“Someone said we were going to outline roadmaps for how we got to where we are. I’m going to do two things: tell you not to follow me because I don’t know where I’m going, and to share with you all the really bad ideas I’ve had over the years. I narrowed it down to my top 5,000 bad ideas, and then the top 500, and I think it got it down to my worst fifteen or twenty.”
Howey recounted a humorous story about his first disastrous efforts at navigating a large sailboat, likening it to the current state of publishing. “Where we are as experts is we’re looking at yesterday and trying to tell you what tomorrow’s going to be like. It’s what weather forecasters and hurricane forecasters do. It’s not a very good road map. What’s exciting is that someone out there should be up here telling us what they think.”
In his typical humility, Howey disparaged the idea that interview subjects should be some of the bigger names in publishing. “The ones who should be up here giving talks are the midlist authors, traditional or self, who their lives are being changed by these new tehcnologies. No one interviews those people, they wait until they’re outliers. There are people out there who are making a living with their work and no one’s ever heard of them, that’s the real story of self-publishing.”
Howey went on to expand on a number of ideas that are currently held in the industry in an air of dispelling the myths. One of the more profound ideas is that the rise of retail giant Amazon has actually been a good thing for independent book stores, as he outlined by demonstrating that shoppers who go to Amazon are looking for books whose titles they know in order to have a discount, but that the loss of browsing opportunities like Borders forced more consumers to look for book recommendations in smaller stores where individuals knew their customers.
In that vein, Howey supported the idea that self-published authors, long suffering from difficulty in getting their books placed in physical bookstores, shouldn’t concern themselves with the placement of their work in physical bookstores as the majority of sales are coming from online retail outlets.
More important is Howey’s concept of the weather forecaster, understanding that looking at what has worked in the past is not the safest bet when it comes to understanding how publishing is changing.
“Looking at trend lines is a bad idea for where this industry is going. The reason this industry is changing is the cost of producing and distributing books has plummeted to almost zero. When there’s a market force like this, it upsets an entire industry.”
Thursday, April 17, 2014
A panel presented by Amanda Barbara of book crowdfunding site Pubslush, C. Hope Clark of FundsforWriters, Miral Sattar of BiblioCrunch, and Orna Ross of the Alliance of Independent Authors offered a wealth of information about how to proceed with a publishing project, knowing that writing a great book is only the first and most important step towards a professional career.
“We help authors, both self-published authors and traditionally published authors, to really have the tools to build their platforms before they publish,” explained Barbara to the panel attendees. “It’s important for authors to have a place to build buzz around their books through social media. Readers really want to be able to connect with their favorite authors. We recently launched a program to allow publishers and different partners in the industry like self-publishers and editors to actually launch white-labeled pages on Pubslush.”
Pubslush, who sees its mission as more of a preorder tool that lets authorize monetize on their preorder sales in order to secure the services they need for publishing, states that the term crowdfunding can be misunderstood by supporters. Still, that hasn’t prevented the site from helping numerous authors meet their goals for their books through these preorders.
Clark, herself a mystery writer, launched a site that has been a Writer’s Digest Best Site for Writers for thirteen years. “I started FundsForWriters when I could not sell my mysteries, and I was so hellbent on being a writer I decided to do something, no matter what it was. FundForWriters gave me a platform to turn back around and develop the mystery series. My mantra is to not think that you’re going to go from point A to point B. You’re writing career is going to take off on all kinds of tangets.”
These tangents, according to Clark, naturally evolves into the author’s route to publication and ultimately career satisfaction, which is ultimately a better measure of success than any other factor.
BiblioCrunch’s CEO Miral Sattar explained the purpose of the platform as an Angie’s List of professional publishing resources, offering assistance to both authors and publishers alike; she and Ross spoke to the need for understanding where to find quality professional resources.
Some of the focus that the panelists offered was that there is no single method that will succeed for every book or every author. Also, crowdfunding as a solution is often misunderstood, both by people who’ve launched campaigns and by those who’ve supported them; in the case of these book preorders, it’s not a matter of asking ones own friends and family members to donate as it is selling content to interested parties. Clark pointed out that one of the major obstacles for authors in this regard is that there seems to be a disconnect between authors and discussions of money, as though the creative aspect is somehow going to make up for the business side of publishing and selling. Sattar rounded out the discussion by offering insight for authors in attendance on review and promotional opportunities, a notoriously difficult hurdle for many writers, as well as the need for vetting some of the professionals who claim to have knowledge of the industry.
Ross went on to remind authors that creating a fantastic product is not a solo effort, even for authors. “People think [independent] means just self-publishing only, but it means that you define yourself as the creative director of your book from conception to completion. Self-publishing is a misnomer because we don’t do this by ourself. You are in the partnership business, you are a collaborator.”
Authorpreneurship and the Business of Being an Author is a post from: Good e-Reader
At this morning’s keynote event from the 2014 PubSmartCon in Charleston, South Carolina, publishing industry professional Jane Friedman spoke on the roundabout definition of what it means to publish in the current climate. Examining it from its early roots, all the way through publishing via blogging, the session explored what authorship and readership have come to mean.
“It was the rise of literacy that allowed authors to make a living because it increased the market demand for books. But what’s interesting to me in the current dynamic is how everyone is becoming an author through social media and other instant publishing tools, whether that’s WordPress or KDP or Smashwords that allow you to control when, where, and how you distribute your words.”
Friedman went on to explanation how the growth of universal literacy has led to the concept of universal authorship, in which anyone has the ability to amplify their reach through publishing.
“This greatly changes the environment that we’re in, whether it’s in trying to increase visibility, make money, or either one. The universal authorship trend has driven up the number of titles that get published…but this is not even beginning to capture the entire universe of content that’s out there.”
Friedman was, of course, referring to the number of titles–both traditionally and self-published–that are known to be published under an ISBN number, something that not all books have. These numbers are known to be much higher than her data was able to indicate.
“Publishing is a button that you can press and distribute your ideas instantly to a worldwide audience. It used to be more of a rarefied process, controlled by the so-called gatekeepers or by people who were professionals who had very specialized knowledge. That’s not necessarily the case anymore, that calls into question, ‘What does it mean to publish when anyone can do it?’”
Friedman’s question has been asked by both supporters and critics of the current trends in publishing, but she portrays and industry where readers transform the social fabric surrounding the culture of books. But her more profound statement involved an understanding that Amazon is not an enemy of publishing, but the failure of publishers to sell to consumers and understand their readers in a more personal way is that enemy.
One suggestion Friedman carried for an industry that is struggling through the scarcity of attention for the abundance of content out there is to better understand the reader-book relationship and return attention to the readers. A number of trends she highlighted that are especially working for authors where they are is the mobilization of reading on smart devices, the return of serials through a wide variety of platforms, and the verticals of companies that are already making headway in the industry.
PubSmartCon: Jane Friedman on What It Means to Publish is a post from: Good e-Reader
Oyster is one of the more prominent eBook subscription websites and it is starting to distinguish themselves from a crowded marketplace. The company is trialing new speed reading technology from Spritz.
Spritz has been in the news a ton lately, as their speed-reading technology is going to be integrated in the Samsung Galaxy S5. The essence of the platform is to allow users to crank up how many words per minute a body of text will produce. Spritz is fairly useless on large screen displays, but really shines on smartphones, where reading lots of text is daunting.
There is only a single title right now using Spritz and is available at OysterBooks.com/Spritz, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” — the renowned business title by Stephen Covey with over 20 million copies sold to-date – is available for free. Oyster is challenging the public to complete the 432 print-pages of the book in under 2 hours.
This offer is a first-of-its-kind collaboration and Oyster and Spritz are excited to hear from users about the experience. They’ll evaluate the response and consider bringing additional full-length, in-copyright books to the public together again in the future.
Oyster Trials Speed Reading Technology from Spritz is a post from: Good e-Reader
Kobo released the Arc in 2012 as competitor to Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet and HD series, and Amazon's Kindle Fire. A few months back, Kobo brought us the Arc HD, as a way to get into the high definition market, as well as offering a 10-inch model to supplement their 7-inch device. The difference between the two devices in some ways makes the HD a step up from the standard Arc, but a few features make it merely a lateral move.
I'll start with the less-than-stellar changes to the Arc HD, beginning with the audio. The Arc offered dual front-facing speakers, allowing a stereo listening experience, while the Arc HD moves the single speaker to the back. If you're using headphones with the device, you're not really losing anything. However, sharing video or audio with friends may suffer. I also am not fond of the change from the power button to the slider on the top of the device. The projected battery life is down two hours from the Arc (10 hours) to the Arc HD (8 hours), and the 64 GB storage option is no longer available. Like I said – there are just a few features that don't stack up with the previous model. But now onto the changes for the better.
Obviously, the high definition screen is a step up from the standard definition of the older Arc model, especially now that they offer a 10-inch device, in addition to the 7-inch model I reviewed. No matter what size Kobo Arc HD you have, OverDrive Streaming Videos will look fantastic. If your library hasn't added Streaming Video to your OverDrive collection, contact your Collection Development Specialist to get started with this new popular format.
The processor has been upgraded from a dual-core to a quad-core, making the device more responsive and faster. Apps open and screens load super quickly, including web pages. You get Jelly Bean as the Android OS, meaning you get a relatively current Android experience with minimal overlay from Kobo. This gives you the feel of an Android tablet that just happens to have Kobo integration.
Another change from the Arc to the Arc HD that I really enjoyed was the exclusion of "Tapestries." With Tapestries, Kobo offered a way to organize apps in much the same way as the Android OS allows through the use of folders; however, they felt a little unwieldy on the Arc. Instead, they now offer a home screen page called "Collections" which arranges your groups of apps into a configuration resembling a bookshelf – it's a nice aesthetic touch for the avid reader.
The Arc HD is also Google Play certified, giving you instant access to Google's large collection of Android apps. This means you have quick access to install OverDrive Media Console on the device, and jump right into reading.
Justin Noszek is a Support Services Specialist at OverDrive.
eReatah originally launched their Netflix for eBooks subscription service back in September and changed their name to Entitle a few months later. The service heavily competes with Scribd and Oyster for users wanting to subscribe to their websites and download books on a monthly basis. While the competition relies on iOS and Android apps to appeal to the widest demographic of readers, Entitle is now supporting dedicated e-readers, such as the Kobo, Nook and Sony.
Entitle has been testing their e-reader system for a number of weeks and now the books are available for primetime. In order to get started you first need to download Adobe Digital Editions. This is a free app and allows you sync paid and borrowed eBooks directly to your e-reader. Once the book has been downloaded to your computer, you can use ADE to copy it to your Kobo Aura or Nook Glowlight. Once its on your device, it will pop up under your library and you can begin reading on the go.
The support for e-readers when it comes to dedicated eBook subscription services is quite weak. Amazon is the only company to offer this functionality with their Prime Kindle Lending Library. Scribd offers apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire, while Oyster is limited to iOS. Entitle has apps now for Android, iOS and now dedicated e-readers. Obviously when it comes to reading, sticking with an e Ink device is better for long reading sessions.
Entitle manages their eBook subscription service quite differently from their competitors. The company only offers a limited number of books a customer can borrow on a monthly basis. For $9.99 you can download two books a month and lots of big name publishers are supporting the efforts. The company has deals with major publishers including Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, HarperCollins Christian, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, with more than 100,000 professionally-published titles from authors like Stephen King and Dan Brown. Basically, it is a book of the month type club for a digital world.
Some of you will be aware that we’ve been working on a new, more responsive and more modern desktop experience for the Raspberry Pi. We thought you might like an update on where we are with the project.
The chip at the heart of the Raspberry Pi, BCM2835, contains an extremely powerful and flexible hardware video scaler (HVS), which can be used to assemble a stack of windows on the fly for output to the screen. You can see this as being a much more complicated version of the sprite capabilities you may remember from 8- and 16-bit computers and games consoles from the Commodore 64 onward.
The Wayland compositor API gives people like us a way to present the HVS to applications in a standards-based way. Over the last year we’ve been working with Collabora to implement a custom backend for the Weston reference compositor which uses the HVS to assemble the display. Last year we shipped a technology demonstration of this, and we’ve been working hard since then to improve its stability and performance.
The “missing piece” required before we can consider shipping a Wayland desktop as standard on the Pi is a graphical shell. This is the thing that adds task launching and task switching on top of the raw compositor capabilities provided by Wayland/Weston. The LXDE shell we use under X on the Pi doesn’t support Wayland, while those shells that do (such as Gnome) are too heavyweight to run well on the Pi. We’ve therefore been working with Collabora since the start of the year to develop a lightweight Wayland shell, which we’ve christened Maynard (maintaining the tradition of New England placenames). While it’s some distance from being ready for the prime time, we though we’d share a preview so you can see where we’re going.
Packages for Raspbian are available (this is a work in progress, so you won’t be able to replace your regular Raspbian desktop with this for general use just yet, and you’ll find that some features are slow, and others are missing). Collabra have made a Wiki page with compilation instructions available: and there’s a Git repository you can have a poke around in too.
|What exactly is SharePoint? (And how do you use it?) We found some great training resources that should help you get started.|
Samsung has announced that they have reached terms with Amazon to have a custom built Kindle store for its flagship Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. The store will launch in two weeks and phone owners will be able to download 15 eBooks for free as part of the deal.
The plans for the custom version of the Kindle Store will launch exclusively for the S5 for the first few months and older phones will get the service later in the year. Samsung wants to make the new Kindle store a big selling point of the phone.
The free books will be available from a pre-determined list. Users will get four “prominent” titles a month to choose from and be able to select one to download for free and read.
Amazon already has an Android app that people all over the world use to install on their phones and tablets. The one for Samsung was built exclusively for the resolution and specific screen size. Likely, you will get a better experience with this iteration, than the stock one. Still, free books is fairly compelling and the Kindle store will be preinstalled on all S5 phones, which is good promotion for Amazon.
Samsung and Amazon Partner up for Custom Kindle Store is a post from: Good e-Reader
Men are giving up on reading books and instead are switching to movies, internet and blogs. Overall men are starting to realize that they are not reading as much as they should, but according to a new study, there are many other factors.
OnePoll did a study on behalf of UK based Reading Agency and talked to over 2,000 young and adult men. 63% of men admit they simply don’t read as much as they think they should. Many blamed a lack of time while, a fifth said they find it difficult or don’t enjoy it.
As men start to get older they tend to read less, as life gives them more distractions. 46% of the men reported reading fewer books now than they did in the past; a third prefer the internet and 30% engage more with film and TV. Not surprisingly a staggering one in five men confessed that they have pretended to have read a specific title in order to appear more intelligent. Meanwhile 30% stated that have not read a single book unless it was mandatory reading in school.
The study also drew the interesting conclusion that men are not visiting libraries or bookstores anymore. They tend to shop for more practical things or zone out on a movie on television or Netflix. Women on the other hand tend to loan books to each other and participate in the bookstore scene.