The big news, of course, is that Microsoft’s Windows Live Search is live. Cliff Guren explained all the features today, and it’s very similar to Google Book Search except for this important differentiator – no scanning of books with dubious copyright status. Microsoft scans books that are out-of-copyright, and publishers submit in-copyright books for inclusion (giving their permission for scanning).
There’s no cost to publishers for the service. And there’s no print functionality, or even cut-and-paste functionality, in the search: "As we all know," Guren says, "hacks run amok." So expect a few wiseasses to create end-runs around the protections that Microsoft has installed.
Publishers are able to control how much of a book they want consumers to see – including blocking certain pages from view altogether (in the case of a mystery, for example), or images to which they don’t have the rights.
Guren admitted that the primary reason behind Windows Live is competition with Google for "query share" – which has a heavy influence on ad revenue. Look for a Windows Live demonstration at the Crystal Palace – which sounds like a brothel but is really a section of Javits.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 11:30 pm, Comments (0)
Shatzkin once more took the stage in the afternoon as he moderated a panel discussion on Digital Asset Distribution. This was a great panel which included HarperCollins, Random House, Holtzbrinck, and Ingram Digital Group.
Carolyn Pittis of HarperCollins began by talking about using book content "everywhere possible" – emphasizing that publishers should have control of how the content is used. She also noted that "those who scan books for free" (ahem! Google; ahem! Microsoft) don’t always produce the quality that an individual publisher can produce if they maintain control of the content.
Pittis also noted that the new widget released by Harper earlier this year has proven to be the third most powerful driver of consumers to the HarperCollins website; 14,000 books have widgets so far.
Up next was Brian Napack from Holtzbrinck, who gave a very wry and witty presentation. Holtzbrinck has chosen Ingram to manage its digital asset distribution, and Brian stressed that a powerful digital infrastructure is key to succeeding in an era increasingly dominated by technology.
He also mentioned that Holtzbrick is launching a social networking site for books called Lovely Books. It’s in beta at the moment.
Kent Freeman of Ingram Digital stated that Ingram currently has 170,000 ebooks archived and ready for distribution among a variety of channels – Lightning Source, VitalSource, and MyiLibrary. Their digital warehouse service supports a wide variety of formats (including audio)…and, Kent said, "We have not yet announced our widget, but we will shortly." Which is, of course, a form of announcement.
Matt Shatz of Random House also discussed the Random House widget, which is a bit different from the Harper one – there’s no branding on the images, for example, and it includes a search function which the Harper widget doesn’t have. Matt confirmed that Random House’s marketing efforts amount to "fishing where the fish are" – and that the Internet is universally acknowledged as the space where consumers discover products, sample them, and do research online.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 11:01 pm, Comments (0)
Ted Hill, an independent consultant who’s long been concerned with digital issues, gave a great presentation on what the best practices are in the digital marketing arena.
He spoke about a study he conducted – along with IdeaLogical and Magellan – for a mid-sized trade publishing house about how to effectively leverage the Internet and associated technologies to market books to consumers.
Like Shatzkin, Hill had some bifurcations in his vision of the market. Hill divided his viewpoint into four sectors along two axes: Access and Discovery. An author appearance on Oprah, for example, has high discovery…but minimal access because Oprah does not sell books directly to consumers (she merely recommends them). A museum store, however, has both high access and high discovery – people are prepared to go to the gift shop after a museum visit, and they easily discover books there.
Hill also emphasized the importance of publishers empowering authors to market themselves online. Because communities easily build up around authors – and authors are great attractors of email addresses, and other targets for publisher campaigns – this is really crucial. "The greatest leverage," Hill said about internet marketing, "may be in teaching authors how to market."
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:47 pm, Comments (0)
"You either OWN the tollgate, or you PAY at the tollgate."
So said Mike Shatzkin at his presentation this morning on disruptive technologies and the publishing industry. Defining "horizontal" marketing as a sort of carpet-bombing, standardized (mass-market) approach, and "vertical" marketing as an approach that targets niches in the same way special sales departments have been doing for years, Shatzkin talked about the power of the niche, about publishers leveraging the many communities that are coming up around these new technologies like MySpace and Facebook – how empowering authors to do their OWN marketing (because THEY are the brands, and THEY reach the niches) is far more effective than buying banner ads.
He also made this observation, which appealed to me tremendously, as my great-grandmother was a Sooner (one of the Oklahomans who raced over the border and staked a claim just PRIOR to the border opening – getting her land "sooner" than everybody else): "Pubishers need to be Internet-niche Sooners."
Another crucial point – and one I continually try to get across to clients: "Don’t shut out your competitors: manage their involvement." A version of "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." We learned about "co-op-itition" in the late ’90s – it’s come back around again, folks.
His presentation can be found here.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:35 pm, Comments (0)
It’s not South Park, but it’ll do in terms of surreality and general madness. I’ll be at some of the conferences on Thursday, and then back again for exhibits and meetings on Saturday and Sunday. We’re gonna try loading up PHOTOS – oh boy! Look for posts late Thursday.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:14 pm, Comments (0)
Our crew is very busy at BEA this year – in addition to Ted Hill’s seminar on Best Practices in Digital Marketing (Thursday at 12:30), Jim Lichtenberg is leading a session on RFID in bookstores, using the by-now-famous example of the Dutch bookstore chain BGN. His panel of 16 participants will have a rousing discussion on the progress RFID has made over the last year. This is on Friday at 9:30.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 8:09 am, Comments (0)
The Danbury Public Library is the first public library to sign up for LibraryThing, where individual readers classify and comment on books. Library Journal reports:
LibraryThing developer Tim Spalding may have warned in LJ four months ago that public libraries were more scared of user-contributed data than academic ones, but he’s found a taker in the Danbury Public Library (DPL), CT…It went live May 13, and initial promotional efforts are under way, DPL coordinator of library automation Kate Sheehan said. DPL’s tags are "keywords and labels used by regular people to categorize books," explains DPL in its catalog.
Sounds great, but of course, there’s a catch…
Patrons can’t add their own tags at the moment, said Sheehan; it would require more work with the library’s automation product from Innovative Interfaces, Inc., and DPL users couldn’t generate the number of tags needed for effective use.
Eventually (sooner rather than later), ILS systems or libraries themselves will have to develop interfaces so that patrons can communicate not just with the library (in terms of requests, or renewals, or what have you) but with one another. The day of the passive patron is over. And it’s critical to library relevancy that patrons be able to interact – to chat, to collaborate, to set up their own Library Thing-ish pages – with one another.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 7:53 am, Comments (0)
CNN reports that Tom Wayne, the owner of Prospero’s Books in Kansas City, MO, held a book-burning over the holiday weekend…a rather odd thing for a bookseller to be doing:
Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero’s Books….But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn’t even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.
So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society’s diminishing support for the printed word.
As a Google-phile might say, if it’s digitized, it can’t be burned. (Or burning the print version makes little difference.) It becomes more an issue of server space, not shelf space.
Y’all know where I’m headed with this one, so I’ll just let it go at that.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 7:33 am, Comments (0)
In this issue of The Big Picture:
THE DOWNLOAD: – DRM is Not Copyright; Copyright is not DRM: A Primer (Part II of II), by Laura Dawson
TIA – THIS ISSUE’S ACRONYM – GTIN – Global Trade Identification Number
INTEL: COMPANIES – Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine announces new start-up
INTEL: PRODUCTS – Alibris launches “Alibris Basic”
INTEL: PEOPLE – Muze shakeup continues
THE JOB EXCHANGE – Listing the hottest jobs in the sector
"Where we left off, before we were interrupted by digital asset distribution issues…the crucial question, “How do we encode e-books with some kind of ‘locking’ technology that prevents people from copying them and sharing them?”
The answer, of course, is that we don’t.
Do we encode print books with a “locking” technology? If I finish a Greg Iles thriller, and I know I never want to read it again, as good as it was (it ain’t Dostoevsky), and I choose to leave it on the seat of the PATH train from Hoboken to 33rd Street for the next likely reader…no law is going to stop me (unless the definition of littering expands significantly)…"
Click here to access our newsletter archives and read the May 29, 2007 issue in full.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 6:05 am, Comments (0)
The AAP released its annual sales report, which like all industry reports is notoriously incomplete and a definite victim to "what goes in is what comes out". Results are culled from its 300 members – and given that there are hundreds of thousands of publishers in the US, it seems that reports like these are more of a Gestalt indicating trends than a true picture of what’s going on in the industry.
That said, it’s interesting to note that audiobook sales are down this year. I’m wondering if that’s due to the rise of podcasts and radio shows and even magazine/newspaper subscriptions being available from many audiobook sellers. In other words, there’s a lot more to listen to than just books.
Ebook sales are up – most likely due to the textbook market, which is following in the footsteps of the scholarly journal business; printing is becoming prohibitively expensive, and digital distribution is the most sensible way of maintaining the quality of the publication over the widest possible audience.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 7:40 am, Comments (0)