The Gilbane Advisor

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Category: ebooks (page 2 of 6)

Atex Announces Support for e-Reader Publishing

Atex announced their content management system, atex content, supports direct publication to e-readers and tablet devices. Media companies can capitalize on these technologies to publish content without custom development. The functionality could also allow publishers to develop new digital revenue streams while increasing the level of customer interaction. As e-reader demand is expected to increase as the technology develops, consumers will require more of their content to be delivered digitally. Atex content could help media companies take advantage of this trend with functionality to streamline digital content publishing. Whether it’s from print or the Web, editors can take content and reuse it in digital devices without needing additional staff or hardware. Instead of relying on a few products, e-readers could help media companies diversify what they provide to consumers. Depending on the model used, a media company will be able to track the content customers like most and allow readers to leave comments and answer poll questions. These social features should help publishers build tighter relationships with their readers and understand what content will retain their interest. www.atex.com

Amazon Announces New Royalty Incentive for Authors

Amazon.com has announced details of a new program that will enable authors and publishers who use the Kindle Digital Text Platform (DTP) to earn a larger share of revenue from each Kindle book they sell. For each Kindle book sold, authors and publishers who choose the new 70 percent royalty option will receive 70 percent of list price, net of delivery costs. This new option will be in addition to and will not replace the existing DTP standard royalty option. This new 70 percent royalty option will become available on June 30, 2010. Delivery costs will be based on file size and pricing will be $0.15/MB. At today’s median DTP file size of 368KB, delivery costs would be less than $0.06 per unit sold. For example, on an $8.99 book an author would make $3.15 with the standard option, and $6.25 with the new 70 percent option. DTP authors and publishers will be able to select the royalty option that best meets their needs. Books from authors and publishers who choose the 70 percent royalty option will have access to all the same features and be subject to all the same requirements as books receiving the standard royalty rate. In addition, to qualify for the 70 percent royalty option, books must satisfy the following set of requirements: The author or publisher-supplied list price must be between $2.99 and $9.99; This list price must be at least 20 percent below the lowest physical list price for the physical book; The title is made available for sale in all geographies for which the author or publisher has rights; The title will be included in a broad set of features in the Kindle Store, such as text-to-speech; This list of features will grow over time as Amazon continues to add more functionality to Kindle and the Kindle Store. Under this royalty option, books must be offered at or below price parity with competition, including physical book prices. Amazon will provide tools to automate that process, and the 70 percent royalty will be calculated off the sales price. The 70 percent royalty option is for in-copyright works and is unavailable for works published before 1923 (public domain books). At launch, the 70 percent royalty option will only be available for books sold in the United States. http://dtp.amazon.com/

Plastic Logic Introduces the QUE proReader

Plastic Logic unveiled QUE (pronounced “Q”). More than an eReader, QUE is designed specifically to provide a premium reading experience and access to content anywhere anytime, while simplifying the multi-faceted lifestyle of business professionals. QUE was designed to have the benefits of paper, but without the weight and clutter. Just like paper, QUE is easy to hold and feels good in your hands. But it’s easier to search and find what you’re looking for. The size of a pad of paper, about 1/3 inch thick, and weighing less than many periodicals (about a pound), QUE features a 10.7-inch shatterproof plastic display. In addition to business and professional newspapers, periodicals and eBooks, QUE supports reading and annotating document formats business users need (including PDF, Microsoft Office, ePub documents and more). With the QUE software, you can convert and transfer content from your PC, Mac computer, or BlackBerry smartphone to your QUE. QUE has integrated reviewing tools. Add a note and use the virtual keyboard to include your comments, highlight text, scribble free form, and even add a stamp to emphasize a point. The QUE Store offers a collection of reading material especially geared to the business professional. QUE users will be able to connect to fresh content on-the-go, on the QUE Store: to search, purchase and download wirelessly via Wi-Fi and AT&T’s 3G network. Plastic Logic also announced new partnerships, including the Down Jones company and the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and All Things Digital, Forbes and Fast Company, Sporting News and major regional newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, Miami Herald, and San Jose Mercury News. These publications join previously announced strategic partnerships with Financial Times, USA Today, the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, MIT Technology Review, Popular Science, and IDG publication titles including CIO, Network World, and Computerworld. Publications on the QUE Store are available ranging from one-time use to ongoing subscriptions. The price for QUE will range from $649.00 for the 4GB QUE model with WiFi that holds up to 35,000 documents, to $799.00 for the 8GB QUE model with WiFi and 3G that holds up to 75,000 documents. Preorders for the QUE proReader may be placed at the QUE Store. Beginning in mid-April 2010, QUE will be available for shipping. Later in 2010, QUE will be available through the Barnes & Noble stores nationwide and online at Barnes & Noble.com http://www.QUE.com, http://www.PlasticLogic.com

FastPencil Announces eBook Publish-Ready Format for eReaders

FastPencil announced their eBook Publish-Ready Format for eReaders offering an authoring solution to ensure an author’s book can be read anywhere today and in the future. FastPencil provides authors with an end-to-end publishing platform where they can maintain control of the content creation, price, distribution and sales activity. FastPencil gives eBook authors flexibility. For instance, authors can take individual book chapters and create eBook editions to promote the larger work. Short-story writers can also use FastPencil to create and publish their stories. Also, as eReaders incorporate multi-media, such as video, audio, animation, slides presentations and games, FastPencil will provide support. FastPencil Publish-Ready Format Features: Auto-generate table of contents, Auto-pagination, Auto-merge into professional book design template, Auto-merge into eBook formats, and Uphold Industry standards compliance (title page, copyright, ISBN). The FastPencil eBook Publish-Ready Format is available now at http://www.FastPencil.com

Publishing Perspective 2010

By Ted Treanor, Senior Publishing Consultant

Publishing predictions for 2010 abound. As a digital publishing pioneer and visionary, Ted Treanor has been well positioned ahead of the curve, with a unique vantage point to see what’s in store for the industry. At this tipping point, publishing convergence of print and digital has collided with mainstream. Let us know what you think of these predictions.

Let’s see if 13 predictions will be lucky for publishing.

  1. New eReading devices will proliferate. The market is responding like the California gold rush.  Not only will there be new companies launching in 2010, but big electronics firms will have their products. CES will be a haven for digital reading, which will astound everyone.
  2. Pricing experimentation will take center stage.
  3. Digital sales channels both retail and distribution will grow rapidly.
  4. The ePub standard (IDPF.org) will strengthen as an international industry standard. ePub will compete with PDF for the top format for commercial content.
  5. The big surprise this year will be the number of large recognized companies that will strategically target the digital publishing eReading and content space. At least one major communications infrastructure company (possibly wireless) will stake a claim through a publishing partnership. Other prime segments will be computer manufacturers and printer manufactures.
  6. Trade associations will scramble to stay relevant in their attempt to lead members through this time of convergence of print and digital.
  7. Content workflow using XML technologies will become standard for single source production to multiple print and digital editions.
  8. Publishers will attempt to build direct relationships with their reader customers…not very successfully in 2010.
  9. Technology and services companies will further enable authors for self-publishing and in their sales goals. At least one big name author will experiment in self-publishing in 2010.
  10. eCatalogs will become a standard tool in selling content to booksellers, librarians, etc..
  11. Digital galleys will gain in popularity.
  12. E-content will be grafted into print in innovative ways.
  13. New ebook data reports and ebook directories will become ‘must-have’ resources. Gilbane Group has a series of three publishing transformation reports planned in 2010.

Follow me on Twitter @ ePubDr

Trade (eBook) Wars: Tiger Versus Grizzly Bear

The Gilbane Publishing Practice is diving deep into the transformation of publishing as more and more publishers realize that the digital domain can not be ignored.  Not that there aren’t plenty of publishers—especially in STM and other professional publishing efforts—already very active in digital publishing.  Still, trade publishing, for example, is seeing the very real opportunities in eBook markets, and we’re wrestling with what makes for best practices for them.

Not that anyone’s strategy makes for a “one-size-fits-all” approach. There are some trade publishers that have started in on or already have well-established single repository XML-based content management systems, the benefits of which are tremendous not just for eBooks, but for content re-use, custom publishing, localization and translation, and even to varying extents, integration with other line of publishing business systems. In trade publishing, however, there are plenty of publishers that have diverse collections of editorial and production platforms—often the result of the long history of mergers and acquisitions in this industry—and the level of integration within these editorial and production systems is ad hoc, at best, never mind effective tie-ins with marketing or sales systems, or royalties, or rights, etc.  You know who you are.

So, what is the trade publisher supposed to do?  While the ideal solution might be to create content chunks rich with meta-data that feed workflows across not just departments like production, but in and out of all of the other business systems as needed, there is a lot of time and money that goes into such a set up. For trade publishers with publishing systems that work—and maybe it doesn’t really matter if it’s taken a lot of gum and baling wire—what really is needed to add eBooks to the mix?

Companies like Aptara and even newer comer Tizra, along with well-established composition and conversion services, will tell you that if you can output in PDF, they can make eBook for you. And depending on the vendor, the eBook production may be very inexpensive, or have very sophisticated features, or be ready to market and sell, or some combination. SaaS is becoming more common for such processes, so investment, too, is relatively painless. Let’s think of this class of eBook production as “tigers.”  This class of solutions offers impressively quick solutions and a good range of capabilities across a growing number of vendors, and represent a strong competitive argument.

XML-based repository digital asset and content management platforms, with their ability to embed rich metadata that may even enable actionable content to other publishing systems—including sales and distribution—stand as a class we can think of a “grizzly bears.”  There is no doubt that this class of digital publishing solutions is a competitive strategy choice itself. One example is Wave Corporation, another is Mark Logic.  Some solutions work better with publishing business-specific platforms (e.g., Klopotek, Firebrand, MEI).

Of course it may not be an either/or question.  Recent news from codeMantra, about partnering with Mark Logic, points to the combining of the tiger and the grizzly. A “tizzly,” anyone?

Keep an eye open for our efforts to answer such questions, and if you are a vendor in this space, please be sure to contact Bill Trippe or Ralph Marto about participating in our multi-client reports. To read more about our Gilbane Publishing Practice consulting services, click here.

eBook Strategy Offering Now Available

As we have mentioned before, we have been very interested in leveraging the knowledge base we developed from our successful digital publishing study, Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond "eBook."

With that in mind, we have moved forward and developed a strategic consulting offering, "Implementing Digital Publishing." 

Consultation Description

Publishers face a wide range of strategic and tactical decisions when looking to start or build their digital publishing programs, and while publishers have taken many paths to success with digital product development, marketing, sales, and distribution, the organizational underpinnings of the most successful efforts have the common characteristics of technology spending consistent with business needs and opportunities. 

The Gilbane Group’s Content Strategies service is offering a three phase consultation that is aimed at both management and operations personnel in educational, professional, trade, association, STM, and specialty publishing. The goal of the consulting is to assess the publisher’s current systems involved in digital publishing—planning, editorial and production, rights and royalties, manufacturing, promotion and marketing, sales and licensing, and distribution and fulfillment—and to provide decision-making support and guidance. The consulting targets and sets the course for achieving effective and efficient digital publishing business models.

Stakeholders

Depending on the size and scope of the publishing company, as well as the particular consultation phases sought, the stakeholders addressed in these consultations may include Publisher, VP and Editorial Director, VP of Production Services, VP of Digital Publishing, VP of Marketing, VP of Royalties, VP of Manufacturing, VP of Rights, VP of Business Development., VP of Digital Licensing, VP of Sales, VP of IT and CIO or CTO.

The Educational and Directional phase of the consultation (Phase One), which may be purchased as a standalone service or in conjunction with Phase Two and Phase Three, provides the publisher with a high-level assessment of the publisher’s current state of digital publishing capability across the multiple publishing systems. This phase concludes with a report and briefing that defines the publisher’s current state of digital publishing and provides recommendations for improving digital publishing capabilities.

The Analysis, Planning, and Recommendations phase of the consultation (Phase Two) moves the publisher from a general assessment of the conditions and challenges it faces in moving toward a more effective digital publishing business by providing an in-depth plan that a publisher can use to undertake its transformation into a more effective and efficient publisher for digital success. This phase concludes with 18-month action plans and on-site presentations and discussions of findings and recommendations with appropriate stakeholders.

The Implementation Support phase of the consultation (Phase Three) is designed to provide structured support as the publisher follows through on recommendations from Phase Two. Services within the Phase Three purview can include implementation progress reports, regular client visits, retainer and query programs, RFP assistance, prospective vendor research, and bid and implementation document review.

For a full data sheet describing the offering or for other information, you can email me or contact Ralph Marto via email or phone, 617.497.9443 ext 117.

Do you Have an eBook Strategy Yet?

We have been very pleased with the interest in our new report, Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond “eBook.” We have had hundreds of downloads already, the vast majority of which are senior people in the publishing industry. This tells us that the timing for the research is good and that interest is strong, and we are thinking about what to do next with this topic.

One idea we have thought about is helping publishers think through their eBook strategy. If our research (and other recent research) is correct, many larger publishers are jumping in with both feet, but some larger publishers, many medium-sized, and perhaps most smaller publishers are staying on the sidelines or testing the waters with pilots and low-cost and low-impact tests with third parties. Perhaps these efforts are part of developing a strategy? Perhaps some of you think the market is too nascent?

An eBook strategy would necessarily be multi-faceted, and would include input from sales, marketing, editorial, production, fulfillment, and others with a stake in the process. It would need to be informed by good market data, and with good understanding of what technology and channel partners can truly offer publishers. It would also need to be pragmatic, balancing the capabilities of your organization with a realistic assessment of the market opportunities you have.

We’d like to gauge interest in this kind of offering through the following simple poll. Just one question, and no requirement to log in or register. If you would like to talk in more detail about this idea, please email me with any questions.

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