DBW Weekly Roundup: 9/17/10

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:

Subscriber, Fan or Follower: Who’s Most Likely to Buy?

Bottom line, it concludes, e-mail is the most likely to drive increased purchase intent among the largest number of online consumers. Facebook, by contrast, is the least effective channel to drive purchase behavior. That’s because consumers generally become fans of a brand in real life before they become fans on Facebook – in other words, they’re already purchasing from and endorsing their fanned brands. Finally, Twitter is the channel most likely to drive increased purchases and recommendations after a consumer chooses to become a follower.

Email still isn’t dead
Mac Slocum, O’Reilly Radar

The first thing you need to do is know why you’re creating an email newsletter. Don’t just do it because you know you should be doing something with email. You need to define the product. There are two options: one is you’re using a newsletter as a traffic driver, the other is the newsletter itself is the product.

Are hardcover books doomed?
Gene Alloway, AnnArbor.com

Amazon, and this last Christmas Target and Walmart, moved heavily into those bestsellers and midlist titles Borders and B&N used as a foundation, with the added ability to discount deeper than the stores. That the two B’s have moved away from books is simply the only way forward they are able to imagine, since they seem unwilling or unable to move upmarket to compete. They want to be, I suppose, low-end, large overhead boutiques, pursuing a path that I have no doubt will end badly for them. “You do sell books here, hmmm?” will be a more frequent question at the chains I imagine. It doesn’t mean that hardcovers have lost status – it means the big box bookshop model is failing.

Why is everyone saying Oprah will pick Jonathan Franzen again?
Carolyn Kellogg, Jacket Copy

While publishing struggles to find its way in an increasingly wired and distracted culture, one thing book lovers are starting to realize is that we’re all in this together. We all adore reading, and the divisions between us — of taste, of writers’ rivalry for hot agents or publishers’ competition for valued awards — are secondary to the fact that we are a community of people who love books. There’s no need to fight.

Software Companies Own Your Hard Drive: Ninth Circuit Rules for Formality Over Function
Sherwin Siy, Public Knowledge

In fact, the original first sale case was about a book. In Bobbs-Merrill v. Strauss, the Supreme Court decided that a notice on the inside of a novel couldn’t serve to restrain the books from being resold. That notice claimed that reselling the book for under a dollar would be considered copyright infringement. The Court decided otherwise, saying that the right of a copyright holder to restrict distribution was limited once someone owned a copy. But if Vernor is to be belived, a simple change in the wording of the Bobbs-Merrill notice would convert that notice into a license, and the sale of those books into something else. So if Bobbs-Merrill had only been a little more careful in its drafting in 1908, we wouldn’t have to deal with this, because the doctrine of first sale would never have existed in the first place.

The Surest Way to Destroy an Innovation Initiative
Chris Trimble, Harvard Business Review

The third model is to form a dedicated team for the innovation initiative, one that operates in a healthy partnership  with the established organization. Inevitably this is a difficult partnership, because innovation and ongoing operations are always in conflict. With diligence, attention, and TLC, however, these conflicts can be managed. The partnership can work, and this model can get you past the limitations of the first two, allowing broad-scale, innovation that sharply departs from the core business. Too often, however, companies never get to even worrying about how to make the partnership work. They refuse to form the dedicated team in the first place, and in refusing, they destroy the innovation initiative.

Tweet of the Week

Dana Trombles on Zero-Sum Punditry

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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