How Not to Innovate

Inkling digital innovation ebook publishers higher educationOne thing standing in the way of innovation at most big publishers? Finance departments.

That’s according to Matt MacInnis, Founder and CEO of the digital content platform Inkling. In larger organizations, finance departments strive to optimize businesses in ways that aren’t typically conducive to seeding innovations.

Nevertheless, MacInnis believes publishers are still likely to drive future innovation, especially in the education space.

One reason for that, he says, is the “shared vision for what the future of higher education learning technologies ought to look like.”

But in order to get there (aside from firing their finance departments), publishers will first need to rethink their more linear product development habits, or what MacInnis calls “the book disease.”

Much more.

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Efficiency, Effectiveness Top Students’ Priorities (DBW)
Higher education students still prefer print in the classroom, much as they do in their leisure time, according to new survey data from the Book Industry Study Group. But the high costs of print textbooks are still eating away at their perceived value, and students are looking for other ways to spend their money on digital materials they see to be more effective and efficient learning tools.

Amazon Upgrades Whispercast Platform (GeekWire)
Amazon launched its digital educational content distribution platform Whispercast in 2012. Version 3.0 of the system, rolled out yesterday, includes a broader range of features to manage delivery and purchasing options.

Amazon Brokers Ad Partnerships on Kindle (Business Insider)
Amazon is gradually stepping up its partnerships with brands inside the Kindle ecosystem. The e-tailer has experimented successfully with branded ebook content and is looking at ways to expand those initiatives further.

Apple’s App Sales up, Tablet Sales down (Pub Lunch)
Despite record iPad sales in Asia, Apple reports seeing the iPhone eat into its global tablet sales overall, a development that leaves CEO Tim Cook unfazed. The company’s app store, on the other hand, continues to grow at a rapid clip, leading Publishers Lunch to observe that, in light of “Amazon’s international media sales declining over the past two quarters, the two rivals are converging in this market segment.”

Simon & Schuster Adds Children’s Imprint (PW)
Caitlyn Dlouhy heads up a new, eponymous imprint under Anetheum Books, with a first crop of titles publishing in spring 2016. Dlouhy has served as VP and Editorial Director at Anetheum.

Amazon Wants to Stock Your Office (WashPost)
Amazon pushes further in the business-to-business wholesale market, discontinuing its limited site and launching Amazon Business, where companies can purchase office supplies and industrial equipment in bulk.

How to Look for an Agent (The Shatzkin Files)
This post by Digital Book World Conference Chair Mike Shatzkin is as much a slice of practical advice for authors on locating an agent as it is a meta-commentary on the author-agent-publisher dynamic today. A worthwhile long-read.

Google Makes Nice in Europe (Re/code)
Under fire from European antitrust authorities and fighting a range of other battles on the Continent, Google moves to mend some of its relationships with web publishers by partnering on a journalism innovation fund, with $163 million of its own cash.

Rakuten Completes OverDrive Acquisition (Telecompaper)
Kobo’s Japanese parent company announced plans to buy the library distribution platform OverDrive for $410 million in March. That acquisition is now complete.


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