Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

12/27/2011

Quality Will Be Top Factor For E-Books In 2012


More quality e-books? It was always in the cards.

When digital hit the scene in the publishing universe … and players of all levels realized the most obvious, surface advantages … everybody jumped into the fray even before the fine points and nuances where finely tuned; while the new baby was still struggling to walk, you might say. Just get your work into digital format as quickly as possible … and ‘quickly’ was faster than ever due to the new and ever evolving tech.

This rush to the promised land often sacrificed quality … Just ask all the armchair quarterbacks:)

But, as some realized from the beginning, quality would again become a paramount factor … especially when the pricing dust settled down a bit and good content would howl for proper reward.

Please read my latest post (E-Book Publishing Trends in 2012) on the Writers Welcome Blog for more background on this subject.

Now this survey from MarketWatch with some interesting forecast numbers:

eBook Survey Predicts ‘Quality’ As The Top Factor For 2012

Survey Shows That Readers Will Shun Poorly Digitized eBooks

Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc. (DCL), a leading provider of digital publishing services, reports 70 percent of 411 respondents to a survey drawn from a cross section of the publishing industry cited ‘quality’ as the most important consideration when publishing an eBook. Another important finding is that 63 percent of the respondents plan to publish a digital book in 2012.

“Eighteen months ago, more publishers were concerned about getting their information onto an eBook platform and quality was not the overarching theme it is now,” said DCL President and CEO Mark Gross. “The survey demonstrates that the publishing industry realizes consumers will not tolerate typos and bad formatting in a $15 eBook,” predicted Gross.

In another shift from tradition, 64 percent of the respondents stated they were interested in publishing non-fiction and technical digital content. This statistic is indicative of an expansion in the use of e-readers from casual reading of novels to a myriad of business and technical applications

“The survey confirms what we have been hearing from publishers, that while the initial push to digital was important, they are now seeing a need to go with the best partners and to improve their quality control and workflow,” said Bill Trippe, vice president and lead analyst at Outsell, Inc. an industry analyst firm. “Digital products are becoming the lifeblood for publishers, and consumers are expecting an optimal experience,” he added.

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10/19/2011

Booksellers Wage E-Book Battle … With Superheroes No Less !


Green Lantern is part of DC Comics' exclusive content deal with Amazon

More publishing intrigue! 🙂

Amazon, in an effort to beef up its new Kindle Fire Tablet, has pulled a cool coup and scored an exclusive contract with DC Comics for the digital rights to a hundred popular graphic novels (including Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, the Sandman, and Watchmen).

This Amazon action pissed off Barnes and Noble AND Books-a-Million so much so … that they pulled all the superhero physical titles from their store shelves … saying they would not sell any books they did not also have digital rights to. 

And this B&N and B-a-M action pissed off all the comic book fans so much that they have charged the subject frigging booksellers with screwing with the graphic novel community.

You see where this intrigue is going exponential … ‘Intrigue Squared’, you might say.

Details by  in CNET News:

Booksellers involve superheroes in e-book battle

Holy e-comic clash, Batman!

Amazon, apparently in an effort to add muscle to its recently unmasked Kindle Fire tablet, sparked a real-world fight over superhero comic books when it inked a deal with DC Comics for the exclusive digital rights to a hundred popular graphic novels, including Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, the Sandman, and Watchmen.

That arrangement apparently did not sit too well with rival bookseller Barnes & Noble, which has an e-book reader it would like to see flourish. In response to DC’s deal, Barnes & Noble removed the physical copies of the titles from its store shelves, saying that it would not sell books it did not also have digital rights to. Books-a-Million, another large bookseller, took the same action for the same reason.

Comic book fans paint all the players in this tale as villains: They accuse Amazon of turning its back on the graphic novel community, label DC Comics as greedy, and characterize Barnes & Noble as similarly uncaring and childish.

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09/10/2011

Publishers’ Why’s and Wherefore’s When Migrating to Digital (are all the damn apostrophes correct?)


Karina Mikhil - Publishing Executive

Indeed, when the current publishing upheaval began (it seems  just a little while ago in the scheme of things) and the conqueror ‘Digital’ came swaggering into the publishing world, publishers were at first completely devastated; then were bombarded by all kinds of options and questions for their very survival!

You can just imagine publishers’ mental angst deciding “Should I get out of this rapidly changing fireball of an industry or should I admit that the old ways are going down the drain and commit to learning a whole new process … dealing, perhaps, with an entirely new and separate tech industry?”

Karina Mikhil , a publishing executive with a Master’s in Publishing from New York University, has some excellent questions and analyses that will help these publishing execs and their firms reach a viable decision.

From Karina Mikhil in Publishing Perspectives:

Migrating to Digital Publishing? The Six Key Questions to Ask

Here are the six “Ws” you need to ask yourself before transitioning from the old to the new: why, who, what, when, which, and where.
 

The publishing industry is not generally known for being agile or quick to change, yet it is facing one of its biggest times of change probably since the invention of the printing press. At the heart of this is the migration to digital.

Prior to this migration, a time-tested process and structure existed for getting books printed: from acquisition, copyediting and typesetting, to author reviews and proofreading, to print. Although hiccups occurred and no two companies had the exact same workflow, the foundations were the same and ensured quality products got released in expected time frames.

Whether publishers are dealing with online content or e-books, digital only or both print and digital, publishers are now faced with more questions than answers as to how to incorporate the new with the old. Below I provide a framework for those questions, using the traditional 6 Ws: why, who, what, when, which, and where.

Why?

Of the six questions, this is the easiest to answer. No publisher can afford to ignore the digital any longer: the tipping point has come and gone; more and more e-books and e-readers are being sold weekly; and authors will begin demanding this, if they haven’t already. And traditional publishers need to offer all things digital to compete with the emerging “digital publishers.”

Who?

Even prior to the migration to digital, publishers would do one of two things to keep costs down: outsource as much as possible, keeping headcount down, or the reverse, which is hire talent to keep all services and costs internal. With digital, publishers have to make this decision anew. Should they invest in new talent from other industries (e.g., technology) or in educating existing talent, those who are eager to learn and have a background in publishing? Or should they turn to one of the many conversion and content solutions providers that exist in the market?

What?

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06/24/2011

E-Books … A Major Shakeup is Coming … Stirred By the Wizard


The Wizaed Cometh

A crossp0st today from my Writers Welcome Blog  (WWB)… One I feel is interesting and important enough to promulgate to those that may not follow WWB:

Pottermore.com is coming! … And bringing with it a real time, online lab that should flush out issues like e-book pricing, eliminating digital booksellers (i.e. Amazon) as the middleman, acceptance of a common format (i.e. ePub) acceptable to all devices across all platforms.

Phewwww! What a statement. Sounds like rocket science when it’s only common sense.

This strategically, ingenious concept will force a faster solution to many bottlenecks created by the various device manufacturers and digital booksellers trying to kidnap the market for its own exclusive profit.

This could only be brought by something so popular and powerful unto itself that it would lend itself to an exclusive sales site, with its own rules, that would draw people away from the status quo.

That power is Harry Potter!

This from paidContent.org by Laura Hazard Owen:

Three Ways Pottermore.com Could Change Book Publishing

After a suspenseful buildup, J. K. Rowling has announced that Pottermore.com will be an e-bookstore, exclusively selling Harry Potter e-books and digital audiobooks. Pottermore could shake up digital publishing as much as the Harry Potter books first shook up print publishing over a decade ago. Here’s how.

Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) will be cut out as the middleman and could be forced to open up the Kindle to new book-publishing formats. Pottermore.com does not officially launch until October, and right now many details are still unclear. But we know that the site will be the only place to buy Harry Potter e-books and that they will be compatible with a range of devices. Rowling stressed that selling the books directly “means we can guarantee people everywhere are getting the same experience and at the same time,” and Pottermore CEO Rod Henwood told The Bookseller, “We want to make sure anyone who buys it can read it on any device. We are talking to the Kindles, the Apples, the Googles, Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) to make sure they are compatible. We set the pricing, we maintain the policy of making them available to as many readers as possible.”

We don’t know if that means that Pottermore.com will be selling multiple editions of the Harry Potter books—in the Kindle format, say, alongside formats like EPUB—but it seems more likely that the site would sell e-books in just one format, probably EPUB. Right now, the Kindle doesn’t support the EPUB format. But if any author could get Amazon to change its policy, it’s J. K. Rowling. The Kindle has the largest market share of any e-reader in the U.S.—it’s believed to be between 60 and 65 percent—and it would be an incredibly dumb move for Amazon not to allow the Harry Potter e-books to be read on its device. The company would risk losing users to the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Kobo, and other devices that do support EPUB.

In fact, rumors that Amazon is going to start supporting EPUB have been floating around for awhile now, mainly in association with the news that the Kindle will support library lending this fall. Amazon should probably get on the EPUB train by July 31, when Pottermore.com is going to be opened up to a select million users.

Interesting experiments with pricing. Since Rowling is selling the e-books directly, she can do what she wants with pricing. Her UK publisher, Bloomsbury, and her U.S. publisher, Scholastic, are getting a cut, but these books are being …

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04/17/2011

Ebook Sales Up 202% Over Last Year – Now King Format for American Publishing


Announcing King Ebook Format!

The digital revolution has caught up with, stomped and overtaken traditional publishing (TP) according to the latest report from the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

AND, this conquering of TP has occurred one year earlier than previously forecasted by industry analysts! How bout them apples?

Of course, anyone who wasn’t in denial saw this coming…the crowning of the e-book as the single bestselling format in American publishing. We just didn’t see it charging so fast!

Welcome, King “E”…how can we serve thee? Or, better yet, how will you serve us? Cheaper prices, faster delivery, more publishing opportunities, etc., etc.? 

I sincerely hope there is an infusion of real money in there somewhere…

Now these details from T3, The Gadget Website:

Ebook sales overtake US paperbacks for the first time

US figures show huge consumer demand for e-readers 

The digital revolution continues apace in the old-tech world of publishing. In the US, the eBook has become the single bestselling format in American publishing for the first time, a year ahead of analysts forecasts.
 
The report from the Association of American Publishers, showed February’s eBook sales were $90.3m (£55.2m), compared to $81.2m (£49.8m) in paperbacks, a leap of 202.3% on the same time last year. Philip Jones, deputy editor of the Bookseller, believes that the UK is set to follow the US trend in the take-up of the technology, “the UK are a year behind but they are catching up quite fast.”

Despite the challenge of the rapidly expanding tablet market, many of which come pre-loaded with an e-reader, the figures show standalone eBook readers have carved out an important niche in a hugely competitive marketplace. Their popularity is down to choice – there are over a million free books on the Amazon Kindle – as well as a lower price-point than tablets, speedy downloads and portability.

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05/10/2010

Google Editions Could Launch eBook Revolution!

Filed under: ebook distribution,ebook revolution,ebook stores,Google Editions — gator1965 @ 2:28 pm

How about an online book store with 4 million books to choose from? Oh yeah!

First of all a simple definition of Google Editions (GE): GE is an upcoming online e-book store that will be run by Google. It will offer universal access and non-restrictive copying…AND books and other products will be able to be read on ANY electronic device, mobile or otherwise.

Kevin Klause (pictured below), reporting for phandroid.com, gives some details about this possible GE-sparked eBook revolution:

The publishing industry has been backed into a corner as of late, as the digital age hasn’t played too nicely with old fashioned paper and ink. Companies that rely on the sale of books and printed media have turned to producing their own e-readers in an attempt to capitalize on digitized publications (see Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook), but stand-alone devices for reading e-publications have proven hard to justify for consumer’s who already own any combination of MP3 player, mobile phone, laptop, and now tablet.

The distribution end of this growing problem for the publishing industry is starting to become less of an issue, however; on top of various eBook devices, the iPad, smartphones, and upcoming tablets are all available as easily accessible channels for delivering content. The problem now becomes an issue of the content itself, a snag Google is hoping to eliminate with the launch of Google Editions. According to Japan Today, as of the beginning of this week Google has reached agreements with over 25,000 publishers and authors. This equates to around 2 million books available at launch. Compare these numbers to 60,000 from iBooks, 500,000 from Amazon, and around 1 million from Barnes and Noble currently available.

If Google is able to include the over 2 million public domain titles it already plays host to on its Google Books service (just a small slice of the 10 million books Google already claims to have digitized in its Books database), the number of titles available grows to over 4 million. An effort to have Editions play nicely with all major devices and e-readers means a truly monumental amount of texts available readily for anyone with a device capable of reading them.

So while the eBook revolution has begun to pick up speed thanks to the run away success of the iPad, the content delivery aspect is nothing new. Yes, the iPad has done great things for reinforcing the viability of e-publications, but it will take a great library of titles for the demand for digitized content to grow. The beauty of Google Editions is that users will not be limited in their device selection in order to tap into the huge library available.

Sure, Editions will be pushed on Android phones and tablets, but you won’t have to own one. Having worked for an academic publisher (perhaps the sector of the industry most affected by the shift towards digital media), I can say that one of the biggest things hindering eBooks is the sheer number of formats and services a book must be prepped for in order to reach a mass market.

No digital book store has quite done for the printed word what iTunes accomplished for music distribution. Could Google Editions be the catalyst for a move towards digital texts as the standard? I think you’d have a hard time arguing against the sheer volume of titles that will be available, which looks to be well more than what could be read in a lifetime.

[Japan Today via Android and Me]

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