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Is the Cloud the Answer to Piracy and other tidbits I...

TOCThis past week I attended the Tools of Change conference in New York City. The conference is about the cutting edge of publishing, whether it is publishing Apps (very popular), enhanced content, or just conquering the digital workflow. The highlight of the conference for many people was the dry witted Margaret Atwood keynote who reminded everyone that authors are like the dead moose. The dead moose, you see, feeds an entire ecosystem much like the author feeds the ecosystem of publishing.

I love this conference because I go in knowing next to nothing and come out the other end just a tiny bit more knowledgeable.   The people who run Tools of Change like Kat Meyer, Shirley Bailes, Andrew Savikas, are amazing people.   The attendees are just as amazing and no one I’ve encountered has been unwilling to share their wisdom with others.   I got to have a short chat with Mark Coker of Smashwords and he is what I would call a true believer. He believes in spreading knowledge to others. He believes that he should not earn a penny unless those that use his service earn money.   He believes that every person he encounters has knowledge he could learn from.   I found him inspiring.   We met up with the Harlequin Digital team and the Kobo book team and they all have such tremendous energy and excitement about the future.   Yeah reading is the clarion call of all these people.   (I have to talk about Book Camp at some time in the future).   But on to the sessions at Tools of Change:

I attended these sessions:

Going Digital: Launching a Digital-First Business from within a Traditional Publisher with Angela James (Carina Press), Jenny Bullough (Harlequin Enterprises Limited)

Summary:   Holy crap, digital publishing is tough.   Angie James and Jenny Bullough led us through a number of decisions that they had to make to get Carina up and running and to keep it going.   They looked at their competitors in the market to determine contract issues such as options and royalties.   They looked at all digital books in the genre to determine price.   The range was $.99 to $12.99 (I think that was the top end) and priced their books at $2.99 to $6.99.   After analyzing the data, they determined that $6.99 books were not selling and they dropped their high end price to $5.99.   It didn’t make any sense for them to keep the top end because no one was buying at that price.

James spoke about the acquisition team (made up of editorial, marketing, sales) and how editors would bring their proposals to the acquisition team.   She spoke about how Carina Press has to compete with self publishing and encourages the publishers to have conversations with their authors about why a publishing option might be better than self publishing.   James acknowledged some authors will be well suited to self publishing but not all authors are.   She told us they just signed an author who has 90 books under her belt because the author believed that “this digital thing was going to take off and she wanted to be one of the first and not one of the last in.”

Bullough spoke about the more technical aspects of digital publishing, the extensive workflow that Carina Press has to provide quality books to customers.   There are challenges that Carina Press has had to face because the existing print systems aren’t designed for digital publishing particularly because the goal of digital publishing is being quick to market. The time from acquisition to publication is nine months.   Bullough pointed out that retailer systems aren’t quite set up to meet their types of books.   Because they sell without DRM, retailer systems often reject the books as having errors (hah!).   Another example is that BISAC, the book organization/identification organization, does not have enough BISAC codes to meet the types of books Carina Press is publishing so in the metadata of a Steampunk book, for example, they have to put Science Fiction and Fantasy because BISAC does not have a steampunk code.   Fortunately for readers who want to find steampunk, Bullough won an argument with BISAC and there will be a steampunk code in the fall.

Publisher CTO Panel: The Future of eBooks Technology, Moderated by: Abe Murray (Google, Inc. )
Panelists: Bill Godfrey (Elsevier), Rich Rothstein (HarperCollins Publishers), Andrew Savikas (O’Reilly Media, Inc.)

Summary:   This was kind of the HarperCollins and Elsevier show against O’Reilly Media.   I don’t think that Saviskas agreed with anything said by either Godfrey and Rothstein.

The first question by Abe Murray was what was the one thing each executive would wish for.   Savikas wants Amazon to adopt ePub (please God).   Godfrey wants to stop worrying about how content renders differently on every device.   This can be costly for publishers, to ensure that each published book looks good on every device out there. Godfrey says that there needs to be one open standard.   Rothstein wishes for one feed to populate the multiple retail channels. I learned from Mark Coker from Smashwords that each retailer has a different way to upload content and it can be confusing for a new person.

The next question was how was digital publishing changed.   Savikas said that there were many other viable markets for content (I think he meant internationally) and standards were becoming more important. Rothstein says that the devices have changed and Godfrey jumped in to say that the consumer is more tech savvy these days and the devices do more.   (which I took to mean that consumers expect the published product).   This led to talk about enhanced content.   Rothsten and Godfrey are both big proponents of enhanced content.   Me? I would love it if the publishers would work on perfecting the ebook before they throw in a few videos and slap a 50% upcharge on the book.   I kept wondering whether we would be stuck with ebooks that had no cover but video inside the book.

Rothstein said that the enhanced content would be curtain like.   The curtains would open and close on the content, allowing the reader to see what she wanted, when she wanted.   Rothstein said that they were attempting to talk to the authors to assist in creating the enhanced content but that they didn’t want to be disruptive.   (Does that mean that it takes time away from writing? Wasn’t sure).

The discussion about enhanced books rolls around to Savikas and he says that enhanced ebooks come from the publishers and not from readers because it is a way to put on a higher pricetag.

Godfrey then indicated that the future of money making in publishing was advertising because it would be the only way to reach more people at lower price points.   You get margin benefits through scale.   Savikas disagreed because he said that online advertising is ruthlessly efficient and you couldn’t maintain that type of efficiency in digital books.

Godfrey did believe that DRM was going away and suggested that the future was in the cloud.   This wasn’t the first that I heard of this and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I’m not a huge fan of having only cloud access to books but if I paid only a monthly fee for access to a huge database of titles from a variety of publishers then perhaps I would reconsider. I’ll write up a post on how cloud access could, in theory, vest first sale rights to readers, reduce piracy, and get rid of interoperability problems for next week. (I couldn’t fit everything in this post. Seriously it is long enough as it is).

The one good thing I think readers will be glad to hear is that time and again people said that geographical restrictions made no sense in today’s book market. I definitely think that those will be a thing of the past in a few years.

Data-driven Marketing and Product Development with   Emily Sawtell (McGraw-Hill International Publishing Group), Brett Sandusky (Kaplan Publishing)

Summary: I wasn’t originally going to attend this session even though there are few people cooler than Brett Sandusky.   And Emily is from the UK and has a marvelous accent.   But I’m not a student anymore so could this be instructive? Heck yes.

Basically Kaplan and McGraw-Hill are examining their customers and producing content based on that research.     Brett Sandusky spoke about the Kaplan publishing giveaways. In two consecutive years, Kaplan has given away over 100 different titles during the space of a few weeks. This data has allowed Kaplan to learn more about their readers and encouraged the readers to learn how to download and interact with the digital content. (This is important only if you want to encourage digital adoption).

McGraw-Hill has been studying students by sending them video cameras and encouraging the students to video tape themselves studying and describe their process to the the camera (think alouds).   Students were encouraged to keep journals.   McGraw-Hill employees went to campuses and just watched students as well as conducting focus groups.   What they learned was that students looked to their peers for everything from studying advice to emotional support and so McGraw-Hill is developing and has developed study guides created by students for students.

Both Kaplan and McGraw-Hill view every reader, every end user as a customer regardless of whether they pay. I heard this from Michael Tamblyn from KoboBooks and Mark Coker of Smashwords (in a little different way, Mark said to me that every complaint has a kernel of truth and provides something for Smashwords to aspire to. Such a great outlook on life).

I think this is challenging for authors to think about because many authors say that they write for themselves and thus learning about the reader and what the reader is looking for may impede their creative process. Some authors also write for the market, to sell. Neither author is “better” than the other.   I expect authors who want to write for a living to comport themselves as a business and thus wanting to write to sell is just as worthy as writing the “book of your heart.”

Bookselling in the 21st Century, Moderated by: Kassia Krozser (Booksquare.com)
Panelists: Lori James (All Romance/OmniLit/ARe Cafe), Jenn Northington (WORD), Kevin Smokler (Booktour.com), Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo (Greenlight Bookstore), Malle Vallik (Harlequin Enterprises Ltd)

Summary:   Actually I have very few notes of this session.   I remember Malle Vallik saying that the others weren’t thinking big enough.   Jenn Northington and Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo are both independent booksellers.   Jenn from WORD Brooklyn is very romance friendly. All the booksellers spoke of building community events.   Greenlight bookstore has a basketball league.   WORD Brooklyn is doing readings and signings.   ARe is launching (soon) ARe Cafe which will be a social networking site for readers and customers of ARe.   These places are not trying to compete with Amazon but attract a different buyer.   (ARe is particularly a good place to buy Ellora’s Cave books as ARe gives you a 40-50% rebate on those books and you aren’t then forced to buy direct from EC).

eReading Survey Findings and Research: A Look behind the Numbers, Moderated by: Sarah Weinman (Publishers Marketplace)
Panelists: Matthew Bernius (Open Publishing Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology), Kelly Gallagher (RR Bowker), Peter Hildick-Smith (Codex-Group LLC), Jennifer Manning (Nielsen)

Summary: Hildick-Smith said that their projected sales of Kindles were about the same as actual sales but that a number of people who said that they were going to buy an iPad did not.   The market changes so fast that in six months your predictions will be old news.   Problematically 30% of book discovery comes from bookstores. Gallagher of Bowker said the heavy book buyer represents about 18% of the book buying public but drives 45% of print sales.   The heavy book buyer represents about 18% of the book buying public but drives 60% of the ebook sales.   (yes, romance readers, that is us. LOL).   For internet surveys, though, the over 65 reader is underrepresented and the female reader is overrepresented.

What Do eReading Customers Really, Really Want? An In-depth, Research, and Data-driven Exploration of Reading Behavior, Content Consumption, and Consumer Attitudes Toward eReaders and Multifunction Devices with Cheryl Goodman (Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc ), Michael Tamblyn (Kobo)

You can see Michael Tamblyn’s slides in full here. Tamblyn says that Kobo data shows four types of readers.   The eink Reading Machine buys $25 books per month at about 7 orders per month and purchase frequency is increasing. Mostly likely using a Kobo eReading device and buying fiction and YA.   The Small screen reader is the largest segment of purchasers and averages 1 order per month at approximately $11 per order.   The Small screen reader is buying a lot of romance. The iPad Socialite isn’t as good a customer as the eink Reading Machine but still great.   Averages about $16 per month and orders about 4.5 times per month.   Freegan doesn’t buy anything but downloads a lot.   Freegans are “shockingly insensitive to marketing.” (tongue in cheek).   The Small screen reader is most price intolerant.

Some other interesting stats include that most book buying is done between 8 and midnight but most reading takes place during the morning hours which Kobo calls “Kill the commute” v. the “Good in Bed” hours which Kobo thought would be the most hours spent reading.   Interestingly, more people are reading at night, but not for as long as in the morning.

Cheryl Goodman from Qualcomm presented statistics from the Harris study which you can see here online (or highlights of the study). Goodman says we are in a technology and consumer driven revolution.   Content creators will have to keep up.   There are over 80 ereading devices on the market (including multifunction tablets).   Every device should be a connected device according to Goodman.   Technology can force change on content creators.   (think iPad).   Consumers are enthusiastic but their enthusiasm doesn’t match their satisfaction in that the tablet isn’t meeting their expectations. (This is because the tablet sucks at actually doing things but is great for receiving content and viewing it).   80% of people who buy the physical copy believe that they should have access to the online content for free.   75% of consumers believe that their content should be available to them on all devices.

The keynote speeches were livestreamed via Tools of Change. I recommend watching

A few notes on the Benetech presentation. Benetech provides books to those in our US population that are severely disabled which is about 1% of the population.   However, there are thousands, maybe millions, of people who could benefit from accessible books and would be willing to buy the product. Publishers aren’t providing accessible books, however, because of the fight against piracy.   So there is no text to speech even though about 2 people out of 1,000 is visually impaired, 1 in 1000 are physically disabled, and 10 in 1000 are severely dyslexic.   Fruchterman was encouraging publishers to make books accessible to more of the disabled so as to increase the ability of those to read, learn, and gain respect for themselves and from others.

Finally, Sarah Wendell and I gave a 45 seminar on digital reading from an ereader perspective.   It’s nothing you guys haven’t heard before.   We urged the folks there to pay attention to three things:   one handed reading, customer service, giving control over to the reader. I love giving presentations with Sarah because she is so entertaining.   Sarah spoke about the importance of 24/7 customer service and how bad customer service leads to bad word of mouth.   She spoke on paying attention to the environment of readers and the desire of readers to take control over their reading experience.

At the end of the session, (after I had said that readers don’t really care about rights but just want the ability to buy the digital book regardless of what device they use and where they live) someone asked me about the publisher’s ability to protect themselves and their authors from people would steal content.   I urged the person to provide an ecosystem that would allow readers rights similar to what they had with physical books instead of forcing them to find work arounds. I hoped that we could act as partners instead of enemies and proffered social DRM as one way to place checks on the system of sharing.

I ended with the Neil Gaiman example by asking the room to raise their hands if they had a favorite author.   Then they were asked to raise their hand if they found their favorite author by a book that was lent to them, given to them, or borrowed from the library. Most raised their hand. I asked how many have found their favorite author by going into a bookstore and buying a book. Only 5 people raised their hands.

The truth is that readers support the authors that they love by buying every new book on the release date, owning multiple copies of the same book; making gift packages of those books for other readers.   A book lover loves nothing better than to seed the same love for a book to another person. To make another person a fan.   Empower us readers to go forth and evangelize and spread the love of our favorites to others.   I’ve got some thoughts on readers, authors, and discoverability of books that I am going to share on Tuesday.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

33 Comments

  1. Statch
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 07:42:46

    Fascinating — lots of food for thought here. Thanks for taking the time to write it!

    I’m looking forward to the post on the cloud. I used to have something similar with Yahoo Music. It got me listening to music again because I could listen to anything they had for as long as I wanted, and then just buy what I wanted to keep. I bought more music that year with them than I did in the preceding 10 years, and my music purchases have stayed much higher than before. (And then of course the Yahoo Music service died and taught me the evils of DRM. They made it right at the end, but only because of popular outcry and threats of lawsuits.)

  2. JenD
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 07:57:20

    My Husband and I go through about five books a week, sometimes more. If there was a Netflix for books- we would sign up on day one.

    We already do it for music and movies/tv- why not add books to it.

    My only concern is for the authors- how would this pay model work? Per view? Per download? Percentage?

    I’m hopeful this can all be worked out because it would be a huge boon for everyone. Just imagine how easy it would be to get favorite books/authors into new hands! Very, very exciting thought.

  3. Brussel Sprout
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 08:51:20

    Thank you to you and Sarah for these really full and fascinating accounts of the conference sessions – really inspiring and suggestive, especially to an author currently stalled in the stocks.

  4. Keishon
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 09:35:32

    The truth is that readers support the authors that they love by buying every new book on the release date, owning multiple copies of the same book; making gift packages of those books for other readers. A book lover loves nothing better than to seed the same love for a book to another person. To make another person a fan. Empower us readers to go forth and evangelize and spread the love of our favorites to others.

    That is exactly right. I know for me if I love an author I will support them and SHOUT to the world how much I love them, too. I only do that for a handful of writers because hey, those folks stand out from the crowd. Thank you for this summation. Enjoyed reading it.

  5. LG
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 10:36:14

    @JenD: When you say “Netflix for books,” you’re talking about e-books, right? Because, as far as physical books go, any public library with an ILL department should fit the bill.

    The public library district in the city I used to live had access to e-books and downloadable audiobooks through Overdrive – THAT was awesome. I never checked out any e-books, because I would have had to read them on my computer, but I got tons of audio-books that way, put them on my mp3 player, and listened to them at work.

    I still think that, as far as “access instead of ownership” goes, it’s mind-boggling how many people are on board with paying for some new service when libraries have been providing that for decades. As a regular library user, I’d rather have publishers allow libraries to provide access and then figure out what’s worth owning myself. I guess I’m in the minority, though?

  6. Patti (Book Addict)
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 11:05:46

    @JenD:
    If you’re referring to print books, look into Bookswim. It seems to be very similar to Netflix but with books. I keep hearing very good things about them.

  7. Patti (Book Addict)
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 11:13:11

    Oops, didn’t finish my comment…
    Thanks Jane for this summary. It’s interesting for me as a reader to see behind the scenes on the publishing side of things. I’m looking forward to the rest of your thoughts.

  8. DS
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 11:23:37

    I’m not really enthusiastic about the cloud thing or the enhanced book idea. Actually, if the cloud was cheap enough then I would buy in but not as my only source. I pay Netflix about $9 a month and sometimes go weeks without watching it or sending a CD back. I also signed up for Hulu Plus, but I’m considering dropping it. The commercials are just too annoying– I’ve been spoiled by years of not watching broadcast tv.

    As for enhanced– it would have to be nonfiction or some sort of fiction experiment. I can’t imagine any sort of enhancement to a fiction book being anything other than an interruption. Now that I think about it though, I’m sure it might be a big hit with certain readers of erotica ebooks.

  9. DS
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 11:39:02

    One other thing, while I was noodling around this morning someone pointed me to this

    According to a survey commissioned by AT&T over 50 percent of data consumers view the same content on more than three devices; from Amazon's perspective then, this means people are buying Kindle e-books from the company regardless of what device – or indeed devices – they use.

    * * *

    “The customer experience is increasingly device, OS and network-agnostic,” Stephenson said. “We can try to fight it, but customers will do what they want.”

    Here’s the url: http://www.businessrevieweurope.eu/tags/ipad/kindle-app-greatest-cloud-based-business-decision-decade

    I knew I skipped around a lot– from the 1st gen iphone I keep as a reader/game player, to my current iphone, to the Kindle, to my Edge reader– but I didn’t realize I was part of a crowd.

  10. Janine
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 11:46:23

    Great post. Thanks for doing such a thorough recap for those of us who couldn’t be there.

  11. cara
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 12:03:07

    At first I wasn’t really thrilled about the cloud idea. But like someone said above me, if it was affordable and offered a wide access net (like Netflix), I’d likely buy into it. But it wouldn’t be my only source of reading at all. I still prefer really “owning” my books – whether it’s dtb or the actual files, which I back up in two different places. This is what initially turned me away from the Kindle a year ago. I don’t like paying for something only to find out I’m only paying for the right to play with it. (At the time, they either didn’t read pdfs or the quality was terrible and it was a huge hassle to get them on the device)

    That said, if Kindle started accepting e-pub, I’d actually consider buying one, but not until then. Yes, I can convert stuff in calibre. and yes, the Kindle takes pdfs now. But I still have this irrational preference against pdfs. *shrug*

  12. cara
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 12:10:14

    Also, reading some of the other comments about cloud vs library, I kind of have to agree. It would be a shame for libraries to suffer another kick from the industry that way. I’ve looked at my local libraries’ e-book selections and they just don’t have that much that I’m interested in. And because it’s not an option that gets enough exposure (and on devices that offer that possibility, it’s still apparently a hassle), people just don’t use it enough for it to really take off. A lot of libraries seem to be dropping their e-lending programs due to expense, so I hear.

  13. GrowlyCub
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 12:41:27

    I don’t even want a Kindle because that allows Amazon to delete books remotely.

    I even less want my stuff in a cloud controlled by however many others with their opinions of what I should or should not have access to. I sure hope that’s not how things will develop for e-book access in the future.

  14. Sunita
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 12:49:18

    The main problem I see with the cloud is that your device has to be connected to broadband or internet all the time. This is fine for people who live in areas with fast coverage, but if you travel much the costs can add up. In addition, how are you supposed to access a book while you’re out of coverage, e.g., on an airplane? I’m sure they’ve thought about this and are working on the answers, but until I know them I’ll keep my Calibre library, thanks. Also, did they talk much about users outside the US?

    I have Netflix. When I was traveling overseas last year, I unthinkingly tried to watch something and in two countries I got the “netflix not available” message. So the cloud people will have to work on that as well.

    Thanks much for this report, Jane. I followed the ToC tweets this week and it’s nice to have a roundup.

  15. Kerry D.
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 13:03:11

    I really, really detest the idea of books in the cloud IF that is the only way I can access them. There are books I’m happy to borrow; library or the cloud would work for that.

    But there are books I want to OWN. I barely own my ebooks as it is now, but at least I can have them saved to my hard drive and a backup location to make sure I continue to have access to them whatever happens to the provider. I would be very, very, very unhappy if that option got taken away. (But I’m not prepared to pay a premium price for it. I just want to buy a book at a reasonable price.)

    I so hope you’re right about geographic restrictions. I can’t wait for them to go away.

  16. JenD
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 13:03:29

    @LG:

    Yes, I’m talking about eBooks, not physical books. I’m fine with having a library of eBooks that change and/or rotate. If there’s something I really want to read I’ll just buy it. I support the library but don’t use it, personally. It’s incredibly inconvenient for me to get to.

    I think it’s a fascinating point about censorship. What could we do to make sure all books are available, then again- not all films are available so should books be in a different category?

  17. Ridley
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 13:07:27

    A few notes on the Benetech presentation. Benetech provides books to those in our US population that are severely disabled which is about 1% of the population. However, there are thousands, maybe millions, of people who could benefit from accessible books and would be willing to buy the product. Publishers aren't providing accessible books, however, because of the fight against piracy. So there is no text to speech even though about 2 people out of 1,000 is visually impaired, 1 in 1000 are physically disabled, and 10 in 1000 are severely dyslexic. Fruchterman was encouraging publishers to make books accessible to more of the disabled so as to increase the ability of those to read, learn, and gain respect for themselves and from others.

    Word.

  18. LG
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 13:19:18

    @cara: Good points. The library I work at only offers e-books that can only currently be read on a computer. We’re an academic library, so most of what we offer is scholarly stuff or just generally non-fiction, but we do have some fiction titles via Netlibrary, but who wants to read fiction one painfully tiny page and slow page turn at a time on their computer? I tried, and it was awful.

    I wonder, are the many restrictions and small selection (for libraries) due to publishers still not liking libraries that much? If so, has there been actual research done that has proven that this dislike is justified (for instance, library users would have bought the books if they couldn’t have gotten them for free via the libary, rather than just chosen not to read the books at all)? Or is this similar to publisher resistance to customers who are “device, OS and network-agnostic” (from DS’s comment above), and publishers are just trying to exert as much control as possible over whatever arena they can?

  19. MaryK
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 15:09:17

    I don’t think the Cloud publishers are talking about = Netflix for books. At least that’s my understanding. Netflix for books would be cool and, yes, basically paid library access (and I think that’s what Jane is saying she’d consider).

    I think the Cloud publishers are currently talking about is like Kindle (you buy individual ebooks) but you never actually get to download them (except maybe for a brief period of offline reading) and they’re “backed up” only in the Cloud. It’s like paying $80 for a season of Dr. Who and only being able to stream it.

  20. Kerry D.
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 16:04:04

    @MaryK: And that’s what worries me.

  21. Roxie
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 16:08:11

    When they say enhanced books, what are they talking about? Videos/ads in the middle of a book, or at the end of chapters? Some sort of link to external info in the story itself? If that’s the case, then I don’t want any part of it. Honestly, when I want more info on books or authors, I go to their websites. I tend to resent anything that pulls me out of a story. I have to agree with Jane, I’d prefer publishers concentrate on little things like book covers and copy editing.

    As for cloud access, that might work if it was in addition to the access we already have on our ereaders/computers, but not instead of. My inner cavewoman is pretty territorial, and responds poorly to limitations in cloud-only access. Once I buy a book, it’s mine; no matter what format I buy it in.

    Gah. There’s no preview link?

  22. Lindsey
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 16:33:52

    One of the thing that irritated me most about the “freegan” comments (that you mentioned both in this post an on twitter), is the absurd assumption that people who are downloading free books aren’t buying books. I’d like to see the actual data they use to back this up, because it just sounds ridiculous to me.

    I download free books when the ones available look interesting to me. But I also buy between 5-10 books per month, and in some cases, those free books have introduced me to an author I end up absolutely loving, or the snippets in the back of Samhain freebies might lead me to another book I originally would not have looked at. So I fail to understand how it is I’m “shockingly insensitive” to marketing.

  23. sarah mayberry
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 18:26:28

    This is great. Thanks for taking the time to tap-tap it all in so we could share. Looking forward to your thoughts in future posts.

  24. Tweets that mention Is the Cloud the Answer to Piracy and other tidbits I took from Tools of Change 2011 | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 18:55:07

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SF Signal (John D.), Monica O'Brien, Karen Wester Newton, Taryn Hook, Letizia Sechi and others. Letizia Sechi said: Is the Cloud the Answer to Piracy and other tidbits I took from Tools of Change 2011 http://j.mp/h51FCy […]

  25. library addict
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 18:55:11

    @Lindsey: Looking at Michael Tamblyn's slides they do say that not everyone who reads free books is a “freegan” and many are actually “paygans.” But there are a group of people who ONLY download free books and never actually buy anything. That’s one of the user profiles he talked about.

    I don’t want to be online to read a book. I am uncomfortable with the fact that they monitor how fast people read books on connected devices, how many times they reread the same book, and other forms of reading behavior they collect data on for their marketing research. That’s one of the reasons I bought a Sony. I can read it without having to be online, they cannot remotely remove my books, they can't gather data on how long it takes me to read the book, and so long as it’s charged I have access to my books wherever I am. I don’t want to hang out in the cloud. I have a cable modem, but there times it doesn’t work. If I have to read from the cloud and don't have access to the cloud that would mean I couldn’t read during that time. And there's no way they can guarantee access all of the time, especially for those of us who do not live in major cities.

    I agree 100% with Jane. Get ebooks to work before trying to add enhanced content. I’m not sure I even want advanced content anyway. If I want to watch a movie I would do so. If I want to read a book I want to read the book, period. I could live with ads if I had to, so long as they don't interrupt the book once I start reading. But I would much rather not have to deal with them.

  26. LG
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 19:29:12

    @Roxie: I don’t know what they consider to be valuable enhanced content, but I thought that what I read about what’s been done in Japan with the Nintendo DS Harlequin selection sounded awesome: http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/harlequin-books-now-on-nintendo-ds-in-japan/

    That’s the kind of enhanced content I’d be willing to pay a bit extra for…as long as, as others have mentioned, it doesn’t get in the way of the book I’m reading right now.

  27. carly m.
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 22:32:11

    I’m a bit skeptical about the freegan because it seems Kobo is just analyzing its own app data (which is fine). BUT how many people only use Kobo for free books while paying for e-books through booksonboard or allromance or any other e-bookseller? Would seem to skew the data a bit.

  28. Merrian
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 03:12:03

    @carly m.:
    I agree with you Carly. Trying to understand my e-book wants and needs only through the few things I have bought on Kobo is a fairly limited way of understanding my book bouying and reading self. I only buy a limited amount through the Kobo store partly becuase of geographic restrictions, partly becuase of price and mostly becuase what I want to buy is easier to purchases directly from author or publisher. Most of my online purchases of e-books are through small publishers. Geographic restrictions stop me buying with Books on Board or Deisel very often too. They can track some of what I am buying but not the things I am not buying at all (my pent up demand)so this is a very partial picture,.

  29. Merrian
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 03:12:46

    @carly m.:
    I agree with you Carly. Trying to understand my e-book wants and needs only through the few things I have bought on Kobo is a fairly limited way of understanding my book bouying and reading self. I only buy a limited amount through the Kobo store partly becuase of geographic restrictions, partly becuase of price and mostly becuase what I want to buy is easier to purchases directly from author or publisher. Most of my online purchases of e-books are through small publishers. Geographic restrictions stop me buying with Books on Board or Deisel very often too. They can track some of what I am buying but not the things I am not buying at all (my pent up demand)so this is a very partial picture.

  30. Jane
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 08:23:51

    So many good comments here. I have my own reservations about the cloud and I think that there is no one answer to the cloud but I do agree that non ownership would equal lower price for access in my mind.

    There is also the matter of “time shifting” that is part of the first sale doctrine in that the courts have said that we can time shift copyrighted material to be viewed/accessed at a time more convenient for us (i.e. DVRs etc). Not sure how that would play “in the cloud.”

    As for the Kobo data, funnily enough I mentioned to Angela James that I am probably a freegan at Kobo because I download free books there when I remember to but rarely buy. Most of my digital purchases are made at Amazon.

  31. BethP
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 09:57:23

    “enhanced ebooks come from the publishers and not from readers because it is a way to put on a higher pricetag.”

  32. BethP
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 10:00:19

    “enhanced ebooks come from the publishers and not from readers because it is a way to put on a higher pricetag.”

    ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY TRUE !!!! Just give me the words. I don’t want, or need, a video, or author interview or lyrics or any other extraneous stuff. If I wanted all that stuff, I’d not have chosen to read a book.

  33. willaful
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 22:25:45

    Could you explain what you mean by “social DRM”?

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