December 9, 2010

Seth Godin's Domino Project

Do you want to see, first-hand, where publishing is going?

Let me introduce you Seth Godin, the best and most prolific marketing expert I know of. Here are the first few paragraphs from his recent blog post, titled "The Domino Project:"

"Book publishing is changing. It’s changing faster than it has in a hundred years. I’ve been persistent enough to be part of that change, provoking and poking and wondering about what comes next.

Today, I’m thrilled to report on what’s next for me.

  • To reinvent the way books are created when the middleman is made less important.
  • To reinvent the way books are purchased when the tribe is known and embraced.
  • To reinvent the way books are read when the alternatives are so much easier to find.
  • To find and leverage great ideas and great authors, bringing them to readers who need them.
The notion of the paper book as merely a package for information is slowly becoming obsolete. There must be other reasons on offer, or smart people will go digital, or read something free. The book is still an ideal tool for the hand-to-hand spreading of important ideas, though. The point of the book is to be spread, to act as a manifesto, to get in sync with others, to give and to get and to hand around."

You can read the rest at: It's worth every second of you time. I promise.

October 20, 2010

Google's Slideshow of Interesting Things: Is the Future of Publishing Now?

Google's Creative Labs came out today with a slideshow of interesting things on the web. I find these three especially relevant:

Dynamic Digital Typeface

RCA (Royal Academy of Arts) student Jack Gilbey is developing dynamic typography where the font adapts to contextual changes within the content. I think this is a BIG deal. You don't have to take my word for it; here are his:

"Recently, my practice has been concerned with exploring the possibilities offered to typographers by developments in technology, new media and the apparently limitless dimensions of the Internet. I am interested in challenging the universally accepted concept of a typeface as a static set of visual forms – a tradition born of obsolescent technologies – and investigating the notion of a typeface as a dynamic system that can be context-sensitive or thematically driven. I have developed a body of work that aims to explore the extent to which these new typographic methods can enhance communication."

Cool, Jack - high time too!

MyFry - Stephen Fry's Book App

Stephen Fry and Penguin digital made his latest book into an iPad app that is browsable in completely new ways:

Is this cool or what? I'm REALLY tempted to get an v.1 (version #1) iPad... although, even with Apple, I generally wait till v.2. Microsoft? Wait at least till v.3.1....

Mongoliad: The Digitally Enhanced Genghis Khan

Neal Stephenson is leading/writing a serialised 13th century historical epic, Mongoliad, with community-enhancement, wiki-contribution, a subscriber model, and multiple writers; all to be released on iOS (i.e. as an iSomething app).

I do believe the subscriber model is the best way for authors to make a living from their work. Multiple writers... I'm not so sure about that....

September 23, 2010

Amazon Now Sells More eBooks Than Hardcovers

eBooks have FINALLY hit the mainstream, and for the first time are consistently outselling their pulp-and-ink brethren, according to

Last holiday season Amazon hit a symbolic milestone, when for one day its sales of e-books exceeded the number of dead-tree books it had sold.

The company now has hit a more significant milestone, selling 143 e-books for every 100 hardcover books sold over the course of the second quarter. And the rate is accelerating: in June, Amazon sold 180 e-books for every 100 hardcovers; it also sold three times as many e-books in the first six months of this year as it did in the first half of 2009.

Amazon’s Kindle bookstore now offers more than 630,000 books -- including Predatoress and some of our other titles of course -- plus 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright titles.

The overall e-book market is still a mere weakling next to print publishing. According to a report from Publisher’s Weekly last year, hardback sales were projected to be about $4.4 billion in 2009 (including both adult and children’s titles), while paperbacks were expected to generate $5.1 billion in revenue, audiobooks $218 million, and e-books just $81 million — less than 1 percent of the print equivalents. That’s not even counting textbooks, Bibles and professional books — with those included, Publisher’s Weekly estimated the overall book market at $35 billion in 2009.

According to Amazon, sales of its Kindle e-book reader have tripled since it cut the price from $260 to $190, although it did not provide any hard numbers about how many it had sold. The Kindle has topped Amazon’s list of bestselling products almost since it was first released two years ago.

You don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle books, however. Amazon also offers Kindle e-book readers for the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android phones, and for Mac and Windows PCs. This cross-platform reach is no doubt helping to increase the customer base for Amazon’s e-books, but it also provides a security blanket: even if you break your Kindle or lose it, you’ll still be able to read the ebooks you’ve bought.

September 8, 2010

Is Successful Farming Magazine the Future of Publishing?

Successful Farming Magazine's owner, Meredith Corp., has found a new way to use multimedia: a video inside a magazine.

The August issue of Successful Farming has an insert from Bayer Crop Science. When readers open the page, a video plays a commercial for Votivo, a pesticide that protects crops from nematodes.

About the size of a cell phone screen, the video also plays four other commercials when readers push "play" buttons on the advertisement. Now, why they'd do that is a different question altogether…

The magazine, which was first published in 1902, included the insert in 17,000 copies or about 4 percent of its subscribers, said Publisher Scott Mortimer. Meredith matched its database with Bayer's list of customers, and the advertisement also went to some farmers who have more than 1,000 acres.

According to the Des Moines media company, video-inserted advertisements have appeared in magazines only twice before. Americhip, which created the Successful Farming ad, also created similar advertisements for Pepsi and CBS to run in Entertainment Weekly last fall.

Two or three advertisers have requested information after seeing the ad in the August issue Mortimer said. "I imagine we'll see more of them. This is client-driven. It depends how much they want to push the envelope."

The U.S. Postal Service required that Successful Farming include the words "Magazine contains lithium-ion batteries" on its table of contents. This warning confused at least one reader who didn't receive the ad, Mortimer said.

May 16, 2010

Social Media Gets Booby Trapped!

To be more precise, Giancarlo Massaro of is running a 24 hour contest today, May 16, 2010, on his site and YouTube channel. Here is his video:

FOUR lucky winners will receive an autographed copy of the book Booby Trapped: Men Beware! The Dirty Seven Sisters: A Dating Guide for the 21st Century and the bonus CD album.

Our favorite author, June Marshall, teaches men to use their brains first to recognize the unsuitable mates who make up the Dirty Seven Sisters. To better illustrate each type, she includes celebrity examples, such as Angelina Jolie, Anna Nicole Smith, Brooke Shields, Cher, Dr. Laura, Jennifer Lopez, Joan Crawford, Julia Roberts, Kate Moss, Kathy Lee Gifford, Lorena Bobbit, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Marilyn Monroe, Meg Ryan, Melanie Griffith, Mia Farrow, Monica Lewinsky, Naomi Campbell, Tonya Harding, and many more.

This is your chance to win June's book and album. Head over to now!

February 3, 2010

iPad eTextbooks Coming to a Classroom Near You?

Major textbook publishers have now struck deals with ScrollMotion to adapt their textbooks for the electronic age, as the industry embraces the notion that digital devices such as Apple's iPad could, and indeed will, transform the classroom.

"People have been talking about the impact of technology on education for 25 years. It feels like it is really going to happen in 2010," says Rik Kranenburg, group president of higher education for the education unit of McGraw-Hill, which is involved in the project.

Other publishers include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt K-12; Pearson Education, Kaplan Inc., known for its test-prep and study guides.

A great many developers and publishers are working on applications that will run on the iPad and other digital devices. Publishers, who have invested heavily in digital educational content in recent years are about to see their just rewards.

Compass Intelligence, a market research firm in Scottsdale, Ariz., estimates that technology spending in the U.S. educational market could grow to $61.9 billion in 2013, from $47.6 billion in 2008.

So far, digital educational products and applications has largely been confined to desktops and laptops. Truth be told, most college students have been slow to embrace e-textbooks; however, the portability if iPad and other upcoming tablets could, and probably will change that.

Will the iPad be the digital device to transform the classroom? "Nobody knows what device will take off, or which 'killer app' will drive student adaptations. Today they aren't reading e-textbooks on their laptops. But ahead we see all kinds of new instruction materials," opines Mr. Kranenburg.

Though Apple didn't outline its strategy to target the educational sector with its iPad last week, the iPad's use in schools was one of the focal points of discussions in developing it. In its exploration of electronic book technology, Apple did focus on how it could re-invent textbooks. That's not surprising, as Apple has an edge in the educational sector; its Macintosh computers have always enjoyed a strong following in the academic sphere, and it already offers educational audio and video content through its iTunes University service.

The iPad will also be helped by the interest that schools have always had in tablet-form computers. Science teachers, for example, could use them to take lab notes, which often have a combination of sentences, charts and mathematical equations, while others could bring them on field trips. "This is the beginning of handheld education," according to John Lema, CEO of ScrollMotion.

ScrollMotion's iPad deal with publishers include applications to let students play video, highlight text, record lectures, take printed notes, search the text, and participate in interactive quizzes to test how much they've learned and where they may need more work... and they can enjoy their fun stuff when nobody watches....

January 9, 2010

reBlog from Million Dollar Web TV News

I found this fascinating quote today:

If the proof is in the “eating of the ‘digital’ pudding,” our newest member advertiser, Newmedia Publishing, is a prime example of this trend. They have been producing digital versions of their authors’ and artists’ books and albums since 1999, when they set up shop. Congratulations and thanks for becoming our first advertiser of 2010!, Million Dollar Web TV News, Jan 2010

You should read the whole article.