DBW Weekly Roundup: 9/10/10
Niche Bookstores Provide More Than Books
Reyhan Harmanci, NY Times
At a time when iPads and Kindles dominate discussions of the future of the written word, Omnivore Books banks on physical books. Culinary superstars like the chef Thomas Keller, along with local food enthusiasts, flock to the store to savor its inventory. In-store events, which Ms. Sacks publicizes through Twitter and other social-media outlets, tend to be packed. Beginning this month, Ms. Sacks’s favorite titles will appear in more than 260 Williams Sonoma stores nationwide under the banner of “Omnivore Recommends,” and she will select vintage books to be sold at 30 locations.
Random House and Stardoll co-launch online story project
Jemima Kiss, guardian.co.uk
“Anything that drives engagement and usage on Stardoll will ultimately deliver monetisation as well, and there are multiple routes to realising that,” he added. “We’re a social media business but in some ways we are also an old-fashioned content business, and we have been surprised by the popularity of books in the lives of teens and tweens.” Stardoll recorded 13.8 million active monthly unique users during the past month, and already had partnerships with retailers including Miss Sixty, Herve Leger and Fallen Angel to sell virtual goods on the site.
How Apps Are Changing the Way Designers Create on the Web
Khoi Vinh, Print
This presents a peculiar challenge for designers. Where the web once allowed a brand to express itself more or less without restriction, designers must now carefully balance the nativity of their apps with the attributes of the brands they’re designing for. It was relatively easy for designers to make websites that visually and behaviorally matched the Kraft, Toyota, and Old Navy brands. But now those designers must also factor in the design logic defined by Apple or Google. They have to account for the framework in which the apps must function, reconciling sometimes conflicting modes of interaction and even conflicting interface vocabularies. Achieving this balance is tricky, and it often requires a recalibration of a brand’s attributes that few designers are used to making.
The trouble with Google Books
Laura Miller, Salon
People at Google are also saying, “Let’s crowdsource this,” but that is a stupid idea. You and I are both smart, knowledgeable people, but I wouldn’t trust either of us to do the skilled work of cataloging a 1890 edition of “Madame Bovary.” It’s very difficult. It has to be coordinated by uniform standards. An example of the kind of mess you get when you don’t use uniform standards is Wiktionary (the lexical counterpart of Wikipedia). Unlike an encyclopedia, a dictionary isn’t useful unless it’s consistent in style. And metadata is hard to fix if you don’t get it right in the first place. Someone has to spend a lot of money to properly catalog a research library, and I don’t know if Google understood that going into it.
iTunes in the Cloud and Why This Scares Me
Adam Jackson, GIGAOM
When you want to switch to a cooler and better mobile platform, will you be okay with giving up the thousands spent on DRMed content that can’t be played on the new device? If Apple remains the dominant leader for the next 20 years, can we trust it to be kind to its loyal fans who trust when we buy a movie stored exclusively on Apple’s cloud to always be playable and never be pulled, removed or changed? Will my copy of Braveheart always work no matter where I am or will I be greeted with an error when I’m in China with, “this movie is not licensed to be played in your region.” Where the hard copy stored on my iPad would play just fine no matter where I was? We’ll see. Apple is not a movie studio so its hands are tied when it comes to content and how that content plays just as much as any other company when it comes to music and movies.
Wall Street Journal To Launch A Book Review Section
John Koblin, NY Observer
Book sections in newspapers have been killed left and right over the last few years. The Washington Post cut its standalone book section last year, The Chicago Tribune did it the year before, and the L.A. Times did it the year before that. There have been a lot of obituaries written in honor of book sections over the last few years, all lamenting a dying art in a printed newspaper that Rupert Murdoch — naturally — will now stubbornly try to revive.
Tweet of the Week
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.