I like the astonishment of two pages being blank. Signatures, how they determine our lives sometimes. In a digital book, what need for blank pages?
Print Industry: Look, this isn't about me. All of you guys have become irrelevant. Technology marched on, and you didn't march with it. But that WILL NOT happen to me. There will always be bookstores, and dead tree books. We'll continue to sell hardcovers at luxury prices, and pay artists 6% to 15% royalties on whatever list price WE deem appropriate. And the masses will buy our books BECAUSE WE SAID SO! WE SHALL NEVER BECOME OBSOLETE!!!
Buggy Whip Industry: Amen, brother! That's what I keep trying to tell these people!
CDs: (whispering to LPs) I give him six years, tops.
PT: Movable type seemed magical to the monks who were illuminating manuscripts and copying texts. Certainly e-books seem magical to me. I started my writing life in the 1940s as an elementary student at the Washington School in Medford, Massachusetts, using a steel-nibbed pen and an inkwell, so I have lived through every technology. I don’t think people will read more fiction than they have in the past (as I say, it’s a minority interest), but something certainly is lost—the physicality of a book, how one makes a book one’s own by reading it (scribbling in it, dog-earing pages, spilling coffee on it) and living with it as an object, sometimes a talisman. Writing is one of the plastic arts, which is why I still write in longhand for a first draft. I can’t predict how reading habits will change. But I will say that the greatest loss is the paper archive—no more a great stack of manuscripts, letters, and notebooks from a writer’s life, but only a tiny pile of disks, little plastic cookies where once were calligraphic marvels.
More of the interview here
1. Warner Bros. : Netflix as Random House : _______
d. all of the above
2. DVDs : movielovers as ebooks : _______.
b. cheap people
d. all of the above
Read on about the mistakes publishers are making in their ebook assumptions... and to see what Sarah thinks the answers are.
1. 95% of all reading will be on screens
2. There will be fewer bookstores, though books will be more plentiful than ever before.
3. The entire book supply chain from author to customer will become atomized into its component bits. Value-adders will continue to find great success in publishing. Dinosaurs, leeches and parasites will be flushed out of new publishing ecosystems faster than ever before.
4. Most authors will be indie authors
5. Successful publishing companies will be those that put the most total profit in the author's pocket. No, not the highest per-unit royalty percentage
I don't know about the screen percentage, but I think 2 and 3 and 4 will have to come to pass. 5, I don't know about. Watching my sis-in-law try to market her books (and she has had 17 published, so it's not like she's new to this) and watching the industry just not work any more in the traditional way means that she is going to have to become Indie to survive. I don't know how many other authors are waking up to the same realization.
So, indexers, do we start marketing to authors? How do you reach Indie authors?
It is customary for those of us who do crystal-ball gazing to make some calls about the year ahead at around the time the celebrants head for Times Square. I am not a man to flout custom. Here are some of the things I expect we’ll see in 2010.
1. At least one major book will have several different enhanced ebook editions. This will result from a combination of circumstances: the different capabilities of ebook hardware and reader platforms, the desire of publishers and authors to justify print-like prices for ebooks, the sheer ability of authors and their fans to do new things electronically, and the dawning awareness that there are at least two distinctly different ebook markets: one just wants to read the print book on an electronic screen and the other wants links and videos and other enhancements that really change the print book experience. (Corrolary prediction: the idea of an enhanced ebook that is only sold “temporarily” in the first window when the book comes out, which has been floated by at least one publisher, will be short-lived. Whatever is made for sale in electronic form will remain available approximately forever. Or, put another way, if you have a product that requires no inventory investment that has a market, you’ll keep satisfying it.)...
4. Ebooks will require a new industry directory (and it won’t be printed.) Driven by new entrants in the field, self-publishing, and unbundled aggregations of print books, the gap between the items listed in “Books in Print” and the items that should be listed in a directory of “Ebooks Available” will continue to grow. There has been a robust conversation in a corner of the book community about whether all ebook editions need ISBNs, but that’s really only one part of a much larger metadata problem. In 2010 we are likely to see at least one serious effort to deliver a new online directory for ebooks.
6. Ebooks become significant revenue contributors for many titles. By the end of 2010, ebook sales will routinely constitute at least 20% of the units moved for midlist and the lower tier of bestsellers and at least 10% of the units for really big bestsellers. (These are predictions for narrative writing; illustrated books and kids’ picture books will lag considerably.)
7. Circumstances will outrun the ebook “windowing” strategy. By the end of 2010, the experiment with “windowing” ebooks — withholding them from release when the hardcover comes out — will end as increasing evidence persuades publishers and agents that ebook sales (at any price) spur print book sales (at any price), not cannibalize or discourage them and, furthermore, that this withholding effort does nothing to restrain Amazon’s proclivity for discounting. (Amazon can’t quit with so many competitors joining them; see number 11 below.) There will also be steadily increasing evidence that most readers distinctly prefer either digital books or paper for their narrative reading and the real minority is the people who routinely read both.
There's a lot more, go read him!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ASI Announces Golden Turkey Award
Sarah Palin's Book receives ASI's First Golden Turkey Honors
Wheat Ridge, CO (November 20, 2009)
The American Society for Indexing (ASI) wishes to present its Golden Turkey Award for misadventures in indexing to Sarah Palin and HarperCollins for Going Rogue. In these days of Google and full-text search, many people don't realize how crucial the art and science of indexing still is (see the comments at http://www.thedailybeast.com/...) for some particularly disturbing evidence of public failure to recognize the value of good finding aids). Palin's book performs a crucial public service. The inaccessibility of information in this text makes it clear to any reader that a good index is essential to a book's long-term value.
Sarah Palin's Going Rogue has no index at all - a brilliantly simple if deviant way of proving the need for an index, worthy of one who prides herself on being a bit of a maverick. The sheer difficulty of using Going Rogue for any purpose beyond that of a doorstop turns it into an ironically elitist text. Now, other tomes from diverse parts of the political spectrum have been published without indexes (most recently and egregiously, David Plouffe's The Audacity to Win). What makes Going Rogue stand out is its sheer importance. Whatever one thinks of Ms. Palin, no one can doubt that she was a principal player at the center of an historic campaign. Scholars of the political history of the early 21st century will have to consult this book, a task which the lack of an index has made nearly impossible. If Plouffe's account were compared to Eusebius of Caesarea's biography of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, Palin would be Constantine's rival Maxentius, defeated at the Milvian Bridge. Valuable as Eusebius's manuscript is, late antique historians would kill for a first-hand account from Maxentius - and if it were 432 pages long, as Palin's Going Rogue is, and as full of public and personal incident, their first job would be to give it an index.
Why does any of this matter? If all one is going to do is read a book from front to back and then forget about it, indexes don't matter. But books are our way of storing and accumulating knowledge, checking facts, comparing viewpoints. It's very hard to do that without an index. What about full-text search? Well, all I can say is, how is that working out for you?
Electronic searches are very good at finding words, but they're bad at finding concepts. If you're looking for information on "agriculture," you might miss all sorts of valuable information that uses the term "farming." A good index, written by a professional indexer (who is an actual person with a brain, not a piece of software, although indexers use dedicated software programs to perform mechanical aspects of indexing such as accurate alphabetizing) will pull together all related concepts regardless of the words used to express them. Ever had the experience of entering a search term and getting 45,679 hits, and had no luck narrowing the parameters? An index will provide subentries for major terms in a text so you can find the aspect you're interested in. In other words, an index does the full-text search for you.
Why are books published without indexes? Publishers and authors usually cite time and cost as the reasons for putting out a book without an index. Neither is a very good excuse. Indexers go to work when the text has been finalized and is going through the final proofreading stage, so there's no need to tack on extra time to do the index. In a pinch, a good indexer can produce a satisfactory index to a 400-page work in three days. Indexes can add to the final cost of the book in two ways. First, the indexer usually makes between $1,000 and $1,500 for the index to a standard-size text. For a book with the projected sales of Going Rogue, this is hardly likely to break the bank. Second, depending on the book's length, including an index may require the publisher to add another quire or signature of pages, which will affect the paper and binding costs (this consideration is not an issue for e-books, which as the technology improves will be released with embedded indexes that hyperlink to relevant parts of the text). Palin's book has, on my count, at least seven blank pages available, which could have held a respectable index. (Plouffe's Audacity to Win, on the other hand, has none, and an index would have required an extra quire.) In any case, given that the index often helps sell a book (by giving potential buyers a taste of what's in store) and greatly improves its functionality and long-term value, leaving the index out is a false economy. That is why ASI awards its Golden Turkey to the publisher, as well as the indexer. HarperCollins deserves as much credit for Going Rogue's lack of an index as does Palin herself.
The "context" argument: Commentators on Palin's missing pages have suggested that she perhaps deliberately left out the index to foil "the Washington read," a practice whereby one skims the text by judicious consultation of the index, particularly for instances of one's own name. The Washington read, it is argued, results in snippets from the book being taken out of context. T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) refused to have an index for The Seven Pillars of Wisdom on this account, and the French literary establishment not infrequently argues against the use of indexes on this basis. (I would not have thought Sarah Palin would be inclined to side with Lawrence in particular or the French in general, so I assume, if she does indeed espouse this view, that she came to it via a different route.) In any case the argument is specious. Biased readers can take snippets of the book out of context without any assistance from the index; news coverage of Palin's book so far has made that abundantly clear. Rather than ensuring contextual reading, the abandonment of the index ultimately ensures a book's place on the remainder shelf - your own, or the bookseller's.
So congratulations are due to both Sarah Palin and HarperCollins for their outstanding demonstration of why every serious book needs an index. ASI salutes you.
About American Society for Indexing
ASI is the only professional organization in the United
States devoted solely to the advancement of indexing,
abstracting, and database building. Come visit us
and learn more about indexing at www.asindexing.org
This just in on ASI-L:
As president of ASI I am the author and responsible for its content, as I am for all ASI messages that are distributed. The message is emphatic (and nonpolitical): Going Rogue is an important contribution to political history and as such it should have had an index. I do not apologize for that message in any way. Promoting indexes is part of my job, and so far we have had an overwhelming non-ASI reponse to the posting from people wanting to know more about indexing.
Best, Kate Mertes
Kate Mertes Mertes Editorial Services 118 N. West Street Alexandria, VA 22314 703-549-4574 firstname.lastname@example.org www.katemertes.com
Up until what seems like five minutes ago, the static print version was where all the money was. But with the IDPF reporting industry-wide year-on-year gains of 300% of ebook sales through August and Crain’s saying Random House had an 700% year-on-year increase of Kindle sales through September, the day when ebook sales are financially significant has apparently arrived and the point when those revenues could be more important than print revenues is in sight. So it may be time to change the objective of the author and editor from “how do we create the best possible print book” to “how do we create the best possible ebook?”
This will require some radical changes in thinking.
1. “Space” will no longer be scarce. That means that nothing of value should be discarded; the question becomes how to best employ any thoughts, writing, or images, not whether to include them. (Warning of a likely unintended consequence: putting mediocre material in the finished product can become a temptation and that does not achieve desired effects.)
2. Background material of any kind will become useful. For fiction, that might mean more in-depth character descriptions or “biographies”. For non-fiction, that might mean source material.
3. Multiple media are desireable. Anything that is relevant to the book in video or audio form or art of any kind should be included. If rights and permissions are a problem, then linking out to the material wherever it is on the web becomes an option.
4. Linking is essential. The author should be recording deeplink information for every useful resource tapped during the book’s creation.
5. New editorial decisions abound. Should the reader be given the option to turn links off (to avoid the distractions)? Does it “work” if linked or multiple-media elements become essential to the narrative of the book? And, if that becomes the case, what are the work-arounds for the static print edition? Should “summary” material be added, such as a precis of every chapter than can be a substitute for reading the whole chapter? (That could help somebody skip and dive their way through a non-fiction book, particularly.)
6. How should all of this complexity flow? Books are pretty straightforward: you start at the beginning and turn pages until you get to the end. But ebooks can allow different sequencing if that becomes useful. Can we have beginner, intermediary, and expert material all in one ebook that “selects” what you see by what you tell the book you are?
7. When is the book “finished”? An ebook that is continually being enhanced and updated by the author, perhaps even by the addition of relevant blog posts (to imagine a situation which would be very easy to execute) is a great antidote to digital piracy. But it would surely separate the ebook from the print, which couldn’t keep up with that kind of change. As ebook consumption becomes more common, though, authors won’t want their books to be out of date and they will recognize how easy it is to add new material. O’Reilly Media already includes free “updates” in the ebook purchase price of their books. How long will it be before a trade publisher makes a similar offer? Or before an author requires it as a condition of doing their next deal?
Good luck with that, Toronto Star....
The book, no index, five chapters - in Time the speculation was two-fold here about why there was no index in it. It would force people to actually read through it because in Washington you never read the book except the parts that you find about yourself in the index. So there's no index; it's an "up yours" to the Washington Beltway establishment that there's no index to skip to.
Ah, you know, I'm going to find that a hard one to agree with. You know, often when a book is crashed like this, and it may be a train wreck in a completely different sense, when they are rushing the schedule there is no time to put an index together because the page numbers are changing, there may also be a cost factor, she didn't want to waste the money on it, but there are other explanations than telling Washington to go screw itself. So I don't buy the index argument at this point, sorry.
Hisses for books with no indexes, and double hisses for using the phrase "waste the money on it."
A managed compromise is one where something gets left undone, because you made a rational decision to leave it undone. An unintended compromise is one where something gets left undone, because you ran out of time at the end of a project. For example, a Help file might not include an index, because you decided creating one was too costly a use of resources, and users could use the search function instead. We might debate whether that was a good decision, but we can all agree that it was a decision based on thoughtful analysis. Or the Help file might not include an index, because you barely finished the topics in time for release as it was, never mind an index. We might debate whether that would cause a big problem for users, but we can all agree that it did not happen that way because you planned it that way; it just happened.
Hughes sets up a hockey stick metaphor, and explains that in terms of cost and time, it is worthwhile to do everything up to the knee of the hockey stick, and then you have diminishing returns. Unfortunately, we are seeing the index winding up being whacked by the hockey stick.
Who says 140 characters isn’t enough to say something constructive? Matt Stewart is writing an entire novel that way.
Stewart is publishing his entire 480,000 character
book at 130 characters at a time (to leave room for
hashtags and links) on Twitter. To be clear, the
book, called The French
Revolution... is already written. But Stewart and
his agent couldn’t get any publishers to bite, so
they decided to go the non-traditional route, to say
how this works: Every so often, Stewart is tweeting
out sentences (or incomplete sentences) from the
book. No, he’s not doing this by hand, he got a
programmer to help him automate the process. The
result is slowly spilling out the entire narrative of
the book to his Twitter
If you think this would be impossible to follow in a regular stream of tweets, you’re right. That’s why Stewart has a website chronicling the whole story thus far (or, of course, you can simply click on his Twitter page to read it — though backwards). Stewart expects that will will take about 3,700 tweets to get the full story out there.
Oxford, UK, July 1, 2009 — Sixty percent of professional and scholarly societies believe that the global economic downturn might be a stimulus to introducing efficiencies within their organizations, while 57% think it might provide opportunities for launching new activities or services for their members, according to a new study presented at the Wiley-Blackwell Executive Seminar held at the Royal Society, London, on June 19th 2009.
The study, carried out by Wiley-Blackwell, the leading publisher for professional and scholarly societies, examined the potential impact of the economic downturn on its society publishing partners. Sixty-eight percent characterized the global economic downturn as moderately negative, while 17% stated that it will have minimal negative impact or may even be beneficial.
The innovators, artists and voters of tomorrow need to know that copyright law restricts many activities but also permits many others. And they need to know the positive steps they can take to protect themselves in the digital sphere. In short, youth don't need more intimidation — what they need is solid, accurate information.
EFF's Teaching Copyright curriculum was created to help teachers present the laws surrounding digital rights in a balanced way. Teaching Copyright provides lessons and ideas for opening your classroom up to discussion, letting your students express their ideas and concerns, and then guiding your students toward an understanding of the boundaries of copyright law.
In five distinct lessons, students are challenged to:
* Reflect on what they already know about copyright law.
* See the connection between the history of innovation and the history of copyright law.
* Learn about fair use, free speech, and the public domain and how those concepts relate to using materials created by others.
* Experience various stakeholders' interests and master the principles of fair use through a mock trial.
Our first report covers both country and handset/manufacturer data with some fun facts attached to the end of the report. We expect to expand the report to include more axes of information in the coming months.
Here is the highlight:
• In terms of usage, Indonesia is the top country (39%), followed by US (28%) and Vietnam (9%).
• Java devices are still the most used mobile platform for reading e-books. 63% of e-book usage come from Java devices while iPhone usage grows to 33%.
• Nokia dominates the top device list with 4 of the top 6 are Nokia Series 40. iPhone claims the top spot.
• iPhone dominates US e-book usage with 78% of iPhone usage comes from North America. Nokia still dominates the rest of the world.
• Blackberry usage grew over 400% since the launch of App World. Indicates the effectiveness of an application storefront.
As you can see, although e-reading on iPhone dominates the headlines of US media in the last few months, e-reading is truly a global phenomenon and it is more than “just the iPhone”. ...
Here are some fun facts that you might find interesting too:
• Usage typically surges on weekends by 10%
• Daily usage peaks in the evening at bed time (local times).
• Blackberry users read the least per day as shown in our average daily number of sessions. Perhaps preoccupied by the influx of emails! Blackberry users have about 1.6 session per day, while iPhone users have 2.3 and Java phone users read the most with 2.6 sessions per day.
When an audience at City University of New York’s Gotham Center gave Sayles an ovation. But then he was humbled by a question from a woman in the front row: When would the book be out?
“I’ve been done with it for six or seven months, and it’s out to five or six publishers,” he said quietly. “But we haven’t had any bites yet.” Maybe some small book publishers...
John Sayles, Oscar-nominated creator of “Return of the Secaucus 7,” “Lone Star,” “Matewan” and other movies, is having trouble getting a book deal.
The situation is almost entirely traceable to the publishing industry’s economic woes, and it’s raising eyebrows, because Sayles was an accomplished fiction writer long before he made his first film. Weighing in at a whopping 1,000 typed pages, “Some Time in the Sun” is his first novel since 1990’s “Los Gusanos.”
“This is really astonishing,” says Ron Hogan, senior editor of Galleycat.com, a website devoted to publishing news. “I mean, this is John Sayles! You’d think there would be some editor who’d be proud to say, ‘I brought the new John Sayles novel to this house.’ ”
More at Publisher's Weekly
Gwenyth Jones, Vice President of Publishing Information Systems and Technologies, John Wiley & Sons
Jones has worked at Wiley for more than 25 years in the professional and trade operation, in roles ranging from publicist to publisher. She now oversees various digital publishing services, including media development, e-business development and Web site management.
Tip: “To navigate a successful journey from print to digital, take a tip from Virginia Woolf and be sure that, as you move through the trough of the waves, you never forget the view from the lighthouse. You must understand both the long view of where your customers are headed, and execute successfully by paying attention to every detail.”
Lightning Source has launched an Espresso Book Machine pilot program, done in conjunction with On Demand Books, through which select publishers will be able to offer their customers the opportunity to print their titles on the Espresso machines located in bookstores.
The pilot program expands on Lightning's previously announced partnership with On Demand Books, the company that makes the EBM, a device that works like a copier for books, printing and binding them in a few minutes.
Publishers participating in the pilot, culled from among Lightning's clients, include Simon & Schuster, John Wiley & Sons, Hachette Book Group, McGraw-Hill, Macmillan, University of California Press and Norton. Through the program some 85,000 titles will be available at EBM locations across the country, starting next month.
According to On Demand Books, there are currently five Espresso machines in the U.S. (with 10 others in locations throughout Canada and the U.K.). This, though, will soon change. Dane Neller, CEO of On Demand, said that "within a relatively short period that number will be increasing dramatically." On Demand is releasing a new model of the machine, version 2.0, which will print books faster--roughly four minutes for a 300-page book as opposed to eight minutes--and be offered at a lower price point. Neller added that the Espresso machine can now be leased as well. The 2.0 model will be on display at the London Book Fair.
In December the FT Press released an e-book edition of “Barack, Inc: Winning Business Lessons of the Obama Campaign” a month after the authors delivered a manuscript. Last month Free Press, a unit of Simon & Schuster, published an e-book version of “Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation” just three weeks after Daniel Gross, a writer for Newsweek magazine, completed the book.
And as the financial crisis was deepening last March, George Soros submitted a manuscript to the publisher PublicAffairs. Ten days later the e-book of “The New Paradigm for Financial Markets” went on sale.
There's more at the New York Times
I found a lot of good thought-provoking material in this publishing-oriented slide set. Be sure to read the notes down below each slide. My favorite one is "if you show this (xml process) to most editors, they're going to start drinking at their desks."
Mary Harper found this great little presentation by Hachette Book Group on Slideshare.net. The illustrations of traditional content process vs. an XML process are really nice and understandable. Indexing as metadata fits into this flow, but of course is not included in the illustration. We need to keep after publishers to understand that the indexing is part of the necessary metadata that flows with the content.
There is no doubt that the industry is in a period of significant transition. What can we expect 10 to 15 years from now?
Someday, all data and applications will be “in the cloud”—that is, existing independently from, but accessible by, digital devices. All the devices most used every day will then need almost no memory. When we say “screens” in that context, it will mean the same thing as saying “devices” or “computers.” The screens of the future will all connect to all the information and all the computing power all the time.
So, media consumption will take place by people choosing from a wide variety of screen configurations, the way they have always chosen from a wide variety of printed formats. That is, you’ll pick up one kind of screen/device to read a memo you’re working on, another one to look at the work of your favorite photographer, and pull a rolled-up one out of your back pocket to read a book or newspaper on the subway or at the beach. And those don’t include the ones on your walls for a movie, or for a piece of art.
Books don’t have to immediately disappear from a world like that. Print-on-demand (POD) technology means that anybody can have anything they want in book form, down to a press run of one. David Worlock of Outsell, the sagest digital (and longest-standing) guru I know, once told me, “Surely, in time, the number of books created within the network (by individuals via the Internet) must exceed the number of books created outside the network.” If you look at what SharedBook is doing now—enabling personalized books to be created and displayed as flipbooks online, downloaded as PDFs, or printed on-demand—you see the down payment on Worlock’s vision.
There's a lot more at bookbusinessmag.com.
The question every publisher should be asking themselves every day is: how can I provide more value to my readers? I suspect the ones that start each day with that question will find the right answers, and will navigate the next few years with success.
And a few more snippets:
So, books are just one part of the picture. They are, I believe, at the base of O’Reilly’s success, the foundation upon which the company is built, but not necessarily it’s financial driver. O’Reilly is successful because they understand the value of books not as “things we can sell” but rather as “things that are of value to our customers: the readers.” O’Reilly provides readers with something of value, and gives them many many different opportunities and different routes to give money in exchange.
So: If you are in the publishing business, who is your VP of Reader Relations? Does your exec committee meet regularly to discuss: How can we sell more books and cut costs?
Or are your meetings titled: How can we deliver more value to the people who want the content we have to give them? How can we give people more opportunities to give us money for the valuable service we provide?
Do read Hugh McGuire here.
For Young, the reason to use XML is simple--it allows Hachette to develop and deliver content to readers in the formats they want. It also saves money on production costs and can lead to new revenue streams. Young noted there are some estimates that put the number of handheld devices in the world at 3 billion, which, he said, equates to “3 billion blank pages.” To reach that audience, content needs to be flexible enough to be delivered in a variety of ways, Young said. Since XML uses a content-centric, design-agnostic approach to production, an XML file is uniquely suited to deliver content as an e-book or through print-on-demand, he said.
The effective use of XML, however, requires cooperation and commitment throughout the production process, beginning with editors and authors, Young said. By using XML to tag content, editors are in a position to help shape how that content will be delivered, Young said, predicting that “tagging will become as ingrained as the blue pencil.” Young acknowledged that editors will need to be trained on how to tag and that they will need to develop new skills and have new tools. “It will be a sea change” about who does what, Young said, but ultimately the changes will open up new revenue opportunities.
Speakers on the rest of the morning’s panels expanded on various themes introduced by Young. Brian O’ Leary of Magellan Media Consulting Partners, said that publishers will only be able to fully capitalize n XML if they adopt a discipline approach to using it, which begins with editors tagging the information. He noted that some types of books will work benefit more from XML than others (a point made by one of the conference organizers, Mike Shatzkin in his What the Hell is XML piece which appeared in the Dec. 15 PW). Rebecca Goldthwaite of Cengage Learning noted that among the lessons learned in implementing XML there was the need for a “culture change,” and for XML to be used consistently throughout. Simon & Schuster’s Steve Kotrch emphasized the ability using XML gives a publisher to create more robust rights databases that can be hooked to other databases to exchange information.
Evan Schnittman of Oxford University Press touched on the benefits of using XML in terms of improving search results on Google. The ability to put books (and other content) into “chunks” enhances the chances that those books will be discovered through traditional Google searches rather than only through Google Book Search, Schnittman said. He noted that OUP has created a “significant revenue stream” as a result of its books being discovered through Google. OUP has 15,564 titles in Google Book Search, which have generated more than 143 million page views, Schnittman said which in turn has led to more than 734,000 clicks on a buy link or 47.2 buy clicks per book. Bill O’Brien of the Copyright Clearance Center also brought up chunking, noting that chunking leads to “micro commerce,” which can accumulate late into a significant sum. (CCC has dispersed $1 billion to publishers since it was launched 30 years ago, he said).
Multipurposing material is where they are looking to make their money next.
Findability -- let's seriously take note of this one.... Where as the previous generative qualities reside within creative digital works, findability is an asset that occurs at a higher level in the aggregate of many works. a zero price does not help direct attention to a work, and in fact may sometimes hinder it. But no matter what its price, a work has no value unless it is seen; unfound masterpieces are worthless. When there are millions of books, millions of songs, millions of films, millions of applications, millions of everything requesting our attention—and most of it free—being found is valuable.
What if the Book Business Collapses?
So the rest
of us, readers and writers and lovers of books,
entrepreneurs and technologists, those of us really
interested in the voracious appetite of the powerful
and relatively affluent group, are going to have to
come up with new and different ways to get books
written, published and in the hands of readers.
Imagine: what would happen if every publisher in the world went out of business tomorrow? If every book store closed it’s doors?
Here’s what I think: I think we would see a flourishing of innovation and the kind of excitement the book business has not seen since the printing press was invented. These companies (sellers and publishers) aren’t all going to close their doors, but a good number might.
Lamentable? Maybe. Or maybe this is a fabulous opportunity for something new.
I’m optimistic. New technologies are coming along that change the economics of books: ebooks, ipods, print-on-demand, the web, and more to come yet. The readers are there, maybe fewer of them, but no less passionate. The writers are there. And let’s face it, if the doom and gloom in the business is right, whatever model these companies were using hasn’t worked all that well.
So it’s up to us — all of us who care about books — to figure out what the book business is going to look in the next decade or so.