Random House has announced its new "inside the book" tool called Insight, on the heels of HarperCollins’s launch of its Browse Inside Widget. This allows any website owner or blogger to add functionality similar to Amazon’s "Look Inside the Book" feature.
These are cool toys, and up the merchandising capacity of any one website significantly. Random House has this tool available for 5000 titles, while Harper offers it for 1500 books on its list.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:27 pm, Comments (0)
Frank Pasquale, in the blog Concurring Opinions, scratches his head over the enigma that is Google (and other search engines) – media, search engine, channel, directory…? What IS it? Is it the pipe, or is it the stuff that’s in the pipe?
For some time, Google and other search engines have been trying to have it both ways when they confront internet complaints. For the purposes of copyright and defamation suits, they claim "We’re not a media company–we’re just a conduit. Don’t come to us if we highly rank a site you find objectionable–we’re just the infrastructure. Go to the source." But when they hide behind the shield of Tornillo in these rankings cases, they openly claim to be just like a media outlet. They allege that any effort to regulate would violate their editorial discretion–a discretion they claim is well-nigh impossible in the case of eliminating defamatory or infringement-inducing websites from highly ranked results.
Very good questions and a great articulation of the conundrum.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:12 pm, Comments (0)
Wal-Mart has announced a deal whereby it assumes a 35% stake in the Chinese retailer Bounteous, with the goal to total ownership by 2010. The retail market in China is upwards of $1 trillion.
What does this mean for publishing? The demand in Asia for American books is, at this point, pretty limited to STM – a category Wal-Mart doesn’t traditionally stock. But Wal-Mart is notorious for selling…what customers want. So it’s entirely possible that a new channel for the STM market could be on the brink of opening up. It’s a reach, but so are bird-calls on iPods.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:44 am, Comments (0)
As might be expected in the wake of the Viacom/YouTube fallout deal, the Times
has the requisite profile of Joost in today’s technology section. The message: the founders of Kazaa have learned from their mistakes and are not interested in "a long, multiyear litigation battle". Thus they are working hard at gathering licenses and playing by the rules. There’s something to be said for being famous at piracy – you certainly become aware of content providers’ concerns about it, and you know how to address them. Brilliant marketing.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:35 am, Comments (0)
I’ve been writing and thinking a lot about downloadable audiobooks – and now here comes a new use for the iPod, from the Wall Street Journal
MightyJams LLC, in Atlanta, sells an iPod loaded with its BirdJam software and sample songs of 650 birds. The National Geographic Society also sells sample calls loaded onto memory cards for use in handheld devices. The song libraries are intended as identification guides, but they can also be amplified and played through portable speakers to attract birds.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:29 am, Comments (0)
The International Digital Publishing Forum is coming up on May 9th. Held in the McGraw-Hill auditorium, there will be presentations by Ingram Digital, VitalSource, Harvard University Library, HarperCollins, Oxford University Press, and many others. Registration is $179 for non-members and $89 for members.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:18 am, Comments (2)
I was treated to a wonderful e-chat this morning with Claudia Palmira, a designer and content creator who’s taking full advantage of this global society and living in Rome. (She is American.) Claudia’s got a great business – her clients have included Nokia, Simon & Schuster, CBS, NBC, and she’s also worked for Conde Nast and Flavorpill. So she’s quite hip and – as you can see from her website – she’s got a fabulous aesthetic.
She’s designed everything from book jackets to skin-care brand identities and TV studio sets – and now she’s launching an e-publishing business. Clients can choose from a variety of packages – a simple template for a newsletter, a larger marketing campaign that includes content creation, a technology component that includes hosting – which is ideal for independent publishers, for example, who need these sorts of things but would just rather get on with the business of publishing books.
It just amazes me what we’re capable of these days – a smart, gifted, ambitious young woman living in the city of her dreams, doing the work she loves – and what technology makes possible for us.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:01 am, Comments (0)
RioS – Research, Innovation, Organization, and Societies – has signed a 10-year deal with the UN’s Global Alliance to essentially coordinate all the efforts of all the disparate organizations who are bringing technological improvement to underfunded populations. IBD has the scoop on this fascinating attempt to not just bridge the digital divide, but to bridge all the little islands of philanthropy that have taken up residence within this divide.
I think that metaphor has stretched about as far as it’s gonna go.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:51 am, Comments (0)
I blogged too soon. The student newspaper of Wayne State University describes a session given by a Professor Steven Shaviro:
At "Remediating English Studies," an informational session Friday dedicated to highlighting technology such as blogging, networking, Wikipedia, databasing and a program called Second Life, Professor Steven Shaviro described remediation as "how old media relates to new media" and how it can change the way classes are taught.
English Studies has extended its horizons, Shaviro said.
"There were no English studies until late 19th Century," he said.
Because of these new forms of media, teachers can use different methods to discuss topics in class and students can give feedback through blogging and read books posted online.
And not a moment too soon. Humanities have tended to ignore technological developments, claiming that "nothing will ever replace the book". And this is true – but there’s certainly plenty to AUGMENT the book.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:44 am, Comments (0)
ebrary today announced a new partnership with Yale Univ. Press, Blackwell Publishing, and Columbia Univ. Press. This is good news for academic libraries – and interesting news for the rest of us. The ebook market has, so far, been fairly well limited to STM titles – but ebrary seems to be growing in the humanities sector. I had wondered when we would begin to see that expansion.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:39 am, Comments (0)