Monday, October 11, 2021

MediaWeek (Vol 14, No 9) Pearson vs. Chegg Legal Issues, Bookstore eBook Sales + More

Legal Experts On Pearson V. Chegg And Why It Could Be A Huge Deal (Forbes)

The essence of Pearson’s legal claim is that Chegg is engaging in “massive” violation of copyrights held by Pearson because Chegg has published, and sold, answers to the tests and practice questions Pearson has in its textbooks. Pearson argues that the questions and answers belong to it and it should be able to decide when and how they are used.

If Pearson prevails, it could damage not only Chegg’s business model but the enterprises of several other companies that sell answers to academic questions written by text publishers, professors or professional licensing bodies. Those companies include illicit cheating services, file sharing companies that sell access to tests and answers, as well as the respectable tutoring and test preparation companies.

With More Bookstores Open, Soaring E-books Sales Fall Back to Earth, NPD Says
“With brick-and-mortar stores closed last year, e-books were simply easier to buy than print books,” said Kristen McLean, books industry analyst for NPD. “The digital format allowed for frictionless, virus-free purchasing. Now that bookstores are open again, we expect full-year 2021 e-book volume to fall below 2020 levels, with the caveat that supply-chain disruption could cause another lift, if key books are unavailable during the holidays. Regardless, the e-book format will definitely remain a vital ongoing part of the U.S. book market — and a key format for certain categories.”
How Students Fought a Book Ban and Won, for Now (NYTimes)

But what began as an effort to raise awareness somehow ended with all of the materials on the list being banned from classrooms by the district’s school board in a little-noticed vote last November. Some parents in the district, which draws about 5,000 students from suburban townships surrounding the more diverse city of York, had objected to materials that they feared could be used to make white children feel guilty about their race or “indoctrinate” students.

The debate came to a head with the return to in-person classes at the start of the current school year. The Sept. 1 article in The York Dispatch quoted teachers who were aghast at an email from the high school’s principal listing the forbidden materials.

Spotify for readers: How tech is inventing better ways to read the internet (Protocol)

After all, what does Spotify do? It takes a corpus of stuff (music) and finds endless new ways to show it to users. Users can save the stuff they know they like (a library), explore things curated by other users (playlists) or turn to the app's machine-learning tools for ultra-personalized recommendations (Discover Weekly and the like).

So now imagine a reading app. You can save all the articles, tweet threads, PDFs and Wikipedia pages you want into your library. You can follow other users to see what they're saving, or check out what a curator thinks you might be into. The more you read, the more the app begins to understand that you like celebrity profiles, you're learning a lot about NFTs right now, you worship at the altar of Paul Graham and you'll read anything anyone writes about "The Bachelorette." Now, every time you open the app, it's like a magazine made just for you.

Watch my PodCast on Business Transformation (Link)

Business Transformation and Technology Improvement – podcast with Michael Cairns Michael Cairns is the CEO and founder of Information Media Partners, a business strategy consulting firm. With a wide career span in publishing and information products, services, and B2B categories, Michael has held executive roles at several publishing companies including Macmillan, Berlitz, and R.R. Bowker.

How to remember more of what you read (MarieClaire)

After three decades in the tech world, former Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior—a self-proclaimed “obsessive reader” as a child—has turned a new page in her career journey. In July 2021, she founded Fable, a social reading platform. According to Warrior, complaints about reading often fall into three categories: People don’t know what to read, they don’t have time to read, or they want to read with other people. Unlike existing platforms that try to focus on just one of those pain points, Fable seeks to tackle all three. 

*****

Publishing Technology Software Report:

A fully revised version of my Publishing Technology Software and Services Report will be formally published on September 15. To complete this report we identified more than 200 software and services companies popular with publishers and conducted in-depth interviews with more than 31 of the most relevant companies. We also spoke with customers to apply their views and opinions about the market and these suppliers.

Monday, October 04, 2021

Business Transformation and Technology Improvement - Podcast Episode with Michael Cairns

 

 

Something a little new for me: I was asked for an interview on Klopotek Radio a few months ago and the episode has just been released.  Here are the release notes which accompanied the broadcast.

I've considered doing a podcast for a few years now and a colleague and I are considering launching something soon.

Release notes:
 

Business Transformation and Technology Improvement – podcast with Michael Cairns Michael Cairns is the CEO and founder of Information Media Partners, a business strategy consulting firm. With a wide career span in publishing and information products, services, and B2B categories, Michael has held executive roles at several publishing companies including Macmillan, Berlitz, and R.R. Bowker. 

He has also held board positions with the Association of American Publishers, the Book Industry Study Group, and the International ISBN Agency where he served as Chairman. 

In this [Klopotek Radio] episode, Michael shares his experience as a consultant helping content-centric business owners to transform their businesses and improve their technology. He talks about his passion for figuring out problems and setting out a roadmap to solve them. Michael also gives his thoughts on how publishing models and media businesses are transforming and evolving during the pandemic and post-pandemic era. ​ 

Besides that, you will also hear Michael talk about, 

  • How can content-centric firms better assess their business needs for being fit for digital change? 
  • How could companies evaluate their current technology to better understand where they compete? 
  • What organizations can do to achieve a smooth digital transformation. 

The release news of the annual publishing technology market survey, published by Information Media Partners, Publishing Technology Market Report – 2021. Himself, a book lover, and a marathon runner, and why he would like to have dinner with Muhammad Ali and have a coffee with Barack Obama.

We hope you’ll enjoy listening to this episode and share it with others you think may be interested.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

MediaWeek (Vol 14, No 8) Pearson Sues Chegg, B&N goes COVID Book Crazy, UK Copyright, Open Access Policies + More

Pearson plc is suing Chegg for Copyright Infringement over test packs. (CourtListener)
As part of Pearson’s focus on pedagogy, Pearson and its authors devote significant creative effort to develop effective, imaginative, and engaging questions to include in the textbooks it publishes. Pearson’s end-of-chapter questions are strategically designed and carefully calibrated to reinforce key concepts taught in the textbooks, test students’ comprehension of these issues, enhance students’ problem-solving skills, and, ultimately, improve students’ understanding of the subject matter. Pearson’s textbooks can contain hundreds or thousands of end-of-chapter questions. These end-of-chapter questions form core components of the teaching materials contained in Pearson textbooks and are frequently hallmarks of Pearson titles. As such, the availability, quality, and utility of these questions are often important considerations when educators select which textbooks to adopt for their courses.

Barnes & Noble has done well during COVID.  News reports suggest double digit growth unseen 'since before Amazon (NYPost)

Industrywide, US sales of books are up 12 percent so far this year through August compared to the same period a year ago —  and up 20 percent from 2019 over the same time period, according NPD Group, a market research company. CEO James Daunt says B&N sales have risen 6 percent since 2019.Jon Enoch Photography

“Double-digit growth in books has not happened since Amazon came along,” Barnes & Noble Chief Executive James Daunt told The Post in an interview. 

Those kinds of numbers are encouraging for Elliott, a fund known for taking big positions in public companies and agitating for change: In this case, it bought B&N whole as a fixer-upper. A source familiar with the matter says Elliott is about halfway through its plan that would eventually spin the bookseller back onto the public markets — or sell it to another private buyer.

Guardian Opinion on proposed changes to UK copyright law: 

It might sound like good news for book lovers too, but only in the short term. While books might become a bit cheaper, the long-term loss for readers has the potential to far overshadow the gain. “The loss of revenue will make publishers more risk-averse and close down access for new work,” Hilary Mantel has warned, with knock-on effects including cramping the innovation that feeds our film and TV industries.

Researchers and publishers respond to new UK open-access policy (Physics World)

IOP Publishing, which publishes Physics World, broadly welcomes the UKRI’s new open-access policy, which it says “aligns with our mis­sion to expand physics globally”. However, it thinks that the require­ment for researchers to deposit the final version of a manuscript in a repository under no embargo will be “harmful to the significant OA pro­gress already made”. “This approach cannot form the basis for an econom­ically viable publishing model for physics journals seeking to maintain the highest standards of peer review and publication.”

That view is echoed by the Inter­national Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM), which says it is “deeply con­cerned” that the UKRI policy gives equivalent status to the “subscrip­tion-tied accepted manuscript and the full OA publication of the version of record”. This, the STM says, could “jeopardize the continued progress of the open-access publishing tran­sition by enabling an entirely unsus­tainable route”. The STM urges the UKRI board to “carefully consider these issues”.

 An App called Libby (New Yorker)

The sudden shift to e-books had enormous practical and financial implications, not only for OverDrive but for public libraries across the country. Libraries can buy print books in bulk from any seller that they choose, and, thanks to a legal principle called the first-sale doctrine, they have the right to lend those books to any number of readers free of charge. But the first-sale doctrine does not apply to digital content. For the most part, publishers do not sell their e-books or audiobooks to libraries—they sell digital distribution rights to third-party venders, such as OverDrive, and people like Steve Potash sell lending rights to libraries. These rights often have an expiration date, and they make library e-books “a lot more expensive, in general, than print books,” Michelle Jeske, who oversees Denver’s public-library system, told me. Digital content gives publishers more power over prices, because it allows them to treat libraries differently than they treat other kinds of buyers. Last year, the Denver Public Library increased its digital checkouts by more than sixty per cent, to 2.3 million, and spent about a third of its collections budget on digital content, up from twenty per cent the year before.
 Wuthering fights! Will this priceless book collection be preserved or broken up at auction? (Stephan Fry -Airmail)

The story in brief: over their lifetimes, a pair of childless, mid–19th century North Country millowner brothers named William and Alfred Law assembled, with knowledge and discernment, a private collection of books and manuscripts. This library passed to successive descendants for a century, neither supplemented, catalogued, nor open to visitation by academics or enthusiasts—save on a few occasions which served only to enhance the legend of the collection’s existence. And now the entirety is for sale at Sotheby’s in London.

Very little is known about the Laws, but their taste and judgment give the lie to that snooty stereotype—vented if not invented by Dickens in Hard Times—of the hard-nosed industrialist for whom art and books are nowt but fancy folderols for fops and fools.

Barnes & Noble Education Financial Results (Edgar)
  •  Versus same period last year: Revenues up $40mm and Net Income flat on higher selling and admin costs
 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Financial results (Edgar)
  • Revenues up 30% for same quarter in 2020
  • Significant improvement in Net Income
  • Gain on sale of trade business $218mm 
Wiley Financial Results (Edgar)
 
 
Publishing Technology Report 2021 - Insight into software and services companies supporting publishers and content owners. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Publishing Technology Report 2021 - PrePub Price Ends 9/21!

*|MC:SUBJECT|*

PUBLISHING TECHNOLOGY MARKET RESEARCH REPORT 2021 - NOW AVAILABLE

A fully revised, up-to-date version of my Publishing Technology Software and Services Report is now available for purchase.

It features more than 200 software and services companies popular with publishers, and we conducted in-depth interviews with 31 of the most relevant companies. We also talked to customers to get their views on the market and their opinions about these suppliers.

Now, for a limited time, you can purchase the report at a pre-publication price of $950. After September 21st the price of this report will be $1,500

Bonus: 4 hours of consulting time is included with each purchase.


In addition to the 'traditional' company market map, this year we decided to get a little more creative and illustrated the market in a 'subway-style' map. I hope you find this both innovative and informative.

As in past years, this report covers all the main operational and functional areas served by these companies: Order to Cash, Financials, Title (Product) Management, Contract Rights and Royalties, Editorial, Production and Scheduling, Subscription Management, Digital Asset Management, Digital Asset Distribution and Content Management Services.

To produce this report, we interviewed 31 companies and 50 executives. Each 60 minute interview was transcribed and used to create a 3-5 page profile of each company. Also included are company product information and,graphics as well as our own research to support the analysis.

This report is required reading for any publisher with technology requirements!

Use the following link to purchase using Paypal or a credit card.
 
https://information-media-partners.dpdcart.com/
 
If you prefer an invoice, please email me:

Michael.Cairns@infomediapartners.com
Information Media Partners Website and Personanondata News Blog
Blog Site
Website
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Monday, August 16, 2021

Publishing Technology Software & Services Market Report - 2021 Now Available

A fully revised version of my Publishing Technology Software and Services Report will be formally published on September 15. To complete this report we identified more than 200 software and services companies popular with publishers and conducted in-depth interviews with more than 31 of the most relevant companies. We also spoke with customers to apply their views and opinions about the market and these suppliers.

Special pricing until September 21st: Prepublication price of $950 ($1,500 regular price).  I also include in every purchase up to four hours of consulting time to review the report and answer any specific questions about the market and companies in the report. 

Use the following purchase link to use either Paypal (prefer) or credit card.

https://information-media-partners.dpdcart.com/

In addition to the 'traditional' market map of companies we also decided to get a little more creative to describe the market in a 'subway' map version. 

I hope you find it interesting and informative.

In this 170 page report we cover many operational and functional areas served by these companies including Order to Cash, Financials, Title (Product) Management, Contract Rights and Royalties, Editorial, Production and Scheduling, Subscription Management, Digital Asset Management, Digital Asset Distribution and Content Management Services. 

To produce this report, we interviewed more than 31 companies and approximately 50 people in total. Each interview was approximately 60 mins. We transcribed these interviews and created 3-5 page profiles of each company and included company product information and, in some cases, graphics provided to us by the company.  We have also created our own supplemental information to support the analysis.

This report is informative and relevant for any publisher with technology requirements.

The following companies were profiled in detail:

 
See how we put together the Subway map here.