Using APIs to Publish More Efficiently

APIs digital publishing book metadata Bibliocloud JSON“Application programming interfaces, or APIs, aren’t easy to talk about,” writes Bibliocloud Founder and CEO Emma Barnes.

“You can’t have a debate about whether or not APIs are a good idea. That would be like arguing over whether the Internet is a good idea.”

APIs are already deeply enmeshed in the digital publishing ecosystem, helping publishers and distributors gather, transmit and check the integrity of data, among other things.

But APIs are far off from reaching their full potential in maximizing those efficiencies. “As we look ahead to an industry increasingly driven by web services,” Barnes says, “the overarching issue becomes figuring out how these services integrate with each other.”

Much more.

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Why the Book World Needs Small Players (Futurebook)
In a publishing landscape that’s seen quite a lot of mergers and acquisitions lately, the claim that “the reasons businesses become big are no longer relevant” can sound counterintuitive. Yet Bibliocloud’s Emma Barnes makes that very case, picking up a thread from her DBW post above to explain why “problems that businesses have solved in the past by getting big can be tackled in other ways.” In this view, future innovation is likelier to emerge from smaller contenders closer to the industry’s margins.

Apple’s Antitrust Cooperation “Sharply Declined” (Reuters)
That’s according to Michael Bromwich, the court-appointed antitrust monitor tasked with keeping tabs on Apple’s compliance with Judge Denise Cote’s ruling on the company’s ebook business. Despite progress on some important matters, Bromwich’s report covering the past few months details a more “adversarial” dynamic to what has long been a deeply (and publicly) standoffish relationship.

Appealing to Millennials with Digital Shorts (NYT)
Vintage/Anchor launches a digital short-form fiction promotion offering readers a la carte short shorties for $0.99 apiece. As key rationale is to attract younger, mobile-tethered readers. A publisher behind the program explains, “We knew from some research that we’d seen that millennial readers want cheaper, bite-sized pieces of content that are also high quality.”
Related: Millennials Clinging to Print

Smashwords Founder Sizes up Author Landscape (PW)
Mark Coker, Founder and CEO of the self-publishing platform Smashwords, sees more indie authors coming into their own as savvy small-business owners. But he also says that “for self-published authors—for all authors, in fact—the easy days are over. There’s now a glut of high-quality, low-cost ebooks out there, and that glut will only increase as more authors up their game, and as more authors self-publish,” a view that largely squares with findings from the latest Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey.

HarperCollins Adds Harlequin Titles to Playster (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Earlier this week Simon & Schuster added back-list titles to the multimedia subscription platform Playster, currently in beta. In an expansion of HarperCollins’s own recent partnership with the Canadian start-up, announced just last month, Harlequin adds its own selection of ebooks to the Playster catalog, which also includes movies, TV and games.
Related: Penguin Random House Tries Subscription Audiobooks with Scribd

End-Times Publishing the New Normal? (The Bookseller)
In a strident and sobering account of the current landscape, one industry veteran foresees many traditional publishers and authors buckling under the pressures of a digital market in which “readers increasingly want intimacy: access to writers, online and in person.” Here’s what happens, in this view, when the traditional model fails to deliver it.

Best-Selling Ebook Prices Likely to Rise (DBW)
The average price of a best-selling ebook has been inching up in recent weeks. So while the latest Ebook Best-Seller List doesn’t yet capture the higher prices HarperCollins began instituting earlier this week after returning to agency pricing, it’s a good bet that that upward trend will continue.

Amazon and Google Put Pressure on Yelp (Business Insider)
As some of the big Internet companies evolve, Yelp is finding itself more vulnerable to competition. Analysts see Amazon’s new home services category as a direct play for Yelp’s user base, and Google’s algorithm change next week is expected to diminish the site’s review pages in search results.

The Scent of an Ebook (Boston Business Journal)
A Boston-based start-up is developing technology allowing for the digital transmission of smell. It’s testing out how to bring that feature into e-reading, with one recent experiment incorporating fruit-based scents into an ebook edition of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Guess you have to smell it to believe it.


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