All About the Internet of Bookish Things

All About the Internet of Bookish ThingsThe Internet of Things, or IoT for short, is one of those buzzwords that is making the rounds in Silicon Valley. Earlier this month, many of the electronic gadgets on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas were connected cars, autonomous drones, Internet-connected thermostats (Nest) and others. Sensors and Internet connectivity are seemingly being embedded into almost anything.

“We don’t think of books as Internet-connected things,” writes Andrew Rhomberg in a blog post for Digital Book World, “though innovations like conductive ink have made it possible to connect even printed books to the Internet.

“More important than experiments with conductive ink is the significant number of books that are now published and read in the form of ebooks,” Rhomberg continues. “Ebooks are consumed either on e-readers based on electronic ink (“e-ink”), such as the Kindle, or on the iPad, and the many tablets, large and small, based on the Android operating system, be it Amazon’s Kindle Fire or Samsung Galaxy Tab. And increasingly, ebooks are also being read on smartphones, as screens have become both larger and sharper.”

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The FANG Playbook (Stratechery)
While the biggest driver of Amazon’s increased valuation has almost certainly been AWS, the e-commerce side of the business continues to grow like gangbusters as well, taking over half of every additional dollar spent by U.S. consumers online, and a quarter of all retail growth online or off. The vast majority of those sales are actually from third party merchants using Amazon as a discovery and fulfillment platform, but these merchants’ market power relative to Amazon is not unlike publishers relative to Facebook, because is where the buyers are.

Authors United Event to Discuss Amazon’s ‘Misuse of Power’ (Bookseller)
Campaign group Authors United is set to hold an event to discuss Amazon’s “enormous market power” and the “misuse” of that power, in Washington DC next week. The event, to be held on Wednesday, January 27th at the New American Foundation, is entitled Amazon’s Book Monopoly: A Threat to Freedom of Expression? and aims to “shine a light on how Amazon’s monopoly, and its heavy-handed behavior, are already affecting the free flow of ideas in our society.”

BEA Announces Conference Programming for 2016 (DBW)
BookExpo America revealed its Content & Digital Conference programming plans designed to engage and educate booksellers, librarians, agents, authors and industry insiders by delivering insights on the latest trends. The new conference tracks developed for this year’s show tap into two red-hot segments for the industry today: children’s publishing and self-publishing.

Amazon Is Clearing Off the Shelf(ari) (Digital Reader)
Amazon is getting its spring cleaning started early this year. The retailer has quietly informed members of Shelfari that the social network is going to be shut down in March. Acquired in 2008, Shelfari was Amazon’s first book-focused social network (Amazon bought ABEbooks and gained a 40-percent share in LibraryThing the same year).

PRH UK Launches Consumer Website (Bookseller)
Penguin Random House UK has launched its consumer website, building on the Penguin brand as the home for its book, author and character content. The group has also launched a new corporate site, designed to showcase its eight publishing divisions and their imprints.

The Network Model of Publishing (Scholarly Kitchen)
It’s easy to overlook the fact that print and digital are not simply formats but entire ecosystems as well. For those of us who labor in the mines of STM journals, this oversight is understandable, as we can be lulled (asphyxiated?) into believing that all the world is digital, artifacts of “print consciousness” notwithstanding (e.g., the PDF, the version of record). If print and digital did not in fact represent entire ecosystems, when digital products came along they would have just been slotted into the place that print once occupied.

SpotlightinstaFreebie Grows Publishers’ Email Lists (Book Business)
One key component of successful direct-to-consumer marketing is the consumer’s email address. But earning that email address can require a lot of legwork from the book publisher, from social media marketing to advertising and publicity. instaFreebie attempts to streamline the audience development process for authors and publishers by hosting limited-time ebook giveaways and using data analytics to nurture readers towards submitting their emails.

Ukrainian Publishers Inspired by Expert Training (Pub Perspectives)
At a professional training course organized by the Frankfurt Book Fair, publishers from the Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia learned strategies to become more globally competitive.


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