Kids, this is how they use to make books –
The days of the hot shot Linotype is long gone. As are the days of the flat plate press. That book you read today, the type is more likely to be toner rather than ink. But it is an interesting vid of a tech from the past.
HT: The Passive Voice.
By their virtual nature, ebooks don’t wear our like the dead tree kind do. There is also a significant difference in the cost of reproducing a physical vs virtual volume. Since in theory, an ebook won’t wear out, publishers will be missing a little incremental revenue from libraries who will not need to replace them. You might assume that the tiny difference in the selling price between virtual and physical would make up for that since ebooks cost nothing to reproduce. Not so according to Harper Collins. In fact, the company will only allow its ebooks to be loaned 26 times before requiring a library to purchase a new copy. In effect, Harper Collins is now charging a per use royalty on ebooks.
For libraries, there’s a perfectly reasonable solution to the problem. Don’t buy Harper Collins ebooks. If they all stop buying, chances are very good this ridiculous policy will change.
Traditional news media thrived in an era of high cost, limited acess distribution channels like print and broadcast. When the internet made publishing and broadcasting available to the masses, big media’s bloated business model and elitist editorial policy ended its dominance. In an environment of free distribution, wire services have continued to enjoy relevance as aggregators of reports by so called professional journalists. Their dominance may also be ending as rival channels evolve. One of these is Allvoices. It closely resembles traditional news wire services, but accepts contributions from anyone.
All Voices, a “citizen media” site that is trying to create a kind of crowd-powered newswire service, today announced an ambitious expansion into 30 countries that it believes aren’t getting enough coverage from traditional media, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Egypt and China. In effect, the company is attempting to create a Reuters-style service that brings news and insight from places that traditional media entities aren’t covering, either because they don’t care or because they’ve cut back their foreign reporting budgets.
Once the service gets well-established in those countries, Aki Hashmi of All Voices — a former Knight-Ridder and Reuters executive — says the service plans to expand into 30 more. Hashmi says the site has grown by over 400 percent in the past year and now has 337,000 contributors in 180 countries generating 4 million unique visits per month. (GigaOm)
I think a successful pay wall model is evolving for a few daily publishers. While local papers are dying, and most of their online efforts have filed to revive business, and few more specialized publications are thriving. One example is the Wall Street Journal. It’s arguably the best single source of business news. It’s online / print hybrid subscription model has maintained a solid subscriber base.
Another success story is the Cristian Science Monitor. The publications subscriber base has always been small, but with the implementation of a weekly print digest alone with daily online updates at a fair price ($5.75/month) it’s readership is growing.
Reader cram points us to a paidContent post by John Yemma, the editor of The Christian Science Monitor, in which he makes a lot of great points about digital strategies for news publishing.
A year ago, we ceased publishing the daily, 100-year-old Christian Science Monitor newspaper and launched a weekly magazine to complement our website, on which we doubled down by reorienting our newsroom to be web-first. Our web traffic climbed from 6 million page views last April to 13 million in February. Our print circulation rose from 43,000 to 77,000 in the same period. This is the sort of bold move that might be the last hope for some struggling publications, and it’s also an example of CwF+RtB. Magazines still hold value to readers as an attractive physical item in a way that newspapers don’t—by connecting with fans online and then giving them a better reason to buy the print product, CSM increased the readership of both. (Techdirt)
While you can argue that the Cristian Science Monitor is a boutique periodical with a captive audience of church members, it’s also worth noting that none of that membership is compelled to subscribe by church rules. Rather, they are compelled to subscribe by the value of what the publication offers in content that is relevant to them.
Local dailies and news mags have tended to be aggregators of content from outside sources, making them more of a distribution channel. When the Internet provided a more efficient distribution channel, the time came for them to evolve into something different. In order to find relevance, not only do they need to move online with a real time publication model. They also need to offer something compelling at a fair price.
Giving a reader free access to something new is often exponentially more effective than expensive media advertising.
If you’ve been to a Sam’s club around meal time, you can;t miss the free samples of food products in almost every aisle. It’s a pretty simple concept. If you get a taste of something you like, you’re very likely to buy more to take home. Books with good library representation always sell more copies than those notilable on loan.
We’ve noted in the past the various stories of individual authors like Paulo Coelho and David Pogue, who showed that free (non-DRM’d) versions of their ebooks helped increase physical book sales. Then, in February, we wrote about some actual research that showed that when unauthorized ebooks get out into the wild, there is a “significant jump in sales” of the physical book. And, now there’s even more evidence to support this. A recent paper by a PhD. candidate noticed that free ebooks tend to increase sales of physical books. In this case, rather than looking at “unauthorized” ebooks, it looks like they focused on authorized free ebook versions. (Techdirt)
Publisher suits have a hard time dealing with the fact that there are freeloaders in the world. What these execs don’t seem to understand is that this minority of readers has always existed, and that they will do without rather than pay. By depriving the avid reader who might pay for something he likes to stop the freeloader, publishers are literally killing their most powerful new marketing tool.
Most of us have browsed that pages of Popular Science at one time or another going back to the time of our great, great grandfathers. The magazine is the most likely precursor and model for the pop-tech blogosphere of today and is still alive and well in both print and online. In a move contrary to that of other periodicals struggling with a print to online transition, Popular Science gets “it”. Freeing its archive will certainly drive more traffic to its site, growing readership and therefore giving it more opportunities to monetize.
We’ve partnered with Google to offer our entire 137-year archive for free browsing. Each issue appears just as it did at its original time of publication, complete with period advertisements. And today we’re excited to announce you can browse the full archive right here on PopSci.com. (Poplar Science)
As any retailer will tell you, the longer you can get people to come in and browse, the more likely it is that they will buy something. I predict that by hanging the come in and browse sign on its site instead of the “keep out” sign of a paywall, that Popular Science will continue to live long and prosper.