Published on March 13, 2009
Brave New World Reading Electronically 2009 O’Reilly TOC Conference Book Net Canada Technology Forum 2009 Neelan Choksi March 12, 2009 COO, Lexcycle firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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 - 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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