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11 posts from September 2012

Neutralizing Amazon: Open platforms and services will lead to ebook marketplace disruption

What would you think of a start-up who offers the following?:

  •  Selling ebooks in a model where one simple transaction gives you access to all formats (e.g., PDF, mobi and EPUB).
  • All those ebooks are available in a completely DRM-free manner. There’s no social DRM applied either.
  • Every ebook can be quickly and easily side-loaded to the device of your choice. Got a Kindle? No problem. All purchases will be sent right to it. Same goes for Nooks, Kobos, etc. No more awkward installations with USB cables.
  • No restrictions on reselling your content or loaning it to someone else. Are you finished with that ebook and have no plans to ever open it again? Why not resell it or pass it along to a friend like you’d do with a print book?
  • Enabling and, more importantly, encouraging publishers to have a direct relationship with their customers through this retailing platform.

Sounds too good to be true? I don’t think so. Here’s why…

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What's new with EPUB?

This month’s Tools of Change (TOC) theme is “formats.” Even though O'Reilly's customers still tend to favor PDF it’s clear that mobi and EPUB are the formats with all the momentum. In order to get the scoop on EPUB I decided to go right to the source. The IDPF is the organization that develops and maintains the EPUB standard and Bill McCoy is the IDPF’s Executive Director. Bill was kind enough to sit down and talk with me about the current state of EPUB and where it’s heading.

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Selling ourselves short on search and discovery

As my O'Reilly colleague Allen Noren recently reminded me, online discovery pretty much begins and ends with search engines. Look at the analytics of any website and you'll find the inbound traffic largely comes from Google. So what are we doing as publishers to take better advantage of that fact? What do we expose to those search engines to ensure more of the results displayed point to our websites?

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Piracy, pricing, and ebook hoarding: How is ebook pricing changing our behavior?

I was on a conference call recently talking about piracy with Joe KaraganisBrian O'Leary and Ruediger Wischenbart. At one point someone mentioned that piracy can be avoided when content is made available at a reasonable price and in all convenient formats. That begs the question: What's a "reasonable price"?

I asked the group if they felt $9.99 is the answer. All three of them said that's too high. Maybe we're too focused on the 99-cent phenomenon and, of course, it's hard to state a "reasonable" price when talking generally about all types of books (e.g., trade, technical, etc.) Nevertheless, it's disturbing to think that the future of ebooks features a race to zero on pricing.

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