Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

11/14/2011

Publishers Are Going To Loose Not Only Their Retailers But Their Authors In The Future


"Where have all the authors gone???

How you ask? Let’s get to it.

It’s no secret Amazon has been selling digital books at a loss to gain more sales for its Kindle family. The strategy is simple enough … they need product (books or written content) to sell on their hardware e-readers which is where they make their profit. And they will give the product away, if necessary, to provide the widest selection available on its Kindle r-readers. 

Amazon wants the biggest catalog available to choose from.  And for those who are premium members (own Kindles and not some other product with a Kindle app … plus belong to the $79/yr Amazon Prime service ) they are indeed offering books for free from their library. You can borrow one book free a month and keep it as long as you want. 

Virginia Postrel tells all about it in Bloomberg Businessweek:

Amazon E-Library Is Publishing’s Profit Model

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — Amazon.com Inc. is at it again. To the consternation of much of the book industry, the online giant is again offering digital titles for less than major publishers think books are worth. And this time, the price is zero.

If you own an Amazon Kindle, as opposed to just using the Kindle app on another device, and you also belong to the company’s $79-a-year Amazon Prime service, you can now “borrow” one digital book a month from the new Amazon Lending Library for free. You can keep the book as long as you want, but you can have only one at a time.

The new service worries Wall Street, too, because it increases Amazon’s out-of-pocket costs. The company is paying wholesale prices for some of the books in the lending library. For others, such as the titles from Lonely Planet travel guides, it is paying a flat fee for a group of books over a period of time. (It will report sales figures on individual titles back to those publishers.)

Beyond short-term earnings, however, the lending library is just the latest innovation to raise big questions about the whole publishing ecosystem. In an environment where books are increasingly digital, what’s the most effective way to create value for readers, for authors and for intermediaries? And — the biggest question — which intermediaries will survive the transition?

Big Six Balk

The lending library doesn’t include any books from the Big Six U.S. publishers — Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., Penguin Books Ltd. and Hachette — because Amazon can’t control what it charges for their digital books. They are undoubtedly relieved to be excluded. But the pricing control they value so highly reflects rigid arrangements they may come to regret.

Amazon used to pay publishers a wholesale price for e- books, just as it does for physical copies. It set whatever price it thought best for its overall business, even if that meant losing money on an individual title in order to boost traffic or sell more Kindles. It could adjust prices up or down to reflect new information or offer special promotions. Its standard price was $9.99, which was often less than it paid for each copy. Major publishers thought that was too low, but most couldn’t do anything about it.

Then came the iPad and the accompanying iBooks store. Apple Inc. struck a different deal with publishers, known in the business as the “agency model.” Publishers set the retail prices, with Apple taking a percentage for its services. The Big Six liked that deal and wanted it to be the industry standard.

Amazon resisted, going so far as to remove all the physical books from Macmillan off its site in hopes of forcing the company to continue the wholesale arrangement. But that sales strike alienated Amazon customers, who were angry when they went to the site and couldn’t buy the books they wanted. Amazon blinked.

As a result, most of the big-publisher titles in the Kindle store now sell for $12.99 to $14.99 each — a range Amazon called “needlessly high” when it capitulated.

I should say at this point that I am not an entirely disinterested observer. I’m an author, with two books available in digital form. And I agree with Amazon that, at $14.99, my 1998 book “The Future and Its Enemies” was priced needlessly high when its Kindle edition was released last spring. You have to either love me or your Kindle a lot to pay that much for a 13-year-old book you can get in paperback for $6. But, like Amazon, I have no say over how my e-book is priced.

Publishers, for the most part, don’t believe customers care much about the difference between Amazon’s old price and their new, higher ones. They’re skeptical that consumers respond to small price differences. A former publishing executive recently told me he simply didn’t believe that “if I really want a book for $9.95 I don’t also want it for $10.95 or $12.95.”

Look at Research

People in publishing say things like that all the time. While they admit that charging $100 for the typical hardback would be foolish, they don’t believe that changing the price of a book by a dollar or two will significantly change the number of copies sold.

The economic research suggests the opposite. In a 2009 paper that looked at consumers using computer price-comparison systems, or shopbots, to buy physical books online, economists Erik Brynjolfsson, Astrid Andrea Dick and Michael D. Smith found that a 1 percent drop in price — a mere 25 cents on a $25 book — increased the number of units sold by 7 percent to 10 percent. Shopbot users tend to be more price-sensitive than most consumers, but that’s a huge difference.

Publishers resist such evidence. The standard response is that it’s hard to know anything about pricing because “every book is different.” Every title is a unique good, and every customer values each book a little differently. So you might as well trust your gut.

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11/04/2011

B&N’s Nook Tablet to Compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire


"Take That, iPad!"The Amazon and Barnes & Noble e-reader market is morphing into the tablet computer market … and bringing with it advances and features that should have Apple iPads shaking in their digital boots! … AND at a lighter weight and cost!

I just love it when the competitive intrigue goes exponential in a new industry market 🙂

This from Crain’s New York Business by Matthew Flamm

Barnes & Noble plays with Amazon’s Fire

The bookstore chain will introduce a new Nook tablet to compete with the e-tailer’s Kindle Fire. The new device will be available on Nov. 15.

The battle for the e-reader market isn’t over yet. Little more than a month after Amazon Inc. announced the launch of the Kindle Fire, its souped-up tablet that becomes available Nov. 15, archrival Barnes & Noble Inc. is getting set to roll out its new Nook.

The Nook Tablet, which will show movies in addition to displaying magazines, newspapers and books, will be introduced to the press on Monday morning at the Barnes & Noble Union Square store. It will be priced at $249, making it $50 more than the Fire, but will offer twice the memory of Amazon’s tablet, according to tech blog Engadget, which posted details about the new device and other updates to the Nook family of e-readers on its site Thursday evening.

In addition to its new tablet, Barnes & Noble has enhanced its Nook Color to include access to the subscription video hub Hulu Plus, and cut its price by $50 to $199. The touch-enabled Nook that launched last May with a price tag of $139 has been renamed the Nook Simple Touch and will be priced at $99. That makes it slightly more expensive than the $79 Kindle, but unlike Amazon’s device, the Nook won’t display ads.

Read and learn more

Related article on Amazon’s Kindle Fire

This blog is available on Kindlle :)))

 

08/17/2011

Amazon Publishing – Print is Thriving – And Other Insider Information


Awesome Amazon ???

Amazon’s business makes publishers nervous because it’s finally allowing the online retailer to cut publishers out of the loop entirely. Amazon is making more of its own books, and it’s got the authors to sell them.”

Amazon is adding more writers and renowned authors to its own company’s publishing imprints to produce new books directly for the reading consumer and bypass other established ‘publishers’ entirely. 

Gaining control of the online digital book retail business just seemed to whet Amazon’s appetite to gobble up more control in the bigger publishing business (in disruption due to the new tech transition) … including print, which is doing just fine right now, thank you very much. 

These interesting details provided by Anthony John Agnello , consumer and technology writer for InvestorPlace:

Amazon Publishing Continues to Boom With New Exclusives

Traditional publishers being pushed out of the picture

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) frightens book publishers. Not because electronic books are going to replace print by September. Far from it. Print is thriving, and while e-book sales have grown 1,300% in the past three years, they still represent only a fraction of overall revenue in the publishing industry. Amazon’s business makes publishers nervous because it’s finally allowing the online retailer to cut publishers out of the loop entirely. Amazon is making more of its own books, and it’s got the authors to sell them.

A Tuesday report in The New York Times said Amazon has made its latest promising acquisition in an ever-growing stable of authors producing original books for the company. Timothy Ferriss, the self-help author behind the bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, will release his new book The 4-Hour Chef exclusively through Amazon Publishing imprint.

4-Hour Workweek has spent 84 weeks on the Times‘ Advice bestseller list. That book was published by Crown, an imprint under the Bertelsmann-owned Random House. Ferris never entertained a counteroffer from his previous publisher after talking with Amazon because they would not have been able to match what Amazon was offering as “a technology company embracing new technology.”

This is just the latest major publishing effort from Amazon since editor Laurence Kirshbaum came on as head of Amazon Publishing in May. Imprint Montlake Romance, an all-romance branch of Amazon Publishing, opened for business in May. Connie Brockway’s The Other Guy’s Bride will be the imprint’s first book out this fall. Brockway’s previous books were distributed under the Dell Publishing mass-market imprint, another house under the Random House banner.

Read and learn more

Related post: Is Amazon a Danger Lurking in the Publishing Industry?

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04/02/2011

Amazon Tries to Muscle into Traditional Book Publishing


Amazon Trying To Move On Traditional PublishingAmazon is trying to beef up its Kindle offerings with new anticipated blockbusters…Itching to grow away from mostly backlist offerings (and these aren’t bad, mind you!).

Amazon’s first foray into traditional publishing came when they entered the bidding for Amanda Hocking’s four, self-published best-sellers in competition with other big houses…AND, even though Amazon brought the highest bid, Amanda and her agent decided to go with St. Martin’s Press instead…due to traditional publishing reputation, stability, depth and breadth, blah, blah, blah.

A little publishing politics and intrigue here, I’m sure…For one thing, Amazon demanded ebook exclusivity rights in the deal and Amanda’s agent thought that represented a loss of potential revenue.   

More details provided in Crain’s New York Business.com by Matthew Flamm

Amazon.com pushes into book publishing

The online retailer recently participated in the auction for best-selling novelist Amanda Hocking, making its most aggressive move yet into traditional publishing territory.

Amazon.com, the online bookselling behemoth that has sometimes rubbed publishers the wrong way, has just put its big foot someplace new.

In its most aggressive move yet into territory traditionally occupied by the major New York houses, the Seattle-based e-retailer took part last week in a heated auction for four books by self-published bestselling novelist Amanda Hocking. Executives at several houses said they knew of no other instance in which the company had competed with major publishers for a high profile commercial author.

Amazon has done deals directly with authors and agents in the past, but usually for backlist titles or specialty projects. It has used those exclusive offerings to distinguish its Kindle e-bookstore in an increasingly competitive digital market.

It’s believed that Amazon would have seen Ms. Hocking as a natural fit because of her roots in the e-publishing world, where she has sold more than a million copies of her nine titles in the category of young adult paranormal romance.

An Amazon spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

To beef up its offer, Amazon brought in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which would have published the print editions of Ms. Hocking’s books, according to insiders. Part of a company that has gone through two debt restructurings in recent years, the venerable trade house would also have lent Amazon the aura of a traditional house.

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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

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02/10/2011

Kindle Getting Cool, Free, Functional Upgrades


If you publish material for the Kindle you will welcome these new, free, interactive, feedback upgrades. Kindle will be allowing readers to choose to make their notes and highlights of a particular book (or other content) visible for others to see. This option will be offered in an upgrade tagged “Public Notes”…

Kindle will also be offering “Book Rating,” which allows a reader to rate the book he/she just finished AND share it with their social networks.

This is true audience feedback and promotion (or demotion)! From the grassroots, if you will…I think it will be invaluable to writers/publishers for improving their craft.

This announcement by Peter A. Prestipino from Website Magazine :

Amazon announced an early preview of a free software update for its popular Kindle reading device. If you’re publishing content specifically for the reader, the updates will be welcome.

Public Notes will let Kindle users choose to make their book notes and highlights available for others to see. If you’re publishing content on the Kindle, Public Notes are most definitely something to start monitoring.

Book Rating is another new and very important feature which comes with the software upgrade. When users reach the end of the book, they will now be able to rate the book, share a message about the book with their social network, and even receive personalized recommendations on what to read next.

Latest generation Kindle and Kindle 3G customers wanting to try an Early Preview of the new features can manually download the software update here. All latest generation Kindle and Kindle 3G customers will receive the software update automatically via Wi-Fi once it becomes available.

View original article by Peter Prestipino for other comments

06/04/2010

Digital Self-Publishing Forging Powerful New Book Niche



Excerpt from article below: “Once derided as ‘vanity’ titles by the publishing establishment, self-published books suddenly are able to thrive by circumventing the establishment.”

The above statement is the essence of the post today. Many writers are experiencing success after having the door slammed shut in their faces by traditional publishing and are empowered by the new publishing avenues opened to them…AND this is how it should be! The people who produce the actual work upon which all in the publishing and associated businesses are making their money should be calling more of the shots!

The personal success stories detailed below in the Wall Street Journal article by
GEOFFREY A. FOWLER And JEFFREY A. TRACHTENBERG are captivating and a must read:

Writer Karen McQuestion spent nearly a decade trying without success to persuade a New York publisher to print one of her books. In July, the 49-year-old mother of three decided to publish it herself, online.

Eleven months later, Ms. McQuestion has sold 36,000 e-books through Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle e-bookstore and has a film option with a Hollywood producer. In August, Amazon will publish a paperback version of her first novel, “A Scattered Life,” about a friendship triangle among three women in small-town Wisconsin.

Ms. McQuestion is at the leading edge of a technological disruption that’s loosening traditional publishers’ grip on the book market—and giving new power to technology companies like Amazon to shape which books and authors succeed.

Much as blogs have bitten into the news business and YouTube has challenged television, digital self-publishing is creating a powerful new niche in books that’s threatening the traditional industry. Once derided as “vanity” titles by the publishing establishment, self-published books suddenly are able to thrive by circumventing the establishment.

“If you are an author and you want to reach a lot of readers, up until recently you were smart to sell your book to a traditional publisher, because they controlled the printing press and distribution. That is starting to change now,” says Mark Coker, founder of Silicon Valley start-up Smashwords Inc., which offers an e-book publishing and distribution service.

Fueling the shift is the growing popularity of electronic books, which few people were willing to read even three years ago. Apple Inc.’ s iPad and e-reading devices such as Amazon’s Kindle have made buying and reading digital books easy. U.S. book sales fell 1.8% last year to $23.9 billion, but e-book sales tripled to $313 million, according to the Association of American Publishers. E-book sales could reach as high as 20% to 25% of the total book market by 2012, according to Mike Shatzkin, a publishing consultant, up from an estimated 5% to 10% today.

Read more at http://alturl.com/7vax

04/30/2010

The Digital Newsstand: How Magazines Will Be Sold in the Tablet Age



Let’s take a small step into the future and see how digital magazines will be distributed on digital newsstands. WOOOOSSHH…PLOP! We’re here!

This looksee through the futuristic curtain is provided by Chandra Johnson-Greene of FOLIO magazine (pictured at left):

Magazine Publishers have quite a few choices when it comes to finding a newsstand in which to sell the digital, e-reader and mobile versions of their titles. From platforms created by digital edition vendors such as Zinio and Nxtbook, to newsstands directly related to devices created by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, publishers have multiple opportunities to position themselves in this new landscape. Here’s a breakdown of what’s currently available as well as what’s to come.

Breaking Down the Options

Digital edition vendors are currently taking two approaches when it comes to helping publishers sell their digital editions online: they’re either creating their own marketplaces or they’re creating magazine-branded storefronts and/or apps.

The majority of vendors, it seems, are taking the second approach. Tulsa, Oklahoma-based iMirus, for example, has been building microsites directly onto its clients’ Web sites where all of the digital subscription transactions take place. “The microsite allows us to strengthen the Pharmacy Today brand and it makes us more searchable,” says Bill Succolosky, senior director, creative services, associate publisher, American Pharmacists Association. “It connects our readers back to our homepage and also allows us the opportunity to sell ads online, which supplements our print edition.”

Lancaster, PA-based Nxtbook also has its own newsstand, but it isn’t actually used to sell digital subscriptions. Nxt-Stand is a portal where publishers can promote their digital content and readers can browse content for free. From there, customers are directed to the subscription page of that publisher’s Web site or are advised to purchase subscriptions via eMagazines.com. All of Nxtbook digital magazines are accessible on the Blackberry via the company’s Liberty platform.

Texterity has no plans to align its current newsstand Coverleaf with its mobile and e-reader offerings, according to a company spokesperson. It is currently working on providing print/digital bundle subscriptions that will be magazine-branded, not Texterity-branded.

“Digital vendors removing themselves from branding makes a lot of sense,” says Technologizer founder Harry McCracken. “There’s no inherent reason why readers should care about digital-distribution companies any more than they do about the ones that deliver print magazines to newsstands.”

Tablets and the iPad could be a boon for digital magazines. “If companies like Zinio, Nxtbook and Texterity play their cards right, e-readers should be the best things that ever happened to them,” says McCracken. “They already have well-established publisher relationships and technologies, and far more people are going to want to read magazine-format publications on tablet-style devices than ever wanted to on PCs.”

Publishers are also producing their own apps. “Very soon, we’ll have our own branded app and then customers will be able to get to our digital edition right from SportingNews.com,” says Jeff Price, president and publisher of Sporting News, which also works with Zinio. “It’s the best of both worlds because now we can focus on the loyalists through our own marketing and outreach efforts.”

Publishers can also sell their digital content on newsstands that Amazon and Barnes & Noble have created specifically for their devices—the Kindle and the nook. Both companies have created apps to make the content users download onto their devices accessible on PCs, Macs, Blackberrys and iPhones.

The subscription prices on these retailer newsstands, however, are more competitive than other digital newsstands. A monthly subscription to Fortune, for example, can be purchased for $1.49 a month on the Kindle, while The Nation costs the same on the nook.

What’s Next?

Going into 2011, publishers should have two more digital storefronts: Next Issue Media and Skiff.

“We don’t want to force people to have to go onto their computer and into a browser to get new content,” Skiff president Gilbert Fuchsberg told FOLIO:. “So we think it’s important to optimize our service for various devices.”

Skiff is in support of a traditional subscription model, according to Fuchsberg, because it’s what consumers tend to prefer, but the company will also sell single copies and bundles that could include the print magazine. When asked about price points, Fuchsberg declined to provide specifics but says that they will probably reflect was consumers are expecting.

“In general, consumers expect digital to be less expensive,” he says. “But at the same time, we want to make sure that publishers are getting paid for the value that’s being delivered.”

The magic price point for e-reader content may not come soon, according to McCracken. “Part of convincing people to pay will be to produce a product that’s meaningfully better than both the print and Web versions, at least for some reasons,” he says. “Nobody has completely solved that riddle. I’m pretty sure that it’s lower than the full print subscription cost—and I hope that it’s meaningfully higher than $0.”

For the most part, consumers are set on how they expect their shopping experience to be, which includes choices that are relevant to them, having access to decent search capabilities, and being able to read what they want in a timely fashion, according to Fuchsberg. “One of the great virtues of e-reading is thinking of something and doing it in a minute or less,” he says.

And publishers looking to get their titles onto any digital newsstands should be thinking about how to do so in the most efficient way possible. “That’s a big challenge especially for smaller publishers,” Fuchsberg says. “It’s not just about the migration of existing audiences. There will be readers that may not have had a previous relationship with your titles. Now you can deliver a new product to them that they would have never experimented with in print form before, but at a lower cost than print.”

Digital Newsstand Rundown

Company: BlueToad, Inc.
Platform: CoverStand
Titles Available: Magazines include GolfWeek, Paste, The Christian Science Monitor and L.A. Parent. Newspapers, books and catalogs are also available.
Sub Options: Users can subscribe to receive a digital version for their computers or, in most cases, their iPhones.
Price: Most magazines subscriptions are free, while most newspapers and books are paid.

Company: Texterity
Platform: Coverleaf
Titles Available: Titles include Ladies Home Journal, Discover, Fitness and Men’s Health.
Sub Options: If you’re already a print subscriber, you can download the digital version of that magazine for free. Single copies, print/digital bundles and digital-only subscriptions are also available.
Price: Single copies start at $0.99, one-year digital subs start at $4.99 and print/digital bundles start at around $9.97.

Company: Amazon
Platform: Kindle
Titles Available: Magazines include The Atlantic, Forbes, Fortune and Newsweek. Books and newspaper subscriptions are also available.
Sub Options: Subscribers are charged on a monthly basis despite the frequency of the magazine. The Kindle version of each title is delivered once the physical issue hits the newsstands. Kindle apps are also available for the PC, Mac, Blackberry, iPhone and iPad.
Price: Monthly e-magazine subs start at $1.49.

Company: Zinio
Platform: UNITY
Titles Available: Magazines include Billboard, Car and Driver and PC Magazine.
Sub Options: With one subscription purchase, users can receive the PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad versions of each title they choose.
Price: Varies

Company: eMagazines
Platform: eMagazines.com
Titles Available: Titles include ESPN, Black Enterprise, Nylon Guys and Family Circle.
Sub Options: eMagazines.com combines digital editions from across various platforms and software. Mostly monthly subscriptions are available.
Price: Varies

Company: Barnes & Noble
Platform: nook
Titles Available: Magazines include The Nation, Guideposts, Foreign Affairs and Harvard Business Review. Books and newspaper subscriptions are also available.
Sub Options: Users have the choice of only purchasing the most current issue or a monthly subscription. All issues will appear in the user’s eBooks Library on BN.com, on their nook and in their Barnes & Noble eReader.
Price: Monthly e-magazine subs start at $1.49.

Company: Mygazines
Platform: Mygazines.net
Titles Available: Titles include Relevant, AudioFile, Peer to Peer and SpaFinder.
Sub Options: Users can browse, share and e-mail individual issues at no cost. A mobile-browser flexible interface allows users to read their Mygazines on an iPhone, iPad, iTouch or Android.
Price: Free

02/12/2010

What Does iPad and Kindle Mean for the Future of the Publishing Industry?


Amazon introduced the Kindle THEN Apple introduced the iPad to fight the Kindle and BOOM we have new business models that have drastically overhauled the way publishing will make money and who will get what share of the booty.

This from the iPad News Tracker:

“Publishing executives have an unprecedented opportunity to grow the industry. Yet, what they are doing is defending their old business model – which, frankly, is now antiquated”

NYU Stern Professor Vasant Dhar, an expert in the strategic implications of information technology, warns that the publishing industry will be the next “carcass” if it doesn’t embrace a new business model, and he proposes what this new model should look like.

Professor Dhar, who conducted the first study to quantify the economic impact of user-generated content for the music business, cites the music trade as a perfect example of an industry that failed because it was unprepared and resistant to adopting new technologies. Instead of focusing on providing their customers value and reasonable rights of usage, they became obsessed with preventing piracy, and it cost them dearly.

He argues that publishers should adopt a more market-back-focused business model that welcomes technological innovation. “Executives are disconnected from their rising consumer base. They underestimate the power of and the cultural shift that has been brought on by emerging technologies.”

Professor Dhar explains the drivers behind the technological shift:

Moore’s Law – which states that raw computing power doubles every 18 months, making general purpose devices capable of rendering content at high quality The increasing level of digitization of virtually all types of content and the explosion of user-generated content: data on the Internet doubles every three months, and roughly 20 hours of new content is currently uploaded every hour on YouTube The modularity of software, which makes it easy to build new applications: while software productivity languished for decades, it has now kicked into high gear as object-oriented software makes it easy to plug-and-play self-contained modules into high-quality systems very quickly Taken together, the three drivers are powerful disruptors of existing business models.

He suggests the publishing industry implement a digital strategy based on simple pricing and digital rights aimed at growing the market of readers. “Increasingly, consumers prefer electronic delivery of their content. Publishers should tap this market and see it for what it is – growth,” said Professor Dhar. “Would you rather have a piece of a growing market even if it’s a smaller percentage than before, or try and hold onto a larger piece of one that is crumbling?” he asks. All the evidence to date suggests that defending obsolete business models isn’t a good idea, he says.

01/21/2010

If You Publish on Kindle Your Content Can be Read on Other E-Readers…Maybe


This unnoticed change in Amazon’s DRM (Digital Rights Management)policy is big and may signal bigger changes in the future for clients who use DTP (Digital Text Platform) to self-publish on Amazon’s Kindle.

Frederic Lardinois, who writes for ReadWriteWeb.com, posted this today about Amazon’s changing DRM policy:

Amazon quietly made a major change to its Digital Text Platform last week that went largely unnoticed: small publishers and individual authors who use the Digital Text Platform can now opt out of the Kindle’s digital rights management (DRM) program. While this change only affects a relatively small number of publishers and authors for now, this move could hint at a larger change in Amazon’s DRM policy. Right now, Amazon’s DRM policy means that its customers can’t transfer their books to a non-Kindle e-reader.

Update: Amazon just contacted us to let us know that a DRM-free option always existed for publishers using the Digital Text Platform. Amazon just added new functionality that makes it easier for publishers to set these options.

For Amazon, it makes sense to experiment with this new option on the Digital Text Platform. Given that this is a self-publishing tool, the company doesn’t have to explain this change to its partners in the publishing industry while allowing the company to experiment with a DRM-free solution. Most publishing houses tend to be very conservative when it comes to DRM-free e-book solutions. In the self-publishing world, however, DRM-free books are very common. Self-publishing platform Smashwords, for example, doesn’t even offer a DRM solution.

Right now, you can’t take your Kindle e-books to a Sony Reader, for example. While the Kindle is a huge success for Amazon, the current DRM solution is surely holding quite a few potential customers back from making the jump to e-books.

The Beginning of the End for E-Book DRM?
If the e-book world follows the same path as the music industry, however, chances are that restrictive DRM solutions will disappear over the next few years. At least for Amazon, giving its self-published authors and small publishing houses this option is a first step in the right direction. For O’Reilly, publishing DRM-free e-book has turned out to be an advantage. Hopefully, other publishing houses will also realize that DRMed e-books do very little

Tip of the hat to Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton for noticing this change first.

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