if:book

Links of Interest (At Least to Me) 06/04/2009

Eoin Purcell

There is a boycott going on of Amazon Kindle books that are priced over $9.99. Kassia has a good analysis.
Here

if:book and the Arts Council of England have an interesting but ultimately (in my mind) useless project to publish an illuminated book for the digital age. I wish I could like this but I can’t, I see no value added by making this type of website pretend to be a book. Who benefits, why go to the extra effort, are we using the new medium to its best, I suspect not. All told I think this is like putting book readings on TV, pointless and not very exciting.
Here

Consolidation in the universe of self publishing (a weak gag I’ll admit).
Here

Official notice that Mike Shatzkin of Idea Logical Company has a blog, I’ve yet to not like a post! While you are reading his blog you should also check out his fascinating and I think useful enterprise, FiledbyAuthor.
Here

Keith Richards’s memoir, 7 million dollars and something much more important

Eoin Purcell

You can generally trust O’Reilly to get their priority right
And so it was today. When all anyone else seemed to want to talk about was this, they were considering the merits of CommentPress 1.0 [a new tool from The Institute for the Future of the Book] as:

a potentially significant evolution in blogging architecture

*For a better idea of what exactly CommentPress is read this little piece from the site:

CommentPress is an open source theme for the WordPress blogging engine that allows readers to comment paragraph by paragraph in the margins of a text. Annotate, gloss, workshop, debate: with CommentPress you can do all of these things on a finer-grained level, turning a document into a conversation. It can be applied to a fixed document (paper/essay/book etc.) or to a running blog.

Why do publishers care?
Good question. I suggest we care for the same reason we care about this two pieces of news: A clipping service from Exact Editions and a cheap e-reader.

We should care about the clipping service because someone is building tools to make our online content more useful and easier to utilise. CommentPress is another tool in a growing ecoshpere of tools and services that are making novel and new uses of content more likely. That makes our content more valuable. Seems pretty important to me.

And we should care about e-readers because we need a solid platform for that digital content to reside on. Sure we will get along fine as web-pages that reflow* according to the screen but people don’t always want to be tied to their laptop or PC when reading and that is where the e-reader will come in (if we are lucky).

So ignore the big money, big name news today and dig a little deeper. There is a lot to read about what really matters for this industry.
Eoin

For more on this Booktwo points in a nice direction

Links of Interest (At Least to Me) 14/07/2007

Eoin Purcell

The unstoppable power of Richard and Judy as seen and told by the The Friday Project people.
Here & Here

Frankly one of the finest and clear sighted (not to mention fantastically brief) discussion of the current state of writing:

With the rise of the web, writing has met its photography. By that I mean, writing has encountered a situation similar to what happened to painting upon the invention of photography, a technology so much better at doing what the art form had been trying to do, that in order to survive, the field had to alter its course radically. If photography was striving for sharp focus, painting was forced to go soft, hence Impressionism. Faced with an unprecedented amount of digital available text, writing needs to redefine itself in order to adapt to the new environment of textual abundance.

[Hat Tip to if:book]
Here

Further to that piece I thought these ones from Tim O’Reilly were definitely worth reading too.
Here & Here

The End of Dewey in some libraries
Here (NYT read it before it goes behind the wall!)

Wow I was tired when I posted this
Eoin

Change: What’s been taking up my time

Eoin Purcell

Reading Fiction
Is a surprisingly large part of my job. Although Mercier only publishes a very few fiction titles and those are of a very good standard (For Example), many of the submissions we get are fiction so for the first time I am reading fiction with a critical eye (i.e. Is it good? Can we sell it? Will it make money? Is there a good hook for the retailer?). I read one over the weekend that I loved but the questions still pile up.

Anyway this is a post more to talk about change more than anything. Change in strategy at Snowbooks. Where Emma Barnes has posted a very detailed analysis of how tricks are going for them:

Our top ten (out of 50 live) titles account for 65% of our total margin.
Our second best selling line in terms of volume, value and margin is Boxing Fitness.
We made exactly the same cash gross margin on Living the Good Life as The Crafter’s Companion, yet Living has sold only 38% of the volume of Crafters.
10 books have made more than £10,000 gross profit.
Our average gross profit per unit is £1.31.
Our average cost per unit is £1.20.
Our average sales value per unit is £2.50.

Change at if:book where Sophie has finally launched:

Sophie’s raison d’être is to enable people to create robust, elegant rich-media, networked documents without recourse to programming. We have word processors, video, audio and photo editors but no viable options for assembling the parts into a complex whole except tools like Flash which are expensive, hard to use, and often create documents with closed proprietary file formats. Sophie promises to open up the world of multimedia authoring to a wide range of creative people.

James has a good initial review.

Change too at LibraryThing which has launched LibraryThing for libraries:

What is LibraryThing for Libraries?

* Give your patrons exciting new content, including recommendations and tag clouds.
* Let your patrons take part, with reviews, ratings and tags. Keep the control you want.
* Enhance your catalog with just a few lines of HTML. Works with any OPAC and requires no back-end integration. Really.
* Draw on the collective intelligence of your patrons and LibraryThing members.

And if the words of those from mercier are true a sense of change in publishing too. There seems to have been a great amount of positivity and energy at LBF this year. Sounds good to me.

Enjoying a nice weekend
Eoin

Sophie: A Timeline

Eoin Purcell

This is worth linking to despite the brevity. The situation with sophie

Sophie

is an open-source platform for creating and reading electronic books for the networked environment.

And is just about the ost exciting thing I have been waiitng on for some time. I think it will change utterly the ideas I discussed in my earlier post.

Enjoying the changes that are a coming
Eoin