Not long ago, many publishers thought rising to the mobile challenge meant building apps.
But as smartphone use expands and that first phase of experimentation recedes, “many publishers are finding that the revenue apps generate hardly ever covers the costs of development, let alone the overhead,” Felix Wenzel of Librios writes.
At the same time, publishers’ websites are arguably becoming more important in the mobile market than ever before.
“Even if you see an app as a loss-leader for promoting books,” Wenzel urges publishers, “why not build a mobile-friendly website with responsive design instead?” In his view, that will likely prove more cost-effective and forward-thinking over the long term.
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Publishing Start-up Sells Analytics Tools to Authors (Futurebook)
Tablo, a Melbourne-based self-publishing start-up, now offers users subscription-based access to an analytical dashboard showing how readers engage with content published through its platform.
EU Regulators Nearly Done Investigating Apple, Amazon (AdAge)
European Union authorities say they’re working hard to complete their investigation of Apple, Amazon and other multinationals over tax reporting practices, despite announcing recently investigators would miss the midyear deadline they had originally set.
“Lost in Conversion” (Pub Perspectives)
That’s digital production expert Benjamin Denckla’s term for the results of certain choices ebook developers have to make when converting older print titles for which no digital assets exist. His exhaustive account of a recent project serves as a case study of that process, offering food for thought for other developers on conversion challenges and quality-assurance best practices.
Amazon Sees Promise in Spanish-Language Market (HuffPost)
Kindle’s Director of Content for Latin America says he foresees substantial growth potential for Spanish-language ebooks. One author wonders whether the opportunities that creates for Amazon will be good for authors, too.
Chinese E-Tailers Further Ahead on Mobile? (TheStreet)
Recent research from Morgan Stanley suggests Chinese e-tailers including Alibaba and JD.com are already seeing considerably wider shares of their revenue coming from mobile users than are U.S.-based competitors like Amazon and eBay.
Related: The Mobile Dimension to Forging Customer Relationships
Censorship Issues Attend Growth in Asia (Pub Perspectives)
Yesterday marked the 26th anniversary of China’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Today, the region is a complex patchwork of growing markets for digital content, but freedom of expression is still restricted—by official policy, societal pressure or a combination of the two—in many of them. The ethical and business implications for Western publishers eyeing readers in those markets are no less complicated.
Copyright Authorities Hand Down New Guidelines (Infodocket)
The U.S. Copyright Office issues a report addressing common challenges authors and publisher confront in reusing works for which no rights-holder can be located and for those undertaking mass digitization initiatives.
ICYMI: Are Start-ups Running Circles around Publishers? (DBW)
And if they are, is that necessarily a bad thing? As publishing entrepreneur Richard Nash pointed out last week at BookExpo America, “books gestate very slowly,” whereas “the life-cycles of start-ups are much shorter.” Recounting their experiences, several start-up leaders cautioned it would be a mistake for publishers to try to innovate as swiftly and dramatically as start-ups often find themselves forced to.