Stanza - A Lifetime of Reading in Your Pocket: Lessons Learned from Stanza, the iPhone eReader - Neelan Choksi

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Information about Stanza - A Lifetime of Reading in Your Pocket: Lessons Learned from...

Published on March 13, 2009

Author: booknetcanada



BNC Tech Forum 09 - Neelan Choksi will highlight the lessons learned after launching Stanza, Lexcycle’s flagship electronic book reader for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Choksi will cover a variety of topics including the value of marketing, the effectiveness of different publisher strategies, the importance of standards and user perspectives.

Brave New World Reading Electronically 2009 O’Reilly TOC Conference Book Net Canada Technology Forum 2009 Neelan Choksi March 12, 2009 COO, Lexcycle twitter: stanza_reader

Who Am I? • COO, Lexcycle • Former COO, SpringSource – open source • President and Co-Founder of SolarMetric (acquired by BEA Systems in 2005) • Previous Employers – Exxon, Andersen Consulting, TechTrader, MIT Blackjack Team • External Board Seats – SpringSource, Tasktop • BS from MIT, MS from Stevens Institute of

Last 30 Days in e-books • Feb 5 – Google Book Search for iPhone • Feb 6 – Amazon hints at mobile device solution • Feb 9 – Amazon Kindle 2 Launch • Feb 16 – Adobe Reader Mobile SDK 9 • Feb 25 – Indigo Shortcovers launched • March 4 – Amazon Kindle for iPhone Launch • March 5 – B&N acquires Fictionwise

e-books – Inflection Point • $52 million Wholesale e-book sales in last 4 quarters * Source: IDPF US Trade Wholesale Electronic Book Sales

The Drivers of the Opportunity

Mainstreaming of e- • Oprah Effect books

Big Name Vendors

New Hardware • Netbooks • Lots of new eReaders

Improved Displays: E Ink

Improved Mobile • Larger touchDisplays color screens w/ crisp • OTA, wireless • App Store

Challenges of Navigating the Waters

e-book Alphabet Soup Formats DRM - - - .LIT Microsoft Reader HTML - - - Mobi Adobe Adept RB - - - AZW eReader CHM - - - PDB Mobi OEB - - FB2 Apple FairPlay - - PDF DNL - - RTF many others - BBeB - EPUB

Enter IDPF’s EPUB • Standard format – users don’t want to care about formats (or DRM for that matter) • Proliferation of proprietary formats (and DRM) is bad for users, creates lock-in for vendors • Standard format eases a historical burden of conversion

The Main Players Sony Reader Amazon Kindle

So Many More Devices • • Aztak Mentor EB- Plastic Logic Reader • 900 Fujitsu FLEPia • • iRexiLiad Polymer Vision • Readius STAReBOOK • • BookeenCybook Wizpactxtr • Gen3 Onyx Boox • • Bookeen FoxiteSlick • Ganaxa GeR2 • HanLin eBook

Mobile Reading iPhone Other Devices • • Stanza FBReader • • Kindle for the iPhone eReader Pro • • eReader MS Reader • • Shortcovers Global-Reader • • Classics Mobipocketebook • Reader BookShelf • • … many more BookZ • Libris • standalone books apps

Stanza Overview

iPhone Distinctions As an eReader: • International reach • Color display • Multi-function device • Built-in wireless • No external light required • App Store

Stanza iPhone & iPod Touch •1.5 million users in 60 countries • Over 7 million books downloaded • 100,000+ books available (half free) • Translated to 12 languages • Featured in: • NY Times, Boston Globe • Time “Top 11 iPhone Applications” • Forbes • Wired “10 Most Awesome Apps” • iTunes Top Applications of 2008

Sources of Commercial Content • All Romance eBooks • Books on Board • Fictionwise • O’Reilly Media • Smashwords Buying patterns representative of print sales

Sources of Free Content • Harlequin • Feedbooks • Project Gutenberg • Munseys • BookGlutton • Random House

Primary Usage • In bed – 31% • Commuting on bus / train – 29% • In waiting areas – 13% • At home – 12% • At work – 5% • At a bar or café or lunch or dinner – 5% • On an airplane – 5% • 2 write-ins mentioned “In the bathroom” Readers enjoy having access to their library at all times in their pocket or handbag

Publisher Promotions • Pan Macmillan Excerpts – first to notice Stanza • Random House Free Titles - Back list of certain authors - Included excerpts for forthcoming books • Harlequin Free Titles - 4 free “Minis” in December - 15 free titles from each imprint in January

O’Reilly Book • O’Reilly’s iPhone: The Missing Manual application Application • Currently at TOC discounted price of $4.99

Hunted Book Application • Released March 10 – same day as physical book • $17.99

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned - Readers Its all about the people who are reading!

Lessons Learned - Readers • Quality matters – Virtuous or Vicious Cycle • Every reader is unique – Give readers lots of options to customize their reading experience • Every device is unique – Things that work for one device may not work on another device • Listen to the user – they are happy to tell you what you are doing wrong • Give your readers a voice

Lessons Learned – • Holistic viewReaders of the entire experience for a reader: (continued) Search / Pur- Down- Start Find browse chase load Readin book content book book g Available via partners. • Not enough to focus just on one piece. Readers expect more.

Lessons Learned – Readers • Moving users from established behaviors takes time and patience (continued) • Friction = bad • Immersive reading

Publisher Lessons • Calls to action need to be clear and contextual • KISS – make it simple for the user • Hold your technology providers, conversion houses, and distributors to a higher standard • Keep experimenting – be bold • Have a budget for marketing e-books • Think about multimedia • Support EPUB • Support DRM-free

Publisher Lessons • Figure out ways to support your authors better in the electronic world - Websites - Blogs, Twitter, Social Networking, Book Trailers - Understand the technology • Don’t let this just turn into a blockbuster industry: - Find self-service methods and appropriate revenue splits for mid-tier authors

Author Lessons • Make sure your publishers are making your books available electronically: - Minimum formats: EPUB, AZW, PDF • Don’t leave marketing just for the publishers - Twitter, Blog, You Tube, Discussions - Be out there

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