Wednesday News: Scribd, Google, BookExpo, and “Bob”
Scribd Reports 500K Subscribers, Adds Newspaper Content – With more than 500,000 paid subscribers and an expectation of $50 million in profits for 2017, Scribd is again expanding its content offerings with “selected” content from The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian. It does not appear that users will have access to the entirety of these publications; rather, offerings will be “curated by a staff of former journalists,” so you’re basically confined to the Scribd bubble.
Adler credited Scribd’s profitability and growing subscriber base to the recent addition of magazine and now newspaper content, all linked to books. He emphasized that linking news/magazine articles to books is “increasing discovery.” He said, “we’re continuing to help our publishing and trusted news partners reach new audiences.” . . .
Scribd first noted its profitability in the fall of last year. Now after a year of profitability, for the first time the digital subscription service has revealed the size of its subscriber base and is offering revenue projections. This comes after years of adjusting its model. Scribd eliminated some categories, such as comics, reduced offerings of romance titles, and limited the number of titles readers can access while adding new content linked across its content library. – Publishers Weekly
Google wants to know when users, tempted by an online advert, go to the shops – Google continues to expand its reach, which now includes the ability to connect your digital browsing habits with real world buying behavior. This “‘holy grail’ of digital advertising” will offer vendors insight into the effectiveness of their online campaigns, and should, again, give consumers pause around how much otherwise-private information they are intentionally and unknowingly exposing. Despite, of course, Google’s assurances that your data is safe with them:
Google collects massive amounts of personal data from smartphones and desktop computers, including location information from Google Maps and other apps, the search terms that people use in a Google search, and people’s web browsing habits. All of that information is tied to the real identities of users when they log into Google’s services.
Company executives say they are using complex, patent-pending mathematical formulas to protect the privacy of consumers when they match a Google user with a shopper who makes a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store.
The mathematical formulas convert people’s names and other personal information into anonymous strings of numbers. The formulas make it impossible for Google to know the identity of the real-world shoppers, and for the retailers to know the identities of Google’s users, Google executives said. The companies know only that a match has been made. – press.co.nz
BookExpo 17 Conference Sessions – So BookExpo America begins next week in New York City, and browsing the conference programs and sessions reveals that reader data and global publishing are discussion priorities this year (surprise!). Also, for either $60 or $110, you can purchase a “Reader Pass” or an “Avid Reader Pass,” which “gives you a premium Autographing experience by bringing you face-to-face with your favorite author without waiting in line.” This is a tax-deductible donation for the Book Industry Foundation, and both passes allow for a one-time skip to the front of the line, while the Avid Reader Pass also provides “exclusive access to eight ticketed author signings in the Autographing Area.” You can check out who is signing at the Book Expo site. – Boo Expo America
‘Times’ Book Review Editor Shares Her Love Of Reading In ‘My Life With Bob’ – Beginning when she was 17, Pauline Paul kept something she called her “Book on books” (Bob). It wasn’t a series of reflections or summaries or reviews, but rather a chronicle of all the books she has read since then. She has received a lot of different responses to this practice (one boyfriend tried to guilt her into writing “essays” in the book), and has now written a memoir, My Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book Of Books, Plot Ensues. Because god forbid anyone keeps a simple list of the books she has read. Anyway, the judgments and responses to “Bob” are interesting enough, but Paul also addresses the process by which books are chosen for review by the NYTBR, which has also been an issue inviting a lot of discussion:
PAUL: So there are two very different systems between the Sunday Book Review and The Daily critics. And they’re kind of opposite in a way. With the critics, the chief critic is Michiko Kakutani. She gets the first crack at the books. And she really decides what it is that she wants to review. So you begin with the critic. With the Book Review assignments, we start with the book. And when we have a book, we are – one of the most creative things after deciding which books deserve a review or not, the next big decision – and this is one that I’m very involved in – is who should review it?
And that is a really interesting process. Sometimes we know or we’re pretty confident that one of the critics will review it. So we know, OK, if Michi is going to review this book, what might we do that’s different? If we think that there should be a second review, who should review it that would provide a different take? Maybe it is an established book critic, maybe it’s a novelist or a poet. We had Bill Clinton review the fourth installment of Bob Caro’s LBJ biography. We have had Patti Smith review a Murakami novel. Paul Simon reviewed Stephen Sondheim’s memoir.
That’s the part that’s sort of the most delicious and creative because you just think, like, who would I most want to read on this book? And then also, who would New York Times readers most want to read on this book? – NPR