Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

09/19/2011

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

04/23/2010

B&N Adds Browser To E-reader, Competes With Ipad


I see the other e-readers, that were slightly diminished when the “more options” iPad came bursting on the scene, are scrambling to add extras NOW so they can stand a little taller against king iPad and keep a viable share of the market…Look forward to seeing many more improvements from all…including iPad!

From Associated press through Cain’s New York Business:

An update to Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader will also allow users to browse complete books in B&N stores at no cost in another application in testing.

(AP) – Barnes & Noble says a software update to its electronic reader the Nook will let users surf the Web and play games.

The update will also allow users to browse complete books in Barnes & Noble stores at no cost in another application in testing.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook uses Google’s Android operating system. When it was launched, executives said Android applications could be developed for the Nook. The games, which includes chess and Sudoku, are the first Android applications.

Dedicated e-readers have been threatened by the launch of Apple’s iPad earlier this month. Amazon.com’s Kindle also offers a basic Web browser.

Nook users can download the update at www.nook.com/update.

04/12/2010

BN’s Nook Expanding Its Retail Presence

Filed under: Barnes and Noble,Best Buy,Nook e-Reader — gator1965 @ 1:07 pm


The competition between e-readers is heating up…as expected! The Barnes & Noble’s Nook will be sold in the Best Buy chain beginning next week per the Associated Press:

Bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. has struck a deal with electronics retailer Best Buy to start selling its Nook e-reader in more than 1,000 of the mega stores next week.

Electronics seller Best Buy Co. will sell Barnes & Noble Inc.’s electronic reader Nook beginning Sunday, the companies said Monday.

The $259.99 e-reader and its will be sold at 1,070 Best Buy stores in the U.S.

Previously, the device was sold only at Barnes & Noble stores and online.

Barnes & Noble introduced the Nook last year to compete against Amazon.com’s Kindle and other e-readers.

Shares of the book seller rose 10 cents to $22.87 in morning trading. Best Buy shares rose 14 cents to $45.03.

03/19/2010

Barnes and Noble Ushers In New CEO



More intrigue and drama in the publishing world. Changes are a-going-on! Crain’s New York Business reports the following bit of drama:

New CEO William Lynch, who was promoted from president, helped launch the company’s electronic book store and oversaw the introduction of its electronic book reader, the Nook.

Bookseller Barnes & Noble announced a chief executive switch Thursday, elevating the president of its Web site to lead the company and replace Steve Riggio.

The company said Thursday that Mr. Riggio will be actively involved with the company and will stay on as vice chairman.

New CEO William Lynch helped launch the company’s electronic book store and oversaw the introduction of its electronic book reader, the Nook. It is crucial technology that the company is counting on to boost sales and ward off intense competition from online retailers and from rival e-readers like the Kindle and now the iPad.

Mr. Lynch, 39, has served as president of Barnes & Noble’s Web site since February 2009.

Barnes & Noble is under pressure from shareholders as sales at its stores flag. Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle has blamed company management.

In February Barnes & Noble blocked an attempt by Mr. Burkle, whose Yucaipa Cos. holds a 19% stake in the company, to amass more shares.

“William came to us as a skillful leader in e-commerce who, in a short period of time, has done a superb job in quickly establishing Barnes & Noble as a major player in e-commerce and digital content,” Chairman Leonard Riggio said in printed statement. “Given the dynamic nature of the book industry, William is uniquely qualified to lead the company’s transition to multi-channel distribution and drive the continuing expansion of our e-commerce platform, eBooks and other digital content and products.”

Steve Riggio is the brother of Leonard Riggio, who is the company’s biggest shareholder.

The company also promoted Chief Operating Officer Mitchell Klipper, 52, to CEO of its retail group.

Last month Barnes & Noble, based in New York said the launch of the Nook helped spur online sales, but weakness at its bookstores led to a drop in profit during the fourth quarter.

Its outlook for the beginning of this year left many investors disappointed.

In premarket trading, Barnes & Noble shares edged up 12 cents to $22.45.

01/18/2010

E-books Spark Battle Inside the Publishing Industry


Publishers want to maintain their disproportionate profit margins, writers want a larger share of revenue and readers want plentiful books at cheaper prices! A large order but one that is being brought into focus by the coming of the digital age and e-books.

Washington Post Staff Writer, Marion Maneker, nailed the archaic publishing industry in her article on 27 Dec 2009:

The evolution of publishing from print to digital has caused a schism in the reading world. There are now two constituencies: readers (and writers) on the one hand, and the publishing world on the other. And they don’t want to hear each other.

Readers want books that are plentiful and cheap, publishers want to preserve their profit, and authors want a larger share of revenue. The conflict has created a strident internecine battle inside the publishing industry. At issue are the price and timing of e-books, and who owns the rights to backlist titles. While publishers, agents and Amazon.com bicker, there is little time for conceiving new content that satisfies customer demand. If the book business doesn’t tune in to that demand, it could wind up as a transitional source for the e-readers.

We know that readers want content, because it’s clear they’re not dazzled by the device. Consumers have made Amazon’s limited and rudimentary device a hit, which speaks to their desire for books that are cheaper and easier to obtain. It surely isn’t the device’s design or functionality. Both are closer to the computer aesthetic of the 1980s than today’s digital world. The Kindle may have lots of titles available — but good luck using the device to decide what to read next.

But publishers have ignored this demand. In response, several conglomerates have aggressively moved to protect their legacy. Macmillan recently announced a plan to delay the publication of e-books and offer enhancements that will justify a higher price. This tactic is aimed at Amazon’s policy of trying to set $9.99 as the expected price for an e-book. Most are priced much higher — but that’s beside the point. Amazon and publishers are fighting over this fiction, not the reality. Because Amazon’s customers have made it clear that $9.99 is still too high for their taste. Most titles in the company’s list of top 100 Kindle bestsellers are priced below $9.99, and the most popular price point is $0.00. But publishers can’t hear this, because they’re a little distracted right now.

The New York Times recently played up friction between publishers and agents over the electronic rights to backlist books. Random House has sent a letter to literary agents claiming to hold these rights even though it lost a court case on the subject. But agent, e-book publisher and blogger Richard Curtis puts the issue in perspective when he points out that few books are actually at stake here, because electronic rights became a contractual standard in 1990.

The real battle here is not over who controls the backlist rights but what royalties the publisher will pay. Stephen Covey caused a lot of consternation at Simon & Schuster last week when it was announced that he was taking his best backlist titles and publishing them with RosettaBooks, the e-book publisher that tangled with Random House on the issue and won. RosettaBooks is offering Covey half of the publishing proceeds, not the 25 percent or less he’d get from Simon. Publishers want these backlist books to add dollars to their bottom line; authors want to get a higher royalty for the backlist titles because the publisher doesn’t need to make any further investment to generate sales. There’s not a lot of room here to meet in the middle.

The stalemate ignores an important shift that digital publishing accelerates. The success of the book business over the past two decades was about expanding the supply of books. Growth came through increased volume, more titles and more title availability. That’s the story of the six big conglomerates and the growth of the superstores. But digital publishing inverts that formula — its magic is in the way it meets demand efficiently.

Barnes & Noble discovered that recently when the first of its Nook devices landed in the hands of reviewers. David Pogue and Walt Mossberg have both judged it a dud. The device seems to be a great packaging concept (dual-screen reader) marred by sloppy execution (slow navigation and refresh rates) that may leave them forever playing catch-up. Just building a device is not enough to capture sales. Amazon’s advantage is its customer base and brand loyalty. BN’s was going to be better functionality. If the books-and-mortar giant cannot make the breakthrough, more devices are coming to market — and one of them will make a meaningful move forward.

This doesn’t need to mean the end of book publishing. Publishers can no longer be vast containers of intellectual property distributed in paper form to bookstores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs. But they don’t have to be: They can become highly selective distributors to bookstores, supermarkets and price clubs. That’s the lesson of the television, music and movie businesses.

But if the publishers want a role in the e-books business, they’ll need to get over it and get on with it, embracing lower-priced e-books with higher author royalties. That seems unlikely. Because it’s now clear that publishers just don’t want to listen to what their customers are telling them.

12/09/2009

"Kindle" & "Nook" eBook Readers Will Be Left In Dust By New "Blio" !

Filed under: Blio e-Reader,eBook Readers,eBooks,Kindle e-Reader,Nook e-Reader — gator1965 @ 12:25 pm

A higher tech digital eBook reader with many more applications that can be used on ANY device with an operating system, including computers & iPhones, is coming out in 2010.

Mike Shatzkin revealed this discovery on “The Shatzkin Files”:

Baker & Taylor has the next big thing in ebooks. Really!
Posted by Mike Shatzkin on December 8, 2009

We’re about to see the Next Big Thing in ebooks next month and it’s coming from Baker & Taylor. Baker & Taylor?

For the past ten years, Baker & Taylor in relation to Ingram has looked remarkably similar to Borders in relation to Barnes & Noble. Ingram and B&N are family-owned companies (although B&N has the very significant complication of being publicly traded which, with Ron Burkle as a publicly disaffected shareholder, has been well-reported lately) while B&T and Borders are highly leveraged and controlled by private equity. Ingram and B&N with their long-view management styles have made significant infrastructure investments that the always-looking-for-an-exit B&T and Borders ownerships haven’t matched. Ingram built a great supply chain support structure and digital capabilities and B&N built a well-oiled, customized-to-their-needs internal supply chain. And B&T and Borders have made publishers’ credit managers bite their nails while B&N and Ingram are financially solid.

Over the past couple of years, Baker & Taylor has been cobbling together a team of third party vendors attempting to match the service offering Ingram has bought and built internally. To compete with Ingram Digital’s content conversion and digital repository offering, B&T teamed with LibreDigital. To match Ingram’s ability to set up retailers to sell ebooks, B&T created a partnership with OverDrive’s Content Reserve. And to create a print-on-demand capability like Ingram’s Lightning Print, B&T teamed up with Donnelley, which put a machine in B&T’s Momence warehouse.

All of this made sense to me, but it didn’t add up to B&T presenting any serious challenge to Ingram. But they’ve now developed something that might not only give Ingram food for thought but might have them scratching their heads at Amazon and Google and Apple, as well as ScrollMotion and Vook and anybody else thinking about enhanced ebooks.

On January 7 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, K-NFB will unveil a new “reading technology.” We in the book business will get to know it as a proprietary ebook platform from Baker & Taylor that has capabilities nothing presented previously can match. The platform is called Blio and creator K-NFB is a partnership of tech visionary Ray Kurzweil and the National Federation of the Blind…

Read more at http://alturl.com/fjyt

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