How Publishers Are Squandering Their Data

How Publishers Are Squandering Their DataWho has access to the data that can best predict how readers will spend their money?

Who has data on how people read books—how far they get, how many they buy, how often they buy, whether their purchases cluster around certain dates?

Who has the permission to contact readers by post, email or text—to shape their opinions and buying patterns?

Who, in other words, owns the data that holds the key to publishing’s future performance?

SpotlightMuch more.

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The Deep Space of Digital Reading (Nautilus)
The Internet’s flood of information, together with the distractions of social media, threaten to overwhelm the interior space of reading, stranding us in what the journalist Nicholas Carr has called “the shallows,” a frenzied flitting from one fact to the next. In Carr’s view, the “endless, mesmerizing buzz” of the Internet imperils our very being: “One of the greatest dangers we face,” he writes, “as we automate the work of our minds, as we cede control over the flow of our thoughts and memories to a powerful electronic system, is … a slow erosion of our humanness and our humanity.”

The 10 Advantages of Advertising Books in Print Media (Book Business)
Technology has made it easier and cheaper than ever for small book publishers to reach their prospective buyers through advertising. Websites, social media sites and email campaigns offer immediacy and interactivity. But traditional print advertising retains many of the advantages that made it the lifeblood of marketing communications for decades. For book publishers seeking credibility, repetition and a closer connection with their target buyers, the benefits of print ads may outweigh even the most-used digital media.

As Writers’ Wages Wane in Digital Chapter, Authors Pen Demands (NPR)
The Authors Guild has started the new year with a bang. First, the group, which represents the interests of writers, asked the Supreme Court to review an October appeals court ruling, which upheld Google’s right to digitize out-of-print books without an author’s permission. A few days later, the Guild addressed a separate issue when it released a letter to publishers demanding better contract terms for authors. Both moves come as many writers find it harder and harder to make a living from their writing. Since 2009, the mean income for writers has gone down 30 percent, says the Guild’s executive director, Mary Rasenberger.

Amazon Announces Kindle iOS App Updates (DBW)
Amazon announced three new updates to its Kindle iOS app, including native social sharing, parallel downloads and Audible player adjustments.

Trajectory’s Book Analysis Tech and the SOTU (Porter Anderson)
“We have deconstructed every sentence in every State of the Union address to analyze and summarize their common and unique themes.” Who else but Trajectory? That’s Jim Bryant talking, CEO of the Boston-based “intelligent network” that’s working with publishers on their distribution challenges. It’s also the home of an ambitious Natural Language Processing effort that “reads” the complete text of a book into its system. The idea is recommendations: when a consumer looks for a book like the one he or she just enjoyed, Trajectory’s digital comparisons are searching for such factors as matching “sentiment curves,” keywords, settings, characters—whatever can be used to make a positive match of one good story to another.

Scribd Hires New COO (DBW)
The subscription content platform Scribd announced that it has hired Eric Shoup, previously of eBay and, as its new Chief Operating Officer.

Macmillan Learning Acquires Roberts & Company (Pub Lunch)
The US-based educational publisher Macmillan Learning announced Monday it has acquired Roberts and Company, publisher of higher education textbooks, interactive media and original monographs in biology, chemistry, engineering and related disciplines.


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