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September 28 2013

Evernote réconcilie digital et expérience physique

Evernote réconcilie #digital et expérience physique

Pour lui, Evernote doit s’accorder au mode de vie moderne, connecté mais “productif” de ses utilisateurs, qui jonglent en permanence entre des #usages privés et professionnels. Le logiciel ne doit pas chercher à séparer ou même à équilibrer ces deux univers mais plutôt à les réunir sous une même interface, pour faire office, selon ses propres termes, de “#cerveau externalisé”.

June 05 2013

Print goes digital – und welche Leser gehen bei Paid Content mit?

Viele deutsche Zeitungs- und Zeitschriftenverlage digitalisieren ihre Strategien mit aller Kraft – und manchmal auch mit dem Mut der Verzweiflung. Die Erfahrungen der Vergangenheit haben gezeigt, dass bei der digitalen Wertschöpfung für redaktionelle Inhalte viel Fingerspitzengefühl gefragt ist. Längst haben sich die deutschen Internet-Nutzer an kostenfreien Content gewöhnt. Nun gilt es, zahlungsbereite Zielgruppen zu identifizieren und ihnen die »richtigen« digitalen Inhalte anzubieten.

Jeder dritte deutsche Internet-Nutzer liest die Zeitungen und Zeitschriften, die er regelmäßig konsumiert, inzwischen nur noch digital! Trotz »Mobile-Boom« kommt dabei stationären PCs sowie Laptops die größte Bedeutung zu: 28 % der befragten Internet-Nutzer lesen auf diesen Geräten »ihre« Zeitung bzw. Zeitschrift. Es folgen Smartphones bzw. Internet-Handys mit 15 % und Tablets (z. B. iPads) mit 13 %.

Lesen von redaktionellem Content auf digitalen Geräten

Trotz steigender Zahlungsbereitschaft gewinnt Paid Content keine Freunde

Ein positives Ergebnis ist, dass die Hälfte der befragten Internet-Nutzer nach eigenen Angaben bereit ist, für digitale Inhalte zu zahlen. Gut ein Viertel dagegen lehnt Paid Content grundsätzlich ab. Ungeachtet der öffentlich geführten Diskussionen über die Notwendigkeit, digitale Inhalte kostenpflichtig anzubieten, ist bei diesen Werten über die Jahre keine positive Tendenz zu verzeichnen – eher im Gegenteil. Innerhalb der letzten drei Jahre hat sich der Anteil der zahlungsbereiten Online-Nutzer rückläufig entwickelt.

Zahlungsbereitschaft von Paid Content im Zeitverlauf

Ein weiterer wichtiger Aspekt: Der relativ hohe Anteil der zahlungsbereiten Internet-Nutzer ist größtenteils auf die aus Nutzersicht attraktiven multimedialen Inhalte zurückzuführen, so z. B. auf Musikdownloads sowie das Herunterladen, Streamen und Ausleihen von Filmen. Zahlungsbereitschaft für digitale redaktionelle Inhalte in Form von Nachrichten, Artikeln und Informationen signalisiert dagegen lediglich jeder sechste Befragte.

Zahlungsbereitschaft für Paid Content

Die Hoffnungsträger für kostenpflichtige Inhalte

Wie so oft kommt es auch bei der Zahlungsbereitschaft für Paid Content auf das Produkt und auch auf die Zielgruppe an. Hoffnungsbringer für die erfolgreiche Vermarktung digitaler Redaktionsprodukte sind den W3B-Befragungsergebnissen zufolge männliche Nutzer sowie die zahlungskräftigen Tablet-Besitzer. Unter ihnen würde gut jeder Fünfte für redaktionelle Online-Inhalte zahlen. Als besonders attraktiv wurde zudem die Altersgruppe der 30- bis 40-jährigen Internet-Nutzer identifiziert: Hier zeigt sich sogar fast jeder Vierte zahlungsbereit.

Zahlungsbereitschaft für Paid Content im Zielgruppenvergleich

Das Lesen von Zeitungen und Zeitschriften auf digitalen Endgeräten ist bereits weit verbreitet und wird zukünftig weiter zunehmen. Nach wie vor steht jedoch dem steigenden Interesse, redaktionelle Inhalte digital zu lesen, nur eine überschaubare Gruppe zahlungsbereiter Nutzer gegenüber. Für Verlagshäuser gilt es, die für die eigenen Inhalte relevanten, zahlungsbereiten Zielgruppen zu identifizieren, ihre Bedürfnisse genau zu kennen und gezielt zu bedienen.

Der W3B-Report »Trends im Nutzerverhalten« befasst sich daher mit dem Thema digitaler Mediennutzung und Zahlungsbereitschaft für redaktionellen Content.

October 15 2012

New ethics for a new world

Since the first of our ancestors chipped stone into weapon, technology has divided us. Seldom more than today, however: a connected, always-on society promises health, wisdom, and efficiency even as it threatens an end to privacy and the rise of prejudice masked as science.

On its surface, a data-driven society is more transparent, and makes better uses of its resources. By connecting human knowledge, and mining it for insights, we can pinpoint problems before they become disasters, warding off disease and shining the harsh light of data on injustice and corruption. Data is making cities smarter, watering the grass roots, and improving the way we teach.

But for every accolade, there’s a cautionary tale. It’s easy to forget that data is merely a tool, and in the wrong hands, that tool can do powerful wrong. Data erodes our privacy. It predicts us, often with unerring accuracy — and treating those predictions as fact is a new, insidious form of prejudice. And it can collect the chaff of our digital lives, harvesting a picture of us we may not want others to know.

The big data movement isn’t just about knowing more things. It’s about a fundamental shift from scarcity to abundance. Most markets are defined by scarcity — the price of diamonds, or oil, or music. But when things become so cheap they’re nearly free, a funny thing happens.

Consider the advent of steam power. Economist Stanley Jevons, in what’s known as Jevons’ Paradox, observed that as the efficiency of steam engines increased, coal consumption went up. That’s not what was supposed to happen. Jevons realized that abundance creates new ways of using something. As steam became cheap, we found new ways of using it, which created demand.

The same thing is happening with data. A report that took a month to run is now just a few taps on a tablet. An unthinkably complex analysis of competitors is now a Google search. And the global distribution of multimedia content that once required a broadcast license is now an upload.

Big data is about reducing the cost of analyzing our world. The resulting abundance is triggering entirely new ways of using that data. Visualizations, interfaces, and ubiquitous data collection are increasingly important, because they feed the machine — and the machine is hungry.

The results are controversial. Journalists rely on global access to data, but also bring a new skepticism to their work, because facts are easy to manufacture. There’s good evidence that we’ve never been as polarized, politically, as we are today — and data may be to blame. You can find evidence to support any conspiracy, expose any gaffe, or refute any position you dislike, but separating truth from mere data is a growing problem.

Perhaps the biggest threat that a data-driven world presents is an ethical one. Our social safety net is woven on uncertainty. We have welfare, insurance, and other institutions precisely because we can’t tell what’s going to happen — so we amortize that risk across shared resources. The better we are at predicting the future, the less we’ll be willing to share our fates with others. And the more those predictions look like facts, the more justice looks like thoughtcrime.

The human race underwent a huge shift when we banded together into tribes, forming culture and morals to tie us to one another. As groups, we achieved great heights, building nations, conquering challenges, and exploring the unknown. If you were one of those tribesmen, it’s unlikely you knew what was happening — it’s only in hindsight that the shift from individual to group was radical.

We’re in the middle of another, perhaps bigger, shift, one that’s taking us from physical beings to digital/physical hybrids. We’re colonizing an online world, and just as our ancestors had to create new social covenants and moral guidelines to work as groups, so we have to craft new ethics, rights and laws.

Those fighting for social change have their work cut out for them, because they’re not just trying to find justice — they’re helping to rewrite the ethical and moral guidelines for a nascent, always-on, data-driven species.


August 06 2012

The miracle of a thumbnail image from Mars

Last night, I stayed up late to watch the NASA livestream of the Curiosity rover landing. It seems to have been an unmitigated success: each step of the entry and landing process, even that crazy sky-crane maneuver, was performed flawlessly.

As Travis Beacham put it on Twitter:

Although there were tearful hugs and high-fives and all manner of cheering when “Touchdown!” was called, the wonderment built to a real climax when the first thumbnail image came through. It was small, in black and white, and showed the Martian horizon in the background, with the wheel of the rover in the foreground.

Shortly thereafter, a slightly larger version was displayed: still black and white, but with enough resolution to show dust on the glass. A second one followed a few minutes later, showing the rover’s shadow on the ground. Cue the “pics or it didn’t happen” jokes, as well as the rapid proliferation of Photoshopped spoofs.

Image from the Curiosity rover on Mars
One of the first images from the Curiosity rover.

In our micro-culture of the moment, obsessed with photo sharing and images, this tiny thumbnail still seemed like a miracle (albeit a required one). A picture really is worth a whole lot of words. But have you ever stopped to think about what it takes to plan for that from Mars?

We take for granted being able to snap a great-looking picture and send it wirelessly to almost anywhere we want with the tap of a few icons, but transmitting images back from another planet is a complicated process.

I couldn’t help but think about the images that came back from the Phoenix lander in 2008, and the excellent chapter J.M. Hughes, principle software engineer for the imaging software on Phoenix, wrote in Beautiful Data:

The challenge was to devise a way to download the image data from each of the cameras, store the data in a pre-allocated memory location, process the data to remove known pixel defects, crop and/or scale the images, perform any commanded compression, and then slice-and-dice it all up into packets for hand-off to the main computer’s downlink manager task for transmission back to Earth.

And all of this must be done carefully, sparingly, in order to conserve resources. As Hughes put it, “A spacecraft is an exercise in applied minimalism: just enough to do the job and no more.”

In honor of the Curiosity’s inspiring success, we’re making Hughes’ chapter available here. Reading about some of the design trade-offs required in building and successfully deploying the imaging software on a Mars spacecraft makes Curiosity’s achievement all the more amazing.

Images from the Curiosity rover can be found here.

Curiosity image: NASA/JPL-Caltech


April 10 2012

State of the Computer Book Market, part 5: Wrap-Up and Digital

In this final post, (posts 1-4 are available here), I will provide a summary of the first four posts, provide some insight into a view of top authors, and include data on electronic books and how parts of the digital world are surpassing the print world.

Here is a quick summary of posts 1-4.

In 2011 the book market, as a whole, saw about -9.25% fewer units sold than in 2010. The tech book market was up by 2% in 2011, so it out performed the whole market. Yet our data, which is based on the Top 3000 titles for each week, shows only 0.7% growth. This means that the majority of the growth was generated by the titles that produced very few copies and may not have made it into a weekly report for a given week in 2011. The market continued to follow its seasonal pattern, getting off to a fast start in 2011, taking its typical nose-dive downward in July, and recovering in the fall. Yet there were some anomalies with higher peaks and valleys in the trend-lines for 2011. These anomalies were caused by Borders Books (BGI) going out of business.

There were 21 weeks in 2011 that were ahead of the same week in 2010. In 2010 there were only 11 weeks that were ahead of the prior year's unit sales. There were 442 more titles (from all copyright years) that made it into the Top 3000 reports during 2011, and 268 more in 2010 than 2009. This demonstrates that the threshold to make a Top 3000 report was lower than any other year. The average units per title, for all titles not just new, increased slightly from 37.95 in 2010 to 37.96 in 2011. As far as new 2011 titles, there were 349 fewer titles published that made the dataset, but they averaged 3.4 more units per title and averaged 1 less page per title, and on average cost $0.80 less than 2010. Again, these titles had a publish date during 2011.

The biggest winners in growth order are: Tablet, Mobile Programming, Windows Consumer, Security Topics, Hardware Topics, Social Web, Computers and Society, Cloud Computing, Information Technology, and Data Topics. The areas with the largest drop in units were, in descending order: Web Page Creation, Digital Photography, Mac OS, Flash, Web Programming, Web Design Tools, Personal Computers, Linux, Software Project Management, and Personal Database. In the top performing area of Mobile Programming, iOS was nine times as large as Android in 2009, and roughly 2.5 times as large of a category in 2010, and today sells only 1.2 times as many copies of Android books to developers.

From a publisher's perspective, Pearson regained the second spot at the end of 2011, behind Wiley and slightly ahead of O'Reilly. The two imprints of O'Reilly and Dummies continue to have the most diverse publishing programs due to their strong performance in all six tech categories.

The number one title, from a dollar perspective, was PMP Exam Prep, Sixth Edition: Rita's Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam and from a unit perspective, My iPad 2. From a dollars perspective, the PMP book has ranked in the top two since 2005. The number one programming language for three years running (2009, 2010, and 2011) was Java, with JavaScript and VBA also showing continued strong growth in 2011. That's the quick review.

Now let's turn our attention to the most important ingredient in publishing — authors. Authors are the entities that create all types of content. And there are all types of authors. Some are really like small publishing houses with "co-authors" doing most of the heavy lifting. Then there are those who do all the lifting: editing, writing, testing, and coding of the content themselves, and then move on to help promote, market and sell. These latter activities are what contribute to what we call an author platform. Some authors have an inherent platform by who they are or what their 9-5 job is, while others have to work hard to cultivate their platform. The most successful authors in our dataset have figured out both the upfront creation of content and the end-game of helping with marketing and sales. The table below shows the top 15 authors for 2011 and what their rank is for both 2011 and lifetime units. I'm also showing what their % Units '11 was so you can see the percentage of their lifetime units that they sold in 2011. A few did really well in 2011 and yet lifetime are not a top 10 author. Scott Kelby and David Pogue did not have outstanding numbers in 2011 but are the top two lifetime authors from a units perspective. Gary Rosenzweig and Patrick Kanouse both had outstanding sales in 2011 but are nowhere near top 15 authors from a lifetime perspective.

Author_List 2011 Rank All Time Rank % Units '11 Paul McFedries 1 6 17.68% Andy Rathbone 2 3 9.18% Gary Rosenzweig 3 61 59.19% Nancy C. Muir 4 24 25.26% David Pogue 5 1 7.57% Greg Harvey 6 4 9.10% Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus 7 44 41.49% Patrick Kanouse 8 148 90.02% Brad Miser 9 30 28.52% Dan Gookin 10 5 7.75% Stephen L. Nelson 11 8 9.49% John Walkenbach 12 10 10.17% Wallace Wang 13 13 11.10% Scott Kelby 14 2 4.55% Peter Weverka 15 19 11.41%

The noticeable change is that Scott Kelby takes the number one spot from a dollar perspective even though David Pogue sells more units. Books with slightly higher prices enable this movement in the position/rank. Notice that Rita Mulchay does not make the Top 15 for units sold, and yet as an author her books are ranked number seven in dollars generated. Another interesting observation is that there are about six authors that are in the mix for the top spot all-time, yet there is a significant drop-off after the top six. In the dollars view, the drop-off is even more significant after the top two authors.

When you look at the data for the top 15 authors (basically, who has produced more units and dollars), you get the following two charts, showing lifetime sales (2004-2011).

Units Dollars LifeTimeAuthorUnits.jpg

In 2011, Paul McFedries had his name on 56 different books (ranging from 2001 through 2011) that made our list, for an average of 1,937 units per book. His books sold the most units in 2011 but his average was the lowest of the all time top-five authors. His total was about 22,000 more units than David Pogue who saw 16 of his titles make the list with an average of 4,789 per title.


Electronic distribution and sales

Now let's move past print sales in 2011 — or at least partially away from traditional channels of distribution — to discuss e-distribution. The three charts immediately below are from Bowker, which has recently released its Results Of Global eBook Research. The charts show three interesting graphs about awareness of for-pay content, digital consumption by gender, and digital consumption by age. What is interesting to me is not that Indian males lead the way in both digital downloads and purchasing for-pay content, but rather that more women than men in the U.S. and U.K. are consumers of digital content. It is also no surprise, at least to me, that the 25-34 age group is the most active in consuming digital content.

Click on each image to view a larger version.

Awareness of Paid Content Digital Consumers by Sex Bowker Digital Paid Awareness Bowker Penetration of Buyers by Sex Digital Consumers by Age Bowker Penetration of Buyers by Age

Now to take you into the tech book digital market, let's look at what has happened in the past few years with O'Reilly products. The chart immediately below shows our digital products aggregated into one number and then plotted by year and month. This gives you a perspective of how things are changing. What it does not show is that early digital copies were all PDF files that were pretty clumsy and not as useful. Now we offer our content in virtually any form our readers prefer. So with Mobi and EPUB, we are seeing the less useful PDF decline significantly. But the chart below groups all digital forms together. Only two months in 2011 were not ahead of 2010. Those two months were June and July, which coincidentally coincided with the Borders' liquidation of physical products.


I also think it is important to look at what O'Reilly customers purchased when visiting The chart below shows our content mix for the previous two years. The only thing declining in 2011 was our total sales for print products. Rough Cuts are early access editions of our content that are accessible on Safari. As you can see, our ebooks outsell everything by nearly 4 to 1.


What I am not sure exists is a good indicator of what the startup community uses for technical content and books. But if I had to bet, I would wager on ebooks direct from the publisher would be the preferred format in the startup world.

The four charts below show O'Reilly revenue and units growth through The reason I am showing these is because the same content that goes into our print books is available in various digital forms. It is quite obvious that our customers prefer to shop on for digital copies.

The two charts on the left are showing revenue (top-left) and units (bottom-left) for 2011 exclusively. The two charts on the right are both revenue and units but are showing the trend for the previous four years. From talking with other publishers, this high-growth trend for digital books is indicative of what is happening in the market. The ebooks are just digital versions of our print products. We have not come to a point yet where the digital edition is a native creation that is a blend of live, editable code, video, text, images, links, assessment tools, and other resources all working together. At this point in time, most digital products are typically print books with a few links and some color for good measure. But don't blink because the tech book market will change quickly to these more blended content types.

O'Reilly Product Mix - Revenue 2011 O'Reilly Print vs. eBook - Revenue Trend Ecom_1.jpg Ecom_2a.jpg   O'Reilly Product Mix - Units 2011 O'Reilly Print vs. eBook - Units Trend Ecom_3.jpg Ecom_4.jpg

Again, this data is taken from direct sales for O'Reilly and, and may not represent the whole computer book market. One point that was recently brought in discussions at O'Reilly by our VP of online is that O'Reilly is selling more copies of digital editions than any other distributors that carry our digital copies. I think that may be due to the fact that we have DRM-free content that allows you to move your copy of your purchase to another device. For another perspective on DRM, I wrote this for our author newsletter a while back and I still believe that the ideas are sound. Have a look here.

Another key ingredient to understanding what is happening in the digital world is to look at Safari Books Online. Safari is a subscription service with more than 500,000 users. Its main focus is its B2B service that allows developers from many of the largest companies in the world to have access to technical books from most of the major publishing houses and imprints. One notable difference is that the categories with consumer-oriented titles, including the Digital Media titles, do not perform as well in Safari. Developer titles rule in Safari; so as a proxy, Safari may be one of the better predictors of a tech book market. As you can see from the chart to the left, our content in Safari is growing at a nice steady rate. In fact it is safe to say that Safari represents the second largest distribution channel for O'Reilly, with Amazon still occupying the top spot and O'Reilly direct battling for third. It will be interesting to see how the distribution of technical content unfolds in the coming years.


If you look at word clouds for the titles published in 2011 for all books, and the ones found on Safari for O'Reilly during 2011, you notice some similarities. Notably that "Development" and "Programming" are big in both images, but slightly larger on Safari. I was initially not sure why "Control" was so large on Safari, but after a bit of digging I found that Tidbits Publishing has a series called "Take Control" and O'Reilly Media is a distribution partner for them in Safari.


All print titles

Safari for O'Reilly

Thank you for reading these posts. If there is something that you are itching to see / understand more clearly, please let me know and I will try to help. I plan to excerpt updated pieces of these posts on Twitter or Google+ throughout the year. They'll come from @mikehatora or +Mike Hendrickson and will likely get re-tweeted by @oreillymedia or +O'Reilly on Google+.

March 20 2012

Play fullscreen

Evolutionary biologist Michael Eisen made this t-shirt design in support of the Elsevier boycott.

Academic research is behind bars and an online boycott by 8,209 researchers (and counting) is seeking to set it free…well, more free than it has been. The boycott targets Elsevier, the publisher of popular journals like Cell and The Lancet,  for its aggressive business practices, but opposition was electrified by Elsevier’s backing of a Congressional bill titled the Research Works Act (RWA). Though lesser known than the other high-profile, privacy-related bills SOPA and PIPA, the act was slated to reverse the Open Access Policy enacted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2008 that granted the public free access to any article derived from NIH-funded research. Now, only a month after SOPA and PIPA were defeated thanks to the wave of online protests, the boycotting researchers can chalk up their first win: Elsevier has withdrawn its support of the RWA, although the company downplayed the role of the boycott in its decision, and the oversight committee killed it right away.

But the fight for open access is just getting started.

Seem dramatic? Well, here’s a little test. Go to any of the top academic journals in the world and try to read an article. The full article, mind you…not just the abstract or the first few paragraphs. Hit a paywall? Try an article written 20 or 30 years ago in an obscure journal. Just look up something on PubMed then head to JSTOR where a vast archive of journals have been digitized for reference. Denied? Not interested in paying $40 to the publisher to rent the article for a few days or purchase it for hundreds of dollars either? You’ve just logged one of the over 150 million failed attempts per year to access an article on JSTOR. Now consider the fact that the majority of scientific articles in the U.S., for example, has been funded by government-funded agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, NIH, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, NASA, and so on. So while taxpayer money has fueled this research, publishers charge anyone who wants to actually see the results for themselves, including the authors of the articles.

Paying a high price for academic journals isn’t anything new, but the events that unfolded surrounding the RWA was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It began last December when the RWA was submitted to Congress. About a month later, Timothy Gowers, a mathematics professor at Cambridge University, posted rather innocently to his primarily mathematics-interested audience his particular problems with Elsevier, citing exorbitant prices and forcing libraries to purchase journal bundles rather than individual titles. But clearly, it was Elsevier’s support of the RWA that was his call to action. Two days later, he launched the boycott of Elsevier at, calling upon his fellow academics to refuse to work with the publisher in any capacity.

Seemingly right out of Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, researchers started taking a stand in droves. And the boycott of Elsevier continues on, though with less gusto now that the RWA is dead. It’s important to point out though that the boycott is not aimed at forcing Elsevier to make the journals free, but protesting the way it does its business and the fact that it has profits four times larger than related publishers. The Statement of Purpose for the protest indicates that the specific issues that researchers have with Elsevier varies, but “…what all the signatories do agree on is that Elsevier is an exemplar of everything that is wrong with the current system of commercial publication of mathematics journals.”

The advantages of open access to researchers have been known for some time, but its popularity has struggled.

It’s clear that all forms of print media, including newspapers, magazines, and books, are in a crisis in the digital era (remember Borders closing?). The modern accepted notion that information should be free has crippled publishers and many simply waited too long to evolve into new pay models. When academic journals went digital, they locked up access behind paywalls or tried to sell individual articles at ridiculous prices. Academic research is the definition of premium, timely content and prices reflected an incredibly small customer base (scientific researchers around the globe) who desperately needed the content as soon as humanly possible. Hence, prices were set high enough that libraries with budgets remained the primary customers, until of course library budgets got slashed, but academics vying for tenure, grants, relevance, or prestige continued to publish in these same journals. After all, where else could they turn…that is, besides the Public Library of Science (PLoS) project?

In all fairness, some journals get it. The Open Directory maintains a list of journals that switched from paywalls to open access or are experimenting with alternative models. Odds are very high that this list will continue to grow, but how fast? And more importantly, will the Elsevier boycott empower researchers to get on-board the open access paradigm, even if it meant having to reestablish themselves in an entirely new ecosystem of journals?

As the numbers of dissenting researchers continue to climb, calls for open access to research are translating into new legislation…and the expected opposition. But let’s hope that some are thinking about breaking free from the journal model altogether and discovering creative, innovative ways to get their research findings out there, like e-books or apps that would make the research compelling and interactive. Isn’t it about time researchers took back control of their work?

If you are passionate about the issue of open access to research, you’ll want to grab a cup of coffee and nestle in for this Research Without Borders video from Columbia University, which really captures the challenge of transition from the old publishing model to the new digital world:

[Media: Michael Eisen, Open Access, YouTube]

[Sources: ChronicleThe Cost of KnowledgeLibrary JournalNYTimes]

December 13 2011

Now available: "Breaking the Page" preview edition

I'm thrilled to announce the release of the preview edition of "Breaking the Page: Transforming Books and the Reading Experience" (available through the iBookstore, Amazon and O'Reilly). In this free download, I tackle one big-ticket question: how do we make digital books as satisfying as their print predecessors?

I've studied hundreds of recent publishing experiments, comparing them all to what I've learned during a 20-plus year career as writer, editor, and publisher. My goal: distill best-practice principles and spotlight model examples. I want to help authors understand how to use the digital canvas to convey their best ideas, and how to do so in a reader-friendly way. As app book tinkering flourishes, and as EPUB 3 emerges as an equally rich alternative, the time felt right for a look at the difference between what can and what should be done in digital book-land. That's my mission in "Breaking the Page."

The preview edition's three chapters focus on some basics: browsing, searching, and navigating. This ain't the sexiest crew, I know, but it's amazing how hard it is to get this stuff right. I focus on examples good and bad, toss in a few design ideas of my own, and suggest how to include these services in a way that makes digital books pleasing on eyes, hands, and minds.

Ahead, I've got a head-to-toe tour of model digital book features planned for the full edition (coming mid-2012). I'll be focusing on questions like:

  • What's the best way to integrate — and not just add — different media types? And, on a related note: is it possible to make the viewing experience as seamless and immersive as reading is in print?
  • How do you design content and reading paths on what is, essentially, an infinite canvas?
  • How do you pick the best balance between personalized design (reader-controllable font sizing, for example) and author-driven fixed layout? Are there any acceptable compromises?

While I'm pushing ahead to the finish line, I'd love to hear what you think. Suggestions, examples, critiques … send 'em all my way.

TOC NY 2012 — O'Reilly's TOC Conference, being held Feb. 13-15, 2012, in New York City, is where the publishing and tech industries converge. Practitioners and executives from both camps will share what they've learned and join together to navigate publishing's ongoing transformation.

Register to attend TOC 2012


May 19 2011

May 11 2011



(PDF, 1.21 MB)

Mémoire de Master 2 - 10/05/2011, Cécile Meynard (Dir.) Liste des fichiers attachés à ce document:
  PDF Gauquelin_T._memoire_-_sans_image.pdf(1.2 MB)

L'impact du développement de l'e-book sur l'organisation des bibliothèques et le métier de bibliothécaire Tiphaine Gauquelin1

Bien plus qu'un simple produit informatique, le numérique fait aujourd'hui partie intégrante de notre quotidien. À l'aube des années 2010, après la musique et la vidéo, c'est au tour du secteur du livre de se voir bouleversé par l'arrivée du numérique. Il s'agira ici de s'interroger sur la manière dont se sont développés les livres électroniques et sur la façon dont ils peuvent s'insérer dans notre société. Cela nous amènera ensuite à réfléchir à l'impact d'un tel changement sur les bibliothèques et sur les possibles attitudes à adopter face à l'arrivée d'e-books dans les collections, aux côtés de documents papier plus traditionnels.

1 :  UFR des Lettres et Arts - Grenoble 3

original www-site:

May 03 2011

Play fullscreen


Unearthed: A Documentary Treasure on the History of the Internet

15 minutes of a rarely-seen BBC documentary demolish the myth that ARPAnet was inspired by nuclear war, and explain the far more intriguing truth. 

The impending deletion of content from Google Video has inspired quite a few uploaders to port their content to Youtube, unearthing a trove of pre-YouTube-era gems like this one. It’s a BBC documentary from 1997 called Inside the Internet, and features interviews with the scientists who actually built the infrastructure on which the Internet is based.

via techspotlight

Reposted fromjhnbrssndn jhnbrssndn

March 02 2011

Information overload? Time to relax then | Technology |

"There are fascinating implications for a world of probabilistic resource use: for one thing, it points up the importance of "signal amplification" through retweets, reposts, and other recycling of interesting tit-bits – these are critical to the successful use of a medium that can't be consumed by any one person from tip to tail."
Reposted frommilkmiruku milkmiruku

March 01 2011

February 23 2011

Reports of marginalia's demise have been exaggerated

marginalia.jpgAs with most things, it's easier to lament a loss than come up with a solution. Joe Wikert took The New York Times article mourning the death of marginalia in digital books head-on, choosing the more difficult path of coming up with a solution.

He argued that there is no reason there can't be digital margin notes, and what's more, there wouldn't need to be just one copy of the margin notes:

Rather than there just being one copy of that famous person's notes, why not offer them for sale to anyone else who buys the ebook? ... The idea is for thought leaders, celebrities, etc., to make handwritten notes in ebooks they read, and sell them as an add-on.

A win-win-win for publishers, authors and readers. And as Bob Stein, founder and co-director of The Institute for the Future of the Book, pointed out in an e-mail interview, people are already experimenting:

Marginalia is alive and well in the digital era. Check out the complex discussion conducted by seven women over the course of six weeks in the margin of Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook."

There are experiments in academia as well. It's only a matter of time before marginalia processes develop into a form suitable for mainstream digital books.

Photo: Marginalia by Cat Sidh, on Flickr


January 18 2011

Europeana Strategic plan 2011-2015

A national aggregation initiative in every EU member state is one of Europeana's aims by 2015

January 13 2011


Internet - Sinn und Unsinn eines digitalen Radiergummis | Deutschlandradio Wissen 20110113 - Audio

Gespräch mit Jürgen Kuri von der Computerzeitschrift c't

<p>Bei wort "impossible" wurde die erste silbe "im" mit einem radiergummi entfernt
Vergessen im Netz - geht das? (morberg/

Brauchen Daten im Netz ein Verfallsdatum?

Verbraucherschutz-Ministerin Ilse Aigner hat sich am Dienstag mit Vertretern aus Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft, Verbraucher- und Datenschutz getroffen. Ihre Idee: Internetnutzer sollen ihre Daten künftig mit einem Verfallsdatum versehen können.

Doch wie sinnvoll ist ein solcher "Radiergummi fürs Netz"? Darüber sprechen wir mit Jürgen Kuri von der Computerzeitschrift c't. Für ihn liegt die Chance des Internets gerade darin, nichts zu vergessen. Die grundsätzliche Frage laute: Wie halten wir es mit der digitalen Geschichte – der individuellen wie der kollektiven? Und nicht zuletzt gebe es gegen derartige "Vergessens-Versuche" immer auch technische Bedenken.

Mehr bei DRadio Wissen:

Datenschutz - Digitaler Radiergummi - Webschau mit Martina Schulte (11.01.2011)

Internet - Radiergummi digital - Beitrag von Peter Welchering (12.01.2011)

December 08 2010

Puerto Rico: Artist Collective Paints Pixel By Pixel

By Alfredo Richner

Design Undodigital

Taking their name from their favorite command on computer programs, UNDOdigital started off as a group of friends working for the same ad agency. Feeling the urge to create work outside of the advertising industry to address broader topics as well as some of their individual concerns as digital artists, these (originally) twelve individuals banded together under the UNDO banner in early 2006.  By the end of that year they had successfully organized their first show as an artist collective.

Two years later [es] had changed from a basic catalog of the group's work to a full-fledged blog that lets UNDOer's interact with the broader online community, share their creations, promote their exhibits, and expose their readers to all types of art related news, interviews, and works. Rick Lipsett (@ricklipsett), one of the group's creators and editor of the site, explained how members of UNDOdigital “want to achieve a public recognition that art can be produced in the computer. That it is not the computer who does the work, but each artist with his/her own techniques and knowledge of the programs/medium.” We spoke with Rick about the genesis of the UNDOdigital collective and the group's experiences as digital artists in Puerto Rico.

Global Voices (GV): How did the idea for the UNDOdigital artist collective first start taking shape and what were some of the group's first projects?

Rick Lipsett (RP): Back in early 2006, we (the twelve founding members of the collective) were pretty much overwhelmed and tired of making advertisements and never getting the chance to create something for ourselves - something that a client couldn't say ‘NO' to. One of our members (Gerardo Cloquell) had an Art Show as part of El Coro, another group which he belongs to, that some of us attended. It got me thinking: why not use our skills, which were being used for “evil” (advertising work) and use them for “good” (art shows)?

When I got to work the next day, I showed them the name and logo for the collective. It had me up all night. We fell in love with the concept and started off from there. I remember we sat down to have lunch at a Wendy's and threw in some ideas as to what the show could be about. That day we had the basic down for our first four exhibitions.

GV: What issues, topics, and themes has the collective addressed through its art to this date?

RL: The first show was a ‘Social Critique' to further analyze our social situation through things we did (and perhaps still do) every day. The second was about ‘Dreams & Nightmares,' an idea we've had before UNDO was created. The third, ‘Author/Artist,' consisted of collaborations between a writer and an artist, which is what we do in advertising every day. And finally, ‘Addictions,' which we envisioned as an opportunity to do some soul searching and explore ours and people's vices, besides the obvious ones that the media point to every day.

Although we've had four different art shows, with different themes, we tend to always show a strong sense of awareness of our social situation (in Puerto Rico) - and want to change it.

GV: What made you decide to take the collective online and how is the UNDOdigital blog an extension of the group?

RL: Joseph Garrahan, the animator in our group, suggested I open up a blog to let people in on our little adventures. At first I doubted the idea, but later gave in - and must say it's been one of the best decisions we've made so far. It lets us reach out to an audience that normally would be more difficult to talk to. That, combined with our Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Buzz pages, make a wide net that puts us in touch with more UNDOfans. The blog functions is more or less a reflection of our meetings: we are a group of friends that talk extensively about art. We make jokes. Criticize our surroundings. Make art critiques. Repeat.

Work by UNDOdigital artist Patricia Acevedo

GV: Is there a strong artistic presence within the Puerto Rican blogosphere and social media sphere?

RL: Oh yes. There are many blogs dedicated to the arts and even a unique social network called “Coalición de Artistas de Puerto Rico” [es]. Although we are not a part of that community, I must give them credit, for they have achieved a connection between a large number of artists from Puerto Rico - over 500 in all. But just to name a few blogs, there's Fractal [es], Autogiro [es], El naufragio de las palabras [es], Trance Líquido [es], and msa Xperimental Art [es].

GV: Have you found support for the collective's projects online and has the group received any criticism through the blog?

RL: Yes, thankfully we've received much support from the people who've followed us online throughout the years. When we have a show, they promote us and regularly comment on our posts and/or retweet our posts. About the criticism, I remember specially an interview I did a while back with Lisa Ladner. She gave us a few pointers and she was right on. Lisa is the creator of El Status which is a database of (almost) every artist from Puerto Rico. She's done an excellent job cataloging each artist with their biographies, external links, etc.

UNDOdigital artists at their most recent exhibit, 'Adicciones.'

GV: What are some of the unique challenges that digital artists face in the creation and exhibition of their work?

RL: The creation is always limited by the knowledge of the technology an artist uses. The more they know, the more “fluent” the art piece becomes. Another challenge is proper printing or “output” of the work. We have to be very careful not to print on the wrong surface, or show an animation in a Plasma TV, when it was really developed for a 16″ television. That sort of thing.

GV: As a Puerto Rican artist, what concerns you most about the current economic, social, and political climate in the island?

RL: The atmosphere is very volatile and putrid. That is why we use it as inspiration for many of our art works. People are really tired of all the B.S. our politicians TRY to feed us. Some believe them blindly but every day a few dozen realize something's wrong. We want to help those who need a nudge to realize the truth.

The economy, being how it is right now, makes it harder for established galleries and museums to invest in upcoming talent. And since we're seen as “up and coming” we've had to make detours and present our work in handpicked places whose owners believe in our project. Many have paid no attention to us. Thankfully a few (important ones) have.

Work by UNDOdigital artist Carlos Pacheco

Work by UNDOdigital artist Kavo

Work by UNDOdigital artist Gerardo Cloquell

Work by UNDOdigital artist Mario Rodríguez

November 12 2010

November 10 2010


May 03 2010


Calisphere - A World of Digital Resources - University of California - Digital Archive

About Calisphere

Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 150,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. Calisphere's content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations across California. See the list of contributing institutions.

Calisphere is a public service project of the California Digital Library (CDL). Through the use of technology and innovation, the CDL supports the assembly and creative use of scholarship for the UC libraries and the communities they serve. Learn more about the CDL. [...]

April 28 2010

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