If you haven’t heard lately, book publishing is in trouble. One author who attended Book Expo America this week in New York City reflects on his trip by asking “What song was the Titanic band playing?”
It’s hard to disagree with Bob Mayer’s observations.
For those of us on the digital side of the business, these trade shows are difficult to tolerate. It’s impossible to walk around and not see everything that’s wrong with the industry today. Old ideas, metaphors, wrong implementations, and a general lack of thinking is on display everywhere you look.
If book publishing still has a future (and I think it does), one wonders what these trade shows will look like in 10 years.
First of all, it’s legit.
Whenever new gadgets come out, there is always a group of people who are first to complain about some software bug, some hardware foul up, some blemish that results in the purchase being the biggest waste of time in their life (up to that moment). I usually look at these things as the normal 2% allocation of complainers. And low and behold, the manufacturer usually comes out with a “it’s not our problem, you’re doing it wrong” answer.
I’m not doing my iPad 3 wrong.
It first started when I was in my living room. I’ve had an iPad 1, iPad2, and now I have number 3. The first and second version never had any problem holding a strong WiFi signal. Granted, back then I had my WiFi router in the room with me. I recently moved the router upstairs next to my home office so I could get an even stronger signal there where I’m typically doing the heavy lifting. When the iPad 3 WiFi was flaking out, I blamed it on the fact that the router was now upstairs, dozens of feet away, with plenty of obstruction possibilities.
Funny thing though. My iPhone worked great. And my download speeds were strong and consistent.
I had problems in places I shouldn’t. Starbucks. My corporate WiFi connection at work, where the signal is bullet proof and blazing.
I had to investigate. I searched around the normal bulletin boards, the support forums, the usual. As expected, all I found was the complaining. And then, I found this, the so called iPad 3 “Death Grip”.
I tested it. And guess what?
I EXPERIENCED THE EXACT SAME THING!
WiFi antenna blockage just where you don’t want it. Where you hold the bloody device. Turn the thing upside down, and WOW – LIGHTNING FAST INTERNET!
Uh, ahem, Apple. Let’s chat.
This machine I have in my hand cost me greater than $600. The WiFi should work, flawlessly, because it is, uh, a MOBILE APPLIANCE!
That means I walk around with it and it connects to the Internet flawlessly. You know, just like your ad says it does. Just like the wonderfully written ad copy on your website.
FIX IT NOW.
Until then, I have to hold the machine like a dork, with the home button on top instead of where it should be, next to my thumb.
That is all.
Further cementing their position as a publisher, Amazon announced today that they secured a ten-year print and eBook license to publish Ian Fleming’s James Bond series in North America.
Starting this summer, Amazon Publishing’s Thomas & Mercer imprint will re-release the classic spy series.
Curtis Brown managing director Jonny Geller negotiated the deal. Amazon has also acquired the rights to two nonfiction books written by Fleming: Thrilling Cities and The Diamond Smugglers. Geller had this comment in the release: “This deal heralds a new phase in Ian Fleming’s publishing story. We are excited to be working with Amazon in North America to bring a new generation of readers to Ian Fleming’s classic novels.”
Last year, the Thomas & Mercer imprint announced that acquired the rights to 47 books by the late crime writer Ed McBain.
What is interesting here is the fact that the Ian Fleming Foundation believes Amazon is a better partner for the franchise than the traditional book publisher. Amazon clearly has a monster distribution pipe, and lots of eyeballs. They can reach a lot of people. Many more in fact than any traditional book publisher. For those of us who are familiar with the state of the publishing industry, this isn’t so much of a shock. It is just surprising that an established brand like Fleming would decide that now is the time to make the move. One has to assume the foundation is run by Old Skool types, but hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe a tech savvy twenty something is running the shots at James Bond central? I’m sure the backstory is fascinating.
MORE: paidContent has some of the history.
I don’t need to tell you what Charlie thinks of Jeff Bezos. Read for yourself.
“He came out of a hedge fund and he’s ostensibly a libertarian; these aspects of his background make me uneasy, because in my experience they tend to be found in conjunction with a social-darwinist ideology that has no time for social justice, compassion, or charity. (When you hear a libertarian talking about “disruption” and “innovation” what they usually mean is “opportunities to make a quick buck, however damaging the long-term side effects may be”.
Regardless of Stross’ judgement on Bezos, or his analysis of Amazon’s business practices, he’s got it nailed on one thing. The only way book publishers will survive the tumultuous switch to digital publishing is to let go of the death grip they have with Amazon. That death grip is summed up in three letters: DRM.
But, can book publishers get past their misplaced fear of piracy soon enough to survive?
It was suppose to be available shortly after the announcement of iPhone 4. Then, it was going to be available “in July”. As of last week, it was going to be released “at the end of July”. Well, fahgetaboutit, says Apple:
White models of Apple’s new iPhone® 4 have continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected, and as a result they will not be available until later this year. The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected.
Apple hasn’t specified what the problem is. It’s just a color, right? I mean, how hard can it be to create a white phone? I could understand if they were trying to go all crayola 64 color on us, but come on, we’re talking an easy color here, right?
It’s a whole lot more complex than anyone thought.
I held off upgrading my iPhone 3G in hopes that the white one would be released next week. Now, I’m not so sure it’ll ever see the light of day.
The Abrams booth at Book Expo America ’10.
I’ll give them an “A” for creativity, but really, what the heck is that thing? Wikipedia calls it a Typewriter. I mean, I know what a laptop looks like, and I still have a PC keyboard laying around someplace, but what is that big black thing with the paper sticking out of the top? What do you do with it?
What message does this send? A visual like this says one thing – we’re out of touch. Again, I can’t fault them for trying to stand out, but stand out they do, with a big piece of hardware that most people haven’t seen or used in decades. It’s fitting.
Be prepared for long lines and shortages.
Apple will officially begin selling its iPhone 3GS on Friday, but some analysts are predicting shortages that could leave some consumers disappointed. If advance orders are any indication, the demand for the iPhone 3GS may outstrip the at-launch supply.
AT&T, the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the United States, and Best Buy have sold out of inventories for Apple’s latest smartphone.
Apple was still taking orders on its Web site Tuesday, but the June 19 delivery date is not a guarantee. Likewise, AT&T posted a message on its Web site that indicates advance orders will shop seven to 14 days after the order is placed — on a first-come, first-served basis.
I won’t be in any line nor will I be worried about the status of product in stock. I have an iPhone 3G that is a little more than 6 months old, so you know what that means. Yep, I’m stuck in AT&T contract hell. And there’s no way in hell I’ll be shelling out $400 for a new phone. And I won’t buy my way out of the contract either. That’s the way it is.
Yeah, there are ways to get an iPhone 3GS for less, but as far as I’m concerned, the hassles are just too great. So, have fun you new iPhone 3GS users. Have fun with your compass and your 3.0 megapixel camera. I’ll be joining you in another year…maybe.
It’s a drag when you’re no longer #1.
MySpace, the social network owned by , said it will cut 30 percent of its staff to lower costs as it struggles to stay popular in the face of rising competition.
MySpace will be left with about 1,000 employees, it said in a statement released on Tuesday. The company declined to say how many people work at the service, but the percentage suggests that about 400 people will lose their jobs.
The cuts, which were presaged in several blog reports in recent weeks, are the biggest move so far by new management at the social network and an attempt, it said, to return the service to a “start-up culture.”
“Simply put, our staffing levels were bloated and hindered by our ability to be an efficient and nimble team-oriented company,” MySpace’s new chief executive, Owen Van Natta, said in the statement.
“I understand that these changes are painful for many. They are also necessary for the long-term health and culture of MySpace.”
First of all, why in the world does a social networking website need to employee 1,400 people? And what do those people do? Seems excessive to me. That seems to be a general problem with Web 2.0 sites. Get most of your money from venture capitalists firms. Spend it all so you can go ask for more. Tell the VC’s that you’re business plan is on a slow ramp up, and that you’ll be profitable “soon”.
I think Facebook will be next, unless they find some real way to generate revenue. They won’t be able to get it from users – free is free and I doubt many will pay to keep their profile. It will forever be subsidized until Mr. Deep Pockets gets tired of waiting for the big pay day.
You can’t just pepper a page with a bunch of ads and pop ups and expect it to last. Another business model will have to come along if these things will survive for decades to come.
This is great news.
AT&T today announced plans to upgrade the nation’s fastest 3G network to deliver considerably faster mobile broadband speeds. The network upgrades are slated to begin later this year, with completion expected in 2011.
The upgraded network platform could allow for theoretical peak speeds of 7.2Mbps.
As an iPhone user who is almost always connected to WiFi, it can get pretty frustrating when I have to connect via 3G or (gasp!) Edge Network. By increasing the network speeds, my iPhone is becoming a more valuable device. And now with its tethering capabilities, my Dell Mini and I will be connecting at respectable speeds from hither and yawn. Suh-weeeet.