Thursday, February 13, 2014

Digital Publishing Industry in China Expected To Earn $57.74 billion in 2014

digi pub china

Digitization process is on the upswing in China where digital publishing is being accorded far greater emphasis than any time before. The rapid emergence of internet and digital technologies has only acted as a catalyst to the digital transformation process. If the above trend is put in financial terms, the figures are astounding to say the least. For instance, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) from digital publishing over the period of 2002 – 2012 stands at an impressive 61.6 percent. Further, the total revenue generated by the Chinese digital publishing industry stands at an astounding $42.89 billion for 2013. The same is predicted to reach even more astounding $57.74 billion in 2014.

To further add impetus to the digitization process, China has set up the first batch of what it calls as the digital publishing transformation demonstration institutions. There are 70 such institutions set up so far though more of these will come in place this year. The first digital publishing industry base – the Shanghai Zhangjiang National Digital Publishing Base was set up in 2008 followed by more such bases in Chongqing, Hangzhou, Hubei and Hunan. The country already boasts of a dozen such national digital publishing industry bases.

Digital Publishing Industry in China Expected To Earn $57.74 billion in 2014 is a post from: E-Reader News

iPad Dominates Business Tablet Usage


Contrary to the oft held belief that the iPad suits more for entertainment than anything else, the Apple tablet has topped the charts among tablets used in the enterprise scene. To put that in figures, the iPad has made up for 91.4 percent of all enterprise tablet activations in Q4, 2013, reveals enterprise software vendor Good Technology. Delving further into the pattern of iPad usage in the business scene, it is the financial sector that has emerged the single largest user of iPads, accounting for a comprehensive 46.8 percent of all activations. Next comes business and professional services sector that makes up 13.8 percent of iPad activations.

In contrast, Android makes up for a far less share of the enterprise scene with smartphones and tablet devices running the Google OS making up 26 percent of the segment. Not surprisingly, it is Samsung here leading the charge, making up for 56 percent of device usage, as per a survey by Fiberlink Communications. The company that deals with mobile device management (MDM) was recent acquired by IBM last November.

Meanwhile, the online ad and web analytics firm Chitika put forward that the Microsoft Surface tablets shone in the BYOD segment, drawn from the fact that the Surface tablets were used a lot during office hours.

“Surface users generate a slightly greater share of their total Web traffic during working hours as compared to iPad or Android tablet users,” the Chitika report said. “However, in terms of raw traffic volume, iPad and Android tablet users lead the pack at all hours of the day, and usage patterns among all tablets remain relatively similar overall.”

However, the report from Good Technology can be considered to be far from being comprehensive in that the company does not yet support Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 tablets. While the latter is known to have made some inroads in the enterprise sector, what is amply clear is that they are yet to make a big enough impact to unsettle the big two in the business, namely Google Android and Apple iOS. Further, the Good report is based on data from organizations that activated more than 5 devices during the fourth quarter.

Further, the Chitika report too can't be considered to be comprehensive in that it is unable to differentiate between x86 based devices such as the Surface Pro or traditional desktops based on the same chip. Chitika report though can pick up Surface or Surface 2 devices running ARM chips. As such, the Chitika insight into Windows tablet usage can be considered to be fairly accurate in predicting the usage of Surface or Surface 2 devices.

Overall, we do have a rough picture of the iPad being the most popular device used in business with Android making up a distant second. Microsoft has shown mixed results in that it offers both ARM and x86 based devices to be used in the business segment. Also, now that we have seen quite a few Windows 8.1 devices being launched mostly during Q4, 2013, things could be a bit different a few months from now.

iPad Dominates Business Tablet Usage is a post from: E-Reader News

Us vs Them Rears Its Head in Publishing Once More

reading in Russia
First, there was JA Konrath’s post with Hugh Howey on how to determine how many ebooks are sold, and how that information can affect authors in their publishing decision making.

Then there was a literary agent’s harsh response to Konrath and Howey’s insight, once again claiming that traditional publishing is the way to go.

Then there was the rebuttal to the rebuttal of the original post.


Aren’t these arguments behind us yet? Hasn’t the industry come full circle and decided that self-published books aren’t all garbage and ebooks are here to stay? Why is there so much animosity still being levied from the legacy industry towards the self-published authors, and why are self-published authors still trying to uncover even approximate figures on books sold?

Not so long ago, a peaceful feeling settled on the book industry, one that had decided that print books and ebooks both served purposes and were useful for different audiences; at the same time, names like Konrath’s and Howey’s along with a score of other highly successful authors became synonymous with creative control and outsmarting the gatekeepers. So why is this hostility creeping back into the news?

Quite possibly some of the angst has been spurred by Howey’s first outspoken frustration with an industry that still insists on guarding book figures as if they were secret rocket formulas. Howey rightly points to the need for accurate data in order for authors to make informed decisions about which publishing route would be best for their books, and that data cannot come from author surveys alone.

And while The Passive Voice shared a number of graphs on author earnings that were compiled by, it was the rebuttal post by Joshua Blimes of JABberwocky lit agency that trashes any concept behind Howey’s questioning post, calling out the author’s summation as a means to discredit the argument.

“After a lot of fuzzy math and bad statistics that occasionally intersect with the truth, Howey comes up with this conclusion: ‘Our data suggests that even stellar manuscripts are better off self-published.’

“Sorry, Hugh. There is absolutely nothing in your blog post that justifies that conclusion. This is not the same as saying that your conclusion is wrong. Maybe it’s right. But if it’s right, it’s not because of anything — anything! — in your blog post.”

Has it really come back to this level? Are legacy publishers and professionals so threatened by self-published authors that this level of effort goes into picking apart an argument in favor of indie authors? Even more importantly, in the era of taking ownership and control over the process, why are these financial secrets still so…secret?

Sadly, there is one branch of the publishing industry who simply does not care how the book came into existence, and that branch cannot be ignored: the reader. Author, agents, and publishers can argue all they want while the industry watchers report on it, but at the end of the day, the reader simply does not care how the book was published. He wants a great read at a great price, and as ebook sales and retailers’ profits have demonstrated, he wants it relatively conveniently. The rest is just details, and it’s a complete time suck to argue over who can do it better.

Us vs Them Rears Its Head in Publishing Once More is a post from: E-Reader News

Dell First to Offer 64 Bit Windows 8.1 Running Venue 8 Pro and Venue 11 Pro Tablet


A good number of Windows 8.1 based tablet devices, all running the 32 bit version of the OS. That’s about to change now that Dell has announced the launch of Venue 8 Pro and Venue 11 Pro tablet devices running 64 bit Windows 8.1. Both tablet versions will be on display at the upcoming Mobile World Congress and will be the first to offer 64 bit computing with Windows 8.1.

The 64 bit enabled Windows tablets will generally cost more than their 32 bit counterparts and will be targeted more at the enterprise segment. While the 32 bit Dell Venue 11 Pro starts at around $500, the same with 64 bit of computational power will be priced no less than $800. Further, the Venue 11 Pro in the 64 bit mode sports an Intel Haswell chip, which has made the tablet a tad thicker and heavier than one running 32 bit Windows based on the Intel Bay Trail chip. However, Intel has stated that would change as efforts are already underway to have Intel Bay Trail chips power 64 bit Windows tablets in the future.

Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64 explained: “Sixty-four-bit connected standby drivers were prioritized toward the end of the list last year with other things that were going inside Intel and Microsoft. That was the main sticking point. A tablet without connected standby has some pretty awful consequences on battery life.”

Brookwood also explained the reason for 64 bit, saying it allows more memory at one's disposal, thereby providing a performance boost to the device.

"The pressure for 64-bit, even in tablets that might not have 4GB of DRAM, is pretty strong because IT organizations want to standardize on 64-bit images and 64-bit apps,” further added Brookwood.

Also another strong reason for Microsoft to really push for 64 bit is that Apple has already taken the lead on this. All the current generation iPads, iPad Minis, and iPhone 5s now offer 64 bit computing, reason enough for Microsoft to offer a 64 bit option.

Dell First to Offer 64 Bit Windows 8.1 Running Venue 8 Pro and Venue 11 Pro Tablet is a post from: E-Reader News

Daily Deals & Freebies – February 13

Kindle Daily Deals Buying In by Laura Hemphill Bright, ambitious Sophie Landgraf has landed a job as a Wall Street analyst. The small-town girl finally has her ticket to the American elite, but she doesn't realize the toll it will take—on her boyfriend, on her family, and on her. It isn't long before Sophie is […]

More on Raspberry Pi in Africa

One of the biggest (and nicest) surprises for us over the last two years has been the Raspberry Pi project’s popularity outside the UK. Over three quarters of our sales are now to overseas customers, and while the US and mainland Europe are our largest markets (with honorable mentions to Australia, New Zealand and Japan), there’s also been a lot of interest from the developing world.

Robotics with Raspberry Pi at Kids Hacker Camp, iHub Nairobi. “Resistors are like parents”!

We’ve already posted about Frederik and Ernest’s epic Pi-powered journey from the UK to South Africa. Alongside this, over the last six months Graham Schwikkard has been working to get supplies of Raspberry Pis into hackspaces across sub-Saharan Africa.

young people programming in Scratch on a Raspberry Pi, Co-creation Hub, Nigeria

Programming in Scratch on a Raspberry Pi, Co-creation Hub, Nigeria

It’s a testament to the rapid pace of development in countries like Kenya and Nigeria that most of these engagements are commercial rather than charitable. While the first batch of Raspberry Pis sent to each location are free, the end goal is to enable local entrepreneurs to set themselves up as value-added resellers (VARs) and to build profitable businesses around the Pi.

It’s early days yet, but as you can see from these photos and videos we’re finding boundless enthusiasm for our little computer a long way from home.

5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Your Smartphone

Free apps that are making smartphones capable of doing more than ever before.

Reimagining the Personal Library

With so much focus on the plight of libraries, a number of options have been proposed for libraries to reinvent themselves in an effort to keep up with the changing face of book consumption in the digital era. Some library systems have gone so far as to establish 21st century models for libraries, including everything from computer terminals, classroom and meeting spaces, green energy community gardens, and more. Some reports even point to libraries that have literally zero physical books, opting for everything patrons consume to be digitized and shareable.

With articles like that of Christopher John Farley’s for the SepakEasy section that accurately asks if we even need libraries anymore, public perception of the dusty old print volumes stored Dewey Decimal-style in a “silence only” moldy building may be the norm for too many people. At the same time, a committee formed by Connecticut special law has now officially recommended that the state take almost no action at this time to boost digital lending in state libraries, recommending instead that they observe the digital publishing industry for now.

But as libraries work to reimagine their roles in communities and demonstrate their worth, perhaps it is the concept of library patrons that needs some clarification as well.

A Pew Internet report last year found that slightly more than half of respondents had visited a library or library website in the past year, down to 54% from 59% the year before. Yet, 90% of those same respondents stated that libraries are vital to the overall health of communities.

Which is it? Do consumers really want libraries in their communities that they don’t intend to use? And if so, why?

One possible explanation is the increasing awareness that libraries serve a very important role in maintaining the fabric of society, especially for underserved demographics of the population. It’s almost as if citizens liken libraries to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen; they adamantly agree that their towns should definitely have one, even if they themselves do not plan to ever need the services.

With more consumers building their own private libraries of digital books, music, movies, and audiobooks on their devices, the need to borrow someone else’s content may have diminished. Have most public library patrons become too wealthy to need a library? Or has the price of books and content come down to the point that it is easier, more convenient, and affordable enough for most people to just press the buy button instead of waiting to borrow a title?

If that’s actually the case, then consumers have demonstrated the real power of libraries, which is access to books, disruptive thought, and literacy for all of society. It’s astounding that voters would support libraries that they don’t intend to use, and speaks to the need and the desire to provide even more funding for these institutions to ensure that they can continue in the role that citizens have put them in, at least until ongoing efforts are successful to change the common perception of a library in the minds of its non-users.

Reimagining the Personal Library is a post from: E-Reader News

Students “obsessed” with e-reading in Pleasant Valley School District

Pleasant Valley School District in California launched their digital library through OverDrive at the end of January this year. Since its opening, the administrators have seen phenomenal response from their staff, students and parents as they learn how to borrow and engage with eBooks and audiobooks.

"Our experience with OverDrive has been nothing short of excellent," said Jay Greenlinger, Director of Instructional Technology at Pleasant Valley School District. "From the quality of the product to the high standard of customer service, we are very pleased.  PV_KidsRarely do we find vendors who are so willing to help when we have issues or questions.  Every step of the way, the OverDrive team has been helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly."

Unsolicited feedback from the school district's digital library users include statements from parents, such as this one: "I also have to tell you that the digital library is amazing. My third grader is not the biggest reader, but now he's obsessed with doing it on his iPad. Great program."

Additionally, Pleasant Valley teachers have tweeted about the OverDrive program:

tweet1 tweet2 tweet3


OverDrive spoke with Greenlinger to find out more about Pleasant Valley School District's experience with their new eBook service.

Since implementing your OverDrive eBook service, what has the experience been like for your staff, students and parents?

We have had a very positive reception from staff, students and parents. In the two weeks since we opened our library to our District, we have had hundreds of students and staff checking out books, making requests for new books to be purchased, and – most importantly – reading eBooks. From the initial conversations with the sales team to the ongoing work we do with our account representative, every interaction with OverDrive has been positive.

How have you gotten the word out about eBooks in your schools?

We are using many forms of promotion. Our schools and teachers are placing information in their email newsletters.  The district has used its social media outlets to promote the site as well. We use our Facebook page and Twitter handle, along with our district website, which has an easy-to-find icon that links to our OverDrive collection. On February 18th, we will be welcoming the Digital Bookmobile to one of our campuses, which will also allow us to promote the OverDrive library in a hands-on way for parents and students.

How did you train your staff to use OverDrive eBooks?

As part of our Common Core trainings, we are holding grade level release days. We are training teachers on a number of digital tools, and OverDrive is one of the tools most appreciated by teachers.  In fact, we plan time into each of these days for teachers to explore the digital library, search for books they want to use in their classroom, and to make requests.

What impact have you seen on student engagement with your school library?

We have immediately seen an interest from students, and we receive feedback from students, teachers, and parents that convince us this was a great decision.


If you'd like to learn more about best practices for implementing, promoting and maintaining your school digital library collection, keep up with the OverDrive School blog, or get great title list suggestions from our Collection Development blog. Check out our Partner Portal for an abundance of marketing materials, service enhancements and information from our Learning Center.


Heather Tunstall is the Public Relations Specialist at OverDrive.


Putting users first

At Digipalooza '13, Support Services Manager, Drew Small's presentation was on how we are delivering on the promise of putting the users first. During the presentation, he mentioned the ratio of support cases per 1,000 checkouts – at the time it was 1.20 cases per 1,000 checkouts. To provide an update the year ended at 1.06 cases per 1,000 checkouts with December and January at .67 and .64 cases per 1,000 checkouts. That's almost 1 support case for every 1,500 checkouts!

How did we get here? By providing more resources to you and your users, allowing them to resolve common issues, streamlining websites and mobile apps with emphasis on user experience, and inviting feedback. I've talked about some of these things in past blog posts, but I'd like to briefly mention them again here.

  • Redesigned Help website – On Valentine's day of 2012, we relaunched our help pages. The update made our help pages searchable, added videos and visual aids, and expanded the number of solutions offered. After two years and lots of feedback, we are continuing to improve the quality of information offered in OverDrive Help.
  • End-user management tools – I talked about this addition to Marketplace back in August. The tools allow you to manage user holds, return titles and reset download links – tasks that used to require a support case, slowing down the process of resolving those issues. We added other tools to Marketplace as well, allowing you to generate reports and manage invoices better, see content credits, and get answers to your invoicing questions easier.
  • Next Generation websites – NextGen was a complete rebuild of the site hosting your digital collection. We reduced the number of clicks needed to get the books you wanted – sticking to the "See Book, Read Book" approach.  OverDrive Read accompanied the NextGen launch, simplifying eBook reading by removing Adobe authorization from the equation and giving users a book that could be read on virtually anything with a browser. Additional features include recommending titles to libraries, improved wish lists and holds lists, returning titles from the bookshelf, and renewing titles.
  • Updated app design – We've improved the experience of using OverDrive Media Console across the two most popular platforms (Android and iOS) by unifying the look and feel of the app, making the most of touch-based navigation. Adding OverDrive One adds the option to sync reading progress across multiple devices using the latest version of OMC mobile, while asking users for feedback to help us determine where OverDrive One takes us next. Additionally, we've improved OMC for Windows 8, allowing it to work closely with the classic desktop version of OMC, as well as OverDrive One.
  • Streaming Video and MP3 only audiobooks – Streaming Video has replaced WMV video, and MP3 only audiobooks mean no more WMA, removing the pesky Microsoft security upgrade from the process, opening up support for more platforms with books previously unavailable due to format restrictions.

As we continue to improve our services, we have one focus in mind – the user. As always, we welcome feedback from you and your users as we strive to offer the best digital library experience.


Justin Noszek is a Support Services Specialist at OverDrive.


eHighlights: Your Guide to What’s New at OverDrive – Children’s & YA Edition



Happy February! With the last full month of winter in full swing, keep your children and young adult audience engaged with content for all those snow days! This week's list has some wonderful YA titles in the incredibly popular dystopian literature genre—like the last installment in the Under the Never Sky series, Into the Still Blue, and titles like Ignite Me, Scarlet, and Landry Park. Delightful children's titles include a new picture book from Il Sung Na A Book of Babies, two cute titles for girls, I Heart Band and Wedding Wings, and two bestselling heartbreaking, yet heartwarming titles in This Star Won't Go Out and Wonder.

Happy Reading!



Esther EarlThis Star Won't Go Out
Penguin eBook
A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her. Ages 12 and up – #1 Bestseller in Children's Biographies on Amazon.


Bethany HaganLandry Park
Penguin eBook
Sixteen-year-old Madeline Landry is practically Gentry royalty. Her ancestor developed the nuclear energy that has replaced electricity, and her parents exemplify the glamour of the upper class. As for Madeline, she would much rather read a book than attend yet another debutante ball. But when she learns about the devastating impact the Gentry lifestyle—her lifestyle—is having on those less fortunate, her whole world is turned upside down. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty—her family and the estate she loves dearly—and desire. YA – 100,000 print run.


Tahereh MafiIgnite Me
HarperCollins eBook and Audio
With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her. YA – Goodreads Can't Wait Books of 2014 #8. 125,000 print run.


Marissa MeyerScarlet
Macmillan Audio
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. YA – 250,000 print run.


R. J. PalacioWonder
Random House eBook
August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid–but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. Ages 8-12 – NY Times Bestseller.


Il Sung NaA Book of Babies
Random House eBook
"When the flowers begin to bloom and the world starts turning green, animals everywhere are born. Some have lots of brothers and sisters. Some have none at all. Some are born with soft, warm fur, while some are born with smooth scales. Some can walk right away–others need a little help!" As with Il Sung Na’s previous offerings, A Book of Babies is filled with rich illustrations, endearing animals, and a spare text–all wrapped up in a gorgeous package. Picture Book – Amazon Best Books of the Month.


Veronica Rossi Into the Still Blue
HarperCollins eBook and Audio
The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi’s epic Under the Never Sky trilogy, and sequel to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Through the Ever Night. Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world. YA – 125,000 print run. Goodreads Can't Wait Books of 2014 #12.


Michelle Shusterman & Genevieve Kote I Heart Band
Penguin eBook
Holly Mead’s first day of seventh grade isn’t going as planned. Her brother ruins her carefully chosen outfit, she’s almost late, and her new band director has some surprisingly strict rules. Worst of all, it seems like her best friend, Julia, has replaced her with Natasha, the pretty, smart, new French horn player! Holly is determined to get first chair, but Natasha is turning out to be some pretty stiff competition—and not just in band. Band might be a competition, but friendship isn’t—and Holly needs to figure it out before she loses Julia for good. 8-12 years – Amazon Best Books of the Month.


Elizabeth ScottHeartbeat
Harlequin eBook
Since her mother’s sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward because her mother is, in a way, still there. She’s being kept alive on machines for the sake of the baby growing inside her. Estranged from her stepfather and letting go of things that no longer seem important–grades, crushes, college plans–Emma has only her best friend to remind her to breathe. Until she meets a boy with a bad reputation who sparks something in her, Caleb Harrison, whose anger and loss might just match Emma’s own. YA – 150,000 print run.


Kiki Thorpe & Jana ChristyWedding Wings
Random House eBook
Gabby is going to be a flower girl in a wedding! But a Never Land fairy hidden in her basket causes big trouble on her big day. Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies star in a magical early chapter book series for girls, The Never Girls! Ages 7-9. 125,000 print run.


To easily order any of the titles listed here, please go to:

eHighlights Metered Access

eHighlights One Copy/One User



Commentary – If I was in Charge of Nook Media


The Barnes and Noble Nook division is one of the most longstanding and successful brands in the e-reader and tablet sector. The bookseller jumped into the eBook revolution in 2009 with an online store and their own flagship device. Their first few devices sold like wildfire, but sales have tapered off with each subsequent release. Nook Media has been losing money each quarter for over a year and most of their executives in charge of books, hardware and accessories have all left the company. What if they hired me to run the show? Here is my game plan to turn Nook around.

Enhancing the Retail Experience

The average Barnes and Noble bookstore is around 26,000 square-feet in size. The Nook retail area, where devices are showcased are normally 1,000 sq ft, and larger stores have 2,000 sq ft.

This is a solid amount of space to showcase the Nook Glowlight, Nook HD and Nook HD+, which is the current generation lineup. Not to mention accessories, such as cases, and screen protectors.

The Nook display section has no consistency in overall design and customer experience. The flagship Union Square location looks way better than the store in Las Vegas. Once you start going to more rural bookstores, in smaller markets the Nook display section lacks. I have walked into bookstores and saw nothing more than a wooden table, with a blue sheet and stuff piled all over it.

If I was in charge of Nook Retail I would create a blueprint and template that all stores would have to abide by. I would mandate that all Nook areas would be close to the front entrance and by the window. It would feature a clean white overall design, with vibrant color coded areas where you would find devices, accessories and a Nook Kiosk. Having street traffic seeing a cool, hi-tech area would prompt them to come in the store. It is important to build a consistent experience, walking into a big store in New York, would be the same as walking into one in Seattle.

The Nook Kiosk would be another hardware innovation that all stores would get. It would allow customers to browse the Nook library of eBooks. They would be able to buy and send the books right to their devices, or pre-order ones that have not come out yet. If a new e-Reader or tablet is announced, customers would be able to order them in the Nook area, and make sure they are on the list. This would all be fed to a centralized Nook admin server, where stores could get extra allocated units. This would save time from the retail staff having to this manually, which is the only way to currently do it.

The average Barnes and Noble bookstore does not have an army of employes. I have witnessed that many in the store wear different hats, whether its inventory, cash, restocking or helping customers. The people in the Nook area, often are not dedicated and feature a revolving cadre of characters. I would mandate that every store location needs 3 trained people for the Nook area, two of which are full time and another that works when one the core people are sick, or on vacation. There would be regional trainers who would be responsible for each State, and would bring people into that State’s flagship store for a week of training. They need to be Nook Certified.

Accessories, Accessories, Accessories

Barnes and Noble has a line of accessories for their line of tablets and e-readers, none of which are really compelling. Sure you have the ubiquitous cases, screen protectors, charging cables and even a pair of Nook headphones. They need to solve this situation to make the Barnes and Noble accessories line, more modern and current.

If I ran the accessories division at Barnes and Noble, the first thing I would do is buyout a company called DecalGirl. They make custom art and designs for the back of Barnes and Noble e-readers and tablets. You can buy a vinyl decal and attach it yourself. You can also elect to buy custom cases with hundreds of funky designs. If a customer has their own vision of what they want their device to look like, they can use the automated online tools to customize their own and have it shipped out.

This is the exact type of service and design strategy that Barnes and Noble has to employ. Amazon is the only other company to offer something like this, but they don’t have a retail environment to put these in customers hands and showcase the product in a compelling fashion.

Barnes and Noble has to stop developing their own headphones and other accessories. The product line is really outdated and no new designs have been made in a number of years. Instead I would reach out to Pebble, Jawbone, Qualcomm, Fitbit, Beats by Dr. Dre and other smart accessory companies that make things like rings and necklaces. There is no denying that more people are buying these types of things from electronics stores, or companies like Best Buy. It would serve Barnes and Nobles interests to enhance their stores image with carrying an ultra modern line of accessories people are buying now in droves and will be buying in the near future. They likely would cannibalize their own accessory sales by doing this, but in the long-term they would make more money selling Beats headphones with a cool book design on it.

Nook Services

Barnes and Noble has their own app store, but it is only compatible for users living in the USA and UK. Barnes and Noble has a movie and video area, but again is only good for those two countries. The inclusion of Google Play suddenly made Nook accessible to more people, in more countries.

Many avid Nook users claim the Barnes and Noble App Store is woeful and does not feature a great selection of apps. The staff who is charge of curation and business development are under funded and short of brilliant minds. If I ran Nook Services, I would kill the App Store and Kill the television and movie rental business.

My intention is to remove all of the barriers that would hinder more international adoption of the Nook Tablet line. There is nothing worse than buying a new device and finding out nothing works in your country, and there is no way to uninstall it. It would free up internal resources to focus on more critical aspects of the business. Honestly, now that Google Play Services is on the Nook tablet, my bet is the metrics say more customers are downloading apps from Google, rather than Barnes and Noble now.

The goal is to find identity with Nook Services. Is the priority your own app store and television system or is relying on Google. You cannot do both and it is a waste of resources, management and time to do two things at once. Its one or the other, and I would bet on Google as a content distribution system.

The Synergy between Nook Press and Indie Titles in Bookstores

If there was one oportonity that Barnes and Noble is missing, more than anything else, is the synergy between Nook Press and their bookstores. Nook Press is the companies self-publishing program and is a direct follow-up to PUBIT! The platform itself pales in comparison to competitors programs like Amazon and Kobo. Heck, UK authors cannot even use Nook Press to publish in the US and UK.

If i was in charge of Nook Press and displaced Teresa Horner the first thing I would do is partner up with a service like Ingram Lightning Source. US authors would be able to self-publish books digitally and make them available for the retail stores to purchase. Ingram basically runs a giant print on demand system, where authors can have copies of their books printed, if someone places an order. This method proves to be quite popular with competitors.

There are obvious benefits of partnering with Ingram, rather then investing in a POD system from the ground up. It would save a massive amount of time and money to just bite the bullet and get in bed with Ingram. Eventually, once you figure out the logistics of the entire POD process, you can slowly roll-out your in-house alternative.

I have been following the entire eBook and e-reader industry since one year after the original Kindle came out. I have seen many major booksellers go bankrupt, some taking chances, some taking none at all. The most squandered opportunity that Barnes and Noble has missed in the last five years is getting self-published titles in their store, from their own authors. Barnes and Noble sorely needs a self-publishing super-star to carry the torch and be a walking banner for their services. They cant do that without Nook Press POD.

One of the big hindrances of Barnes and Noble international expansion for the Nook in general, is the complex publishing rights to books, magazines and other digital content. Since self-publishing does not abide by these same restrictions, Barnes and noble is in a position to expand their print on demand service and digital titles on a worldwide basis.

Nook Press would be a viable way to expand the Nook bookstore into other markets and launch with self-published titles and then make inroads with local publishers. The start of international expansion would be indie titles.

Expand or Die

Nook Media is at a cross-roads when it comes to their entire line of e-readers and tablets. The USA market, which is their core, is woefully saturated with offerings by Acer, Asus, Kindle, Samsung, LG, and a slew of others. How many quarterly loses of hardware sales do you need before you have that pivotal wake-up call.

If I was in charge of Nook Hardware, the overall emphasis would be international distribution and what do we have to do to make this a reality. Latin America, South Africa, China, Russia, Netherlands, Australia are all growing markets. Nook has to expand, there is no way the product line can continue if they dont.

The first thing I would do is make the tablets and e-readers as internationally friendly as possible. They are all running Android, it is quite easily to localize them to a foreign language. The Google Play store makes it relevant in almost every country and putting a priority on reading, is the name of the game.

The second, would require moving into  Germany, Spain, and France, first. These are the markets  that are most mature digitally and is a natural land crossing from the UK. I would hire someone with a decade of publishing experience to open a satellite office . Next, they would be able to say what stores would make sense to carry the devices.  I would select bookstores, because that is where the readers are, you don’t want tech shops.  Next, the agent would hire a small team of publishing veterans to make deals with anyone who made a deal with Kobo or Amazon to get their digital content in the localized store. The store, would only be on the tablets and e-readers to start and later the website. This is the blueprint to expansion on a superficial level. This move for localized content would keep the Microsoft overlords happy, because they would be able to market more books on Windows 8.

Does anyone really wonder why Sony abandoned the USA with e-Readers and Why Kobo did too? Why did Pocketbook pull out of North America all together and most companies bypassed it? It is because its a lost cause. If you are USA-centric with your hardware, you are neglecting all of the markets that have not been the focus of other companies international strategies. Pure Google tablets are boring, everyone who has one, has one already. People want something more compelling, a device to read technical PDF documents, to read books, to read a newspaper. Nook is all of these things at heart.

Wrap  Up

This article is not meant to talk about, if Barnes and Noble should get out of the e-reader/tablet game.  For better or worse, they are basically committed to it for the long-haul. Making device recommendations is a fools errand, because technology changes so fast.

Nook has spent a copious amount of money on making devices, making bookstore, a self-publishing program, an app-store,  movie/tv services and building accessories.  There are too many things on the go, with little development happening on any one thing. Ditching the App Store, movies and television services would free up capital, talent and assets.

It is important to  make partnerships to get self-published books in all Barnes and Noble bookstores and give the book buyers recommended options for the stars of Nook Press. Put the authors on a bookstore tour and build momentum. Get in newspapers, blogs and websites. Draw attention to Nook Press, make indie authors believe this is the best Amazon alternative.

Many bookstore chains are fiercely anti-Amazon and are always looking for alternatives. This has been the key to Kobo’s success, an upstart company who built a template on expansion and duplicated it many times. There is nothing holding Barnes and Noble back from doing this, other than just hard work and the will to persevere. I fear, the old management who has all left were just complacent. Living off past accomplishments, like a high-school football player dreaming of that big play they made, once. Nook is a basically a 30 something year old former football player, living off their past glories, and lost for a personal identity.

Commentary – If I was in Charge of Nook Media is a post from: E-Reader News