Here are some of the interesting things from May's reporting that are happening in our industry:
- New life is being breathed into Barnes & Noble with a huge investment by Microsoft in what amounts to an as-yet undefined partnership. Microsoft invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble to support Nook and establish a stake in the tablet game utilizing its Windows system, with an additional $300+ million promised.
- A significant e-book publisher is fighting Amazon's predominance by going DRM-free (this link picked up from a Sisters In Crime report)
- For all you indie authors attempting to navigate the rocky shoals of Amazon's rulebook for success, Amazon has changed the rules (again). Those books you give away are now credited at only 10% of the value of sold books in the Amazon rating algorithm (also from the Sisters In Crime report).
- Apple, Penguin and MacMillan are fighting back against the Department of Justice lawsuit filed against them recently, in which the DoJ accuses them of price collusion using the agency model.
- The Savvy Book Marketer shares some great ideas from a PR specialist on how to throw a book launch party for an e-book
- Okay, this last one is impressive and scary. (I'm scared, anyway.) Big Brother is not only finally here, he's got a new code name: BIG DATA. You'll have to read the Publishers Weekly article to get the full picture about how massive data collection and crunching is fueling highly specific (and therefore better) product marketing for publishers and other retailers. Here are a couple of key sentences from the article: "In an era when more people than ever are shopping online and consumers are making use of digital apps, e-books, and digital reading devices, all of which capture and transmit a wide variety of usage data back to publishers and retailers . . . . . (p)ublishers can get feedback on how long a reader stays on a certain page or why readers have stopped reading on a certain page." Wow. And yikes. (PW's author does not seem to share my concern. hmmm.) It's a long article, but worth a read. A couple of the major points: in spite of the possibilities mentioned above, publishers are not as natural a fit for Big Data as industries that already collect massive amounts of information about their users (like health care), and there are hurdles to overcome before Big Data can be effectively implemented. However, the article's author predicts that no industry will avoid Big Data if it wants to survive. One of the major hurdles for the publishing industry is that Big Data marketing is based on demand as shown by user data, not on "supply or a publisher's intuition." It's a very different business model—one that drives, in my opinion, toward the lowest common denominator. That can have the effect of leveling the playing field so that anyone who produces a product worthy of broad consumer approval can play (a good thing); but it can also gouge the playing field so that anything outside the quantitative desirable level of return is obliterated (a seriously bad thing). Swept away in such a process will be not only books that don't reach a high enough quality standard, but those that are totally worthy from a quality point of view but are more challenging or more experimental or simply appeal to smaller audiences. Will Big Data incorporate delicate balances of consumer behaviors that accurately reflect quality choices? Are publishers' and editors' opinions about books valuable to consumers, and if so, can Big Data reflect them fairly? It doesn't appear that these questions are currently on the table. Nonetheless, it doesn't look like this tsunami-in-the-making will go away. Something to think about.
What are your feelings about any of these news items? Have you heard anything about any of them? Let us know.
Wow. There is so much here. I'm thinking a good rainy day research. I lightly read through the articles linked. All fascinating. Worth a slow read.ReplyDelete
I realize that I am way behind the power curve with all this... but what is "DRM" After reading the article, I see it has something to do with sharing. But just not sure.
And, I love the book launch party for the e-book. I also love ebook sales. From a production standpoint, they don't kill trees, and no printing costs.
Big Data is kind of scary. Maybe we should fake them out, and get on a screen that has nothing to do with anything that we use. And go paint a room. We can skew that data.
Thanks for an informative post.
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Thank YOU for a great comment. Yes, this is a lot. I couldn't choose from all the big things that happened. From now on I think I'll do one of these posts once a week and keep it to just a couple of links :)Delete
Re: DRM. What it stands for is Digital Rights Management. The way we usually experience it is being restricted by Amazon or others from accessing data they sell us in all the formats we'd like. (e.g., you can't buy an e-book from Amazon and have it available on any device--you can only access it through Kindle.)
Here's a brief description from Wikipedia: "DRM technologies attempt to give control to the seller of digital content or devices after it has been given to a consumer. For digital content this means preventing the consumer access, denying the user the ability to copy the content or converting it to other formats. For devices this means restricting the consumers on what hardware can be used with the device or what software can be run on it. "
Big Brother --> Big Data? *screams in fear* *huddles in corner* *puts tin foil cap over head*ReplyDelete
I'm pulling out the Reynolds Wrap as I read, Laura.Delete
Wow. First of all, I love that you have organized your blog and detailed the topics you plan to consider. You've shared some great info, information I wouldn't know otherwise since I'm seriously lacking the time to stay up to date. I'll definitely be back, especially now that summer is here and I am feeling reenergized in the writing area of my life. I'll just come here for my info upload! christyReplyDelete
Thanks for coming by, Christy. I love useful info blogs that offer a quick look at important things going on in the industry, so hope this one will fall into that category (at least one day a week). :-)Delete
Thanks for the updates! Going to check out a few of these links now. :)ReplyDelete
You're welcome, Lydia. Enjoy.Delete
Wow, that's kind of scary about Big Data. The future is looking to be a very interesting one. And I LOVE what you've done with the place Linda! It looks fantastic.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Heather! And welcome back from beautiful Hawaii. So glad you like the look of the blog. I've still got to figure out how to do a couple of things with the design--I'll be emailing you to pick your brain! Yes, I think Big Data is pretty scary. It has what looks like fabulous potential, but also a really frightening downside, given how much power it may wield.Delete
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Great analysis of the Big Data thing, and I agree with you--it tends to lower the standards of a culture when "popular" and "good" become equated. That would mean "Dancing with the Biggest Loser" should survive and "Mad Men" shouldn't. Reducing everything to the lowest common denominator does not bring innovation and growth. There should be room for excellence.ReplyDelete
That's a perfect way to summarize what happens: equating 'popular' and 'good.' Where's the Ven diagram when we need it???Delete