Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Frankfurt: Selections from the Show Dailies

Highlights from the show Dailies:

PW Show Daily October 10th:

Interview with James Daunt of Waterstones (Page 12)
So is Daunt’s new boss happy with the way things are going? The Managing Director in whose steady hands so much rests points out that Alexander Mamut, a long-time customer of Daunt Books, lives in Moscow and isn’t here that much, but yes, he’s pleased. Was it a big decision to step back from the chain he founded and had so lovingly created to take on the nightmare that was Waterstones? He turns slightly mischievous. “Waterstones was about to disappear and I don’t think that was going to be great for the British book trade. I’m not sure how Daunt Books was going to survive in that environment. Random House doesn’t run a warehouse to supply the likes of Daunts; it’s to supply Waterstones. Where would we have been a year on from there being no Waterstones? I don’t know.” A thought bubble seems to hang over Daunt’s head. “Waterstones not being there was going to be extremely damaging to our ecosystem. A world of supermarkets and online would have been a pretty bleak one. Independents would have found it very hard to carry on. The writing was on the wall for a very long time. Somebody had to do something.”
Doug Wright on the Future of Content Delivery (Page 34):
Professional networks are increasingly being used to provide services that give real value to the community and improve engagement, alongside content delivery. Examples of this credentialed, peer-to-peer approach include the Researcher Exchange from GSE Research. It has the facility for members to comment on journal content via the open peer-review model or to ask questions of their peers ;and it enables corporations to find expert consultants, and authors to find collaborators, via a sophisticated author search whereby a user can pinpoint experts within a particular field within a particular organisation
Cory Doctorow urges publishers to support ideas such as the Humble eBook Bundle (Page 38)
Yet, one of the biggest surprises to me in curating the HumbleEbook Bundle has been some publishers’ unwillingness to experiment with just one or two DRM-free titles in a new kind of promotion that carries a proven track record of success in a related field.I understand the industry is concerned that the perceived value of an ebook is a matter of credit and psychology, and that no one among the Big Six American houses wants the “fair price” for an ebook to drop. But I also don’t think they can do much about this: there are, by orders of magnitude, more amateur and independent ebooks entering the marketplace than the Big Six produce, and many of them are at low price points. At the same time, the Humble Indie Bundles have a record of enticing people to pay more, on average, than they would pay for the unbundled items. Sure, some people pay nothing. But why not experiment? Isn’t the idea of a successful business to make as much profit as possible; not as much profit as possible from each separate customer
PW Show Daily October 11th:

Michael Bhaskar: Working Together - Digitally (Page 8)
Here’s the rub. Digital is difficult and expensive. Simply to compete with all the other digital media producers out there means constantly raising the bar. We are in a kind of functionality and design arms race, where coming out with what wowed people last week bores them the next. You have to constantly push the envelope and you have to do this in a blizzard of competition in an environment of colossal risk, where abject failure is worryingly common. You are dealing with high upfront costs, at best uncertain demand, unstable, usually low pricing necessitating a high volume of sales and much control ceded to giant technology corporations. Yes, it’s like books–only more so.
Nikko Pfund - A Billion Dollar Process (Page 10):
Speaking of OSO, you’ve now expanded it into University PressScholarship Online (UPSO), and inked deals with publishers, including major presses such as California and Chicago. What is it like to be sharing your platform with publishers who are technically competitors?
It has been far more natural and uncomplicated than we’d dared hope. It helps that t he university press world is one of mutual support and commonality of purpose. Ultimately, I think the benefits to the scholarly and the university press community–in terms of access, learning, collaborating with other mission-driven not-for-profits, and tackling some challenges together as a community–far outweigh any competitive advantages that may be derived from our platform. So I don’t fret about the competitive aspect of UPSO at all. Technology is important, but university presses have strong personalities
Making Copyright Work in a Digital Age (Page 22)
The aim of the LCC is that through interoperability, the use of existing open standards (such as the International Standard Text Identifier and the International Standard Name Identifier , and commonality in the area of rights management, to produce a cross-media framework for a standards-based communications infra-structure that will enable businesses and individuals to man-age and communicate their rights more effectively online. The idea is for an automated rights clearance system in which content from all sectors is tagged and can be identified with a single click. The system would then allow users to request permission for specific uses and access the appropriate licences.
Open Access or Open Season (Page 46)
The burning question for publishers is how this greater open access might be achieved without causing the collapse of the publishing industry. One of the options considered by the Finch committee was the mandatory across-the-board introduction of the Green Delayed Access model after a six-month embargo, regardless of the discipline served by the journal or its estimated half-life. The Publishers Association and the Association of Learned, Professional and Society Publishers together commissioned a piece of work to try to ascertain what the likely effect of this would be on academic journals subscriptions (available at; its headline findings are displayed in the graphs.
PW Show Daily October 12:

Prepare for the Subscription Economy (Page 28)
We talk about data a lot in publishing: “Data is the New Oil” was the mantra of the BICNew Trends Summer Seminar in London. But when print publishers talk about data, theyare talking about product data: metadata. And metadata is crucial to the supply chain. But what we have missed is that when t he rest of the world talks about data, they are talking about “big data”: personal data, customer data, usage data, transactional data etc. They are talking about using data to reach and be relevant to individuals. We need to wake up to this; and when we do we are going to wake up to an unholy mess in our back offices. We already find it difficult enough to use data well at re-seller level (not customer or use level) let alone monetizing on a use basis (unless it is via an aggregator saving us the pain of ever getting to grips with new transactional business models). And it is this that makes Zuora (used by Pearson, by the way) so fascinating to me. They have understood that the internet has changed the whole context and therefore the fundamental basis of commercial transactions.
Publishing Perspectives:

E-Books Offer Silver Lining for Australians:
And all this despite the Fifty Shades of Grey dividend: the three books in the trilogy have sold 2 million copies this year, or over 5% of all sales. Without E. L. James’ enlivening of Australian marital life, volume sales would have been down by over 15%.
Two tough years back-to-back has created casualties. Last month, one of Australia’s hitherto most dynamic trade publishers, Murdoch Books, finally gave up the fight and has been bought by the largest local publisher, Allen & Unwin, with a large number of jobs lost. Specialist R&R Publications has gone into liquidation, and Melbourne University Publishing posted a $2.1 million loss. Sales forces and lists are being trimmed, while one of Australia’s two remaining book printers, OPUS Group (which missed out on printing Fifty Shades), is also downsizing after posting large losses. Adding to the gloom, major educational bookseller Education Works has gone into liquidation following an unsuccessful brush with venture capitalism.
IPA’s Global Ranking of Publishing Markets—US, China on Top

B&N in Frankfurt: We Come in Peace
Why no B&N branding? Because their team was there representing an entirely new company, Nook Media, armed with $300 million from Microsoft and another $305 million committed over the next several years.
“Microsoft?” you say, “I thought they were dead, doomed to second-tier status by Apple.” Yes, well, as we noted last week, users of Microsoft devices are the most active buyers of book content on mobile devices, so it would make sense that they would invest in the book business (after, it must be noted, killing off their own book digitization project several years ago).
Not for Nothing - PW and Publishing Perspectives make it purposefully difficult to collect, cite and link to this content. Well done!

No comments: