Printing from Periodicals Can Now Add Revenue Opportunities

August 20, 2009

Printing an article this afternoon from Canada’s The Globe and Mail, I encountered an unexpected print dialog box that I thought was pretty nifty.


Instead of just offering the standard print dialog box from the OS, and printing a copy to paper or PDF, suddenly there are additional options which may be handy for you, and can earn the publisher a little cash in exchange for the value you receive. But it doesn’t stop there. To get to the print option you click on the “Print or License” and see the two options


Licensing is where the real fun begins. The main dialog box offers these options:


Print we’ve already seen. I don’t think that many folks would email an article to more than five people, and regardless, most just provide a link. But posting all or (more often) parts of articles happens probably several million times a day. Here are your options if you want to post the whole thing:


As you’ll see here…


…the pricing plan is based on how long you want to post it (non-profits are charged half the price).

If you choose PDF, you pay a little more but have another nifty feature available…


…you can create a proof of the page and preview that. (By the way, the last two screen shots are partials. What they don’t show is a key feature: you can continue down the page, fill in the details of your order, pay by credit card and confirm the permissions immediately. A very smooth process!

Finally you reach “Other Services”:


The interesting one is “Excerpt Article for Print” (note that it des not say “for Print or Online”.)


Nifty little bit of technology once again: paste in the text you want to reprint, the words are counted, a price rendered and down the page you can enter your credit information and the deal is done! (And presumably the text to be quoted is also saved as part of the transaction, so that it can later be monitored.)

But something doesn’t quite add up here (apart from paying $11.20 for 32 words). I wonder why this applies only to print excerpting and not to online. I also wonder what happened to the Doctrine of Fair Use? Like everything related to copyright the doctrine is complex. The most important issue it covers is how much of original material can you use in another publication (song, movie, etc.) before you’re considered to have infringed copyright. The original article that I quote from in the screen shot above contains 1,463 words. I’m proposing to use 2% of them. Not a large percentage, but other factors weigh in in determining fair use. Nonetheless, I’d be interested to hear in the comments section below what people think about this part of the service.

The company providing this SaaS (Software as a Service) is iCopyright. I’m a big believer that a central tenet for all Web publishers must be to seek revenue from all available sources, and this simple service would be a real boon if it became a standard practice among periodical publishers. Lots are apparently using it, but I don’t run into it often.

I’m sufficiently impressed that I’ve written to Mike O’Donnell, the president and CEO of iCopyright (who provides a personal email address on the company’s “About Us” page — a class act), and requested an interview so that I can learn more about the company and its customers. Expect the results in a later blog entry.

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The Future of Digital Magazines

April 28, 2009

The title of this entry is tongue-in-cheek (at least I’m keeping my tongue in my mouth), as I just discovered Zinio’s little-publicized side venture: Undercover Mags. If you go to the site by clicking on this link, it will take you to the magazines deemed of interest to heterosexuals, and you’ll be greeted with a not very discreet screen of revealing anatomical images:


If you go to their alternate site for the gay community, you’ll also be greeted with revealing images, a little too revealing for me to post, and a wide selection of digital magazines organized under categories like anal, black, hairy, hunks, jocks, legal teens, etc.

Zinio doesn’t appear to be completely hiding it’s involvement with the site: its name does appear in small print on the bottom of the home page.

But I wonder if the publishers of Reader’s Digest, Parenting Early Years, Parenting School Years, Cosmopolitan Bride and American Cowboy are aware of their “alternate interest” publishing colleagues?

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The Future of Publishing: Newspaper Department

March 7, 2009

I’ve been meaning to blog this for several weeks (oops, “blog” is now a verb!).

I recall clearly that in the early days of the Web that Martin Nisenholtz at The New York Times supervised the creation of a series of engaging graphics that struck me as emblematic of what online newspapers versions could do that print versions could not. Many were interactive; all were involving.

In the last month or so I’ve seen a modest return to this excellent mold.

Emblematic of this is something I would have to categorize as ironic. Titled, “Mostly Gloom for Glossies,” it illustrates the often dramatic drop in paid ad pages for some of America’s most prominent magazine titles.


The small amount of text accompanying the interactive feature makes the point: “Another day, another closure. Magazines are becoming thinner as advertising pages fall, and publishers are grimly cutting underperforming titles. But the outlook is not dour for all — a handful of magazines are still expanding their ad lineups, some by startlingly high percentages.”

The interaction is not sophisticated but it’s direct and effective. It brings the point across better than words in the paper could do.

Check it out.

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The Twelve Major Media Brands Likely To Close In 2009

This is a depressing little piece, that as far as I can tell originated in the Financial Times in the U.K. (although my link is to another source).

It is well-reasoned and cogent.

Simply to report on 12 of the worst basket cases does not necessarily represent the entire picture accurately, but I think provides a unique angle.

Farewell Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Farewell Miami Herald. Farewell The San Francisco Chronicle (I read it during the 15 years I lived in SF). And farewell to nine others.

Change is nearly always painful and often very sad.

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Investigative Journalism and the Future of Newspapers

January 25, 2009

I’m torn.

A twitter can alert us to breaking news at speeds far faster than any newspaper ever could.

Yet with its 140-character limit it surely cannot do much more than create an alert and a quick observation. There’s a huge gulf between a twitter and investigative journalism.

In a perfect world, Twitter would eventually interact with the in-depth stories that would follow important twitters. This isn’t happening yet. I don’t doubt that Twitter would welcome the connections, but as newspaper journalists are being sidelined left, right and center, there are far fewer folks taking on the task of finding out what might have been behind a earlier twitter.

There are numerous accounts that describe the decline in newspapers and journalism generally, but I think that as fine an article as I’ve encountered is by James Warren in the current issue of The Atlantic. The arguments are not dramatically different than those who have covered this subject previously encountered, but they are clearly and succinctly expressed.

We need to make decisions around where we’re going to find the investigative equivalent of what the print press traditionally handled better than any other medium. Warren’s article convincingly argues that there is no extant Web substitute. So will we forgo investigative journalism, or is there another solution?

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