DBW Weekly Roundup: 10/22/10

DBW Weekly 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:

Context first
By Brian O’Leary, Magellan Media

In a digital realm, true content solutions are increasingly built with open APIs, something containers are pretty bad at.  APIs – application programming interfaces – provide users with a roadmap that lets them customize their content consumption. The physical forms of books, magazines and newspapers have analog forms of APIs.  We’ve all figured out how to access the information contained in these physical products.  But, the physical form itself does not always make for a good API, something that Craigslist, the Huffington Post, Cookstr and others have capitalized on.

Open up your API, I contend, or someone else will.

Attributor eBook Piracy Numbers Don’t Add Up
By Eric Hellman

The key finding of the report heralded by that release was that “Daily demand for pirated e-books can be estimated at 1.5-3 million people worldwide.” This result has garnered some significant attention, because the number is quite large. Extracting numbers using the tools used by Attributor is rather involved, and it’s taken a while for me to carefully examine the available data. After doing this work, I’ve decided that when Attributor wrote “can be estimated at 1.5-3 million”, they left out the word “blindly”. As far as I can tell, Attributor is recklessly inflating the magnitude of ebook piracy; using the very same traffic measurement tools, I estimate the truth to be about 10% of the number they claim.

Comic Book ‘Pirated’ On 4Chan, Author Joins Discussion… Watches Sales Soar
By Mike Masnick, TechDirt

The basic details are that comic book artist Steve Lieber discovered that folks at 4chan had scanned in and uploaded every page of his graphic novel Underground. Now, the typical reaction is to freak out, scream “piracy,” whine about “losses” and demand that “something must be done.” But, in a world where obscurity is really a much bigger issue than “piracy,” another option is to actually engage with those fans who liked his work so much that they put in the effort to share it with the world. And that’s exactly what Lieber did…. Nice. But, what did it actually mean? Well, the day after he engaged with fans on 4chan, Lieber posted a blog post highlighting his sales. As he says, “pictures help us learn.”

Is Beg, Borrow and Barter a Good Business Model? It Works for Cory Doctorow
By Richard Curtis, E-Reads

When Doctorow announced his scheme we asked What Can We Learn from Cory Doctorow? Our answer then was: Everything. But now we’re not so certain.  Yes, we believe that With a Little Help will be published, and yes, we believe it will make money, and yes, it’s been an entertaining adventure.  What we’re far from sure of is whether it will yield any practical results, the kind that any publisher – major, minor, or one-person – can scale up. He has created his Spruce Goose with chewing gum and bailing wire and though we’re sure it will fly, it’s hard to understand what we can apply to our own processes that will make us better publishers.

Hearing Voices About Indie Publishing
By Robert Gray, Shelf Awareness

“I so much appreciate the courageous publishers who enter the fray without worrying that worry–publishers like Two Dollar Radio and Archipelago and OR Books, and many independents established long ago–so much that I would rather discuss content. I appreciate these efforts as I admire new local journals (like Denver’s Il-literate) and the very concept of samizdat novels–all efforts to bring writing to readers separate from the quick murky stream of corporate publishing, reviewing and bookselling. And as I’ve said stubbornly for a couple of years, I believe that soon it will matter again what one publishes more than how one publishes it. Quality will out.”

Take-Two CEO: Digital Won’t Kill Retail
By Andy Chalk, The Escapist

Conventional wisdom says that retail sales are on the way out as digital distribution and cloud computing become increasingly accessible and prevalent. There’s no question that digital has experienced tremendous growth in recent years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, but Zelnick said he doesn’t expect that growth to come at the expense of conventional retail sales. Digital distribution represents less than 15 percent of Take Two’s revenue, he told Bloomberg Television’s Inside Track, and while that number is growing, retail will remain an important part of the equation because of the sheer size of videogames. “Packaged goods isn’t going away for our business… because we have huge file sizes,” he said.

Tweet of the Week

Rana June Sobhany on Enhanced Ebooks and Devaluing Content

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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