Sunday, April 17, 2011

MediaWeek (V4 N16): Alberto Vitale, Arab Market eBooks, B2B Magazines.

Former Random House CEO Alberto Vitale was interviewed Stephen J. Kobrin, publisher and executive director of Wharton Digital Press, and Knowledge@Wharton and he had this to say about protection publishers for publishers:

Knowledge@Wharton: If we think just about the English-speaking market, globally, will territorial rights survive? Is there any reason you can't publish a book in English, in New York, and have it downloaded from, say, Amazon servers onto Kindles all over the world?
Vitale: For as long as there is a copyright issue, it's going to be a problem. Things become illegitimate when you put obstacles to legitimate things. I agree with you that anybody in the world should be able to download a book from the publisher, or from Amazon, or from whoever it is. But, you have to also protect the publishers in England, in Canada, in Australia, in New Zealand, [and] in South Africa. It's going to be something rather arduous, but it's going to have to be done. If the publishers don't do it, those books will find a way, anyhow ... through not-so-official ways and that would be a problem.
Knowledge@Wharton: Can I push that one step further? Why is there a reason to protect the publisher in Australia or New Zealand, or Tashkent?
Vitale: Excuse me? How is the publisher going to live? On thin air?
Knowledge@Wharton: No, I understand, but...
Vitale: End of the story.
Knowledge@Wharton: But the question is, in a digital world, where books can be sold globally, is there a role for national publishers, when people are going to be publishing books globally?
Vitale: There is a role. These national publishers are also publishing books, even in digital format. Those books can be distributed by Amazon in New York or in London. That publisher has to be protected.
Knowledge@Wharton: In the e-book world, is there a reason that the publisher -- if they're not publishing paper, but just electronic books -- shouldn't have global rights to the book, and be able to market it globally? In those instances, is there a reason to protect publishers in other countries?
Vitale: In that situation, obviously not. But that's utopia. Paper books are going to be with us for as far as I can see. But the digital book will change guise many, many times, because of what the technology allows you to do. Amazon [in January began] publishing $2.99 or $1.99 books ... or the Amazon [Kindle] Singles [short works of between 10,000 and 30,000 words]. That's a major development. Whatever anybody innovates, it will be taken a step further by the establishment.
The National newspapers looks at the availability of Arabic language eReader software and the presumed lack of interest in catering to the worlds' fifth largest language group (National):
Last year, the global e-book market grew by more than 200 per cent, according to Futuresource Consulting, a research company. But no one has yet calculated the full extent of the vast global market for e-books.

At the moment, Arabic is the fifth-largest spoken language in the world. With internet penetration spreading across the region, there is a growing demand for e-books in the Arab market that stretches well beyond the Middle East.

"E-publishing in Arabic is not confined to a specific geographic region - because there are Arabic readers in South America, Asia and Europe," says Emad Aldoghaither, the president of the electronic publishing software company Semanoor, based in Saudi Arabia.

"Arabic speakers outside the Middle East often have greater access to credit cards and internet access than those in the region," he says. "The growth potential for e-books within the Middle East is very high as the younger generation prefer electronic to printed media."

Semanoor is trying to tap into that market after developing the software needed to support electronic versions of Arabic books. The new version of its SBoook services is currently awaiting approval as an application to run on Apple's iPad tablet computers.

The company supports e-books covering the Saudi curriculum and university publications in addition to more general titles. But at the moment Semanoor offers only about 10,000 Arabic-language e-books.

"There are different platforms, such as Sony e-readers and Android tablets. But the best platform for Arabic-language e-books is the iPad," says Mr Aldoghaither. "Android is also good but does not have the same penetration in terms of users numbers. Our software does not merely deliver a PDF as the existing technology already out there does. It actually supports the text itself and allows right-to-left reading."
The Spectator has the briefest of summaries of the London Bookfair including this quote from one of the seminars (Spectator):
First, most publishers and agents agree that the e-book will soon outstrip the paperback. This, insiders claim, is an opportunity. Speaking at an event on Tuesday, Corrine Turner of Ian Fleming Publications argued that the e-book was more flexible than the strict format of the paperback, which means that publishers can reach a more diverse range of customers. Production costs are also significantly less, so an ever greater number of books can be published to exploit niche markets across the globe. The upshot is that the days of vanity publishing are numbered – trust a convocation of publishers to arrive at that conclusion.

The market may be depressed (March 2011 saw the worst performance since 2005), but some of the big-wigs are in bullish mood. MDs and CEOs are pitching everything on securing the rights for English language books, as the rise of the internet and digital editions makes publishing an increasingly globalised industry. Speaking at a seminar called ‘The Book is Dead: Long live the global book’, Bloomsbury’s group sales and marketing director Evan Schnittman argued that protecting ‘territoriality’ was essential if publishers were to compete:

Selling the English-language rights to different territories opens up the opportunity for competition. The internet will undermine all the protections we put up. The most important thing to do as a business is to make a decision as to how to manage territoriality.’

I don't buy that argument at all.

Mediashift looks at how B2B magazines are redefining themselves:
Today's successful B2B magazines have redefined themselves as multi-platform brands that provide a variety of information and services to their audiences and advertisers.

"We wouldn't be here if we continued to say we wanted to be a traditional print magazine," said Rich Reiff, CEO of Advantage Business Media, which produces a variety of technology-oriented B2B magazines and web media.

Publishers are now applying their B2B magazine brands to a variety of products that serve their already existing audiences in new ways. Some are developing webinars, sponsoring trade shows, and creating online databases of information related to their topics, in addition to the now-commonplace websites, social media outreach, and digital editions. For example, Reiff's company is creating a "self-service digital directory" that will list industry-specific companies and the products or services they provide.
The role of actual print B2B magazines has shifted as well. Most of the news that these magazines once offered can now quickly be found online, so their publishers have had to focus on other kinds of content and find ways to play upon the unique strengths of print.

"We have to be very careful that what content we provide in the print property will stand the test of time and also be very valuable. It has to go in depth on something that's going on in the industry," said Reiff.
Research suggests what we might already know: That we're not very good at researching (Jacob):
During our user testing in Asia-Pacific last month, I watched users conduct more than 100 searches for a broad range of tasks. Only once did I see a user change strategy.

Given the rarity of strategy shifts, we'd need much more data to precisely estimate how often they happen. In this round of user research, our goal was to update the Fundamental Guidelines for Web Usability seminar, so we focused on website design, not on search engine statistics.

Still, the rough estimate from our available data is obvious: users change search strategy only 1% of the time; 99% of the time they plod along a single unwavering path. Whether the true number is 2% or 0.5%, the big-picture conclusion is the same: users have extraordinarily inadequate research skills when it comes to solving problems on the Web.

In our study, for example, an interior decorator indiscriminately entered queries into any text box that caught her eye, with no understanding of which search system she was using or whether it was searching the entire Web or only the site she was on.

This example offers a striking case of confused mental models. It also highlights a big problem with search today: it doesn't facilitate any conceptual knowledge because it relies on quick in–out dips into websites.
Online revenues grow even for television (Mediapost):

Major growth of U.S. online television has pushed the business to $1.6 billion in all revenue in 2010.
The online revenue rise -- a strong 34.2% gain over 2009 -- came from both advertising and consumer fee revenues, according to IHS Screen Digest. One highlight of this growth was in advertising sales, which climbed 64.7% to reach $719 million in 2010, up from $436.8 million in 2009. Other surveys note that all U.S. digital video advertising was over the $1 billion mark for 2010.
"The relatively modest growth in the streaming video area reveals a still tentative approach toward the Internet from some big media companies, which are reluctant to jeopardize their lucrative cable carriage deals by aggressively pursuing online opportunities," stated Dan Cryan, senior analyst and head of broadband media at IHS.
And in Sports PaidContent notes how important mobile access was for the Cricket WorldCup:
ESPN (NYSE: DIS) says the mobile version of its ESPNcricinfo site accounted for 45 percent (45 million) of all the brand’s page views during the April 2 final, in which India beat Sri Lanka. That’s the highest share of any of the digital media through which ESPN covered the sport, and doesn’t even include the app versions of ESPNcricinfo.

It’s significant that mobile use outweighed desktop use. ESPN claims ESPNcricinfo’s mobile site took 63.6 percent of the global mobile audience in its industry segment - far outweighing the 36.1 percent share ESPNcricinfo claims it took in the desktop web market.

That effect came from Indians, who supplied the largest slice of mobile traffic to ESPNcricinfo (377.3 million page views through the tournament). There are around 700 million mobile phones in use in India - nearly the entire population of 1.15 billion. Many of the handsets are unsophisticated, but broadcasters nevertheless supply subscription audio content. In neighbouring Pakistan, BBC Urdu offered five, two-minute World Cup audio reports every hour for on-demand listening by dial-up during the competition.
From the Twitter:

Eight Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Your Kindle:

Authors Sign eBooks Electronically

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