Some Excellent Jobs at the World Bank

December 29, 2009

I found an intriguing employment ad while catching up in my reading of The Economist. The World Bank in Washington has four challenging openings for publishing technologists, including:

  1. Senior Publishing Officer/Marketing Manager
  2. Publishing Officer/Electronic Publishing Development/Content Expert
  3. Publishing Officer/Electronic Publishing Development/Technical Expert
  4. Publishing Associate/Web Editor/Project Manager

Except for job #4, which is defined as a “local hire,” the other three are classified as “international hires,” which, while I cannot find a clear definition on the site, implies to me that you can apply if you’re a citizen of any of the 186 countries that are members of the World Bank (although proficiency in English is described as “Essential” for each position).

Read the descriptions. They all strike me as extremely challenging and provided the level of bureaucracy is tolerable, possibly even fun. Good salaries and benefits no doubt.

The deadline is January 17, 2010. Good luck!

(PS: If the specific verbose links to the actual job descriptions do not work for you, as they do not now appear to work for me, the original advert suggests going to www.worldbank.org/jobs and then wading through that for awhile.)

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eBook Formats

December 19, 2009

Gosh I do write an awful lot about eBooks, but it is the flavor-of-the-year, not just for book publishers of course, but for readers (and publishers) everywhere. Always controversial, it never fails to “make good copy,” as they used to say in the newspaper business.

O’Reilly, the company; Tim O’Reilly, the founder; Andrew Savikas, a leading spokesperson and technologist; along with a host of other very bright staff, keep that firm at the forefront of all things important in digital publishing. They need to make money, and I should imagine they make a great deal, but they’re also extremely generous in sharing their knowledge through blogs, conferences, interviews and the like.

I think that a (free) subscription to O’Reilly’s “Tools of Change for Publishing” blog is an absolute must, regardless of where you make your home in the publishing food chain. It’s always full of provocative data and observations that all can likely extrapolate great value.

Like many veteran analysts of electronic publishing, I’m a great advocate for standards. They rarely cause harm, and generally are a force for the good of all users (if not for some selfish vendors who fight them).

Speaking of selfish vendors, Amazon has continually tried to push a proprietary eBook standard onto the publishing industry, attempting a range of strong-arm methods to enforce the standard if publishers wanted to get prized Amazon eBook distribution. I always knew that this would pass, and the evidence from O’Reilly (and others) is that the industry is finally fighting back and supporting the broad eBook standard, EPUB. Sony supports it, Barnes and Noble supports it, Adobe supports it: Amazon, your brief time in the sunlight is drawing to a close. You now support PDF (ouch). When will you become a good corporate eBook citizen and embrace EPUB? Very soon I predict.

A recent blog entry on O’Reilly illustrates what’s happening there, and I believe that what’s happening at O’Reilly will soon be what’s happening across the industry.

This first chart, based on “relative volume,” is a trifle confusing as Mobi somehow disappears:

orm_download_formats

This second chart, based on “relative volume, rather than percentage,” is more clear, although it does raise a question as to why all formats are declining. I could not find the explanation.

 

oreilly_download_volume2

 So…there you have…something.

I’m sticking with my prediction. Amazon will have no choice but to capitulate and support EPUB, and thereby stop trying to pretend that it is Heaven’s designated vendor for all things eBook.

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Latest eBook Sales

December 15, 2009

The IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum) has released its October sales figures and the records continue to be broken. As noted in an email to IDPF members:

eBook sales statistics for October 2009 have been released from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) who collects these statistics in conjunction with the IDPF. Trade eBook sales were $18,500,000 for October, a 254.3% increase over October 2008 ($5,200,000). Calendar year-to-date sales are up 180.7%.

And further:

October 2009 wholesale trade sales were $18,500,000 which is the highest single month thus far. July 2009 wholesale trade was the previous high at $16,200,000.

The association quietly once again reminds the curious that:

  • The data above represent United States revenues only
  • The data above represent only trade eBook sales via wholesale channels.  Retail numbers may be as much as double the above figures due to industry wholesale discounts.
  • The data above represent only data submitted from approx. 12 to 15 trade publishers
  • The data does not include library, educational or professional electronic sales
  • The numbers reflect the wholesale revenues of publishers

In other words, these numbers are probably understated if anything (provided you ignore the fact that Amazon apparently sells the bulk of its eBooks below wholesale cost).

Here’s the IDPF chart showing quarterly sales:

trade-stats_q309

Your humble blogger notes that while these year-to-year increases are indeed impressive, the Association of American Publishers, while not yet announcing October sales, has released September’s figures: “Book sales tracked by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) for the month of September increased by 12.3 percent at $1.26 billion and were up by 3.6 percent for the year.” He would also note that while he cannot find the eBook sales number for September 2009, the statement above from IDPF indicates that it must have been below $16.2 million, claimed as the previous monthly high. As such, eBook sales in October were less than 1.3% of overall book sales (although there is no doubt some finagling to be done to balance retail and wholesale numbers).

We are once again reminded that there are lies and damned lies. And then there are statistics.

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Getting Ready for Adobe’s Big Update on Omniture

December 14, 2009

I’m getting excited because tomorrow Adobe is webcasting its 4th quarter and year-end results (it’s all public and you can register here), and, as expected, because the Omniture acquisition closed in the fourth quarter, we should get some initial insights into how the acquisition is progressing. There’s no question that these are VERY early days, so we can’t expect to hear a lot of in-depth detail (no fault to Adobe) but every nugget of info should be closely-examined, because at $1.8 billion, this was Adobe’s second largest acquisition after Macromedia. As readers of this blog well-know, I published a report in October on the purchase (check my home page for the link), so I am now a very keen observer of the outcome. I remain both naturally optimistic and tremendously curious.

g263941moi001

Oddly today Adobe issued a fairly tepid success story from Omniture. The numbers sounds great: 188% of this and 351% of that, but the Omniture customer profiled is a 200-person firm. Is this the message that Adobe wishes to convey? We should know more tomorrow.

g263941moi002

Your insights and observations will be much appreciated after the results and commentary are announced.

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Color of the Year for 2010: Turquoise!

December 13, 2009

I’ve been traveling the last 8 days or so and have not been blogging. I wanted to weigh in with SOMETHING, anything, to reassure those few who are concerned that I’ve not abandoned the battle. I’ve actually got a slew of topics to cover in the days ahead, but thought I’d start light.

For years Pantone, makers of the infamous “very-difficult-to-reproduce-with-CMYK-inks” color palettes, have issued their December prediction for the color of the following year. We wait with baited breath each December. Well the word is out. Next year it’s going to be turquoise, aka “PANTONE® 15-5519 Turquoise,” noted to be “an inviting, luminous hue….Combining the serene qualities of blue and the invigorating aspects of green, Turquoise evokes thoughts of soothing, tropical waters and a languorous, effective escape from the everyday troubles of the world, while at the same time restoring our sense of wellbeing.”

Check it out:

turquise-press_img_20706_1

Phew! That was tense. Feeling better yet?

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