Here are key pieces of the emerging mobile picture:
1. It’s dominated by smartphones, ownership of which just hit 64% in the U.S., rising from 35% in 2011.
2. It’s no country for old men, who can get by more easily without mobile devices. 18–29-year-old users, by contrast, are far more reliant on their smartphones. 15% of that demographic report being “heavily dependent” on them.
3. “Tablets are accessories,” as mobile publishing expert Thad McIlroy said recently. Tablets are set to reach 52% of the mobile computing market by 2016, overtaking notebooks. But that’s only if you exclude smartphones from the picture. Tablet growth is itself slowing as mobile users shift to smartphones.
More on what it all means for publishers.
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Bookish: A Cautionary Tale in 2015 (TheStreet)
The experience of Bookish, the website and online bookstore launched by three major publishers in 2011 before being sold for a song to Zola in 2014, offers a lesson for other retail newcomers going up against discounting incumbents. Some expect Tidal, the music streaming venture launched by Jay-Z, to wage an uphill battle against Spotify, just as publishers going direct-to-consumer will have no easy time competing with Amazon.
Hachette Still Leery of Subscription Ebooks (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
According to Hachette Livre CEO Arnaud Nourry, “offering subscriptions at a monthly fee that is lower than the price of one book is absurd” because, as he sees it, “people who read two or three books a month represent an infinitesimal minority.” Ebook subscription services might beg to differ, and there’s a case to be made that there’s nothing lost in trying to foster that behavior among readers.
Txtr Taken Over (Pub Lunch)
Media-Saturn, a European electronics retailer based in Germany, will incorporate the bankrupt ebook platform txtr into its own ebooks business. Here are the details on how that’s set to shake out.
Case Closed on Harper Lee Abuse Claims (WSJ)
It wasn’t long after HarperCollins announced it would be publishing Go Set a Watchman, the recently rediscovered predecessor to Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird, that some claimed the elderly author had been taken advantage of. An investigation by Alabama authorities ends without finding evidence that that was the case.
Defining the Scope and Limits of Digital Change (Book Business)
As ebook growth slows, publishers are taking stock and rethinking what the digital transformation actually means for their businesses. As several publishers recently suggested, the digital shift is about prudently deploying digital technology and strategies—from data to tools and systems to direct sales platforms—to improve upon what they already do, not redefine it fundamentally.
Related: A Publisher’s Review of a Tumultuous Decade
Pearson’s No Spy (Albuquerque Journal)
As one observer argues, the recent discovery that Pearson was monitoring students’ social media accounts during Common Core–aligned testing “is not akin to spying” on them. Parents and educators sure didn’t see it that way, but here’s a counter-argument based around existing copyright law.
Related: Five Tips for Publishers Confronting the Common Core
Tools for Easing Production-Editorial Burdens (Pub Perspectives)
Most publishers have found the production-editorial process isn’t easy to overhaul. Hard-copy manuscripts still exist at all levels of the industry, and in many cases editors, proofreaders and designers find there’s still nothing as efficient, cost-effective and reliable as a physical proof. But that often isn’t saying much, and as a developer of a new editing platform for complex titles like illustrated books and textbooks explains, practical alternatives may be nearer at hand than previously.
Keeping Pace with Young Readers (DBW—Free Webcast)
Digital natives have so far proved to be a hybrid bunch: enthusiastic ebook readers on one hand who are equally comfortable with print formats on the other. Digital Book World sits down with leading researchers in the children’s space on webcast on Tuesday, April 6th at 12pm EST to dig into new data on families’ and kids’ e-reading habits and what that means for publishers. Sign up here.