Friday, March 30, 2012

Understanding ISBNs: myth vs. reality. From @davesheets

One of the most confusing items in the publisher toolkit is the ISBN. It really shouldn’t be confusing considering it is just a number, but as I talk with publishers and read the online forums, it is apparent that there is a lot of misinformation out there.
For some, you may not know what an ISBN is. According to Wikipedia, an “International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code created…for the booksellers and stationers W. H. Smith and others in 1966.The 10-digit ISBN format was developed…[and] since 2007, ISBNs have contained 13 digits…”
This topic comes up in a conversation every week with publishers and authors and I needed to make sure that I understood all of the angles, in order to help our clients. I did a bit of investigation and interviewed a couple experts in the industry in order to help clear up some of the questions surrounding this tool.
More here...

Publishers Struggle with iBooks vs. App Problem. From @galleycat

With the release of iBooks 2, Apple is proving that it wants to be the place for interactive books.
Yet for now, when it comes to creating interactive kids books, publishers are often forced to create apps because many features won’t actually work in books sold in the iBookstore.
More here...

E-books settlement talks advancing: sources

(Reuters) - The Justice Department could reach a settlement in the next few weeks with Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and some of the major publishers suspected of colluding to push up electronic book prices, according to two people close to the negotiations.

More here.....

The Legend Goes on: manroland sheetfed to Unveil Many Innovations @drupa2012

manroland sheetfed, a leading provider of sheetfed offset presses, production automation and related solutions, will leverage drupa 2012 to communicate its excitement about the start of a new era for the newly structured company. Visitors to manroland sheetfed’s stand (Hall 6, Stand D27) will see a fresh new spirit that reflects both innovation and the continuation of the tradition of excellence associated with the manroland brand and dating back nearly two centuries.
“Visitors to our stand will clearly observe the power of manroland sheetfed solutions to help their companies face the many challenges of today’s printing industry with the most innovative and productive sheetfed offset solutions in the industry,” said Alfred Rothlaender, President of manroland sheetfed. “With our new structure firmly in place, customers will experience an even more responsive partner in manroland sheetfed. We are dedicated to helping customers future-proof their businesses as we work hard to meet or exceed their expectations for excellence, both in product and services.”

More here....

Thanks To E-Books, Book Publishers Find Flat Is The New Up. From @laurahazardowen

Large book publishers’ most recent earnings reports reflect a new normal: Revenues are roughly flat, but profits are up—in large part due to e-books.
In the 2011 Bertelsmann annual report released this week, Random House said it has nearly 40,000 titles available as e-books worldwide, and while revenues were down for the year, “operating EBIT was higher year on year, especially in the United States. This rise was helped by continued cost-cutting measures and lower return rates in North America and the United Kingdom due to increased e-book sales.”
Similarly, Pearson’s 2011 annual report shows that Penguin’s sales are roughly flat, while adjusted operating profit rose by 5 percent, again due in part to e-book sales. “Penguin saw e-book revenues in 2011 double on the previous year,” the report says. “In 2011 they accounted for 12% of Penguin revenues worldwide and more than 20% in the US. Since 2008, digital downloads of apps and ebooks across Penguin have totalled approximately 50 million.”
And CBS’s most recent earnings report shows Simon & Schuster (NYSE: CBS) revenues down by 1 percent for full-year 2011, while “publishing adjusted OIBDA for 2011 rose 28% to $92 million from $72 million for the prior year, reflecting lower direct operating costs” due in part to “the decline in expenses resulting from an increase in more profitable digital sales as a percentage of total revenues.”

More here...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Apple's iPhone now the 'digital camera of choice' among consumers. From @AppleInsider

Apple's iPhone has become the de facto choice for consumers who use a digital camera, new statistics from the photo sharing service Flickr show.

The iPhone lineup is becoming the new standard for picture taking, analyst Ben A. Reitzes with Barclays declared in a note to investors on Monday, calling Apple's smartphone "the digital camera of choice for consumers and enthusiasts."

He noted that the latest data from Flickr shows that the iPhone 4 is the most popular camera used on the site with over 51 million registered users. That beat the second-place Canon EOS 5D Mark II, as well as the Nikon D90, Canon EOS REBEL T2i, and Canon EOS 7D.

When tracking solely smartphone use on Flickr, the statistics show complete domination by Apple. The top four smartphones for picture taking on Flickr are, in order, the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS.

The only other smartphone in Flickr's top five was the HTC EVO 4G, which had less than half the active users of the fourth-place iPhone 3GS. In fact, the only iPhone model that didn't make the top five was the first-generation handset released in 2007.

Reitzes said he believes the iPhone has replaced the standalone digital camera for many consumers because of the ease of use it offers, as well as the ability to quickly share photos online.

Bigger Than Agency, Bigger Than E-Books: The Case Against Apple and Publishers. From @wired

Apple and five of the “Big Six” trade publishers are reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice for antitrust violations. The point of concern is the five publishers’ staggered but identical move to an agency rather than a wholesale pricing model, not just for Apple, but for all e-book retailers — a move that caused e-book prices for consumers to rise.
But the DoJ’s investigation and a related civil lawsuit touch on issues bigger than rising e-book prices or even collusion between publishers. The cases are also about who has the right to sue e-book publishers, the nature of publishers’ bilateral interactions with Apple and other retailers, and whether it’s even possible for a true agency model to exist for virtual goods like e-books.

...there are three major points of law at stake in both the class-action suit and the Justice Department investigation against Apple and the five publishers:
  1. Whether and how the agency model applies to virtual goods;
  2. Whether Apple and publishers engaged in a “hub-and-spoke” conspiracy or simply “conscious parallelism”;
  3. The status of the “most-favored nation” clause, common to many legal contracts today, which Apple used to ensure that books could not be sold elsewhere at a lower price than in the iBooks store.
More here...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chinese Book Publishing Industry Becoming More Global, says IBISWorld

The Book Publishing industry in China is set to generate revenue of $9.5 billion in 2012, up 3.1% from 2011, according to IBISWorld. There were few new entrants into the Book Publishing industry over the past five years, as growth was limited by government restrictions on foreign capital investment. Over the next five years, domestic presses will import more foreign books to meet the requirements of Chinese people, while increasing exports to spread Chinese culture around the world. 

Standard Horizon At Drupa 2012--“The World Loves Books”

Andover, MA – Under the theme “The World Loves Books” Horizon International will showcase 13,000 square feet of highly automated post press solutions at Drupa 2012 in Dusseldorf, Germany.  With headquarters in Kyoto, Japan, Horizon has 550 employees and operates the largest facility in the world devoted to manufacturing folders, binders, collators, stitchers and cutters.

More here....

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fujifilm Announces Its Vision And Strategy For Continued Growth In The Graphic Arts Business

FUJIFILM Corporation announces its vision and strategy for its Graphic Arts business, which will be the basis for the company’s presence at drupa 2012 (Dusseldorf, Germany, May 3rd - 16th).
Under the company’s medium term management plan, VISION 80, Fujifilm has identified the Graphic Arts industry as a key growth area for its business and has committed significant resources to remain at the forefront of the industry. Fujifilm will use the drupa 2012 show to showcase the results of this investment programme, demonstrating a wide range of new printing concepts, technologies, products, services and solutions under the banner “POWER TO SUCCEED.”

Are you prepared to acquire production inkjet? Great primer from @davidzwang and @whattheythink

In this series, I have tried to give you a ‘lay of the land’ as it relates to production inkjet technology and products available today… before drupa. While I have covered a wide range of products, in all fairness I haven’t covered everything that is available out there. Why? There are just too many production inkjet products to investigate, review, and detail, and you can expect more to be introduced before, at, and after drupa—including a highly secretive Digital Nanographic Printing Press that will be announced by Indigo founder Benny Landa on May 2nd, the day before drupa officially begins. However, in all honesty, the products covered offered a fairly complete look at the state of the inkjet technology and how it is being utilized in the production inkjet presses available ‘today’.
So while I have given you lots of facts and figures on feeds and speeds, I thought it was now time to look at how you can assimilate all of that information to figure out how to use it abd to understand what it means to you. This ‘look behind the curtains’ is desgined to help you make purchasing decisions, either before or after drupa.
I am using a similar structure as I used in the product reviews in order to put it all in context. In Part 1 of 2 in this article, I will review inkjet printhead technology, imaging and what you should be looking at to satisfy your company and customer requirements.

Continue here:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Drupa preview: Presses & Digital. From @printweek

Drupa. It’s undoubtedly the greatest print show on earth, and this year’s event looks to have no shortage of attractions for those interested in the business of putting ink, toner – or indeed something else altogether – on paper or other substrates.

The exhibition is shaping up to include an ideal blend of products that are real, working and can deliver profits for the people that purchase them; alongside some suitably thought-provoking ‘technology demonstrations’ pointing to where cutting-edge print technology is heading. The latter will provide savvy print bosses with plenty of possibilities to consider for the future.

More here...


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Self-Publishing: Why You Could Be the Next Stephen King. From @mashable

Let me tell you a secret: I published a story on Amazon. You can buy it and read it on your Kindle today. That makes me, I guess, a published author. There are lots of people like me bridging the gap between amateur writer and published author. This is the future of publishing: your story, an easy-to-use platform, and direct access to an audience that may be willing to pay.

Obviously, the simple fact that platforms like this exist — and Amazon’s is by no means the first self-publishing platform — is no guarantee of success. However the crucial difference between publish-and-self-distribute platforms of the past (like Lulu and Blurb) and Amazon’s is, well, that it’s Amazon. The online retailer has a potential audience of millions and millions of Kindle owners (who read Kindle books on eReaders, tablets, smartphones and PCs) just looking for the next great read. My silly little $.99 story is sitting in there waiting to be discovered.

More here...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ebooks VAT should be slashed to zero in 2012 budget, say publishers. From @guardian

Publishers are calling on the government to "urgently" reduce the 20% value added tax rate currently applied to ebooks in the UK, as the digital books market experiences "exponential" growth.
Ahead of this afternoon's budget statement, the Publishers Associationhas made representations to Chancellor George Osborne arguing that the rate of VAT on ebooks, which stands at 20%, should be reduced to the zero-rating of print books. Publishers believe ebooks and print books should be treated the same when it comes to VAT, as both deliver the same "educational, cultural and social benefits". They say that "urgent action" is required to reduce ebook VAT rates as the digital market experiences a rapid pace of development and sales that "continue to grow exponentially".

So, what does "next" mean to you? Pre-#dscoop7 print/ready blog post

It started in Chicago last fall at GraphExpo.  And it was at a rally, at the top of the Navy Pier.  "The Campaign for Next", the theme of the 2012 Dscoop Annual Conference, began with an excitement, somewhat alcohol-fueled, of a political rally.  But in today's economy, how to run your printing business is nothing to be taken lightly.  And on this eve of Dscoop 7 I wanted to share a bit about what "next" means to me.

When I think of "next" I think of pick-up basketball.  Calling "next" equals the opportunity to challenge the winners of the current game.  It takes putting together a team of five people, sometimes those you don't even know, to become a cohesive unit quickly to challenge the status quo.

If you choose well and play your game you not only get the win but you get to keep playing.  And you stay on the floor through all of the "nexts" until a team beats you, you decide to quit, or the lights go out.

Sports analogies are rampant in business but I think this one holds water.  If you are ready to step up and take on the winners, if you have put together a team that works well together and completes each other, if you play your game, you get to keep playing.  And if you are good enough you get the call the shots of how long you play.

Team building begins tomorrow at the Gaylord National.  See you there.

Google to Sell Ebooks in France [REPORT]. From @mashable

Google is preparing to launch a French edition of its ebookstore and app ecosystem, according to a report.
As first revealed by French trade publication Livres Hebdo [login required], the search giant has sent the publishing and retail partners in its Google Livres book search program updated contracts that would give the company permission to sell their ebooks through Google Play, the search giant’s recently renamed hub for exploring and buying apps, movies, books and music.
According to the contracts, publishers would receive a 52% cut of all ebooks sold through Google Play. It is not yet known what share retailers who sell ebooks through Google would receive, although it will likely be substantially less.

More here...

Is film photography dead in this digital world? Not yet

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Eastman Kodak Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection, making every effort to balance costs with declining revenues.
The 130-year-old firm has taken quite the hit in this now-digital world, but the company's president says, "We are still making billions of feet of film."
Is film photography already dead? The professionals say no.
"Oh, no. Film is not dead at all. It's very much alive. We are just so inspired by it," says Christina Looker of Made You Look Photography in Bakersfield. Her company has found its own niche with film photography. Clients, she says, are actually requesting film, because they like the look and the idea of it.
Bakersfield College photography professor Kristopher Stallworth says he thinks film is still the pinnacle of quality. According to him, the evidence is in his own black-and-white photography.

Heidelberg Organizing International Networking Meeting for Women Executives at drupa

HEIDELBERG, GERMANY—March 20, 2012—Women are up and coming - also in the print media industry. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) is responding to this trend with the international networking meeting “Women in Print” on the occasion of drupa 2012 from May 3-16 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The meeting will take place on May 6 at the Heidelberg “Sternberg Lounge” in the direct vicinity of Hall 1, where Heidelberg will be showcasing its innovations.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vyomesh Joshi--VJ. Visionary, Innovator, Friend

About the time I was leaving the University of Missouri and moving to Seattle, Vyomesh Joshi, or VJ as he is known to just about everyone, was starting his time at HP as a research and development engineer after graduating from Ohio State.  This began a long career with the technology giant which appears to have ended today as part of the restructuring of his Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) into the PC Group under former Palm CEO Todd Bradley.  I can't help but feeling the loss of a great supporter of the printed page from Blurb's biggest equipment supplier--a person who believed that the "physical world was just as important as the virtual".  VJ's mantra of "How can I make a difference" will be missed by me personally but I'm sure we will continue to cross paths given our love of ink-on-paper and passion for innovation.

I first met VJ at IPEX, the UK-based printing show, in 2006.  Blurb still had not come out of R&D but we had a very early version of our Booksmart software that was capable of making 10x8 hardcover books with dust jackets.  Blurb had been working on some early business development deals including one with Major League Baseball and I had created my very first book, Mariner Memories, as a proof-of-concept for the project.  Todd Cromwell was then in charge of HP's Indigo division in the US and he asked me if I would like to meet VJ.  "Sure", I thought.  "I'll meet this suit and maybe it will help us at some point in the future."

So with my book in tow I met VJ.  Those of you that have met him know how engaging he is, but lots of successful folks have this trait.  What I didn't expect was for him to take my book like a kid seeing his first toy, deduct that what he was seeing was the future of color self publishing, and asking if he could use my book during his press conference that was coming up in a few minutes.  In my mind I was thinking "this free PR will pay for my trip to Birmingham" but it was the start of a great relationship between the two of us and our companies.

Over the coming years VJ had a soft spot for Blurb.  He and our founder Eileen Gittins became close as well.  He was clearly looking at our company as an opportunity to drive printed pages to HP-manufactured hardware but it was also about the love the intersection of printing and technology.  He was always quick with congratulations when we made a market splash (excuse the HP pun), always interested on what was coming next, always willing to make introductions to anyone throughout HP that would benefit Blurb.

My favorite story that helps to understand the mind of VJ was in early 2010.  Blurb holds a yearly "Print Partner Summit" at our offices in San Francisco where we invite in all of our global print fulfillment companies along with selected suppliers to talk about the year past and looking toward a successful new year.  VJ offered to come to San Francisco and spend the day with us.  This may seem like a simple thing, but when you run a nearly $30 billion business taking time is always a challenge.

Wanting to take full advantage of his presence I had set up three meetings for him, with our Executive Team, a full Blurb "all hands" to address our rank-and-file, and the keynote for the Print Partner Summit.  VJ arrived right on time and asked if we could find an office to chat for a bit before the meetings began.  He asked what specific points I thought would be important for each audience, which I gladly gave because like any good manager I had my own agenda that I wanted him to support.  As the first meeting began, VJ was able to seamlessly weave my points into his loosely-created presentations.

He was absolutely perfect.  His enthusiasm infected everyone that was there that day, even if we thought custom wallpaper was a bit of a stretch.  His ability to merge his agenda and mine was so flawless that it was undetectable to anyone besides the two of us.

Changes are inevitable in any business, especially in the technology sector.  I hope that the vision I have seen from VJ continues in the newly reorganized IPG.  But I know that I have a friend for life, a kindred sprint in the printing world, a man without who my business may not exist today.  Cheers VJ!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Another hit for real books..Airline passengers may get a break on electronics

The government is taking a tentative step toward making it easier for airlines to allow passengers to use personal electronic devices such as tablets, e-readers and music players during takeoffs and landings. 

More on the new iPad. Pixel-pumping prowess:@arstechnica reviews the third-generation iPad

An up-close comparison of text on an iPad 2 (top) and an iPad 3 "retina" display (bottom).
Another year, another iPad update. For its third shot at the tablet market, Apple borrowed an approach it pioneered with its longer-running series of iPhones: no radical redesign in consecutive years, just a solid upgrade. This year, the iPad looks nearly identical to its predecessor and carries a bit more weight in the belly, all in order to provide a high-resolution display, a better rear-facing camera, and LTE wireless support.
The screen, called a "retina" display because its individual pixels are said to be invisible to the human eye at normal viewing distances, is the main selling point over the iPad 2. Indeed, the upgraded internals (A5X processor, twice the memory, larger battery) exist largely to drive the beautiful display; overall performance remains on par with last year's iPad 2 otherwise.
Maybe that's why Apple never officially gave the third-generation iPad the name "iPad 3"—It's really more like "iPad 2 Premium Edition." But if you're up for spending the extra $100 over an iPad 2, what a nice Premium Edition it is.

More here...

Analysis Confirms iPad Display Really Is One Of The Best Ever Made. From @techcrunch

It shouldn’t come as any surprise when someone says that this year’s display, or phone, or what have you, is the best ever. After all, improving the category is what companies strive to do, right? So Apple’s claim (on Samsung’s behalf, really) that the new iPad’s display is the “best display ever on a mobile device” isn’t hyperbolic, just confident. DisplayMate’s battery of image quality tests, fortunately, agree with that assessment.
The new display is sharper than any screen its size and has better color representation than most home displays and HDTVs. It’s not perfect, of course, and the iPad is more than just a display (one has to take into account many things when reviewing or purchasing one), but it’s nice to know that the claims of superiority are, in this part of the iPad at least, justified.

More here:

An abrupt drop in consumer spending, the prevalence of affordable cameras and popularity of online photo sharing have caused the Photography industry's revenue to dip.

The Photography industry has experienced a number of changes, as digital cameras and postproduction technologies have increasingly affected operators. While photographers are benefiting from the changes by increasing their efficiency and availability, consumers are now able to take professional-quality images without the need for a specialist. Still, revenue is expected to improve slightly over the next five years, as operators focus on niche markets, like event, sports and church directory photography, to sustain demand. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has added a report on the Photography industry to its growing industry report collection.

Can Children’s eBooks Provide “A Quiet Bedtime Read”? from @wired

I’ve read stories off the iPad to children in kindergartens and childcare centers as part of my work. I’ve watched my own boys read ebooks on the iPad themselves. I’ve had many friends children read off the iPad, but my interest is whether these electronic devices can provide the “quiet read” at bedtime that I so valued as a child and that I enjoyed with my older children.
The reason I question it is because of the screen. No doubt, reading at other times the screen is fine and the interactivity offered up by ebook apps (when done well, and often it isn’t) provides further engagement. But, is that what I am looking for at bedtime? I know sometimes I’m rubbing my eyes from spending time in front of the iridescence of the screen at night. What impact might this have on the quiet bedtime read? Will the screen change it, the light glaring up at us, or is it like most of my technology concerns and something that won’t matter in the way I think it will?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Seattle serves as a test tube for new office designs

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle was designed by the architecture firm NBBJ.  
SEATTLE serves as a test tube because of several converging factors: There’s a lot of money here to experiment with projects. The work force is relatively young and open to innovation. And the local culture places a high value on informality, autonomy and egalitarianism. People will put in long hours under high pressure if they feel respected, but they won’t tolerate being treated like Dilberts.
Most office workers in Seattle and elsewhere labor in environments much less inspiring than Ms. Choe’s. And most employers have much less to spend to make things pleasant. (Bill and Melinda Gates personally contributed $350 million of the campus’s $500 million cost.) But staying competitive requires coming up with the best ideas, and the office environment can be the incubator for them. 

More here from NYT...

Friday, March 16, 2012

App Store - drupa App

The drupa app helps you plan your visit to the fair, providing comprehensive information on print and media in Düsseldorf. The perfect iPhone and iPad integration thanks to offline search, GoogleMaps connection and an interactive map of the exhibition centre allow you to prepare your visit to the fair perfectly. „your link to print“ is the motto of the communication campaign for drupa 2012. Augmented Reality (AR) is a key aspect here. This is the clever crosslinking of print, Internet and mobile applications. Find more information on

Do It Yourself: Create Your Own iOS or Android Apps

It might be the people lining up to get the new iPad that grab headlines, but those who want to develop and publish apps for the device are the ones who'll benefit most from its screen time. 

Tuesday, 08 May 2012 - Day of Books @drupa

The role of books within the media mix - new business models and business strategies.

Uhrzeit Inhalt Redner
    Dr. Thomas Wilking,
buchreport / Harenberg Kommunikation Verlags- und Medien GmbH & Co. KG
10:15 Keynote : E-Phobia to E-Phoria – New publishing strategies and business models for new markets and new media
E-books are being discussed everywhere in publishing but what lessons can we learn from the past in order to ensure a profitable as well as an interesting future?
Richard Charkin,
Bloomsbury Publishing, UK
10:45 „Has the future already started?“ How important are tablet apps and other mobile book formats to publishers
Amazon USA verkauft mehr eBooks als gedruckte Bücher. Buchverlage im 4-Colour-Bereich sind aber auch dort beim investieren in eBooks zögerlich. Sind Apps besser? Was erwarten Kunden von eBooks? Abwarten und die "Anderen" voranstürmen lassen? Hat Michael Krüger Recht, "kein Stein bleibt auf dem anderen"? Fängt es erst an oder sind wir mitten drin?
Frank-H. Häger,
Ganske Verlagsgruppe
11:.15 Innovation and workflow in the world of apps, (enhanced) eBooks and co.: How a digital first-programme changes publishing
Traditional publishers have been launching a wide range of new digital products onto the market and discovering that this changes more than the product portfolio: different partner businesses, new workflows, changes to sales channels and new target groups – not to mention a wholly new legal situation and the challenges of internationalisation.
Oliver Pux,
Bastei Lübbe GmbH & Co. KG
11:45 Pause  
12:00 Publisher between print and Cloud
The digital world has altered customers’ information expectations. Publishers are suddenly competing with providers with other specialisms and with free services. What can publishers realistically and profitably offer, now and in the future? At stake is the basis of their existence.
Dr. Dorothea Hennessen,
12:30 The symbiosis of content and media formats: Prerequisites for success and market opportunities for science and specialised publishers
In this age of digital media, the boundaries between print and online, and between book content and magazine format are disappearing. The two speakers here illustrate how this change is already being reflected in the services and production processes at progressive specialist publishing houses.
Dr. Ralf Birkelbach,
Springer Science + Business Media
13:00 Social reading – reader communities and their potential for publishers (working title) Karla Paul, (Holtzbrinck GmbH)
13:30 Pause  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ebooks: the format of the academic future from @guardian

We have a profoundly different higher education system to the one that took shape in the 19th and 20th centuries. Technology is influencing higher education as never before. As Google chief Eric Schmidt has said, the internet isn't making inevitable change faster; it has become the engine of change.
I do not believe in technological determinism. Nothing is inevitable, and we have the power to shape the way we use technologies. But, a technological revolution is taking place and it will go ahead with or without us.

Next star authors could be found online from @Reuters

For novelists, the days of sending manuscripts to dozens of publishers and anxiously awaiting a reply may soon be over. Thousands of writers who use online literature networks like teen-friendly Movellas or Penguin's Book Country, are already receiving instant feedback, altering texts on a whim and having their work read by the public no matter what a publisher thinks.
The internet has torn down the walled gardens of a previously closed industry as anyone can publish their texts with a few clicks -- a change which is also creating demand for industry newcomers.
"Publishers don't want the same to happen to them that happened to the music industry," said Per Larsen, chief executive of Danish online startup Movellas. "They know the publishing business model has been broken." 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Blurb® Authors Earn $1M in Profits in 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Mar 14, 2012) - Blurb®, the creative publishing and marketing platform, today announced that Blurb authors earned more than $1M in profits on the sale of nearly 100K books in 2011 as part of the Blurb Set Your Price program. Author demand to self-publish books of all kinds continues to rise: Blurb's customer base grew by 44% in 2011, and the company shipped more than 1.8M books to 69 countries. The success of Blurb authors reinforces the market readiness for the self-publishing model.

More here:

Do E-Books Make It Harder to Remember What You Just Read?

Digital books are lighter and more convenient to tote around than paper books, but there may be advantages to old technology.  From @time

I received a Kindle for my birthday, and enjoying “light reading,” in addition to the dense science I read for work, I immediately loaded it with mysteries by my favorite authors. But I soon found that I had difficulty recalling the names of characters from chapter to chapter. At first, I attributed the lapses to a scary reality of getting older — but then I discovered that I didn’t have this problem when I read paperbacks.
When I discussed my quirky recall with friends and colleagues, I found out I wasn’t the only one who suffered from “e-book moments.” Online, I discovered that Google’s Larry Page himself had concerns about research showing that on-screen reading is measurably slower than reading on paper.

Barry Eisler on Amazon: ‘It’s pretty hard to see how someone could destroy bookselling by selling tons of books’

The Department of Justice’s investigation into alleged eBook price collusion among Apple and select publishers is making various different people in the publishing business speak out.
Authors Guild president Scott Turow blasted the lawsuit inan open letter to members: “Amazon was using e-book discounting to destroy bookselling, making it uneconomic for physical bookstores to keep their doors open.”
Author Barry Eisler responded to Turow in a blog post on J.A. Konrath‘s site. He wrote: “The problem is, this is a terribly tendentious way to state the argument, and it’s also a contradiction in terms. Maybe Scott would also argue that Apple is destroying computer-selling by selling so many computers, but logically, it’s pretty hard to see how someone could destroy bookselling by selling tons of books. In arguing that bookselling is destroying bookselling, Scott is making his biases as clear as his argument is turbid.”

HP resurrects B2 plans with Indigo 10000 from @printweek

HP has thrown down to the gauntlet to rival digital and litho manufacturers with the launch of a new B2 digital press, the 3,450sph HP Indigo 10000, almost a decade after it mothballed the concept.

The press, which carries a basic $1.5m (£950,000) price tag, was one of 10 new products unveiled at the manufacturer's pre-Drupa 2012 press conference in Israel ahead of their formal launch this May.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Eggleston's First-Ever Large Pigment Prints Earn 5.9 Million at Auction from @pdnonline

At a Christie's auction yesterday that was intended to expand the appeal of William Eggleston's work to a much broader range of contemporary art collectors, 36 recent prints by the photographer brought in a total of $5,903,250.

It was the first time Eggleston created digital pigment prints, a departure from the dye-transfer process he has used since the 1970s, which offered Eggleston a deep color saturation that became a defining characteristic of his work.

The high lot in the sale, a print of Eggleston’s classic “Untitled, 1970,” which depicts a child’s tricycle from a glorifying ground-level angle, brought in $578,500, while several other prints sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

HP Expands Leading Photo Merchandise Printing Portfolio

  • The new HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press is a new B2 size format press (750 x 530 millimeters [mm] / 29.5 x 20.9 inches) that enables new oversize photo applications and efficient production of standard-size photo products.
  • The HP Indigo W7250 Digital Press, a high-volume, roll-fed device offering 33 percent faster throughput and new color management features.
  • The HP Indigo 7600 Digital Press, a sheet-fed device that features new unique high-value effects for creating differentiated offerings and a new Light Black ink for higher-quality black-and-white photo printing.
  • The HP Indigo 5600 Digital Press, a new press that can produce photo products on synthetic, colored and transparent substrates.
  • The HP Indigo WS6000p, a web-fed press with new finishing solutions to replace production of silver halide cut prints and portraits.

drupa 2012 - The elephant in the yellow room

Last week, Kodak previewed its drupa-presence for the international worldwide graphic arts trade press, gathered in Lisbon. Although the new 'Yellow changes everything'-slogan did not go down well with everybody, the technology announcements for the show in May managed to impress the audience. But what about the elephant in the room?

It was Kodak's first major press conference since it filed for Chapter 11 on January 19. As could be expected, Kodak focused on what Chris Payne (Director and VP Marketing) referred to as 'building the future of Kodak' and its ongoing commitment to the print industry.

The Q&A session at the end of the meeting featured many interesting questions, about growth markets, applications, technical specifications and even the environmental issues (that, by the way, really need further follow up). It was only the next morning - talking to Chris Payne - that I realized that nobody mentioned the Chapter 11 situation. "That surprised me too", said Payne: "I was ready to answer any question about the subject." 

Could tiny ebooks really upset the mighty Apple cart?

You wouldn't think that Apple had any problems right now. Its share price is so grossly high that it is ranked as the most valuable company in the world. Fans will queue up in their thousands for the chance to buy its latest iDevice – the new iPad – so much so that there won't be anywhere nearly enough devices in stock to satisfy demand on launch day.
And finally, none of the myriad patent litigation cases Apple is involved in have managed to do it any serious damage, or much damage at all.
But in recent weeks, Apple seems to be courting disaster in a rather surprising arena: ebooks.

New @hpindigo 10000 29" sheet digital press

A 29 inch format Indigo press delivering breakthrough productivity and application range.

Indigo 20000 Digital Press: 30 inch wide breakthrough digital web printing solution for flexible packaging

The 30 inch wide roll-to-roll HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press is poised to transform the film converting market with its capability to digitally produce the vast majority of flexible packaging applications.
Printing any job on-demand at any time with no make-ready and minimum waste, the press offers converters and brand owners a prime opportunity for new business that responds to changing needs of consumers and the marketplace.

More here

Monday, March 12, 2012

SXSW 2012: New Publishing Models and the Rise of the Referral Economy. from @publisherswkly

From SXSW, a slate of morning panels that featured Publishing Models Transforming the Book, a PW sponsored panel that looked at the paradigm shift in how book content is being conceived, monetized and distributed.

Ebooks: defending the agency model from @guardian

The launch of an antitrust probe against book publishers, which the US Department of Justice has threatened, couldn't have come at a weirder time. In the two previous Monday Notes, we explained how Amazon is manoeuvring itself into a position to dominate the entire book industry. The Seattle giant keeps moving up the food chain, from controlling ebook distribution (in addition to selling print books), to competing against publishers and even agents by luring bestselling authors. No one would bet a dime on the printed book as it reaches its peak while ebook sales keep exceeding expectations.
So why is the DOJ waving the threat of an antitrust action?
Five publishers – and one distributor, Apple – are in the the US administration's crosshairs: Hachette Book Group (a division of Lagardère Group), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp), MacMillan (Holtzbrinck GmbH), Penguin (Pearson PLC), and HarperCollins (News Corp). All are said to be suspected of ebook price collusion. (The Wall Street Journal broke the story on 9 March).

Friday, March 9, 2012

How Apple got a Retina display on new iPad

The new iPad's Retina Display was perhaps the most expected feature to be included in Apple's new tablet, especially after it incorporated the high-resolution display into both its iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S smartphones.  But don't let that take away from the fact that the technology behind its iPad display isn't impressive, far from it. Apple's new iPad display has four times as many pixels as the iPad 2 display, combining to form a 2048 x 1536 resolution with 3.1 million pixels and boasting 44 percent greater color saturation. In Apple's words, it's "the best display ever on a mobile device."

In a court filing, Apple says that any belief that the company views the Kindle as a "threat" is just plain wrong. And it shouldn't be looped into an e-book price-fixing case. from @CNET

Apple is fighting back against allegations that it has been involved in e-book price fixing to counter Amazon's dominance in that space.
In a court filing obtained by PaidContent yesterday, Apple argues that any claim that it views Amazon and the Kindle e-book store as a threat is nonsense.

DOJ Warning Means One Thing: E-Book Prices Are Coming Down from @BW

The rumblings about Apple (AAPL) and the possible anticompetitive nature of its deal with book publishers over “agency model” pricing have turned into an all-out roar, with the news that the Department of Justice has warned the various parties about an impending antitrust lawsuit. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, federal prosecutors have sent letters to Apple and five of the major publishers notifying them it is pursuing a case for collusion and price fixing—charges that are similar to class-action lawsuits filed recently involving Apple and book publishers. While the outcome of this case is not certain, one thing seems fairly clear: E-book prices are headed downward, whether publishers like it or not.

Xeikon to offer glimpse of future toner tech at Drupa

Xeikon will unveil a potentially revolutionary new toner-based print platform at Drupa that it claims will combine the quality of its 1,200dpi colour printers with "inkjet-like speed" and cost of production. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yobongo, Which Launched at Last Year’s SXSW, to Be Acquired by Mixbook and Shut Down

Yobongo, a mobile social discovery app, will be acquired by the fast-growing photo-book creation service Mixbook, the two companies announced today.

Yobongo had only tens of thousands of monthly active users, and had recently reoriented itself around private groups, rather than its original purpose of enabling people to meet each other and chat.
The cash-and-stock deal will have Yobongo’s six employees form Mixbook’s new mobile team, while the Yobongo product is shut down. It’s a bit of a reunion, as three of Yobongo’s team previously worked at Scrapblog, which was also acquired by Mixbook.

So, how do you really feel? Apple, Publishers Getting Sued Because E-Books Are a Rip-Off from @NYMag

Coinciding nicely with the announcement of a new iPad, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department wants to sue Apple, along with five of the biggest publishers, over the price of electronic books. Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, Macmillian, and HarperCollins are all potentially on the hook in a planned antitrust case that alleges the companies colluded to raise prices by agreeing to a model in which the publishers set the prices and Apple takes a 30 percent cut. Consumers lose.

HP Teases drupa Announcements at O'Niel Data Systems from @whattheythink

VP and GM for HP Indigo Yishai Amir highlights some of the coverage a select number of customers got to see at the recent O'Niel Data Systems grand opening at their new Plaxo Texas facility.

Justice Department Threatens Lawsuits, Alleging Collusion Over E-Book Pricing

The Justice Department has warned Apple Inc. and five of the biggest U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter. 
Several of the parties have held talks to settle the antitrust case and head off a potentially damaging court battle, these people said. If successful, such a settlement could have wide-ranging repercussions for the industry, potentially leading to cheaper e-books for consumers. However, not every publisher is in settlement discussions.
The five publishers facing a potential suit are CBS Corp.'s Simon & Schuster Inc.;Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group;Pearson PLC's Penguin Group (USA); Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH; and HarperCollins Publishers Inc., a unit of News Corp. , which also owns The Wall Street Journal.