Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

03/21/2013

Digital Content Models – Become Instant, Multimedia Publishers Across All Platforms


Publish Everywhere Lickety-Split!!!

Damn! The last two years have wrought tremendous advances in digital publishing. How about a model that “seamlessly integrates text, audio, video, and interactive elements into ebooks, digital magazines, and other publications, and then effortlessly publishes into an iPad or iPhone app, for Kindle and Nook e-readers, and for Web browsers (in HTML5).”

The ultimate creation platform for the digital, mobile age. I guess so!

And just who developed this digital content publishing model dripping with super powers? – A company called Atavist, that’s who. And we will be jawing and giving out informative links about them and peripherals tonight.

Briefly, “Atavist is a media and software company at the forefront of digital, mobile publishing. Our mission is to enable the next generation of multimedia storytelling, reaching readers across mobile devices and the Web.”

Bill Mickey, Editor of FOLIO magazine, elicits great info in this interview with Atavist co-founder, Evan Ratliff:

Atavist Co-Founder Evan Ratliff On Digital Content Models

From long-form to subscriptions, there’s something for everyone.

One of the more dramatic turnarounds when considering online and digital content is long-form journalism. Once considered anathema to online publishing, not to mention mobile, only a couple years ago, it’s now considered an opportunity on multiple levels—from ebooks to tablets to interactive web features.

The Atavist
, founded by Evan Ratliff, Jefferson Rabb and Nicholas Thompson, was launched in early 2011 to tap the burgeoning long-form digital content market for mobile and web publishing. Here, Ratliff [pictured], who will be a speaker at FOLIO: and min’s MediaMashup summit on April 16 at the Grand Hyatt in New York, shares some of his insights on digital content production, the emerging models and how traditional publishers can participate.

FOLIO: What are some of the trends you’re seeing in longer-form content production in digital formats—online and mobile/tablet?

Evan Ratliff: It’s remarkable how things have changed just over the past two or three years. When we started, the idea that people wanted to read longform online was assumed to be dubious, if not ludicrous. Really, someone is going to sit at a computer and read a 5,000 word story? Almost no major outlets were doing digitally-original longform work. But the trend in the opposite direction started with the Kindle, accelerated with the iPad, then really took off with read-it-later services like Instapaper, Pocket and best-of selections like Longform. Now that you could read something in your hands, it changed the perspective on whether anyone would read something longer than a couple paragraphs, digitally.

But that’s all old news, at this point. What’s happening now is what we’d hoped would happen when we started in 2009: People aren’t just publishing longform online, they are designing for it. Whether it’s us, or the Verge (really, Vox Media in general), or Pitchfork, there are now a growing number of publications really thinking about how to make longform reading a different kind of experience online. Even more encouraging, major media outlets like the New York Times are following in the wake of the smaller ones, utilizing a lot of those ideas and putting serious resources behind executing their versions of them.

FOLIO: What are some of the more interesting content models you’re seeing coming out of the Atavist platform (from you and/or your customers)? How exactly are the boundaries of multimedia storytelling being pushed?

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10/18/2012

Most Magazines to Begin Going Digital-Only by the End of the Decade


Newsweek – Going Digital-Only AND Global

At least that is what publishing industry ‘watchers’ predict.

One early indicator of this transformation: Newsweek magazine is going digital-only at the end of this year and be renamed Newsweek Global. (I still don’t think print mags will disappear completely – they’ve had too much of a renewed growth and popularity – due, incidentally, to digital growth).

But, it’s the ‘going global’ thing with Newsweek — and how they’ve set it up — that I think is interesting.

TJ Raphael reports this in FOLIO magazine:

Newsweek To Cease Print Publication in 2013

Rebranded in a digital-only format called Newsweek Global.

Earlier this week at the American Magazine Conference, industry watchers speculated that most magazines will begin going digital-only by the end of the decade—that prediction seems to be coming to fruition sooner than expected, starting with today’s announcement that Newsweekmagazine will cease its print publication by the end of 2012.

After 80 years in print, the magazine will transition to an all-digital format, renaming itself Newsweek Global, and will become a single, worldwide edition targeted for a mobile audience. Newsweek has an Asian edition; a Business Plus edition; an edition for Latin America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa in addition to its U.S. publication, all of which will be consolidated into Newsweek Global.

A statement from the Newsweek/Daily Beast Company, signed by editor-in-chief Tina Brown and CEO Baba Shetty, says that Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.

“Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the United States and internationally,” says an internal memo posted on the company’s Tumblr page. “More details on the new organizational structure will be shared individually in the coming weeks and months.”

According to the most recent Fas-Fax from the Audit Bureau of Circulations for the period ending June 30, 2012, Newsweek saw a 9.7 percent year-over-year drop in the number of single copies sold at retail, with total paid, verified and analyzed non-paid circulation dropping by 0.2 percent. In the last three years, its total paid and verified circulation has gone from 2,646,613 to 1,527,157, with single copies going from 64,866 to 42,065 during the same period. Ad pages, however, have been up by 2.5 percent year-to-date, according to Min Box Score numbers.

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09/28/2012

Book Publishing To Change Drastically In Next Five Years (And On And On Ad Infinitum?)


Publishing Industry – Constantly Changing

Major publishing industry players, including newbies with new skill sets, glued their minds together and prognosticated at Friday’s annual meeting of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). 

We all sort of realize that the hi-tech freeway will be remolding publishing, probably constantly, in the years to come — But, how often and how deeply?

Well, right now, I would say the book publishing industry is just in the process of writing the table of contents for the future chapters of the publishing industry.

I doubt there will ever be an end and epilogue. And this is good, right? Everlasting, never-ending, constantly evolving — just means dynamically immortal 🙂

  Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly, covered the annual BISG meeting and relates thusly:

BISG Panelists: More Change Coming

Speakers on a panel of industry leaders at Friday’s annual meeting of the Book Industry Study Group agreed that the publishing industry is in for much more change. “I expect there to be more dramatic, disruptive change ahead,” said Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah. Tom Turvey, director of strategic partnerships for Google, said he believes the industry “is not close to what it will look like five years from now.”

But Turvey said that with the right adjustments, publishers are in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities that change will bring. Publishers need to hire less business people “and hire more people like we hire,” he said, noting that publishers need to bring into their organizations people who understand where technology is going. Publishers on the panel said they have all made extensive changes to their staff with Raccah noting that there is not one job at her company that hasn’t been touched by digital. Maureen McMahon, president and publisher of Kaplan Publishing, said the one characteristic that her company’s always screens applicants for now is whether they can “learn and teach.”
 
Hachette Book Group president Ken Michaels said the industry needs leaders who understand technology, and are willing to not be tied to one platform. The industry is now “content-centric, not format-centric,” Michaels said. He said Hachette has hired engineers and people with new skill sets and that much of Hachette operates has been changed and more is coming. Publicity and marketing, Michaels noted, need to work closer together with better “scorecards” to see how promotion is serving their authors. “We need to brand our authors to get the widest possible reach,” he said.
 
All panelists said overseas markets represents a growth opportunity, but there are challenges. Turvey, back recently from helping to open Google digital stores in Japan and Korea, said the U.S. is many years ahead of most other countries in terms of digital. The three areas that need to be addressed before international markets can be successful exploited, Turvey said, are rights, standards and data.  He noted that while the U.S. has made good progress on those fronts (though more is needed) most other countries lack any type of digital infrastructure…
 
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09/22/2012

A New Publishing Model — Result of the E-Book Revolution


Interested in a new publishing model? One that will give you advance indications of quality and interest? With the avalanche of new, available, digital material out there — one can get confused as to which to invest time and money in.

Damn — warp speed, digital tech and the internet has overwhelmed us (me, at least) with information overload that translates into decision overload and breakdown

Anthony Horvath, the founder of Bard and Book Publishing, has come up with an interesting (but not entirely new) idea. His model focuses on building a community of readers around a small group of authors. He made an insightful statement :

“The future of publishing can be summed up in one word: community.”

Now, the need for building a following (community) and relationships on today’s NET for successful business is not really new — but, as Anthony is applying this concept to a publishing venture versus individual writers, say, seeking sales for their books may indeed be kind of new. Especially if he has established somewhat of a follow-on distribution system for those books that get a passing grade from the initial community.

Details provided by PR Web on Equities.com:

New Publishing Company Turns Gutenberg Press on its Head in Ebook Revolution

Bard and Book Publishing announced the launch of a new publishing model that is only possible because of the ebook revolution but is poised to take that revolution even further. Instead of trying to sell as many copies of a book before it is even released, Bard and Book focuses on building a community of readers around a small group of authors.

Bard and Book’s website is http://www.bardandbook.com. The community receives free access to short stories, poems, and other created pieces. Community favorites will be considered for print distribution, taking some risk out of the equation for the publisher by ensuring that a book has appeal before investing in it.

“If Gutenberg had invented the ebook and print-on-demand technology instead of the printing press, the current publishing model would have never arisen,” says Anthony Horvath, the founder of Bard and Book publishing. But the digital revolution, while giving publishers a headache and opening doors for creators, has complicated things for readers.

Horvath explains, “The ‘digital press’ puts thousands of new works into the marketplace monthly, forcing readers to find new ways to identify quality content. For better or for worse, the fact that a publisher was willing to take on an author used to serve as a ‘short cut’ for readers trying to determine if a new book was worth their time. This sorting mechanism is no longer available for them.”

He asserts: “The future of publishing can be summed up in one word: community.”

In that spirit, Bard and Book has gathered together seven authors and is building a community of readers around them.

The community allows subscribers to read free ebooks, although free members can only read new titles for a short time after they are released. A small monthly fee lifts that limitation. This fee is the primary way the authors are compensated.

Horvath argues that the old model emerged naturally from the steep costs related to printing and distributing books. Publishers were not willing to pay those costs unless they had a reasonable expectation that they would get a return on their investment. However, just because something sells, he says, that doesn’t mean the book was worth reading.

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05/20/2012

Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants


Measuring Emotional Response To Media Platforms

Time Inc. has performed a study (a biometric study, no less) that measured, in real time, the emotional responses and attention spans of viewers to content in various platforms: magazines, smartphones, radio, TV, computer, newspaper, tablets.

Guess which platform ranked the highest ?

But first, a little definition time:

Digital Native – Consumers who grew up with mobile and digital technology as part of their everyday lives.

Digital Immigrant – Consumers who encountered and used digital media later in their adult lives.

Biometrics – The process by which a person’s unique physical or emotional traits are detected and recorded by an electronic device or system (e.g. scanning of the human iris in identification or measuring degrees of emotional responses). 

Understanding the results of the viewing patterns, attention spans (and what can hold them) and emotional responses to media content experienced over different platforms can be valuable in successful publishing — Both for ad sponsored, recurring content media AND, by extension, for writing, marketing and selling books.

More detailed analysis by Bill Mickey of Folio magazine’s Audience Development Spring 2012 Report:  

Time Inc. Measures Consumers’ Emotional Response to Media

‘Digital natives’ switch media 27 times per hour, but emotionally tied to mags.

If publishers think they’ve been covering the bases with an anytime, anywhere content strategy, they might be shocked to learn the results of a recent Time Inc. study conducted with Innerscope Research. Digital Natives, defined as consumers who grew up with mobile and digital technology as part of their everyday lives, switch their attention between media platforms an astonishing 27 times per hour.

That was one of the key findings of the study, called “A Biometric Day in the Life,” which used biometric monitoring and point-of-view camera glasses to follow the media habits of 30 individuals during 300 hours’ worth of media consumption. Biometric belts measured their emotional responses to various media platforms and the glasses recorded what platform they were viewing.

The other half of the study group consisted of Digital Immigrants, people who encountered and used digital media in their adult lives, who, predictably, have a more mellow media consumption patterns.

“Technology is shaping so much of how people think about media, use media, combine media,” say Besty Frank, Time Inc.’s chief research and insights officer. “We’ve started to think about all of these changes in the media specifically as they impact the notion of storytelling. We felt that the biometrics would add a new dimension to what we knew about how people use media and what the implications are for how we run our businesses and how we and our clients communicate with consumers.”

The study was particularly interesting, adds Barry Martin, Time Inc.’s executive director of consumer research and insights, because of the ability to record a subject’s emotions as they consumed their media. “We’ve done a lot of biometric work in media labs, but we’ve never been able to do it as they were going about their daily lives,” he says.

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09/06/2011

Autharium Publishing – Direct E-Book Publisher and Distributor


How about a new kind of publishing house, one that harnesses and utilizes all the available new tech? A dedicated, direct e-book publisher AND distributor that simplifies and drastically shortens the publishing route to market … AND pays 85% net royalties to boot! 

Autharium Publishing, launching this week, proposes to do just that. Autharium is UK-based but with global outreach. 

In addition to the publishing side of Autharium, authors can use the social marketing tools to promote their work to grow their reader-bases for free.

These details announced in PRWeb.com:

Autharium ebooks are retailed directly through: the Autharium website, Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, WHSmith, Foyles, The Book Depository, Blackwells, and many, many others. Autharium ebooks are also distributed to thousands of libraries.

Notting Hill, London, UK (PRWEB UK) 6 September 2011

The UKs first dedicated, direct eBook Publisher and Distributor—Autharium Publishing—launched the first “direct to Author” beta website this week. Autharium.com is undoubtedly the first of a new kind of book publisher who are focused on the rapidly expanding ebook market. Through their innovative proprietary publishing platform an Author can: upload or create a new book from scratch, submit it for publication approval and QC checks, and then have it published and distributed by Autharium in a matter of days.

In addition to the rapid route to market, ease, and convenience, authors will also receive 85% of net royalties! Some 17 times a typical royalty share.

“We felt that—given the wealth of creative writing talent within the UK and the huge growth in the popularity of ebooks—there needed to be a new way to get these and future books to market, not just within the UK but globally. So we created Autharium.com. In addition to the Publishing side of Autharium, Authors can use the social marketing tools to promote their work to grow their reader-bases for free.”
-COO Matt Bradbeer

The Autharium beta version enables authors to become published and have their ebooks distributed and put on sale through the world’s largest ebook retailers, to a global audience – for free whilst in beta. Autharium.com

“We’ve been working on the Autharium digital printing press for the last year and a half. To our surprise and delight authors have already contacted us to publish their ebooks before we’ve even launched. For us this is very exciting as this is what we have been working towards for sometime now. The first of these ‘The Chronicles of Eternity’ series by J.A. Gordon are real page-turners and John Lawrie-Welsh’s spy thriller series ‘Cuelsin’ is gripping. We’re delighted to be publishing and distributing works from these authors.”
-CEO Simon Maylott

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06/18/2010

Digital Publishing 2.0 is Coming !



Back on 9 Dec 2009, I posted a piece “‘Kindle’ & ‘Nook’ eBook Readers Will Be Left In Dust By New ‘Blio’” ! Then I heard almost nothing about Blio again…Until now. The Blio re-surfaced at the digital conference in Manhattan AND, with it’s distribution platform, promises to be as big as I originally anticipated for writers to self-publish and get decent distribution (and across all mobile digital platforms).

Calvin Reid of Publishers Weekly writes:

Software developer Quark was joined by K-NFB Reading Technology, developer of Blio, the much anticipated e-reading software, and distributor Baker & Taylor at the Untethered digital conference in Manhattan, to announce a partnership that will launch Digital Publishing 2.0, a comprehensive digital content creation and distribution platform.

Digital Publishing 2.0 will offer designers and content creators tools to produce “enhanced digital content, independent of any specific platform,” according to B&T executive v-p Bob Nelson. DP 2.0 offers the ability to create interactive digital content for tablets, smartphone and PCs; conversion from print to digital; new sources of advertising using digital content and global distribution capability.

Ray Schiavone, president and CEO of Quark, said “we are excited to work with K-NFB Reading Technology and Baker & Taylor to combine our expertise to help publishers and other content creators capitalize on this emerging market. Together we make it affordable and efficient to create compelling digital content that is ready for the Blio e-reader application and available through a world-class distribution network.” K-NFB said the Blio e-reader would likely be available for free download for PCs and the iPhone in August.

Tom Morgan, CEO of Baker & Taylor, said the new platform will “open the door for thousands of new content creators and providers to create digital, interactive content. We have teamed up to provide a simple way to transform static media content into rich digital media content that 21st century consumers demand.”

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