Airbnb and the Comfort of Strangers

July 31, 2011

“Travelling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”
— Cesare Pavese, quoted in The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan

The moral of my Airbnb saga is simple: this company is still using training wheels while it’s being funded like a mature adult. (more…)

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Hulu and the Future of Publishing

July 29, 2011

The difficulties facing online TV website Hulu are a mirror to the challenges facing all publishers as we move toward the future.

Brian Stelter held up that mirror in an excellent article in last weekend’s New York Times. It’s the best piece I’ve read this year examining the future of publishing.

Anyone familiar with this site understands that I see television as a publishing medium, as I do music, movies and magazines. (more…)

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Every Time a Bookstore Dies a Pixel Glows

July 20, 2011

Borders is dead.

The post-mortems abound. Some blame management. Some blame fate. Most just muse.

The first Borders store was launched forty years ago by brothers Tom and Louis Borders while studying at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 2009 Borders had sales of $2.8 billion from over 500 stores and nearly 20,000 staff. I’d call that some amazing management, a fine fate. In ordinary times you don’t have to be clever to manage a business like that. Just turn on the lights in the morning and you’ll make money.

But let’s tell it like it is. Changing technology killed Borders. (more…)

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Take Two Tablets Before Bed…and Fifty PCs

July 8, 2011

I suggest to publishers and the software vendors serving them that they take 25 PCs for every tablet they want to ingest because that will be the ratio of PCs in use around the world for each tablet (by December/2012).

All Things Digital today recharged the iPad hype engine with its article “Tablet of Choice for Android Users: The iPad.”

It’s designed to be a startling headline, and it only makes sense. (more…)

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Cursor: Next Generation Book Publishing

July 6, 2011

This guest blog entry is by Samantha Pritchard. I met Samantha this past May at the BEA Expo in New York. She had written a paper about book publishing start-up Cursor. I was at BEA in part to meet the company co-founders, Richard Nash and Mark Warholak. (more…)

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