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January 27 2012

Publishing News: Ereader ownership doubles, again

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

Two surveys indicate a bright future for digital publishing

Back in June, a survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project showed ereader ownership in the U.S. had doubled in six months. As impressive as those statistics were, the latest survey released by the company this week showed that both tablet and ereader ownership in the U.S. nearly doubled again, but in a much shorter time frame between mid-December and early January (the holiday season, of course).

Ereader ownership chart

The survey also indicated that "[t]he number of Americans owning at least one of these digital reading devices jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January." And ownership wasn't gender biased in terms of tablets: The survey showed that the same percentage — 19% — of both males and females own a tablet. Ownership of ereaders, however, skewed female: 21% of women in the U.S. own ereaders but just 16% of the men do.

Pew attributed the dramatic growth not only to holiday shopping, but to the timely release of devices priced in the double digits by Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Another survey released this week by RBC Capital indicated that Amazon may be making more bank per Kindle Fire device than initially thought — meaning it may not be losing money on each sale in the long term. Eric Savitz at Forbes quoted analyst Ross Sandler:

"Our assumption is that AMZN could sell 3-4 million Kindle Fire units in Q4, and that those units are accretive to company-average operating margin within the first six months of ownership. Our analysis assigns a cumulative lifetime operating income per unit of $136, with a cumulative operating margin of over 20%."

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt strikes a deal with Amazon

AmazonLogo.jpgHoughton Mifflin Harcourt and Amazon Publishing East Coast announced a deal this week in which HMH will publish the print editions of Amazon's East Coast titles and, as Laura Hazard Owen pointed out, "will distribute them everywhere in North America outside of"

Owen astutely observed that this agreement may pave the way for Amazon to get its books in the hands of Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar shoppers, a feat Amazon has yet to accomplish.

Also this week, Bloomberg Businessweek ran a feature piece on Larry Kirshbaum, the man behind Amazon Publishing East Coast's success thus far — or "Amazon's hit man," as Businessweek dubbed him. The feature also dipped into the history of Amazon Publishing and its relationship to traditional publishing and the Big Six. It's well worth the read.

A call to arms for libraries

Much of the current discourse around libraries centers around ebook availability. But the importance of the future existence of libraries goes way beyond whether or not the digital version of James Patterson's latest bestseller can be had with a library card. A Slideshare post by Ned Potter this week elevated the discussion to a higher plane. Some highlights from the presentation include:

  • "The top 10 jobs of 2010 didn't exist in 2004 — who can provide relevant up-to-date information in areas in which none of us are educated? Libraries can."
  • "There are three billion Google searches per day — libraries can provide access to the Internet and help people use it safely."
  • "Librarians are information professionals — they can help sort, assess, collate and present information in our age of information overload."

Here's the presentation in full:

To stay current with the library discussion, other library experts to follow include Peter Brantley, Andrew Albanese, Justin Hoenke, and Sarah Houghton (to name just a few).


January 13 2012

A study confirms what we've all sensed: Readers are embracing ereading

The recently released Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading study by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) showed impressive growth in ereading. From October 2010 to August 2011, the ebook market share more than tripled. Also notable, readers are committing to the technology, with almost 50% of ereading consumers saying they would wait up to three months to read a new ebook from a favorite author rather than reading the same book immediately in print.

In the following interview, BISG's deputy executive director Angela Bole reviews some of the study's data and addresses growing trends in ereading.

Bole will further examine the study's results — including data from the new third volume — at the "Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading" session at the upcoming Tools of Change for Publishing conference.

Are readers embracing ereading?

AngelaBole.jpgAngela Bole: When the first survey in volume two of BISG's "Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading" was fielded in October 2010, the market share for ebooks was less than 5%. In the latest fielding, conducted in August 2011, the market share was almost 16%. Clearly, readers are embracing ereading. The greatest interest today seems to lie in narrative fiction and nonfiction, with interest in more interactive nonfiction and education taking longer to develop.

How are most readers consuming e-books?

Angela Bole: In the October 2010 and January 2011 survey fieldings, there were two distinct categories of ereaders — tablets like the iPad and dedicated devices like the Kindle — with a wide functionality difference between them. During the May 2011 and August 2011 fieldings, the NOOK Color and many new Android-based tablets were released, and distinctions between device categories began to blur. Even so, dedicated ereaders remain the favorite ebook reading device for book lovers, especially for reading fiction and narrative nonfiction. The Kindle, in particular, remains strong.

A graph illustrating responses to the study question, "What device do you now use most frequently to read e-books?"

What are the most popular genres for ebooks?

Angela Bole: This depends to a degree on whether you're a "tablet person" or a "dedicated ereader person." Data from the Consumer Attitudes survey shows that the Kindle and NOOK are the preferred devices of survey respondents in all fiction categories, while tablets like the iPad hold the edge in nonfiction categories. In these reports, the data have suggested that dedicated ereaders may be better optimized for narrative reading, while the richer media capabilities of tablets may be more appropriate for nonfiction, education, and scientific and professional titles.

A graph illustrating responses to the study question, "What genre(s) do you like to read, overall (in any format)?"

Do people typically buy ebooks on their computers and then transfer them to their devices?

Angela Bole: Until August 2011, our data showed that the computer (desktop or laptop) was the prevailing purchasing platform. Today, however, more and more people are purchasing directly on their dedicated ereaders — 49% of respondents to the August 2011 fielding, up from 36% in May 2011.

Does the research point to digital publishing helping or hurting the publishing industry?

Angela Bole: Consumers who migrate to digital are spending less on physical hardcover and paperback books. The research supports this out quite clearly. That said, respondents to the survey actually report increasing their overall dollar spending as they make the transition to ebooks. Almost 70% of the respondents to the August 2011 fielding reported increasing their ebook expenditures, compared with 49% in the October 2010 fielding. Respondents reported increased spending on books in all formats to a greater degree than they reported decreased spending. Assuming the publishing industry can develop the right business models, this is good news.

This interview was edited and condensed.

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September 23 2011

Publishing News: Survey says publishers continue to miss out on digital opportunities

Here's what caught my attention this week in publishing news.

Digital publishing opportunities continue to elude publishers

Aptara's Third Annual eBook Survey of Publishers was released this week. Overall, the study showed that publishers aren't yet making the most of digital opportunities. The survey revealed that "one out of five ebook publishers generates more than 10% of their sales from ebooks" — a pretty good number for this stage of the game — but that there are far more market opportunities yet untapped, "particularly for the majority of publishers that are still eluded by production efficiencies and meaningful revenues."

Some interesting highlights from the report include:

  • Publishers' awareness of EPUB 3 and pursuit of enhanced ebooks is limited. EPUB 3 is the next edition of the EPUB ebook format standard and includes significant support for enhancements. There is a general lack of awareness of it and its benefits across all publisher types. While there has been a sizeable increase in enhanced ebook production in the past year, 60% of publishers are either still investigating or have no plans to produce enhanced ebooks.
  • pubwirGraphic.PNG
    Results for survey question 16: Do you have a strategy for moving to the EPUB3 standard once it is finalized?

  • Two out of three ebook publishers have not converted the majority of their backlist (legacy) titles to ebooks. With higher profit margins than frontlist titles, these digital assets hold significant untapped revenue potential.
  • The question of "digital or print?" has been answered. The answer is both: "digital and print." The vast majority of book publishers (85%), across all market segments, are producing print and ebook versions of their titles. For the time being, print publishing's legacy cost structure and business and production models are living alongside newer ebook-inspired practices.
  • Most ebook production still follows outdated print production models at the expense of significant operational efficiencies. Though publishers are pursuing multiple-output production (print and ebooks), they are slow to transition from a traditional print-based production to more flexible and scalable digital workflows that produce output for mobile devices, PCs, and print-all from a single content source.

The full report can be downloaded here.

News organizations continue to venture into ebook publishing

ArsTechnicaEbookReview.pngThe idea of newspapers, magazines and other news organizations publishing ebooks isn't new, but as newspapers and magazines continue to struggle to find their way (and their revenue) in the new digital landscape, the practice is becoming a lot more common. A post this week in the New York Times took a look at this burgeoning market and how it's affecting ebook publishing:

Swiftly and at little cost, newspapers, magazines and sites like The Huffington Post are hunting for revenue by publishing their own version of ebooks, either using brand-new content or repurposing material that they may have given away free in the past.

And by making e-books that are usually shorter, cheaper to buy and more quickly produced than the typical book, they are redefining what an ebook is — and who gets to publish it.

The practice extends to technology manuals as well — take a look at the Ars Technica Mac OS X Lion review that the company turned into an ebook (here's its page on Goodreads).

Taking into consideration the nimble nature of ebook publishing and the high ROI for news organizations, this blossoming new rivalry for traditional publishers is likely to continue.

Finally, a recipe organization site that really gets it

Recipe sites and apps are popping up all over the place, but for recipe hunter/gatherers like myself, the modus operandi of emailing recipe links and storing them in inbox folders continued to be a better (though messy) solution. Until now. KeepRecipes — reviewed this week in Mashable — provides a solution that really works.

As Sarah Kessler explains in the Mashable post, the site works like Instapaper — users install a bookmarklet they can click while on a recipe page they want to save. Kessler's rundown of how it works is great, but she gives one important tip that ultimately makes a big difference:

Due to copyright issues, the bookmarklet can only auto-populate the ingredient list of the recipe. But if the user highlights instructions before clicking the bookmarklet, those are also saved with the ingredient list.

While playing with the app, I found a couple instances where the ingredient list didn't auto-populate as well, but the highlighting trick worked for that, too. Other useful features include an auto-population of the recipe source link, and the site coordinates with an iPhone app, so you can easily access ingredient lists while at the grocery store.

One of the more exciting aspects of this site is that it's looking to partner with publishers to sell digital editions of cookbooks that users can buy and download directly into their KeepRecipes folders. Kessler noted that the "Not Your Mother's" series, A. J. Rathbun's cocktail book "Dark Sprits" and cookbooks from the "A Baker's Field Guide" series are on deck for a Thanksgiving release. This not only offers potential revenue for publishers, it's very useful for consumers. It also could set the stage for selling individual recipes from cookbooks as one-offs.

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  • Structured data powers Google's Recipe View
  • More Publishing Week in Review coverage

  • August 16 2011

    There is a clear and reasonably uncontroversial basis for a simple theory of justice that all nations/cultures can accept. This is grounded a few core values about human development and is expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Millenium Development Goals, and other founding documents of the United Nations. This conception emphasizes several key values:
    • equal worth of all persons
    • value of freedom
    • value of democracy and self-determination
    • the injustice of hunger, lack of education, lack of healthcare
    • the injustice of capricious arrest and state violence (illegality)
    These values provide a basis for steering our core institutions and practices in the direction of greater justice: whenever it is possible to reform institutions and practices in ways that enhance one or more of these factors, we should do so.

    UnderstandingSociety: Global justice 2011-08-15
    Reposted bykrekk krekk

    January 23 2011


    May 30 2010

    May 10 2010


    March 27 2010


    If all goes well in China and India in the next generation—and if nothing goes catastrophically wrong in the rich post-industrial North Atlantic core of the global economy—then the next generation will see a real milestone. For the first time ever more than half of the world will have enough food not to be hungry and worry about famine, enough shelter not to be wet and worried about trenchfoot, enough clothing not to be cold and worried about hypothermia, and enough medical care not to be worried that they and the majority of their children will die of microparisites well short of their biblical three-score-and-ten years. The big problems of the bulk of humanity will then be those of finding enough conceptual puzzles and diversions in their work and play lives so as not to be bored, enough relative status not to be green with envy of their fellows—and, of course, avoiding and quickly disposing of the thugs who used to have spears and will have cruise missiles and H-bombs who have functioned as macroparasites infecting humanity ever since the first farmers realized that now that they had crops running away into the forest was no longer an option.

    How did this miracle come about?

    — complete blog entry The Long View... by J. Bradford DeLong on | likewise on

    March 26 2010


    Tags: Ada Lovelace - the Ada Lovelace Day, 24th of March - survey on articles via in 2009 & 2010

    Pointer - Wegweiser ---------------------------------------------------

    In occasion of the Ada Lovelace Day, 24th of March (a day to remember and encourage women in IT technologies, female engagement in all kinds of cyber-activism & blogging) I tagged all the articles I could find on my soup in 2009 und 2010 on Ada Lovelace (just click on the name and the postings will appear)

    There are a lot of informations about engagements in politics interconnected with the fields of technological developement, human rights, privacy - btw, also about Franziska Heine from CCC - and even comics.

    [oanth - muc -20100325]
    Reposted bySigalon02 Sigalon02

    March 24 2010

    Regionalwahlen in Frankreich

    Heute hat sich der französische Präsident Nicolas Sarkozy zum ersten Mal zur Wahlniederlage am letzten Sonntag geäußert. Der zweite Durchgang der Regionalwahlen in Frankreich bestätigte die Niederlage der konservativen Regierungspartei UMP. Das Bündnis der Sozialisten (PS), Grünen (Europe Ecologie) und Linksparteien triumphierte mit insgesamt 54,3 Prozent der Stimmen.

    Die Linksparteien, und allen voran die Sozialisten, sind als großer Sieger aus diesen Wahlen hervorgegangen. Die UMP hat zwar ihre Ehre in der Réunion, Guayana und im Elsass retten können, der Abstand zwischen den Rechtsparteien und der Linken betrug jedoch landesweit nach der zweiten Runde ganze 18 Prozent. Martine Aubry hat dieses Wahlergebnis, das sie als „Ermutigung“ auffasst, in ihrer Position als Parteichefin der PS gestärkt. Jetzt muss sie die Partei zusammenführen und das Image der „ideenlosen“ Partei ablegen, um bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen 2012 gewinnen zu können. Durch die Bevölkerung geht eine kleine Welle der Hoffnung in ein Linksbündnis in der Politik. Auch die Grünen stehen vor einem Wandel in Frankreich. Sie erfreuen sich immer größerer Beliebtheit, gehören zu den Siegern dieser Wahl und konnten sich in den Regionalparlamenten von insgesamt 159 auf 263 Sitze verbessern.


    — weiterlesen auf | 20100324 Sarkozys Wahldebakel
    Reposted bykrekkoelsen

    March 23 2010

    Google geht nach HongKong ins Asyl

    Google hat heute ein Update in seiner Auseinandersetzung mit China veröffentlicht: . Demnach wird die Suchmaschien nun auf weitergeleitet. Mit dem Zugang in HongKong fordert das US-Unternehmen die chinesische Regierung heraus und es dürfte interessant werden, deren Reaktion zu sehen. Wahlweise machen die Chinesen nichts oder sie blocken aus China heraus den Zugang zu soll einen unzensierten Zugang in chinesisch (Ist wohl mandarin?) bieten. Google will aber nicht komplett aus China abziehen. Man will weiterhin Forschungseinrichtungen in China betreiben und auch Geschäfte dort machen. Letzteres soll aber im Umfang abhängig davon sein, wie die chinesische Regierung auf den unzensierten Zugang in HongKong reagiert.

    Mal schauen, wie es weitergeht. Öffentliche Reaktionen aus China werden wohl erst morgen kommen. Die schlafen gerade.

    Google bietet ein “Apps status dashboard“, das anzeigt, welche Services gerade in China geblockt sind. Noch ist die Suche nicht geblockt.

    Der Guardian hat ein Live-Blog zum Rückzug: Liveblog: Google shuts down Chinese search engine.

    Nachdem Google nun seine Ankündigungen wohl Taten folgen lässt, kann man ja mal die Frage stellen: Was machen eigentlich Microsoft und Yahoo – Werden diese weiterhin mit den Behörden in China kollaborieren und ihre Suchmaschinen zensieren?

    Reposted fromnetzpolitik netzpolitik

    November 06 2009

    Percontations: Philosophy and the String Wars

    Recorded: September 10 -  Posted: September 12 2009
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