Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

12/05/2010

iPad Falling Behind in the “Savior of Publishing” Race – And Rightfully So!


Holy shitswowski! What’s going on with Apple and it’s stupid approach to putting up roadblocks to potential magazine and newspaper publishing clients in it’s iTunes Store RE handling of subscriptions?

Many popular magazine and newspaper iPad apps have already been developed to allow selling digital versions through Apple…AND the so-called Apple visionaries (idiots is more like it) are not allowing the personal information of subscribers to be accessed and managed by the content providers themselves!

Why? What is the purpose of this greedy hoarding? This should be a win-win situation for all parties to be more monetarily successful. The more direct use of personal demographic info will result in more targeted success for the newspaper and mag clients AND should result in more volume biz for the Apple iTunes Store.

Can someone with more insight than I explain this to me?

If Apple stays on this dumb course I think the popular mags and newspapers will take their business elsewhere. And where is that, you might ask? To the upcoming and surging Google and Android platforms, of course!

Also, Apple is demanding too damn much of a cut (30%) to allow the apps! Remember that great line from the New York gubernatorial campaign: The rent is too damn high!

Read these previous posts of mine for more background on this issue:

From this blog, Time Magazine is Unhappy with iPad Publishing

From Writers Thought for Today Blog, Publishers Becoming Wary of Apple

Here is a current little ditty on iPad News: Apple, Publishers Clash on Subscriptions from iPad.net :

The iPad has been looked upon as the “savior” of the publishing industry, but relations between Apple and major publishers have hit an impasse that may be insurmountable. If the two cannot agree on key issues, the publishers may be taking their business elsewhere.

We’ve been hearing rumors for months that iPad apps for numerous popular magazine and newspaper titles will become available for subscriptions at the iTunes Store. Now the reasons for the delay have surfaced. According to Peter Kafka at MediaMemo, Apple and the publishers are “still miles apart” when it comes to the terms for how to sell subscriptions.

Read and enjoy more

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07/15/2010

Big-Name Authors Sign Directly with E-book Retailers


Is big publishing getting the boot ?

At first, lesser-known and newbie authors were signing with E-book retailers; but now big-name authors are joining the trend and by-passing the middleman traditional publishers and signing directly with eBook retailers like Amazon, Smashwords and other companies !
More and more established authors are signing on the digital, multi-media publishing bandwagon…The latest is Ryu Murakami, author of Coin Locker Babies among others.

This report from the Wall Street Journal by Yoree Koh goes into more detail:

Ever since the arrival of the slim and snazzy electronic book devices, the magnates of the traditional publishing industry have feared the worst: that precious big-name authors might sign directly with e-book retailers, relegating the old-school publishers as the dispensable middleman.

Let the nightmare begin. Novelist Ryu Murakami plans to release his latest novel exclusively for digital bookworms through Apple Inc.’s iPad ahead of the print version. Mr. Murakami, the acclaimed author of over 15 novels including “Coin Locker Babies” and “In the Miso Soup”, replaced the publishers with a software company to help develop the e-book titled “A Singing Whale,” or “Utau Kujira” in Japanese. The digital package will include video content and set to music composed by Academy Award winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, according to the Japanese business daily Nikkei. The newspaper reports the e-book will cost 1,500 yen ($17) and will be ready to download pending Apple’s approval. Apple Japan and Mr. Murakami did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.

Mr. Murakami’s decision is the latest step taken by well known authors in re-writing the business model of the publishing industry – but it’s a step beyond what others have done. In April, the master penman of suspense, Stephen King, released the e-book edition of his newest work “Blockade Billy” one month before the hardcover version published by Scribner, an imprint of New York publishing giant Simon and Schuster, hit retail outlets in the U.S. and Canada. Mr. King also published a story, UR, exclusively for Kindle, the popular e-book reader produced by Amazon, around the time a newer version of the device was released in February 2009.

In December of last year, Amazon scored another success when business guru Steven Covey granted the online retailer exclusive e-book rights for two of his best-selling books for one year. Until recently, Mr. Covey’s move to shift older titles, also known as backlist titles – the warehouse of past best-selling books with strong staying power that provide publishers a steady revenue stream each year – to the digital sphere has been the more common rebellion among successful wordsmiths. Brazilian writer Paul Coehlo and the estate of the late American novelist William Styron also moved the rights to sell e-book editions of older works to Amazon.

But in offering fresh material only in an electronic format, Mr. Murakami’s plan has basically removed the traditional book publisher from the calculation entirely. Mr. Murakami’s past novels have been published by venerated Japanese companies like Kodansha. The company wasn’t immediately available for comment. The new equation, in theory, would give authors a bigger chunk of royalties. Mr. Murakami said his initial goal of 5,000 downloads would cancel out the investment costs, and if the plan is approved, Apple will receive 30% of the revenue with the rest to be parsed among Mr. Murakami, Mr. Sakamoto and the software company, according to the Nikkei.

UPDATE, 14:05 p.m. JST: Kodansha, Murakami’s publisher responds, saying it’s talking to the novelist about releasing a hard copy version of “A Singing Whale”, though nothing has been finalized.

Read this post in Japanese/日本語訳はこちら≫

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