DBW Weekly Roundup: 11/5/10

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:

The Future of Publishing: Like Minds
Andrew Davies, idio

To start to provide a route out of confusion, there is a two-step change of focus that must occur. Firstly, publishers must start to consider their business to be community management, not shipping books. Publishers that have built direct relationships with their most active, vociferous, and passionate customers, have an opportunity to maximise lifetime customer value. Secondly, it’s vital to shift the focus from monetising content, to monetising that community. Digital content, in most instances, is trending downwards in price.

The truth is that there will not be as much money in the selling of content as there has been. That’s a result of content ubiquity. The lie is that most publishers have to go bust. There are a myriad of potential revenue streams when communities are the source of monetisation.

Social Media’s Leadership Challenges
Quy Huy and Andrew Shipilov, Harvard Business Review

Firms that lack leaders with social media skills are often tempted to outsource community management to outsiders, such as web development firms or advertising agencies. Unfortunately, this increases the risk of failure. The problem is that when community development is outsourced, the organization doesn’t learn and people inside communicate like they always did, even though the use of social media might have speeded up internal communication and flattened the hierarchies. As a result, the company is often very different from the face it portrays online, which almost always gets discovered.

Amazon Now Allows You To Send Gift Cards To Friends On Facebook
Leena Rao, TechCrunch

As holiday shopping season ramps up, Amazon is announcing a new way to send a gift card to friends: Facebook. Now, when buying a gift card on Amazon you can connect your Facebook account send the personalized gift card to a Facebook friends (you can also send gift cards via mail, email and print certificates). The card will be posted on the recipient’s Facebook Wall. Now on the gift card platform, you can choose to log-in to Facebook via Facebook Connect, which will allow Amazon to access your friends’ names and birthdays, and post the gift card to your friend’s Wall on the delivery date (Amazon says that user data and purchase history will remain private).

Open Road, Autography Offer Novel Solutions to Personalizing and Signing E-books
Edward Nawotka, Publishing Perspectives

For its first event with Reiss, held at New York’s Cooper Union, Open Road showed a variety of videos produced about the book and sold copies of the non-DRM e-book on a USB flash drive. Anyone purchasing the book, as well as those who had already downloaded a copy onto their e-reader (provided they had it with them) were invited to have their photo taken with the Reiss, which was then downloaded to the drive. “With the photo, the signature became less important,” says Chou, who says they are still experimenting with ideas for events and even touring authors. “The photo is a good ‘take away’ for the reader and for us, since it can be sent out on social media ad it becomes part of our event photos.”

Are Writers Powerless to Make a Living in the Digital Age?
Mike Springer, Publishing Perspectives

Popular Internet culture, said Lanier, offers creators a fool’s bargain: “We offer people fake flattery in exchange for them impoverishing themselves.” He wants a system in which creative intellectual workers of all types — software designers, scholars, journalists, artists — are paid for their work. If current trends continue, Lanier writes in You Are Not a Gadget, the future of the book trade will be a grim one. “It is my hope that book publishing will continue remuneratively into the digital realm,” he writes. “But that will only happen if digital designs evolve to make it possible. As things stand, books will be vastly devalued as soon as large numbers of people start reading from an electronic device.”

Why Do eBooks Cost So Much? (A Publisher’s Perspective)
Michael Hyatt

Physical manufacturing and distribution expenses cost less than you think. Some people assume that these two items represent the bulk of a book’s costs. They don’t. Together, they account for about 12% of a physical book’s retail price. So eliminating these costs doesn’t do much to reduce the overall cost structure. Publishers still have to pay for acquisitions, royalties, editorial development, copyediting, cover and interior design, page composition, cataloging, sales, marketing, publicity, merchandising (yes, even in a digital world), credit, collections, accounting, legal, tax, and the all the usual costs associated with running a publishing house.

Tweet of the Week

Erik Christopher on cost/value of ebooks

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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