Fox Business host Stuart Varney was in fine form today. If you missed it, Stuart challenged me to defend the publishing business given all the industry threats he sees (e.g., margin erosion, changing reading habits, etc.). I only had a couple of minutes but I'd like to think I hit on some of the high points to address Stuart's concerns. Watch the embedded video below and judge for yourself though...
25 posts from July 2008
I might not have the time to write a blog post over lunch on Thursday because I'm leaving around noon to do an interview on the Fox Business channel. That's right. Set your DVR to record from 1-2 PM (eastern time) tomorrow (Thursday, 7/17) and then get ready to critique my performance.
The interview will be with Fox's Stuart Varney and should air at approximately 1:45 PM. I'm told he'll be asking me about the current state of the book publishing industry, what the future looks like, etc. If Fox winds up showing the interview on their website I'll do a follow-up post with a link to it. Of course, all this is contingent on me not getting preempted by some other more newsworthy topic...so keep your fingers crossed for a slow news day tomorrow.
DailyLit is that nifty service that delivers bite-sized pieces of content to your e-mail in-box, allowing you to read a book on a mobile phone or any other device that's convenient for you. I talked about their new Wikipedia service earlier and I tried it for their series on the U.S. Presidents. It's a very effective way to learn on the go.
As I was reading on my Kindle recently I started to think about how DailyLit and the Kindle could come together. Wouldn't it be cool if the DailyLit service could become Kindle-enabled? It might even be a fairly simple service to implement. After all, Kindle owners can convert simple files (e.g., Word doc files) by sending them as an attachment to their @kindle.com e-mail address. Although DailyLit content is delivered as the body of an e-mail, I'll bet they could offer a Kindle option that is sent to my kindle.com e-mail address as an attachment instead. All I have to do is enable their e-mail address for incoming messages on my Kindle account and let Amazon do the rest. The content would be automatically converted and wirelessly delivered to my device.
Do I need bite-sized content delivered to my Kindle? No, but DailyLit has plenty of content you won't find for the Kindle. Further, with my earlier DailyLit experiments I found that getting pieces of content every day forced me to read them and keep up, more so than if an entire unread book was staring back at me all the time. Finally, more content options for the Kindle could only be a good thing for Kindle owners.
First, the good. The Heath brothers produced yet another excellent article in the latest (July-August) issue of Fast Company magazine. It's called "Anchor and Twist" and it's all about helping your audience understand your new product or innovation. Very insightful.
Now, the not-so-good. Robert Scoble, love your book (and not just because we published it!), but what the heck is with this latest article called "Stream of Consciousness"?! This piece is an excellent example of why I don't use Twitter. It not only features a poor signal-to-noise ratio (how many "I just ate a blueberry muffin" tweets do you have to sift through every day?) but when gathered together like this in a magazine article it looks like nothing more than headlines. Call me old fashioned but I don't just read a newspaper, magazine or document for the headlines. I like to read about the details beneath the headlines. When spliced together it creates an awful format for a magazine article; in fact, it has the look and feel of a high-tech ransom note. And so, I offer my own special ransom-style tweet to Robert below (click on the image to enlarge).
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a ghostwriter? Christine Larson sheds some light on the topic in this NY Times article. I found this statement particularly interesting:
When I mention that I’m writing a book for a doctor or an executive, I sense a certain discomfort, as if I’d said that I write term papers for a living.
There are, apparently, quite a few people out there who think that busy executive or celebrity really sat down and wrote all the words in their autobiography, tell-all, etc. Call me a skeptic but anytime I see the "with so-and-so" co-authorship cover credit I assume most of the book was written by this secondary author. Does it ruin the reading experience for me? No way, but like anything else in life, it's important to go in with the right expectations.
P.S. -- I'm quite certain I would have missed this article if it weren't for my NY Times Kindle subscription. I'm quickly realizing I love reading the NY Times and $13.99 isn't such a ripoff after all. Something's gotta give though and I think it might be my XM Radio subscription...more later.