Flipboard has integrated Apple’s iBookstore into its app. So now you can subscribe to any of the iBooks category listings. You simply add the “channel” (face it – it’s a catalog you’re adding) via the usually content panel. You can tell what is an Apple iBooks feed by the icon given.
Once you’re in the category page you’re able to flip through like any other Flipbook section. All of the images and copy match up with what you would see in iTunes and iBooks.
At any point you can click on the catalog and buy the eBook. Flipboard has everything that sells via the app under their affilate program. So Flipboard will get 3%-5% of the final sale. It’s a smart move for Apple as it gets their books and platform in front of people who are already readers. But I’m not feeling it just yet. . .
I mean – it’s a catalog. I use Flipboard daily (sometimes it feels like hourly). I subscribe to a gazillion RSS feeds, in Google Readers and then sort through them in Flipboard. It’s wonderful. All of the cool online book-related content Flipboard has gotten good at surfacing for me is now under the Entertainment category with a couple listed under Cool Curators category. I guess as long as it’s always made clear as to what is catalog and what is sourced from all of the cool online stuff Flipboard has gotten good at surfacing for me, I won’t be too upset. I mean everyone has to make a buck.
I wonder what it would take to set something up so all the local bookstores could feed their new books into a reader like this? Seems simple enough, if you could get all of the bookstores to agree on one system of entry. But it would be very cool to wake up every morning and see what’s new on shelf at the book store down the street.
Yesterday Apple announced their latest plans for the iBooks platform. The event focused on textbooks and education. There were three main takeaways. All of which have their pluses and minuses.
First, there is a new iBooks app for iOS devices. It looks slick with video, sound and other rich media embedded in the books. It’s inline with where ePub3 and HTML5 are going. But it’s still not available on the desktop, just iOS. I was dissappointed in this. I do have a few reference books that I like to look things up in. If I am working on the desktop it is sooooo much easier to just open the Kindle reader or Nook reader apps and find what I need, rather than having my iPad next to me. And isn’t this what textbooks are used for? Reference? Looking things up? Multi-tasking and note taking aren’t strong points of having a tablet. So rather than have the one device we’re back to two devices. Not cool.
Second, there is the partnership with textbook publishers coupled with the efforts to make textbooks available at the $15 price point. That sounds good to me. If anyone needs a price break, it’s students. My fear here is that it could be a “Netflix-like” situation, where if a publisher doesn’t like the revenue flow situation or wants to renegotiate terms and Apple digs its heels in… where does that leave all the students, their notes, school libraries, etc.? Which brings us to the third takeaway…
the new iBooks authoring tool. It sounds pretty easy to use and the seamless integration is cool, but there are so many other limits and ramifications. Liz Castro did a good list on the concerns around the authoring tool. My big concern is that whatever you make in this tool Apple will not let you sell anywhere else. I was so excited when Apple embraced the ePub format with the rest of the world. But now it seems they have taken a page from Amazon’s playbook (or maybe the iTunes .m4a strategy) and will start building their own walled .ibook garden. It’s a shame. Because these strategies are not about creating the best user experience (which I do believe has been a driving force at Apple), but it’s about controlling parts of the supply between content creation and the reader.
I’m a fan of the ebook lending program the JCLC has going. It’s great. But I also would like to have the ebooks to go and not have to lug the laptop everywhere. I’ve tried txtr and BlueFire Reader both of which say they work with Adobe Digital Editions, but have had no luck (apparently the snag lies with something called “transferred” loans). So I was very excited to see over on The Digital Reader (a blog you should follow) that Overdrive has announced their app lineup. Releases start in December.
This is going to be BIG!
Here’s the YouTube video that Nate dug up:
It’s finally here! Click here to go download it (download will start automatically).
There’s nothing super special about it. With all the delays, since last year, I thought they were cramming in all of the annotations and such, but it looks like those are coming later. This app, which lets you buy and read kindle books on any Mac OS 10.5 machine does support device syncing, which is more important to me and worked fine this morning. So I can start readying a book on my phone and then pick up where I left off on my computer. Pretty handy. Bookmarks are displayed too. Not a bad little app, but you can see why they didn’t launch with a parade.
Let me know what you think about it or if you’re even going to give it a try.
It is almost 2010 and despite the rose-colored glasses being handed out by the Amazon PR team, eBooks and print-to-digital products still have a ways to go before becoming mainstream and major streams of revenue. This post is also serving to round out some views I’ve passed along via Twitter recently and in reply to V.Sandbrook.
Publishers need to bundle their products. Period. It’s simple and can require very little extra cost (production wise) beyond putting together a printed book. There are too many services and tech solutions to name, so I’m going to put forth just a basic outline of a bundling option that a publisher might offer. Bundling accomplishes two things:
- keeps the customer first; it allows the reader to access the content how they prefer
- it increases the margin of every book sale, ever so slightly
So, I think publishers should really start to look at their product offerings and seeing if they can’t offer something like the following.
1. Print Book – been around for hundreds of years. Everyone knows the business model. Amazon seems to discount much of publishers’ backlists by 20%-30%. So if possible the publisher should discount their books on their own direct-to-consumer website by 25%.
2. Print Book + Digital Edition – This bundle would be made available on the publisher’s direct-to-consumer site. Basically, you’re selling the printed book and a “smaller file size” version of the pdf you sent to press. So no more work is created, in offering this. A consumer is then faced with the following decision: do I buy the print book for 25%-off and have it delivered to my doorstep in two weeks or do I simply pay cover price for the print book, which is what I would pay in the bookstore, which gets the book delivered in two weeks, but I can also immediately download the pdf and start reading now.
3. Enhanced Digital Edition – This is a $9.99 offer designed to compete with device-dependent eBooks. The publisher would basically be selling their “to press” pdf, but with color photos, a hyper-linked TOC, maybe added audio snippets, an extra “links on the web” section, video, etc. Anything you can add to a current pdf to add value to it, to justify the higher price for a pdf-only download. Your readers deserve it. You have the content. Get it off the edit-room floor and add value to the digital book.
4. Device-Dependent eBooks – these are your Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, etc. files. They need to be out there and in the catalogs. Let the device makers do the marketing for you. I really think these will come and go, but the amount of infrastructure in place here really makes it a great sales channel for 2010. Most of these are in the $9.99 price range.
5. Mobile Apps – you have to start looking mobile. It doesn’t matter if you publish fiction or non-fiction. There are many ereading devices out there, but many people already have a device they love. And it fits right in their pocket, their phone. The mobile ereaders are getting better and better. So publishers better have a plan in place, if not already in the mobile space, by the end of 2010. Just check out some of the cool things that Stanza, Kobo,Aldiko and Vook are doing. They all rock. Publishers need to start seeing .epub, .mobi and .prc appearing somewhere in their workflow. The earlier in the publishing process those files appear, the better.
So that’s it. A quick rundown of how a small publisher might offer one book to the world. It’s by no means a definitive list of the possibilities.
But it does only get better. What happens if you have a “hot” book? Imagine if the book hits shelves in March, what would rabid fans or curious consumers pay for a pdf copy one month earlier? Would the same pdf be worth a higher price pre-pub and then a lower price after the book came out? Pretty cool topic for another post on some other day, I think. Not too mention what happens once you invite XML-tagging to the party.
If you have any digital product strategies that are working for you or that you have seen and are a fan of, please share!
Seriously folks, let’s all give reading a book on an iPhone a try. I mean it’s free and eBooks and digital publishing aren’t going away. So, just try it. You don’t have to like it. In fact, you may not. Which is fine. But at least you’ll know.
So, if you have an iPhone, just do this:
1. Download the Amazon Kindle app, from the App Store. It’s free.
2. Find a free book to download, I recommend starting with fiction. I read about five non-fiction books for every one fiction. But I have found that it’s easier to read on the small screen if the book is written to pull you along, rather than making you stop, think, take notes, etc. So for my non-fiction books I’m still a traditional pBook kinda guy. (I’m reading The Templar Legacy. Not exactly five-star, but it is fiction and free as of right now).
And I know I do my fair share of not-so-fond of Amazon posting, but these steps are quick and painless. There are a ton of other eReading options as well. Here is a fantastic post about reading books on the iPhone. All of the apps mentioned in that post are worth your time to download and check out!
Let me know what you think, if you give it a go.
Blogs I Like
- B’ham Public Library
- Book Chase
- Book Patrol
- Bookshelf Porn
- Exile Bibliophile
- Fine Books Blog
- Loud poet
- Nathalie Foy
- Oh My Godwin!
- Reed Next’s Next Read
- Turn the Page
- AL.com Books
- AL.com Books Forum
- Alabama Center for the Book
- Alabama Writers' Forum
- Bham Wiki
- Book TV
- Menasha Ridge Press
- The Literacy Council
- Book Art
- Book Collecting
- Book Column
- Book Covers
- Book Design
- Book Reviews
- Book Sale
- Book Talk
- Bookstore Ideas
- Digital Publishing
- Free Books
- Friday Finds
- Gifts for Book People
- New Releases
- On the TV
- On the Web
- Publishing Industry News
- Site News
- Tools for Readers
- Upcoming Titles