Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page
A good read from John Lanchester in the London Review of Books about the future of the newspaper industry. Of particular interest to anyone in the printed object business is this para:
…that means that New York Times, if it stopped printing a physical edition of the paper, could afford to give every subscriber a free Kindle. Not the bog-standard Kindle, but the one with free global data access. And not just one Kindle, but four Kindles. And not just once, but every year. And that’s using the low estimate for the costs of printing.
And this from CNN, commenting on Apple’s App store subscription model:
Perhaps a better way to phrase this epiphany is not so much that Apple has already won but that publishers already lost — if not to Apple, then to whichever tech company dominates digital distribution in the long term. To repeat our mantra: The balance of power has permanently, irreversibly shifted from the media companies to the tech firms…
It was always the printing presses and the delivery trucks, not the words themselves, that were the seat of the publishing industry’s power. The audience has moved elsewhere, and this emigration has birthed a new gatekeeper.
From the Technologizer blog, a timeline which summarises some of the key events in the decline of physical media. Is is really nearly five years ago that Tower Records shut down…
Following on from today’s earlier post about Borders in the US, the (not unexpected) followup is Borders and A&R in Australia following suit. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Australian book chains Borders, Angus & Robertson and the Whitcoulls chain of newsagencies in New Zealand have been placed into voluntary administration by its private equity owners only a day after the Borders company in the US also collapsed.
The local companies have a combined staff of about 2500.
The failure of Borders in Australia is not linked to the woes facing its namesake in America – they are owned by different corporations – but both have suffered from the rise of internet book sales and constrained consumer spending.
One of the complaints raised against eBooks is that ‘you can’t lend them to your sister’. Which was never totally true. One of the great things about the Kindle ecosystem was that if you trusted someone (like your partner) with your account details, you could access their entire library – it’s always a guilty pleasure for two of us to be reading the same book simultaneously 🙂
Notwithstanding that, Amazon introduced a ‘proper’ lending system in December, which made it straightforward to lend books to friends. Now lendle has set up a scheme which allows you to borrow kindle titles from complete strangers. From the site:
Lendle can’t work if people aren’t willing to lend books. When you join the site and tell us what books you own, you are given two borrow requests. As you lend books, you’ll get more borrow requests. As long as you’re lending, you’ll always be able to borrow.
Not exactly sure how it works, but I assume they act as a kind of broker for available exchanges…
Via Daring Fireball
News that Borders in the US has today filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. From The Bookseller:
The widely expected move will mean Borders will try to restructure its business while continuing to trade online and in store. Among the initiatives that it is proposing, which require court approval, is to close around 30% of its underperforming stores.
Sorry about the headline 🙂 This is just a quick link to a Bloomberg story about Japanese iPad owners scanning their printed titles so that they can free up space in their apartments. Apparently it’s now prevalent enough to support a viable business:
Japan’s cramped living conditions and the arrival of the iPad in May have spawned as many as 60 companies offering to turn paper books into e-books as publishers have been slow to provide content for new electronic readers…
“The home-made e-book market will continue to exist as long as the copyright situation isn’t dealt with and people cannot find books they want in electronic format,” said Masashi Ueno, a researcher at Yano Research Institute…
Japan’s copyright laws permit users to digitize protected works for personal and family use, according to Seichi Higuchi, the secretary general of Japan Book Publishers Association…