DBW Weekly Roundup: 10/15/10

DBW News RoundupDigital Book World presents a weekly round-up of some of the most interesting news, commentary and tweets related to publishing that you may have missed, from all over the digital book world:

Contrary to rumors, books are not history
Mark Hertsgaard, San Francisco Chronicle

But Dave Eggers  is having none of it. The author and children’s literacy advocate recently told an audience at the San Francisco Day School that the conventional wisdom is wrong. “I’m optimistic about the future of books, both as an author and a publisher,” said Eggers, whose latest work, a non-fiction account of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Zeitoun, has been chosen by the San Francisco Public Library for this fall’s One City, One Book program.

Ah, you might say, it’s easy to be optimistic about books when yours are mega-best sellers that attract tons of media attention. But Eggers insists that his optimism actually stems from “empirically provable” trends that hold true across the entire book business as well as anecdotal evidence gleaned from observing children at 826 Valencia, the nonprofit literacy organization Eggers founded under the motto, “We believe in the power of the written word.”

E-Reader Households More Likely to Read Newspapers In Print and Online
Jack Loechner, Research Brief

The study finds a strong relationship between e-reader devices and newspaper readership:

  • 41% of adults in E-Reader Households visited a newspaper website during the past month, compared to 27% of total adults. They are 48% more likely than all consumers nationally to have visited a newspaper website during this timeframe
  • Adults in E-Reader Households are 9% more likely than all adults nationally to have read a printed newspaper during the past week. Nationally, 71% of adults in e-reader households read a daily or Sunday paper during the past week, versus 65% of all adults
  • 50% of these consumers read a Sunday printed newspaper on an average Sunday, as opposed to 46% of total adults

Gary Meo, senior vice president of digital media and newspaper services for Scarborough Research, observes that “…(the) data confirms the emergence of E-reader devices as an important technology for millions of Americans and… a natural companion to newspapers… creating a new opportunity for publishers to monetize content… “

The News of the World’s paywall and why, for Rupert Murdoch, the internet is so over
Dominic Ponsford, PressGazette

Without any inbound or outbound links, and invisible to Google and other search engines, the NotW, Times and Sunday Times don’t really have internet sites – but digitally delivered editions…

The “top people” who read The Times might get their credit cards out online, but will the mass-market readers of the News of the World? And shouldn’t a newspaper which sells advertising based on a huge readership as possible be trying to reach as many eyeballs as possible?

Up to a point…But red-tops have always been more subscription businesses than the “qualities”. Traditionally they have made about three quarters of their revenue from cover price, versus 25 per cent from advertising. So commercially the paywall move is logical.

Financial Times’ iPad App Brings In £1 Million
Mark Sweney, MediaGuardian

The Financial Times’ new iPad app has generated more than £1 ($1.59) million in advertising revenue since it was launched in May, according to the paper’s deputy chief executive. Ben Hughes, who is also the paper’s global commercial director, said more than 40,000 subscribers have signed up for the app. He added that it now accounts for 10% of the paper’s new digital subscriptions.

The agency model is the wrong trousers
Arthur Attwell

The real problems, though, are these: publishing staff rarely have retail skills and access to detailed consumer data. They just aren’t the right people to make pricing decisions. They must and will always set their own wholesale prices. But retailers will just be better at setting retail prices in ways that encourage sales. Random House CE Markus Dohle suspects it: “The question is if publishers know how to find the right retail price”. A key issue here, as Kassia Krozser explains, is that “Publishers have made bad arguments when it comes to ebook pricing. They confuse in-house value (often based on the price paid for the book) with consumer perception of value.”

Moreover, most retailers are closer to their customers not only in spirit but also in body. A retailer in Johannesburg knows a lot more about optimal retail pricing strategies there than a publisher in London.

Tweet of the Week

Tweet of the Week: eBookNoir on publishers and transmedia

That’s just a taste of what you may have missed this week. To stay on top of the most interesting news, commentary and tweets related to publishing, keep in touch via our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, join your publishing colleagues in our LinkedIn group, and connect with the broader DBW Network.


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