DBW Weekly Roundup: 2/25/11
Digital 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.
OverDrive and the Library eBook Convenience Paradox
The library ebook distribution channel presents another opportunity for market segmentation. Libraries “buy” the ebooks, resulting in revenue for rights holders. Consumers can read the books without paying for them, but they have to be willing to put up with 21 step configurations and account IDs, and face the possibility that a book might not be available right away and may have a long lending queue. At least with ebooks, there’s not the inconvenience of going to the library again to return the book at the end of the lending period!
But imagine if the Overdrive website made it as easy to find and borrow a book as Amazon’s makes it to get a Kindle Edition. Imagine that you didn’t need an Adobe ID separate from your library card number. What would happen to the inconvenience barrier that allows publishers to still capture the high end of the price curve at full price? It seems clear to me that without the inconvenience barrier, publishers would quickly remove their desirable content from library lending programs to protect their retail sales.
So here’s the paradox: libraries can only be successful at ebook lending if they do a bad job of it.
The Present and Future of Digital Publishing
Joshua Gans, Harvard Business Review
Thus, just as publishers saw costs being shattered and power moving back their way, a new roadblock complementor stood in their path: the owner and controller of the software powering eReaders and tablets. Of course, here Apple’s iOS is currently the market leader, but Google’s Android and HP’s WebOS are waiting in the wings. As is well known, Apple maintains tight control of its iOS and imposes various rules on content and also how content is paid for. Google takes an opposite approach, seemingly on a strategy not to earn money in that market at all — at least not directly. In either case, publishers will be at the mercy of whoever controls the operating system of tablets users have purchased.
The iPad is a game console
Do the comparison: Console vendors are quite willing to take it on the chin in hardware price, because a low hardware price sets up volumes that let them make far more money on the games, by taking a big cut of game revenue. Apple takes it on the chin in hardware, and sucks in 30% on the back end every time an app is sold. It’s just like Nintendo patenting and keeping secret a magic chip they put in their cartridges, without which games can’t run on their systems. Instead of a chip, Apple has the App store. Same principle, just a different implementation.
Facebook Shares Are Worth Almost Three Times More Than Tweets For E-Commerce
Leena Rao, TechCrunch
According to the startup, the value of a Facebook share is $14 and the value of a Tweet is $5. For shares and tweets, ChompOn was able to directly attribute sales to the original action and took the total revenue attributed to each action and divided it by the total number of shares/Tweets. ChompOn is working with 50 partners including Blackbook Magazine, JDeal and the wine vertical of flash sales site Beyondtherack, to power Groupon-like crowdsourced coupons.
The Three Facets of Transmedia
Simon Staffans, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Your audience is your audience, but at the same time they are your co-creators, investing themselves in your story and inevitably bringing change with them. It is then up to you, the creator, to choose just how much change you want. But generally, the more people invest, the closer they will feel to your content. Best case scenario, you not only have an audience and a horde of co-creators, you also have advocates that bring your stories to people in a fashion you yourself never could.
Digital Natives Explore Digital Preservation
Library of Congress
Today’s teenagers are part of the first generation to grow up immersed and fluent in the world of digital technologies. These “digital natives” depend on digital information for communication, education and entertainment. But today’s Digital Natives may not know that digital information can easily be lost.
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.