ENTRIES TAGGED "safari books online"
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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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The ebook revenue stream has much more potential beyond simply selling standalone titles, one by one, to customers. If you’re not already offering your content in an ebook subscription program you need to. I’m not talking about a broad program like Amazon’s Kindle Owner Lending Library model; publishers and authors should focus instead on genre-specific vertical subscriptions that pay content creators based on the title’s performance, not some portion of a flat licensing fee assigned for an entire collection of titles.
... or why I believe in a bright future for ebook subscription
During the 2013 edition of the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference in New York City, I will be participating in a panel that has been called ‘The Elusive Netflix of eBooks‘. The title implies the notion that a subscription service for ebooks has not fully worked yet. While it is true there is no 500-pound gorilla selling subscriptions yet, my point of view as someone behind one of the companies offering such a service, is that this is just part of the process. A process that is just taking the right steps in the right direction.
Let me explain what I mean by going through four main stages, loosely taken from what any innovative product adoption lifecycle typically looks like.
Why ownership of streaming content is overrated
I remember when the early music streaming services were being launched and how I knew I’d never join one. I want to own my content, darn it! Now I rarely buy songs but I love listening to Spotify. I’ve evolved. I’m not alone though and I’m convinced the streaming content model will be very successful with ebooks.
I was speaking recently with an industry colleague and he mentioned how DVDs are now more of a hassle than an asset. Think about it. We used to pride ourselves on that shelf full of jewel cases but I think he’s right. How many times do I watch a video/episode/movie again? Almost never. A scene or storyline might come up in conversation where I’d like to show someone a clip on my phone/tablet/computer though. In other words, cloud access to that content (via YouTube, Hulu, a digital locker, etc.) is more useful and valuable to me than the DVD collecting dust in my living room.
Subscription is the right model for heavy users, pay-per-view works for occasional users, ad-supported appears to be the best way to fund fast-changing current content, and of course, some content is better rendered as an app than a book.
"As I outlined above, Safari adopted a "cloud library" model rather than downloadable ebooks as its fundamental design metaphor. I thought it might be worthwhile to understand how we arrived at that decision, as well as some of the other lessons we've learned over what is now 22 years of ebook publishing experience. (O'Reilly published its first ebook, Unix in…
Most people thinking about ebooks are focused on creating an electronic recreation of print books. At O’Reilly, we’ve tried to focus not on the form of the book but on the job that it does for our customers. It teaches, it informs, it entertains. How might electronic publishing help us to advance those aims? Safari Books Online, our subscription based online library, was our answer. And it just got better. Safari Books Online 6.0, released yesterday, brings a new level of ease of use. Safari adopted a “cloud library” model rather than downloadable ebooks as its fundamental design metaphor. I thought it might be worthwhile to understand how we arrived at that decision, as well as some of the other lessons we’ve learned over what is now 22 years of ebook publishing experience.
Back in 2004, when I spent most of my time doing format conversions and production automation, I had the privilege of turning much of what I learned doing things like batch running Word macros from the DOS command line with Ruby into a book, Word Hacks. Like our other Hacks books, it's a lesson in the value of curation and…
There's been a lot of buzz on forward-looking publisher mailing lists in the past few days about Robert Darnton's piece in the New York Review of Books, Google and the Future of Books. When it hit techmeme today, I thought it might be appropriate to share more broadly the comments I made on the Reading 2.0 list (links added, minor…