TOC Report: Notes on Michael Mace’s presentation: Check out my scars, seven lessens from the failure of ebooks in 2000, By Karen Holt
February 23, 2010 | 3:46 pm
By Karen Holt
2001 ebook devices, 3 to 7 million in sales, Industry Standard.
Kindle estimated sold about 2 million total.
What went wrong:
Not enough books available. Expensive and tepid publisher involvement.
Prices were too high
High prices, too few titles, no one wants to invest in a device.
Usage patterns : Since they won’t buy a device, let’s put it on stuff they do use. PCs, PDA’s.
Not enough periodicals—didn’t want to make compromises on quality, advertising doesn’t work the same, competition from free websites.
Marketing. The challenge: For consumers books aren’t broken.The most successful free publisher online: is Yahoo. Yahoo publisher the equivalent of the national newspaper.
What does that mean for today?
Short stories. Needed, an itunes for short fiction. Including micropayment.
Subscribe to an author: Next ten short stories for $10.
“There are actually a bunch of authors I would subscribe to proactively on that basis and I think a lot of other people would too.”
“It’s really frustrating as somebody who reads a lot of fiction that I can’t get that stuff…It just shouldn’t’ be happening, we should be making that stuff available electronically.”
Phantom value—when you convince yourself that the consumer values something because that’s what you’re selling.
Questions for publishers:
1. How much reader-visible value does our editing add?
2. How much demand generation do we really do?
“Be brutally honest with yourself about what you’re really doing there.”
Could people laid off contract with authors independently.
3. Do readers value our brand (vs. the author)
4. Will print books go away?
At what point does an author make more money by going electronic only?
When about 25% of book buyers have e-reader devices book publishing will change dramatically.
Penetration about 2 to 3 percent of the population.
The iPad brings the tipping point closer.
Competition between Amazon and Apple brings it closer
If ebook prices go up, the tipping point gets closer—more financial incentive to go electronic only.
But—shouldn’t assume that pricing is stable.
The big change will happen later, but will move faster than you expect.
Profound opportunities in short content and backlist.
Should rethinking the periodical.
“It’s not enough to be relevant, they have to know about it.
“To me the model is the iPad, not the Kindle” Devices you can do other stuff on.