Sunday Love for Teleread

The deeper I go into the uncharted territories of e-rights and try to chart out what Amazon, EBSCO, Dialabook, Google, BarnesandNoble.com, Netlibrary, and Ebrary will be doing (and, likewise, what we need to do to play in the game), I find myself consistently impressed with David Rothman's coverage of all things digital at Teleread. From the new Sony book readers and PDFs to the implication all this technology has for learning disabled and physically impaired (something not too many others seem to be thinking about), Teleread covers several of the converging threads that look like their coming together to move books into the digital age.

Case in point, this entry gives the reader a succinct view of most of the issues that complicate moving the printed page online.


Book Selling, Used Book Selling

Hot trend for the hipsters and computer-savvy 30-somethings- selling used books. (Still? I thought this market had matured.)

How do you make this stuffy trade cool enough? Why make PDAs into book scanners to give you the used book values for online sites. No more guess work when you're picking over shelves of books at library and garage sales.

Thank you Book Think and scoutpal!

So next time you're rummaging through the library sale, check for the competition using phones to figure out the best books to resell.

Ask metafilter discussion.
And for the old school types- a print book about online selling.


First books, then music, then the world

There's so much hubbub about Google and Amazon these days in their attempts to gather up media. From a publishing perspective, Google's book Search Program and Amazon's Upgrade program seems to be stuck as publishers and authors debate the merits and profits of these services. The Financial Times reported yesterday that Amazon and Google (not sure why they’re lumped in the article since they basically deny it) are also courting the music industry for digital downloads.

This should cause 2 big worries for publishing.
1) This is a chance for mid-sized and small trade publishers to get some attention from these juggernauts and if the book industry becomes too difficult with their demands, we will be left in the dust. According to the article the music industry is very excited to work with Amazon to provide digital content and break the monopoly held by Apple (sorry Napster and emusic). Can the same be said about publishing? Here's our chance to start working with an online retailer on creating a large audience for electronic books. If we play too hard to get Amazon can always refocus on digital distribution of music, movies, and other media- everything that currently competes with books for customer's time and attention.
2) If Amazon's focus is to move away from sending physical stuff out to its customers and the book industry remains stuck on paper, we might find ourselves increasingly pressed to offer better terms and discounts as Amazon is able to cut their shipping costs with other media.

I'm sure there's other aspects to Amazon's latest bid to go digital and we will hear more about it in the coming weeks.


Ads on Amazon

While perusing Digg.com yesterday I came upon a link to this blog entry on the possibility of Amazon adding some kind of advertising to searches, similar to adsense or google ads. The article links directly to this entry from someone confronted by Amazon to test the service.

I get a bad feeling about this. As a consumer, I generally do not look around Amazon hoping to get bombarded with ads. I know what I want and enjoy the suggestions for other things on Amazon that I might also like. But I don't want fictioncontests.com to show up as a result on amazon when I'm looking for the latest edition of Writer's Market. I forgive Google for doing this because they are so good at the service they provide. Amazon, not so much.

The bigger worry for me is that Amazon is also starting to develop content on their site. With the Amazon shorts, Customer Forums, author blogs, and the talk of tv shows and digital pages, it means that Amazon may suddenly start adding advertisements next to content from other publishers. The Google book program at least pays the publisher for any ads clicked during searches on the titles. Will Amazon be so generous or will they slap ads next to content that the user paid for whenever the user tries to read/ watch said content? And how will publishers work on the no-advertisement clauses that are rampant in author contracts? This move should raise some major concerns for the media industries.

Bookstore Blogs

Isn't it strange to find out that the local bookstores that surround you have weblogs?

I spent my lunch hour in the MIT Press Bookstore today. This is possibly my favorite place to browse books. It's just big enough to feel slightly overwhelmed and find the unknown title, but still is easy to navigate. And their hurt/ close out book selection is fantastic. When I went home to look something up- I found this.

Add this to Lorem Ipsum's blog and now there's two shops that are going to make me feel more like they're part of my community.

I wish more bookstores would do this- particularly The Harvard Book Store and The Porter square Books Store. But I'll settle for these 2 right now.