When we talk about something being “meta,” we are aware of the self-referential nature of the object
—a movie about a movie, a song about a song, etc. And when the prefix “meta” is used to talk about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it is being self-referential in relation to your website.
In this part of his blog series on SEO for independent publishers, Murray Izenwasser encourages readers to be as self-referential as possible.
“Because when writing great meta description tags,” Izenwasser writes, “it’s imperative that you have content located in your HTML code that best describes a specific page on your website, as you need to talk about the books in your catalog and your company in the most descriptive way possible.”
“I should be honest from the start,” Izenwasser continues, “and say that meta description tags will not help your SEO, per se. They don’t affect your rankings. At all.”
So why are they so important?
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Smaller Bookstores Can Work Commercially (Mike Shatzkin)
Pocket Shop has taken the suggestion Mike Shatzkin made to Barnes & Noble well over a decade ago and made it work at an extreme he didn’t imagine. Their tiny bookstores stock only about two thousand titles, but they are a thriving chain in Sweden and Finland now expanding into Germany. Their formula is a very small title selection placed in very-high-traffic locations with highly knowledgeable and helpful staff.
Amazon’s $50 Fire Tablet Worth Every Penny (Fortune)
Amazon would be even happier to sell you outright all the movies, music, TV shows and books not included with Prime. The Fire can do plenty on its own, but its real value lies as a conduit to the Amazon ecosystem. It’s precisely the “Amazon-ness” of the tablet that gives it an edge over iPads. With Prime, for example, you can download movies and TV shows (including some HBO content) for offline viewing. iPads can do that, too, but it’s all pay-per-view. Amazon also offers lots of amenities Apple does not, including built-in tech support (known as Mayday), shared family libraries of apps and media, and parental controls.
Why the Google Books Ruling Is Good for Publishers (Forbes)
Google Books is a solid alternative to Amazon’s discoverability and sales platform, and one that readers will find organically. Although Amazon is included in the list of buy links on Google Books search results, and although Amazon is listed second below “The Publisher,” which links to the title’s publisher’s direct-to-consumer site, if available, this feature gives publishers a boost they otherwise would not have. When a reader Googles a book they’d like to read, the Google Books result appears as a sidebar next to the normal list of search results that likely has the Amazon result at the very top.
How Readers Will Become Curators and Booksellers (Joe Wikert)
It’s easy to think that today’s ebook is as good as it gets. Publishers are mostly satisfied with the current print-under-glass model and, unfortunately, flattening (or declining) ebook sales trends aren’t likely to drive investment in digital innovation. What if readers could help drive some of that innovation in the future? Here’s why that’s a viable scenario.
On International Ebook Sales: ‘Actionable Insights’ (Futurebook)
Despite several articles declaring a stagnation, if not decline, of the ebook market, we have seen 8-percent growth in earnings for a cohort of publishers. These publishers stand out for not allowing their ebook function to be a passive add-on to their print houses. Instead they have regularly reviewed their global sales data and taken various actions, such as targeting specific markets, experimenting with price promotion and dedicating their time to finding the right price point for specific book-types in specific markets.
Poland Challenges EC Ruling on Ebook VAT (Bookseller)
Poland’s constitutional court has challenged a European Commission ruling that VAT on ebooks must be charged at the standard rate. Tax advisor Richard Asquith has described the challenge as “the first in a number” expected following the EC ruling on VAT on ebooks earlier in the year. The EC has previously ruled that ebooks are electronically supplied services and not goods, and were not entitled to reduced VAT rate status, unlike printed books, which are.
A Penny for Your Books (New York Times)
A “penny book” is something of a misnomer. Used books sold on Amazon typically carry a $3.99 shipping fee. But that isn’t a reflection of the actual cost of shipping them; it’s a function of the company’s rules, which mandate a consistent shipping cost for every category of the product in the Marketplace. Amazon takes a standard cut of every book sold—$1.35—which leaves each of the penny sellers with a whopping $2.65 to cover the cost of the item, shipping and handling, labor, rent on warehouses and all the other costs that come up along the way.
European Commission Drives for Copyright Modernization (Pub Perspectives)
Copyright needs to be modernized to take into account the changes wrought by digitization and the Internet, and the myriad ways content can be accessed and treated, the EU commissioner responsible for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther Oettinger, told delegates at the New European Media Summit at the Frankfurt Book Fair last week. He believes new structures and legal clarity need to be in place in order for all stakeholders in the content value chain to enjoy an equitable trading environment and fair remuneration.
Kenyan Publishing Going Digital (Pub Perspectives)
Kenyan publishing is in a perpetual fight for survival, but insiders see potential in the digital revolution to open new means of distribution and production.
Adaptive Learning Software Is Replacing Textbooks (Slate)
ALEKS starts everyone at the same point. But from the moment students begin to answer the practice questions that it automatically generates for them, ALEKS’ machine-learning algorithms are analyzing their responses to figure out which concepts they understand and which they don’t. A few wrong answers to a given type of question, and the program may prompt them to read some background materials, watch a short video lecture, or view some hints on what they might be doing wrong. But if they’re breezing through a set of questions on, say, linear inequalities, it may whisk them on to polynomials and factoring. Master that, and ALEKS will ask if they’re ready to take a test. Pass, and they’re on to exponents—unless they’d prefer to take a detour into a different topic, like data analysis and probability. So long as they’ve mastered the prerequisites, which topic comes next is up to them.
Ad Blockers: A Candid Discussion (Adweek)
While ad blocking has been around for years, it is now top of mind for marketers and publishers as ad blockers experience massive growth. The percentage of those using ad blockers in the U.S. reached 48 percent in the last year, according to a report commissioned by Adobe and conducted by PageFair, which estimates that ad blockers will cost publishers $22 billion this year. (UBS Securities puts the damage at $1 billion.) And with ad-blocking apps routinely among the most popular downloads for Apple’s iPhone, what is a crisis could become a catastrophe.
Intellogo’s New Software Uses Machine Learning to Help Publishers (DBW)
Canadian-based Intellego launched their new software that uses machine learning to curate content for publishers, readers and retailers in an effort to help clients make better marketing and buying decisions. The company’s goal is to allow readers of all types to connect with better-tailored content.
Quotle Is Instagram And OneShot for Book Quotes (TechCrunch)
Quotle is an interesting beast. The best way to describe it could be that Quotle is a hybrid between OneShot and Instagram, but for book quotes. Available on iOS, it turns the good old habit of marking down quotes in a notebook into a social experience. There are three key components in Quotle. You can create quotes, you can share them, and you can follow people. While you might not be using all three parts, having these three features are essential to creating a compelling app.