Impulse Buying For The Win

July 30, 2009

I now pronounce you monetized: a YouTube video case study

First, if you haven’t seen the video, watch:

Now … the rest of the story:

Last week the world watched in wonder as Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz’s wedding party transformed a familiar and predictable tradition into something spontaneous and just flat-out fun. The video, set to R&B star Chris Brown’s hypnotic dance jam “Forever,” became an overnight sensation, accumulating more than 10 million views on YouTube in less than one week. But as with all great YouTube videos, there’s more to this story than simple view counts.

At YouTube, we have sophisticated content management tools in place to help rights holders control their content on our site. The rights holders for “Forever” used these tools to claim and monetize the song, as well as to start running Click-to-Buy links over the video, giving viewers the opportunity to purchase the music track on Amazon and iTunes. As a result, the rights holders were able to capitalize on the massive wave of popularity generated by “JK Wedding Entrance Dance” — in the last week, searches for “Chris Brown Forever” on YouTube have skyrocketed, making it one of the most popular queries on the site:

It continues from there.

Basically the bottom line is:

1) Give people a fast, affordable, and easy way to buy something now now now and they’ll do so.

2) Don’t be stupid and run to issue a DMCA Takedown notice!

New Sony Reader Models: PRS-300 And PRS-600

July 30, 2009


PRS-300: 5″ screen, no audio, no card slots.


PRS-600: 6″ touchscreen, audio, two card slots (SD/MS), touchscreen, stylus, no sidelighting.

Two PDF service documents for these models were leaked. Since this is the Internet, I was able to track them down to view even though Sony killed the URLs that had been posted.

The configuration of the 300 is a repudiation of all the careful thought that went into the design of the original 500, with that thinking refined for the 505. Apparently Sony caved in to the inability of people to figure out how to hold the unit by its lower left corner with the thumb over the page control. In this case, utter stupidity has been victorious in the marketplace once again.

The 600 is the 700 downgraded. The sidelighting has been removed. Perhaps this will increase the contrast of the screen, a point many people raised about the original 700. Everything else about the 700 is most likely otherwise retained, including things such as Search and taking Notes.

Both models will be for sale in the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Colors will be the usual Silver, Black, and Red for both models.

Neither model has any kind of wireless capability built-in.

Both models also reject the classic book-like fold-over cover in favor of shipping with protective sleeves. It’s unknown if covers will be available as options. The left-side straight-edge design of both units seems to indicate that possibility — as do embedded magnets in both. I guess not including a lush cover helps to lower the retail price.

Rumors are the 300 will hit the $199.00 price point. The 600 is rumored to be $300 or maybe even $349 (don’t be surprised if it’s $399, however; these are rumors!).

Both models will have Macintosh OS X compatibility. How this is accomplished is unknown. Perhaps through the Sony eLibrary software or firmware that allows simple drag-and-drop using Adobe Digital Editions. Or perhaps both: one for Sony’s BBeB format, one for ePub format. Sony does not have an Apple-like record for uncomplexification.

I’m trying to get excited over these, but I can’t. Static ePub is dead. eInk displays are dead.

If the mythical Apple Tablet does indeed materialize in September, both of these new Readers are dead too.

Another Memo Print Publishing Will Ignore

July 29, 2009

Yahoo committed seppuku today

Nintendo didn’t give up when Microsoft came into the video game space–they innovated. Now the Wii outsells the mighty XBOX 50 million to 30 million. That is how you fight Microsoft: you innovate. Steve Jobs knows this, Nintendo knows this, and Oracle knows this. Yahoo, apparently, did not get the 40-year-old memo.

Aggression and innovation wins. Period.

Emphasis added by me.


The lesson for all startups–and BDC’s (big dumb companies)–is that innovation is all you have. Once you stop innovating you lose your talent and you lose the race. Never. Stop. Innovating. Never. Never. Never.

Emphasis added by me.

ePub is not an innovation.

Editis eBook Hearts Apple!

July 27, 2009

Snowbag, in an excellent Comment, pointed out something I saw but didn’t see in the Editis video:

Oh, did you note the apple postmark on the iCard/ecard?

I saw it … but didn’t see it.

Now that he’s pointed it out — wow!


Closer and bigger;


Apple’s Absolutely Brilliant eBook Strategy

July 27, 2009

Apple joins forces with record labels

Apple is working with the four largest record labels to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads, in a move it hopes will change buying trends on its online iTunes store.

Emphasis added by me.

And some details about that:

Apple wants to make bigger purchases more compelling by creating a new type of interactive album material, including photos, lyric sheets and liner notes that allow users to click through to items that they find most interesting. Consumers would be able to play songs directly from the interactive book without clicking back into Apple’s iTunes software, executives said.

Emphasis added by me.

That’s Apple entering eBooks. Right there.

Some history to lay the groundwork for this.

In my seminal post, Steve Jobs Is Up To Something. Probably Big., I quoted Jobs. The key sentence in his dissing of the Amazon Kindle is this:

The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

Emphasis added by me. Those words are the important bit.

You’re Steve Jobs at Apple. You know that doing eBooks is inevitable. It’s part of the ding in the universe that you know you still have to make.

But how to do it?

Saying “book” is like saying “PBS” for “TV” or “NPR” for “radio.” “Book” does not say fun, exciting, engaging — to those who do not buy books. (That’s exactly how the current eBook conception is “flawed at the top.”)

And those people — those who aren’t book buyers — are a huge percentage of the customers at the iTunes Store, who are daily downloading millions and millions of fun, exciting, engaging songs and videos.

To win the eBook battle, he has to get those people to buy them.

The cliche way would be do to limp eBooks about bands and musicians. But what good would that do? They’d be instantly recognized as books.

So to grab those people, to show them what an Apple eBook will be like, Apple will use the Trojan Horse method.

Which is brilliant!

Here is that brilliance:

“It’s all about re-creating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music,” said one executive familiar with the plans.

If you don’t understand the importance of that, let me introduce you to writer Martin Millar, who blogged about this very thing back in February: The Modern World Continues to Disappoint:

No longer having a record deck, I have records I haven’t heard for many years. One of these being Hawkwind’s Space Ritual, their live magnum opus from the 70s. As a young teenager, I spent a lot of time in my bedroom listening to this, nodding my head to the endless repetitive riffs, and marvelling at the mighty record sleeve. This folded out into six sheets, full of entertaining words and images. Well, they were entertaining if you were a teenage boy and sort of imagined it would be fun to fly around the universe in a space ship with Hawkwind. (I didn’t have a lot of girlfriends in those days. OK I had no girlfriends.)

After considering buying this for some years I was finally overwhelmed with nostalgia, so I bought the CD. I knew it wouldn’t be the same but I wanted it anyway.

It wasn’t till this CD arrived that I realised what a tremendous disappointment the packaging would be. Gone is the mighty album sleeve which folded out into such a huge item, replaced by a puny little booklet, which isn’t the same at all. The whole thing is a great disappointment.

Here’s a picture of me holding the original sleeve, and the modern equivalent. You can see why I’m not happy.


Anyone who has ever bought an LP with an extensive sleeve immediately understands this. It’s a huge part of the fun that Compact Discs took away.

But there are people who have never bought an LP. There might even be iTunes Store customers who have never even bought a CD!

So the way to grab them, to introduce them to the dimension of music they’ve been missing — and to introduce them to eBooks The Apple Way — Apple will do this to woo them into the fold.

This has the additional added benefit of making everyone STFU about the question, “What could Apple do with eBooks?”

This “interactive booklet” will be Apple eBook 1.0.

Mark the 1.0 bit. Because I want all of you to consider how much more iPhone OS 3.0 towers over the original 1.0.

Apple will be bringing a 1.0 eBook to market. But unlike crappy ePub and all the crappy eInk devices, Apple will be able to go on to bring an eBook 2.0, an eBook 3.0, and beyond.

Starting today, everyone can ignore these things: Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, all eBook hardware devices, ePub, and all the ways so-called “eBooks” have been done.

The Age of the eBook has not even begun.

It will now that Apple is doing it.

How Steve Jobs Wins, Part Two

July 26, 2009

Originally published at Mike Cane’s No Flickr Blog:


Jobs illustrates just how “complex” a program should be. Apple wins, thinking like that.

See Roughly Drafted: iDVD hung out to dry as Apple pushes movies online

— originally published on Flickr January 30, 2009

I repeat this because people seeing the Editis post are probably scoffing at how “difficult” it would be to create Intelligent eBooks such as those.

Yet look at how Apple managed to bring movie creation and DVD authoring to the masses:

It’s all been made drag-and-drop simple.

But what does this have to do with eBooks? It’s what I’ve mentioned before: Pages.

Hop to 3:22 in this video to see a demo of Pages:

If you’ve watched that, and you’re a writer who has struggled with HTML, XML, ePub or any other eBook format, you must be drooling at the mouth over the utter simplicity and obviousness of that approach.

No coding, no dicking around with screwy CSS, no “Let me try this and then go into Preview Mode to see if that works” nonsense.

As the opening quote stated, people drag and drop their stuff and hit Burn.

Apple could easily extend Pages so after everything has been assembled, the final button to hit is Make eBook.

I don’t know a single writer — including Moriah Jovan — who would choose manual labor for building an eBook over an automated approach.

Plus, Apple lists resources for commercial and community-created Pages templates. When Pages has been extended to handle eBooks, sites such as ePub Zen Garden will be a quaint (though still nightmarish) memory.

That day cannot arrive soon enough.

For writers as well as readers.

Previously here:

What REALLY Delayed The Apple Tablet
Part Of The eBook Vision
What One Big Change Would An Apple iTablet Bring?
Dumb eBooks Must Die, Smart eBooks Must Live
ALL eInk Devices: BAD For eBooks!