Monday, June 28, 2010

Springer introduces new open access journals

In 2008, Springer acquired open access publisher BioMed Central amid worries the publisher would curtail the open access model despite claims at the time that they viewed open access as a viable business model and expected to expand the operation. This week, the company announced an expansion of the open access model to all disciplines under the trade name SpringerOpen.

From their press release:

SpringerOpen (www.springeropen.com) will cover all disciplines within the science, technology and medicine (STM) fields and will be offered in cooperation with BioMed Central. The entire content of SpringerOpen journals – including research articles, reviews, and editorials – are fully and immediately open access, and are accessible to anyone with an internet connection. No subscription is needed.

“We are seeing an increasing interest from our authors and from funders in all areas for open access publishing options and have responded to a need in the current market,” said Wim van der Stelt, EVP Business Development, Springer. “We are happy to serve our authors and editorial boards with the publishing options they want and are also pleased to supply universities, research institutions and our other patrons with the ability to use this content online freely and conveniently.”

SpringerOpen journals are e-only journals. Springer is committed to delivering high-quality articles and ensuring rapid publication as with its traditional journals, from online submission systems and in-depth peer review to an efficient, author-friendly production process. The final articles are not only published in a timely manner on Springer’s online information platform SpringerLink, but are also distributed to archives such as PubMed Central and to institutional repositories as requested.

SpringerOpen journals are published under the Creative Commons Attribution license, which facilitates the open distribution of copyrighted work. According to this license, Springer will not reserve any exclusive commercial rights. The journals ask the authors to pay an article-processing charge, in accordance with market standards.

BioMed Central, acquired in 2008 by Springer, will provide its expertise and technology to help establish the SpringerOpen portfolio. SpringerOpen journals will publish in emerging and interdisciplinary fields and will complement both the established Springer journal portfolios and BioMed Central’s growing list of over 200 life science and biomedicine journal titles. Furthermore, in order to reduce the financial burden faced by individual authors, Springer and BioMed Central are collaborating to extend BioMed Central’s Open Access Membership scheme, offered to institutions, societies, groups, funders and corporations, to include the SpringerOpen titles. More than 300 institutional open access membership arrangements are currently in place.

Springer Science+Business Media (www.springer.com) is a leading global scientific publisher, delivering quality content through innovative information products and services. The company is also a trusted provider of local-language professional publications in Europe, especially in Germany and the Netherlands. In the science, technology and medicine (STM) sector, the group publishes around 2,000 journals and more than 6,500 new books a year, as well as the largest STM eBook Collection worldwide. Springer has operations in about 20 countries in Europe, the USA, and Asia, and more than 5,000 employees.

BioMed Central (www.biomedcentral.com) has been part of Springer Science+Business Media since 2008. Founded in 1999, the STM publisher has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is the largest open access publisher in the world.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) 26: OCLC, AAUP Conference, Intellectual Property Enforcement, Harold Robbins, Book Bloggers

OCLC announced that a revised record use policy will be going into effect on August 1st (LJ):
After more than a year and a half of proposals, withdrawals, and revisions, OCLC's final updated policy governing the usage of WorldCat records is set to go into effect on August 1. The document, an update to the currently prevailing "Guidelines for Use and Transfer of OCLC Derived Records" (from 1987), is written in the form of an agreement on "Rights and Responsibilities" governing both OCLC Cooperative members and the steward organization itself. This commitment-driven approach is a departure from OCLC's previous attempts, criticized for being opaque and for featuring severe legalistic language. The current iteration has been repeatedly described as "a code of good practice," and stresses cooperative member libraries' vested interest in maintaining WorldCat as a viable and self-sustaining resource for catalog records and other services.
A wrap up of the AAUP conference in Salt Lake City (Chronicle):
The program was praised by many attendees in part because it focused on digital how-to: how to make and market e-books, and how to work with libraries that want everything in electronic form. It's far too early to say that most or even many university presses have made the transition from a print-based world to an electronic one. But most have now recognized that they have to figure out what that transition will look like for their particular presses if they want to keep publishing.
Concluding:
Beyond the practical questions, there was a philosophical slant to the conference, too. The publishers wondered and worried about the future of the long-form argument—e.g., the scholarly monograph. How will it survive in an era of quick Internet searches and piecemeal reading? Nicholas G. Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, wasn't in Salt Lake City, but his argument that the Internet is killing off "deep reading" came up several times.

At a freewheeling session on "information hyperabundance," the audience wrestled with how society ought to deal with the flood of data coming at us. Michael J. Jensen, director of strategic Web communications for National Academies Press, talked about how publishers and the rest of us are up against "a whole industry of distraction engines" that wants us to surf the Web, play video games, and generally do anything but read a book.
A drink writer is a bad writer (Independent):
"The idea that drugs and alcohol give artists unique insights and powerful experiences is an illusion," he said. "When you try and capture the experiences [triggered by drugs or alcohol] they are often nonsense. These drugs often wipe your memory, so it's hard to remember how you were in that state of mind."
LA Times notes that the Obama administration is beefing up the policing of piracy and counterfeiting of goods and e-books are mentioned (LAT):
Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel said her office would review current efforts to curb intellectual property infringement of U.S. goods abroad, especially in China. China also is the source of many counterfeit goods. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection report published last year said 79% of seized fake goods came from China.

The enforcement strategy outlined in a 61-page report released Tuesday contains over 30 recommendations, which includes establishing an interagency committee dedicated to curbing fake drugs and medical products. It also calls for agencies to encourage foreign law enforcement to go after rogue websites and "increase the number of criminal enforcement actions" against intellectual property violators.

"There's not an industry that hasn't been affected," said Dr. Mark Esper, executive vice president of the Global Intellectual Property Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who lauded the enforcement strategy. "The next victim out there is probably going to be the e-books and the publishing industry. "
Also in the LAT, book bloggers are inheriting the world of book reviews (LAT):
Blogs like Riley's, because of the genres they focus on, have caught the eye of publishers, who are eager to have a new opportunity to reach readers. "Women's fiction that maybe wouldn't be covered by traditional book sections is being blogged about, talked about," says Jennifer Hart, vice president and associate publisher at HarperCollins for its paperback imprints. "There are books blogs for every niche of publishing — from literary and commercial fiction to young adult, to sci-fi, to cookbooks. This offers publishers an incredible opportunity — we can reach the audience for all of our books, no matter the genre."

Some of this diversity was reflected in the Book Blogger Convention's attendees. Joan Pantsios, a public defender from Chicago just getting started with book blogging, has a fondness for literature. Carrie Brownell, whose Christianity is important to her blogging, is a stay-at-home mom from Oregon. Monica Shroeder, a 23-year-old military service member, devours books with incredible speed — especially those with vampires. Yet despite their different backgrounds, world views and tastes in books, these women — most book bloggers are women — were all incredibly friendly, eager to connect.
Almost complete collection of Faukner's works goes up for auction at Christie's (AP):
The auction could be the last chance to acquire such a large collection of the Nobel Prize-winning author's work, said Louis Daniel Brodsky, a poet and Faulkner scholar, who lives in St. Louis.Brodsky, who donated his own private collection to the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University, said he once owned the extremely rare copy of Faulkner's first novel, "Soldier's Pay," in a dust jacket that's part of the lot up for auction."There are five of those known," he said.Also included in the collection are signed copies of "The Wild Palms" and "Absalom, Absalom!" In keeping with common auction house practice, Christie's didn't identify the owner, but said he was an American.A few items offer a glimpse into the personal side of the author, whose stream of consciousness writings explored the complicated social system of the South.Ironically, Faulkner likely would have cringed to know his personal items are to be part of a public bidding war, Griffith said.
The lot eventually went for $833K. Not too bad - pays for a few air conditioners.

News that Author House will bring Harold Robbins back into print reminded me of Basil Fawlty and the Waldorf salad episode of Faulty Towers. This is Basil's review of Robbin's work:
"aimless thrills, ... the most awful American ... tripe, a sort of pornographic muzak." Of course, when he (Basil) learns the Hamiltons (guests) like Robbins, Basil pretends to have been referring to another author named "Harold Robinson." Harold Robbins was an American romance novelist whose peak of popularity lasted from the 1950s through the 1970s. His lurid, melodramatic writings were dismissed by critics as trashy pulp but were international bestsellers.
Here from the press release:

AuthorHouse, a leading self-publishing imprint of Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI), announced Thursday that is re-releasing 12 classic novels from America's top-selling fiction author of all-time, Harold Robbins.

Robbins' widow Jann said she chose AuthorHouse because it provided her the opportunity to make the books available over a wide range of digital platforms, like the Kindle, the nook and through Kobo. Additionally, the books will be re-released in paperback and hardcover formats.

"I'm an avid reader of eBooks and Harold would have loved the idea of making his books available digitally," said Jann Robbins. "His books spoke to all people, and by increasing the ways we can reach readers [through digital formats], I believe we're carrying on his legacy."

Galley editions of the first three titles: Where Love Has Gone; The Lonely Lady; and Goodbye, Janette will be debuted at the 2010 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference Friday through Sunday at the Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.

In addition, AuthorHouse will re-release nine more titles in the coming months. The release dates for hardcover copies and digital versions of the books will be announced in July, but pre-orders will be taken at the conference. "Harold Robbins is an American icon, selling more than 750 million books, in 32 languages, to readers worldwide. He paved the way for mainstream authors like Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins. We are pleased to bring his writing into the new digital age," said Kevin Weiss, ASI president and chief executive officer. The other nine titles being made available through AuthorHouse include: The Adventurers; Never Love a Stranger; Descent from Xanadu; Memories of Another Day; The Pirate; The Inheritors; Spellbinder; Dreams Die First; and The Dream Merchants.
From the @twitter this week:

Guardian: Conrad Black given fresh hope of early release after US supreme court ruling The http://bit.ly/9hImnD
TeleRead: Ray Kurzweil’s ‘Blio’ e-reader: Is it really all that? http://bit.ly/dgwClg
Guardian: 'Operation Thunderdome' takes US paper digital. http://bit.ly/c75mnE http://bit.ly/9fgvDu Digital first print last. Revolutionary
MediaPost Viacom's Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against YouTube Dismissed: In a sweeping victory for Google, a federal... http://bit.ly/bRBAtR

BBC News: Spy novelist Alan Furst takes readers back in time http://bit.ly/bpagJF - Just saw this. He is a great writer. (Video)
Nothing to report in Sport this week.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Amazon As Producer - Repost

Originally posted May 14, 2009

Amazon sells a lot of books but like any retailer they want to sell more. Reliance on publishers to produce the right books, or support the books in the right way, is so old school, and Amazon has determined that in some cases they can do a better job than a traditional publisher. From their press release:
AmazonEncore is a new program whereby Amazon uses information such as customer reviews on Amazon websites to identify exceptional, overlooked books and authors that show potential for greater sales. Amazon then partners with the authors to re-introduce their books to readers through marketing support and distribution into multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store, Audible.com, and national and independent bookstores via third-party wholesalers. This summer "Legacy" will be revised by the author and re-issued as an AmazonEncore edition in print on Amazon websites around the world, in physical bookstores, as a digital download from the Kindle Store in less than 60 seconds, and via spoken-word audio download on Audible.com.
It was really only a matter of time before Amazon entered the acquisitions segment of the publishing value chain and they follow Barnes & Noble and Borders in this respect, but the danger (or opportunity) in the Amazon case is more acute given their market power. Amazon is likely to go about this program in a far more aggressive manner than the other retailers, and the strategy looks like another element of their 'platform' play. Soon it may be the case where traditional book content - once 'generic' in terms of its' availability in all retail outlets - becomes somehow proprietary on the Kindle, in audio and perhaps in print. Amazon has such retail selling power that any publisher selected into the Encore program would have few qualms agreeing to an 'exclusive' sales arrangement. 'Exclusive' since few non-Amazon retailers would be likely to carry the title.

The self-publishing market has long seemed to me to be one of the best things that has happened to the acquisitions editor. The market represents a test bed of potential new authors and book projects. While the number of winners is always going to be small, the work of sifting through this material, which historically would have been done by reading the stacks of manuscript submissions, now takes place in the minor leagues of publishing. Here, there is a ready market of readers and reviewers who en mass can do the job of many AE's; but, Amazon is spoiling all the fun. With their superior data analysis capability, Amazon will be able to select these sleeper hits far in advance of any publisher and this Encore program will conspire to erode a publishers ability to source new books.

On the other hand, publishers will continue to publish authors who have not gone the self-publishing route and will not initially be available to Amazon. Many of these titles don't sell well even though they are good titles. Amazon are telling publishers that they are prepared to step in and help out if they determine that with a little more coaxing the title could indeed find an audience. The question will be on what terms this arrangement will be based.

Amazon as producer is a subtle but important change in the operations of the largest retailer. I often mull what would happen to some of the largest publishers if they lost their top two or three authors to Google or Amazon. It may be that the Amazon Encore program sets the stage for a much larger program by Amazon to establish their own publishing and media production operation - their content supply - that feeds their retail presence. There may be further ramifications from this seemingly innocuous press release.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

SS United States - August 1968

USS United States, August 1968
A weekly image from my archive.

The way the trim line arcs down from prow to stern, the funnels swept backwards as though pushed back by the wind, indeed the SS United States was a stylish ship. The liner held the trans-Atlantic record for many years and in this image you can easily imagine its sleek contour slicing through the sea. On the ships stern gold lettering proudly proclaims the ship's name and home port. Pretenders would have caught this parting message – “Sure, we're the United States and we're from New York!”

My parents were probably on a Circle Line tour in August 1968 and the liner was docked and preparing for a return to Europe. The ship’s owner was already in financial difficulty: My parents flew over on a 707 and jet travel killed the luxury liner. The United States was effectively taken out of service a year later.

Looking at the NY skyline almost 40 yrs later, the skyline is still familiar despite the significant changes. On the right of this image is the Sheraton Motor Lodge West Side, which opened in 1962 and boasted a roof top pool and “off street parking”. Rooms in 1968 went for $21. The Sheraton is now the Chinese consulate having first become run down as a Travelodge (I think) and then renovated by imported Chinese workers. Just to the left of the Sheraton and to the right of the first water tower you can just see the New Yorker hotel sign which is still a night time beacon on the skyline. There's an unobstructed view of the Empire State Building and to the far left is the Pan Am building with the Chrysler building in front.

The 2010 panorama has changed considerably but I don’t think my parents, on a 1968 Circle Line tour, would have thought their child would be able to view the Empire State Building out of his living room window forty years later.

Entire 1968 Set

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Curator and the Docent

Walking around a vast museum can be interesting and, sometimes serendipitous, but often it is an incomplete experience. Items are organized in specific groups yet not always in a manner that encourages exploration of the most important items. Presented with a gallery full of amphorae, it can be difficult to recognize the single important item while on your own and without a guide. Surfing the web for information and knowledge can offer a similar experience: Access and proximity is no guarantee you will happen on relevance.

Museums and libraries are good proxies for the concept of “curation,” which we’re hearing a lot about at the moment. Private equity (for one) has found its next buzz word and funding vultures are lacing their presentations with references to ‘curation’ in an effort to gain financial support for their new business ideas. But curation is an old concept: Television networks, newspapers, magazines, journals and other media have all practiced a form of content curation for hundreds of years. We’ve just recently latched onto the idea of curation as though it were something new. The need for curation in the old media world wasn’t as obvious as in the internet world because, on the web, ‘everything carries the same weight’ and the average user has difficulty discerning good content from bad. Indeed, as content on the web exploded over the past fifteen years, users accepted the “good enough” concept – free content was plentiful – and were content to ‘satisfice’ either knowingly or obliviously. User behavior and expectations are changing and investors are now chasing businesses that profess to actively curate content and communities of interest.

In recent years content curation has emerged out of the wild, wild, west of ‘mere’ content. Sites such as The Huffington Post, Red State and Politico all represent new attempts to build audiences around curated content. While they appear to be successful, at the same time there are other sites (such as Associated Content and Demand Media) contributing to the morass of filler content that can plague the web users’ experience. The buzz word ‘curation’ does carry with it some logic: As the sheer amount of information and content grows, consumers seek help parsing the good from the bad. And that’s where curation comes in.

The amount of content available to consumers – much of it free of charge, but scattered across thousands of websites – is growing exponentially every day. At the same time, consumers are increasingly doing independent research and attempting on their own to source important information to support their increasingly complicated lives. Questions or information relating to healthcare, finances, education and leisure activities represent a small sample of the range of topics on which consumers look for accuracy and relevance, yet encounter an immense sea of specious or outdated content. In many ways, the web - in its entirety - is the new dictionary, directory or reference encyclopedia, but users with specific interests are increasingly beginning to understand they need to spend as much time validating what they find as they do consuming their research. In the old days, it was as simple as pulling the volume off the shelf and, while the web offers a depth and accuracy of content that far outstrips any from the old days, finding content of similar veracity can be a challenge.

For the past two years, I was working on a project with Louis Borders at Mywire.com in an attempt to build a curated news and information service we called Week’sBest. For a variety of reasons we put the project on hold in February, but the concept was simple: Identify experts that can curate content on a range of specific topics and build a community of interested subscribers around the content. Our model was to find expert ‘content producers’ who retain unique knowledge and understanding of a specific topic and would filter content from across the web specific to their topic of expertise. Mywire.com built a unique editorial tool to make this process almost routine by pre-selecting topic-specific content from both brand name sources and from across the web. Our experts - the content producers – logged on each day and selected from this pre-sorted list only those items they considered the best content. Consumers interested in each of these topics subscribe to a free weekly email digest of the material selected. Our revenue model was based on turning a subset of our free email subscribers into paid subscribers who would gain access to high-quality content – such as content from Oxford University Press.

While we were unable to execute as we expected, we did gain validation of our concept from both the publishing and the private equity community. Publishers, who we were chasing to be our ‘content experts’ liked that there was a low cost of entry for their participation and liked the editorial platform we had invested in. The equity community liked the ‘curation’ model, the people involved in the project and the investment that Mywire had made in the platform. However, we suffered the ‘prove it’ syndrome. Both publishers and equity partners wanted to see the model work before they committed and we ran out of time and resources. Mywire.com continues to invest in other curation type models.

I remain convinced that applying technology to the selection of useful, valid and appropriate content is only part of the solution. At Mywire, we used a text mining tool as part of the editorial process and on simple news items – which are increasingly generic – placing content items into subject/topic groupings was relatively easy. The process isn’t perfect and requires frequent ‘fine tuning’ but while the tools are improving, human intervention is still required. Earlier this month we learned that even Google was applying some human filtering to their news site.

There is a real debate whether consumers will pay for real expertise and knowledge: I believe they will, just as they paid for specialist magazines, journals, cable channels and similar media in the analog centuries. The atomization of content has complicated matters in that it has taken the proverbial covers off the print limitation of the traditional magazine. While a reader or subscriber will buy into the expertise of ‘Glamour’ or ‘Men’s Health,’ they now expect all important and relevant content and not just the content prepared by the magazine’s writers. After all, there is a low hurdle in the user’s ability to search for content on their own and it is silly to ignore this ability. Acting as a ‘content producer,’ the editors of ‘Glamour’ should be able to provide their paying subscribers with a collective representation of all content that’s important and relevant to their readers even if the content is produced by Glamour’s competitors. This is an important service and doesn’t limit the ability of Glamour to produce their own content; rather, it enhances it because they are able to view in detail the interests of their subscribers and produce applicable content to match.

In the above example, generic news is never going to be the basis for paid subscriptions. For example, the news that suntan lotion causes skin cancer is a hyped news story. In the Glamour example, this news story would always remain in the free section of their site; however, available to subscribers would be a curated selection of in-depth content including reference material, added to over time, with commentary and discussion from their ‘expert’ editors and advisors about the real issue of sun protection products. With a brand such as Glamour, the number of expert curated topics made available to subscribers could easily exceed fifty and over time would be likely to grow. Strongly associated with this approach would be the development of communities around each topic, leading in turn to additional business opportunities such as ad programs, events and special publishing programs.

The interest of consumers across a wide variety of subjects and topics continues unabated and the internet has only facilitated that interest, although our expectations have been reduced or marginalized due to undifferentiated content. The consumer is increasingly smarter about the content they consume and they also continue to impress with their ability to seek out and absorb what, in the analog world, was considered too “advanced” for their understanding. There was always an arbitrary wall between “professional or academic” content and consumer content: Increasingly, consumers are making it clear that they want to make the decision themselves whether particular content is or is not too advanced for their comprehension or enjoyment.

Recently, as I wandered around a museum with overwhelming breadth and depth of content, I was lucky to be guided in my travels by a professional. When she introduced herself to me, she used the term ‘docent’ to describe her function. A docent is a ‘knowledgeable guide’ and the function seems to me to perfectly complement the process of curation. In an online world, where more and more content appears to “carry the same weight,” we will look to and pay for the combination of curator and docent – sometimes the same person or entity – who can organize and manage a range of content and also engage with the user so they gain insight and meaning from the material. At Mywire.com, we intentionally approached branded media companies because they were recognized as experts in their segments. These are the companies which should be able to build revenue models around the curation of content to offer subscribers a materially different experience than simply performing a Google search query delivering up generic news and semi-relevant content.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) 25: Joyce, Embedded Librarians, Cloud Computing Survey

You may have heard of the iPad & Ulysses controversy - here from the Observer:
Ulysses has what the racing fraternity call "form" in this regard. In 1926, for example, four years after its publication, the Cambridge English don FR Leavis decided that he wanted to quote from the book – which was then banned in Britain – in his lectures. He therefore wrote to the Home Office seeking permission to import a copy. For his temerity, he was then summoned by the university's vice-chancellor, who handed him a note from the director of public prosecutions revealing that the Cambridge police had been monitoring Leavis's lectures, and concluding with a recommendation that he "should be suitably and firmly dealt with".

The publishers of Ulysses "Seen" are no doubt feeling relaxed and contented, on the grounds that if you can get round Apple's editorial control-freakery then you can get around anything. There is, however, one further possibly fly in their ointment. His name is Stephen Joyce. He is the grandson of the great man and since the 1980s has been in sole control of his grandfather's literary estate. More importantly, his desire to control the uses of his literary property makes Steve Jobs look like St Francis of Assisi.
Robert McCrumb on a busman's holiday in the Northeast (Observer):

In Washington I went to one of America's great bookstores – Politics and Prose on Connecticut Avenue – a beacon of traditional bookselling, run for the past 25 years by Barbara Meade and Carla Cohen. To the dismay of the locals, they have just announced their retirement and the business is for sale. But it's age (both women are in their 70s) not recession or competition from Barnes and Noble that's driving this decision. Meade told me that their book sales are actually up 30% in 2010.The US and Canada remain an enthusiastic and sophisticated book market. Unlike in Britain, there are hardly any festivals, but book clubs and reading groups make up the deficit, and everyone is a consumer, if not always a reader. A Martian would have to conclude that the thing called "the printed word" was enjoying a bonanza.

Embedded Librarians? (Inside HigherEd):

The model Roderer and her staff are pursuing is distributed not only in the sense that every researcher’s computer can access the library’s website and its vaults of electronic journal articles and e-books, but in that library personnel are embedded in various departments to work with researchers on their own turf. These staffers are no longer called librarians; they are “informationists.” (Roderer did not invent the term, but she prefers it to “librarian,” which she says evokes envoys from a faraway building rather than information experts whose skills are applicable anywhere.)

Medical students, clinicians, and professors are loath to trek across campus to the library’s physical plant now that the majority of its collections are available in electronic format through its website, Roderer says. However, that does not mean the library’s staff is no longer of use to researchers, she says — nor does it mean the staff’s interactions with researchers need to be limited to e-mail and text-messaging.
Pew Research on the Future of Cloud Computing (Pew):

The highly engaged, diverse set of respondents to an online, opt-in survey included 895 technology stakeholders and critics. The study was fielded by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center. Some 71% agreed with the statement: "

By 2020, most people won't do their work with software running on a general-purpose PC. Instead, they will work in Internet-based applications such as Google Docs, and in applications run from smartphones. Aspiring application developers will develop for smartphone vendors and companies that provide Internet-based applications, because most innovative work will be done in that domain, instead of designing applications that run on a PC operating system."

Some 27% agreed with the opposite statement, which posited:

"By 2020, most people will still do their work with software running on a general-purpose PC. Internet-based applications like Google Docs and applications run from smartphones will have some functionality, but the most innovative and important applications will run on (and spring from) a PC operating system. Aspiring application designers will write mostly for PCs."

Most of those surveyed noted that cloud computing will continue to expand and come to dominate information transactions because it offers many advantages, allowing users to have easy, instant, and individualized access to tools and information they need wherever they are, locatable from any networked device. Some experts noted that people in technology-rich environments will have access to sophisticated-yet-affordable local networks that allow them to "have the cloud in their homes."

From the twitter:

A good series of notes from John Mark Ockerbloom On bibliographic data and cataloging: #rmti

A Failure to Communicate http://shar.es/mysOJ In lawsuit against Georgia St over e-reserves, scholarly publishing faces a defining moment

Reader's Digest Moves to Mend http://bit.ly/9ZizvU Less ambition, fewer staff but looking to rebound.

And in sports, England beat Australia and the rest is not worth mentioning. Lakers beat Celtics - always good.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Metadata Everywhere

An interesting article in OCLC's NextSpace publication about the increasing importance of meta data. Music to bibliographers and catalogers' ears. (OCLC):
“Metadata has become a stand-in for place.”

So says Richard Amelung, Associate Director at the Saint Louis University Law Library. When asked to expand on that idea he explains, “Law is almost entirely jurisdictional. You need to know where a decision occurred or a law was changed to understand if it has any relevance to your subject.

“In the old days, you would walk the stacks in the law library and look at the sections for U.S. law, international law, various state law publications, etc. Online? Without metadata, you may have no idea where something is from. Good cataloging isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’ for legal reference online. It’s a requirement.”

Richard’s point is one example of a trend that is being felt across all aspects of information services, both on and off the Web: the increasing importance and ubiquity of metadata. In a world where more and more people, systems, places and even objects are digitally connected, the ability to differentiate “signal from noise” is fast becoming a core competency for many businesses and institutions.

Librarians—and catalogers more specifically—are deeply familiar with the role good metadata creation plays in any information system. As part of this revolution, industries are increasing the value they place on talents and the ways in which librarians work, extending the ever-growing sphere of interested players.

Whether we are tracing connections on LinkedIn, getting recommendations from Netflix, trying to find the right medical specialist in a particular city or monitoring a shipment online, metadata has become the structure on which we’re building information services. And no one has more experience with those structures than catalogers.

Concluding:

“It is clear that metadata is ubiquitous,” Jane continues. “Education, the arts, science, industry, government and the many humanistic, scientific and social pursuits that comprise our world have rallied to develop, implement and adhere to some form of metadata practice.

“What is important is that librarians are the experts in developing information standards, and we have the most sophisticated skills and experience in knowledge representation.”

Those skills are being put to good use not only in the library, but in nearly every discipline and societal sector coming into contact with information.

Bibliographers Shall Inherit...Data Monopolies - Repost

I recently heard Fred Wilson speak and it reminded me of this post from February 5th, 2007:


Fred Wilson is a founder of Union Square Ventures a private equity firm located in NYC. He was also part of Flatiron Partners until he left to start Union Square. He was the key note speaker at Monday’s SIIA Previews meeting and spoke about Content; specifically that content "wants to be free."

He ended the session with a potentially more interesting theme which related to tagging and content descriptions. In answer to a question about the potential power of social nets and the attendant tagging possibilities he suggested that we shouldn’t have to tag information at all; that is, content should be adequately described for us. The questioner stated that ‘publishers are good’ at describing their content. Wilson disagreed, confirming (to me) that publishers are definitely not good at tagging or classifying their content. His comments confirm for me a belief that intermediaries that insert descriptors, subject classifications and other metadata to improve relevance and discovery will play an increasingly important role. Personally, I do not think the battle has yet been joined that will determine one provider of standardized meta-data within specific product or content categories. (Some players have clear positioning, take for example Snap-On tools purchase of Proquest’s Business Solutions unit which opens many intriguing opportunities – if you like car parts).

You may think that books are effectively categorized by Amazon.com and therefore Amazon is the standard. This is untrue: In fact there are several bibliographic book databases and none of them are compatible across the industry. Additionally, while Amazon allows great access to their data, they are not a good cataloguer of bibliographic information. Their effort is enough to serve their purposes. As a seeker of books and book (e)content, I will want to be able to search on a variety of data elements (publisher, format, subject, author) and find what I am looking regardless of the tool I am using. In my view a single source of quality bibliographic information distributed at the element level will solve this problem. Suppliers of content are beginning to understand that it is the description of the content (metadata) that is as important as the content itself.

It is really quite simple: A database provider needs to spend time standardizing their deep bibliographic content, distribute it to anyone who wants it and then figure out how they can make money doing that. Historically, a vendor had to create their own product catalog because either one didn’t exist or they preferred to build it themselves. Look at office products or mattresses. It is nearly impossible to compare items across vendors. Books and other media products are slightly easier but the legacy of multiple databases continues to reduce efficiency. Management of a product database/catalog should never be a competitive advantage unless it is your business.

Fred Wilson stated that if information wants to be free then where is the value in information? Unsurprisingly it is in attention. To quote, "there is a scarcity of attention and narrowing users’ data ‘experience’ to mitigate irrelevance is the future." Furthermore the ‘leverage points’ in the attention driven information model are Discovery, Navigation, Trust – ratings around content (page rank is good example), Governance, Values and Metadata – data about the data. The likes of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have the first couple of these items well in hand but they will all increasingly need good meta-data that describes the content they are serving up. This is where aggregators/intermediaries step in whether it be tools, tv programs and movies, advertising or books.

He has provided a link on his web site to the presentation from this meeting.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Photo: Tehran August 1972

PND on the tarmac, Tehran 1972
This will be a weekly series of photos from my archive and I hope you enjoy the selection.


This photo is a good point of embarkation for my series:

Pan Am Clipper Pacific Trader (N744PA) is parked on the tarmac at Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran. That's me in the foreground clutching my Air New Zealand carry on. My father, grand father and I were traveling back to New Zealand after I had spent the summer in the UK and my father had attended a Columbia summer business program.

The 747 jumbo was still relatively new and in those years the upstairs section was designed to be a lounge and dining room. Dad worked for the hotels division of Pan Am and we regularly traveled first class which included the upstairs section. In our experience there was never anyone up there, but there was this wonderful u shaped couch which stretched around the back of the cabin. If you were quick and lucky and the flight attendants allowed, it was possible to grab a section and lie prone from Hong Kong to Karachi. As long as you were strapped in they never woke you.

The 747 was too large for many airports at that time and so passengers tended to be bussed to the terminal. As the plane came to a stop in Tehran a contingent of armed troops came and encircled the plane with each soldier 10 or so yards apart. There they stood facing outward, guarding the aircraft until we departed. To this day I'm not too sure they were ever equipped to protect us.

I never kept track of the planes I traveled on but I was able to identify this 747 from the photo. Curiously, it was loaned by Pan Am to Iran Air about 2 years later. I like the two well dressed travelers at the bottom of the stairs - a sight not often seen now a days.

Photo: Flickr

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BISG Revising Sales Reporting: Take a Survey

From BISG:

SHORT SURVEY ON DATA MODEL FOR COLLECTING BOOK INDUSTRY STATISTICS

Dear Book Industry Colleagues,

This is an exciting time!

As mentioned in the notice attached, for years AAP and BISG have developed data separately on the size of the market for books—in the aggregate and by market sector. We have used different models and produced different results. Now, we’re working together to develop a new data model to track book industry statistics and to dramatically improve our capacity to estimate the size of market sectors and the industry as a whole.

AAP and BISG have retained Management Practice, Inc. (MPI) to develop a prototype data model. A committee of representatives of AAP and BISG members is overseeing the process.

Now, you're invited to join us!

We expect participants from every sector of the book business will find that the improved accuracy and timeliness of data will lead to better business decisions and more effective public advocacy. We welcome your involvement in the process.

Over the next couple months, AAP, BISG and MPI will be contacting our members through interviews and surveys to determine the usefulness and accuracy of the new data model as it develops. The following brief survey stands at the beginning of this process. Please take the time to let us know what you think about the direction we're going by submitting your response no later than Friday, June 25, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

We look forward to working with you on this extremely important industry initiative.

LIVE SURVEY LINK: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/P98PS2N

SURVEY DEADLINE: FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010 @ 5:00 p.m. EASTERN

Monday, June 14, 2010

RLG (OCLC) Symposium Chicago 2010

A presentation to at the RLG (OCLC) Symposium "The Books have left the Building". In this presentation is a short summary of the state of the US publishing industry and a summary of research conducted for OCLC that addressed publisher's perceptions of their eBook future.




Presentation Comments:


Good Morning and thank you for inviting me to speak today. 

Chart 1: In preparing for this presentation this morning, I happened on an interesting article in Harvard Magazine about how Harvard’s libraries are dealing with change. 

Chart 2: In this article the author addressed some interesting themes including the librarian’s role as curator – which this quote addresses – but perhaps the most interesting theme for me was the notion that neither publishers nor consumers are up to the task of effectively managing the digital migration we find ourselves in at the moment.  As the sheer amount of data and information increases exponentially, the gap in our collective ability to manage the information and data is only going to get wider.

Perhaps though – finally some good news for librarians?

Shaw suggests that librarians retain specific skills that could bridge the gap between generic content where 'everything carries the same weight' and a 'consciously curated and controlled artifact' managed to the benefit of a librarian's constituency.  What that means is the librarian could be around for a while and could be helpful.  And isn’t that what we all want?

Curation is the hot topic of the day.  It is almost like we are all discovering it for the first time – as though the idea of Curation is a new one.  Tech start-ups and private equity investors have begun to lace their presentations with this buzz word but as we are smugly aware Curation is not new and perhaps is something we might actually be good at as the information and content business expands.

Chart 3:  When I speak to groups about the ‘state of the business’ I often present the industries digital sophistication on a spectrum.  My spectrum - which references knowledge, business model and experience is quite wide.  I don’t generally present the evolution of publishing while referencing Curation but in effect Curation has played a significant role in the progressive concentration of publishing segments and content over the past 20 yrs.  Having said that, Curation as practiced in my examples is a bit like taking a mallet to kill an ant and Curation in the next twenty years I expect will be far more nuanced and who knows maybe librarians will play a role.  I think Shaw hopes that is the case.

So, where are publishers in terms of transitioning their businesses from print to online?

Information companies began their migration in the early 1990s when they consolidated content into silos for tax information, legal, financial, medical/health, etc. They continue to innovate by building platforms that support content, provides a mechanism for delivery and the development of customer specific tools and solutions.  By my estimate, they hold a five year lead on the others in terms of their capabilities and sophistication.

Education publishers began their migration in early 2000’s as companies rapidly consolidated; however development in online and eContent really didn’t accelerate until mid decade.  This current rapid investment and experimentation in Education supports the eBook forecast you will see in a moment.

Trade is much further behind the others even though they experimented with aborted eContent initiatives in CDROM in the mid to late 1980s  and early eBooks in the mid-late 1990s.  They continue to proceed slowly and cautiously. Current levels of investment are concentrated at the top of the business and most medium and small publishers are doing nothing with respect to development and innovation with eContent.

What the Harvard article articulates quite well is that while information publishers in the medical and legal segments are relatively sophisticated the wider digital ‘marketplace’ specifically for raw data is advancing so rapidly that even these established players are having a tough time keeping up.

Chart 4: In my presentation today I would like to give you a snap shot of the US market showing revenues and growth trends.  In the second section, I will attempt to provide you with some perspective on what publishers are thinking about as they manage through the transition to digital and in doing so I will reference some research I did for OCLC in the latter part of last year where I interviewed publishers across the business about what they saw as the future of the book.  Lastly, I will briefly propose some predictions which is, of course, always dangerous.

Chart 5: By way of introduction, from a macro perspective, I think we loose sight of the fact that the publishing industry is really no different than any other old line business segment – whether the auto industry, newspapers or broadcast media:  Periodic seismic shifts occur. 

In the case of publishing, our industry tends to see changes at much wider intervals than others – stone chisels, charcoal sticks, movable type, and eventually the Macintosh computer – but my point is all industries face changes and publishing is no different.

Publishing is experiencing changes in how and what is published, how content is delivered to customers, and the speed by which content is updated, revised and re-edited – and this is no less the case with respect to real-time updates that must occur for database and directory content. Technology is now so fundamental to a publisher’s ability to produce and compete that technologists sit at the top levels of many publishing businesses helping to direct the company’s strategy.

Chart 6: In this context of change we also deal with macro economic problems that have made the US publishing market subdued and anxious about the future.  Retrenchment is evidenced in the continued reduction of staff at publishing houses, the reduction of retail operations across the country and the severe reduction in tax collections that impact library and state education budgets.  And that’s only to mention a few of the challenges we face.

Publishers are also confused about how to deal with important partners:  Amazon over e-Books and pricing, students over the cost of textbooks, Google over scanning and display of content and states over educational textbook content.  These issues absorb the attention of individual senior publishing executives, yet the industry as a whole must feel jealous of business such as Amazon, Apple, Google and others which depend on publisher product, don’t produce any of their own and yet post record profit gains.   If those are not enough, I also think trade and education publishers have yet to wake up to the ‘problem’ that is library lending of e-Books and this to will become an additional ‘confusing’ issue.

Chart 7: As I indicated earlier, the US Publishing market is traditionally divided into three segments: Information & Professional, Education and Trade.  Business drivers across these segments can be similar but each retains specific unique drivers critical to their success.

In the trade segment, big authors and celebrity authors are increasingly important (and thus an emphasis) for success.  In information publishing macro-economic factors exert an important influence in defining success.  For example, the global financial crisis has impacted information companies selling solutions to the financial and banking community.  There aren’t as many employees therefore there aren’t as many subscriptions.  In education, federal and state governments exert significant influence over the success of education publishers either by legislation or more directly in the allocation of funds for purchases.

I did want to show you some numbers so, let’s spend a few minutes on some industry data collected by the Book Industry Study Group.  BISG publishes an annual report named Trends that captures key industry statistics.  This document is available for purchase from their website.

Chart 8: Reported revenues look healthy – so despite all the negativity about the state of the business maybe things aren’t so bad after all.  This data was compiled in the last quarter of 2009 and so 2010 is an estimate based on 2009.  The actual 2010 revenues may not be quite this high but will not be significantly different. 

Chart 9: Title output has continued to grow.  The number of titles published by traditional publishers has risen incrementally since 2003 (215K) to 2010 (288K).   This is despite public pronouncements by some of the largest trade publishers over the past few years that they were trimming their publishing lists and becoming more selective.

And while I am not going to speak about the following in this presentation, more explosive growth is depicted in the non-traditional or self-published segment.  And you might argue that this is a more interesting trend given the size of these numbers.  Much of this volume is not monitored in the traditional supply chain.  How much that matters is not clear but it is useful to understand much of this volume increase is not counted in the first chart I presented.   The expansion in self-published content supports one of the themes of Shaw’s article of a rapidly increasing sea of content which we are having trouble navigating.

Chart 10:  The International Digital Publishing Foundation in collaboration with the Association of American Publishers has been tracking eBook sales in trade for several years.  In this chart from the IDPF, we see the acceleration of e-book sales by quarter for the past two years.

E-Books and the transition to eContent has been the focus of attention for all publishing executives in the trade and education space.  In the industry it is generally accepted that trade eBooks still represent less than 5% of all revenues.  But this percentage is volatile and eBooks absorb a disproportionate amount of attention and management time.  This is because the sale of eBooks raises significant issues for publishers about the future of their businesses.  These issues include, pricing, ownership – whether sale or license, distribution, their author contracts, international rights, copyright and many other issues.  Even though digital revenues are small in comparison with legacy businesses the questions are fundamental to the potential success or failure of these businesses as future going concerns.  The importance of these issues dictates that executive management be focused on them.

I mentioned volatility: In the launch of the iPad some publishers were seeing a jump to 30% of a title’s volume migrating to the eBook as a result of the new iPad platform.  The recent sales of Larsson’s third book The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest released last week apparently sold over 30% of its volume in ebook format.  But we shouldn’t get carried away as your typical Joe Blogs fiction or Prof Grutz academic title is still likely to be below 5%.

Chart 11: The transition to eContent in education is equally important as it is in trade but the transition in education is running much faster.  This eBook forecast was recently prepared by educational books wholesaler Missouri Book Company.  MBS believes digital textbooks will represent over 18% of all textbook revenues by 2014.  I suspect looking to 2015 the percentage would approach 35%.

Chart 12 & Chart 13: Despite the near hysteria from the press over trade book electronic publishing which is - overall - tiny, electronic publishing is old really old news to education and information publishers.  As if to confirm this point and the forecast on the prior chart, Pearson in their recent financial reports, highlighted the proportion of digital content sold at 31%.  Other publishers such as John Wiley and Wolters Kluwer have made similar pronouncements.

Chart 14:  Those brief charts should give you a general idea of the current publishing environment from a business perspective.  As I mentioned earlier, at the end of last year on behalf of OCLC I interviewed a number of senior publishing executives about their thoughts and preparations for the future.  To clarify, I did not seek opinion from information and database publishers for this particular study.

Chart 15:  My observations were interesting from the stand point that it appears that publishers are dependent on external forces for their success as they transition.  For example, the trade and education success could have more to do with a better e-reader than whether the content meets user expectations in electronic form.  This will not be the case forever but places the publishers at the mercy of silicon valley.

It was clear to me from my interviews that e-Books have not been a catalyst for revolution and reinvention for the trade segment.  Publishers are attempting to apply the same logic for the creation and selling of print titles to eBooks and you see this in pricing and release dates for example.   

Piracy is a major issue – real or imagined - and drives many conversations about eBooks, despite the fact that it is becoming increasingly clear that the casual link between the availability of an eBook and a pirated edition is tenuous and that it is the non-availability of an eBook that may contribute more to piracy.  Most publishers don’t see this.

Chart 16:  Trade is problematic.  What activity there is doesn’t go very deep and is concentrated at the top of the pyramid.  The larger publishers admit to e-Books representing approximately 5% of revenues on average and even this is segmented toward the highly popular authors.  By protecting the 95% of their business that is not electronic they are almost by definition defensive in outlook.

While senior executives may be focused on eBooks and eContent there is much less attention paid to e-Books by mid-level staffers.  What tends to happen – and there is some evidence for this in the reaction to the iPad – is that publishers are bounced from one new idea and technology to the other and operate without a coherent medium to long term strategy that seeks to leverage the opportunity that e-Content and e-Books offers.  I think it is speaks volumes that trade publishers seem to be just as surprised at the eBook sales via the iPad as all of us uninformed lay people.

Most medium and small publishers are really no-where when it comes to understanding how to operate in an e-Content world.  This lack of knowledge and experience has another more insidious impact in that these less informed publishers are particularly reactionary on the negatives with respect to e-Content and in particular to the issue of piracy.

I asked almost every interviewee if they were treating their author contracts and relationships differently today than they were three years ago and all said they were not.  I admit to being baffled by that but they are attempting to change their workflows that reduce the reliance on typewriters and biros.

Chart 17:  Trade & academic reference publishing may offer significant opportunities from the integration of digital workflows and e-publishing. 

Just think of the active links, full text searching, document libraries, etc that can be incorporated into the academic book that can really bring the book alive.  The future is close but hasn’t been invented yet.

But tradition still plays a significant role in the expansion of eBooks in trade reference.  Scholarship is still dependent on a print formula even though much of the research activities that contribute to the reference work will have been conducted on line.  Publishers do recognize the potential that e-Books and digital content enable but there are only a few isolated examples to date – Rice University, U/Tennessee, – for example, and none within a major publishing house.

Chart 18:  Which brings me to education which as a segment has been rapidly digitizing content, building digital workflows and creating ‘born digital’ educational materials for the past five or six years.  A major driver in this effort was the private equity investments in Cengage and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Education publishers find themselves balancing both “born digital” and migrated print workflows.  This will not last forever but does lead to some inefficiency.  As their markets mature, College is potentially more accepting of the migration to electronic in the short term whereas School will be much slower.  The school content approvals process may also limit some of the advantages that digital content enables such as content updating; A negative if materials need to be approved for each ‘version’.  Experiments with E-readers – particularly in the college space -  have largely failed both because of functionality and because of content ownership.  While e-Book content may be cheaper students aren’t able to re-sell the content and depending on the model may loose the content once the semester ends.  They don’t like this.

Education publishers are beginning to think terms of databases and subscriptions rather than books and retail price.  This is a big change and as this develops it could have a significant impact on the economics of educational publishing.

Education publishers are also following the path of information publishers in building content and service platforms that broaden the publishers offering beyond simply content.  Several of the larger publishers now own course and school administration software companies, student assessment products, schools and learning institutions and other similar companies that expand their market.  With a services model for example, publishers are able to offer numerous options from ‘build your own textbook’ functionality to testing and remediation tools.

I expect that within five years educational publishers will have opened their content warehouses to enable academics and students to interact with their content in ways we can only guess at but which will radically change the relationship between publishers, students and faculty.

Chart 19:  Some of my interviewees did offer a perspective on libraries. There’s a divergence of opinion on libraries and we see that in these quotes. 

Publishers think they are important.

Chart 20:  There’s a perception libraries help publishing but no one can ever cite empirical data.  I think it would be helpful if this gap in knowledge were filled.  As more and more content goes on line and is made available to more patrons via remote access, publishers and librarians are going to need some real data to understand the dynamics.  Some publishers told me they don’t want to sell their eBook content to libraries.  For example, no one really knows the characteristics of a library patron who is also a book buyer.  How can we anticipate how the patron’s behavior will change in an online world without research?  How can we guarantee that a heavy book buyer will not transfer their transactions from the bookseller to the library if content is online and available on their iPad?  If they do that, then how should the publisher/library business model change?

Chart 21:  Trade publishers and to some degree education publishers are interested in direct to consumer models.  They have virtually no experience in this which is not to say they can’t learn.  Some publishers even see the library as a potential gateway to the reader community.  Publishers want to build online communities of book readers.  The notion of the solitary reader is not ‘natural’ given the history of story (and advice) telling: Will or how will this relationship with the book change and can libraries and publishers work together in cooperation?

Chart 22: Which brings me to the final segment of my presentation for today which is to present some thoughts and predictions about publishing in the digital age.

Chart 23: Let us first remind ourselves about the publishers’ view of their current environment.  

Chart 24:  Are things really that bad.  By comparison with other media, book publishing looks like it was a winner in 2009.  Last year’s news about Newspapers, magazines and television represented an almost never-ending news cascade of revenue loss, closures and bankruptcies.  Many newspapers have forever lost over 1/3 of their revenues from classified advertising: It will never come back and circulation and display advertising is also on a decline.  Some major magazine titles were down 50% ad revenues during 2009.  What do you do when you lose 50% of your revenue all in one go?  That also doesn’t come back and many brand name magazine titles with long histories closed last year.

While nothing improved over the balance of 2009 for book publishers and senior executives continue to be hesitant to expect much improvement in 2010 the industry may be comparatively resilient.

In the library and education space lower tax collections means reduced spending generally but in the case of education, the Obama administration is committed to funding new education initiatives that should help publishers.

And we didn’t need a bail out.

Chart 25: While each segment of the publishing industry is at a different stage in their evolution they will all continue to deal with and manage significant change.  How these changes manifest themselves is hard to predict but my thoughts are as follows:

Hardest to predict is the information segment which will continue to invest in the content and technology products they are delivering to their clients.  They will continue to integrate content and technology and offer customers more flexibility in how they gain access to these integrated products via software as a service, application providers, outsource partners and embedded content.

Interestingly, the changes in the amount of content to be curated, managed, organized etc may hit this segment hardest and as I said earlier, while this segment is most sophisticated of all publishing segments publishers they will still find it difficult to keep on top of the data explosion.  In order to cope you will start to see publishers open up their platforms so that third parties can build applications on top of the publisher owned data, the use of taxonomies, and ontology’s will be increasingly important and probably the employment of content curators – perhaps librarians – or more accurately one part curator one part mentor who will curate and guide users in the use of the technology available to them.

Education publishers are following the lead of the information publishers in expanding their value chain to service more educational segments and in the process they become solutions providers.  The education publishers will also increasingly offer custom content creation for consumers/students, administrators, academics and state systems.  The education segment will rapidly catch up to the level of sophistication that the information publishers continue to exhibit.

Trade will generate the most attention but change will be slow.   All major publishers are currently reevaluating their value chain and redefining what it means to be a publisher.  For example, they are changing their workflows to rely more on xml and changing their author contracts.  How their activities evolve will be interesting to watch.  Trade publishers will also continue to experiment with direct to consumer models and will develop subscription products.

Chart 26:  eBooks and eContent will naturally continue to garner significant attention.   I think in the future we will look on 2009 and the time when eBooks really became a legitimate consumer product.  And with the release of the iPad we may be witnessing a broadening of the online retail options available for publishers and consumers.  This is a good thing.

A major development to watch during 2010 will be the introduction of Google Editions and the Apple Bookstore.  My expectation is that these products will raise awareness of how “books in the cloud” will impact traditional ideas of ownership, rights and copyright – perhaps this is more the case with Google than Apple but this framework is coming to all e-tailers. 

As e-Books and e-Content evolve they will become more recognizable as just another content format option similar to hardcover, paperback and audio.  A more interesting development will be the atomization of content as publishers allow their products to be sold in chunks, segments and parts as defined by their customers. 

It is my own personal belief that print will never go away and by ‘never’ I mean somewhere between 100-1,000 yrs.  The print option will become a far more functional format for consumers than it is today.  I think you will be able to have the print design of your choice for any title ever published in short order.

Chart 27: In summarizing my last section of this presentation I would close with the following statements:

·      Publishing and technology will become synonymous if it isn’t already.
·      Those publishers who are slow in adopting what are rapidly becoming standard practices in our industry – the use of xml for example - will be overtaken rapidly by more adventurous publishers.
·      The “platform” workflow approach which is all about addressing customer needs and requirements will expand in education and see some development in trade
·      The biggest and most innovative changes will be seen in education publishing over the next five years as new born digital content is delivered to students and we see proportional revenues exceed 30% by 2016.

Chart 28: Finally,

Curation maybe the buzz word of the hour but as more and more data and information is produced we will want some mechanism for deciphering and navigation.  Information overload is already a significant drain on the economy by various studies.  If the situation is growing exponentially worse our information economy may not be a productive one.

In closing, to return to one of Shaw’s themes, the idea that current publishers are finding it difficult to cope may bode well for libraries although change is needed there but that’s topic for another time.  In the meantime, if you haven’t read Shaw’s article I recommend it.

Chart 29: Thank you for having me.