How Structured Data Markup Affects Publishers

How Structured Data Markup Affects PublishersIn the old standard “Over the River and Through the Woods,” a trip to Grandma’s house exposes our noses and toes to the elements over an arduous journey by sleigh. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a shortcut to Grandma’s that allowed us to get there faster without exposing us to frostbite?

In 2009, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Yandex introduced, a shortcut for search engine spiders on their way to indexing your website, to help them better understand the location and attributes of the content on your site. This shortcut relies on “structured data markup language” and can be found in the HTML code of a website to explain the products and content to search engines. Quite an important shortcut indeed!

As an SEO factor, “structured data” is probably more on the advanced side. But there are specific items for the publishing industry that make this an important factor to consider implementing.

Much more.

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In Strong July Sales Report, Children’s Segment Turns Positive (Pub Lunch)
The AAP reported July sales for the 1,200 or so publishers that provide them with monthly data (so covering only the first part of the third quarter that public companies are reporting now), with solid gains in trade, at $555.7 million, up $55.3 million from a year ago. Notably, children’s books and YA, which powered nearly all of the trade’s increase in 2014, turned positive for the first month so far in 2015. Children’s sales of $142.3 million were up $14.7 million. Children’s hardcovers turned positive, up $3.6 million, with most of the increase coming from trade paperbacks, up $10.5 million to $54.9 million for the month—though children’s ebooks remained low, at $10.5 million, down from $17.2 million a year ago.

Want to Succeed in Self-Publishing? Adapt and Adjust (PW)
Bestselling author Glenn Cooper had a problem. His Library of the Dead trilogy—published by HarperCollins—sold millions of copies in Europe. But in his home country sales were sluggish, which made Cooper wonder if his books were less appealing to an American audience or if his U.S. publisher was mishandling the series. He came to believe the latter: “In the States my books were published as paperback originals with minimal marketing push. In Europe, they were done as hardcover editions with great marketing packages.” Cooper decided to publish future titles in the U.S. on his own to give himself control over marketing, and, despite initial fears about plummeting sales, he says going indie was “one of the better publishing decisions I’ve made.”

Lagardere Gains on Currency As HBG USA Waits for Fourth Quarter (Pub Lunch)
Lagardere reported third quarter sales on Tuesday, with the publishing division growing 2 percent on a like-for-like basis and 7.4 percent overall—thanks to a still surging dollar and strong UK pound—at €607 million, up €43 million from a year ago. Foreign exchange accounted for €32 million of the gain. (Similarly, for the first nine months of the year, foreign exchange accounts for €102 million of the unit’s gains, with €21 million coming from acquisitions, primarily in the UK.)

Oracle’s Amazon Killer Is 6 Months Away (Business Insider)
At Oracle’s enormous customer conference, held last month in San Francisco, company executives talked endlessly about Oracle’s plan to dominate in the cloud-computing business. There’s just one problem with that. Some of the newest cloud services announced at the show that compete directly with the biggest cloud player, Amazon, are not publicly available yet. And it could be another six months before Oracle actually launches these services.

New Breed of Poets Succeeds in Taking Verse Viral (New York Times)
There exists a new generation of young, digitally astute poets whose loyal online followings have helped catapult them onto the best-seller lists, where poetry books are scarce. These amateur poets are not winning literary awards, and most have never been in a graduate writing workshop. Instead, their appeal lies in the unpolished flavor of their verses, which often read as if they were ripped from the pages of a diary. And their poems are reaching hundreds of thousands of readers, attracting the attention of literary agents, editors and publishers, and overturning poetry’s longstanding reputation as a lofty art form with limited popular appeal.

Touchpress Pivots Business, Selling Education Apps (Bookseller)
App developer Touchpress is set to make a major shift to its business, including selling off the bulk of its education and literary apps, as it moves away from the paid-for app model and looks to brand sponsorship for its future. Touchpress will now focus on music, with free apps designed principally for Apple TV. The move means the company will divest itself of “about half” its portfolio of apps, those that don’t fit with the new strategy, which will include those in science and natural history.

HarperOne Launches Digital-First Harper Legend (Pub Lunch)
Harper One is launching Harper Legend, a new digital-first line to publish new authors of “visionary and transformational fiction” (paying higher royalties with no advance). The imprint will handle submissions digitally via Harper Legend’s online system and reviewed by the line’s editorial team.

Storydocks: New Storytelling Start-Up from Oetinger (Pub Perspectives)
The Verlagsgruppe Oetinger, one of Germany’s largest children’s books publishers, has launched a new subsidiary company: Storydocks. With its claim “We build digital companies,” Storydocks’ goal is to raise digital storytelling to a new level.

SpotlightData Encryption, Cryptography: Keys to the Future (Pub Perspectives)
The future of the book industry lies in a combination of data compression technology and cryptography, according to Alec Ross, the young American “wunderkind” who gave the keynote address at the final day of the Arab Publishers Conference in Sharjah last week. “Some of the developments in data compression are extraordinary. We are moving towards a world in which a 400-page book can be compressed to the ‘weight’ of a text message. So, imagine a day when you are reading a Facebook post from a friend who mentions this great book they’ve just read, and imagine being able to click on the title and have it sent to your device or printer.”

The Past, Present and Future of the Printed Book (The Wire)
Perhaps it’s only fitting that Amazon has finally opened a bookstore. The store’s existence shows us how developments in the publishing industry, which has often confused business analysts, have come full circle over the past ten years. The all-too-familiar tale of digital disruption that we’ve seen play out in television (Netflix), transportation (Uber/Ola Cabs), accommodation (Airbnb) and music (iTunes, Spotify) hasn’t quite applied to the printed word. This isn’t to suggest, however, that Amazon is throwing in the towel and plans to open any more bookstores, or even pursue it as a serious strategy; only that the march of technological progress hasn’t followed its usual course.

How Facebook and Twitter Are Killing the Open Web (Quartz)
Here’s one way to understand the symbiotic relationship between publications and platforms in the digital age. Publications depend on advertising dollars to keep producing content, so they need to hold readers’ attention. Big platforms like Facebook and Twitter already have plenty of attention, but they need vast quantities of content to fill up their newsfeeds. It seems natural, then, that publications have started relying on platforms to drive readership. But there’s a hitch: this is a really depressing, dystopian way to think about publishers and platforms. It only really makes sense if you view writing as a fungible commodity and view the world exclusively through the lens of late–stage capitalism.


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