DBW Weekly Roundup: 8/27/10

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:

Why Print Publishing Will Never Die
Ditchwalk, Mark Barrett

Publishing is a flawed business, but books are not flawed devices. Print publishing will never die because even today a book is still a completely functional delivery system for the content it contains.

E-books, Piracy Peril or Promotional Possibilities?
TorrentFreak, Ben Jones

If e-book pirates are killing the industry as some people seem to believe, this free CD would have guaranteed that the book will sell badly, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The hardcover went on sale June 20th and the e-book CD went up the same day. Yet the book was #13 on the New York Times (NYT) bestseller list for July 2nd. It had slipped a bit to #24 the next week, and then to #26 the week after. But if e-books are killing the industry, how could a niche book (book 12 in a sci-fi series) sell so well? Especially when sci-fi fans are the ones most likely to be technologically oriented, and thus more likely to read e-books?

Should Kids Get Ebooks in School?
Library Journal, Eric Hellman

The previous study had problems with control methodology, but more importantly, it neglected staffing or funding levels. Achterman’s re-analysis of the data showed that it’s not having a library that helps students, it’s having sufficient staff to allow librarians to have meaningful interaction with students and teachers. This is a conclusion that transcends the form of the library’s content. Neither books nor ebooks will teach kids how to answer questions all by themselves.

Libraries; the Answer to Free Online Comics?
Early World, Robin Brenner

What about libraries? Tokyopop, announced at San Diego Comic-Con that they are making a variety of their titles available via Overdrive. More recently, they announced that the fan favorite title Hetalia: Axis Powers will be released immediately via ereader Zinio  and Overdrive, even though the US paper street date is not until September 21st (I’ve already asked our collection development team to snap up the title for our Overdrive collection). Hetalia is an example of the problem we all face in trying to meet fan interest. As Deb Aoki points out at the Digital Piracy panel, Hetalia is a property that is already astronomically popular here in the US. Every major convention over the past year has been flooded with fans dressed as Hetalia characters, long before the series’ release date. Clearly, these fans have read Hetalia illegally online. Tokyopop’s release, via Overdrive or in print is already behind that market.

The Big Bets – Which Tech is the Games Industry Backing?
FUTUReBOOK, by Paul Rhodes

The first thing I noticed, perhaps shockingly to all of us in books publishing right now, is that the big games companies really aren’t that bothered about the iPad. Very few were demoing product on it, and fewer still were announcing significant development for the device. It would seem the smaller, more agile companies that have addressed the market early have dented the desire of the big boys to really commit to that platform. Established franchises will always make the port across, but it seems it’s not a device that new IP will be broken out on. The titles I played felt overwhelmingly like bolted-on afterthoughts to the main show on PS3 or Xbox 360.

Why Innovation Is Beginner’s Luck
Bloomberg Businessweek, G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Vitón

You could almost hear the things that people in the music, movie rental, and auction business (just to pick three examples) were saying when iTunes, NetFlix, and eBay came along. “What are these people thinking? Don’t they know about the existing rules, the channel headaches, the legal hurdles, the technical hurdles, what’s been tried before and failed, the demands of the sales agents, the way our products and services are purchased, the demands of our customers and their customers?” Uh, no, they didn’t. And neither will the competitor who will seemingly come from out of nowhere to upend your industry. And that is your takeaway.

Tweet of the Week

Patricia Arancibia on working at B&N

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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