Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Publishers Gain More Flexibility in iPad & iPhone Subs

The iPad and iPhone have become popular tools among magazine and newspaper readers.

Finally! Apple iStore has realized that their dictatorial management style RE pricing of subscriptions through apps in the iStore for the iPad and iPhone was a road to nowheresville, disgruntled customers and loss revenues.

Please refer to these previous posts for more background on this issue.

The latest today is from Crain’s New York Business:

Apple eases rules on iPad, iPhone subs

“Publishers will have more flexibility with Apple’s new digital publishing rules. They will now be allowed to undercut Apple’s app prices for subscriptions on their own websites and elsewhere.”

Apple has made a change that could help newspaper and magazine publishers make more money when they sell subscriptions for the iPad and iPhone.

The looser rules make it easier for publishers to sell subscriptions on Apple Inc.’s hot-selling devices outside the company’s online store.

Apple’s original subscription policy dictated that publishers couldn’t undercut the prices offered within their iPad and iPhone applications. Apple said Thursday that rule will no longer apply.

Read and learn more

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iPad Magic Brings People Together

Filed under: iPad,iPad apps,iPad group functions,iPad trends — gator1965 @ 7:15 pm

The potential for the iPad is growing it seems. Educators see it as a more interactive, group, classroom learning device; doctors are using it on their hospital rounds to explain and show patients diagnoses and conditions and on and on and on!

The computer, mouse and keyboard is a one-on-one operation, the iPad is mobile and can be shared and used in unique ways through apps that can control many iPads at once from an iPhone, for example, and be used in group functions…

Marco R. della Cava reported on this iPad trend in USA Today:

As an app developer, Bess Ho typically cuts a serious figure as she sits writing computer code into the wee hours.
But not today. Right now she looks like a crazed kid at a carnival amped up on cotton candy as she and three other programmers all stab their fingers wildly at the same iPad tablet.

“Get that mouse, but not the cheese!” she yells on stage at a recent gathering of iPad app makers here on the joint campus of eBay and PayPal.

An unofficial variation of the arcade game Whac-A-Mole, Ho and her teammates’ Whack A Mouse — one of dozens of apps created over the course of this two-day conference — appears at a glance to be nothing more than another computer game. In reality, it’s nothing less than a window into the iPad’s most revolutionary feature: its ability to literally bring people together.

INSIDE THE APP WORLD: See what happens with 5 ideas

“There’s a potential here that is just starting to be realized,” says Dom Sagolla, who helped create Twitter and is founder of the iPadDevCamp, which drew nearly 350 developers from a range of states and countries to brainstorm and share code. “The question is, what is the iPad’s role in a group, public setting?”

Significant, it seems. Though smartphones and laptops are typically one-on-one devices, Apple’s 2-month-old baby — which already has sold 2 million units priced at $499 to $829 — has everyone from developers to end users gaga over what they say is a coming cultural shift in the way groups will interact with a high-tech device.

Less a computer and more a digital coffee-table book with infinite content, the iPad has rendered its technology invisible in order to spotlight information that often is meant to be shared.

“By moving the keyboard and mouse into the Stone Age, the iPad has created a new dimension of interaction with a device,” says Peter Friess, president of the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

“Suddenly, it’s not just about you and a computer. It’s about you and your friends and that screen. That’s different.”



Are iPad Apps Simply Window Dressing?

Snazzy new iPad apps have a lot of new flashy bells and whistles that will appeal to a certain miniscule, tech-addicted group (at least at first)…but NOT to the vast majority of the internet-consuming public…who just want relevent content that they can find easy (and free) if possible.

So, publishers do not need the super flashy apps!…Just functional ones. AND they should not rely on gadgetry alone to sell media products (books, magazines & newspapers)…Cause, as I’ve said before, when the dust settles around new gadgets and apps…King Content will reign! People want useful and entertaining content, they won’t be gadget-stupid forever.

You can wrap a bad present in beautiful paper and top it with a wondrous bow, but, when opened…you STILL have a bad present.

Mathew Ingram , a senior writer at, wrote this super account of the effort Adobe made to come up with its vision of interactive publishing for mobile devices like the iPad:

Adobe may have been stymied at every turn by Apple and its very public hatred of all things Flash, but that hasn’t stopped the company from pushing its vision of interactive publishing for mobile devices like the iPad. Today, Adobe announced a “digital publishing platform” based on its Creative Suites software that it says will allow any magazine publisher to have a snazzy, interactive app just like the one Wired recently introduced . But is that really what publishers need as they try to move further into the digital multiplatform world? It’s not clear that it is.

Adobe definitely deserves some credit for finding a way for the Wired app to integrate a lot of cool features without using Flash. Readers can flip through articles with the flick of a finger, scroll through a timeline view of stories, rotate and zoom in on images, and so on. For any publisher whose content involves a lot of imagery — and who wants to appeal to advertisers — these kinds of features are great eye candy. But the big question is whether they’ll convince people to pay for magazine content through an app, rather than just using the web browser on their iPad to consume the same content free of charge. Wired’s app is $4.99, and that’s just for a single issue of the monthly magazine, the same as the print version.

It isn’t just the free vs. paid contrast that publishers have to be concerned about, either. One of the fundamental properties of Flash that many web developers — and web users — instinctively dislike is the fact that it removes much of what makes the web so interactive: namely, the links, the ability to share or remix content, etc. In the same way, Wired’s app seems hermetically sealed off from the rest of the Internet. There are some links (including inside ads) but you can’t share a link to a story through a blog or a social network, and you can’t cut and paste anything.

That may all be great from a publisher’s point of view, since it (theoretically at least) increases the chances that a user will stay with the content and not go elsewhere, and simultaneously decreases the likelihood that a reader will take the content and use it in some unauthorized way. But is it great from a user’s point of view? Because it seems like an attempt to take the kind of control that publishers traditionally had in print and reproduce it in digital form, rather than trying to take advantage of the inherent features of mobile, Internet-enabled publishing.

Not everyone is going to be happy with that trade-off. Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson, for example — who recently wrote about his love for the iPad and how his family has adopted it as their new favorite computer — claims he’s come to prefer consuming content through a web browser rather than any of the dedicated publisher apps he has on the device. Among other things, Wilson said this is because:

Many of the apps treat pages as monolithic objects. You can’t cut and paste text, you can’t engage with the content. It is just like reading a magazine or a newspaper. If I wanted to read a magazine or newspaper in physical form, I’d do that.Which may fit well with Apple’s approach to the iPad platform, which Federated Media CEO John Battelle describes as an AOL-style walled garden. But publishers lusting after their own Wired-style apps had better hope that their readers don’t agree with the Union Square VC’s views, or their apps could wind up being nothing more than snazzy-looking ghost towns.


How Publishers Plan to Monetize iPad Content

Filed under: digital ads,iPad apps,monetizing online content — gator1965 @ 3:42 pm

Can the iPad save the book, magazine and newspaper industries? You damn right it can, at least it (and improvements to follow) can have a big savior role…IF these industries can monetize their online content. And I have no doubt that quality content will be monetized successfully online…It already has in small pockets around the net.

Macala Wright Lee , writing for Mashable, tells us exactly how some publishers are strategizing online monetization:

Apple announced earlier this week that it had sold more than 300,000 iPads in the U.S. on the first day. Furthermore, iPad users downloaded more than one million apps from the App Store() and 250,000 e-books from the iBookstore on that day alone.

The release of the iPad has the publishing world wondering if paid digital content will put the industry back in the black. While e-books are showing strong growth (as seen by the first day’s downloads), the water is murkier when it comes to newspapers and magazines. All three of the industries are facing formidable challenges in transitioning from print to digital mediums, but some publishers are already taking some interesting approaches.

Exploring Multiple Revenue Streams

Michela Abrams, Publisher and CEO of Dwell Magazine, believes that the iPad will allow Dwell and all its subsidiary companies to generate new revenue streams through paid subscriptions, digital advertising and online-to-offline events. The publication has launched full-scale development of robust iPad apps that will incorporate Dwell advertisers and support cross platform ad integration on the Dwell Partner Network, Fine Living Channel, and the Dwell On Design conference.

“The web is about sharing experiences,” says Abrams. A huge proponent of community, Abrams believes that in order to make digital content on the iPad effective, publishers have to integrate all aspects of their audience into the digital experience.

Says Abrams, “When you serve a community, you should endeavor to know everything about that community no matter what your topic is. You need to know what kind of running shoes they wear, and scotch they drink, what airline they like to fly, and cars they drive; then, and only then, could you really understand your audience’s whole psychographic profile.” This is the philosophy that Dwell is using as it develops monetization strategies for the iPad.

Testing Online-To-Offline Revenue Streams

This summer, Dwell is testing Abram’s new online-to-offline marketing models with the Dwell on Design trade show and conference in Los Angeles. Dwell plans to use their iPad applications for pre-show promotion by releasing 1,000 copies of its iPad design directory before the event. A vendor who participates in the event, such as Herman Miller, is able to have branded content within the digital edition. Advertisers, such as Target, can publish their own mini magazine for customers within the pages of Dwell’s digital editions. This of course, is incorporated into the exhibition and sponsorship for show vendors.

What’s more, Dwell has partnered with sustainable design blog Eco Fabulous, founded by Zem Joaquin, to offer a real-time tour of a sustainable prefab home (the interiors of which were designed by Joaquin) during the conference. The portal for the tour is, what else, the iPad.

Those who can’t attend the show can download the tour app and follow along in real-time. If a viewer sees something they like, they can touch it and discover its designer, and link directly to the company’s website.

Once e-commerce capabilities are enabled for the iPad, Abrams plans to fully integrate them into the digital edition of Dwell, as well as future editions of the Dwell on Design conference app. As consumers or show attendees read through the magazine, they will be able to find out what designer or manufacturer produced the tile, countertop or bedding that’s featured in an advertisement, and simply click through to purchase it.

Getting Consumers To Pay For Digital Content

For magazine publishers wishing to monetize their digital content, success is directly related to the quality of that content. According to a study by eMarketer, if the publication has content that the consumer believes is worth paying for, they will. The publisher then has to figure out how much that consumer is willing to spend and develop a fairly priced payment model.

So how does a magazine go about monetizing its digital content? Well, it’s easier than many may think. A start-up called PixelMags is leading the way for magazine publishers large and small.

38 magazines launched via PixelMags’ iPad apps held top spots on the iTunes Top 50 Paid Book List over the first weekend nationally and internationally. Magazines published on the PixelMags platform include Dwell (and all it’s subsidiaries), iCreate, Eliza, and MacUser.

For publishers, including niche, digital magazines and bloggers, the platform offers additional digital revenue streams. Consumers can purchase new issues and back issues of a magazine; over 25% of them purchase a 12-month subscription to the magazines they download. Magazines with international editions receive instant global distribution in up to 77 countries. A business publication or independent blogger can publish exclusive content, studies, or reports that are available for download at an additional cost.

What sets the PixelMags platform apart from its competitors is that it offers branded apps, complete with custom titles, meta descriptions and keywords; all of which are used for advanced search purposes when an application is launched on iTunes. The platform is compatible across the iPad, iPhone() and iPod Touch. Features include search, zoom, bookmarking options, headline alerts, a virtual library, social network sharing capabilities and in-app purchasing.

For magazine publishers, the PixelMags platform allows consumers to experience rich media content, including integrated, interactive advertising, games, platform-hosted video and vertical ad integration. Development costs vary by the scope of the project, but pricing starts at $1,000 from creation to iTunes launch.

PixelMags creators are excited about the opportunities their platform has to offer those who want to monetize their digital content. Founders Mark Stubbs, a 3D Imaging specialist for Bugatti and Aston Martin, and Ryan Marquis, a digital marketing and e-commerce executive, wanted to take the experiences they used when creating photorealistic imagery for luxury car manufacturers and translate that into the digital experience for content on the iPad and iPhone.

Is The iPad Going To Save Publishing Industry?

Realistic digital magazine replicas, combined with user-friendly features like bookmarking, search options, virtual libraries, headline alerts, in-app purchasing, social network sharing, and endless interactive content – isn’t that the product that millions of magazine readers have been waiting for?

The keys to success of course, lie in the monetization strategy and the quality of the content.


iPad Apps Now Live in the App Store!

Filed under: iPad apps — gator1965 @ 12:50 pm

The iPad goes on sale tomorrow and I have found the apps that will be available on the device…quite a few, indeed! M8USXZQ5SYP7

Joel Evans, writing for ZDNet, displays the apps screenshots and furnishes a link to get specific app information as well as the means to buy them if so desired:

If you were wondering if there would be a decent amount of apps available come launch time on Saturday, look no further than iTunes. The investigators at boygeniusreport have uncovered the perfect search string to find all of the iPad Apps that are now available. In addition to being able to look at the screenshots and all of the information associated with the apps, you can even purchase them.

Earlier reports from CNN who looked through AppAdvice’s catalog of iPad apps being offered put the numbers at around 1,350 iPad apps available, but based on some quick math I saw a lot more than that on the iPad App Store.

If you’ve already ordered an iPad or are on the fence about buying one, just take a look at some of the screens of the iPad apps. It’s clear that developers are hard at work trying to maximize that giant touch screen and deliver an exceptional user experience.


Rush Is On to Be First in iPad Apps

Filed under: digital media,iPad apps — gator1965 @ 12:42 pm

Companies, individuals, dogs, cats and even some aliens , I’m told, are tripping all over themselves to get apps on the iPad!

BRAD STONE and JENNA WORTHAM, writing in the Technology Section of the New York Times, sheds some light on all those clamoring to be a part of this new media-changing device:

It can be difficult to write software for a gadget without being able to touch it. But that has not stopped developers from rushing to create applications for the Apple iPad.

For small start-ups and big Internet and media companies alike, the iPad, and tablet computers in general, beckon as the next wide open technology frontier.

For many of them, getting apps onto the iPad will be a challenge, at least at first. Apple has provided only a few companies with iPads on which to design and test their software before the device’s release on April 3.

The rest have had to make do with software running on a Mac that mimics the iPad, a disadvantage when dealing with a device that Apple is pitching as a new way of interacting with media.

The few companies that did receive the device — including Major League Baseball, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times — have been subject to Apple’s long list of rules. The companies must agree to keep the iPad hidden from public view, chained to tables in windowless rooms. This although the basic look of the iPad stopped being a secret in January.

And Apple has told all other developers who have downloaded its iPad programming tools to remain silent about their apps until later this month.

Apple’s addiction to secrecy does not seem to have damped enthusiasm among developers.

“There’s something about the newness of the iPad that’s driving an even greater level of excitement than what existed in the last year for the iPhone,” said Raven Zachary, president of Small Society, an iPhone software company in Portland, Ore.

Mr. Zachary has organized workshops for iPhone developers and plans to do the same for the iPad. “People see this as an opportunity to do things that have not been done before and get that first mover’s advantage,” he said.

Some companies are even opening up and talking about their iPad plans, risking Apple’s reprisal. Sure, they are salivating at the prospect of the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen and fast processor — but also at the demonstrated willingness of Apple customers to pay a few dollars to get apps onto their devices. and Barnes & Noble are working on apps for buying and reading electronic books, even though both companies sell their own e-reading devices and Apple will offer its own iBooks app. The expectation is that the iPad will give a big lift to the e-book market, benefiting the whole industry. Neither company was given an iPad for testing.

“We have actually developed a tablet-based interface that redesigns the core screen and the reading experience,” said Ian Freed, vice president for Kindle at Amazon. “Our team had some fun with it.”

The Kindle app for the iPad, which Amazon demonstrated to a reporter last week, allows readers to slowly turn pages with their fingers. It also presents two new ways for people to view their entire e-book collection, including one view where large images of book covers are set against a backdrop of a silhouetted figure reading under a tree. The sun’s position in that image varies with the time of day.

At the offices of Barnes & Noble’s digital unit in New York, 14 developers have occupied a windowless room since January, completely redesigning the company’s iPhone app for the iPad, according to Douglas Gottlieb, its vice president of digital products. The developers hunch over Macs around a big table, and printouts and notecards are taped up on the walls.

The new app will let users flip through books quickly with finger swipes and customize fonts in multiple colors and sizes. Mr. Gottlieb said the company was talking to publishers about adding multimedia to digital books.

Apple said last week that it was starting to accept submissions from iPad developers who want the chance to get their apps into the App Store before the iPad’s release. But both Amazon and Barnes & Noble say they plan to wait and test their software on an actual iPad before submitting it for Apple’s review.

Developers know from experience how important timing can be. Some of the earliest developers to release programs for the iPhone were also the most successful. Then the number of apps in the App Store — currently 150,000 — became overwhelming. A developer who is out in front with an application that is tailored for the iPad stands a better chance of getting noticed.

But there is the chance that an app that ran just fine on the simulator will have glitches or just feel wrong on a real iPad. Many developers say they do not want to take that risk.

“As much as we’d love to be there on Day 1, a misstep could kill the train before it even gets out of the station,“ said Wade Slitkin, chief executive of Panelfly, which makes a digital comic-book reader for devices like the iPhone and has deals with publishers like Marvel Comics and Sterling.

There are real-world factors that may go undetected with a simulator, like the weight of the device and how people hold it. To compensate, engineers have been printing out sample pages and pasting them onto magazines, “to get a feel for holding it in our hands,” said Stephen Lynch, chief technologist at the company.

Shervin Pishevar, founder of SGN, a mobile gaming company, tried to get a jump on the competition by attending the iPad’s unveiling in San Francisco in January, then spending every possible moment using one in a demonstration area. Mr. Pishevar said he believes that the large iPad screen will allow families to sit around the device and play turn-based Monopoly-type games.

His company is also developing games that players will operate by linking an iPhone or iPod Touch to the iPad over a wireless network and using the smaller device as a game controller — somewhat like the motion-sensitive remote for the Nintendo Wii.

“We are going to be able to build games and entertainment applications that are as good as a console-type game,” Mr. Pishevar said.

Among large media companies, The Journal, The Times, Time magazine and NPR will have apps for the iPad available when it goes on sale, according to people briefed on those companies’ plans. Natalie Kerris, an Apple spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Most of the existing apps for the iPhone will run on the iPad as is, either stretched to fit the screen or in a smaller window. But many developers are focusing on revamping their most popular iPhone titles for use on the iPad.

Neil Young, co-founder and head of the iPhone gaming studio Ngmoco, said his company was updating several games, including a multiplayer game called Charadium where players draw items and take turns guessing what the picture is. It will get new controls and a roomier blank pad to draw on.

“There are so many more places to touch on the screen,” he said. “We can have a lot more fun with it.”


Penguin Publishers Make Innovations Again

Filed under: iPad apps,iPad content,paperback books,Penguin,Penguincubator — gator1965 @ 4:02 pm

I did a post about Penguin Books a week ago titled “Penguin’s U.S. Publishing Unit Is Profitable!…Bucks Industry Trend.” Penguin Publishing is indeed a unique company…so much so, I’m doing another post today that reveals a little more history and future of Penguin:

This from Adam Richardson on a blog from Frog Design called Matter/Anti-Matter:

Penguin, the fabled English publisher, is plunging head first into the world of iPad content. Not iPad books, exactly, as these things are not recognizable as books in the normal sense–they are closer to games and full-fledged apps. Even in the case where they are adapting existing print books, there is enough new stuff going on where it diverges significantly from what we normally think of as “book”. A Kindle e-book, these are not. Check out the video above for an intriguing peep into what they have planned.

Dan Nosowitz at Fast Company observes:

[P]enguin doesn’t even think these things are books. I know that because Penguin intends to sell this digital content in the app store, as individual apps, not in the iBooks bookstore. There’s nothing wrong with that–these apps look great, and the prospect of enriching the definition of “book” is exciting–but as companies take advantage of the iPad, the publishing industry is going to have to expand in ways we don’t quite understand yet.

This is actually not the first time that Penguin has taken such a radical view of books. In fact, the company was founded 75 years ago on an innovative approach to book publishing and distribution. I talk about it in my own book, as it is a terrific early example of disruptive innovation.

Penguin Books came into existence because of a realization on a train platform. Penguin’s founder, Allen Lane, was returning from a weekend with the famous mystery writer Agatha Christie, and looked in the train station’s book stall for something to read on his journey back to London. Finding only popular magazines and poor-quality, luridly written novels, he wondered why there was not anything for the reader who wanted some good-quality fiction at a low price.

Penguin Books began with a range of biography, crime-writing, and novels, all by contemporary authors and selling for a fifteenth of what hardback books usually sold for. Within a year, Penguin sold three million paperbacks by satisfying a need that traditional book publishers saw as off-limits. They were focused on a more upscale category, and assumed readers were warmly ensconced in a drawing room with plenty of time to spare.

Penguin even experimented with a purpose-built dispensing machine for train stations, wonderfully named the Penguincubator (since penguins lay eggs), which, sadly, seems lost to the mists of time.

Adam Richardson is the director of product strategy at Frog Design, where he guides strategy engagements for Frog’s international roster of clients, envisioning and creating new products, consumer electronics, and digital experiences. Adam combines a background in industrial design, interaction design, and sociology, and he spends most of his time on convergent designs that combine hardware, software, service, brand, and retail. He writes and speaks extensively on design, business, culture, and technology, and he runs his own Richardsona blog. Adam is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET.


I-Pad Needs Media Deals

Filed under: iPad,iPad apps,iPhone — gator1965 @ 8:57 pm

The iPad is much more than an iPhone that won’t fit into your pocket…and David Carr of the New York Times explains this well in his article today:

Short of landing in a flying saucer and having a tablet teleported into his hands, there was no way that Steve Jobs could have lived up to the hype before last Wednesday’s iPad announcement.

But he came pretty close. By the time the bells, whooshes and clicks died down, I couldn’t say the future had arrived, but I’m pretty sure we can see it from here.

“It was like someone came back from five years into the future and handed this to us,” said John Gruber of Daring Fireball, a respected tech blog.

The iPad’s promise was hinted at before Mr. Jobs hit the stage. The set was dominated by a large, comfy chair. Since the birth of the personal computer, we have been hunched over, squinting at screens — great big terminals, laptop displays, tiny screens on PDAs. With the iPad, the screen has come to us as we lean back in ease.

Critics who suggested that Apple unveiled little more than an iPhone that won’t fit in your pocket don’t seem to understand that by scaling the iPhone experience, the iPad becomes a different species. Media companies now have a new platform that presents content in an intimate way.

“Looking at it through the lens of whether or not it has new features and applications misses the point,” said Craig Moffett, an analyst at Bernstein Research. “It is nine times larger than an iPhone, and that is fundamentally a new application.”

That application isn’t work, not without a keyboard (touch-typing with all fingers on a virtual keyboard is miserable) or a camera. This is a device for consuming media, not creating it. So are the media providers ready to deliver?

Yes and, sadly, no….Read more

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