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Why Amazon Is The Best Strategic Player In Tech

Why Amazon Is The Best Strategic Player In Tech | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

Forbes

By Venkatesh Rao, December 14, 2011

 

"With Amazon though, you get the sense that you are watching a chess game unfold, in which Amazon is thinking multiple moves ahead, along several fronts. The opponents seem to fumble, rant and rave like so many headless chickens, while Amazon continues to systematically dismantle them."

 

"...Looking at my notes, I am most reminded of John D. Rockefeller’s rise to power with Standard Oil a century ago. Bezos is Rockefeller’s natural heir."

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What We Should Learn from the Collapse of Borders

What We Should Learn from the Collapse of Borders | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

The Scholarly Kitchen

By Joseph Esposito

November 29, 2011

 

Excerpt:

"The real thing to take from Borders’ collapse is that the old infrastructure will not always be there. In one stroke trade publishers lost a huge chunk of their distribution network. That network was not simply sitting around patiently, waiting for publishers to get their digital game plan ready. The distribution network collapsed before the publishers were ready and suddenly unleashed a number of forces for which no publisher was truly prepared. Consider what it now means to operate in an environment dominated by Amazon: the #2 distribution channel for trade books and #1 for most academic titles; a company with over 50% of the rapidly growing ebook market; a leading purveyor of used books; and now a publisher as well, originating titles in direct competition with its primary vendors. Borders provided a bulwark to at least some of Amazon’s advances, but now no more."

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Library Wars: Amazon and Publishers Vie for Control of E-Book Rentals

Library Wars: Amazon and Publishers Vie for Control of E-Book Rentals | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

December 6th, 2011

 

"The widespread downloading of e-books unnerves publishers because digital files can be easily shared and proliferated..."

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What is the ‘New’ Publisher?

What is the ‘New’ Publisher? | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it
The 'new publisher' is a creative intermediary between the author and reader, and not merely a gatekeeper...

 

"Mitchinson said that Unbound has the ability to move much more quickly than traditional publishers and claimed that a book can feasibly be funded and published within two weeks. He also noted that publishers were making publishing decisions based on 'what the retailer wants to sell' rather than what the reader wants to buy.

 

"The new world order, according to Mitchinson, is catering directly to readers. 'It’s an incredibly powerful feeling when you start to connect directly with readers,' he said. He added that Unbound’s 50/50 profit share was fairer to the author than deals offered by conglomerate publishers."

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Cutting their own throats

Cutting their own throats | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

"Traditional publishing is dominated by the Big Six publishing groups — folks like Hachette, Holtzbrinck, Penguin-Putnam, and so on. In general these publishers and their imprints refuse to publish ebooks without DRM. It's a major sticking point with them, in no small part dictated by the fact that they're subsidiaries of huge media conglomerates, which have had bad experiences with movies, TV and music leaking on the internet. In the past I've muttered and grumbled about the evils of DRM for a variety of reasons. But now, I've got a feeling that there's a more important reason for griping: the strategy of demanding DRM everywhere is going to boomerang, inflicting horrible damage on the very companies who want it. (Who just happen to be my publishers.)"

 

from comments:

 

Andrea K Host | November 28, 2011 22:38 | Reply 13:Amazon has suggested that they will make it possible in the nearish future for the Kindle to read epub ebooks rather than only mobi. But even then, it's the absolute ease of one-click buying - and the vast breadth of titles available - which makes Amazon attractive to me as a reader.

DRM is simply nonsensical - it punishes the legitimate reader and does nothing to stop piracy. "Social DRM" (ie. branding the ebook with the purchaser's name) would be more effective."

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Amazon Rewrites the Rules of Book Publishing

Tools of Change for Publishing

LinkedIn Oct, 2011

 

 - NYTimes.com nytimes.com

Amazon.com, the online retailer, has long competed with bookstores; now it is starting to make deals with authors, bypassing the traditional publisher.

 

Chris Glennie • Whilst Amazon becoming a publisher has made the headlines, I don’t think this in itself is nearly as big a game changer as it might appear. As Jean has pointed out, they are 1 more publisher amongst many, albeit one with a powerful distribution channel, but not one that single-handedly can disrupt the whole publishing game.

The real challenge for publishers comes from the increased ability for writers to connect directly with readers, without the publisher intermediary that adds questionable value. It therefore seems to me that Carolyn is entirely right here.

Let’s think about what the need for publishers really is - what, in effect, is it that they do?

I believe they offer(ed) two scarce technical competencies and one key service.

The technical competencies were around production, and the second around sales/marketing/distribution. Until recently, these were both difficult, expensive and overly time-consuming for individuals to bother with, so they effectively sub-contracted the tasks to publishers in exchange for handing them (and via them others - e.g. booksellers) much of the value of the work, being left with relatively little for the effort expended.

The key service that publishers offered (a bundling-up of the above) was one of connectivity - connecting writers with a readership. They served a market for content consumption, but also a market for content creation: The task of the editor was to sift the mass of created content to ‘publish’ only that which passed a certain ‘quality’ threshold.

But all this is being by-passed by the availability of the technology to do this all individually. It no longer needs to be a technical, time-consuming hassle to self-publish (via Amazon, Lulu, etc etc) and connect with a likely readership (via, for example social networks). True, the volume of copies sold may decline, but the residual value in any work which remains with the original writer will be much larger. As more and more iPads and Kindles are sold, this will only grow.

This spells the end - over time - of both big chain bookstores and mega-publishers. They will simply serve no purpose any more.

But what of brands, and the editorial ‘quality’ role? There has been much commentary about this recently, as if the publishing industry simply cannot imagine a world without this ‘specialist’ skill.

My view on this is as follows:

- Publisher brands are - as far as consumers are concerned - over-rated. They probably add value for other intermediaries (booksellers, library suppliers, etc') as they serve as a ‘thought by-pass’ trigger (as all good branding does), but as for Mr and Mrs Average Book-buyer, they have little value - the value in in the author, or subject matter.

- The ‘quality’ role of the publishing editor is pretty over-rated. From the truly exceptional to the truly awful is such a wide spectrum, with the classic bell curve peak in the middle, that ‘picking winners’ is practically a guessing game. getting a book published is much more about whether you know how to ‘play the system’ than about the ‘quality’ of your work.

- However, the need for some kind of ‘editorial’ role - for a role that does help guide buying decisions in a world where the availability of content has just exploded - will continue to exist. But this will be an informal role, not one which carries a job title or a salary - or if it does, it will be carved into a very different shape from the one it is in now. In my own case, I am guided by those I follow on twitter, am linked to on LinkedIn, or via groups such as this one. It will be mediated by my own community of interest - not by anyone in an office.

Unless the publishing industry seriously adapts to what it does - and figures out what its real purpose is - then it will be overtaken by new models & new structures. Amazon, for sure, are setting the pace, but the game isn’t over.

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Planeta Announces ‘E-Circulo’ Subscription Streaming E-book Service

Planeta Announces ‘E-Circulo’ Subscription Streaming E-book Service | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it
Grupo Planeta in Spain announced 'e-circulo' an initiative which will allow readers to rent e-books via e-streaming...
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Are Social Media Sites the New Slush Pile?

Are Social Media Sites the New Slush Pile? | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

Debut author Leigh Fallon, discovered on HarperCollins’ community YA site, is one example about how the path to authorship is changing.

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How Freemium Self-published Fiction Is Taking Over China

How Freemium Self-published Fiction Is Taking Over China | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

"The system works through a growing number of self-publishing websites that host thousands of constantly evolving, free-to-read stories posted on the sites by their authors. These websites are incredibly popular with consumers, attracting over 40% of all China’s internet users every month, who come to read web serials that can be anything from realistic novels to historical epics, comics, sci-fi and fantasy.

 

"The ingenious part of this publishing model comes in when an individual author’s serial gathers a critical mass of readers. At this point the self-publishing site invites the author to become a VIP, and their serial moves to a different section of the site where readers can sample some chapters of their work for free, but have to pay if they want to read the latest installments.

 

"For publishers in the West who are worried about how they can secure e-book revenues while avoiding the piracy trap into which other media have fallen, original fiction offers an intriguing alternative model as to how to run a successful publishing business. This is a freemium fiction publishing industry funded by micropayments, where print barely exists and the product itself is constantly evolving instead of taking the form of “finished” books. It couldn’t be any more different to the western model of publishing, but the paying public here seems to like it that way."

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Shutting Down Open Resources | Inside Higher Ed

Shutting Down Open Resources | Inside Higher Ed | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

"...A provision in the proposed House of Representatives budget for fiscal year 2012 would stop the federal government from using grant programs to develop new courses, learning materials or other related projects unless the labor secretary verifies that similar programs are not already available for purchase or “under development.”

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John Ingram, Chairman of Ingram Content Holding

Publishing Perspectives‘ Erin Cox interviews John Ingram, CEO of Ingram Content Holdings, talks about Ingram’s new global distribution venture called Global Connect, and about the company’s digital future.

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Jesse Wiley on how a 200+ year-old company evolves with the econtent world

"John Wiley & Sons, Inc. is one of the most highly respected businesses in the publishing industry. All those years of experience can lead to a company that's set in its ways and unable to adapt. Jesse Wiley, a 7th-generation member of the Wiley family, talks about how the organization is bucking that trend and conducting a variety of econtent experiments."

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Justice Department confirms investigation of e-book industry

Justice Department confirms investigation of e-book industry | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

LA Times Technology

December 7, 2011

 

"The U.S. Justice Department's antitrust arm said it was looking into potentially unfair pricing practices by electronic booksellers, joining European regulators and state attorneys general in a widening probe of large U.S."

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Public Library E-Book Lending Must Change to Survive

Public Library E-Book Lending Must Change to Survive | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

On the triangular tug-of war between libraries, tradiational publishers and Amazon

 

"Libraries have two fundamental problems here: they have less control over the situation than publishers do, and they are about to get some serious competition from the private sector. An article in Publishers Weekly gives an overview of Amazon’s e-book lending feature and its implications for publishers and authors. In a nutshell, the program is currently limited to a few thousand titles that originate either from Amazon itself or from smaller publishers that still sell e-books to Amazon under a wholesale model, as opposed to the “agent” model used by most major trade publishers, which forbids such activity."

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Jellybooks: New Book Discovery Tool Offers Groupon-Style Deals

Jellybooks: New Book Discovery Tool Offers Groupon-Style Deals | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it
The goal is to make it easier to find great, but possibly obscure book...to break the tyranny of the bestseller list, says founder Andrew Rhomberg.
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PUBSLUSH: New Publisher Inspired by J.K. Rowling and TOMS Shoes

PUBSLUSH: New Publisher Inspired by J.K. Rowling and TOMS Shoes | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it
Jesse Potash, founder of PUBSLUSH, explains how his new publishing company marries crowdsourcing with altruism, and serves as a tribute to J.K. Rowling.

 

"Traditionally, authors would send solicited manuscripts to editors in the pursuit of publication, though often to no avail (Gone with the Wind, The Tales of Peter Rabbit, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Lolita, and others faced countless rejections). Nonetheless, authors could always cling to the hopeful notion of being plucked from the slush pile (as Philip Roth was). But with the advent of the internet, print-on-demand and self-publishing technology, the barriers of the industry seemingly dissipated. Et viola, an industry in turmoil.

 

"The fallen barriers were quickly rebuilt (and this time without the slush pile) as the proliferation of unedited, low quality content demonstrated the need for quality control and publisher support. Now, not only must authors be agented, they must demonstrate their viability and audience to an even more astringent, commercially focused bureaucracy."

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Encyclopaedia Britannica stays in touch with new iPad app

Encyclopaedia Britannica stays in touch with new iPad app | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it
Encyclopaedia Britannica wants consumers to have the world at their fingertips — virtually, anyway.
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Hyperink, a new e-publishing startup is revolutionizing the digital publishing space

Hyperink, a new e-publishing startup is revolutionizing the digital publishing space | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

"...Hyperink, as The Next Web defined it, is looking to change these facts. Essentially the company is looking to speed up the publishing industry, providing nearly on-demand access to topic-driven books, focusing on the micro scale. So rather than a 'How to Get Into College', you’re likely to see 'How to Get Into Stanford'.

 

"On Hyperink's website you can find the following: 'We started Hyperink for a simple reason: there is too much knowledge trapped in people's heads, inaccessible to the world. Our mission is to unlock and share that knowledge by working directly with domain experts to publish beautiful, high-quality eBooks.'"

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Have Editors Become Bankers?

Have Editors Become Bankers? | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

"Just like bankers, publishers need to be wary of making big bets based on shaky financial fundamentals.

 

"Schiffrin laments the change in book culture that has transformed editors from literary tastemakers to bean counters. His message is not new — at least in the United States, where his seminal book on the topic, The Business of Books, was published over a decade ago (in India is has just been published, in a single edition with 2010’s Words and Money by Navayana Press).

 

"Of course, Howard also warns people to be wary of taking big bets with shaky fundamentals:

'At this moment we are living through an endless recession caused in good part by toxic mortgage bonds devised by Wall Street rocket scientists, so-called, and rated Triple A by the clueless numbers crunchers at the ratings agencies. Both are examples of massive failures of judgment.'

Howard’s advice, 'Calculate, but verify.'"

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Should Readers Pre-screen Books for Publishers?

Should Readers Pre-screen Books for Publishers? | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it
Would publishers, who are notoriously bad audience research, benefit from having potential customers pre-screen books prior to acquisition?

 

In the press release announcing the acquisition of The Carrier of the Mark, Susan Katz, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books, said, “The opinions of our readers matter to us. Inkpop is HarperCollins Children’s Books’ first site (and not the last) to really put the users’ voice and ideas in the forefront. Social media is incredibly empowering if used correctly, and HarperCollins recognizes this and is gearing up to make social media the cornerstone of all its digital endeavors.”

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“Our Friends in Seattle” and Other Euphemisms from Books in Browsers 2011

"The West coast and East coast publishing communities have different priorities. At Books in Browsers the words author, editor, agent, story and narrative were sparsely used.

 

Instead, many people spoke in a plethora of acronyms — the “plumbing of publishing” as Firebrand CEO Fran Toolan calls it — including GIT, GITHUB, OPDS, and a few I knew, such as EPUB3 and HTML5. Just like in the military, learning the diction is the price of admission.

Words that need more user-friendly alternatives: gamification, transmedia, and p-book. How about multi-medium for transmedia, bound book for p-book?

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We're in the midst of a restructuring of the publishing universe (don't panic)

We're in the midst of a restructuring of the publishing universe (don't panic) | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it

"A new book released this week called "Book: A Futurist's Manifesto," by Hugh McGuire and Brian O'Leary, examines the future of book publishing from an advanced perspective. Beyond pricing and delivery mechanisms, beyond taking print and displaying it on a screen, the authors look at the digital transformation as more than a change in format"

 

What will the publishing landscape look like in five years?

 

Hugh McGuire: In five years:

 

Print is a marginal part of the trade business.There's a huge increase in the number of small publishers of all stripes.There's a massive increase in the number of books on the market.

 

The Big Six publishers will consolidate to become the Big Two or Three.

 

Most writers will continue to have a hard time making a living as writers.

 

Good/successful publishers will be those that provide good APIs to their books.

 

All books will be expected to be connected to the web, allowing linking in and out, and contextual layers of commentary, etc. (Will this be driven by publishers or retailers? To date, retailers have lead the way.)

 

The distinction between what you can do with an ebook and what you can do with a website will disappear (and it will seem strange that it ever existed).While books will become more webby, the web will also become more bookish, accommodating more book-like structures in evolving HTML standards.

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Le Carré: Death Blow to Indie Booksellers

Le Carré: Death Blow to Indie Booksellers | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it
Internationally bestselling writer John le Carre regrets supporting the removal of retail price regulations in the UK that ultimately hurt independent booksellers.
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Ingram’s Global Connect Re-imagines the Global Distribution Model

Ingram’s Global Connect Re-imagines the Global Distribution Model | Business of Publishing | Scoop.it
Late last month, Ingram Content Group launched Global Connect, a printing and distribution program, and recently announced a partnership with Brazilian distributor Singular.
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