Monday, 26 May 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 27 May 2014

Posted: 26 May 2014 09:14 PM PDT

I only have a short reading list for you today.

The post The Morning Coffee – 27 May 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Charles Stross Weighs in on Amazon-Hachette

Posted: 26 May 2014 04:09 PM PDT

charles-stross2[1]As the Amazon Hachette contract dispute enters its Nth round this week Charles Stross weighed in and he is perturbed. Mr Stross is published by Orbit Books (a Hachette imprint) so naturally he is a tad biased in how he views the current situation.

Nevertheless, I think he missed a few important details.

Amazon’s strategy (as I noted in 2012) is to squat on the distribution channel, artificially subsidize the price of ebooks (“dumping” or predatory pricing) to get consumers hooked, rely on DRM on the walled garden of the Kindle store to lock consumers onto their platform, and then to use their monopsony buying power to grab the publishers’ share of the profits. If you’re a consumer, in the short term this is good news: it means you get cheap books. But if you’re a reader, you probably like to read new books. By driving down the unit revenue, Amazon makes it really hard for publishers—who are a proxy for authors—to turn a profit. Eventually they go out of business, leaving just Amazon as a monopoly distribution channel retailing the output of an atomized cloud of highly vulnerable self-employed piece-workers like myself. At which point the screws can be tightened indefinitely. And after a while, there will be no more Charlie Stross novels because I will be unable to earn a living and will have to go find a paying job.

Mr Stross neglects to point out that Amazon’s future plans also include outsourcing their anti-piracy efforts to the NSA. Amazon will weaponize their delivery drones and pursue a permanent solution to the piracy issue.

Amazon also plans to outsource their author management division to the CIA. All authors who sell through Amazon will be shipped to Guantanamo Bay, where they can be kept in a controlled and productive environment (you should see the specs for the electro-shock collars) and receive regular beatings so they know their place.

Seriously, does anyone know when Mr Stross stopped writing fiction in his books and started writing it on his blog? I ask because the dystopia he describes is not just implausible; it is impractical.

Mr Stross glosses over a number of points, including that if Amazon had a monopoly or monpsony, they would likely be sued by the DOJ. He has also mistakenly implied that Amazon uses DRM for its own means, when in fact it is optional on ebooks and in fact it is the publishers who require the DRM.

I would also suggest that you consider the possibility that the current ebook platforms are Android, iOS, and everything else – and not Kindle, iBooks, etc as Stross assumes.

It is far too easy for readers to install a second and third reading app on their device, thus circumventing the Kindle lock in. There are hundreds of millions of tablets and smartphones out there that aren’t locked in to Amazon, and I think the value of these devices as a pool of potential customers is underrated.

And finally, Mr Stross neglects to take his dystopia a step further and consider what would likely happen after Amazon achieves a monopoly. Pando Daily played out the scenario a couple months back:

As an example, imagine a Bezosian fantasy in which Amazon did in fact manage to close down every bookshop around the world and drive out of business every competing online

The post Charles Stross Weighs in on Amazon-Hachette appeared first on The Digital Reader.

New Daily by Buffer App Brings You the Most-Shared Articles

Posted: 26 May 2014 06:50 AM PDT

Buffer may have gotten its start in helping users manage their social media profiles but lately this startup is expanding into new areas.

A couple weeks ago Buffer added an option to import, follow, and share RSS feeds from inside the service, and today they are are launching a new app which helps users find the articles that have been shared the most via Buffer.

Daily by Buffer, which is described as the “Tinder for content sharing”, offers users a curated batch of articles and posts. The users can sample the content, and then either swipe right or left to either discard the link or add it to your buffer queue.


The app is only available for iPad and iPhone, and at the moment it only offers 5 or 6 stories each day. Once you run out you’ll need to wait until tomorrow for a new crop of stories.

In a way, Buffer is following Instapaper in finding new uses for the aggregate behavior of its users. Last year Instapaper launched a couple similar services, Instapaper Daily and Weekly, which offered readers periodic collections of popular content.


The post New Daily by Buffer App Brings You the Most-Shared Articles appeared first on The Digital Reader.

OverDrive’s Big Library Read Event Launches Next Week

Posted: 26 May 2014 05:07 AM PDT

If you’ve blackberry overdrive devicesbeen looking for a good reason to explore your library’s ebook catalog for the first time then you should mark your calendar for next week.

Starting on 3 June, OverDrive will be holding a two week long Big Library Read event. Participating libraries will be lending A Pedigree to Die For by Laurien Berenson to all who want to read it.

This book is a murder-mystery set in Connecticut, and follows Melanie Travis when she is investigating her uncle's death and the disappearance of his prize poodle, and it will be available with no limit or other restriction, enabling all users to read the same digital title at the same time without any wait lists or holds.

BLR_Pedigree-die-for[1]This is the third BLR event, and like previous events OverDrive will be measuring reader participation in order to show the value and reach of library ebooks. “We want to demonstrate once and for all the enormous influence of the library demographic, and that when libraries put an ebook in their catalog it serves a valuable role in increasing exposure and engagement with an author's work,” said Steve Potash, OverDrive's CEO.

During the Big Library Read event, OverDrive will track title impressions, checkouts, views, and even social media interaction to further their advocacy efforts for libraries. The aggregated data will not contain any personally identifiable information, and it will be shared with publishers, libraries, and library associations.

During the first Big Library Read event, in May 2013, OverDrive and Sourcebooks made Michael Malone’s Four Corners of the Sky available t0 participating libraries for two weeks. More than 7,500 libraries from ten countries on five continents participated.

Big Library Read

The post OverDrive’s Big Library Read Event Launches Next Week appeared first on The Digital Reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment