With ebook growth flattening out, many publishers are doing a bit of housekeeping.
It’s smart think about investing in automated production-editorial workflows and other digital solutions, Bibliocloud CEO Emma Barnes observes, but the reason many publishers “think they need a system is usually because of problems with process, not data,” she says.
For someone who operates a publishing software company, Barnes is perhaps surprisingly keen to caution publishers against rushing too quickly to invest systems like Bibliocloud’s.
That’s because, in her view, technology is often a tool for solving problems rather than a solution all by itself. Or as Barnes puts it, “configuring a system to support a particular process is the easy part. Figuring out what the process should look like, on the other hand, is the larger problem.”
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Debate Continues on Proprietary Ebook Formats (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Digital production expert Joshua Tallent’s post arguing in favor of proprietary ebook formats last week generated sometimes heated discussion on the topic. Ink, Bits & Pixels rounds up those conversations and weighs in on the debate.
Amazon Echo Taps into Audible (Slashgear)
An update to Amazon’s personal assistant device includes a function allowing the voice-activated Echo to read digital audiobook titles purchased through Audible, Amazon’s audiobook platform. Echo syncs with other devices in order to pick up wherever a user last left off.
Related: Audiobook Growth Among and Beyond Ebook Readers
Demand High for Amazon to Go Physical (Telegraph)
A recent survey of UK consumers suggests demand for Amazon to open physical locations is higher than for any other major e-tailer. While speculation that Amazon will ultimately get into bricks-and-mortar retailing continues to simmer away, others point out there are reasons why it hasn’t happened yet and may not for some time, if ever.
Indie Authors Struggle under New Tax Rules in EU (Guardian)
Authors are reportedly struggling to comply with the change European Union legislators implemented earlier this year, requiring taxes to be levied on goods sold online based on the location where they were purchased rather than on where the seller is located. Here’s a look at the administrative complications the shift poses and what further changes might come next.
Browser Tool Entices Book Buyers to Stay Local (Engadget)
A Chrome extension for UK readers, called Bookindy, displays listings inside Amazon product pages where the same title is available at local booksellers, including at what price and physical distance.
Closing Publishing’s Gender Gap (The Bookseller)
One author’s proposal for combating gender discrimination in the publishing world entails placing a moratorium on publishers releasing any books written by men in 2018, the hundredth anniversary of women’s enfranchisement in the UK. The idea has stirred debate around that persisting imbalance in an industry composed primarily of women.
China’s Long Road to Global Publishing Dominance (New Yorker)
One recent measure puts the number of Chinese titles published in the U.S. at just a sixth of the volume of American books published in China. With that in mind, and assessing China’s controversial presence at BookExpo America, one observer comments that the real story is “the failure of Chinese publishers to sell books abroad,” as the country struggles “to improve its public image and export its culture around the world.” Not everyone agrees.
Amazon Pushes Further into Gaming (The Verge)
Last year Amazon bought Twitch, the video streaming platform for gamers, in a move largely seen as being more about video than gaming. To date, Amazon has focused its efforts in the gaming space primarily on mobile products, but it’s now reportedly working on an “ambitious new PC game project using the latest technology.”