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January 18 2012

21:06

Longreads: When a web community becomes a book publisher

The Atlantic :: At the end of last year, Longreads, one of the curators of lengthy, magazine-y stories that has sprung up to help fans of long-form journalism find great stuff online, released a list highlighting the top ten longreads of 2011.Today, the list is taking a new form -- as an ebook, which is available for $6.99 on Amazon.

[Megan Garber:] This is the new publishing economy in action: fast and flexible and revolving around products whose logic is responsive, rather than predictive. 

Continue to read Megan Garber, www.theatlantic.com

10:25

Confessions of a publisher: “We’re in Amazon’s sights and they’re going to kill us”

PandoDaily :: When you see Snooki’s book on the New York Times Best Seller List, you know publishing is in trouble. You can blame readers and say publishing is just giving the public what they want. But that’s only half the problem. The rest is a lazy publishing industry that does far too little of the work that got them here: Discovering new authors and giving them a shot.

Continue to read Sarah Lacy, pandodaily.com

January 17 2012

10:59

Frustration on all sides: As demand for e-books soars, libraries struggle to stock their virtual shelves

Washington Post :: Frustration is building on all sides: among borrowers who can’t get what they want when they want it; among librarians trying to stock their virtual shelves and working with limited budgets and little cooperation from some publishers; and among publishers who are fearful of piracy and wading into a digital future that could further destabilize their industry.

Continue to read Christian Davenport, www.washingtonpost.com

January 09 2012

22:05

Are new tablets slowing the growth of e-readers?

paidContent :: Some reports today suggest that Kindle Fire sales will cut into sales of Amazon’s other Kindles. For a variety of reasons, though, it’s too early to say that lower-priced color tablets are affecting black and white e-reader sales. Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent had a closer look at the reports available and summarized their findings.

Continue to read Laura Hazard Owen, paidcontent.org

January 06 2012

21:46

CEO William Lynch: ‘The Nook will continue to be Barnes & Noble’s e-reader’

paidContent :: In a CNBC interview today, Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch told David Faber, “Whatever we do, we will continue to have a tight relationship between the Nook and [our] stores.” The interview follows yesterday’s news that Barnes & Noble may split off the Nook business from the rest of the company.

Transcript of the CNBC interview - Continue to read Laura Hazard Owen, paidcontent.org

December 30 2011

08:52

Amazon sold over 4m Kindle devices in December and two self-publishing authors among bestsellers

TechCrunch :: Amazon has just released new data regarding its Kindle sales for the holiday season. According to the e-commerce giant, Amazon customers purchased millions of Kindle Fires and millions of Kindle e-readers. And 2011 was the best holiday ever for the Kindle family, as customers purchased over 1 million Kindle devices each week.

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said in a statement: “We are grateful to our customers worldwide for making this the best holiday ever for Kindle.” Bezos also highlighted the fact that the #1 and #4 best-selling Kindle books released in 2011 were both published independently by their authors using Kindle Direct Publishing.

Continue to read Leena Rao, techcrunch.com

September 03 2011

12:06

Disappearing from beach and airport newsstands: mass-market paperbacks

New York Times :: These are dark and stormy times for the mass-market paperback, that squat little book that calls to mind the beach and airport newsstands. A comprehensive survey released last month by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group revealed that while the publishing industry had expanded over all, publishers’ mass-market paperback sales had fallen 14 percent since 2008.

Five years ago, it was a robust market,” said David Gernert, a literary agent whose clients include John Grisham, a perennial best seller in mass market. “Now it’s on the wane, and e-books have bitten a big chunk out of it.

Continue to read Julie Bosman, www.nytimes.com

July 24 2011

16:06

"Me too" - New York Times paywall is out of the gate fast 281,000 paying digital subs in 3 months

New York Times | Business Wire :: The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) had an operating loss of $114.1 million in QII-2011 compared with operating profit of $60.8 million in the same period of 2010. 

[Janet L. Robinson, CEO:] The second quarter was a historic one for our Company, as we successfully launched The New York Times digital subscriptions ("metered paywall") and began to see the early effect on our overall financial performance. The positive consumer response to the digital subscription packages is a strong indication of the value that users place on our high-quality news, analysis and commentary. Our digital model exemplifies our growing ability to capitalize on secular trends that show consumer willingness to pay for content across multiple digital platforms.

Financial Data - Digital. The Times introduced digital subscription packages on NYTimes.com and across other digital platforms in Canada in mid-March and globally at the beginning of the second quarter. Paid digital subscribers to the digital subscription packages totaled approximately 224,000 as of the end of the second quarter. In addition, paid digital subscribers to e-readers and replica editions totaled approximately 57,000, for a total paid digital subscribers of 281,000 as of the end of the second quarter.

In addition to these paid digital subscribers, as of the end of the second quarter of 2011, The Times had approximately 100,000 highly engaged users sponsored by Ford Motor Company's luxury brand, Lincoln, who have free access to NYTimes.com and smartphone apps until the end of the year, and approximately 756,000 home-delivery subscribers with linked digital accounts, who receive free digital access.

In total, The Times had paid and sponsored relationships with over 1 million digital users as of the end of the second quarter of 2011.

... and I'm one of them.

Continue to read phx.corporate-ir.net

Discussed - continue to read Ryan Chittum, www.cjr.org

July 20 2011

19:27

JK Rowling's Pottermore and Google team up: Harry Potter ebook push to Google Books libraries

Inside Google Books :: JK Rowling’s new website Pottermore and Google are teaming up to integrate Pottermore with a number of Google products and APIs. So when the series of Harry Potter ebooks launches on Pottermore.com in early October, these bestsellers will be available in the U.S. via the open Google eBooks platform.

When you buy a Harry Potter ebook from Pottermore, you will be able to choose to keep it in your Google Books library in-the-cloud, as well as on other e-reading platforms. Google eBooks can be read on most devices with a modern browser, through the Google Books apps for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, and on more than 80 e-readers.

Continue to read Larissa Fontaine, booksearch.blogspot.com

July 16 2011

16:20

How Harry Potter's mother, J.K. Rowling's self-publishing disrupts the publishing industry

GigaOM :: Despite the obvious demand, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has adamantly refused to offer electronic versions of her phenomenally popular series for young adults — until now. As part of Thursday’s launch of an interactive website called Pottermore, the billionaire writer also announced that e-book versions of the novels will be available directly through the site for all major platforms. In one fell swoop, Rowling has cut both her publishers and booksellers such as Amazon out of the picture. Not everyone has that kind of power, of course, but Rowling’s move shows how the playing field in publishing continues to be disrupted.

Rowling's Pottermore Website will offer extra content that she has written about the characters in the books, which have sold an estimated 450 million copies.

Continue to read Mathew Ingram, gigaom.com

June 11 2011

04:33

Amazon - $6.1b in sales: the Kindle is starting to be big part

Business Insider :: Read figures with a grain of salt because it's based on estimates, but Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney says Amazon's Kindle eReaders and Kindle eBooks will contribute 10% of Amazon's sales by the end of next year. That's $6.1 billion in sales based on 26 million Kindles, and 752 million ebooks sold.

Continue to read Jay Yarow, www.businessinsider.com

May 26 2011

05:59

The iPad is more popular than the Kindle ... in the bathroom

Business Insider | SAI :: The Nielsen company decided to take a look at how and where people are using their smartphones, tablets, and eReaders. Turns out tablets, like the iPad, spend more time in the bathroom than eReaders, like the Kindle. Another interesting finding: people are using their iPads while watching TV more than anything else.

Continue to read Jay Yarow, www.businessinsider.com

May 25 2011

06:21

Barnes & Noble goes after Kindle with Nook Simple Touch Reader

Ars Technica :: Barnes & Noble has decided to expand its Nook line by offering a new device that is... less capable than its previous offerings? The company announced the simplified Nook during a media event in New York on Tuesday, arguing that e-book fans are still looking for a "simple, pure reading experience." That's why the company decided to launch the $139 Nook Simple Touch Reader—a Kindle-like device that has an E-ink screen, no apps, no fancy colors, and (almost) no buttons.

Continue to read Jacqui Cheng, arstechnica.com

May 20 2011

17:00

Mediatwits #8: LinkedIn's Bubbly IPO; Grueskin on the New York World

WGrueskin.jpg

Welcome to the eighth episode of "The Mediatwits," the weekly audio podcast from MediaShift. The co-hosts are MediaShift's Mark Glaser along with PaidContent founder Rafat Ali. This week's show looks at the big IPO of business networking site LinkedIn, with the stock price doubling to more than $90 per share in its first day of trading, valuing the company at nearly $10 billion. Things are getting a little bubbly out there.

This week's special guest is Bill Grueskin, the dean of academic affairs at Columbia University's Journalism School. Grueskin talks about the upcoming launch of the school's new online publication, the New York World, as well as how Columbia is putting greater emphasis on students learning about the business of journalism. Finally, Amazon had an important milestone recently, saying it is now selling more e-books than print books. How has the Kindle survived the onslaught of the iPad and tablets?

Check it out!

mediatwits8.mp3

Subscribe to the podcast here

NEW! Subscribe to Mediatwits via iTunes

Follow @TheMediatwits on Twitter here

Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up; mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio's Music Alley.

Here are some highlighted topics from the show:

Mark gets Sonic.net; Rafat get into co-working

1:00: Rafat doesn't miss planning PaidContent events

2:45: Co-working space might motivate Rafat to work

5:10: Rundown on the podcast's stories

LinkedIn IPO

8:10: The market is lacking tech IPOs

10:30: Premium subscriptions isn't a big revenue driver

11:10: Mark gives more to LinkedIn than he gets in return

Interview with Columbia's Bill Grueskin

13:10: Background on Grueskin

15:00: Columbia wanted consistency with student website

18:15: New York World will offer stories to other sites

21:10: Columbia has same challenges as legacy news orgs

23:20: Grueskin explains how Columbia is teaching business to J-school students

26:50: Comparing New York City J-schools

Amazon sells more e-books than print books

28:50: Book industry last to go digital -- but fastest, too

29:45: Mark compares Kindle to Flip cam as utility device

32:00: Rafat thinks of Kindle as "peaceful device"

More Reading

LinkedIn Shares Soar After IPO at WSJ

The LinkedIn Pop at Reuters

LinkedIn's $8B IPO -- Silicon Valley, get ready for housing recovery at VentureBeat

LinkedIn IPO Doubles, Reid Hoffman Now A Billionaire at Forbes

Does LinkedIn signify a bubble? at Globe and Mail

The LinkedIn IPO Millionaires Club at WSJ

Columbia Journalism School to launch The New York World at Columbia University

Amazon Now Selling More Kindle Books Than All Print Books at PaidContent

Weekly Poll

Don't forget to vote in our weekly poll, this time about the LinkedIn IPO:




What does the LinkedIn IPO signify?Market Research

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

December 22 2010

17:00

Keeping Martin honest: Checking on Langeveld’s predictions for 2010

Editor’s Note: This year, we’re running lots of predictions of what 2011 will bring for journalism. But our friend Martin Langeveld has been sharing his predictions for the new-media world for a couple of years now.

In the spirit of accountability, we think it’s important to check back and see how those predictions fared. We did it last year, checking in on his 2009 predictions. And now we’ll check in on 2010.

Check in next year around this time as we look back at all the predictions for 2011 and how they turned out.

Newspaper ad revenue

PREDICTION: At least technically, the recession is over, with GDP growth measured at 2.8 percent in Q3 of 2009 and widely forecast in Q4 to exceed that rate. But newspaper revenue has not followed suit, dropping 28 percent in Q3. McClatchy and the New York Times Company (which both came in at about that level in Q3) hinted last week that Q4 would be better, in the negative low-to-mid 20 percent range. This is not unexpected — in the last few recessions with actual GDP contraction (1990-91 and 2001), newspaper revenue remained in negative territory for at least two quarters after the GDP returned to growth. But the newspaper dip has been bigger each time, and the current slide started (without precedent) a year and a half before the recession did, with a cumulative revenue loss of nearly 50 percent. Newspaper revenue has never grown by much more than 10 percent (year over year) in any one quarter, so no real recovery is likely. This is a permanently downsized industry. My call for revenue by quarter (including online revenue) during 2010 is: -11%, -10%, -6%, -2%.

REALITY: CLOSE, ONE CIGAR. Actuals for Q1, 2, and 3: -9.70%, -5.55%, – 5.39%. And Q4, while not a winner, will probably be “better” than Q3 (that is, another quarter of “moderating declines” in news chain boardroom-speak). So, a win on the trendline, and pretty close on the numbers.

Newspaper online revenue

PREDICTION: Newspaper online revenue will be the only bright spot, breaking even in Q1 and ramping up to 15% growth by Q4.

REALITY: CLOSE, ONE CIGAR. Actuals for Q1, 2, and 3: +4.90%, +13.90%, and +10.7%. Since Q1 beat my prediction and was the first positive result in eight quarters, I’d say that’s a win, and pretty close on the ramp-up, so far. Q4 might hit that 15%.

Newspaper circulation revenue

PREDICTION: Newspaper circulation revenue will grow, because publishers are realizing that print is now a niche they can and should charge for, rather than trying to keep marginal subscribers with non-stop discounting. But this means circulation will continue to drop. In 2009, we saw a drop of 7.1% in the 6-month period ending March 31, and a drop of 10.6 percent for the period ending Sept. 30. In 2010, we’ll see a losses of at lest 7.5% in each period.

REALITY: HALF A CIGAR. Actual drop in the March 31 period was 8.7%; actual drop in the Sept. 30 period was 5.0%. So, half a win here.

Newspaper bankruptcies

PREDICTION: I don’t think we’re out of the woods, or off the courthouse steps, although the newspaper bankruptcy flurry in 2009 was in the first half of the year. The trouble is the above-mentioned revenue decline. If it continues at double-digit rates, several companies will hit the wall, where they have no capital or credit resources left and where a “restructuring” is preferable and probably more strategic than continuing to slash expenses to match revenue losses. So I will predict at least one bankruptcy of a major newspaper company. In fact, let’s make that at least two.

REALITY: CORRECT — TWO CIGARS. Well, MediaNews Group filed its strategic bankruptcy in January, as did Morris Publishing. So this was a quick win. Canwest Ltd. Partnership, publisher of 12 Canadian papers, filed in January as well.

Newspaper closings and publishing frequency reductions

PREDICTION: Yup, there will be closings and frequency reductions. Those revenue and circulation declines will hit harder in some places than others, forcing more extinction than we saw in 2009.

REALITY: WRONG. Nope, everybody managed to hang on, nobody of any size closed.

Mergers

PREDICTION: It’s interesting that we saw very little M&A activity in 2009 — none of the players saw much opportunity to gain by consolidation. They all just hunkered down waiting for the recession to end. It has ended, but if my prediction is right and revenue doesn’t turn up or at least flatten by Q2, the urge to merge or otherwise restructure will set in. Expect to see at least a few fairly big newspaper firms merge or be acquired by other media outfits. (But, as in 2009, don’t expect Google to buy the New York Times or any other print media.)

REALITY: WRONG. Google didn’t buy the Times or any other newspaper, but by the same token, there were no significant mergers or acquisitions all year. So much for Dean Singleton’s promise of “consolidation” in the industry after MediaNews emerged from its quick bankruptcy.

Shakeups

PREDICTION: Given the fact that newspaper stocks generally outperformed the market (see my previous post), it’s not surprising that there were few changes in the executive suites. But if the industry continues to contract, those stock prices will head back down. Don’t be surprised to see some boards turn to new talent. If they do, they’ll bring in specialists from outside the industry good at creative downsizing and reinvention of business models. Sooner would be better than later, in some cases.

REALITY: NOT FLAT WRONG, BUT NOT CLOSE. Perhaps the closest any company came to truly shaking things up was Journal Register Company, which in January appointed as its CEO John Paton, an executive with experience in Hispanic media. He’s not an outsider, but he’s preaching a very different gospel that includes a clear vision for a web-based future for news. Elsewhere, Tribune, still dealing with bankruptcy, tossed CEO Randy Michaels, not for strategic reasons but because accusations of sexism and other dumb behavior were “tarnishing” the company’s name.

Hyperlocal

PREDICTION: There will be more and more launches of online and online/print combos focused on covering towns, neighborhoods, cities and regions, with both for-profit and nonprofit bizmods. Startups and major media firms looking to enter this “space” with standardized and mechanized approaches won’t do nearly as well as one-off ventures where real people take a risk, start a site, cover their market like a blanket, create a brand and sell themselves to local advertisers.

REALITY: CORRECT. This is happening in spades. AOL’s Patch launched hundreds of sites. It may be a “standardized” approach, but it’s not “mechanized,” and hired more journalists than any company has in decades. At the same time, one-off ventures continue to sprout in towns and cities everywhere.

Paid content

PREDICTION: At the end of 2008, this wasn’t yet much of a discussion topic. It became the obsession of 2009, but the year is ending with few actual moves toward full paywalls or more nuanced models. Steve Brill’s Journalism Online promises a beta rollout soon and claims a client list numbering well over 1000 publications. Those are not commitments to use JO’s system — rather, they’re signatories to a non-binding letter of intent that gives them access to some of the findings from JO’s beta test. Many publishers, including many who have signed that letter, remain firmly on the sidelines, realizing that they have little content that’s unique or valuable enough to readers to charge for. JO itself has not speculated what kind of content might garner reader revenue, although its founders have been clear that they’re not recommending across-the-board paywalls. So where are we heading in 2010? My predictions are that by the end of the year, most daily papers will still be publishing the vast majority of their content free on the Web; that most of those experimenting with pay systems will be disappointed; and that the few broad paywalls in place now at local and regional dailies will prove of no value in stemming print circulation declines.

REALITY: CORRECT. Most papers are still publishing the vast majority of their content free on the web. ALSO CORRECT: Broad paywalls have done little to stem the decline in print. JURY STILL OUT: But it’s too soon to tell whether those experimenting with paywalls are disappointed. All eyes are on the impending paywall start at the New York Times.

Gadgets

PREDICTION: The recently announced consortium led by Time Inc. to publish magazine and (eventually) newspaper content on tablets and other platforms will see the first fruits of its efforts late in the year as Apple and several others unveil tablet devices — essentially oversized iPhones that don’t make phone calls but have 10-inch screens and make great color readers. Expect pricing in the $500 ballpark plus a data plan, which could include a selection of magazine subscriptions (sort of like channels in cable packages, but with more a la carte choice). If newspapers are on the ball, they can join Time’s consortium and be part of the plan. Tablet sales will put a pretty good dent in Kindle sales. One wish/hope for the (as yet un-named) publisher consortium: atomize the content and let me pick individual articles — don’t force me to subscribe to a magazine or buy a whole copy. In other words, don’t attempt to replicate the print model on a tablet.

REALITY: CORRECT, MORE CIGARS. My iPad description and data plan price point were right on the mark. It’s hard to say for sure whether iPad sales have put much of a dent in Kindle sales, since Amazon doesn’t release numbers, but Kindle sales are way up after a price cut. The magazine consortium, now called Next Issue Media, still has no retail product, but it does look like it intends to “replicate the print model on a tablet” rather than recognizing atomization. Meanwhile, the Associated Press is recognizing atomization with its plan for a rights clearinghouse for news content.

Social networks

PREDICTION: Twitter usage will continue to be flat (it has lost traffic slowly but steadily since summer). Facebook will continue to grow internationally but is probably close to maxing out in the U.S. With Facebook now cash-flow positive, and Twitter still essentially revenue-less, could Zuckerberg and Evan Williams be holding deal talks sometime during the year? It wouldn’t surprise me.

REALITY: WRONG, MOSTLY. Twitter is still fairly flat in web traffic, but it’s growing via mobile and Twitter clients, so its real traffic is hard to gauge. No talks between Twitter and Facebook, though.

Privacy

PREDICTION: The Federal Trade Commission will recommend to Congress a new set of online privacy initiatives requiring clearer “opt-in” provisions governing how personal information of Web users may be used for things like targeting ads and content. Anticipating this, Facebook, Google and others will continue to maneuver to lock consumers into opt-in settings that allow broad use of personal data without having to ask consumers to reset their preferences in response to the legislation. In the end, Congress will dither but not pass a major overhaul of privacy regs.

REALITY: CORRECT. Indeed, we don’t have any major overhaul by Congress, but we’re actually seeing more responsible behavior from all of the big players with regard to privacy, including better user controls on privacy just announced by Microsoft.

Mobile

PREDICTION (with thanks to Art Howe of Verve Wireless): By the end of 2010 a huge shift toward mobile consumption of news will be evident. In 2009, mobile news was just getting on the radar screen, but during the year several million people downloaded the AP’s mobile app to their iPhones, and several million more adopted apps from individual publishers. By the end of 2010, with many more smartphone users, news apps will find tens of millions of new users (Art might project 100 million), and that’s with tablets just appearing on the playing field. During 2009, Web readership of news (though not of newspaper content) overtook news in printed newspapers. Looking out to sometime in 2011 or 2012, more people will get their news from a mobile device than from a desktop or laptop, and news in print will be left completely in the dust.

REALITY: JURY STILL OUT, BUT LOOKING CORRECT. To my knowledge, nobody has a handle on how many news apps have been sold or downloaded, but certainly it’s in the tens of millions, counting both smartphone and tablet apps. One the other hand, a lot of people with apps on their phones don’t use them. As to where mobile ranks among news delivery media, the surveys haven’t picked up the trends yet, but wait till next year.

Stocks

PREDICTION: I accurately predicted the Dow’s rise during 2009 and that newspaper stocks would beat the market (see previous post), but neglected to place a bet on the market for 2010, so here goes: The Dow will rise by 8% (from its Dec. 31 close), but newspaper stocks will sink as revenue fails to rebound quarter after quarter.

REALITY: ON THE MONEY. As of mid-afternoon December 15, the Dow is up 10.19% for the year, so I claim a win on that score. The S&P 500 is up 11.11%, and the NASDAQ is up 15.63%. Among newspaper groups, McClatchy (up 33%), Journal Communications (up 26%) and E.W. Scripps (up 44%) handily beat the market, but all the other players indeed sank or underperformed the market: New York Times Company is down 23%, News Corp. is up 5%, Lee Enterprises is down 30 percent, Media General is down 30% and Gannett is up 4%.

October 13 2010

11:38

TechCrunch: Amazon opens e-reading to short form with Kindle Singles

Amazon will open up its Kindle e-reading platform to shorter pieces of work with the launch of Kindle Singles. Writes TechCrunch:

It sounds like anyone can submit a story or piece to be included as a Kindle Single, and Amazon is using the announcement as a “call to serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers” to submit writings.

Full story on TechCrunch at this link…Similar Posts:



July 30 2010

23:35

4 Minute Roundup: Kindle Gives Amazon More Bang for Less Bucks

news21 small.jpg

4MR is sponsored by Carnegie-Knight News21, an alliance of 12 journalism schools in which top students tell complex stories in inventive ways. See tips for spurring innovation and digital learning at Learn.News21.com.

In this week's 4MR podcast I look at the surprising success of the Amazon Kindle e-reader in the wake of the hit Apple iPad tablet. While many people expected the iPad to impact the e-reader market, instead the major players cut prices and Kindle sales tripled in the past month. Plus, Amazon announced a new line of Kindles that will cost even less -- with no touch screen or color. Book publishing veteran and MediaShift contributor Dan Brodnitz talked with me about Amazon's successful sell-everywhere strategy.

Check it out:

4mrbareaudio73010.mp3

>>> Subscribe to 4MR <<<

>>> Subscribe to 4MR via iTunes <<<

Listen to my entire interview with Dan Brodnitz:

brodnitz full.mp3

Background music is "What the World Needs" by the The Ukelele Hipster Kings via PodSafe Music Network.

Here are some links to related sites and stories mentioned in the podcast:

Amazon's new $139 WiFi Kindle for pre-order at Amazon

Amazon debuts new Kindle design, with Wi-Fi only version at MarketWatch

Amazon - Kindle Sales Growth Tripled Since Price Cut; E-Books Pass Print at PaidContent

Amazon sells out of Kindle at CNET

Tablets Are On The Rise But Don't Count Out E-Readers - Or Amazon at PaidContent

What does Amazon.com's rosy ebook news mean? LA Times' Jacket Copy blog

Amazon Mobile Sales Topped $1 Billion In Past 12 Months at PaidContent

Wasn't the Kindle supposed to be firewood? at CNET

Amazon - Kindle titles outpacing hardcovers at CNET

Also, be sure to vote in our poll about what you the future holds for the Kindle:




What's the future of the Amazon Kindle?online surveys

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

news21 small.jpg

4MR is sponsored by Carnegie-Knight News21, an alliance of 12 journalism schools in which top students tell complex stories in inventive ways. See tips for spurring innovation and digital learning at Learn.News21.com.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

January 19 2010

10:36

paidContent:UK: Publishers should skip thinking about e-readers

paidContent:UK’s Robert Andrews picks up a Radio 5 Live discussion on e-readers and shares his own view: that single function readers are no magic pill for publishers.

An ‘e-reader’ is a mere neologism – conceived by those who seek to replicate an old, physical medium in modern, electronic form. But newspapers have spent the last 15 years divorcing their content from the physicality of their origin medium – not only does charging on what looks like a plastic newspaper fly in the face of that strategy, it’s also going to be rather difficult when few mechanisms beyond Kindle’s Whispernet truly exist – in the rush to build e-readers, manufacturers are all pulling in their own direction.

Full post at this link…

Similar Posts:



January 08 2010

15:00

What 2010 will bring newspapers: Bad revenue news, bad bankruptcy news, and maybe a nice tablet

[Yesterday, we showed how our Martin Langeveld's predictions for 2009 turned out. A few hits, a few misses, but lots of thoughts provoked. Here's his list of what we can expect in 2010. —Josh]

Newspaper ad revenue: At least technically, the recession is over, with GDP growth measured at 2.2 percent in Q3 of 2009 and widely forecast in Q4 to exceed that rate. But newspaper revenue has not followed suit, dropping 28 percent in Q3. McClatchy and the New York Times Company (which both came in at about that level in Q3) hinted recently that Q4 would be better, in the negative low-to-mid 20 percent range. This is not unexpected — in the last few recessions with actual GDP contraction (1990-91 and 2001), newspaper revenue remained in negative territory for at least two quarters after the GDP returned to growth. But the newspaper dip has been bigger each time, and the current slide started (without precedent) a year and a half before the recession did, with a cumulative revenue loss of nearly 50 percent. Newspaper revenue has never grown by much more than 10 percent (year over year) in any one quarter, so no real recovery is likely; this is a permanently downsized industry. My call for revenue by quarter during 2010 is: -11%, -10%, -6%, -2%.

Newspaper online revenue (included in the overall prediction above) will be the only bright spot, breaking even in Q1 and ramping up to 15% growth by Q4.

Newspaper circulation revenue will grow, because publishers are realizing that print is now a niche they can and should charge for, rather than trying to keep marginal subscribers with non-stop discounting. But this means circulation will continue to drop. In 2009, we saw drops of 7.1 percent in the six-month period ending March 31 and 10.6 percent for the period ending Sept. 30. In 2010, we’ll see a losses of at least 7.5% in each period.

Newspaper bankruptcies: I don’t think we’re out of the woods, or off the courthouse steps, although the newspaper bankruptcy flurry in 2009 was in the first half of the year. The trouble is the above-mentioned revenue decline. If it continues at double-digit rates, several companies will hit the wall, where they have no capital or credit resources left and where a “restructuring” is preferable and probably more strategic than continuing to slash expenses to match revenue losses. So I will predict at least one bankruptcy of a major newspaper company. In fact, let’s make that at least two.

Newspaper closings and publishing-frequency reductions: Yup, there will be closing and frequency reductions. Those revenue and circulation declines will hit harder in some places than others, forcing more extinction than we saw in 2009.

Mergers: It’s interesting that we saw very little M&A activity in 2009 — none of the players saw much opportunity to gain by consolidation. They all just hunkered down waiting for the recession to end. It has ended, but if my prediction is right and revenue doesn’t turn up or at least flatten by Q2, the urge to merge or otherwise restructure will set in. Expect to see at least a few fairly big newspaper firms merge or be acquired by other media outfits. (But, as in 2009, don’t expect Google to buy the New York Times or any other print media.)

Shakeups: Given the fact that newspaper stocks generally outperformed the market, it’s not surprising that there were few changes in the executive suites. But if the industry continues to contract, those stock prices will head back down. Don’t be surprised to see some boards turn to new talent. If they do, they’ll bring in specialists from outside the industry good at creative downsizing and reinvention of business models. Sooner would be better than later, in some cases.

Hyperlocal: There will be more and more launches of online and online/print combos focused on covering towns, neighborhoods, cities and regions, with both for-profit and nonprofit business models. Startups and major media firms looking to enter this space with standardized and mechanized approaches won’t do nearly as well as one-off ventures where real people take a risk, start a site, cover their market like a blanket, create a brand and sell themselves to local advertisers.

Paid content: At the end of 2008, this wasn’t yet much of a discussion topic. It became the obsession of 2009, but the year is ending with few actual moves toward full paywalls or more nuanced models. Steve Brill’s Journalism Online promises a beta rollout soon and claims a client list numbering well over 1,000 publications. Those are not commitments to use JO’s system — rather, they’re signatories to a non-binding letter of intent that gives them access to some of the findings from JO’s beta test. Many publishers, including many who have signed that letter, remain firmly on the sidelines, realizing that they have little content that’s unique or valuable enough to readers to charge for. JO itself has not speculated what kind of content might garner reader revenue, although its founders have been clear that they’re not recommending across-the-board paywalls.

So where are we heading in 2010? My predictions are that by the end of the year, most daily papers will still be publishing the vast majority of their content free on the web; that most of those experimenting with pay systems will be disappointed; and that the few broad paywalls in place now at local and regional dailies will prove of no value in stemming print circulation declines.

Gadgets: The recently announced consortium led by Time Inc. to publish magazine and (eventually) newspaper content on tablets and other platforms will see the first fruits of its efforts late in the year as Apple and several others unveil tablet devices — essentially oversized iPhones that don’t make phone calls but have 10-inch screens and make great color readers. Expect pricing in the $500 ballpark plus a data plan, which could include a selection of magazine subscriptions (sort of like channels in cable packages, but with more à la carte choice). If newspapers are on the ball, they can join Time’s consortium and be part of the plan. Tablet sales will put a pretty good dent in Kindle sales. One wish/hope for the (as yet unnamed) publisher consortium: Atomize the content and let me pick individual articles — don’t force me to subscribe to a magazine or buy a whole copy. In other words, don’t attempt to replicate the print model on a tablet.

Social networks: Twitter’s own site usage will continue to be flat (it has actually lost traffic slowly but steadily since summer), but that probably means more people are accessing Twitter through various apps on computers and smartphones, so actual engagement is hard to gauge.  Facebook will continue to grow internationally but is probably close to maxing out in the U.S. With Facebook now cash-flow positive, and Twitter still essentially revenue-less except for lucrative search deals with Google and Bing, could Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Williams be holding deal talks sometime during the year? It wouldn’t surprise me.

Privacy: The Federal Trade Commission will recommend to Congress a new set of online privacy initiatives requiring clearer “opt-in” provisions governing how personal information of web users may be used for things like targeting ads and content. Anticipating this, Facebook, Google and others will continue to maneuver to lock consumers into opt-in settings that allow broad use of personal data without having to ask consumers to reset their preferences in response to the legislation. In the end, Congress will dither but not pass a major overhaul of privacy regs.

Mobile (with thanks to Art Howe of Verve Wireless): By the end of 2010 a huge shift toward mobile consumption of news will be evident. In 2009, mobile news was just getting on the radar screen, but during the year several million people downloaded the AP’s mobile app to their iPhones, and several million more adopted apps from individual publishers. By the end of 2010, with many more smartphone users, news apps will find tens of millions of new users (Art might project 100 million), and that’s with tablets just appearing on the playing field. During 2009, web readership of news (though not of newspaper content) overtook news in printed newspapers. Looking out to sometime in 2011 or 2012, more people will get their news from a mobile device than from a desktop or laptop, and news in print will be left completely in the dust.

Stocks: I accurately predicted the Dow’s rise during 2009 and that newspaper stocks would beat the market. The Dow will rise by 8% (from its Dec. 31 close), but newspaper stocks will sink as revenue fails to rebound quarter after quarter.

January 06 2010

18:15

What to Expect From the 'iTunes for Magazines'

Apple appears poised to introduce a much-anticipated product: the once seemingly-mythical "iSlate" or "iTablet," its first tablet-style touch-screen computer.

Though the potential of an Apple tablet thrills many fans of the company, it's also piqued the interest of magazine publishers, who -- long before the device's rumored introduction -- foresaw its possibilities for their industry. The announcement in early December of a so-called "iTunes for magazines" digital storefront that would be well-suited to this new device, among others, seemed a bit hasty, given that the device's development hasn't even been publicly confirmed by Apple.

The coverage of the "iTunes for magazines" concept, and its connection to new tablet computers under development, has been a little confusing. Here, we'll sort through some of the highlights, and explore what it might mean for the beleaguered print magazine industry.

iTunes or Hulu for Magazines?

Most of the news stories about this new project have suggested it's modeled after iTunes, but others have invoked comparisons to Hulu, the (currently) free streaming TV and movie site.

Though it might seem like a minor difference, iTunes and Hulu have very different business models. iTunes offers small pieces of content (such as a song or a TV episode) for a small charge, and also sells season passes to TV shows, and movie downloads. Hulu, however, doesn't charge for any of its content at the moment. It's supported by ads.

In an interview with the New York Observer, John Squires, a Time Inc. executive vice president who will soon leave Time to head up this new venture, did not specify how users would pay for content. He said individual publishers involved in the venture would set their own fees for content, a statement that doesn't rule out the possibility of free and advertising-supported content.

But more than likely, some content will probably be free and paid for solely by ads, and some will be available only by paid subscription (and could still contain advertising). Publishers could also separately sell individual items, such as magazine articles or related multimedia.

Who's Involved in This Project?

Time Inc., Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith and News Corporation are the five publishers involved in the joint venture. The first four are the four largest magazine publishers in the U.S. by revenue, according to the State of the News Media 2009 report, while News Corporation owns numerous magazines in Australia as well as many other newspapers and magazines around the world.

These publishers own some of the best-known magazines in the country, including Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Glamour, Wired, the New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, O: The Oprah Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Family Circle. In short, this digital joint venture is very likely to impact at least one magazine found in the average American home.

What Will a Tablet Magazine Look Like?

A couple of video demonstrations of tablet-formatted magazines from this joint venture are available online. The one below shows a tablet version of Sports Illustrated, which is presumably similar to what readers would buy from the new iTunes-like service. The digital version includes video, photo galleries, customizable content and -- yes -- a video swimsuit edition. (There's also a real-world demo of the same edition given to TechCrunch.)

Wired has also been reconfigured for the digital venture. The video below shows its new layout in the tablet edition. Both the Sports Illustrated and Wired demos show the tablet-based e-reading application using vertical and horizontal layout options. They also highlight interactive advertising.

How Will Publishers Make Money?

Publishers will probably make money the same way they do in print: with subscription fees and advertising. One advantage of electronic editions for publishers, however, is that they can track exactly how readers interact with advertising: for example, how long readers look at an ad, or whether they pursue more information about a product at that moment.

Publishers have long argued that magazine readers savor advertising as part of their reading experience. The Magazine Publishers of America handbook (PDF) states that 54 percent of magazine readers have a very positive or somewhat positive attitude toward magazine advertising. However, skeptical and increasingly frugal advertisers may need a bit more convincing. The data that digital magazine publishers can provide about readers' viewing and reading habits will allow advertisers to better target specific audiences, and determine cost-effective advertising methods.

What Formats Will Be Sold?

The publishers in the joint venture say that their "digital storefront" will use open standards, presumably so other publishers and other device makers can join in. Microsoft is reportedly developing Courier, a touchpad device in a booklet format rather than a tablet. HTC, a company known for its cell phones, is also said to be unveiling its own touchscreen device based on the Google Android operating system within the next few months.

The Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook e-readers may not be invited to this joint venture party, however, because their current technology can't show color or video, and because their downloadable files use proprietary formats.

Is This Really So New and Different?

The real challenge for magazine publishers in this joint venture may be to find ways to truly innovate. Though the "iTunes for magazines" concept and its primary use on state-of-the-art tablet devices might seem innovative enough, the fundamental question is whether this new distribution and business model fully utilizes the advantages of the digital format in exciting, engaging and creative ways.

The video demos linked above don't really appear to add much more to the magazine experience than what readers might already access on a well-designed magazine website. On the web, a reader can already access content in any order, see supplemental multimedia, and interact with other readers and social media. And in most cases, those sites are free of charge.

So far, the tablet format and iTunes-style business model may not be fundamentally changing the nature of magazine content and reading, at least based on the video demos. As of now, it appears to be primarily a new distribution method, not a change in the essential magazine experience. The tablet editions might be shinier and prettier, but they still offer mostly the same content in a new layout. Readers will have to determine if those qualities outweigh the advantages of paper magazines in cost and convenience.

Susan Currie Sivek, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Mass Communication and Journalism Department at California State University, Fresno. Her research focuses on magazines and media communities. She also blogs at sivekmedia.com, and is the magazine correspondent for MediaShift.

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