Thursday, January 31, 2013

Revaluing Libraries: ARL Presentation

Presentation by Char Booth at recent ARL meeting in Oregon.
Keynote given at the 2012 ACRL-Oregon conference in Corbett, Oregon, 26 October 2012.

This is probably better via the youtube below.


Audio available at http://bit.ly/acrlor12-boothaudio, video courtesy of Jim Holmes at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N16b2sMd_Ww.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Media Week (V6 N4): Open Access UK, Tapscott on MOOCs, Personal Data Ownership +More

The fight over open access in the UK has been joined by David Willets, the governments Universities Ministers proclamation that all publicly funded research will be immediately publically available by 2014 (Guardian):
All the concerned groups said they agreed with providing easier access to academic research, but Professor Howard Hotson, a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, who sits on the steering council for the Council for the Defence of British Universities, said they all shared grave concerns at the pace of the changes being rolled out.

He said: "One of the things which flabbergasts me is the seemingly insatiable appetite for this government to pursue multiple radical changes simultaneously. It seems extraordinarily naive to suppose that on the basis of a few months of consultation, in a very short space of time, you can radically change the basic way in way academics communicate with each other without having a huge number of unintended knock-on consequences. Open access in principle has a great deal to be said for it, but it has to be handled with care."
Don Tapscott writing from Davos on The Week the University as we know it died (Globe&Mail):
But Mr. Summers is missing the point. From my perspective, we should eliminate all lectures as a method of instruction. Universities must shift their business model from the centuries-old notion that a professor lectures students, to a more collaborative, interactive model.

Any subject where students need to absorb fact-based material – that is, where there is a right or wrong answer – should be taught using computer-based learning. Instead of being the “sage on the stage,” teachers should be the co-pilot for students as they explore and collaborate online to acquire knowledge. Without changing the model of pedagogy, the physical campus will not survive.

One can easily see a day when students treat all the universities as one big √†-la-carte menu that can lead to something we could call a “MOOC degree.” Take some law courses at Harvard, economic courses at McGill, some engineering courses at MIT, and round out the degree with courses from Queen’s, Yale and the London School of Economics. The result will be students acquiring a better education by shopping around then they could have acquired at just the one institution. And it won’t take long before employers recognize this.

The biggest obstacle to this happening is the question of credentials. Aside from the couple of experiments I mentioned earlier, none of the prestigious universities will grant a course credit – let alone a degree – based on the strength of online courses.
Your body as a data factory (Guardian):
It's not quite right to say that internet users are giving away their information. Access to "free" services like Google or Facebook relies on a value exchange and it is your data that is being exchanged. A general haziness around what value that data represents means most people accept this deal. After all, would you be prepared to pay "real money" to fund your Google Chat habit? Research shows you're paying Google around $5,000 in personal data in exchange for its services. Given the option to pay that $5,000 via cash, credit or cookies, I imagine most people would plump for the cookies.

But things are changing. France's proposed data tax is unlikely to become law any time soon but the fact that it has been mooted is indicative of a gradual drive towards a more official quantification of data. This can already be seen in the slew of start-ups trying to help people transform their personal details into dollars: an industry which could be worth £1bn by 2016 in the UK alone. Now, it seems, governments are beginning to wonder if they too can cash in.
Where's the app that lets me monetize all my data?

Re-inventing Academic Publishing: 'Diamond' Open Access Titles That Are Free To Read And Free To Publish (TechDirt) but from the comments this time:
I am a librarian:
I am a librarian at a small four year university. What we pay for journal subscriptions varies widely from thirty or forty dollars a year for some mundane stuff, to several thousand a year for the hardcore upper level science and engineering. My most expensive subscription is $10,206 per year and it goes up every year. A typical price is between about $400 and $1,200. We only keep about 750 print titles, larger institutions often keep many more. Also, some of the titles that cost into the thousands might only be printed bimonthly or even quarterly, so you're looking at hundreds or even thousands of dollars per issue. People could steal our laptops and Kindles and it wouldn't hurt as bad as when some of the journals go missing.

Furthermore, because prices are generally based on FTE (full-time equivalency, or roughly the number of students we have), we pay only a modest fraction of what the larger universities pay. Also, you have to keep in mind that they count ALL students. We might have only a few hundred students in an upper level engineering or science program, but to get those subjects' journals they count EVERY student, right down to the slack-ass stoner freshmen and the absentee football majors.

Don't even get me started on the electronic journals and databases...

quote:
Also ask any university librarian how mush of their budget goes to Elsevier, also ask about the quality of some of the journals they end up buying because of bundling. Just make sure you escape route is open when you do so, you may provoke an angry reaction.

^^ Truth. ^^
Speaking of which what do the comments look like for a MOOC class you ask? (IHE)

From Twitter this week:

Pew Internet Releases New Report on Library Services (Plus Commentary) |
Software patents 'a bit of a mess' says Martin Goetz, the first man to get one
New Exhibit Honors New York Public Library’s Massive Photo Archive: Wired
Association of Research Libraries: Licensing E-Journal Bundles from Large Publishers: ARL Releases Pre-Pub from RLI 282
For open access journals, price doesn’t buy influence
Amazon Touts Self-Publishing Benefits Front and Center:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bangkok: Siam Spirit House


In Thailand, every house and building has a spirit house and this impressive example was located on the grounds of the Siam Intercontinental where the PND family lived in 1968-9.  I've since been told that the next brother down in the clan used to rearrange the figurines and other movable objects around the house which I am pretty sure that's not what they are there for.

During one particularly colossal down pour, I remember being very close to this spot and a large cat fish about a foot long came out of the Klong on the left and up the bank to the concrete path about mid photo.  Scared the crap out of me and it was one of the ugliest things you've ever seen.

When I stayed at this hotel in the mid-1990s, I went looking for the spirit house.  The hotel decided it belonged hidden in the back of the property and out of sight.

In addition to the images I've posted on Flickr and those I've periodically posted on PND, I have now produced a Big Blurb Book: From the Archive 1960 -1980 of some of the images I really thought were special.

I now have an iPad version of this book for sale ($4.99) on the Blurb site which you can find here: STORE

 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Presentation: New Culture of Learning

Presentation on the New Culture of Learning by Judy O'Connell of Charles Sturt University, Sydney.

 

Her introduction:
Web 2.0 allows students and educators to create and interact both synchronously and asynchronously, formally or informally, at school, at home, in distance education programs, in the workplace, on all manner of devices. This shift has required an open mind about future possibilities, while also documenting innovative or exemplar practices and their relationship to curriculum. Now Web 3.0 heralds a further development in online information behaviours and knowledge discovery techniques. Are we keeping up-to-date with the relevant network and social media changes that are affecting the online learning environment that we wish to embrace? Can you spot the wolf in sheep’s clothing? This was a short presentation and discussion starter. Dowload the supporting document via the QRcode on the title screen. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

MediaWeek (V6, N3): MOOCs Invade CSU, Moby Lives & B&N, Pearson Warns +More

California is testing the adoption of some MOOC into the 'traditional' carriculem (IHEd):
Gov. Jerry Brown wants California’s public institutions to take a hard look at MOOCs. Along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he is encouraging experimentation with MOOC platforms for introductory and remedial courses.

Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford University computer science professor who co-founded Udacity, said that Brown e-mailed and called him in June to kick off discussions about a partnership with public universities in the state. “We need your help,” Thrun said Brown told him.

While the state’s public institutions have plenty of experience in online education, their emphasis in digital learning may be shifting. The governor’s budget proposal, released last week, puts a priority on popular, often overbooked courses, while most previous online efforts in the state have been housed in extension programs, which are relatively expensive and often don’t lead to credit.

Both the California State University and University of California systems would receive $10 million under the budget proposal to expand online courses. California’s community college system would receive $16.9 million.
Dennis Johnson from Moby Lives published this longish blog post on the slow demise of B&N bricks and mortar stores:
For a couple of years I’ve been predicting in column after column that B&N was going to get out of the brick-and-mortar business of selling books, but seeing it finally kick into high gear was no fun. If you include the company’s college stores, this is going to mean 1362 bookstores disappearing from the American landscape — less than two years after 686 Borders stores disappeared.

The big chains deserve opprobrium for their vicious tactics against America’s independent booksellers, certainly. Back in the last century, I wrote a column attacking B&N for putting indie booksellers in Melville House’s birthplace, Hoboken, New Jersey, out of business with under-pricing, as if selling books was like selling widgets. Can you guess the rest of that story? Having poisoned the well, the Hoboken B&N itself went out of business, leaving the town — a big Manhattan bedroom with lots of well-educated, well-off residents — without a bookshop, probably forever.

And yet, and yet … that development gave me no pleasure, nor does the fact that this scenario is playing out across the country with increasing frequency. And my brother and sister indie fanatics shouldn’t get too righteous about it either. Two thousand fewer places for people to be exposed to books is pretty obviously not good for our culture.
(As as side note, before the B&N in Hoboken opened there were at least four or five small bookstores on the main drag - predictably named, Washington Street - and then they all closed. Now we have no except a small second hand store).

Mendelay which has had a pretty incredible run and an interesting business model gained the attention of the FT possibly because the company is to be acquired by Elsevier. (FT):
But as they continued their PhDs, they realised they were struggling with the same problem: managing information efficiently.

“We were finding it difficult to keep track of the hundreds of PDF documents that we had to manage,” says Dr Henning. “We were doing collaborative work too with researchers in Germany and the UK and found that discussions and emails often got lost as documents were emailed back and forth. That’s what brought us to the idea of Mendeley.”

The first question was whether they could extract meaningful information from documents. Dr Reichelt, who was supervising masters thesis students at Cologne, commissioned two students who proved it was possible to turn a PDF into plain text, then use algorithms to extract information from it. “It reinforced our belief that it would work and convinced us we could build a prototype without funding,” says Dr Henning.

The reason for their optimism – and their decision to jump full-time into developing Mendeley – was a hunch that researchers would find the service valuable once their individual research libraries were crowdsourced into one large searchable database.
Also from the FT,  E-Books lift Bloomsbury (FT)
The strong growth in ebooks before Christmas came in spite of traditional trends, which tend to see ebook purchases spike in the months after Christmas as customers try out their new ereading devices. The company said it expected to know more about crucial post-Christmas ebook sales over the next six weeks.

Sales in the run-up to Christmas were helped by cookbooks such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Three Good Things and How to Bake by Paul Hollywood of the BBC’s hit TV show The Great British Bake Off. The company also revealed that it is publishing And the Mountains Echoed, the next novel by Khaled Hosseini, the best-selling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.
And, Pearson warns of sluggish full year growth (FT)
The publishing group attributed the year-on-year earnings per share slip to the £450m sale of its 50 per cent stake in the FTSE International index business, which in 2011 contributed £20m to Pearson’s operating profit, equivalent to 2.2p of EPS.

“Market conditions remained weak, as expected, in the key fourth-quarter selling season for higher education, consumer publishing and corporate advertising,” said Pearson.

“Pearson’s businesses continue to face tough market conditions and structural industry change that we see continuing into 2013.”

Pearson’s core North American education business was held back in 2012 by cash-strapped US schools paring back spending on books, educational software and other teaching materials.

However, the publishing group said that its services and digital learning revenues continued to grow strongly and it benefited from a strong performance from recent acquisitions and tight cost control.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Aerial View Harbor Freeway @ Manchester On Approach to LAX 1971

33° 57' 27.01" N  118° 16' 44.33" W
Aerial View Harbor Freeway @ Manchester 1971
Flying into Los Angeles in 1971 was a smoggy experience which accounts for the bad scan.  Flying into LA can be an awesome experience especially for the first time.  As the aircraft clears the last bare hills to the east the city spreads out like a wall to wall carpet of regimented lines and cross hatches.  Leaving at night can be even more impressive but I don't have an image of that but I'll be back out there soon. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Everything is a Service Presentation




"Everything is a service" (Redux) from Sylvain Cottong

Consultant Sylvain Cottong's presentation on the evolving development of 'service' as a products defining attribute and in this presentation he takes us through how you might define a service as a product.
A new marketing paradigm ⤑  The basis of all exchange is service ⤑  Goods are a distribution mechanism for service provision ⤑  Value is always co-created with“Evolving to a New the customerDominant Logic for ⤑  A service-centered view is inherently customer oriented andMarketing” relationalPublication of an award-winningarticle by Stephen Vargo and RobertLusch in a 2004 edition of Journal of ⤑  Value-in-use replaces value-in-Marketing exchange

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Death of the Middle Man - Predictions for 2013

FDR, WSC and Middle Man - Mayfair 2009
It seems to some that we’ve entered a period of stasis in the ongoing transformation of the publishing industry.  This time last year, I noted that the routine operations of many publishers had fully realized the transition to electronic content and absorbed its implications.  So perhaps the last twelve months have been about catching our collective breath. But anyone who thinks the big changes are behind us is probably fooling himself, and may be lulling himself into catastrophic inaction.

The harbingers of dislocation are easy to see . . . if you know where to look.  In the second half of 2012, we saw a slowdown in the growth rate of eBook unit sales; indications of a possibly significant substitution of tablets for eBook readers; a major strategic publishing merger destined to create a trade publishing goliath; and the sale of one of the big three education companies.  Any one of these developments occurring independently could have been analyzed at length but, taken together, they suggest to me that more-- rather than fewer-- changes are on their way.

The expectation that the big trade houses would consolidate has been going around for at least five years: in fact, it may be more surprising that the Random House/Penguin deal didn’t happen sooner.  Now that it has, it’s a foregone conclusion that there will be another trade merger announced in the next few months, involving some combination of Harpercollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette.  Perhaps all three will combine and, if so, that deal would equal the one announced last year in scale and significance. But that’s probably unlikely.  One publisher will almost certainly end up the “odd man out” and it will be interesting to see which it is and what they do next. 

On the education front, there has been widespread speculation that some merger of Cengage and McGraw-Hill Education will take place this year, since the two companies may end up with a common owner.  In the short term, there may not be a full combination but some trading of assets may take place immediately to rationalize the respective businesses with deeper integration to come, perhaps, in 2014-5. 

In education more broadly, all education content companies (other than Pearson) are only at the beginning of their transition from content providers to embedded content and services providers.  Professional information publishers provide content and services at the point of need and education publishers will be doing the same thing in the not-too-distant future.    At CES this week, McGraw-Hill made some interesting announcements about product development investments they have been making which presage how this “services approach” may take shape.

To segue slightly, the justification for a merger is often presented as an opportunity to save cost, apply economies of scale and/or gain access to a new market.   At this point, expense and efficiency gains are more likely to be the primary drivers in both the McGraw-Hill and Random House Penguin cases.   Each publisher anticipates significantly reducing costs in headcount, facilities, distribution and other areas in order to deliver the same total quantity of titles.   They need to undertake this effort because the publishing value chain is compacting, making it easy for content producers/authors to reach consumers directly which, in turn, is also changing the financial model on which publishing is based.   The functional areas where publishers added margin in order to make a profit – overhead, distribution, marketing & sales--are becoming less important (though not unimportant) when authors and contributors can reach their market directly.   The implications of these changes for publishing houses have been clear for many years but addressing how their businesses must change to cope with them is nowhere near complete in the larger houses.  Smaller, more nimble companies like Hay House and SourceBooks have travelled much further down this path.

Education publishing is seeing similar changes but the process of dealing with them will be different.  I expect we will see an aggregation model emerge in education, where content ‘platforms’ deliver content and services on a per-user basis.   As I’ve mentioned before, this model is already in operation. Academic librarians and universities will be offered an extensive database of educational material from which faculty can choose the material – probably pre-selected, topic-driven packages – best suited to their classes.   Platform providers such as Amazon, Blackboard, Pearson and EBSCO may soon be the only efficient way for publishers wanting to sell content (or access to their content) to reach students.    The platform providers will negotiate distribution agreements with all other content providers and may compete against each other to offer the best combination of content. But a more likely and important point of differentiation will be the unique services and level of integration they can provide faculty, administrators and students.  Instead of Pearson and EBSCO, think Reuters and Bloomberg . And instead of profit models based on revenue per book, think per head or per desk.  (This model may begin to undermine the argument for DRM in education.)

A very positive byproduct of this change in education will be a complete integration of library resources, institutional resources and consortia buying/negotiation that will allow better alignment with objectives for student success.  It seems odd (to me) that educational content components, as they are currently supplied to students and faculty on campuses, often stand independently of each source and can only be ‘integrated’ through a manual, rudimentary process.   And it’s even more odd when you consider that libraries have long been licensing tools and services from EBSCO and Serials Solutions which provide deep integration of and access to the databases and content the academic library licenses.   It will only be a matter of time before pan-university content assets and access are brought together.

Ultimately, 2013 may bring more significant change in the trade and educational landscape than we’ve seen in many recent years.   While there will be a lot of focus on the big trade merger and its constituents, the industry’s other players will have to fight aggressively not to lose any advantage—we all recognize that “bigger is better” when it comes to applying economies of scale in a business whose underlying business model is changing radically.   In education, we may be paying attention to McGraw-Hill and Cengage but Pearson, as the market leader, is likely to embark on even more aggressive strategies this year--under its new CEO, and with the divestiture of Penguin and possible sale of the FT Group, the company has forcefully declared education to be its focus.

Opportunities for innovators will continue to emerge, as one would expect in a rapidly changing market.  However, many of the niche or narrow solutions currently on offer--whether they be assessment , content-delivery  or search tools-- are likely to ‘run out of market-space’ as these solutions become embedded in, and offered as an attribute of, the platform solution.   I see opportunity in the delivery of solutions that help specific users – say, university faculty – take full advantage of the integration of content and services that will occur—for instance, on campus-- since many user groups may need to change the way they conduct their usual activities.  The outcome of these work changes will be to produce more productivity and better solutions, but getting there will require ‘intelligent agents’ to facilitate—to help assemble content,  training programs, workflow and productivity tools and similar applications to rewire their work environments.  In education, this requirement may give platforms like Blackboard and Desire2Learn an advantage, given their installed base on campus.

While change often produces anxiety, I see dynamism in the book (and “content”) industry that is exciting and invigorating.  There will be many big changes in 2013 but in contrast to the most recent past where publishers were buffeted by macroeconomic changes, I expect these changes to reflect the elements of a positive shift in the way publishing companies operate and consumers – especially in education – consume content.   We're going to end 2013 thinking completely differently about this industry.

Some other trends I see emerging during 2013:

  • There will be more experimentation with subscription programs, possibly similar to the old book club model, with curated collections and incentives (such as free eBook readers).  These could also be combined with social network capabilities to allow reading group subscription models and social networking.   For example, these could be ‘self-defined’ groups: A reading group could set themselves up and choose from a variety of subscription models that allow their group to read a specific number of books, use a unique set of social tools and pay by subscription rather than per book.
  • A Chinese- or Middle-East- based publisher will acquire a major, brand-name media company.  CurrentTV notwithstanding, this will be in information/professional or education.
  • “Self-publishing” will see huge international growth as Asian and Latin American markets develop.
  • The unlucky leftover of the three trade houses in play will be immediately acquired by Amazon (just wanted to see if you read this far).
  • There will be some consolidation in the eBook provider market.
  • The Apple bookstore will be re-launched and will end 2013 poised to surpass the Nook and move into second place behind the Kindle.
  • Similar to what takes place in gaming, innovative publishers will begin to engage readers in new book and content ideas even before the book is ‘completed’.   In game development, it isn’t unusual for games to be released with only the first three out of 10 game levels completed--why build the whole product if no one wants to play?  Book and content producers may try to adopt and adapt this model for their new product development.
  • Manchester United will win the English Premier League title.

MediaWeek (V6, N2): Kno ExTextbook, Al-Mutanabbi Street, Houghton Mifflin Refinancing, + More

Kno launch ExTextbook Analytics tool that they hope will improve learning. Is it creepy? From LibraryJournal:
What’s interesting about Kno’s new analytic tools is that the company claims it will be leaving teachers and professors out of the loop. The student’s metrics and their dashboard information will be private unless they want to share information with friends.

“It’s a personal study dashboard,” Osman Rashid, CEO of Kno, told me. “It helps students measure their engagement with each Kno textbook that they use. So, students can check in to see their stats for time spent reading, notes added, flashcards mastered. This helps them monitor their progress and give them insight into how well they are studying…The more we can help students understand their own study behavior, the more they will be engaged, and the better the outcomes will be. This has everything to do with the student improving themselves, versus being a surveillance platform for everyone else to see what the student is doing.”

If a student is struggling in a particular class, he or she can use the Kno Me dashboard and request to “follow” a peer who is performing well, making an effort to mimic his or her studying habits for that class.

“There’s a social element to it,” Rashid said. “You can begin to see how other people in the class are studying for the final exam, or what else is going on. It gives them a ‘learning GPS’ for how they can better study themselves. The only time information is shared is if a student gives permission. It doesn’t automatically start sharing just because someone requested it.”
After the bombing Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad is still a long way from where it was. (Economist)
A world away, a San Francisco bookseller read about the attack in his morning paper. Beau Beausoleil, a poet and proprietor of the Great Overland Book Company, a second-hand book store, waited for the outpouring of support and outrage that would surely follow. Nothing happened. Mr Beausoleil felt compelled to act. An attack on writers and booksellers anywhere in the world was an attack on them all.

So he began an art and writing project called “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here”, to express solidarity with Iraqi booksellers, writers and readers. The project started with a first wave of letterpress-printed broadsides responding to the attack and has evolved over five years to include an anthology of writing, published in August, and 260 artists’ books—unique works of art in book form—from contributors all over the world.

No one has been more amazed at this outpouring than Mr Beausoleil. The initial call for broadsides rapidly exceeded expectations; in all, 130 were printed, one for each person killed or injured. When he asked for artists’ books to commemorate those lost on al-Mutanabbi Street, double that number arrived, in various shapes and media. Some are poems, some innovative book structures; others offer visual images of Baghdad’s “Street of the Booksellers” or meditations on the value of books, using microfilm or Plexiglass or e-ink. All respond in some way to Mr Beausoleil’s request that they reflect both the attack and the “ultimate futility of those who try to erase thought.”

The attack “wounded people in a very specific way,” he says. Like other writers and artists he could see that “if I were an Iraqi, that would be my street—that’s where my bookstore would be, this would be my cultural community.” The project’s title, “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here”, conveys the notion that wherever someone sits down to write towards the truth, or sits down with a book, that’s where al-Mutanabbi Street starts, explains Mr Beausoleil.
Eric Shuman, the CFO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt talks to CFO magazine about their restructing (CFO):
HMH didn’t wait until it was on the brink. The 180-year-old publishing company had about $400 million in cash at the end of 2011 when CEO Linda Zecher and Shuman sat down to assess the situation and figure out the rate of burn. Although previous management believed the company had enough liquidity to make it through 2014, Shuman and Zecher’s projection showed it would hit the wall a year earlier. Thus, while HMH had some wiggle room, the executives immediately went to work on a restructuring plan. “We didn’t want to have negotiations with [creditors] when we were on our last nickel, so part of the strategy was to do it when we didn’t absolutely need to, as opposed to when we had no choice,” says Shuman. As a result, HMH retained some leverage in negotiations and had the ability “to delay the process if things weren’t going the right way.”

HMH sought full capitalization of its debt. Shuman credits Zecher with setting the goal of converting the entire $3.1 billion of debt into stock. “I think everyone was skeptical we could do it, because you almost never get that,” says Shuman. But “investors understood the situation and were willing to take an equity ride with us.” The makeup of the debt and equity holders was key. Many firms owned both equity and some of the company’s senior secured debt. “It made the process go a little more quickly than it might have had we not had the crossover,” says Shuman. It also helped that equity holders who voted in favor of the deal would get warrants exercisable for up to 5% of equity in the restructured firm.
BBC makes Space for cultural history The Digital Public Space is set to give unprecedented access to the nation's cultural heritage (BBC):
Fortunately for the archive team, incoming BBC director general Lord (Tony) Hall is very likely to be fully archive interoperable himself, having already sat on the advisory board for its first practical incarnation, The Space, in his previous job as Royal Opera House chief executive. Initially launched in May 2012 as a six-month pop-up service and extended until March 2013, The Space knits together BBC technology expertise and content from the corporation, BFI and UK arts bodies with £3.5m in Arts Council commissioning funding. Under the strapline "the arts – live, free and on demand", it has hosted live streams of Shakespeare productions at the Globe Theatre and David Shrigley's opera Pass the Spoon, while interactive ventures include Torsten Lauschmann's Digital Clock and Arena Hotel, pictured right, which reimagined the archive of the BBC's long-running arts documentary strand in the style of New York's Chelsea Hotel.

The triumph, however, was proving not just the concept but the practicalities of the Digital Public Space vision. "The real point of the Digital Public Space is not the archive — it's working together with other organisations," says Thompson, who explained the painstaking technical negotiations behind The Space over linked data and metadata, cataloguing, file formats and streaming that identified and ironed out many of the key principles of collaboration.
From Twitter:

Academics are overwhelmed by email solicitations - Chronicle

Looking for EdTech Nuggets from CES | Inside Higher Ed InsideHigherED

Why There Are Only 100 Copies Of The New Bob Dylan Record NPR "The Copyright Extension Collection, Volume 1"

The return of David Bowie: Golden years? The Economist

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mehrabad International Airport 1972


This was shot through the windows of the bus carrying us from the plane to the terminal which accounts for the white discoloration on the image.

The welcoming committee at Tehran's International Airport is a lot more diverse in this photo than you would likely see today.  Today, women are not allowed in public without a head covering and there are more than a few without in this photo.  There are also a few women in decidedly western outfits suggesting how much more cosmopolitan Tehran was under the Shah than today.  (Of course, he compensated in other ways).  Another thing about this image is that flying used to be an event and while today we crowd around unimpressive and anonymous double doors waiting for our family members and colleagues to get through immigration, in the old days we could go to the viewing balcony and maybe get a glimpse of them, and more importantly the plane, before we met them in the terminal.  I would expect many of the people in this photo are visiting the airport for the first time.  Imagine what they thought of that gigantic Boeing 747 sitting on the tarmac.

If you look carefully near the middle of this group, I think there's a g-man (one of ours that is).

In addition to the images I've posted on Flickr and those I've periodically posted on PND, I have now produced a Big Blurb Book: From the Archive 1960 -1980 of some of the images I really thought were special.

I now have an iPad version of this book for sale ($4.99) on the Blurb site which you can find here: STORE    

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Higher Tuition (and Debt) but a Bad Investment?

Interesting article in The Economist from early December:
In 1962 one cent of every dollar spent in America went on higher education; today this figure has tripled. Yet despite spending a greater proportion of its GDP on universities than any other country, America has only the 15th-largest proportion of young people with a university education. Wherever the money is coming from, and however it is being spent, the root of the crisis in higher education (and the evidence that investment in universities may amount to a bubble) comes down to the fact that additional value has not been created to match this extra spending. Indeed, evidence from declines in the quality of students and graduates suggests that a degree may now mean less than it once did.

For example, a federal survey showed that the literacy of college-educated citizens declined between 1992 and 2003. Only a quarter were deemed proficient, defined as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential”. Almost a third of students these days do not take any courses that involve more than 40 pages of reading over an entire term. Moreover, students are spending measurably less time studying and more on recreation. “Workload management”, however, is studied with enthusiasm—students share online tips about “blow off” classes (those which can be avoided with no damage to grades) and which teachers are the easiest-going.

Yet neither the lack of investment in teaching nor the deficit of attention appears to have had a negative impact on grades. A remarkable 43% of all grades at four-year universities are As, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960. Grade point averages rose from about 2.52 in the 1950s to 3.11 in 2006.
And this little gem is hard to believe:
the chances of an American student completing a four-year degree within six years stand at only around 57%

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Media Banking Activity and Overviews: M&A Deals Doubled in 2012

Jordan Edmiston end of year m/a review (pdf) From the press release:
Burgeoning innovation, rising corporate investment and a year-end rush to beat the tax man drove robust mergers and acquisitions in 2012 for the media, information, marketing and technology sectors. M&A surged to 1,351 transactions for the year, or 50% more than in 2011, at a total value of nearly $75 billion, according to The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI) (www.jegi.com), the leading independent investment bank specializing in M&A advisory services across these markets.

This record-setting volume was driven primarily by smaller deals, as approximately 90% of M&A transactions were less than $50 million in value. However, 14 deals topped $1 billion for the year, including six in Q4.

Over 400 of these transactions closed in the fourth quarter, many in December, as sellers sought to beat the calendar on anticipated tax changes in 2013. Indeed, of seventeen transactions closed this year by JEGI, five closed the week before Christmas.

Investment in the interactive markets, including B2B and B2C Online Media & Technology, Mobile Media & Technology, and Marketing Services & Technology, continued to drive the bulk of M&A activity, accounting for 70% of all transactions for the year and 62% of value. Marketing automation companies were in great demand, with acquisitions by Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle and ExactTarget.

Continued growth in digital ad spending helped propel this avalanche of interactive M&A. Internet and mobile advertising revenue in the U.S. reached $9.26 billion in Q3, the largest quarter on record, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). These figures showed an 18% climb over Q3 2011 and a 6% increase over Q2 2012.

Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB, said, “These historic investments in interactive point to the strong results that marketers are receiving from digital marketing. It is a highly effective medium for interacting and engaging consumers, who are no longer passive, but are active participants in contemporary media online, through social media, and on-the-go with mobile.”

While interactive continues to grow rapidly, the broader media and information industry saw increases in M&A across more “traditional” sectors, such as B2B Media (up 143% in number of deals and nearly 8x in deal value), Database & Information Services (up 40% and 87%), and Exhibitions & Conference (up 56% and 94%).

Healthcare Information & Technology, another hot area of investment, saw M&A deal activity increase 86% in 2012, with more than $10 billion of deal value for the year. Chris Calton recently joined JEGI as a Managing Director to oversee the firm’s healthcare information and technology practice.
From Marlin Associates, their December update of media transactions (pdf). From the press release:
The end of another year is almost upon us. Following this letter is our December 2012 Market Update. As you will see, it provides our latest sense of M&A values, activity and trends for the dozen plus technology, information and healthcare sectors that we follow.
We hope your year has been happy, healthy and prosperous.
This month we saw sizable activity announced, including Knight Capital’s takeover offer from Getco that is valued as high as $1.8Bn. However, the vast majority of transactions were well under $200M, for example FICO’s acquisition of CR Software and Brady’s agreement to acquire Systems Alternative International. One theme we’ve observed is the increasing demand for middle- and back- office IT, as evidenced by the acquisitions of logistics software provider JDA Software and document capture solution provider Encore Imaging Systems.
Healthcare M&A activity continues to be strong as well, with certain transactions demonstrating notable patterns in the industry. For example, Humana has now joined Aetna (Medicity) and United (Axolotl) in purchasing an HIE vendor (Certify Data Systems). Dell divested of its healthcare RCM business to Conifer Health. And lastly, McKesson has had the most active few months in some years in purchasing a variety of HIT assets, most recently acquiring Emendo, a New Zealand-based software company.
Other notable deals include:
• Apollo Global Management agreed to acquire McGraw-Hill Education for $2.5Bn;
• RedPrairie Corporation agreed to acquire JDA Software (NASDAQ:JDAS) for $1.9Bn;
• Knight Capital Group (NYSE:KCG) received a takeover offer from Getco;
• Equifax (NYSE:EFX) agreed to acquire CSC Credit Services for $1Bn;
• Hearst agreed to acquire Milliman Care Guidelines;
• Nets Holding acquired Luottokunta for $209M; and
• MSCI (NYSE:MSCI) agreed to acquire IPD Group for $125M.
Berkery Noyes 3rd Quarter Update from October (pdf):
The most active acquirer through Q3 2012 was Apax Partners with 10 transactions. Four of these occurred within Q3 2012: Solarsoft Business Systems, RivalEdge, CWIEME Ltd, and ClaimLogic, Inc.
The largest announced transaction in Q3 2012 and year-to-date was The Carlyle Group's acquisition of Getty Images from Hellman & Friedman LLC for $3.3 billion.
Total transaction volume in Q3 2012 decreased by four percent over Q2 2012, from 119 to 114.
Total transaction value in Q3 2012 increased by 10 percent over Q2 2012, from $11.4 billion to $12.5 billion.
The median revenue multiple from 2011 through the 1st 3 Quarters of 2012 decreased by 28 percent, from 1.8x to 1.3x.
The median EBITDA multiple from 2011 through the 1st 3 Quarters of 2012 increased by eight percent, from 8.8x to 9.5x.
Who's Buying Whom - Third Quarter 2012 Reports firm Whitestone Communications
Who's Buying Whom reports for the Third Quarter 2012, the most complete reference on acquisition activity in the Internet, Information, Publishing and Training industries. Whitestone specializes in representing buyers and sellers of companies in these fields.

Click here to Download your report (September)
Veronis Suhler Annual Forecast (from September):
Spending within the U.S. Communications Industry will increase 5.2% in 2012 to reach $1.189 trillion as consumers and businesses increasingly embrace digital technology and return to spending levels not seen since before the recent worldwide economic downturn,
according to the 2012 Forecast released today by Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS), a global capital private investment firm targeting companies in the information, education, communications and business services industries in North America and Europe. 
The 26th edition of the VSS Communications Industry Forecast 2012-16 (www.vssforecast.com) found that U.S. Communications Industry spending grew 4.4% in 2011 to $1.129 trillion despite a sluggish economy in which nominal Gross Domestic Product expanded 3.9%. Spending rose at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7% in the 2006-2011 forecast period, surpassing GDP by a 0.3 percentage point. VSS expects the Communications Industry to grow at a 5.2% CAGR to $1.455 trillion by 2016, almost two times the growth rate during the past five years. At that pace, the Communications
Industry will remain the fifth-largest industry among 15 economic sectors in 2016.
Once seen as a trend in only selected pockets of the U.S. Communications Industry, digital
communications and services – encompassing content, technology and user access -- has firmly
established itself as the driving force of growth across all of its sectors, segments and subsegments.
Through the use of ever-evolving platforms and channels, digital is giving a rising number of
communications companies the power to more effectively target and connect with both consumer and business customers. Demand for digital and mobile devices continues to grow steadily, ensuring that there will be a similar increase in the number of end users. Traditional communications companies that relied heavily on print products continue to make the transition to digital, and those that fully embrace it are the ones most likely to remain relevant to their audiences.
Admedia Partners annual report isn't completed yet: AdMedia's 2013 Survey on M&A Prospects will be available in early 2013. To be among the first to receive the results, please join our mailing list.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Media Week (V6 N1): Iraq War Fiction, Downton, Reader's Digest UK, Morse +More

The "bullshit" war and new fiction in the age of war (Guardian):
Powers, himself an Iraq veteran, believes that the flood of fiction – and his own award-winning The Yellow Birds – are helping Americans understand the war better than journalism has done. "One of the reasons that I wrote this book was the idea that people kept saying: 'What was it like over there?'," Powers explained. Yet he was puzzled by the question because of the vast amount of reporting. "It seemed that it was not an information-based problem. There was lots of information around. But what people really wanted was to know what it felt like; physically, emotionally and psychologically. So that's why I wrote it," he said.

Powers' book and its powerful descriptions of the impact and experience of modern combat explores two individual soldiers and the hurried promise that one made to the other to keep him alive through their tour of duty. But, as with all great war literature that has examined conflict from the first world war to Vietnam, the experience of individuals becomes a symbolic stand-in for the nation as a whole. It is impossible not to draw a link between the rash promise – which the book quickly makes clear is not kept – and the way America itself went to war in Iraq. "It is a story about making a promise that you cannot keep; promises made in a quick way. Someone who wants to be good but finds it difficult and does not understand the ramifications of what they have done," Powers said.
I'm with James on Downton Abbey (Atlantic):
At what point in the history of domestic service, I wonder, did lords and ladies start saying Thank you to their staff, instead of just kicking them into the fireplace? When did it begin, this treacherous acquisition of personhood by the dishwashing classes? Was there perhaps a single, pivotal moment, deep in some ancestral pile, when a purple-faced baronet looked upon his vassal and experienced—wildly, disconcertingly—the first fizzings of human-to-human recognition? Blame Saint Francis of Assisi. Blame Charles Dickens. By the early 20th century, at any rate, the whole master-servant thing was plainly in ruins. Individuals were everywhere. The housekeeper had opinions; the chauffeur had a private life; and the gentleman found himself obliged to take an interest, however slight, in the affairs of his gentleman’s gentleman. “And what will you do with your weekend off, Bassett?”
And for Lorcan; yes, "sudsy".

Readers' Digest UK (entirely separate from the US company) has been forced to enter insolvency proceedings and last week shed almost all their staff (Guardian):
Three-quarters of the British staff of Reader's Digest were made redundant on Friday after its private equity tycoon owner pulled the plug on the magazine's direct marketing division.

Jon Moulton's Better Capital private equity firm made 90 of Reader's Digest UK's 120 staff immediately redundant as it began insolvency proceedings of the magazine's CD, DVD and bookselling arm. It comes less than three years after Better rescued the monthly magazine from administration and promised to "return the business to its heyday".

Moulton's purchase of the magazine in April 2010 was controversial because he did not take on responsibility for the company's £125m pension fund deficit. The fund, which has 1,600 members, was placed into the Pension Protection Fund, which meant those that had yet to retire lost 10% of their entitlement.

At the time Moulton said Reader's Digest was a profitable business without the difficulty of the pension fund.
The UK has made making mix tapes legal (BBC) and (IP Gov)
Making digital copies of music, films and other copyrighted material for personal use is to be made legal for the first time under government plans.

It has previously been illegal in the UK to rip songs from a CD to a digital player or transfer eBooks, music, films and games from one device to another.

But people will still not be allowed to share the copies with others.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the move was "not only common sense but good business sense".

"Bringing the law into line with ordinary people's reasonable expectations will boost respect for copyright, on which our creative industries rely," he said.

"We feel we have struck the right balance between improving the way consumers benefit from copyright works they have legitimately paid for, boosting business opportunities and protecting the rights of creators."
A Pew Report on e-Readers was released before Christmas (Pew) and from the findings:
The population of e-book readers is growing. In the past year, the number of those who read e-books increased from 16% of all Americans ages 16 and older to 23%. At the same time, the number of those who read printed books in the previous 12 months fell from 72% of the population ages 16 and older to 67%.

Overall, the number of book readers in late 2012 was 75% of the population ages 16 and older, a small and statistically insignificant decline from 78% in late 2011.

The move toward e-book reading coincides with an increase in ownership of electronic book reading devices. In all, the number of owners of either a tablet computer or e-book reading device such as a Kindle or Nook grew from 18% in late 2011 to 33% in late 2012. As of November 2012, some 25% of Americans ages 16 and older own tablet computers such as iPads or Kindle Fires, up from 10% who owned tablets in late 2011. And in late 2012 19% of Americans ages 16 and older own e-book reading devices such as Kindles and Nooks, compared with 10% who owned such devices at the same time last year.
The Inspector Morse/Sargent Lewis ITV franchise is to get some color (Observer):
Long-running ITV crime series do not have a strong track record with black actors. Midsomer Murders notoriously came under fire two years ago when its producer, Brian True-May, was suspended for saying that black faces were not right for his popular village mystery series, while Inspector Morse and its prime-time successor Lewis are dominated by white leading characters.

Until now. The new sidekick to take his place in the Oxfordshire police car alongside Lewis is to be played by Gambian actor Babou Ceesay.

The character of DC Alex Gray, who will be introduced to viewers this month, will put the Lewis franchise on a fresh footing, though Ceesay said he had been unaware of the race row until he appeared on set.
Rare color images of the Beatles to go on sale (Telegraph)

From Twitter:
6 Takeaways From Google's Antitrust Settlement via AP
Neil Young moves ahead with plans for his music service


How the Bar Code Took Over the World

Friday, January 04, 2013

Photos from 2012

Not posted before some of my interesting shots from 2012.



Under the El in Chicago trying to keep out of the red hot sun.




A special trip to Kings Cross Station to see the re-opening.


Although around the corner, things in Kings Cross are pretty much the same.

England did quite well in 2012

Little Queenie unexpectedly on a wall in Camden Town

At Frankfurt Bookfair they went all out on the decorating

Back to Ireland for the first time in 20 years but no jet way.

Just another day in Las Vegas.  The pink backpack spoils it.

Sepulveda Blvd - Lucky little lady in the city of light.

Farewell at the US Open for Kimmy.

Look carefully, you don't know what you will see in a hat.

Election night in "election plaza".

The hill at Fort Mason: A killer during an otherwise useless visit to San Francisco

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

MediaWeek (V5, N52): 2013 Predictions

A round-up of some of the prognostications about publishing in 2013.

From Forbes (Jeremy Greenfield) Three predictions for Book Publishing:
This year, for the second time in a row, I spoke with about a dozen ebook and book-publishing experts to get their predictions on what would happen in book publishing in 2013. I compiled the information and published this: Ten Bold Predictions for Ebooks and Digital Publishing in 2013.

The thing is, while I think these are solid predictions and will probably be more accurate than our predictions from last year (which have turned out to be really accurate — but more on that in the new year), it doesn’t really scratch my personal itch for making predictions. These, of course, are the predictions of experts that I merely filtered and compiled. When do I get to make predictions?
From The Literary Platform:
In a year of dramatic digital publishing developments, we’ve asked publishers, writers, agents, developers, academics, literary organisations and others working in digital publishing here and in the US, to give us their thoughts on the biggest stories and themes to come out of 2012 – and to tell us what they think is on the horizon for 2013.

Contributions from Michael Bhaskar (Profile), Thad McIlroy (Future of Publishing), Richard Nash (Small Demons), Bill Thompson, Peter Collingridge (Safari Books Online), Tim Wright (writer/producer), James Long (Pan Macmillan), Jeff Norton (Awesome), Joanna Ellis (The Literary Platform), Chris Meade (if:book), Helen Bagnall (Salon-London), Dean Johnson (Brandwidth), Patrick Uden (Heuristic), Joshua Cohen (Ganxy), Julian McCrea (Portal Entertainment), Neal Hoskins (Winged Chariot), Stephen Page (Faber & Faber), Jim Thompson (Edinburgh City Libraries)
From Digital Book World 10 Bold Predictions for 2013:
Another exciting year for the publishing industry is in the books, so to speak. The ebook and digital publishing landscape changed drastically yet again. In 2012, Amazon and other retailers gained control over ebook pricing at three major publishers, ebook revenue growth hit an inflection point, and a parade of non-book-publishing companies entered the ebook business.

Nobody saw it coming. Well, almost nobody. A team of publishing experts predicted in late 2011 some of the astounding developments we saw in 2012 for Digital Book World. See their original predictions here.

Seeing as though 2012 is just about over, we’ve gathered more publishing experts to predict what extraordinary events are to come in book publishing in 2013.

— For more insights into the ebook and digital publishing future, attend Digital Book World Conference + Expo in New York, Jan. 15 – 18 —
And from GigaOM their 'Roadmap 2012':
Watch a series of interviews with the leading creators building the technologies, platforms and visually stunning experiences for the connected consumer.

Speakers include:
Yves Behar, CEO, fuseproject and CCO, Jawbone
Katie Beauchamp, Co-Founder, Birchbox
Perry Chen, CEO, Kickstarter
David Karp, Founder and CEO, Tumblr
Ben Silbermann, Co-Founder and CEO, Pinterest
Kevin Systrom, Founder and CEO, Instagram
George Blankenship, VP, Worldwide Sales and Ownership Experience, Tesla Motors
John Maeda, President, Rhode Island School of Design
BusinessNews Daily: 25 Trends, Tips and Predictions 2013: Not specifically publishing/media but some interesting thoughts in a round-up from a variety of places (BN):
Brands will become publishers — "In 2013, brands will take a (Web) page from publishers' books and start creating 'content' in earnest. Content will help brands get 'found' (via search) and improves brands credibility. How-to guides, quick tips and additional product usage ideas — in the form of blog posts, newsletters and SMS — are starting points for great content. Content also allows brands to start and continue conversations with their target markets — giving them reasons to stay in touch — and opportunities to stay top of mind. Finally, content is a great way to tap into social media marketing: Great content gets shared much more often than static Web pages — for example, a personal quiz gets shared nine times more than a static Web page and customers who engage with brands are more likely to recommend a brand." Seth Lieberman, SnapApp
Finally Mark Coker goes expansive on his thoughts for 2013 (HuffPo):
It's that time of year when book people polish their crystal balls and make predictions for the year ahead. I bring you, my dear reader, my epic predictions for 2013.

I say "epic" tongue in cheek, because I went a bit overboard this year. When I sat down to write this, I was thinking of maybe eight or ten predictions with short narratives. I'm bringing you 21 predictions with expansive narratives. Skim the headlines then read what grabs you.

All of us in this business, from writers to readers and everyone in between, have a vision for where things are going.

Vision is an odd thing. To see something which doesn't exist either makes one a prophetic seer or a delusional nut. At the wonderful Pikes Peak conference in Colorado Springs earlier this year, I had the pleasure to meet Donald Maass, an author and top tier literary agent for whom I have much respect. I attended a surprising session in which he trashed self-publishing. The mood in the room changed from optimism to dejection when he spoke words to the effect of, "If you don't care to reach readers, then by all means self-publish." I was floored by his comment, because it's not what I expected from someone of his smarts. I've met with dozens of literary agents over the last 18 months, and 95% of them see things differently than Donald Maass.

When I saw him later that night at a dinner, I told him I thought he was underestimating the transformative impact self-published authors will have on book publishing. He looked me in the eye, smiled, and said, "and I think you're delusional." Touché! I think it was one of my favorite moments of the year. One of us will come to our senses eventually.

We are all on a journey. None of us know with absolute certainty what happens next. All we can do is position ourselves for the future we prophetically or delusionally imagine. History will judge us all. Those who position correctly will be rewarded. Those who aren't prepared will face the harsh realities of the future marketplace.

Every one of us holds the power to change the course of history by taking actions today that enable the future we desire. Our actions mirror our aspirations, which means the future of publishing will be determined by our collective and sometimes competing aspirations. Readers are our gatekeepers.
Also from PaidContnet (GigaOm):
1. Remaining book publishers will settle with the DOJ in the ebook pricing lawsuit:. HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette have already settled, while Macmillan and Penguin are still fighting. To be clear, I don’t believe publishers and Apple conspired to set ebook prices, as the DOJ alleges. But with Random House and Penguin preparing to merge, a drawn-out trial seems like a drag on moving forward, and Macmillan (smallest of the big-six publishers) doesn’t have the funds for a long trial. I’m not going to try to predict what Apple will do — maybe they’ll keep fighting. (I hope I’m wrong about the settlement because reporting on the trial from court would be extremely interesting.)

2. A well-known author will turn down a seven-figure deal to self-publish: I think 2013 is the year we will see a famous author turn down their long-time traditional publisher and self-publish their new book — even just as an experiment. This author would likely be someone with a very large fan base and social media presence and the ability to reach readers directly across platforms. I don’t believe this person would sign an exclusive deal with Amazon; rather, I see him or her selling directly through a website and other retailers. Authors who would be capable of doing this include Neil Gaiman, Jennifer Weiner, Jodi Picoult and Lee Child.

3. Barnes & Noble will drastically cut back its Nook product line: In 2012, Nook released a new glow-in-the-dark e-reader and two new Nook HD tablets, which means that B&N now sells two e-readers, one super-low-end e-reader/tablet, two low-end tablets, and two HD tablets. Why? Who is buying them? B&N’s share of the ebook market has been stuck around 25 percent for months, and there are plenty of other low-priced tablets on the market. Microsoft has invested $300 million in the Nook business, but that doesn’t have to mean more Nook devices: instead, it should mean developing better Windows 8 reading apps and trying to spread Nook business internationally with the devices it already has.
From Inside Higher Ed:

Around this time of year, we’re inundated with lists of the most significant happenings of the current year (e.g., best books, celebrities we’ve lost) and predictions for the future, and the world of higher education is no exception.

We recently came across an interesting article in Forbes, “5 Ways Technology Will Impact Higher Ed in 2013,” by Chris Proulx, President and CEO of eCornell.
Mike Shatzkin:

Although “digital change in publishing” has a year that lags the calendar year and this year won’t “end” until we have a read on how post-Christmas ebook sales were affected by the new devices consumers got for Christmas, the dropping of the ball in Times Square is the signal most of us respond to when timing our look ahead.

The signals about what to expect when the “digital year” ends are mixed, but not wildly encouraging. There are anecdotal reports of strong sales by US indies selling Kobo devices and Amazon has bragged about their Kindle Fire sales. On the other hand, B&N does not seem to be meeting its targets on the digital side and we’re learning that we don’t get the ebook sales surge from replacement devices that we get when a consumer first switches over from print. Most of the devices being sold now are replacements. And we’re also seeing tablet sales surging past ereaders. Prior analysis has told us that people spend more time reading books on ereaders than they do on tablets.

But quite aside from precisely where Digital Year 2012 ended up, there are five trends I think will be increasingly noticeable and important in trade publishing that are worth keeping an eye on in 2013.




Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Macau 1971


From a hydrofoil between Hong Kong and Macau.  This skyline is now dominated by mega casinos some owned by republican charmer Shelly Adelson.  Shame there wasn't more planning and forethought.

Check out my book on Blurb in print and iPad versions just use the code SHARING10 at Blurb Bookstore's checkout and get $10 off.