Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ebooks, Ereaders, and Digital Content Meetup

Roland Lange, Manager for Strategic Partner Development at Google, explains Google Book Search at the Innovation Forum of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2007. 11.10.2007, User Weltach. Gnu Free Documentation License

Ebooks, Ereaders and Digital Content....

I might have been a little bit exhausted this time. I was offered a business proposition to work on a social networking site on the way home. It was a serious enough offer for me to spend some time talking about it. It is a very interesting idea. This made me a little late for the meeting. I got there at 7:00 p.m. The meeting was at the Landmark Tavern in Manhattan. I also walked to the tavern from the subway. It was a fairly long walk.

I am going to mainly go over some of the ideas which I ran into. There was too much to put in a single post.

The Landmark Tavern was a nice place. The service was good.  The selection of beer was also very solid.  I had a Guinness Stout.  There was enough space to sit down.  It did a get a little loud at points because it was quite crowded.

One of the most striking things which I saw was the ability to synchronize the iphone and ipad so they worked together. Robert Forrester of Forrester  Networks was showing different applications on his ipad.  He showed how his ipad, iphone, and computer all synched together. One of the applications he showed was Evernote, a clipping application for the internet and documents.

A lot of the people were marketers, researchers, or media strategists. Bowker which owns the Proquest magazine and newspaper database as well as Books In Print was there. Bowker was there to discuss marketing. Most of the people were from a corporate background.  I admit, I felt a little bit like a fish out of water.  The language I heard was very different than the language of econtent.  I did not hear the new terms like "Internet Producer" or "Creative" that much.

It was a bit different than the librarian meetups.  I go to.   I think I have the tech meetups and library meetups pretty well figured out.  I am not sure that I have the publishing meetups that well down. 

I rather liked the one line pich of The Idea Logical Company, "The Idea Logical company is a book publishing futurist." It has a nice ring to it.Very similar to a tech evangelist style.

How Elaine Bloom's business card read, "LinkedIn In Strategist, LinkedIn is more than just your profile."  http://www.linkedinstrategist/   I took a look at her site, and followed up on a suggestion to join interest groups.  I joined one on science fiction and one on blogging.

Part of our discussion was about people being out of work. This is one of the reasons I go to these things. From my experience and what I have seen, many recruiters are forgoing resumes and going right to the social networking sites to recruit people.

 I have had some interesting experiences. My father got his job not because he sent in a resume, but because he posted his profile somewhere. His view is put up a public profile if you are looking for a job.

I have talked to people who have been looking on job boards for years. Sometimes social media works better., Bernardo's List, and other places list events in the tech community. Some people are not aware this is happening. Even if you don't want to put your profile up, go to social media events to make contacts.

I remember that I got my job at an internet service provider partially because I proved that I was web savvy by selling on ebay as eye-in-the-sky-books which I no longer maintain. Blogs are free to put up. I freely admit to being one of those people who scare recruiters. I like talking to them, but don't easily match with many recruiters ideals.

There is a kind of long chain back with eye-in-the-sky-books. I used to hangout in Manhattan at a now defunct science fiction bookstore. This is where I got most of my books. I also learned about  from selling specialty and signed science fiction books on ebay. This is where Bibliomania started. Most of the specialty science fiction bookstores in Manhattan are gone.

It is a kind of sad thing to happen. It reminds me that I have to go back to look at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art which is owned by John Ordover. John corrected me, there used to be a sceince fiction bookstore further down on Sullivan street from the gallery.

Elaine Bloom asked me what I thought about the future of the book. I gave a half an answer because I was a bit tired, but this is how I see the future of books. I see the publishing companies switching to a mix of print on demand and ebooks. Dorchester is an excellent example. .

If you follow the big distributors, they are planning for more ebooks and print on demand. The platform which Baker and Taylor is banking on for ebooks is called , Ingram, the largest distributor for bookstores owns Lightning Source the largest print on demand company.

I also see print on demand becoming far cheaper with new technologies like the HP Inkjet digital printer.  Eventually, I think that print on demand will integrated with 3D printing making for much more interesting books made of different materials than paper.   If you go to the childrens section of bookstores, you can find books full of textures, embossing, popups, photographs, and other innovations. I think this will carry over into the adult generation.

A good example of a this  is Cradle to Cradle Remaking The Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. The pages are made of lightweight, tough recycled plastic.  The book is designed to be completely recyclable. I have seen a number of books which  are both 100% post consumer material and completely recyclable.

I also see many large content providers aligning themselves with print on demand technology. Google Books is in alliance with Espresso Book Machine.  Google Books is also providing a free public access terminal to every public library in the United States.

There was a question about what happened to the Google Books settlement. Columbia University law school has quite a bit on the future of the google settlement in relation to copyright and authors rights.

Ebook devices will most likely become much cheaper and more flexible. The Copia which integrates an ebook reader with a social network for $100 is an interesting example of this. I find the site intriguing.  which . I applied for the beta but did not get in.   There is also the cheap Indian laptop which costs $35 which is in the works.   This makes me think we will see ebook readers for less than $100 very soon.

It was interesting hearing about a person who was using a kindle which she checked out from her library.  Someone donated 16 kindles to her library to circulate.  She had kept the kindle out past the due date and was charged one dollar a day until she renewed the item.  The idea of circulating kindles is very interesting. 
It would be nice to circulate ebook devices.  We have video games, video game controllers, Transparent language flash drives , and playaways that can be checked out as devices.  We are looking at MP3s players and ereaders.   These are expensive and we of course have to look closely at the security of the devices in a library setting to prevent loss.

I think we are at the begining of changes to the publishing business.  Media will become a lot more integrated. 

Another conversation was about science fiction books and music. There is a fairly strong tie with many science fiction authors with music.This is an article about the soundtrack for Finch performed by Murder by Death  . Margaret Atwood sells hymns of a fictional group she created from The Year of the Flood.  Linnea Sinclair listens to trance music while she writes.  It fits very well with her books.

I was a bit tired. We talked a little about libraries and ebooks. The main thing which we have right now is Overdrive  which has lots of ebooks and audiobooks which are available for download. I have recommended it a few times. We are getting steadily increasing usage of overdrive. We also buy playaways which are preloaded audiobooks . These seem to do best with assignment books for high school and junior high school at the library I am at. We interfile the playaways next to the book on the shelf in the young adult area.

We would like to get more devices, but there is quite a bit we still have to figure out about security for things like MP3 players, Nooks, and other devices. Most of the books on Overdrive are single use licenses. There is some drm free material on Overdrive as well . I  sometimes recommend free ebooks that are classics to patrons. It is alternative way to get them what they want. Even if you pay for classic books, many of them are $2 each as downloads. The formatting is better on the pay downloads most of the time. Stanza is also an excellent free ereader . I am also partial to Project Gutenberg

I mentioned two authors that gave away their ebooks under creative commons license as a strategy to sell more of their paper books. These were Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross. I should have also mentioned The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain which is available as a free download. I was a bit tired at the time.

I could not help but hear snippets here and there. People were talking about the next George R.R. Martin book and showing different things on their ipads. There was mention of a George R.R. Martin television pilot for A Game of Thrones

I saw a lot of ipads, but no kindles. I think the ipad is becoming the tool of choice now. The most obvious advantage it has is the color. It also has a lot of applications.  was an application for time management which Robert Forrester was showing on his Ipad.

I think I might have caught a few more things if I was less tired. I know that Kobo which makes the ereader was there. I know I still made a few mistakes. I still have not gotten a more professional business cards for my blog; just a card with my name and email. Sometimes, I think it is better to have a LinkedIn connection than a business card. It is more permanent and it is harder to lose.

This reminds me of another discussion. This one was about how to use Facebook. I am on Facebook under my name. Facebook is based on building communities. You go out and choose who you want to follow in your specific interest. I follow lots of library related content, author related content and some people that I know. Some of the library and book related content I follow is, I Love Libraries, American Libraries Magazine, Book Expo America, and Book Bloggers Convention. Some of the authors, editors, and publishers I follow are John Ordover, Ellen Datlow, Charles Stross, Cory Doctorow, For Beginners Books, Fantagraphics, and Robert Sikoryak.

I stayed at the meetup from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. It started at 5:30 p.m.  The conversation flowed freely, the drinks were pleasant, the appetizers were tasty, lots of business cards were exchanged.  This one of the first meetups of the group. 

It is very much a ground floor opportunity like the Book Bloggers Convention was at Book Expo America.  The LinkedIn group is seeking to grow.  I am fairly sure they will be having another meetup in New York announced on LinkedIn.  Bill Glass, the person who confirmed my invitation is seeking to grow the group.

There are other things which I remember clearly, but might be better for another day.

It was a long day. I meditated a bit on the train home. It does not look that different from napping.

You wonder sometimes when you write these posts. I am not sure exactly why I am doing it. I don't really consider myself a journalist, even though I have been given access to news areas at conventions sometimes. As with so many things, you can't include everything, but it is worth the try. 

As always, I try to say something positive.  Feel free to comment, make corrections, ask for inclusions. I don't mind a little bit of pointed conversation so long as the language remains clean. 

I am trying to include full urls in this post. It makes it a little bit harder to edit. Blogger is really designed to change the links into captions. The reason I do this is that I like to be able to see full urls when I search for things. I parse urls into sections. The recruiting term for this is x-raying a url. This is a tool which lets you see the full url for shortened urls


Anonymous said...

John Ordover of the SoHo Gallery for Digital Art here. The gallery was never a science fiction bookstore, but only my father's basement.:) There was a similarly situation science fiction bookstore farther down on Sullivan, closer to Washington Square park. It had moved there from Thompson Street, where it has moved from 8th Ave around 17th St,

Book Calendar said...

Thanks John. Appreciate the correction.

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