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Other posts by Joe Wikert

Can You Force a Customer to Buy Print Instead of E?
July 19, 2012 | 8:59 am

Joe wikert Thats the question I kept asking myself as I read a report called The Impact of Ebook Distribution on Print Sales: Analysis of a Natural Experiment by Jeff Hu and Mike Smith. Youll notice that the report was originally written a couple of years ago but I believe the results would be the same today. Back in 2010 there was some debate about whether a publisher could maximize revenue by delaying the release of an ebook. So just as paperback release follows hardback release the thinking was the ebooks release should come out after the print book so that customers would have...

A Better Lending Library Model
July 9, 2012 | 10:05 am

Wikert I wrote earlier about what I dont like about Amazons Kindle Owners Lending Library program (think pay-for-performance) and a recent interview I did with Logos CEO Bob Pritchett helped crystalize where this model is (hopefully) heading. First of all, I now figure Amazon could just leave the flat fee mode in place for those publishers who are OK with it. Obviously there are some smaller publishers who feel they dont need pay-for-performance and theyre happy with the flat fees Amazon offered. But since the service is missing content from so many other publishers Amazon needs to start thinking about other options...

We Should Open an eBookstore
June 25, 2012 | 12:49 pm

Joe wikert Crazy idea, right? And by 'we' I mean, 'publishers.' Big Six. Little guys. Everyone in between. What if we all got together and created an ebookstore? Assuming the DoJ wouldnt rule it out as another misguided case of collusion, I think this would be a terrific idea. The thinking here was partially inspired by this interesting post from Valoboxs Oli Brooks. Oli talks about creating an API where customer purchase data is shared. The goal is for someone to buy once, read anywhere. I love the concept but I question whether a retailer like Amazon would ever support it by exposing...

Reading Reinvented
June 12, 2012 | 8:49 am

Citia  I realize thats a pretty bold headline. How many times has someone proclaimed that reading has been reinvented by product X or platform Y? Too many to count, Im sure. So what makes things different this time? Thats up to you to decide, of course, but I believe the approach Semi-Linear is taking with their Citia iPad app is game-changing. In the past Ive tried to articulate a vision for what I called 'layered content' (see here and here, for example). An important attribute of layered content is that the reader can quickly dip in and out of it, only drilling down...

B&N Desperately Needs To Become a Technology Company
May 29, 2012 | 10:29 am

Joe wikert Competition is always a good thing, right? In today's marketplace B&N is the company best positioned  to compete with Amazon for #1 in ebook sales. The problem is B&N still operates like a brick-and-mortar retailer while Amazon is a technology company to the very core. Some have suggested that Microsoft's investment in B&N will help them make the transition to becoming a technology company. If spinning off the Nook business is what it takes for B&N to start thinking more like Apple, Google and Amazon then let's hope they do it soon. As the owner of a Nook with GlowLight it's painfully obvious that...

Why advertising could become Amazon’s knockout punch
May 21, 2012 | 12:33 pm

Joe wikert It all started harmlessly enough with Amazon's Kindle with Special Offers. That's the cheaper Kindle that displays ads when the device is in sleep mode or at the bottom of the screen when paging through the owner's catalog of books. It is very unobtrusive and, since it lowered the price of the device, has made that Kindle an extremely popular device. Now there are rumors that Amazon is selling ad space on the Kindle Fire's welcome screen. That sounds pretty reasonable too as it's a simple way for Amazon to drive a bit of additional income that's pure profit for them. Given that...

B&Ns Nook with GlowLight: Why I Still Use an eInk eReader
May 7, 2012 | 10:48 am

Joe wikert My new eInk reader, B&Ns Nook with GlowLight, arrived last Thursday. I'm winding down my use of a Kindle Touch and wanted to move to another ebook retailers platform going forward. This, of course, is a major headache since I've already bought dozens of DRM-protected ebooks from Amazon. I figure I'll read the last couple I bought on my Kindle and all future purchases will be from B&N...until some other device catches my eye. :-) So what do I think of the Nook with GlowLight? Its just like my Kindle Touch, but with a built-in light. That pretty much sums it...

What if DRM Goes Away?
April 24, 2012 | 9:13 am

Joe wikert TOC Latin America was held last Friday in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires. Kat Meyer, my OReilly colleague, and Holger Volland did a terrific job producing the event. As is so often the case with great conferences, part of the value is spending time with speakers and other attendees in between sessions and at dinner gatherings Last Thursday night I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Kat, Holger and a number of other TOC Latin America speakers. We discussed a number of interesting topics but my favorite one was asking each person this question: What happens if DRM goes...

Disappointed by Google
April 9, 2012 | 1:33 pm

Joe wikert Last week Google announced plans to wind down the reseller component of their eBook service. As Google put it, the program "has not gained the traction that we hoped it would", so they're pulling the plug next January. Like any well-focused company, Google is smart to reinvest in successful products and kill ones that aren't working. I don't question Google's decision to end the reseller program but I do question whether they invested enough to give it a chance. Google seems to have a corporate philosphy of planting a product seed and assuming others will embrace it and help it bloom....

B&Ns Nook Platform is Rough Around the Edges
March 19, 2012 | 1:37 pm

Wikert Now that I've abandoned Amazon I need to find an alternate ebook retailer. Even though I'm switching platforms I have no desire to buy someone else's dedicated e-reader. My plan is to do more reading on my new Asus Android tablet. B&N was my first choice but my initial results have been very disappointing. The Nook ebook buying experience is similar to Amazon with two exceptions: the number of customer reviews and topic subcategories. Most reports indicate B&N has no more than half the ebook market share that Amazon does. That translates into considerably fewer customer reviews for most titles on...

Thoughts on eBook Pricing
March 13, 2012 | 8:51 am

Joe wikert With all the buzz about the agency model, the Justice Department, allegations of collusion, etc., I figure the time is right for a post about ebook pricing. Here are some quick thoughts as both a consumer and a publisher: Eliminating waste is always a good thing -- Walmart has mastered this for years. They squeeze every bit of waste out of the supply chain and generally end up with the lowest prices. I'm a frequent Walmart customer and I greatly appreciate this. In fact, the only people who don't like this are (a) other retailers who can't match those prices...

Barnes & Noble: Its Time to Disrupt the Industry!
January 30, 2012 | 10:00 am

Joe wikert Three articles have sparked my thinking on this post. The are: The Charlie Stross piece entitled Cutting their own throats, Joseph Esposito's insightful post on How B&N Can Take a Bite Out of Amazon, and The New York Times article, The Bookstore's Last Stand Stross talks about how the publishing industry has allowed Amazon to use DRM as a tool against itself. Esposito suggests "B&N needs an MCI solution" while the Times piece encourages B&N to have a sense of urgency in avoiding the same fate as Borders. Rolling all of these together I have a radical, three-step suggestion for William Lynch, CEO...

Breaking the Page, Preview Edition, by Peter Meyers
December 13, 2011 | 9:13 am

BtP Cover  Peter Meyers is the author of our latest TOC publishing project. His ebook is called Breaking the Page and a Preview Edition of it is now available for free. How does Peter's ebook differ from the other TOC ebooks we've been working on? Let's start with the opening statement from his introduction: Some days I feel like a better title for this project would be "Breaking the Book: How eBooks Botch the Reading Experience." Why the pessism? As digital screens replace printed pages, the results often disappoint as much as they delight. Yeah, that pretty much sums things up. When Peter first pitched...

Kindle Device License Limits Are Stupid
November 23, 2011 | 9:32 am

Wikert There, I said it. I'm betting most consumers and quite a few publishers don't realize that Amazon has limits in place to prevent you from loading one Kindle ebook on more than 6 devices within the same account. You're probably wondering why I have so many devices connected to the same account. The answer is simple: I like to test new devices and the old ones become hand-me-down's to family members. They all remain on the same account though. Amazon has a default maximum of 6 devices for any given Kindle ebook. Once you try to get it onto the 7th...

The Amazon Formula
September 26, 2011 | 7:10 pm

6a00d83452242969e200e55005dca58834-150wi.jpgThey didn't create the first ebook device. Sony's original Reader had more than a one year head-start on the Kindle. What they were first with though was a platform that made wireless ebook buying a snap; Whispernet was a game-changer. Next, they had the vision to create a Kindle reader app for every platform known to man. Want to read a Kindle book on your Windows laptop? No problem. On a Mac? Absolutely. On an Android device, an iPhone, iPad or Blackberry? Check, check, check, and check. This, btw, is what made me comfortable building up a library of Kindle content....

What good are ebook “daily deals” & other deep discounts?
September 19, 2011 | 10:11 am

Wikert I admit it. I check Amazon's Kindle Daily Deal every day. Every single day. Why? As a publisher I'm curious to see what they're offering and as a consumer I don't want to miss out on a great deal. (In the spirit of full disclosure, at O'Reilly Media we offer an ebook or video deal-of-the-day too. In fact, our program was in place long before Amazon started theirs. Everything I'm about to say below pertains not only to Amazon's program but O'Reilly's and everyone else's as well.) As a publisher I worry about the mindset we're...

Porous paywalls and book publishing
August 15, 2011 | 12:32 pm

6a00d83452242969e200e55005dca58834 150wi Felix Salmon recently wrote an article talking about how the New York Times paywall is working because it's porous. He contrasts that to other paywalled sites who haven't enjoyed the same success as the Times. As I read Salmon's article I was thinking less about pourus vs. rigid paywalls and more about DRM'd vs. DRM-free books. There are definitely some similarities here. At O'Reilly we believe in a DRM-free world because we trust our customers and we believe they value our content enough to pay for it rather than steal it. It would be naive...

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