Publishers Versus Readers

January 26, 2010

Avid Readers Want Both eBooks and Print Books

He also noted that a staggering two-thirds of avid readers surveyed were 45 or older. In contrast, only 28 percent were in the 18+ bracket. Publishers face two unique challenges: keeping the baby boomer readers as they retire and building new readers with a younger generation.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

I did that here: Apple’s iSlate Gives Book Publishers False Hope

What I have to add is this:

People grow up. Those who grow up with any sort of impulse towards self-direction and initiative understand that reading is important. They also grow up to understand that people need to be paid.

What I said in the prior post still stands, generally. Instead of selling to an existing — and shrinking — pool, enlarge it:

In a London pub, Studs meets a Welsh miner from the Rhondda Valley. “You’re from Chicago; you must know Nelson Algren.” Whiskey flows. Then the old boy sings out the titles of all Algren’s books in a mellifluous Welsh accent. — R.I.P. Louis “Studs” Terkel

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

How the hell was that miner reached?


Studs Terkel Will Save Publishing

January 26, 2010

Studs Terkel: Last words with a Voice of America

I went looking for an anecdote from Studs Terkel’s epic 1974 book, Working, and wound up with another and a different point to make:

“So when I did the book Working, there was in it a portrait of a waitress, Dolores Dante. She was a girl. And at the end she starts crying about her life and being a middle-aged woman when the kids have left. And much later a guy stops me in the street and says, ‘You son of a bitch. After reading about that waitress in your book, I’m never going to speak to a waitress again the way I did before.’ So I affected that guy. Dolores affected that guy. It was her moment of immortality.”

People are curious about other people.

Why doesn’t publishing use this fact to sell non-gossipy, non-trashy books?

It’s the same damned impulse — near-pathological, stalker-like curiosity — and it can be used to publishing’s benefit.

How would that guy have known what the lot of a waitress was like if he hadn’t read that book? How many people — especially in these Gotterdammerung me-me-me times — stop to consider what another person’s life might be like?

The young and callous look at a waitress with contempt, if they look at her at all.

Terkel’s book shows the human being behind (or stuck in) that occupation.

I’m not going to lay out examples of how this can be done. Earn your damned marketing salary, dammit.


Lots Of FREE eBooks

January 26, 2010

Online Novels
FREE NOVELS AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET

I’ve never seen this site before. Lots of very interesting stuff there — not just unknowns, but writers with recognizable names.


Paper Fetishism And eBook Prejudice — In 1987!

January 25, 2010

Let me set the history for you. In 1987, the Apple Newton was still two years away and the Palm Pilot was still nine years away.

So consider the foresight it took to have this little exchange in the third episode of Star Cops:

Chandri: You’re impressed with my library, Commander.

Spring: Yes. Yes, I am. I’m more impressed by the weight allocation it took to bring them — and all of this — from Earth. You must have friends in the freight business.

Chandri: It was all paid for, I assure you. I don’t like electronic books. Something about poetry particularly which needs to be read from the page. It dies when you put in on a viewing screen.

It takes place in the first minute in the video after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple Wednesday January 27, 2010 Preview

January 25, 2010

Not a timeline; an aggregation:

1) New version of iWork
– demonstrated on a conventional Mac
– later demonstrated on the iSlate/iPad
– then demonstrated on the iPhone
– digital book creation demonstrated — writers pay attention to this!

2) iSlate/iPad
– new UI demonstrated
– gaming demonstrations
– video demonstration
– eBook demonstration
– digital book demonstration — with a sample from Disney

3) iSlate/iPad dock
– with surprises

4) Apple Digital Book Store
– Children
– Young Adult
– Adult

5) New iWork.com
– collaboration features via iSlate/iPad

And one hell of a surprise.

Sales for the first year of iSlate/iPod will exceed sales of all models of Macintosh combined for that year, at least in the U.S..


New eBook Blog

January 25, 2010

No, not by me. Nate the Great from Mobileread has decided to have a go at it.

Nate’s Ebook News

One place for you to go to after this blog goes dark soon.


Android ePub Reading Software Aldiko: 250,000 Downloads

January 23, 2010

@Hadrien of Feedbooks reports:

Congratulations, Team Aldiko!

Aldiko website

Previously here:

Two Vital Issues ALL Tablets Makers Are Ignoring
First Pictures Of Aldiko Running On A 10-Inch Screen!
IDPF Screws Up ePub eBook Covers For Everyone!
Barnes & Noble Nook Vs. Archos 5 Internet Tablet: Round Two
Barnes & Noble Nook Gets Trashed By Archos 5 Internet Tablet
The Coming Android Mini-Tablet Flood
Syntron Android Mini-Tablet: 3G, 8.9″ Screen
Camangi Android Mini-Tablet: ePub Built-In
Android OS Aldiko ePub Display Challenge
eBook Use On The Archos 5 Internet Tablet
eBook Notes For Monday, October 5, 2009
The eBook Cover Scandal
ALL eInk Devices: BAD For eBooks!


Kobo: We’ll Have iSlate eBooks In February

January 22, 2010

They are very sly about that in this press release:

KOBO ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY FOR TABLET COMPUTERS IN FEBRUARY 2010

Applications in Development for Windows 7, Android, and Additional Operating Systems

TORONTO, ON — January 22, 2010— With applications in development for Windows 7, Android and additional operating systems, Kobo, Inc. today announced that the service will be available for various tablet and slate computers in February 2010. Kobo (www.kobobooks.com) is a global eReading service that offers mobile applications on the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Palm Pre, as well as support for netbooks and dedicated eReaders, like the Sony eReader. Kobo’s selection of popular books includes more than two million titles with content from major publishers including Random House, Harper Collins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Harlequin.

“This announcement is in line with our mission to deliver the best eReading experience on any device,” said Michael Serbinis, Chief Executive Officer of Kobo. “2010 is proving to be the year of the tablet and we are working with major OEMs to ensure that Kobo apps are made available on those devices. Tablets give Kobo an opportunity to deliver eBooks, newspapers, and magazines to readers on yet another screen that is well equipped for reading.”

Free Kobo applications for tablet computers will be available beginning February 2010. Kobo’s applications will provide support for Windows 7, Android, and other key operating systems. Running on these platforms, Kobo will remain in sync across various devices, allowing users to read on their iPhone then switch to their tablet and continue where they left off.

Core to Kobo’s strategy is making eReading available everywhere and on any device, and the company believes the tablet platform is a significant new form factor for eReading. Kobo aggressively supports open standards like ePUB format, which gives readers the flexibility to read on any device.

Boldfaced red emphasis added by me.

Kobo is being aggressive here, pre-empting whatever publisher announcements happen on Wednesday. Barnes & Noble can’t be happy. Nor Amazon.

But Kobo customers will be.

Kobo Books

Previously here:

Shortcovers Changes Name, Goes Galactica