Friday, June 28, 2013

Kabul Market 1973

I've noted before the PND family visited Afghanistan and Pakistan in the mid-1970s and this image is from Kabul.  My recollections are very hazy about this trip and most of my memories had been forgotten until I found these slides in the family archive.  Along this road were many small stores and shops many of which were selling carpets.  I recall that the merchants would place new carpets on the sidewalks to wear them in and they then washed and draped them over the wall to dry them.  I've always thought that odd but then I am sure they know what they were doing.  I hope the same is true of that guy on the roof.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Amazon's Fan Fiction Play

From the Hardy Boys to Mad Men, fan fiction may have been the growth market within the publishing industry that no one knows about.  Fans are by nature the most ardent supporters of character narratives whether they be text or image based and some fairly large online communities have developed around specific shows, characters and franchises.  Over the years, traditional print publishers have dabbled in the market and video and television have accommodated fan fiction into some of their offerings but today's announcement from Amazon is a new twist (I think).

Amazon has now launch their fan fiction site in the Kindle store.  Amazon doesn't own any content but they've circumvented this issue by establishing licensing agreements with content owners so that fans can publish their fiction within an established "world".  It is a really interesting model and given the extent of the Amazon reach one could assume revenue from these fan "worlds" may generate impressive 'found cash'.

More from the Amazon press release:

Kindle Worlds is a new publishing model that allows any writer to publish authorized stories inspired by popular Worlds and make them available for readers to purchase in the Kindle Store, and earn up to a 35% royalty while doing so. Kindle Worlds stories will typically be priced between $0.99 and $3.99 and will be exclusive to Kindle. To learn more and get started writing, visit
Here’s what authors and licensors are saying about Kindle Worlds:
  • “It’s actually a gift to be able to take someone else’s creation and see whether you can take it in a new direction. Watch every show; read every comic book. Honor the canon and honor the fans. There is a reason these stories have become so popular. And don’t feel restricted by the universe that has already been created. It reminds me a bit of writing a haiku or a sonnet. There are rules that must be followed, but within those rules, you can go anywhere. Your imagination is the only limit.” —Carolyn Nash, writer in Archer & Armstrong
  • “I believe Kindle Worlds has the potential to increase writership in much the same way the introduction of the Kindle expanded readership. I am thrilled for the Silo Saga to be a part of this program. It’s a natural fit because for the past year, talented authors have been exploring Silos of their own creation, and I look forward to reading more and to crafting some Worlds stories of my own.” —Hugh Howey, World Licensor for the Silo Saga
  • “I was intrigued by the opportunity to create something that absolutely had to fall inside a canon that someone else came up with. In one way, it was very freeing to do so. Because the universe itself exists, with all the richness of an already established background and history, I could get right into the meat of the story without having to explain everything to the readers. I did try to make it understandable and enjoyable to a newcomer to the world, however. But there’s a lot I worked to add that will hopefully tickle the fancy of the fans.” —L.J. McDonald, writer in The Vampire Diaries
  • “It was great fun to play ‘What if?’ and come up with scenarios that had ties to things that have happened on Vampire Diaries but which took things in a different direction or introduced new characters that could fit into the world of Mystic Falls. There’s probably not a writer fangirl alive who hasn’t fantasized about being able to write at least one episode of her favorite show, and I’m no different. While these stories aren’t show episodes, it’s still pretty darn cool to be able to write them with the idea of fellow fans reading them.” —Trish Milburn, writer in The Vampire Diaries
The Kindle Worlds Store is now open with over 50 commissioned stories including:
  • “Pretty Little Liars: Stained” by Barbra Annino
  • “The Vampire Diaries: The Arrival” by Lauren Barnholdt & Aaron Gorvine
  • “Shadowman: Salvation Sally” by Tom King
  • “The Foreworld Saga: The Qian” by Aric Davis
  • “X-O Manowar: Noughts and Crosses” by Stuart Moore
I expect publishers and other content producers will pay close attention to this experiment.  Licensing has always been a part of many new title, tv or movie marketing and promotion campaigns and I could see this opportunity becoming very important within product development at many content companies.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Collaboration: McGrawHill and the IET in Publishing Partnership

Interesting bit of news came my way this week when I read that McGraw-Hill Professional had entered into a publishing partnership with The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).  No doubt you'll have heard of McGraw-Hill but the IET is a member organization with more than 150,000 members located in over 120 countries.  According to the terms of the agreement, the two companies will partner to create engineering content for professionals and students covering every aspect of electrical and electronic engineering.   Content created in this partnership will be available on McGraw-Hill's AccessEngineering platform although there is no word whether the content will also be available on the IET content platform.  From their press release:

"We are very pleased to partner with The IET. This new agreement fits perfectly with our publishing strategy, which is designed to foster technological innovation. It is the next step in growing McGraw-Hill Professional's more than 100 year relationship with the international engineering community," said Steve Chapman, Publisher of Science & Technology at McGraw-Hill Professional.

Daniel Smith, IET's Head of Academic Publishing, said: "We are always looking for opportunities to extend our reach into the engineering community and are delighted to be partnering with McGraw-Hill Professional to develop new content to complement our ongoing publishing program in this area. Developing quality engineering content which accelerates both research and innovation is a major pillar of the IET's knowledge strategy, helping to bring essential engineering intelligence to a wider audience."
As the press release makes clear, this deal looks like a brand extension deal for the IET where McGraw-Hill will be overseeing the publishing services for all the print and electronic titles and will benefit from the strong brand affiliation that IET carries with engineering professionals.  Naturally, IET will benefit from the broader exposure that working with MGH Professional will bring them particularly into the traditional global retail channels that perhaps IET may not have ready access to.  Making IET branded content available on a wider basis looks like a smart play for this organization.

Monday, June 24, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N25): A great presentation, What does social mean for Journalism? + More

Chris Anderson the curator of the TED talks writes about killer presentations (HBR):
We all know that humans are wired to listen to stories, and metaphors abound for the narrative structures that work best to engage people. When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle—people see the world differently afterward.
If you frame the talk as a journey, the biggest decisions are figuring out where to start and where to end. To find the right place to start, consider what people in the audience already know about your subject—and how much they care about it. If you assume they have more knowledge or interest than they do, or if you start using jargon or get too technical, you’ll lose them. The most engaging speakers do a superb job of very quickly introducing the topic, explaining why they care so deeply about it, and convincing the audience members that they should, too.
From the Columbia Journalism Review: Streams of Consciousness:  Millennials expect a steady diet of quick-hit, social-media-mediated bits and bytes. What does that mean for journalism?
However, studies show that several emerging shifts—from print and broadcast television to digital news, from computers to mobile devices, and from homepage browsing to social-media filtration—are all widespread among millennials.
How does it change the value of journalism to strip away the context that a credible publication provides? A reader who comes through a social-media side door is given no sense of a story’s relative importance. A blog post on the latest fad diet that would never have made it onto the front page, or even into print at all, can go viral and attract far more readers than the latest news from Syria. Readers who no longer page through a newspaper or sit through the evening news are bound to miss some information they might not click on but could benefit from knowing nonetheless.
To get a sense of these evolving patterns of news consumption, and their implications, I interviewed some two dozen young journalists (mostly editors of new digital publications), as well as social-media directors, digital-media executives, academics, and researchers.
I found four overlapping, and mutually reinforcing, trends:
  • Proliferation of news sources, formats, and new technologies for media consumption
  • Participation by consumers in the dissemination and creation of news, through social-media sharing, commenting, blogging, and the posting online of photos, audio, and video
  • Personalization of one’s streams of news via email, mobile apps, and social media
  • Source promiscuity Rather than having strong relationships with a handful of media brands, young people graze among a vast array of news outlets.
Both of the above are long so I will leave it at that for this week.

From twitter this week:
News: Katie Price Is To Release Her Fifth Autobiography ”. Four more to go?
Apple sells 800k TV shows and 350k movies a day. That's nuts.
Profiting from a market at the price of zero
Is Anyone In Charge At Nook Media?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chicken Slaughter Hong Kong 1972

Looks a little like an impressionist painting but clearly due to low light.  This guy is carrying in a load of live chickens tied by their ankles into the central Hong Kong market.  Friday night chicken and chips is a standard in the PND household (all international locations by the way) but we prefer to pick up our chicken at the super market.  PND moms once told me that during the war they raised chickens in their back yard and she remembers the abrupt endings.  She will have been too young to have been the executioner however. 

Breaking up the Monolith – The Modular Future of Scholarly Publishing

This post was also on the Publishing Technology blog yesterday.  Join them

Scholarly and academic publishing has always been a linear business, even though the activities and mission of these businesses (and associations) has often been quite diverse. As traditional publishers, they may have published journals, textbooks and monographs yet, as the internet imposed itself on their businesses many of them became more adventurous and added archives, electronic versions of new content and even commissioning dedicated online content.

Many scholarly and academic publishers today have highly varied revenue streams, but remain heavily siloed businesses. The fact that their journal, book publishing and online businesses grew up at different times in different ways means the content these publishers generated is stored and distributed across different platforms and databases and is subject to different processes and business models.

As a business operating in this type of environment, they are likely to be held back in several ways:-

  1. The operations of the business are not optimized and reduce efficiency and flexibility which are critical elements in an internet dependent publishing environment.
  2. It can make it very difficult for users and customers to locate the content they need in the format they want when they want it.
  3. It makes the task of adding new streams of content that could be sources of additional revenue (eg conference proceedings, statistics, images and videos) a matter of adding a new platform – thus increasing the complexity of the business yet again
As significant challenge scholarly publishers face over the coming years lies in dis-aggregating content to enable their staff and their customers to search across the totality of the content and materials they produce. Many scholarly publishers still expect their users to search by content-type rather than subject, so if a user was looking for content related to ‘contract law’, for example, she would need to run searches across the publisher’s books database, then journals and so on. Not only is this a frustrating situation for users – especially for a generation of digital natives who are used to everything being indexed by Google – but it also represents a potential lost revenue opportunity for scholarly publishers. It is true that different content types need to maintain their differences, but by compartmentalizing that content to the point that users can’t find what they need, then, publishers are limiting their revenue potential.

Interpreting the interests your customers have in the varieties of content and materials that you produce is also benefited by providing complete and easy access to your content. Where content is hard to located and find it follows that interpreting what the user is interested in is also negatively impacted. Either users simply give up looking or consolidating user traffic across various silos is impossible for the publisher both of which reduce your understanding of what material is most likely to appeal to your user community. Reducing the guess work in determining upcoming titles and articles for example would naturally improve your profit and /or better support your mission.

So how are we to overcome the constraints of these formats, while retaining the integrity of unique assets? We explored this topic at SSP recently in the panel discussion I moderated, Rethinking and Remixing Content. The answer lies in format-independent technology that breaks down content into the most basic fragments that can be searched, browsed, repackaged and sold in any number of ways. Instead of thinking of digital publishing as putting monolithic content on the web, these technologies break down the monoliths of books/textbooks/journals into digital components – eg chapters, summaries, tests, supplemental material – that can be more easily searched.

Treating these ‘monoliths’ almost as part-works will involve a shift in emphasis for scholarly publishers, but will also multiply their opportunities to make sales. The latest platforms are built around data stories and flexible ecommerce solutions that make it much easier for content to be bundled, cross-sold and recommended via ‘users who read this also read’ suggestions. The flexible architecture offered by such platforms can even enable publishers to create professional networks to showcase relevant content from across their list, or subject specific landing pages. These custom landing pages need to be flexible and can be built around a critical mass of content across a single discipline drawing from journal articles, book chapters, reports and ancillary materials—or even type of user such as students, practitioners, or nationality. These pages wouldn’t just have search and usability benefits either: they can increase opportunities for content discovery, help nurture reader communities and ultimately benefit sales.

Drawing other functions into these platforms, such as enabling comment features or the ability to share or recommend content via social media could also help scholarly publishers solve the knotty problem of assessing the impact that their content has in ‘the real world’.

A number of scholarly publishers have already begun publishing in this more granular, searchable way, establishing models of best practice for the industry.


Brill is one example of an academic publisher that is driving greater value from its institutional subscribers by rolling out a Print on Demand (POD) model for content. This service, which is integrated with Lightning Source and will launch soon will be offered as a benefit to institutional subscribers. It will permit subscribing universities’ students to purchase a POD version of the book at a lower rate than the normal print version. Brill is the first site to offer Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA) as a business model for libraries. It have been running PDA as a pilot for about a year and are now rolling it out more widely.


The Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) was among the first professional and society publishers to catalogue its content in such a way as to make the various articles, chapters, books, conference proceedings that it offers subscribers searchable via a single database.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Another example of a forward-thinking professional publisher, The Institute of Engineering Technology (IET) has rolled out a new online publishing system for its content which ranges across journal, article, ebook, chapter and conference proceedings categories. As part of this process it has introduced a four level taxonomy for its content which enables users to narrow down their searches more effectively, and to run a single search across all content categories.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Challenges to the University Press

From the Chicago Tribune:
Publishers had barely caught their breath at the loss of those two sizable revenue streams when the e-book tsunami hit. By 2008, large publishers had made major investments toward digital conversion.

Many new titles now appear in print and e-book formats, but smaller presses still struggle to go digital, a move demanded by the market. Apart from the University of Chicago Press, where digital sales are expected to yield 16 percent in revenue this year, all other presses remain well below 10 percent, with Harvard at 6 percent.

Morris Philipson, the esteemed director of the University of Chicago Press from 1967 to 2000, coined a classic characterization of university publishing. Philipson, who died in 2011, once said, "If I were in this business as a business, I wouldn't be in this business."

It's love of books, not profit maximization, that motivates university publishers and editors. "The caliber of the books we publish gives me the greatest satisfaction," says Harvard's Sisler. "It's all about the books. We don't publish ephemera."

Given the challenges, directors have succeeded in keeping bankruptcy at bay. Collectively, presses even managed to post a 10 percent sales growth over the past decade, Armato said.

Shifting conditions have forced directors to be more nimble and innovative. Peter Berkery, the association's new executive director who formerly was with Oxford University Press, describes today's directors as "130 scrappy entrepreneurs."

The University of Chicago Press, the nation's largest academic press, runs in the black, a rare distinction owing to profitable journals and a distribution division for other publishers. Garrett Kiely, press director, says its 400 yearly titles and 50 journals generate $40 million in revenue.

Across the industry, academic presses have crafted a host of new strategies to meet the changing landscape of books. To replace lost monograph and journal sales, presses now rely on more paperbound and e-book offerings, an increased emphasis on reprinting all or some of their backlist (Harvard's backlist accounts for two-thirds of its sales) and doubling or tripling prices on more specialized, hardbound editions.

Monday, June 17, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, 24): Professor copyright, Springer Digital, Chorus, Journalistic Women?

Bucking for a fight, the head of the AAU Professors wants to protect professorial copyright on campus (CHEd):
The group's effort to mount a strong defense of professorial copyright, however, is new. In explaining his concern, Mr. Nelson said colleges previously often sought to assert control over patents but generally left faculty members' ownership of their courses and other writings alone.

With the emergence of MOOCs, however, colleges have begun asserting ownership of the courses their faculty members develop, raising the question of what is keeping such institutions from claiming ownership of other scholarly products covered by copyright, such as books.

"There is no need for the university to own the online course you create," Mr. Nelson said, because a contract giving a college the right to use the course should suffice. In claiming ownership of a course, Mr. Nelson said, a higher-education institution asserts the right to update or revise the course as it sees fit, threatening the academic freedom of the course's creator.
Springer is offering entire collections of eBooks to small and medium sized unversities (Digital Shift):
In response to growing demand for ebook content, Springer has begun offering colleges and small universities complete collections of its ebook titles by copyright year. Pricing is based on the size of the institution, and the ebooks are sold DRM-free, under a perpetual-license model that allows unlimited simultaneous use, representatives from the publisher told LJ.

A recent white paper, which Springer researched in conjunction with librarians from Wellesley College and Boston University, reported a very high rate of ebook usage among faculty and undergraduates at small colleges. At Wellesley, 71 percent of students and faculty said that they used ebooks in 2011. That total included non-academic and leisure reading, but more than half of these ebook users also said that they had downloaded ebooks from the Wellesley College Library collection. By comparison, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project released a more comprehensive survey of all U.S. adults in April 2012, which indicated that only about 21 percent of U.S. adults had read an ebook in 2011.
If you were paying attention this shouldn't surprise you. Academic authors say the Authors Guild doesn't speak for them (LJ):
The brief distinguished their interest from that of the Guild’s members and pointed out that they are not only different, but diametrically opposed. “A ‘win’ for the Authors Guild would be a ‘loss’ for academic authors,” the brief stated bluntly. Academic authors, it argued, benefit from the Trust, “both because it makes our books more accessible to the public than ever before and because we use HathiTrust in conducting our own research.”

The authors also pointed out that their works “are likely more typical of those in the HathiTrust corpus than works of the Authors Guild and its members,” since much of the Trust’s holdings came from three partners’ participation in the Google Books project, and of those scans, 93 percent were nonfiction and 78 percent of the nonfiction was aimed at a scholarly audience.

The authors therefore asked the court to limit the Guild’s standing to the copyrights it actually holds (about 116, the brief estimates) rather than allowing its broad theory of associational standing to cover the trust’s 7.3 million potentially in-copyright books.

They also noted that in the related Google Books case, a District Court judge ruled that the Guild had inadequately represented the interests of academic authors. (In February 2012, more than 80 academics objected to class certification in that case, in a brief written by Professor Pamela Samuelson of the University of California, Berkeley, who also worked on this one.)
Will a CHORUS of publishers satisfy the White House desire for open access?(Science)
A group of scientific publishers today announced a plan for allowing the public to read taxpayer-funded research papers for free by linking to journals' own websites. The publishers say that this will eliminate the need for federal agencies to archive the papers themselves to comply with a new government directive. Details are sketchy, however, and it's not yet clear whether the plan will accomplish everything that the government wants from agencies.

The plan is a response to a February memo from White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director John Holdren that asks federal science agencies to come up with a plan by 22 August for making peer-reviewed papers that they fund freely available within 12 months. The memo would essentially extend a National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy that requires its grantees to submit copies of their papers to NIH's full-text PubMed Central (PMC) archive for posting after a delay of up to a year to protect journal subscriptions. Many publishers dislike PMC, however, because they say it is duplicative, infringes on copyright, and diverts readers from their own journal websites. So they have proposed an alternative that would offer a way to let the public see full-text articles without creating more PubMed Centrals.
Can Women's magazine's do serious journalism? (New Republic)
Not a single women’s magazine has been nominated for profile writing in more than a decade, while GQ and Esquire have received multiple nominations. (Men’s Journal even got one). What’s more, women’s magazines have received zero ASME nominations for reporting in the past 30 years and zero ASME nominations for fiction in the past 20 years. (This is not because women’s magazines weren’t publishing pieces that qualified in those categories; they were—more on that in a minute). And though Elle and Vogue both have excellent literary and film criticism, neither has received a nomination in the “essays and criticism” category in the past decade.1 (Neither have any other women’s magazines, by the way. You have to go back to 1999, when the now-defunct Mirabella got one.) While Elle got a nod for columns and commentary in 2013, no other women’s magazine had been nominated in the past decade in that category.

When I asked ASME chief executive Sid Holt about the disproportion, he said, via email, “Literary journalism is not central to women's magazines' editorial mission—which is one reason these magazines are rarely nominated in these categories.” He also adds that no one questions the editorial strength of women’s magazines, pointing out that Glamour was magazine of the year in 2010. He says that he can’t comment on the judges’ decisions, but that there’s no discrepancy among the judges. “There are far more judges from women's magazines than from any other magazine category,” Holt says. “Women's-magazine editors are assigned to every literary journalism judging group.”

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Wailea Maui 1978

At SSP this week I met with someone who told me that they were missing their annual Hawaii holiday in Wailea this year because of circumstances beyond their control.  Here's what it looked like just after we arrived there in 1977.  These images were taken several months apart from our living room window.  The large white building was at the time a Westin Hotel and had been the first hotel in Wailea (1975).  No chain could ever make it profitable.  It had a disco but no dancers.

The land in the foreground was Kiave (Kee ah Vey) scrub land but by 1980 it was covered with condos.  The beach didn't fare much better; In 1980 we were hit with a hurricane and a lot of the sand was washed away for years thereafter.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Society of Scholarly Publishers Panel: Remixing Content

There are four or five sessions devoted to remixing and reusing content here at the SSP conference which speaks to how much publishers are starting to really think about how they produce content that can be used in a multitude of ways.  I am hosting a Panel and here are my opening comments and the slide deck.

Chart 2: This session will explore ways to rethink and remix content in numerous ways that can be searched, browsed, repackaged and sold to achieve the publisher’s strategic objectives.  In this session today we will try to cover fragmenting, bundling, collections, cross selling, flexible e-commerce, academic adoptions, community networks, SEO and the ability to provide the right content when, where and how users want it.  That’s ambitious and if you don’t think a then end of the panel discussion we’ve covered it then please ask about it during the q&a.

Chart 3: On our panel today are Brian Erwin from Slicebooks, Alan Noren from O’Reilly Media and Catherine Flack from Cambridge University Press.  I will introduce each speaker as they present their section in a few minutes.  What I thought I would do was provide an introduction of this topic and then have each panelist provide a brief 10-15 minute presentation which we will then follow up with questions at the end.

First my introduction, I am Chief Operating Officer for the Online division of Publishing Technology which is a publishing applications and software provider based in Oxford, UK.  We are a sponsor of this conference and we have a stand in the exhibit hall so please come by and say hello.   I only accepted by position a month ago and this panel was suggested by my predecessor Louise Russell, but don’t let that worry you because I’ve been working with publishers on their content strategy for most of my career both as a consultant and as an operations executive.  Since 2006 I’ve consulted with publishers such as Wolters Kluwer and start-up businesses such as CourseLoad which are looking to re-invent part or all of their businesses with respect to how they create, manage and distribute content.   Prior to 2006, I ran RR Bowker which is primarily a bibliographic database company; but then, metadata is just another form of ‘content’.

Before Bowker, I was with PriceWaterhouseCoopers as a consultant in their Entertainment, Media and Communication practice.  Back in the mid-nineties we frequently made presentations to prospective and existing clients about ‘non-format specific publishing’ meaning we could help them create content process that were not dependent on the output format of that content.  Of course in those days the primarily output was print but the fact is that even today most publishers are not much further along in creating flexible, modular, componentized – call it what you will – content than they were in the mid-nineties.  Our charts during those presentations looked great but in reality they were almost irrelevant given the capabilities of the audiences we were addressing. 

Chart 4: Over the past three or four years I’ve worked with a wide spectrum of publishers in the scholarly and academic market who are only now beginning to recognize that they need to make fundamental changes in the manner in which they manage their content workflows. 

In one initiative over 18mths, I created a very large library of publisher content from academic journal and book publishers which eventually comprised approximately 200 publishers and 7million items of content.  In that effort I worked with many of you in this room and maybe this is your chance to put a face to a name.

Chart 5: In the process of this exercise it was clear to me that many publishers were not thinking about their content processes in a strategic way.  Not only are publishers still oriented to the ‘document’ but they find it very difficult to get their constituencies – author, editor, production managers, owners, etc. to allocate time, money and effort to implement real change in how their businesses operate.

Chart 6: All companies producing content should develop a content strategy.  Your business may have a set of big picture strategic objectives but what I am recommending is a programmatic, strategic re-think about how you manage your content creation process.  If you were to stop thinking about the ‘format’ or ‘document’ and more about the content item; then what would this mean for your business?  Which processes and relationships would need to change?  What technology might you need, etc. etc?  Are you able to establish some strategic targets around the answers to these questions and define some tactical objectives for reaching your objectives?

So you should be asking, how might you approach this effort?  The process may begin with an evaluation of your content: how is it created and who does that work.  What happens internally with the content once it is submitted by authors?  Externally, how does the market want to use and work with your content?   In my example in building the content library, many of the book publishers I worked with did not have chapter level content.  No abstracts, key words or metadata for their chapters.  In some cases the chapters had no titles merely sequential numbers.  This is not the way to present content to support flexible use by customers and I don’t think any of those publishers would disagree with me.  At the AAUP meeting last year, I heard from many publishers that their permissions revenues were rising year on year and I see this as a reflection of the faculty and researcher’s need to be able to find, use and even pay for just the right part of your content.  If you are not facilitating that you are missing out.

Chart 7: In the academic market there are numerous start-up businesses that want to enable content delivery at the base unit level: journal articles via Deep Dyve, book chapters and business case content via Gingotree, Symtext or full textbook content via CourseLoad.  These companies struggle with your content to make it usable for their clients whether they are researchers, academics, students or consumers.  It shouldn’t be that way but even more importantly you – as the publisher - should be able to offer this level of content flexibility directly to your customers.

These struggles with content may all come to a head in the mobile space.  As consumers rush to mobile devices for their content consumption it will be impossible for a content producer to supply content across all these devices unless they can COPE. 

Chart 8: What is COPE:  Create Once Publish Everywhere and increasingly we are seeing publishing adopt this principle.  It’s another way of saying ‘non-format specific content’ which is where we were in 1997 at PriceWaterhouse.

Chart 9: At Publishing Technology we are at the center of this effort with our pub2web solution which is a built from the ground up content management solution supporting all manner of business models, distribution services and content administration tools.  Our publisher clients are traditional academic publishers, associations and government agencies around the world and if you come by our stand we can tell you more about what we are doing.

Chart 10: In summary, you as a publisher need to begin to think of your content as a strategic asset of the business and as such you should devise a strategic plan for that aspect of your business.  Managed appropriately assets should return capital invested and the content you invest in should be no different. 

Chart 11:  When you get back to the office next week think about the following:
  • What do we need to do with our content creation process (and our author relationships) to make the content less dependent on an output format?
    • Chunking content while maintaining a web of interrelationships across the content.
    •  Can we actively involve authors in the process: Maybe give them an office!
  • How can we establish templates that support flexible content: Book>Chapter>Image>Diagram; Description>Abstract>Key words> Concepts>Author bios;
  • Who is doing this well?  Can we deconstruct their activity and build our own way?
  • What do our customers want: Content everywhere – so how do we deliver it?

Chart 12: I hope that my comments form a good introduction to this topic and let me know hand it over to the panel for our discussion.

1.      How do publishers merge content separated by legacy systems?
2.      How can increased smaller offerings boost discoverability and find new markets?
3.      How to monetize backlists and granular content?
4.      How can publishers compete with free web models and go on the offensive again?
5.       How will it impact academic adoptions?
6.       How can this content organically find new markets?
7.       How can this tool keep backlist alive at no/low cost and with no accompanying inventory costs?
8.       How can this greatly increased amount of online content grow your company’s Search Engine Optimization and allow your company to compete with inferior content available on the Internet?

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Sunday, June 02, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N22): Bloomberg Chat, Coursea Expands, Literary Criticism, Bridget Jones +More

Bloomberg terminals benefit from Chat solution making them hard to give up (FT):
In a world where many market infrastructure operators provide a cheap, often free messaging tool, Bloomberg reigns supreme. Each day, its 315,000 subscribers exchange 200m messages and have 15m to 20m chats. Rivals have tried for years to break its dominance in messaging, with little success.

Financial groups with security and compliance concerns about Facebook or Twitter like Instant Bloomberg for its security, including biometric identification, and the fact messages are archived and auditable. Users like functions allowing them to share complex data sets, integrate with Yahoo or AOL chat services, or simply see whether someone has received a message. Others have to have it simply because their customers use it.

However its customers are facing intense pressure to cut costs and comply with a raft of tougher banking legislations. The fallout from how Bloomberg’s reporters monitored data used in the terminals has created a chink in the armour some customers are hoping to exploit.
Long article in Inside Higher Education about the annoucement that Coursera will expand to support a much broader base of schools. Here's what they may help SUNY with (IHEd):
The State University of New York, whose 64 campuses make it one of the largest systems in the world, is in the midst of an ambitious effort to enroll 100,000 new students over the next several years. as part of its Open SUNY effort. It plans to use Coursera to help reach that goal, said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. "This is not a random act of subscription," she said. "This is an intentional relationship with a provider fitted within our SUNY portfolio of online degree programs." Those efforts include plans to reduce the time students are enrolled by offering credit for certain MOOCs. SUNY's associate provost, Carey Hatch, said the system also plans to offer incentives to campuses to develop and consume online courses that meet general education requirements. Some courses could be “guided MOOCs” where a SUNY instructor helps SUNY students work their way through a course that was created by another institution.
“We hope to reach more students with the existing faculty that we have,” Hatch said. The partnerships announced this week also represent a break from Coursera’s plans to work only with elite institutions. Koller said she realized that state systems educate about 70 percent of the students in the country. So, Koller said, her desire to improve education in the United States needs to involve state systems.
In an age of eBooks collecting print editions to make money (BBC):
So if you have a small budget, where should you start?
"The most important thing in books is to get the first of anything," says Adam Douglas, senior specialist in literature at Peter Harrington.
"That's what collectors are interested in. They want the first printing, the first publication, the first impression of any given book."
Potential investors should also look for the best possible copy they can find.
"You can always tell when you're looking at a collection if somebody has always gone for the slightly poorer copy because it was a little bit cheaper," says Tim Bryars, of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association.
"In the long term, buying the best will pay off."
Much like the advice on building art collections, book experts recommend investors avoid buying for the sake of buying.
"It's very difficult to start looking at it in a speculative way and say, 'I'm going to start collecting in that area because I think it's going to increase in value," says Mr Douglas.
"The only way you're going to get excitement and enjoyment out of it is to follow your passion."
Clive James suggests in the NYTimes that it is almost impossible to write a negative book review in contrast to the UK (NYT)
America does polite literary criticism well enough. And how: there is a new Lionel Trilling on every campus. But America can’t do the bitchery of British book reviewing and literary commentary. In Britain, the realm of book reviewing is still known as Grub Street though the actual Grub Street vanished long ago. But its occasionally vicious spirit lives on; one of the marks of Grub Street is that the spleen gets a voice. Ripping somebody’s reputation is recognized blood sport. Shredding a new book is a kind of fox hunting that is still legal today. Such critical violence is far less frequent in America. Any even remotely derogatory article in an American journal is called “negative,” and hardly any American publication wants to be negative.
In her centenary year, Philip Hensher celebrates the uniquely English comedies of novelist Barbara Pym (Telegraph):
Barbara Pym’s unique and unmistakable comedies of English life had an uncertain status during her lifetime, but since her death in 1980 her reputation has grown steadily. They occupy a very specific corner of existence, and her concerns remain much the same from book to book. Though her tone darkens as her work goes on, and her manner diverts from the flippant and artificial comedy of manners to a more natural, disillusioned, uncertain world of provisional unhappiness, her interests remain fairly constant. There is the world of the church and its dowdy social life; there are anthropologists and other intellectuals; there are some selfish men, aware of their power over others, whether homosexual or straight; there is English literature and its dreams of romance; and there are single women dining alone, their minds running on the possibility of happiness.
It is a small world, but acutely observed. Its opportunities are circumscribed, but genuine; and the reader puts her books down smiling, wondering in what ways he has allowed his life to be circumscribed, without meaning it.
Bridget Jones: The third date (Observer)
Would Bridget still be counting calories and units in her 40s? (In theory, she should be at least 50. In the novel, she is likely to be quite a bit younger.) And does that make her out of step with her contemporaries? Her fans' reactions were mixed on Mumsnet: "Will be Zimmer fighting and creaking bones during the sex scenes"; "Bridget should be left in the 1990s"; "The first book captured a particular time for a particular group of women … the second book/film was just terrible"; "I would like some trash like this … bring it on."

In 2007, Bridget Jones's Diary was named as one of the 10 novels that best defined the 20th century. But does Bridget Jones still speak for a generation, especially when her multimillionaire creator mostly lives in LA? In the London Evening Standard, Melanie McDonagh argued yes, she does: "Someone to represent the fag end of the babyboomers is no bad thing."

Fielding's publisher at Jonathan Cape, Dan Franklin, said: "As a comic writer, Helen is without equal. Over 15 years ago, she gave a voice to a generation of young women with the original Bridget book. Now they've grown up and she's doing it again, this time with all the joys and complications of social media."
From Twitter this week:
CourseSmart Partners with Metrodigi to Create Interactive eTextbooks

Timur Vermes’ Hitler novel: Can the F├╝hrer be funny?
Google to bring net access to Africa using blimps, masts and satellites  
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