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November 11 2011

Publishing News: The standards of aggregation

Here are a few stories that caught my eye in the publishing space this week.

Jim Romenesko and the standards of aggregation

Quote.pngIn a bizarre turn of events, Jim Romenesko, the renowned blogger at Poynter who was on the brink of retirement, quit his post after Poynter ran a story about attribution inconsistencies in his writing — 12 years into his blog.

The Poynter post states:

Though information sources have always been displayed prominently in Jim's posts and are always linked at least once (often multiple times), too many of those posts also included the original author's verbatim language without containing his or her words in quotation marks, as they should have.

Calling Romenesko out raised eyebrows and ire. No one ever thought Romenesko was trying to take credit for others' work, but then again, some argue that aggregation should be held to journalistic standards. This is a much larger question than it may appear on the surface. Felix Salmon over at Reuters has a nice analysis on the issue and points out, "[Poynter's Julie] Moos is using the standards of original journalism, here, to judge a blogger who was never about original journalism." (He's referring to Moos' original post about the offending attribution errors and Poynter's guidelines.)

So, does aggregation require a new set of rules and standards, or should the traditional journalism guidelines apply? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Kobo gets new owners — and perhaps a larger playing field

Kobo.pngProbably the biggest industry news this week was the sale of Kobo to Japanese e-retailer Rakuten. The deal was summed up nicely in an All Things Digital headline: "The Amazon of Japan Buys the Kindle of Canada."

For Indigo, the majority shareholder in Kobo, the sale was about refocusing its core business. Brand strategist Anthony Campbell told the Globe and Mail:

Taking on Apple and Amazon and Google isn't just a distraction, it puts Indigo in a position where the brand would completely lose focus. By maintaining its focus, Indigo's better prepared to take on the likes of Target and other retailers who are trying to corner the lifestyle space.

For Kobo and Rakuten, the acquisition means expansion — for Kobo, geographic expansion; for Rakuten, market expansion. Michael Serbinis, Kobo's CEO, told the Wall Street Journal: "This is not a one-country game. Two-thirds of the book market is outside North America. We're going into countries where we will be No. 1." And according to All Things Digital, "[Rakuten] said the acquisition of Kobo will assist the company in its move to provide downloadable media to consumers, starting with e-books." Perhaps it won't be long before the "Japanese Amazon" is making a major play against the U.S. Amazon.

For more on the situation, there's a nice Q&A over at Canadian Business with Serbinis and Indigo CEO Heather Reisman about the sale and what comes next for both companies.

BISG study highlights the growth of ereading

BISGStudyCover.jpgThe Book Industry Study Group (BISG) is getting ready to release results from a new study that show the rapid growth of ereading. Highlights from the final survey in volume two of the "Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading" report include:

  • "... nearly 50% of print book consumers who have also acquired an e-book in the past 18 months would wait up to three months for the e-version of a book from a favorite author, rather than immediately read it in print."
  • " continues to be the preferred source for ebook acquisition (holding steady at 70%) and ebook information (44%). Barnes & Noble comes in second at 26%, with Apple in third."
  • "... although the cost of e-reading devices remains a reported concern, the single most popular answer to the question of what hinders respondents from reading more e-books was "nothing" at 33% (up from 17.6% a year ago)"

The full report is available for pre-order now. It will be published on November 21.

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May 26 2011

Delivereads curates content for your Kindle

DelivereadsA new project called Delivereads curates interesting content from around the web and delivers it to your Kindle, via your Kindle email address. At the time of this writing, Delivereads was sending out selections like GQ's "Out on the Ice," The Atlantic's "The Lazarus File," Washington Monthly's "The Information Sage," and Time's "Zach Galifianakis Hates to Be Loved."

In an email interview, Delivereads founder Dave Pell (@davepell) talked about the project's origin:

Everyone who worked on the product, including designer Brian Moco and developer Alex King of Crowd Favorite, did so for free because they were excited about the idea and are subscribing to it themselves.

The rest of our interview follows.

How are Deliveread articles curated, and who curates them?

Dave Pell: I do all the curation. I've been finding and sharing web content for more than a decade on blogs, in newsletters, and via Twitter. I've also started to get a lot of user submissions, which makes the process easier and a lot more interesting.

How does the web app work?

Dave Pell: The app is really only something that I use to tie the articles together into one delivery and give folks a simple table of contents so they can read articles in the order they choose. From a subscriber's perspective, you're just getting document emails sent to your Kindle address.

Should users be concerned about providing their Kindle email addresses — how is that data stored and how will it be used or shared?

Dave Pell: Users should not be concerned about sharing their Kindle email addresses for a couple key reasons. First, in order for anyone to send an email to one's Kindle, the sending address first needs to be added to that person's Kindle Approved Email Address list. In other words, if a sender is not whitelisted, they can't send an email to your Kindle address, period. This makes signing up for Delivereads a two-step process (submit Kindle email address, whitelist my sending address), but it's nice and secure for the subscriber. Second, I've been sending out newsletters, etc., for years, and I never share anyone's address or use it for anything other than what they signed up for.

Have you run into any publisher concerns about reformatting articles?

Dave Pell: I haven't heard any concerns. There are quite a few ways to read articles where you want and how you want these days. I'm not sure Delivereads is breaking any new ground there. It's really about curation. Also, it's a passion project. I don't have a revenue model. It's all about getting great writing in front of people who appreciate it.

Webcast: SneakPeek at Publishing Startups — SneakPeeks are a TOC webcast series featuring a behind-the-scenes look at publishing startups and their products. The inaugural SneakPeek webcast includes presentations from 24symbols, Valobox, Appitude, Active Reader and OnSwipe.

Join us on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at 10 am PT

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April 18 2011

February 02 2011

Aggregation apps respond to consumer personalization demands

Companies are finally starting to see that consumers of news crave a platform that will bring them what they want to read, anytime they want to read it, and exactly how they want to read it (we're a demanding lot). To that end, there recently has been something of an influx of news-aggregating apps. Flipboard, of course, was the iPad app of the year in 2010. It gathers news by aggregating links from a user's social media platforms — Twitter, Google Reader, Facebook — and redisplays the content in one place, all nice and pretty.

Flipboard and Instapaper

AOL has announced a competing app, AOL Editions, that will work similarly to Flipboard, but will gather the news based on a user's interests through category rankings (like a hyper-personalized Newser?). Sobees launched yet another product, NewsMix, that aggregates the same way as Flipboard. These are just a few, and all are for the iPad. I'm not sure I want my Facebook friends' comments alongside my daily nosh of news, but that's where we're headed.

There's some argument that these types of aggregators come very close to stepping on the toes of publishers' intellectual property rights. This may be especially true when they team up with ad stripping software — like the platform just announced by Readability and Instapaper. This platform tries to make things equitable by giving publishers a percentage of monthly fees. But will publishers think that's enough?

TOC: 2011, being held Feb. 14-16, 2011 in New York City, will explore "publishing without boundaries" through a variety of workshops, keynotes and panel sessions.

Save 15% off registration with the code TOC11RAD
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