Category Archives: Events/Conferences

Digital Book 2009: An eBook Stimulus Plan for Publishing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Michael Smith Executive Director International Digital Publishing Forum 905-235-4373 msmith@idpf.org

Digital Book 2009: An eBook Stimulus Plan for Publishing

NYC Conference to focus on booming eBook business and winning commercial models

New York, NY April 06, 2009: The Association of American Publishers (AAP) reported last week that eBook sales represent the fastest growing segment of the industry while US book sales are in decline across all major book publishing markets.  To promote eBook commercial success for booksellers, publishers, authors, and distributors the International Digital Publishing Forum (www.IDPF.org) will host its annual spring educational seminar on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at the McGraw-Hill Auditorium in New York City.  Added to this fast-paced “best practices” conference will be a half-day workshop to be held on the afternoon of Monday, May 11, 2009.   Please see www.idpf.org/digitalbook09

Continue reading Digital Book 2009: An eBook Stimulus Plan for Publishing

FTC Digital Rights Management town hall meeting: summing up

From Teleread, author not listed:

FTC Digital Rights Management town hall meeting: summing up

Posted: 26 Mar 2009 09:39 AM PDT

I have had a day to think about what I saw at the FTC’s town hall meeting on Digital Rights Management yesterday, and what it might mean for the future of DRM. The conference fell into the classic “good news, bad news” scenario.

Unrealistic Expectations

The good news is that the FTC is now more aware than ever of the difficulties to consumers implicit in Digital Rights Management (especially since they received over 800 public comments, which they admitted during the meeting they had not managed to work all the way through yet). The bad news is that it is not the FTC’s brief to adjudicate matters relating to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and fair use, or even anti-trust concerns relating to non-interoperable DRM.

The FTC is chiefly concerned with unfair and deceptive business practices. (For example, in the other big FTC story of the day, the FTC announced yesterday it was suing Dish Network for making telemarketing calls to people listed on the national Do Not Call Registry.)

If companies make deceptive statements in advertising about the limitations of their DRM, the FTC will look into it. If companies release DRM that harms the consumer (as in the infamous Sony rootkit debacle), they will investigate and possibly sanction. But they can’t do anything to let you copy DVDs to your video iPod when the DMCA forbids it. Talk to Congress about that.

That being said, the meeting was of great interest just for the open discussion of DRM among big guns from both consumer-advocacy and commercial trade groups. Anyone who did not realize DRM was a contentious issue before would certainly have gotten an earful.

Potential Remedies

Though some speakers were not terribly exciting (one read a ten-minute prepared statement in a sleep-inducing monotone; another rambled on at length about a “thought experiment” involving taking a bus full of developing-country representatives to a shopping mall that made no sense either during or after the speech), most of them had good points to make, pro or con.

Several potential DRM remedies were discussed, including

  • a logo-based disclosure system like ESRB or MPAA ratings so consumers would be able to see at a glance what DRM was on a product
  • making DRM systems more interoperable, or adding “exception handling” so DRM would permit more fair uses
  • DRM-using companies depositing keys and source code in escrow so that if they went bankrupt consumers would be able to crack the DRM and have access to the media they paid for afterward.

These took on a character of “pie in the sky,” however, given that imposing such solutions is generally outside the FTC’s brief. For example, making DRM more interoperable would be difficult given that companies generally have a vested interest in making sure their DRM works for them alone. (Apple’s stranglehold on the digital music industry due to its Fairplay DRM was brought up more than once.)

The FTC Takes Questions

One of the more interesting panels to me was the very last, in which representatives of the FTC got in the hot seat to field questions and comments as to what they might actually do about DRM. The answer: as stated above, not a whole lot.

Nonetheless, the first question fielded was one that I emailed, and I was even mentioned by both real name and moniker. (I had asked that TeleRead be mentioned as the source, but they forgot.) I pointed out that Amazon owned the Mobipocket e-book format, currently used by many of its e-book competitors, and asked what the FTC would be willing to do if they decided to stop licensing that format.

The FTC panel replied that they could not address specific what-if scenarios, but they could talk about similar investigations they had done in the past. They talked about their investigation into Microsoft when Microsoft wanted to get out of the music business and shut down its DRM servers—meaning that consumers would no longer be able to play the music they had bought from Microsoft. They closed the investigation after Microsoft agreed to keep its servers turned on.

All in all, the FTC town hall meeting was an interesting event, and worthwhile in that it fostered public discussion and debate about DRM that might end up educating more people about its disadvantages. But those who expected any solid commitments will be left disappointed.

Other Coverage

Here is a roundup of other articles I have found covering the town hall meeting.

Oren’s Weblog has excellent panel-by-panel summaries of the event (though Oren did not chronicle the sixth panel, in which the FTC answered questions about what measures it might take):

Content Agenda looks at the meeting here; the Copyright and Technology blog has coverage here. Brad’s Reader looks at some implications for e-books here. Here is a PDF article laying out a system of logo-based disclosure of DRM on download products of the sort that was proposed at the meeting.

Ars Technica also has an article summing up the first few panels that came before the lunch break.

Patron Initiated Purchasing at ACRL

Thanks to the 100+ Librarians who attended our ACRL session on Patron Initiated Purchasing.  During the presentation, Alice and I surveyed the attendees, using audience response systems.  These results have been posted to the ACRL Virtual Conference.  In a nutshell:

85% of you have collection development responsibilities

94% purchase ebooks

61% were familiar with patron driven/patron initiated models

13% already use it, 68% are interested, and only 2% would not use it, the rest were uncertain

Reasons for using patron driven/patron initiated models include:

save time 11%, increase usage 25%, give patrons choices 25%, just in time resources 27%, provide chapters 11%

We had a great Q/A discussion afterwards as well.  During this I mentioned several resources on the blog.  They are linked here:

article on ebook pricing

article on Patron Driven Acquisition

Poll on PDA – currently on the homepage of the blog

interviews with publishers, aggregators, librarians

Glad you could attend.

Sue Polanka, Alice Crosetto,with Kari Paulson (President, EBL)

eBooks I: Business Models and Strategies, OReilly TOC

The OReilly Tools of Change conference is underway in NYC, with many presentations and discussions about ebooks.  One that caught my eye was a panel discussion of eBook business models and strategies.  The presenters were:  Michael Smith (International Digital Publishing Forum), Kenneth Brooks (Cengage Learning), Leslie Hulse (HarperCollins Publishers), Cynthia Cleto (Springer Science+Business Media.  Cynthia Cleto was featured in the NSR audio interview in October, 2008.

The presentation demonstrates various drivers of ebook publishing, challenges, and patterns in user behavior that are driving the market to offer various business models.  It breaks down ebooks into the trade, higher ed, reference, and STM categories providing comparison charts on challenges, strategies, formats, etc.  I was happy to see catch phrases like – epub, DRM not necessary, and sales by the chapter, but unfortunately, they were not listed in each of the four categories.

eBooks II:  Formats, Standards, and Implementation, part two of the series on eBooks, discussed epub, but on the developer side of things.

eBook Course, University of Newcastle

Getting to grips with developing and managing e-book collections: an introduction

to be held in the

Netskills Training Suite, University of Newcastle
Tuesday 27th October 2009, 9.30 – 16.30

Course Outline
This course opens the door to a new electronic format and is designed to support librarians who are beginning to set up e-book collections. In the last eight years, there has been an unprecedented growth in the publishing of e-books with an increasing array of different types available for all sectors. The programme will give you the opportunity to explore different e-books including a range of commercially-published and free reference works, monographs, textbooks, and fiction. Examples will include individual titles and also collections of e-books, such as those offered by NetLibrary, Credo, MyiLibrary and Oxford University Press. The course will also facilitate consideration of the new opportunities e-books offer for librarians and users in academic, public and special library and information services, and will explore the significant collection management and promotional issues which challenge information and library staff.
The course is designed to offer: *    an understanding of the nature of e-books
*    a familiarity with range of commercially-produced e-books from publishers and aggregators
*    a familiarity with range of free e-books *    an appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of the medium
*    an appreciation of the collection management issues associated with bibliographical control, selection, acquisition, access, evaluation, licensing, and archiving
*    a familiarity with the different ways of promoting awareness and use of e-books.

In addition to talks by the presenters, the course includes practical exercises. One will allow delegates to explore examples of online e-books in a structured way. Others will comprise activities during which delegates will examine the major collection management, and marketing and promotion issues. Plenary sessions led by the course presenters will be held to enable delegates to  discuss their findings in the light of current research and professional practice.

Course Presenters: Ray Lonsdale and Chris Armstrong
Chris Armstrong and Ray Lonsdale have been working and offering courses in the field of e-books, e-resources and collection management for the past 12 years, both in the UK and abroad. Up until recently, they were members of the Joint Information Systems Committee e-Book Working Group, which has been promoting the publishing and uptake of e-books in further and higher education and sixth form colleges. Ray is Reader in Information Studies at Aberystwyth University and a Director of Information Automation Limited. He has specialised in the field of collection management and, in particular, in the management of electronic collections. Ray has published extensively and has edited several national and international professional and academic journals. Chris runs a consultancy, research and training company, Information Automation Limited, which he set up in 1987. The company specialises in all forms of electronic resources and in electronic publishing, a topic on which Chris has taught a module in the Department in Aberystwyth. Chris is a regular writer, and sits on the editorial boards of three professional journals. He is also a National Councillor of CILIP.

For more information or to book a place on this course, please visit www.ukeig.org.uk <http://www.ukeig.org.uk/>  or email meetings@ukeig.org.uk

Don’t forget the UKeiG Conference 2009

UKeiG will be holding a residential forum that will provide opportunities for information and IT professionals to network while catching up on the very latest developments in e-information. This event will have the added benefits of having the opportunity to wine and dine in excellent social surroundings and being excellent value for money

Book now at www.ukeig.org.uk <http://www.ukeig.org.uk/>  or by emailing conference@ukeig.org.uk to get your early bird discount!

UKeiG has the CILIP Seal of Recognition, which recognises high standards in the content and relevance of training courses. See http://www.cilip.org.uk/qualificationschartership/seal/ for details

UKeiG is a Special Interest Group of CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. 7 Ridgmount Street, London, WC1E 7AE. Registered Charity No. 313014

Booking Form – Getting to grips with developing and managing e-book collections: an introduction

Netskills Training Suite, University of Newcastle
Tuesday 27th October 2009, 9.30 – 16.30

Costs (including lunch and refreshments):

UKeiG members £160 + VAT (£184.00); others £190 + VAT (£218.50)
Please complete and return this form by 20th October 2009, to Christine Baker, Piglet Cottage, Redmire, Leyburn, North Yorkshire DL8 4EH.  Tel & Fax 01969 625751.  Email: cabaker@ukeig.org.uk

Name(s)…………………………………………………………………………………………..
Organisation……………………………………………………………………………………..
Address……………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………Post  Code………………………….
Tel…………………………………Email………………………………………………………

*I am/am not a member of UKeiG (*please delete as necessary)
*I enclose a cheque for ………………….made payable to UKeiG
*Please invoice me/my organisation
[* please delete as necessary]

A cancellation fee of £25.00 + VAT is payable.  No refunds after 20th October 2009

Please specify any special dietary requirements ……………………………………………

__Please tick if a CPD certificate is required.

Data Protection Act 1998

__Please tick if you do not wish your name and affiliation to appear on the delegate list.

__If you are not a member of UKeiG, please tick if you do wish to receive information about future courses and other UKeiG activities

UKeiG accepts firm bookings by post, fax, email and through the UKeiG Web site. All fees are payable in full prior to the date of the course. Cancellations received less than 7 working days before the start of the course will be subject to the full fee. For non-attendance at a course there will be no refunds and the full fee will be payable. Substitutions may be made at any time without additional cost. UKeiG reserves the right to cancel a course if insufficient bookings have been received. Delegates will be offered an alternative date or a full refund of the course fee. UKeiG reserves the right to make changes to the programme. UKeiG will not be liable for any consequential loss of travel or accommodation fees due to cancellation of the course.

Reference Publishers Debate Single Platform

On the Friday of the ALAMW Conference, the Independent Reference Publishers Group met for a panel presentation/discussion on using one single platform to host all reference content.  It was an interesting discussion.  I’ve summarized the panel in my notes below.

Independent Reference Publishers Group Meeting

Friday, January 23, 2009

Representatives from the following organizations were in attendance: Choice, CQ Press, Omnigraphics, Sharpe, ifactory, Sage, Salem, Neal Schumann, ABC-CLIO, Rosen, Credo Reference, Serials Solutions, NISO, Booklist, CHOICE, Wright State University.

The theme of this meeting and panel discussion was instituting a single platform for electronic reference content. Sue Polanka from WSU started things off with her wish list and each publisher had a chance to respond.

Sue Polanka – Wright State University

One day I’d like to purchase/license all of my reference content, regardless of publisher, and load it on the platform of my choice for the best cross searching available. This platform could be an existing one, like GVRL, Credo, ebrary, EBL, NetLibrary, etc. or some shareware, something developed by libraries. Benefits to patrons and librarians include: Greater access, more content, single search interface for ease of use and discoverabilty, easy to implement in library instruction and on web sites. These systems need to have unlimited simultaneous use, 24/7 access, with no DRM or other restrictions on downloading or printing, the most multimedia available during today’s expensive economic times and an actual ebook price, up front, would be appreciated.

Todd Carpenter – NISO

One platform has barriers to interoperability and they are bigger than technological, as in political and economic. [barriers shouldn’t prevent us from trying to do this. IRPG would be a good venue to discuss this. Seems like publishers would want to do this for reasons of – more exposure, and less cost of producing pricey interfaces – has anyone ever heard of epub or the IDPF? SP]

Peter McCracken – Serials Solutions

Federated products are often a starting point for research and therefore have an opportunity to have a reference role. The current design doesn’t work best for the patron since they get mostly articles. Somehow relevance needs to be a factor to assign tags to reference and get them to the top. We need to use field mapping more effectively. [I prefer a pre-indexed approach since federated products tend to be slow. Publishers/aggregators should take advantage of all metadata and tag reference items appropriately. If federated products are used, the reference content should be faceted as “overview material” or “background information.” SP]

Rolf Janke – Sage Reference

Publishers still have an infrastructure that supports print publishing.  The infrastructure is a difficult component to downsize in favor of doing more digital publishing. Print is a one size fits all model yet e publishing is not so, publishers have a multitude of business models, interfaces, features, etc.  The concept of a one size fits all platform for all publishers content is way ahead of its time, publishers currently could never agree on a standard business model. Pricing standards could help, but are not likely. [Gee, these must be the political and economic barriers that Todd was referring to? Looks like publishers could learn about collaboration from libraries. SP]

Ron Boehm – ABC-CLIO

Publishers need to invest in new things while maintaining our print production, which is expensive for publishers, particularly in these bad economic times. Right now we need to do both [e and p] or we would lose half of our business. The best strategy for ebooks is to have unlimited access. Ron supports the idea of publishers working with multiple aggregators or distributors to have reference content available in a multitude of platforms, but doesn’t recommend the libraries/consortia maintain their own platform. [Ditto on unlimited access and multiple aggregators. OhioLINK has been maintaining its own platforms for years. It’s a great system when you want to make enhancements and don’t have to wait on other companies or the majority of users to agree. SP]

ALA’s Dartmouth Award Finally Goes to an Electronic Source

For the first time in history, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Dartmouth Award, designating outstanding quality and significance to a reference source, was given to an electronic resource.  Greenwood’s Pop Culture Universe, was the 2009 recipient. The Committee selected Pop Culture Universe because it compiles over 300 sources of pop culture information into a fun, user-oriented platform complete with a blog; in essence, Pop Culture Universe signifies the future of reference.  And, as you would expect from a forward thinking reference publisher, they’ve already got a press release on the blog of PCU!

More on the Dartmouth Award from the ALA site:

Established in 1974, this medal honors the creation of a reference work of outstanding quality and significance, including, but not limited to: writing, compiling, editing, or publishing books or electronic information. The award is given to works that have been published or made available for the first time during the calendar year preceding the presentation of the award. Dartmouth Medal Honorable Mention certificates may also be presented.

Dartmouth College established sponsorship of the award in 1974 upon the suggestion of Dean Lathem, Dartmouth College librarian. Dartmouth College commissioned the internationally celebrated graphic artist Rudolph Ruzicka to design the bronze medal. Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, who presided not only over the arts and sciences, but over all intellectual aspects of human life, is featured against a filigree of olive branches.

November e-book sales up 108%

The rise of e-books: IDPF reports November e-book sales up 108 percent—and here’s some analysis
By Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords

image Mark Coker is founder of Smashwords and Dovetail Public Relations, as well as moderator of a February 10 panel at Tools of Change on “The Rise of E-Book.” See a San Jose Mercury News Q & A on Smashwords (a publisher for independent writers), which recently signed a Stanza-related distribution deal. – D.R.

The IDPF says e-book sales were up 108 percent for the month of November 2008 compared to the same period a year ago. The data is provided in conjunction with surveys conducted by the American Association of Publishers, and represents wholesale sales from only 13 U.S.-based e-book publishers, so total reported sales figures understate actual sales.

imageFor the first eleven months of 2008, e-book sales were up about 64 percent, according to the IDPF.

Dig beneath the surface, and the numbers are striking. E-book sales are surging while the entire trade book industry suffers a decline. Are print sales suffering at the hands of e-book sales? Unlikely. Something else is happening.

For the five years between 2002 and 2007 (click here for data; opens a PDF), overall trade book sales averaged an annual increase of 2.5 percent. That’s lower than inflation, which means unit sales probably decreased.

By contrast, e-books for the same period turned in a 55.7 percent average annualized increase in sales revenue.

Tiny base—but still an accelerating growth rate

Granted, the robust sales growth for e-books was off of a tiny base to begin with. But fast forward to October of 2008, the date for which year-to-date sales are reported on the AAP web site , and you see overall trade book sales for the first 9 months of the year were down 3.4 percent while e-book sales were up about 58 percent. So the rate of e-book sales accelerated during the first 9 months of 2008 compared to the previous five years.

More interesting, for the month of October the AAP reported overall trade book sales suffered a 20 percent drop in the year over year monthly comparison, while e-book sales accelerated to 73 percent growth.

Numbers for November and December aren’t yet published on the AAP site, though today’s numbers from the IDPF, which are supplied by the AAP, indicated that e-book sales have accelerated yet again, up 108 percent for November.

As any numbers guy or gal will tell you, it’s easy to show great sales growth when you’re growing off of a small base. But when sales show sequential acceleration off of sequentially increasing bases (meaning, you grow faster as you grow larger), then something really interesting is taking place.

If we conservatively estimate that overall trade sales for 2008 declined 3 percent, and e-books sales increased 70 percent, then wholesale e-book sales will rise to $114 million and overall trade book sales will decline to $24.21 billion. In other words, e-books will still only represent 1/2 of 1 percent of book industry sales, at least here in the US.

If you extrapolate the 70 percent growth for five more years (and I would argue that 70 percent is a relatively conservative number), then e-books rise to $1.6 billion, and assuming a 2 percent growth rate of the overall trade book sales to $26.7 billion (generous), e-books would then represent a respectable 6 percent of sales.

If you’re attending the Tools of Change conference February 9-11, I invite you to attend a panel I’m moderating entitled, “The Rise of E-Books,” where we’ll explore the past, present and future of e-books and try to understand the implications of these numbers for publishers and authors alike.

In the meantime, if you’re an author, you need to start exposing your books to the digital realm. Clearly, as the numbers above indicate, you should continue to publish in print because e-book sales will account for only a small percentage of your overall sales. In the years ahead, however, e-books will become an increasingly important format for book consumption.

Read an E-Book Week March 8 – 14

Read An E-Book Week Read an E-Book Week (March 8 – 14) is fast approaching. In preparation for the big event this year we have completely redone our website – http://www.ebookweek.comThis year we welcome several new supporters – Tor.com, Sony, world-renowned author, Warren Adler, and E Ink to name a few.

Mr. Adler has provided an interesting article for our home page and two well-known guest writers are working on articles about the future of e-books for the website.

Help us celebrate Read an E-Book Week. Let us know what your library or organization has planned for the event and we’ll include you on our Partners page. Perhaps it will be a challenge read, or someone will staff a learn-how-to-download-e-books station to help newbie users.

If you would like a banner for your website they are available for downloading at: http://www.ebookweek.com/ebook_banners.html Feel free to resize them to fit your needs.

Rita Toews

Founder – Read an E-Book Week

ALAMW Technology Showcase

Those of you heading to Denver this weekend might want to check out several of the vendors presentations in the Technology Showcase (Show floor, aisle 800 or 2200).  The event is Monday, January 26th from 10:00 to 1:00.  Here are several eBook related vendors and times:

Credo Reference – 11:20 – 11:50 Pueblo Theater (aisle 800)

ebrary – 10:40 – 11:10 – Mesa Theater (aisle 2200)

Springer 12:40 – 1:10 – Mesa Theater (aisle 2200)