DBW Weekly Roundup: 8/20/10

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:

Hetalia editor on digital-first strategy

  • Also, the ongoing battle against illegal scans weighed into our decision to release it early. To read it for free, the digital edition of Hetalia can be borrowed from libraries through OverDrive. It will not be available if the library didn’t order a copy so you should definitely encourage your library to look into it. Through Zinio, you can read a copy on your computer (it’s not an app). The $5.99 price was determined through current market research as well as a lot of discussion internally as well as with our partners in Japan… As an added note, color pages are included in all versions, but only the print edition will include bonus content.

Rice U. to Close Its Digital Press Next Month

  • Douglas A. Armato, director of the University of Minnesota Press, noted via email that such experiments are useful but “what scholarly publishing is facing is a set of economic, technological and institutional realities, only part of the solution to which is digital publication.” Armato added, “Though an on-line only press makes sense in theory—and with generous funding—the reality is that it creates a false dichotomy in which print is opposed to the digital. What we’re seeing in the market instead is that digital will grow up alongside print and do so, at least initially, by being paid for by print revenues. The established university presses are moving steadily in the direction of becoming digital publishers, but we’re seeing the process as a managed transition, not the kind of sharp break that Rice tried to make work.”

Ecstatic Publishing: Thurston Moore, Eva Prinz Discuss Their New Venture

  • One thing I know for sure is that the imagery is powerful. People need to see it, they will want to read the text. It might exist digitally as well. At its worst it’s a PDF. At its best it’s an online video game. It might have music with it. It might have something interactive. Because technology is so sophisticated now, because video games are now more like sophisticated satire or French surrealism in terms of how many levels you can go and question existence and time–books can be that interactive in the future. As far as I’m concerned, if people aren’t going to the bookstore to buy books and everyone is downloading it for free, then we don’t have a business, we have an organization—the closest the thing I can compare it to is Abbie Hoffman’s Free Store.

Penguin gains top app position for Spot

  • Penguin conducted research into how young children and families are using the iPad. Rafferty said: “We did a lot of testing as we had heard anecdotally about mums handing over devices to young children to play with but we weren’t sure that was actually happening or that children would know what to do with the devices. “When we found that young children do know that they can press and swipe the screen and listen, all the things that interactive formats allow in the same way as books do, it became an obvious way to extend our book content.”

What’s ‘Mobile’ Mean? How Apple And The iPad Are Forcing The Debate

  • The problem is strictly about permissions, and not about the technical challenges of developing an iPad app. Developers acknowledge that regardless of Apple’s policy, they would have to negotiate licenses separately for the iPad, but Apple’s ultimatum is forcing developers to dramatically speed up that process. With dozens of tablets coming to market by year’s end, the issue is also not exclusive to the iPad. The root of the problem is that licensing issues are hard to resolve without answering a lot of tough questions. What is a tablet? What makes a device mobile? Is it based on the screen size? The ability to make phone calls? Or, maybe 3G? Is the Kindle mobile?

Can Hollywood keep hanging on to its aging business model?

  • If Hertz sounds a cautionary note about the future, it’s that every great business model is someday bound to collapse. And when change comes, it is not only abrupt, but it usually is best exploited by people outside the business being changed. “In the music business, everyone went to the right conferences and listened to all the warnings, but no one actually prepared themselves for the changes,” Hertz says. “If you look at who’s done well with new technology, it’s been Steve Jobs and Apple, along with EBay, Amazon and Netflix. All the wealth was created outside the business that experienced the change… The only thing you can logically plan for is that people won’t necessarily pay for your content. They’ll be paying for quality, convenience and experience. That’s the only thing that won’t ever go away.”

Tweet of the Week

Jason Allen Asholock on #adsinbooks

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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