I’ve been doing most of my reading (books, magazines and websites) on my mobile for some time now (since I first got hooked on Kindle on an iPod Touch). I’ve felt that mobile is too easily dismissed as a platform for reading books for some time and this timely piece caught my eye. It’s interesting too in the light of Pew’s most recent data which found that “About a third (32%) of e-book readers still say they sometimes read e-books on their cell phone, reflecting both the ubiquity of mobile phones and the convenience of these phones as supplementary reading devices“:
Earlier this month, Buzzfeed published a piece called “Why I Bought a House in Detroit for $500.” The story ended up getting more than a million pageviews, which is notable because it is also more than 6,000 words long. The other notable thing: 47 percent of those views came from people accessing the story on mobile devices. And while people who read the piece on tablets spent an average of more than 12 minutes with the story, those doing so on phones spent more than 25 minutes—a small eternity, in Internet time.
via Sit Back, Relax, and Read That Long Story—on Your Phone – Megan Garber – The Atlantic.
Fascinating stuff this
Japan’s largest library will begin offering online access to selected books on Feb. 1, starting with 13 works that include some of the country’s most famous epics and folk tales and a novel written by one of its most acclaimed novelists.
The National Diet Library is trying out its new online delivery system, which was requested by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, with help from bookstore operator Kinokuniya Co. and the Dai Nippon Printing Co. group.
via National library joins digital wave, will offer books online – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.
Interesting piece throughout. Perhaps the most interesting thing is the way it illuminates just how much easier digital makes publishing, for everyone. Interesting too that the bookstore is seeing opportunities upstream from book-selling, driving its own revenues, something there has been too little discussion of in recent years among bookstores. If Amazon is doing a good ob of gathering exclusive ebook content through KDP, there’s many reasons to believe that bookstores are even better positioned to capture this kind of exclusivity at a local level, to act as publishers for that material and to profit from it too:
The Imai Shoten bookstore chain, based in the western prefecture of Shimane, published the electronic edition of “Shutei Kunchu Meigetsuki” (Revised Version of Annotated Meigetsuki) in October. Meigetsuki is the diary of famed “waka” poet Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241).
The bookstore chain released the first edition of the annotated diary in the form of a printed book in eight volumes in 2002, selling 200 copies and winning high praise. The company had also been working to publish a revised edition of the title, but could not do so because estimated benefits were not worth the required costs.
“It would be impossible to release the revised work without digitizing it,” says Yasuhiko Tago, chairman of the bookstore firm. “I believe that we will be able to turn the introduction of e-books into a great opportunity for the publishing world.”
via Local publishers find new life by digitizing out-of-print, hard-to-find titles – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.
5. As the way people consume media changes, book publishers are realizing they are content creation and rights management companies and not just book publishers. Many of them are now playing in the app market, educational technology market and other areas they likely wouldn’t have dreamed of a decade ago. To that end, book publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt recently capitalized by going public in November. The company is seen as more of an educational company and less as a book publisher by Wall Street. In fact, one-time trade publisher Wiley has almost completely transformed itself into an education and technology company partially through a series of divestments and acquisitions.
via Get Ready For More Mergers And Acquisitions In Book Publishing – Forbes.
I’m pretty sure I disagree with a good bit in this article, but disagreement has never been enough to make me lose interest in something, especially if it is worthwhile disagreement. One paragraph that caught my eye in particular:
The crowdsourcing frenzy alone is enough to cause uneasiness — the costs of editing, fact-checking, keeping spam bots and hackers at bay is the intellectual equivalent of being a traffic cop in Midtown Manhattan on a day when a major intersection signal is out of order from a water main break. The overhead that would be required to maintain the flow of information in a massive crowdsourced project is mind-boggling, a kind of 24-7 attention to a gazillion details. A handful of projects, like the Jeremy Bentham transcription, or the New York Public Library’s menu decipherment, were expertly designed, highly constrained, and made effective use of contributions by the public. The redesign of scholarship to allow for participation is an enormous undertaking, not yet much beyond prototypes, none of which have yet proved fully viable except the wiki. And the difference between a book chapter that lays out a well informed and studied discussion of new research and a set of guided activities for the acquisition of that knowledge is the difference between research and pedagogy. They perform different roles.
via Pixel Dust: Illusions of Innovation in Scholarly Publishing |.