ENTRIES TAGGED "Penguin"

Speakaboos: TOC Startup Showcase Finalist

Keeping kids engaged and learning anytime, anywhere

We’re giving our readers a chance to get to know our TOC Startup Showcase Finalists a little bit better before the big showdown in NYC. We’re featuring the startups with a personality profile here on our website.

Our next profile is from Noelle Millholt and Neal Shenoy of Speakaboos.

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Publishing News: Penguin settles, Macmillan holds its ground

Apple and Macmillan stand alone against the DOJ's ebook lawsuit, PressBooks opens up, and Amazon may be inviting disruption.

Here are a few stories from the publishing space that caught my attention this week.

And then there were two

In headline news this week, the Penguin Group announced it had reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice. Jim Milliot reports at Publisher’s Weekly that the “[t]erms are nearly identical to agreements reached with Simon & Schuster, Hachette and HarperCollins, but according to the government, if the Random House-Penguin merger is approved the newly formed company must abide by the agreement.” Milliot notes that as Random House is not involved in the DOJ lawsuit, it can continue conducting its ebook business under the agency agreement in the meantime.

Laura Hazard Owen reports at PaidContent that “Penguin is discussing a similar settlement with the European Commission and that the DOJ’s case will continue against remaining defendants Apple and Macmillan.

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It’s the brand, stupid!

Why smaller, well-focused publishers have a direct channel advantage

None of the Big Six are all that interested in creating their own direct channel. They usually say “we already have retail partners…we don’t know how to sell direct and we don’t care to learn.” That’s all true but the real reason they won’t do it, and wouldn’t be successful if they did right now, is because none of them are household brand names.

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Penguin Random House: Parsing the messages

Using a word cloud to get a better sense of what the executives are emphasizing

Word clouds offer a different way of viewing a document. Sometimes they shed more light on what the author is really emphasizing. You’ve probably already read the merger messages sent by Random House’s Markus Dohle and Penguin’s John Makinson. I’m sure each of those letters were edited by quite a few people before they were sent. They’ve been scoured and polished till just the right message was communicated.

So what do they look like in word cloud view? I spliced the two documents together and the result is shown below.

It’s not surprising that much of the emphasis is on the “company” and its name. Look a bit closer and you’ll also see that “authors” also appears frequently. What about “digital” though? It’s there…you just have to look closely. Very closely.

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Penguin Random House: How big is big enough?

It should be less about Amazon and more about going direct

Call me skeptical but I feel the merger between Penguin and Random House is less about creating “greater scale” and more about simple consolidation in a shrinking industry. Which organization is more likely to create the truly innovative, disruptive products of tomorrow’s publishing industry: a behemoth like Penguin Random House or some start-up working out of the proverbial garage? My money’s on the latter.

And if it’s really all about creating scale to deal better with Amazon, well, how big is big enough? Aren’t either one of those operations already large enough to manage Amazon? If not, are the two combined really going to make a difference there?

I’m not convinced the way forward for the big six is to get even bigger so they can push back on Amazon. The real solution is to create another distribution channel so they’re not  as dependent upon Amazon tomorrow as they are today. It’s called a direct channel and none of the big six are making much progress building one out. Yes, it requires a strong consumer brand. Yes, it means they need to build a site that offers compelling reasons for consumers to buy from it rather than Amazon, which is no small task. And yes, it also means they need to abandon DRM.

Instead of just merging I’d rather see one of the big six stand up like this small publisher and say “we’ve walked on eggshells for far too long…it’s time for us to get serious about building that direct channel and not worry about how our existing channel partners will react.”

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Publishing News: Amazon gets a brick-and-mortar bookstore, sort of

Waterstones and Amazon team up, Google's battle with newspapers continues, and the Big Six to become the Big Five?

Here are a few stories from the publishing space that caught my attention this week.

U.K. bookstore teams up with Amazon

Charlotte Williams and Lisa Campbell report this week at The Bookseller that Waterstones bookstore in the U.K. launched its Amazon Kindle promotion, wherein customers can purchase a Kindle, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, or (by the end of the month) a Kindle Paperwhite in their brick-and-mortar stores. Williams and Campbell report that the point-of-sale slogan reads in part: “There are two sides to every story. With books and now Kindle you can enjoy both at Waterstones.”

In an interview with Leo Kelion at the BBC, Waterstones’ managing director James Daunt defends the move against critics who declare he’s signed the bookstore’s death warrant, saying he’s not a “moron” and indicating (without specifics) that the store is making money off the deal. Daunt also argues that you have to look at the bigger picture:

“All that we have to do is encourage people to come into our shops and to choose the books. I don’t frankly care how they then consume then, or read them, or indeed buy them. But if you spend time in my shops, and you really enjoy it, and you come back more often and spend longer, you’re going to spend money in my shops.”

Though Kelion calls the move “a twist no one saw coming,” someone did see this coming — a bookseller, in fact. In a Q&A following The Kepler’s 2020: Building the Community Bookstore of the 21st Century session at TOC 2012, Kepler’s 2020 project leader Praveen Madan said:

“[Ebooks are] something we want to provide; we want to be part of the overall experience. But the solution and the technology has to come from somebody else. I’m very serious about looking at [partnering with] Amazon and just giving away Kindles and telling people it’s okay — you have our permission. Walk into the bookstore, browse the books and download the books on your Kindle.”

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Resistances to DOJ Argue the Public Doesn’t Want the Settlement

Is the settlement really in the best (long term) interest of consumers?

Yesterday was the deadline for filing statements in opposition to the proposed settlement in the price fixing case between the Department of Justice and three publishers:  Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster.  The focus of the resistances by the publishers Macmillan and Penguin were that the DOJ had failed to provide economic analysis in support of the settlement.  Macmillan argued that the DOJ should be required to prove that the settlement won’t send the ebook market back into the control of Amazon. Penguin asserted that the underlying allegation of the DOJ – that prices have increased under Agency pricing – has not been proved by the DOJ and that the DOJ should be required to provide economic analysis of its allegations.

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Publishing News: Penguin goes back to the library

Publishing News: Penguin goes back to the library

Penguin and library lending, ebook cost accounting, and Knight News Challenge winners.

Two NYC libraries will get Penguin books, ebooks often cost more to make than publishers earn, and one news startup addresses shrinking resources with editorial analytics.

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Penguin 2.0 Mashes Up Essays and Short Texts

Penguin's new project — dubbed "Penguin 2.0" — incorporates elements of customization and remixing found in Web content. Jeff Gomez, Penguin's senior director of online consumer sales and marketing, discusses the program with the New York Observer: … in 2009 the company will introduce a program that allows customers to choose from a variety of short stories, essays, and…

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News Roundup: Online's Share Increases, New York's "Amazon" Tax, Open Source Textbooks, Edits Shown in Pan Macmillan Ebooks, Penguin UK's Simultaneous Print-Ebook Plan

Weekly publishing news roundup – April 18, 2008.

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