Innovation

Go Read This:Brave New World – Chasing Cheap Labour in a Digital World

Well worth reading this today from Martyn Daniels and an interesting counter point to the previously tweeted video from O’Reilly Radar. To me, this is why capitalism works, because as economies grow and develop they push standard of living higher and increase income across the board, especially as countries play to their competitive advantages. Fascinating to see it impact hugh-tech companies so rapidly.

The most interesting point is that counties such as China and India no longer want the low end assembly and service work. “China doesn’t want to be the workshop of the world anymore,” says Pietra Rivoli, a professor of international business at Georgetown University. India is already maturing as a workforce and aspirations and wages are growing fast. The question is will the West pay more or simply flow to the next cheap source of labour?

via Brave New World: Chasing Cheap Labour in a Digital World.

Tor.com is a publishing.com

Tor.com gets even smarter
Thanks to Digital Book World (haven’t had time to read my RSS fees today) I learned this by twitter:

The Tor.com Tweet

The Tor.com Tweet

Tor.com are launching Year’s Best Fantasy 9, POD only through Tor.com rather than Tor! The long and the short of it is this:

Tor.com is proud to announce the immediate availability of David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer’s definitive anthology, Year’s Best Fantasy 9.
This highly anticipated release also marks something we’re particularly proud of: Tor.com’s debut as a publishing entity, distinct from Tor Books and as a separate imprint under our shared corporate overlords at Macmillan.
YBF 9 is available only as a print-on-demand book, in keeping with our mission of always exploring alternative forms of publishing. Similar to the launch of the Tor.com Store, this title is one of our various publishing projects that seek to experiment with the available alternatives to publishing’s traditional sales, distribution, and delivery mechanisms.

You can buy the book in their online story here.

How smart are they?
Very. This builds on their nicely and still quietly and matter-of-factly launched Publisher Agnostic Store (links goes to my article on that development).

This also reinforces the concept of the Digital Vertical Niche that Mike Shatzkin likes to speak of and which I am also a fan. I’m intrigued and I really hope this works becuase in terms of new business models, this move is pretty much at the forefront.

Looking forward to good results, saddened by other news though!
Eoin

Technology moves rapdily (even now)

Eoin purcell

Sometimes silly ideas catch my eye
For a very short while I was enamoured by the idea that our 50 years was moving slower in a technology sense than previous blocks of 50 years. For a while I agreed with the concept thoughtlessly and then I realised it was hokum.

Change never happens in exactly the same way and often the most incredible changes of the past block of years are things we rarely account for. And even allowing for that sometimes we take enormous change and see it as mundane because we lack the right perspective. Rob over at snowbooks posts today on the very point:

The CRAY-1A had a 12.5-nanosecond clock, 64 vector registers, and 1 million 64-bit words of high-speed memory.” All very impressive I’m sure, but my current mobile phone could give it a very serious run for its money – and probably beat it for many types of calculation.

Well worth reading.

I’d also advise reading The Shock of the Old by David Edgerton which although it doesn’t make the same point I’m making is nonetheless an excellent perspective on innovation and technological advances. You can buy that here*.

Rob’s got me thinking
Eoin

*Non affliated so I don’t make any money!

Some thoughts on Mike Shatzkin’s thoughts (part one)

Eoin Purcell

Mike Shatzkin* is clever
If you doubt that, read some of this article [hat tip: Joe Wikert's Kindleville]. There are so many great ideas there that I almost don’t know where to start.

But I have to because it is so interesting
And two do stand out as being very interesting because one is a trend that seems to be emerging in Ireland and the other is relevant to news heard just a few days ago:

4. Publishers will start acquiring specialized Web sites to get content for their books and to target niche audiences. By year-end, every major publisher will need to have an understanding of how to put a value on Web sites, because the old measures—namely, sales and profits—won’t necessarily be relevant and because the acquisitions will be smaller than what the companies would normally consider. The process will be similar to acquiring books, requiring a bit of imagination to see how the deals will pay off.

5. Christmas 2008 will be the first one in which sales of customized books, enabled by the Internet and print-on-demand, will become substantial. Make-your-own books have been creeping into public consciousness for a couple of years: Apple has made it easy to produce one-off picture books and author-services sites like lulu.com have enabled author-generated books for some time. Travel book publishers have played with the concept. What is new is that technologies like SharedBook are moving make-your-own and assemble-your-own into consumer areas like food and sports. So far, this is outside the mainstream of the book business, but consumers will buy enough of these to create interest among publishers and online booksellers.

4. Is an interesting one
And clearly true. In Ireland alone: Overheard in Dublin, Ice Cream Ireland, Twenty Major and Head Rambles have been tapped for content.

I have good reason to believe there are a few more to come over the next few months. Some I am interested in and hope to put under contract and others that I am sure rival publishers will contract. Although this isn’t exactly the same notion, it does I think touch on it.

I wonder though will G&M actually acquire OverheardinDublin eventually? Should they? It has already generated retail sales of €473,556.37. Even allowing a 60% discount that means the books have earned G&M around €190,000.00 Assume a decent royalty rate of between 10% and 15% Net Receipts and the pay-out is Between €19,000.00 and €28,500.00.

Would it have been worth €50,000 to buy the site and hire its authors, financing the roll out of new products based on each of Ireland’s major cities (and perhaps a few county based ones too: Overheard in Kerry anyone?). I don’t know. If I was them I think I would risk it but that’s me. It would be a fascinating experiment though!

5. has worried me for a while
And I have written about it before too. I suspect there will not be a huge call on this in Ireland but I know that several friends and relatives have already had photo-books printed and I have also used Moo.com though it is less about publishing (not that the validation it provides for other self publishing forms is not important).

I cannot add much to the debate except to say that there is no reason why Irish Publishers cannot hit this area hard. After all, we could sign agreements with Blurb.com or Lulu.com or even Moo.com (or any POD Publisher) for access to their efficient and cheap single unit printing and deliver individually tailored books at higher prices to customers at will. Maybe someone will this year.

UPDATE: Random House have done a deal with SharedBook!

I’d like to see some experiments
Eoin

* Or read this which I linked to before.