Wednesday, August 06, 2014

MediaWeek (V7, N31): Bezo's WaPo, Publishing a Book, BitLit, James Garner + More

These articles and a lot more are all in my 'magazine' on Flipboard.

The Columbia Journalism Review takes a look at Bezo's WaPo:
At the time of the sale to Bezos, Donald Graham, Weymouth’s uncle and the chairman of The Washington Post Company, explained that he and his niece felt unsure of the direction in which to take the paper, or how to reverse years of declining revenues. He had approached Bezos as a buyer, he said, because the billionaire could offer deep pockets, a digital brain, and, between the two, a way forward.
From The Chronicle of Higher Ed: Things you should know before publishing a book.
You can probably make more money having a first-class yard sale.
WaPo report on the Hachette Amazon feud with the answer to everyone's question:
Amazon.com has finally laid out the reasons behind its months-long e-book dispute with Hachette Book Group, arguing that it is advocating for a new pricing and revenue sharing plan that will ultimately boost book sales, lower prices and benefit the entire publishing industry.
Techcrunch: Can BitLit solve the eBook/pBook gap?
This is still a pilot so there aren’t many books, but it’s a clear validation that BitLit’s concept is gaining traction in the publishing world.
Clive James in The Atlantic writes an appreciation of Jimmy Garner.  (And I've been catching up with The Rockford files over the past few weeks - always a great opening sequence).
James Garner, you can bet on it, has never told an important lie in his life. He really is like the men he plays onscreen, even unto the modest requirements symbolized by the humble trailer that serves Jim Rockford for a residence. 
 Three Economist articles that I thought were interesting:
In Estonia - a national digital id scheme might go global.

On competition: The growth in online travel agents.  Interesting because it shows how competitors can develop and grow even when there is a highly dominant competitor.
The digital degree: So demand for education will grow. Who will meet it? Universities face a new competitor in the form of massive open online courses, or MOOCs. These digitally-delivered courses, which teach students via the web or tablet apps, have big advantages over their established rivals.
From the PND Twitter feed:
Lindsay Lohan Wants Fifty Shades Of Grey's EL James To Write Her Biography - Report | EntertainmentWise Tragic.

Building a Better Amazon by

Warner Bros. Snatches Up Movie Rights to ‘The Goldfinch’

Amazon Partners with Warner Bros for Digital First Imprint

Enid Blyton's Famous Five to get big screen adventure  

Monday, July 21, 2014

MediaWeek (Vol8, N 29): Amazon, The LMS, Director's Cut, Open Access + More

Read these articles on flipboard:

From the NYTimes: Amazon, a Friendly Giant as long as it's fed.
“Everything Amazon has promised me, it has fulfilled — and more,” he said. “They ask: ‘Are you happy, Vince? We just want to see you writing books.’
Changes ahead for the humble learning management system (Inside Higher Ed)
“I think we’re in a weird place right now in the marketplace -- partly because there’s a lot of parity between the systems,” Severance said. “You can almost throw a dart at a dartboard and pick an LMS, and it won’t be that bad.”
Andrew Ladd at The Newstatesman thinks publishers should think about the director's cut.
Besides, what’s wrong with a little naked commercial ambition in the publishing industry, given everything we’re always hearing about the death of the book? There’s clearly a demand for this sort of thing.
Lots of print about the Kindle all you can eat. Almost as much fun as the race between GigaOm and PL in getting the story out.
No big-5 publisher appears to be participating yet, based on my preliminary glance through the test pages. Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins have both made their ebooks available to Scribd and Oyster, but I haven’t yet seen books from those publishers on the Kindle Unlimited page
Open access is not enough according to The Guardian.
Earlier this month, Nature Publishing Group launched Scientific Data – a broader, interdisciplinary publication dedicated to a more specific type of data paper: the data descriptor. This new category of peer-reviewed publication provides detailed descriptions of individual or combined experimental, observational and computational datasets.
At the Hong Kong bookfair people camp out to get in first and also plan to spend thousands (SCMP)
Vacilando Yip Chun-kit, 18, left his home in Sheung Shui last night and joined the queue at 4am to be among the first batch into the fair.


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Photo: High school throw back.


Biggish reunion this weekend.  At one point there were five Michaels in this class.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

MediaWeek (V8, N26) Dangerous Literature, Newspapers, Ranking Publishers, MOOC Feedback + More

More here: Personanondata - The Magazine  via @flipboard

From The Chronicle of Higher Ed, a discussion on when books were dangerous:
The American Library Association, which designates the final week of September as Banned Books Week, has no problem finding titles to fill its annual lists of books under siege. However, these are generally books that have been removed from particular libraries or schools, not the kind of total proscription imposed on Ulysses, as well as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Tropic of Cancer, Naked Lunch, Lolita, and other works that have since become staples of literary study. Over the decades since the Woolsey decision, authors, publishers, and judges have struggled to parse the differences between "indecent" and "obscene" and determine the meaning of such terms of art as "prurient interest" and "redeeming social value." However, the upshot is that, though sexual explicitness and offensive language are the most frequently cited reasons for which books are now challenged, neither is now a legal barrier to publication or sale.
Publishers Weekly has updated their hugely useful listing of top publishers by revenues:
Although there was a fair amount of deal making among the global book publishing giants last year, those mergers and acquisitions did not have much of an impact on the top of Livres Hebdo/Publishers Weekly’s annual ranking, based on annual revenue, of the world’s largest publishers in 2013. Pearson came in first, with $9.33 billion in revenue, followed by Reed Elsevier, Thomson/Reuters, and Wolters Kluwer. All four educational and professional publishers held the same respective positions on the list in 2012.
Wired Campus blog at CHEd has a look at digital versus print from the AAUP annual meeting last week in New Orleans.
Christopher Schaberg, an associate professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans, said he appreciates well-done print books more now than before the rise of e-books. Mr. Schaberg is not averse to e-publishing; he is a co-editor of the Object Lessons book and essay series, which appears in both print and digital formats. But he pointed out that e-texts aren’t necessarily more efficient for teaching purposes; he recalled a class in which everybody had an iPad but it took much time to get all the students on the same page, so to speak.
On a global scale it has long been arguable that newspapers are dying and here is another look by The Atlantic.
This captive readership is also the bedrock of the business model. Businesses seeking to target immigrant communities often find more value in advertising in these small publications than the mainstream press.

Disruptions like Craigslist, which has bled dry classified sections of large print publications, have had limited impact on these publications. The foreign-language ethnic press is reaching an audience that isn’t necessarily online and doesn’t always understand English. Nearly a quarter of New York’s population, according to the U.S. Census data, isn’t proficient in English.

The result is that many of these publishers can still support their operations with revenue from print advertising. Castaño, for example, makes 90 percent of his money from print ads, with the majority coming from local businesses. “I’ve been profitable since the beginning,” he told me.

That’s also partly because the Queens Latino only has one full-time employee: Castaño. The rest of the work is done by freelancers, and Castaño’s wife does the layout and design.

At the Urdu Times, Rehman has outsourced most of his newspaper’s operations to a small production unit in Pakistan. “I have 18 people working for me in Lahore,” he explained. The copies are drafted there and then emailed to the basement in Queens for proofreading, as are all the page layouts. Rehman and his wife approve everything, and then forward it to the printers. His only full-time employee in New York is an advertising manager, who has his own desk at the back of the store above the basement.
Rowling may be telling the publishing industry what she thinks about the industry in her newest book as contemplated by The New Republic:
It’s also one of ego-maniacs. And the writers, or would-be writers, are the worst of the batch. When the amateur author of erotica describes her work to Strike in rehearsed phrases and sound bites, he wonders how many people “who sat alone for hours as they scribbled their stories practiced talking about their work during their coffee breaks.” (One wonders: Did—or does—Rowling do this?) Meanwhile, Quine’s agent describes him “as a bigger glutton for praise than any author I’ve ever met, and they are most of them insatiable.” Of course, this agent, a wannabe writer with a first in English from Oxford but no novels to her name, turns out to be pretty insatiable herself.
Instant gratification can be a double edge sword for academics serving online courses (The Conversation):
When your classroom is a global one, filled with well-informed online learners, they don’t cut you much slack. Hundreds of people pore over every element of your course, making well-informed and sometime acerbic comments. Academics who run Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are finding that they can’t afford any sloppy reasoning, one-sided arguments, or narrow perspectives when teaching to a massive global audience.

As academic lead at FutureLearn, a company offering free online courses from UK universities, I’ve seen that this instant feedback can be eye-opening for course designers.

On a university campus, students stick around even though the teaching may be dreadful, because they need the degree qualification. In MOOCs they leave as soon as they lose interest.

So far, much of the debate in the United States about MOOCs has focused on the dropout rate. Typically, just 7-10% of students enrolled on a course from a US MOOC provider reach the end. But that assumes completion should be the goal of online learning, and that students who drop out early are failures. Much of the early publicity around free online courses focused on them as alternatives to an expensive campus university education. It’s hardly surprising that the simplest measure of failure, student dropout, has been picked up by commentators hoping to burst the MOOC bubble.
For the music lovers, something from Salon on Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III have recently been given deluxe reissues by Atlantic Records. Each package contains a remastered version of the original album, along with a generous helping of bonus tracks. The first boasts a live set from a concert in Paris in 1969 (which has been floating around the Internet for years) while the second two include collections of rough mixes from the sessions from Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III, respectively.

The remastering is pretty superfluous: These are, and always have been, three of the most perfect sounding rock albums ever made. The rough mixes of II and III, though, are a revelation, casting light on Jimmy Page’s immense talents as a producer and giving us the opportunity to rediscover this band as they were, four absurdly gifted young people making music together, as opposed to the rock deities they’d forever after be imagined as. You can hear Page’s pick scraping string on a demo-ish “Whole Lotta Love,” Robert Plant feeling his way through an early pass at “Ramble On,” Bonzo counting the band back in on a skeletal version of “Moby Dick,” the careful interplay of Page’s acoustic and John Paul Jones’ mandolin on a rough cut of “Gallows Pole.” Listening to the ragged life behind these recordings reminds us, on the one hand, that four guys made these records. It also reminds us, on the other, that four guys made these records. Sometimes being made human only heightens your immortality.
James Bridle in the Guardian tells us why digital art matters:
Given this, it seems crucial that it is also accessible to all; not merely engineers, scientists, politicians and policy-makers, but also artists, commentators and the general public. There has never been a greater need for critical engagement with the role technology plays in society, but there's a corresponding problem with that engagement, as severe now as it was when CP Snow diagnosed it in 1959: the lack of understanding between the sciences and the humanities.

If anything, digital technologies have rendered this problem even more acute, as the vast and smoking industrial architectures of the 20th century give way to the invisible, intangible digital architectures of the 21st. If technological literacy is going to rise, it's going to need the help of artists to enlarge its vocabulary, and the leadership and guidance of cultural institutions to frame the discussion.

Different institutions are approaching this in their own way. This summer, the Barbican unveils its take, called Digital Revolution. The Barbican has form in this area: in 2002, it staged the hugely popular Game On, a retrospective of video games which included everything from original Space Invaders arcade games to Grand Theft Auto. Digital Revolution aims to walk a similar line through the entire history of digital creativity, showcasing not only some of its signature events and works, but also the stories of their creators. According to the curator Conrad Bodman, "It's not a show that just looks at contemporary art, but film, music, video games and design, the way they relate to each other, and sometimes merge into one."
Columbia Journalism Review looks into investments in media for millenninials
This problem goes deeper than man-buns and Lena Dunham, though. This month, for example, the GroundTruth Project, which trains young reporters as international correspondents, launched a project called “Generation TBD: Despair and opportunity for millennials in an uncertain global economy.” It will deploy 21 reporting fellows in 11 countries to dig into an issue legacy media has, at times, treated like a joke—the place of millennials in the economy today.

Although GroundTruth Project isn’t explicitly targeted towards any generation, it is distinctively millennial in its desire to make a difference in the world.

“It’s such a rough time—it’s risky to care too much. We’re trying to build an environment in which caring is fine,” says Kevin Grant, the managing editor.

GroundTruth Project grew out of the international news site GlobalPost; the initial idea was to raise nonprofit funding to cover social justice issues in more depth. The project, says Grant, works “to identify these big stories that impact a lot of people, and we try to identify them before our colleagues at other organizations.” And for “Generation TBD,” the GroundTruth Project, with its team of young reporting fellows, has an in and an angle to this story that older media organizations might not

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Image: Dutch Haven 1970 Pennsylvania


I don't know what a shoo-fly pie is but it must have something to do with wind mills.  I believe this place is still there.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Global Library Budgets Study from PCG



Recently the Publishing Technology business unit PCG released their annual library study for 2014.  Here is the executive summary and here is a link to the downloadable report.

Governments around the world have reacted differently to the economic situation they find their country in. Many have introduced austerity measures, while others have pursued an altogether different policy of stimulus. The plight of national economies is important as it impacts library budgets for the coming year/s.

The IMF reported in April that global economic prospects had improved1. More recent announcements from the IMF suggest that the recovery is bumpy and that global growth in 2013 would be just over 3%2, slightly down on their earlier forecasts. While growth is higher in major emerging economies, there has been a downward shift; within the euro area the recession has proven to be deeper than expected, and in the US the economy is expanding, but not as fast as expected. In contrast growth has been
stronger than expected in Japan, mostly due to the depreciation of the yen.

Similarly to the economic global outlook, the prospects for library budgets in 2014 are more positive - overall library budgets are expected to grow, albeit at a low rate of 1%. The materials budget is also set to increase by 1%. In respect to the underlying serials and books budgets, we see slightly higher increases. By diverting funds from other budget lines libraries indicate they will increase their serials and books budgets by 1.5% and 2% respectively.

Although library budget forecasts this year are more positive than in previous years, many expect information price inflation to be greater than their predicted budget increases and many believe they will be pressed to maintain existing services.

When forecasting further forward, the picture looks slightly better.  Forecasts show that between now and 2017 the materials budget will increase by a year on year average of 1.7%.

In geographical terms, Asia Pacific region predicts the most growth, with overall budgets set to increase by 4.2%. It seems many institutions are able to maintain or improve their holdings.  In spite of the depreciation of the yen, which has reduced the purchasing power of libraries, Japanese librarians are a little more optimistic than they have been in recent years. This is likely due to the new Japanese government introducing quantitative easing and a fiscal stimulus that included a substantial investment in science3. North American and European budgets are largely static, but with a slight negative leaning. The overall budgets for these two key regions are expected to decline by 0.5% in 2014.  Europe presents a slightly more mixed picture - although the overall budget is expected to decline slightly, through the management of various budget lines libraries will be able to increase their serials and books budgets. South America sees marginal increases across all four main budgetary areas, this follows decreases of between 3-4% forecast for 2013.

As economic conditions continue to challenge, the allocation of budgets remains a careful balancing act. Given the optimistic forecasts for 2014, the expectation is that some budgetary pressures will ease as recovery from global recession continues.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Monday, June 02, 2014

Media Week (V8, N22) Donna Tartt, Access Copyright, Getty Photos, The Great Newspaper Bubble + More

See this update on Flipboard:

I just finished The Goldfinch and it was an excellent book. (Guardian)
In The Goldfinch, Tartt has dispensed with overt literary references. Theo does carry a copy of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Wind, Sand and Stars, a gift, on a cross-country journey, but the book is a talisman of a genuine friendship instead of a substitution for one. Rather than have her narrator deliberately emulate fictional characters, Tartt has taken a fistful of Dickens novels, ground them into a fine powder and then blown the results all over her fictional world: Dickens permeates and perfumes The Goldfinch. So does Salinger, at least in the novel's New York passages, but as a flavouring rather than outright citation. The events in The Goldfinch, from the nebulously motivated terrorist bombing of the Metropolitan Museum, in which Theo loses his adored mother, to the devices by which he ends up in secret possession of the Carel Fabritius painting that gives the novel its title, to the climactic showdown with a bunch of international gangsters – all of this is as outlandish, as frankly and unashamedly fictional, as the bacchanal in The Secret History or the scene in The Little Friend where Harriet and Hely succeed in dropping an albino king cobra from a highway overpass into the sunroof of a moving car.
A current favorite: Alan Furst is out with a new book. (NYTimes
Who’s your favorite novelist of all time?
Years ago, I developed a grand passion for the novels of Anthony Powell. I tried, at a friend’s insistence, “A Dance to the Music of Time.” Couldn’t do it. Then I tried again, still couldn’t. But then, a year later, poking aimlessly about in my library, I paged through the books and came upon the “Autumn” section, Book 3, which includes the World War II novels: “The Valley of Bones,”  “The Soldier’s Art” and “The Military Philosophers.” Now the hook set. Going back to the beginning after reading “Autumn,” it all made sense: the interwoven lives of cosmopolitan British men and women, tossed about by the times they lived through. Powell does everything a novelist can do, from flights of aesthetic passion to romance to comedy high and low. His dialogue is extraordinary; often terse, pedestrian and perfect, each character using three or four words. Anthony Powell taught me to write; he has such brilliant control of the mechanics of the novel. Somewhere in his autobiography, he remarks that a character, when asked a question by another character, need not answer it. I remember sitting there for a long time and letting the stylistic implications of this sink in.
Can anyone compete with Amazon? (PW)
Competing with Amazon, even to carve out a slice of the market, is a daunting task. The company has a number of obvious advantages: scale, resources, and a diverse product line that can let the company treat books as loss leaders. The company, as has been well documented, is also focused on driving prices as low as possible. The perception of Amazon as the cheapest place to buy books, enhanced by its combining books with high ticket items with free shipping, gives the company a tremendous advantage over both online and physical bookselling competitors, says Peter Hildick-Smith, CEO of the Codex Group.

Hildick-Smith believes that if publishers want to help ensure a diverse marketplace, they need to move back to agency pricing on e-books once the court-order restrictions expire, and to return to windowing. Hildick-Smith believes publishers should follow the film industry's successful model of releasing new content in premium format first, followed by discount formats in later releases. Hildick-Smith has been a longtime supporter of windowing as a way to "give bricks-and-mortar stores a chance to do what they do best," noting that Amazon's own bestseller publishing program has struggled without physical-world retailer support. (One possible roadblock to windowing are reports that Amazon's contract prohibits the practice.)
Newspaper ad revenue (CJR)
It’s striking how much less dependent papers were on advertising before the 1980s than they were during and afterward. The rise of advertising was largely due to the decline of newspaper competition, which has fallen steadily since the late 1970s (the number of dailies is down about 22 percent in the last 35 years).

The last paper standing in a market could charge readers the same or less while corralling much of its former competitor’s advertising. While that was fun for a while, it undermined the long-term health of the industry. Newspapers became structurally dependent on sky-high advertising rates, ones that a true market couldn’t support.

In 1990, for instance, newspapers lost more than 6 percent of their ad lineage but also raised their ad rates by more than 6 percent. The New York Times, for instance, lost 38 percent of its advertising lineage from 1987 to 1992 but continued to raise rates.




Big doings in the Canadian copyright market (Quill  & Quire)

As royalties continue to shrink, the situation is having a profound impact on the bottom line of publishers catering to both the K–12 and postsecondary sectors. OUP Canada eliminated three jobs as a result of the closure of its schools division. At Winnipeg-based scholarly press Fernwood Publishing (which focuses on the higher-education sector), Access Copyright royalties usually amount to the salary of one of its seven staffers. And at Broadview Press, Access Copyright payments total $50,000 per year. It’s clear that these royalties have a significant impact on publishers’ abilities to break even, pay their staff, and create new works.
Royalties from the schools market dried up when Access Copyright’s K–12 customers (which include provincial ministries and, in Ontario, individual school boards) walked away from their licences, a move that was prompted in part by the 2012 passing of the Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11). The postsecondary sector is also distancing itself from Access Copyright, with many of the country’s biggest universities opting out of collective licences. A year ago, the agency launched a lawsuit against York University to challenge its interpretation of Bill C-11’s “fair ­dealing” provision.
Some publishers have also begun to see declines in sales. “The loss of income is not limited to the loss of the Access Copyright fees,” says Broadview Press president Leslie Dema. “There are now many professors turning to coursepacks instead of anthologies for the first time – simply because the coursepacks are so much cheaper when there is no charge for copyright.”
Plus more at my flipboard magazine.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Image Boston: North Street & Paul Revere House

I had a really good dinner at Mamma Maria's this week.  In this photo from 1971 the restaurant is in the house that has the white store sign (ABRU).  Not having been here before the location was immediately recognisable to be (and hasn't changed) because of this photo.

North Street & Paul Revere House: 1971

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Amazon Warehouse Robots

This is from 2011 but still impressive.



Amazon was so impressed they bought the robot: (Youtube)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

MediaWeek (V7, N16): Clearing Libraries, Upworthy-King of Content, Uncertain Book start-ups + More

PND Weekly roundup also on flipboard:

What of the digital humanities (with a great photo of the British Library)
And such a critical, creative, and imaginative engagement between “the digital” and “the humanities” requires an expansion of the field of humanistic inquiry in ways that leverage the power of data sets, computational analyses, design-centered thinking, and the interpretation of cultural repositories that far exceed the cognitive or analytical abilities of the normative Humanist. The task requires well-informed critical methods and forms of interrogation that belong to the present age, not the sorry “posture of skepticism” that Kirsch imagines in his urge to enforce simpleminded dichotomies. Nobody is arguing that the “digital humanities” are handing over reading, writing, thinking, and creating to “the computer,” which spits out data as culturally redundant truisms. Instead, we advocate for emerging genres, methods, knowledge formations, and new publics for the humanities, which not only use but also design digital tools to, among other things, animate archives in new ways, map and visualize data at scale, test assumptions and hypotheses rooted in source material using gaming environments and virtual worlds technologies, and provide new models of access to and engagement with knowledge.
More and more libraries are clearing out the books and Slate joins the band wagon:
But there’s one wholly unsentimental reason the stacks are both vital and irreplaceable, and that brings us back to Colby’s decision to replace theirs with a gleaming shrine to the corporate bottom line. As more of the books disappear from college libraries, the people in charge of funding those libraries will be more tempted to co-opt that space for events that bring in revenue, or entice students for the wrong reasons: food courts. Gaming lounges. I expect rock-climbing walls soon. Unless administrators make a protracted effort to preserve the contemplative and studious feeling, that feeling will disappear altogether, and the whatever-brary will become just another Jamba Juice.
Right now, the most powerful weapon in the fight to keep just one space on the entire campus dedicated to the preservation, creation, and dissemination of knowledge (a.k.a. the alleged sole purpose of the university) is the book. These obsolete cloth-bound relics—the way they smell, their very omnipresence in your field of vision; the way they carry with them centuries of past perusal—are currently the university’s strongest, if not sole, signifier of a contemplative, intellectual space. With the stacks there, a library’s architect creates spaces around the books, thus cementing their omnipresence as near-animate psychological enforcers. (There’s also the small matter that you only have to buy a book once; digital resources are licensed, and their prices increase every year!)
Upworthy - The King of Content. From CJR:
These subtle tweaks, with no change to the underlying content, have powerful results: Upworthy’s repackaged videos and articles receive an average of 75,000 likes per post on Facebook, about 12 times that of any other news organization, and the site spiked to 87 million unique viewers last December. Each view is more powerful because Upworthy doesn’t just entice readers to look, it encourages them through a swath of buttons on its homepage to share. This mastery of Facebook means that Upworthy reworkings produce significantly more views than the originals, whose creators are placed in an odd position. Upworthy works as a scavenger, drawing huge traffic to its own site by repurposing other people’s material. But to the original creators Upworthy brings new eyes; often the trickle-down traffic from people clicking to the original post (from a modest link published under each Upworthy article) is far greater than the viewership the organization could cultivate on its own.

Upworthy’s founders argue they’re not scavengers, they’re salvagers—and their acts of reclamation are making the world a better place. Most viral stories are not meaningful—think BuzzFeed’s “19 Cats Who Have Absolutely Had It” oeuvre—while Upworthy traffics in important topics: climate change, Afghanistan, gender discrimination, racism. And lifting these kinds of stories can transform the internet, they claim. “At best, things online are usually either awesome or meaningful,” reads the site’s founding statement. “But everything on Upworthy.com has a little of both.”

The ability to alter content into sharable nuggets of gold could also prove a powerful boon to advertisers: Up until this point, Upworthy hasn’t sold ads, but in April they put forward a unique strategy built around native advertising. Titled “Upworthy Collaborations,” the idea is to wave a magic wand over the advertising videos of paying brands in the same way the site does for news content. The first to line up is Unilever, the third-largest global consumer goods company, and a brand currently pitching itself as socially responsible when it comes to sustainability.
Laura Hazard over at GigaOm looks at book start-ups:
Any company that comes along trying to reinvent book publishing is competing not only with traditional book publishers but also with Amazon, which is almost 20 years old but keeps finding new ways to shake things up. Print book buying continues to move online and Amazon, which is now delivering on Sundays and offering same-day delivery in a growing number of cities, has a lock on that business. Kindle, launched in 2007, is the dominant ebook reading platform and Amazon is continually rolling out improvements to the Kindle e-reader and Kindle apps — sharing, search and so on — that rival what many startups have tried to do.
More on flipboard