Newbie author rediscovers his natural aversion to all things bureaucratic

The shift from writing to platform-building as book launch approaches

Last week I talked about putting pen to paper, or keystrokes to Microsoft Word, and all the behind the scenes work that involved. When I felt I had no clue what I was doing, I remembered what my developmental editor told me. Don’t judge and don’t stop, so I didn’t judge and I didn’t stop.

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Three years of TOC at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Trends, topics and transformations in a market undergoing change

O’Reilly Media took its Tools of Change in Publishing Conference to Italy for the first time in 2011, teaming up with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair organizers to focus on opportunities for children’s content in digital publishing. That year the conference attracted 270 delegates from 27 countries, mostly publishers and developers. It was the first foray into the digital conversation for at least 40% of attendees. Two years and three conferences later, TOC Bologna has grown both in numbers as well as participant make-up, with authors and illustrators joining the discussion, and has spearheaded a maturing professional exchange on how the children’s sector might adapt, and thrive, in the digital landscape.

This article provides an overview of TOC’s three years at Bologna and highlights the trends, topics, and transformations currently at the forefront of a market striving to re-define itself as it heralds the future of publishing.

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Best of TOC: Thought-provoking articles from the past year

Download your free copy today to catch up on all the latest publishing industry analysis

best of tocIt’s challenging keeping up with publishing industry news and analysis. I have way too many content feeds to monitor and I’m sure you do too. We do our best to highlight the most important developments on the TOC website but you’re forgiven if you fall behind or miss an article every so often.

Most of analysis on the TOC site is somewhat timeless but the blog format might not make it feel that way. That’s why we gathered the best of the best articles and assembled them for you in a handy, to-go version. It’s called Best of TOC: Analysis and Ideas about the Future of Publishing. More than 60 of the most thought-provoking articles from the TOC team and community are featured and it’s available in EPUB, mobi and PDF formats. Best of all, it’s completely free.

If you need to catch up on your TOC reading you no longer have an excuse. Download your copy today and tell us what you think.

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Will we ever see a “Spotify for ebooks”?

Join us for a free webcast on April 26 to discuss the subscription model

My music buying habits have definitely changed over the years. I’m doing a lot more streaming now and rarely buying individual tracks or albums. I use Spotify but I also started using Rdio. I’m still in the free trial period for the latter and not sure which, if either, I’ll end up paying for.

One question that seems to keep popping up in the ebook publishing world is, “when will a Spotify for ebooks emerge?” You could argue that a few services already offer unlimited access to free ebook content. Those services are, of course, limited in their breadth. You won’t find any offering all the latest bestsellers, for example, but Spotify and other streaming music services let you listen to plenty of hits.

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Taking ebooks mainstream…in Germany

This one-day event promises plenty of enlightening discussion and debate

Are German ebooks really any different than those in the U.S. or the U.K.? Many strong indicators say yes, they are different. That’s why many ebook debates in the past have not ended with practical guidelines for German publishers and their pursuit of innovation.

That will be different when TOC buchreport: Getting Ebooks Mainstream takes place as a one-day conference in Berlin on April 23, 2013. Many senior-level German publishing and book distribution executives will meet with new, young innovators, to discuss where the market is heading.

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Digital publishing and the loss of intimacy

The cognitive overhead involved in reading a book has increased tremendously

Reading used to be an intimate experience. Even Amazon, the pioneer in digital publishing, branded its Kindle with a child reading alone under a tree. Books were specially designed to disappear into the background as much as possible, helped by a laundry list of conventions as to language, punctuation, format, and structure, thus allowing readers to direct all their attention and cognitive powers to the text at hand.

The first digital platforms made a decent job of emulating the traditional experience. Certainly, the overhead of managing an Amazon account is something readers could do without, but allowances had to be made. Black text on a white screen was still the reference, and great pains were taken to ease users into this new experience: options were few, and the physicality of the book was heavily reflected in the shape and size of the device.

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The future of educational publishing

An opportunity to participate in Schilling's next industry white paper

The ebook revolution started with the launch of the original Kindle back in late 2007. More than 5 years later the world is now moving away from dedicated e-readers to multifunction tablets. Despite the dramatic rise in ebook sales most students are still lugging around backpacks full of heavy textbooks. Why has this sector been so slow to switch to digital? What does the future of educational publishing look like? What attributes will be required for the successful textbook publisher of the future?

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Three questions for…Adam Salomone of The Harvard Common Press

Startups offer the key ingredients of partnership and inspiration

1. The Harvard Common Press recently announced plans to open an office in San Francisco to become more closely aligned with the food startup community. The food industry probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of startups. Can you give us an example of some of the exciting startup activity you’re seeing in this space?

There’s a lot going on in food right now, and it’s a great time to be talking about food + technology. As you say, I don’t think food is the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think of innovation and startup entrepreneurship, but unsurprisingly it is happening all around us. I bet many of those same people are avid users of Foodspotting (which, coincidentally, was recently acquired by OpenTable for $10M) or GrubHub or any number of other apps and digital platforms that make it easier, more efficient, or fun to discover and try new foods.

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Content ownership and resale

Amazon's AutoRip service could further complicate matters

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen some landmark decisions on whether you really own that content you bought and if you can resell it. First, in the Kirtsaeng vs. Wiley case we learned that it’s OK to buy low-priced print books from overseas, ship them to the U.S. and resell them for a profit. That’s a victory for the middleman entrepreneur and everyone frustrated with high-priced textbooks. Well, it’s a victory till publishers raise their overseas prices to be more in line with U.S. prices, at which point students in those foreign countries lose.

Next, we have the federal ruling against ReDigi on the digital content resale front. I’m hoping ReDigi appeals but for now this means you can’t sell your iTunes library, for example. That ruling is considered a victory for labels (and publishers as ReDigi is looking to move into used ebook sales) and a loss for consumers.

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Publishing News: Data is proving to be the backbone of emerging publishing models

Data-driven publishing, ReDigi loses in court, and the Digital Public Library of America is ready to launch.

Data’s growing role in the digital publishing ecosystem

Data is becoming a driving force in the era of digital content. From subscription strategies to target marketing and advertising to content curation and methods of consumption, data is increasingly becoming the backbone of new publishing models.

Mashable’s Lauren Indvik took an in-depth look this week at the role data is playing in the Financial Times’ success in its digital first campaign. Last year, the newspaper notably reported its number of digital subscribers surpassed its number of print subscribers, and today, Indvik reports, the revenue from subscriptions accounts for more than 50% of the Financial Times’ revenue, compared to 39% from advertising.

Financial Times CEO John Ridding told Indvik the digital subscriber success stems from collecting reader data at their paywall to map reader behavior leading up to a subscription, and requiring readers to register to access up to eight free articles per month allows them to gather user-specific data to better target potential subscribers. Their data-driven approach also is helping to target advertising and marketing, and to give advertisers highly detailed reports on a particular campaign’s performance. “We can prove in real-time quite effectively what advertising is working and put that data in front of advertisers,” Ridding told Indvik.

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