’s chief lawyer, says that fighting for free speech is more than a good idea. He thinks it is a competitive advantage for his company.

That conviction explains why he spends so much of Twitter’s time and money going toe to toe with officers and apparatchiks both here and abroad. Last week, his legal team was fighting a court order to extract an Occupy Wall Street protester’s Twitter posts. The week before, the team wrestled with Indian government officials seeking to take down missives they considered inflammatory. Last year, Mr. Macgillivray challenged the Justice Department in its hunt for WikiLeaks supporters who used Twitter to communicate.

“We value the reputation we have for defending and respecting the user’s voice,” Mr. Macgillivray said in an interview here at Twitter headquarters. “We think it’s important to our company and the way users think about whether to use Twitter, as compared to other services.”

It doesn’t always work. And it sometimes collides awkwardly with another imperative Twitter faces: to turn its fire hose of public opinion into a profitable business. That imperative will become far more acute if the company goes public, and Twitter confronts pressures to make money fast and play nice with the governments of countries in which it operates; most Twitter users live outside the United States and the company is already opening offices overseas.

That transformation makes his job all the more delicate. At a time when Internet companies control so much of what we can say and do online, can Twitter stand up for privacy, free expression and profitability all at the same time?

“They are going to have to monetize the data that they have and they can’t rock the boat maybe,” said Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington. “I don’t predict Twitter is going to lose its way, but it’s a moment to watch.”

Read and learn more

Get this Publishing/Writing Blog on Kindle :)))

04/12/2012

Publishing’s Next Gold Strike: The Emerging App Market


Emerging World of Apps !

Tonight’s post is a bit technical, but, by reading it, maybe we can pick up some insight by osmosis.

First, some definitions to help clarify:

API – Stands for Application Program Interface. It is a set of programming instructions and standards for accessing a Web-based software application or Web tool. A software company releases its API to the public so that other software developers can design products that are powered by its service — For example, Amazon.com released its API so that Web site developers could more easily access Amazon’s product information. Using the Amazon API, a third party Web site can post direct links to Amazon products with updated prices and an option to “buy now.” More detail and another example here.

HTML5 –  The latest and greatest programming language that is device-agnostic and can be used across all mobile formats/platforms. This is also important for ebook publishers to understand so when they want to publish to all mobiles with just one format they can find a service that employs HTML5. See “What exactly is HTML5?” for more accurate detail, I’m sure.

Apps are big business for the tablet and mobile platforms. They provide seamless progression to enhanced functionality for us users of all kind of digital services — such as digital publishing across all tablets and mobiles with just one format.

Magazine publishing leads the way in employing apps, but understanding there emerging use will also benefit all publishers including indie publishers 🙂

Bill Mickey, Editor of FOLIO magazine, explains it better than I ever could:

The APP Market: Models Are Emerging, But Which To Choose

As the tablet and mobile markets evolve, publishers consider their pricing and distribution options.

Read and learn more 

This fine Publishing/Writing Blog is available on Kindle :)))

 

 

 

03/31/2012

Are Book Apps for Enhanced Books Desirable? Authors’ Attitudes


"Who Is John Galt?" Try the App to Find Out

A popular question today “Are apps the future of book publishing?”

There are differing opinions on this subject. It kind of tickles the senses to imagine a book that has everyday sounds, videos, music and databases of related research that flows from the text as you read 🙂 But, will all the added sensory perception enhance the story? Or distract the reader?  

Established authors, both traditional and independent, have some surprising assessments in this insider piece from Alex Knapp of Forbes.com  and also some great examples of books with various kinds of  enhancing apps:

Are Apps The Future of Book Publishing?

We’re at the dawn of the tablet era now. Earlier this month, Apple sold 3 million of its new iPad during the opening weekend, with some analysts expecting over 60 million of the tablets to be sold worldwide. What’s more, e-book readers are selling even more briskly than tablets. People are using those e-readers, too. On Amazon.com, books for its Kindle outsell its paper books.

What’s more, the explosion of e-books is putting pressure on publishers between demands for price cuts on one hand, and competition from independent authors like Amanda Hocking, who earned over $2 million selling e-books on her own before signing with a major publisher.

It’s no surprise, then, that publishers are turning to the app as a possible product for books moving forward.  This has led to another movement towards enhanced books, particularly as apps for iPhone, Android, and other tablets. Are tablet apps the book of the future? In order to find out, I talked to authors, publishers, and app programmers, and read more than a few book apps.

The Varieties of E-Book App Experiences

One of the things about the e-book market right now is that there are a variety of experiences. Perhaps the type of e-book app that will seem most familiar to people would be something along the lines of Penguin’s Amplified Edition of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. This edition, which is purchased as an iPad app, features things like actual manuscript pages, the ability to share quotes on social media, and audio clips of Ayn Rand on various topics. These materials function similarly to the extras section on a DVD – they’re not integrated in the story, but they’re something that might be of great interest to people who are or become fans of the book.

Increasingly common, though, is bringing about a more interactive experience. For example, The Gift, which was published earlier this year by Persian Cat Press, is reminiscent of an illustrated children’s book. However, it’s not only narrated, but the reader has to interact with various parts of the book to move the story forward. In this case, the enhanced aspects of the book are an integral part of the story. (This one is a particular favorite of my toddler son.)

Perhaps the most wildly divergent book app I’ve encountered so far is Chopsticks, which is another Penguin book, but one that’s vastly different than their amplified editions. It’s described as a novel, but it’s vastly different than a traditional novel. As you turn the pages, you aren’t confronted with a traditional narrative, but rather interact with different pieces of the lives of Glory, a teen piano player, and the boy who moves in next door. The story’s told through newspaper clippings, pictures, songs, and more.  It’s a rather fascinating way to tell a story.

For those people who still just want to cozy up with words on a page, I think one of my personal favorite e-book enhancements is Booktrack. Booktrack is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. It provides a soundtrack for the books you’re reading. But it doesn’t only provide music – it also provides sound effects as you’re reading. You can try it yourself by checking out their free adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Speckled Band.” It’s pretty cool – nice period mood music. As Holmes sits by the fire, you hear the fire. When he and Watson are in a cab, you hear the clip-clop of the hooves.  Even particularly cool is that it’s well-timed. There was a point where the story describes a woman screaming, and I heard the scream as I was reading the words. It made for a really immersive experience.

Another notable book app – and an approach I can see be adopted by others going forward, is The World of Richelle Mead, produced by Razorbill Books. The app itself isn’t a book. Rather, it’s a platform that fans of Richelle Mead, who’s written the hit YA series Vampire Academy, can use to buy enhanced books. Within the app, says Razorbill President Ben Schrank, “fans can interact with the author and each other.” In addition to enhanced content, the app doubles as a social media platform for Mead fans. “It’s more of a community app than a book app,” comments Schrank.

Read and learn more

This Publishing/Writing Blog is available on Kindle :)))

 

11/25/2011

A Popular App Based on a Book Drives Sales of Both


B1SKY1

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.

Read and learn more

07/24/2011

Books Are Morphing into Fluid Concepts in Cyberspace


Books As Fluid Concepts - The Old Meets The New

“Instead of being a discrete object, the book is becoming much more of a fluid concept, and there is opportunity in that transformation for those who want to discover it.”

This information is presented by Mathew Ingram through gigaom.com. The text sputters mucho links and references to drilled down background info that will bestow a PhD level of knowledge! Enjoy the post: 

What’s a book? It’s whatever you want it to be

As we’ve mentioned a number of times, the evolution of the book-publishing business has been accelerating recently, with more authors doing an end run around the traditional industry by self-publishing — or even setting up their own e-book stores, as Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has done with her new Pottermore site. Now media companies seem to be showing an increasing interest in publishing their own e-books using content that they have already created, moves that are taking them into the growing market in between full-length books and magazine-style pieces.

The latest move in that direction comes from Ars Technica, which is part of the Conde Nast magazine empire that includes Wired magazine and The New Yorker. The technology blog, which has become well known for its exhaustive reviews of new Apple hardware and software by author and programmer John Siracusa, is offering its latest review — an in-depth look at Apple’s new operating system, code-named OS X “Lion” — as an e-book using the Kindle Single program. The book (which is really just a long magazine article) costs $5, and is more or less identical to the version that is on the Ars website.

Paying for convenience?

So why would someone want to pay $5 to read something that they could read for free on a website, or download via their browser and read offline via Read It Later or some other service? That’s a good question (Fortune tried something similar with a recent feature on Apple, but it wasn’t available online at all). Whatever the answer might be, Ars Technica editor Ken Fisher told the Nieman Journalism Lab on Friday that more than 3,000 people had decided to do just that within 24 hours of the review being available online. Said Fisher:

I was surprised by how many people told us they read the review online and they just wanted their own copy to go back to. Or they just bought it as a tip-jar kind of thing.

It may have helped that Siracusa’s review is a lot closer to being a book than it is just a regular review in an online magazine — it is more than 27,000 words in length, which is split up over 19 pages. That’s a lot of text to read on a website, and some readers said that they downloaded the Kindle single just to save themselves from having to read all those pages on a computer. Fisher said the magazine also saw some new users sign up for its $5-a-month premium subscription plan, which disables advertising and lets users download any of the magazine’s articles as PDFs.

Read and learn more

Get Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue Blog on your Kindle here

07/12/2011

Tablet, E-Reader Addicts Also Want Print


Printed Books Still Desired

This is not surprising to me at all … I have posted many times RE the NON-demise of the printed word.

John’s Note: I tried to link to all past posts on ‘printed word’ or ‘print’ but WordPress is giving me trouble tonight! Just go to the “search this site button” at top of this page and enter ‘print’ for my past discussions. 

Oh, the printed word has definitely gone through changes … but, think about it … these changes were brought about by what? Why, the ‘printed’ word itself, of course … only in a different format (digital), that’s all.

A study on this very issue is presented in an article for FOLIO Magazine by Executive Editor Matt Kinsman:

Study Says Tablet, E-Reader Users Haven’t Given Up Print

Few magazine apps in the App Store don’t have at least one reviewer clamoring for a subscription package that bundles print and app, and now a new study from GfK MRI suggests that rather than abandoning old media, tablet and e-reader users might still be print’s best audience.

John’s Note: By the way GfK means ‘Growth from Knowledge’ and MRI means ‘Mediamark Research and Intelligence’

According to the study, tablet owners are 66 percent more likely than the average U.S. adult to be heavy users of printed versions of magazines, while e-reader owners are 23 percent more likely to be heavy print users.

The study also says men are more likely to own tablets while women are more likely to own e-readers (although I still dig my Kindle and I’ll arm-wrestle anyone at GfK MRI or Yudu who makes fun of me).

Read and learn more

Get the Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue Blog right on your Kindle here

04/26/2011

Rebirthing of Magazine Publishing


Side slider touchscreen smartphone

After barreling to the very edge of magazine extinction AND balancing on the tipping point… the magazine publishing world has been pulled back and dropped into greener revenue fields.

What brought this about? The rise of mobile apps for smartphones and tablets! That’s what…

Excerpt from feature source: “The rise of mobile apps for smartphones and tablets is generating  an excitement in the world of magazine publishing that hasn’t been seen in years. The potential of reviving storied brands and creating new revenue streams in a brand new, yet somehow familiar medium is tremendous. Still, these are the early days. The publishing industry has a long way to go before it figures out how to harness these new capabilities. In the meantime, both large and small publishers are already seeing their business transform.”  

Get the details from this FOLIO magazine Special Report presented on a great digital app powered by Nxtbook 

This blog available on your Kindle here

03/23/2011

Tablet Computer World to Explode to 200 Million/Yr Sales by 2014!


More Tablet Computers Coming!

Good news for writers and publishers…but a vastly more crowded dance floor for the Apple iPad.

Why is this good news for writers and publishers?

Simply because of the HUGE rebirth in the popularity of reading that the tablets (as well as the singular e-readers such as Kindle) have generated.

AND, the resulting demand for constant new content.

PLUS, the ease and speed of access to books and all other written media COUPLED with the ever-increasing streamlining of the actual publishing process.  

I have some numbers tonight that will rock your socks! A study conducted by PRTM (PRTM = Pittiglio, Rabin, Todd & McGrath, by the way) claims that there are 104 tablets currently for sale or in development. With 17 million tablets sold in 2010, PRTM forecasted 200 million tablets to be sold annually for 2014!

How bout them figures? 

Stefanie Botelho writes these details in FOLIO magazine: 

Tablet Market Expands With New Competitors

Samsung and RIM will release tablets within the next four months.

RIM and Samsung have announced release dates for their versions of the tablet computer, with the RIM Blackberry Playbook on sale on April 19th and the new Wi-Fi version of the Samsung Galaxy tablet line launching June 8th.

Both companies are looking to grab a hold of a piece of the iPad-dominated tablet market. Apple’s second version of the iPad was unveiled in San Francisco on March 2nd, and shipped March 11th. Reportedly, Apple sold 14.8 million iPads in 2010.

The RIM PlayBook will feature a 7 inch screen, Flash compatible video and front and rear cameras. The 16GB version will be available for $499, a 32GB for $599 and a 64GB with a price tag of $699.

The PlayBook will have Wi-Fi capabilities, but they cannot utilize 3G without being connected through a Blackberry phone.

Read and learn more

Attention Kindle owners! Get this insightful blog right on your Kindle here

03/08/2011

Inside the Numbers of Digital Content…Making It Pay


I’ve always thought (hell, make that knew) that ‘content’ was king…and, therefore, the basic ingredient to any successful writing/reporting venture online OR off.

The trick in the new online, digital paradigm was making it profitable…Therein lies the rub. 

It’s not too often that an insider gives up any real tangible figures or metrics highlighting just how their business is doing…where it started from and how it is becoming successful. 

Surprise!  Henry Blodget (pictured), CEO of financial news and analysis site Business Insider (which was just named a Top 25 Financial Blog by Time.com) has done just that in this article for FOLIO magazine by Matt Kinsman:

At FOLIO:, we’re used to having to cajole publishers to share metrics to back up the case they’re making for their own success. But every now and then someone lays it all out, understanding that solid revenue, net income and EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) figures go a lot further than phrases like “synergy” and “relationship with our audience.”

Kudos then to Henry Blodget, CEO of financial news and analysis site Business Insider (which was just named a Top 25 Financial Blog by Time.com), who shared the type of proprietary financials that keep most PR heads up at night in a post making the case for the viability of “digital news” as a business. (The admissions come on the heels of Huffington Post’s $315 million sale-or as one talkbacker to Blodget’s post wrote, “The headline on this post should be: Dear AOL, For your consideration, we’re an excellent Web property too!”)

The stats: Business Insider generated $4.8 million in revenue in 2010 (up from $39,495 a couple years ago), mostly from advertising. The company was profitable in 2010 (making $2,127), but Blodget warns it will dip back into the red over the next few quarters, due to aggressive investment, spurred in part by New York State’s capital tax. “Making $2,127 feels about 2,127 times as good as losing money,” he writes. “And it makes us confident that, if we keep working hard, and we keep getting better, we’ll be able to build a successful business and a truly great product someday.”

The Costs Of Making Online Content a Real Business

While we’re definitely in the “aggregation”-oops, sorry, I meant “curation” age-many online startups are investing in staff and resources in creating original content (which is more than can be said for many of their peers coming from traditional media).

Blodget [pictured] acknowledges the knocks against HuffPo’s content (paying a few big name writers while plucking content from low-or-unpaid bloggers, generating SEO-bait) but he also says that with HuffPo expected to grow another $20 million to $50 million in revenue that it “will likely hire a lot more New York Times staffers to go with the ones it has already got. In other words, HuffPo will keep getting better.” (HuffPo did just snap up political writer Jon Ward from News Corp’s The Daily).

Blodgett doesn’t reveal what he’s paying to generate content, but says “We didn’t make that profit because we’re a sweatshop, by the way.” He claims a 25-person newsroom, (which is larger than many magazines which are generating far more than $4 million and splitting four or five people-if they’re lucky–across print AND digital).

He writes

“Our newsroom salaries for full-time employees, for example (which include bonuses and benefits) are now higher than at many companies in the traditional news industry. Because the digital news business is quite different from the traditional news business, we often promote from within, and we’ve had the huge pleasure of watching folks who joined us as interns grow up to take leadership positions. True, we can’t yet toss around the $300,000-$500,000 a year per brand-name columnist that Huffington Post and Daily Beast are now reportedly tossing around. But, in future years, if we keep doing what we think we can do, we should be able to pay our top people a lot more than we do today.”

Read and learn more

 

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: