Article: Ads in eBooks Are a Good Thing. Deal with It.
Source: Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog
I like how this guy thinks. I’m just saying. He likes the idea of having two types of ebooks: one with ads that is cheaper for you, and one without ads that is more expensive. Although I don’t know if I agree with paying more for an experience that I’m not very fond of in the first place. I like my paper books.
What he’s talking about is a program that Kindle started. You buy a Kindle at a discounted price and it comes with promotions and ads (not actually in the books) that other people don’t get. The argument that Joe makes is that what if he wants those ads, why the heck can’t he opt in, even though he just bought a Kindle? They should make the program more accessible.
I like the model, but I think Amazon can improve on it, and they probably will. Most people aren’t bothered by ads anymore; we’ve pretty much become accustomed to tuning them out. But on the other hand, if you could tailor the ads (ie specific ones with specific books) you could create some new revenue. If I was reading a book about Shopolics, I wouldn’t mind seeing some Manolo Blahnik’s walking across the bottom of my page. It would create some visual interest and could even add to the story (we can agree to disagree here). The only thing that wouldn’t appreciate it is my bank account.
Article: TOC 2011: Making Better Apps
Source: Publishing Trends
I would just like to say that they stated toddlers as a challenge, which just made this article for me. Although, you can compare digital users to toddlers in the sense that they want everything now, “Users want more functionality, they want it now, they want it cheaper, they want it on all platforms.” All we do is want, and the publishing industry has the (fun?) challenge of keeping up with our demands.
One of the issues that face publishers is the lack of money they can put into marketing their apps. You could spend a lot of money making an amazing app, but they app world is so saturated with different apps, yours might get lost in the digital translation. Not every publisher has the dollars to put towards app marketing, seeing as apps aren’t the most prevalent way of making money from a book.
I did like the fact that they pointed out how much nicer and faster it is to gain user feedback and implement it when using technology, “…the company developed its AutoPlay feature after consumers kept complaining that when they read the book apps with toddlers, the kids kept touching the screen and accidentally hitting the “Return” button, which would start the book all over again.” The speed in which you can make changes to technology is definitely a positive.
Article: User Experience leads the way in the Digital World
Source: Publishing Technology
I feel like Richard Ridge, the author of this article, has a little…no, a big opinion on the publishing industry. The first couple sentences out of his fingertips are, “The book publishing industry has a history of creating products for a ‘customer’ that they never speak to, speak of, see, interact with, or consider. Instead, many publishing houses consider their authors to be their primary customers, with author services being one of the major components of the business.”
Maybe taking that out of context doesn’t sound too bad, because I do agree with him; he just seems to be a little bitter about it. It is true though. We are taught that the editor/author relationship is the most sacred and intimate of the relationships, but shouldn’t the publishing house/ reader be of at least the same importance? I mean, you can write an amazing book, but the reader kind of has to buy it. The publisher has to think of themselves as a reader, not as a publisher, and think up ways that can enhance the book, and how it could be improved, through technological means.
This article is based mainly on the education publishing system, they even use a study that they did with medical students, but the opinion still covers the entire market. Ridge has an issue with the fact that, although digital is becoming a big part of the industry, it still defines itself as a print medium, “To take an obvious example, a model predicated on publishing journal issues at regular intervals makes little sense in a context of real time site updates and RSS feeds.” You can’t keep up with a world that changes every three seconds if your depending on something that only happens twice a year (like, gee, I don’t know, the publishing seasons).
Article: Helping publishers easily produce HTML5 apps.
We all know that tablets are kind of a gray area in the publishing industry. We know (for the most part) that it’s a good step forward, but it is still a difficult technology to adapt to. Even more importantly, it’s a hard place for publishers to dump money when they can’t measure the benefits like they can on physical books. Creating apps is expensive because you usually have to outsource them, but have no fear, Poland can help!
According to this article, for about a month Poland has had a tool that can help publishers create their own apps. This is how it is described, “The process of creating the application is very easy and intuitive, and is done online. First you have to pick a template for your publication. Then you choose how your table of content should look like. Next comes the articles, which of course are linked with the table of content. Each article can be shown in one of 30 layouts. They can be either articles or galleries or simple pictures or videos or infographics. After choosing “publish” you will be able to enjoy your tablet application.”
So, it’s like using a template that you can mess around with, since you can actually go into the code. Sounds really useful, especially if you can’t afford to hire someone to make an app for you, considering the software costs about $180 Canadian. Currently the developers of Spoti Kreator are trying to figure out a way to allow publishers to use the software for a certain amount of time (ie for a couple of months on a one time purchase).
All in all, this sounds like a fantastic idea. It would open a lot of doors for small publishers, which in turn would mean a lot more coverage for writers. Unfortunately it is only available in Poland, which kind of sucks, but it probably (hopefully) won’t take too long to make its way across the ocean.