Publishing: Turning into 2017

December 22, 2016

I’ve become intrigued with the intersection of book publishing and machine learning, text mining, natural language processing and the like: technologies that get lumped under the rubric of artificial intelligence. Cliff Guren, who runs the publishing consultancy Syntopical, is emerging as one of the book publishing industry’s top specialists in this area. I thought it would be fun to catch up with Cliff on this topic — and others — as we approach the end of 2016. (more…)

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Bundling, Unbundling and Ebook Subscription Services

August 5, 2014

How to Succeed in Business by Bundling – and Unbundling is a thought-provoking interview with Marc Andreessen and Jim Barksdale online at the Harvard Business Review. Marc Andreessen was the co-founder of Netscape. Jim Barksdale is a veteran of IBM, FedEx and AT&T Wireless “brought on a few months after Netscape’s founding to provide adult supervision as its CEO.” Both are now tech company VC investors. Barksdale, in his early 70s, is one of those rare executives whose advice reflects a depth of experience, much longed for in this age of the “serial entrepreneur.” (more…)

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Amazon’s Fire Phone is Mainly for Amazon’s Customers

June 18, 2014

Several journalists took a small segue today in their coverage of the launch of the Amazon Fire Phone to note that Amazon’s Kindle Fire has been extinguished. Or nearly so. Based on IDC’s May report, the Kindle Fire has only 1.9% of worldwide tablet shipments, down 47% year-to-year. (more…)

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How Amazon Destroyed the Publishing Ecosystem

March 12, 2014

Everyone takes a shot at Amazon, and it’s not difficult to see why. Founder/CEO Jeff Bezos is blamed for just about every corporate crime imaginable, from pricing that destroys competition to suffocating warehouse employees on hot summer days (apparently no longer a problem).

My criticism of Amazon is about an issue perhaps more subtle, but, in my view far more serious. Amazon has destroyed the publishing industry by destroying its well-honed ecosystem. Sure, all of the other issues and criticisms stay on the table. This issue is for me the heart of darkness of our beleaguered industry. (more…)

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BOOKISHNESS: What Makes a Book a Book?

April 22, 2013

In our madcap rush to digitize the book we’ve been all too willing to attempt both to replicate the physical book experience in the digital realm and to just as quickly discard any feature of physical books that proved too challenging to emulate online. (more…)

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