Random

Go Read This | U.S. settles with publisher Macmillan in e-books case | Reuters

I think it’s fair to say this is more of a whimper than a bang!

Under the proposed settlement agreement, Macmillan must lift restrictions on discounting by e-book retailers and must report to the Justice Department its communication with other publishers.

Justice Department lawyers “expect the prices of Macmillans e-books will also decline,” as happened after settlements with the other publishers, Jamillia Ferris, chief of staff of the departments Antitrust Division, said in the news release.

via U.S. settles with publisher Macmillan in e-books case | Reuters.

Random’s random blogging

Eoin Purcell

First the good news
Random House surprised me a little. They have what look like decent title based blogsites:

    Blood River
    The Gods That Failed
    The Book of Surfing


But the bad news follows on quickly

But all three lack a little something. They don’t feel like really interactive blogs designed to build a conversation. They feel more like marketing efforts.

And their Sophie Kinsella forum feels the same too. It’s not heavily used for one and seems to suffer from a lack of attention

They do have a huge list of links to authors sites. They also have a ton of mini-sites. Most of them slightly dull and a little wasteful to my mind.

Where are they at?
Still, there is enormous promise here. The sheer volume of digital output here is mind blowing. There is no question that a more focused and slimline digital policy would pay dividends. And there is even a precedednt within the Random House group. As a book buying site their rbooks always impresses and I suppose as a publisher that has to be a good thing!

More importantly if all the imprints can be corralled into one digital home for selling books, might the same not be done for all their digital outreach efforts? I think they would benefit from it, at least for now.

Unlike Macmillan who appear to be really at home with blogging, what it can do and what it cannot do, Random seem a little at sea or perhaps, behind the times.

Listening to Bon Iver and loving it. Remembering the Loire valley and hating being back in Ireland so very much!
Eoin

Tools of Change – times they are . . . confused??

Eoin Purcell

Update: The Digitalist has some good words on Content!

Without content there is no internet, there is no context, there is no point in contacting in the sense that I understand Rushkoff to be using it. Pretty much everything in media is changing true, but the one thing that is not changing is the position of content as the ultimate driver of why people go to where they go and do what they do. While the context of watching a TV show or reading an article may have changed (e.g. distribution channels have migrated to digital) and the ways in which I interact with others around it has evolved I still want to watch something interesting and read something informative. Other factors are always going to be secondary to that.
Content, in whatever form it takes, remains the sine qua non of media. Despite the high profile given to various forms of aggregation, search and networking it seems pointlessly iconoclastic to suggest a displacement as such. Rather I see it more as shifts around content, altering it but not ultimately detracting from its centrality.

I’m an ordinary man
And in many ways I think I represent the crux of the problem the publishing industry faces. I’m an atypical book buyer (I buy many, perhaps too many books) and I also consumer digital content voraciously.

Books, books, good for the heart
I love books. By that I mean printed, bound, paper books. I like hardbacks of old books. Ones that smell musty and have been opened rarely. I love paperbacks, light and easy to carry, almost disposable once read. I love the thoughts and ideas books contain. Every one a treasure of knowledge and information stretching back to its author or its translator. Perhaps it is a newer edition of a classic text or a transcription of a famous oral tradition, perhaps the narrative account of a historical event, the diary of a participant, the now out dated analysis of political events of previous centuries, or indeed a frivolous novel designed to subvert the social mores of the day> perhaps it is none of these things, merely the dry recording of naval stores aboard ships in the Eastern Mediterranean in the years after the Napoleonic Wars. One way of the other I love them.

The web, the web, good for the heart
I love the web, the twisty paths of knowledge you can take, the leisurely reading of varied topics, from politics to anthropology, from science to seasoning, from gossip to goose recipes. That I can jump through the library catalogs of the University of Michigan and peruse the shelves of the British Library online. I like that images enrich my idea of the world almost effortlessly and that references and recommendations offer a much deeper understanding of the world, the concept, the time, or even the place I am reading about.

Rivals for my heart
In one sense these two loves are not opposed but in another they are. I cannot both read books and surf the web. At least not simultaneously. The task of reading requires dedicated standalone time, i can read and surf but not read books and surf. Not even e-books work for me and thus the reason I believe they have little future as standalone computer based products. I think the web page and the web browser will dominate reading of all sorts in the future, not just short form articles and brief blog posts but for magazines, newspapers, journals and books.

E-books will just not work, why would I close my browser and use a different, standalone app when the experience of reading in a broswer where connectedness abounds is so much better?

Add to the mix O’Reilly’s Tools of Change conference last week
And I think you’ll see an industry that is making a desperate attempt to get to grips with the future and kind of flailing around. So much so we are willing to listen to just about anyone who has an idea about where we should be going. Some of those ideas are brilliant and some are quaint, but all of them have potential.

if I was to fall down on one idea it is the one that say that content is no longer king. Somehow I struggle to buy that. I guess I’m a dinosaur then. I’ll think on it some more.

The truth of course is none of us know what is going to happen and although we will claim we saw it coming when it happens, we won’t have. Possibly we will be lucky if we can adapt in time to survive when it does, possibly not.

If I sound sanguine I am, because I remain convinced that what I love; the knowledge and information, the ideas and thoughts, the concepts and contrivances will survive, distributed digitally or in beautiful or cheap volumes of printed ink, it really won’t matter. One way or the other, I suspect I’ll be involved in the process that makes that happen too. Its want I want to do, so I’ll just have to make it happen.

Convinced I’m not obsolete, yet!
Eoin

For the record. Sara Lloyd @ The Digitalist Blog and George Walkley @ Life As Beta Geek were indespensible in following a conference I wish I could have attended.

Oh and tomorrow I have a surprise guest blogger, worth reading!

5 reasons why I blog

Eoin Purcell

Litlove tagged me. As I tagged her recently it would be rude not to post so here goes:

1) To make sense of a confusing period of change in Publishing: By far the most important reason for me is to sort ideas in my mind, write them down have others discuss/argue them and basically make sure I know what I am thinking when it comes to publishing.

2) To find out what others are saying about Publishing: You know it sounds like one but actually it is different. Commentators on this blog have led me far and wide in my search for the changes and the changers that are shaping the industry I hope to work in for many years to come. Reading other blogs has also opened doors to other perspectives.

3) To be part of the conversation: the last thing I’d want is for these changes to happen with no input from me. That way massive shifts might occur without me having any impact. Sure there is little I can do as a single individual but I’d still like my view to be heard and my opinion to be considered. Blogging helps that happen.

4) To help build my profile: This is a guilty one because who likes selling themselves. Let’s face it though, the world is a big place and the more you can build your profile in it the better. I won’t pretend for a second that I am making waves but at least some people are paying attention.

5) Because its fun: I enjoying it. Need I say more?

And I tag: Blathnaid, Kieran and Richard.
Eoin

Say what! Tagged you say! Oh Dear!

Eoin Purcell

Seems all the rage this Tagging
I’ll do it this once for Annette who tagged me. The toughest part is tagging 8 people. If it annoys you just ignore it!

8 Random facts about me:

1) As a child one of my favourite things to read was the Tree of Knowledge Encyclopedia Series which I read from A-Z

2) I love my tea strong and milky

3) My first car was a 94 Opel Corsa called Alfred the Great. What a spiffy car he was.

4) Ties and cufflinks are a minor weakness of mine

5) When I read Terry Pratchett I laugh out loud (so much so I am afraid to read him when people are around).

6) My Grandfather (Padraig Puirseil) wrote the book The Quiet Man, not THE THE QUITE MAN, but The Quiet Man (longer story worth telling over tea).

7) My Second car is Alfred II and is a wonderful 96 Golf mkii.

8) I am completely addicted to books.

The rules….
-Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
-People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
-At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

And now I tag:

Bloglily and why not.

Richard Charkin

Em @ Snowbooks

Deborah Woehr

Adam @ Exact Editions

George Founier @ Poetbloggs

Johnny Ryan

Litlove, wouldn’t be a tag without her.

Tagged and tagger,
Eoin

Links of Interest (At Least to Me) ALWAYS ON

Eoin Purcell

I love Google Reader

I know I have been quiet the last few weeks but I have made one huge change and I love it. I have shifted all my blog reading to Google Reader.

It is actually the business and enables me to do something I have longed to do for some time. The real hint for this though i have to admit came from Robert Scoble who writes the phenomenally successful blog Scobleizer.

I now have a links blog.


You can access it here

I will still be highlighting some features that just are too good to leave in the side column but I love this feature and really want it to work out well. The selection will be much more diverse than the focussed Links of Interest (At Least to Me) posts so do check it out.

I have a post in the works on the Coming Digital Tsunami. More soon!

Wondering at my poor poker play.
Eoin