A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective


Saturday, August 07, 2010

SFU Digital Strategy: Christoph Kapp

Today I’m speaking at the SFU Summer Publishing Workshop on Digital Strategies.

Speaking now ...

Christoph Kapp, Manager, Library & Digital Services, Special Sales, Custom Solutions at Login Canada on markets and strategies for digital publishing.

Why focus on libraries?

Mount Pleasant Library ca. 1925

Example of a university library annual budget: $14 million
Majority goes to journals.
Libraries are places of discovery, connection, sharing.

$500 million a year is spent on content.

Libraries are in transition. As materials move online, libraries are no longer about paper books. This has initiated changes in the library environment and across Canada.

Librarians are not ...
Librarians in Smocks

Librarians are experts.
* Highly Trained
* And experience in training others
* Customer focused
* Matchmakers
* Quality Seekers
* Value Seekers
* Results oriented (usage is important, not just making content available)
* Sustainability oriented: Not just eco, but sustainable usage goals, ROI
* Strategic partners

UK - London - Bloomsbury: British Museum - Reading Room

Digital Content trends in Canadian libraries

Content of corporate libraries is not quite 100% but many are providing 90-100% digital vs. printed materials for their members. Their organizations are digitally publishing their reports and studies, etc. Corporate librarians are therefore well ahead of others bringing content online.

University libraries are catching up. They have a larger collection to oversee, which has slowed them down.

K-12 is the slowest to adopt digital. Many of the relevant teaching materials are not digital. Plus there are issues of availability/accessibility to funding for digital materials. Books and basketballs are easier to pitch for than funding for databases.

Card Catalog 2/30

Religious and private schools are slightly ahead.

Hospitals were slow to uptake but the spike is significant.
* Digital packages for ebooks are more readily available.
* Consolidation in the health care sector means that digital is a cost effective measure.

(Monique’s aside: I wonder what this means about Kindle and other mobile reading devices, or even content sent via the tv sets available at bedside. Devices walk but I wonder about materials distributed as a tv signal…)

Old infrastructure of hospitals (lovely brick walls, cables vs. air signals) also affects the possibilities in this market.

Money is not the challenge. They have the budget. Proving the demand for your content is the challenge.

Coimbra - University Library Interior

The typical challenges fall into these categories.

Old-school digital: Can you get investment in new tools? If the current system is “good enough”, this is a customer issue that you have to leap.

There are so many digital options: The customer can be overwhelmed.

There are types and standards: ebooks, databases, DVD/CD/Audio, OEM/systems/gadgets, integrated and custom/bundles, file standards (pdf, xml, OeB, ePub)

There are platforms: aggregators, publishers, libraries

Aggregators are an option because publishers didn’t build their own platforms (where/how customers get access). So the aggregators built the platform and bought licenses from the publishers.

(Monique’s aside: Yet another thing publishers didn’t do for themselves, making their business/revenue dependent on a third party. Hello Google. Hello Amazon.)

There are pricing models: single download, subscription (concurrence, unlimited), perpetual (access forever—by paying a higher amount, you have access forever), local-load (started at Stanford, this is where UofT has invested in own infrastructure, they own and house and control that content), other

(Monique’s aside: how do you “control” and price your content? Local-load is an interesting spin because it’s the closest thing to “ownership” of the print book. Custom course packs look really interesting in this model.)

Scholar’s portal is owned by 22 Ontario universities and they can buy and access all the materials in this system. So 1 sale to the portal, with access to all. This creates interesting legal issues. The contracts define the usage.

(Christoph’s aside: Precedent setting Master license is coming soon with schedules for reference, trade, rate, and for textbook use. So far, it’s been 1 or nothing licensing. This is a totally different business model. It’s not open access, it’s 1 use at 1 time. When it’s not material adopted for courses, then it’s more open. This provides the content but manages the demand vs. the supply.)

Then there are periods: one-time, annual, multi-year, mix

(Christoph’s aside: California matters in publishing because it’s a good model to look at for Canadian publishing. Studying what happens in California is indicative of what might work in Canada. Similar population make-up.)

Content Is King. Or is it?

In libraries, “Content Is King” is re-written to “Usage Is King.” Librarians need to prove that the content is being used.

(Monique’s aside: Librarians want the People’s Prince, not the Inaccessible King.)

Collect, measure, analyze the usage = Deci$ion to buy.

Once again, this great info is from the SFU Digital Strategy session by Christoph Kapp, Manager, Library & Digital Services, Special Sales, Custom Solutions at Login Canada speaking on markets and strategies for digital publishing.

Now beautiful library photos:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review: Friends with Benefits by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo

Reviewed from Uncorrected Proof

imageFriends with Benefits
A Social Media Marketing Handbook by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo is coming out this November. Just in time for my birthday.

Lucky for me, their book publisher, No Starch Press, understands geek entertainment and they sent me an advance PDF. Yahoo!

Friends with Benefits is the best book on social media marketing that I’ve read to date. Why is it so great?

Reason 1
My friends wrote it and 3/4s of the way through there’s a screenshot that includes one of my Facebook updates.

Ok, no really, there are better reasons than that.

Reason 2
Friends with Benefits is one of the few books that offers social media marketing case studies with accompanying stats. Although every company has to set their own baseline for metrics, having a reasonable idea of what to expect is critical. Much of this private info is never shared, which means it is hard for a marketer who’s new to social media to answer the boss’s question, “what do I get for this investment in social media.”

Reason 3
There are great passages and quotes.

“The connections we make with other people online are real.”

“The Internet has become a public venue where the audience responds to news reports, suggests stories to cover, and even reports on stories.”

“Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. A successful campaign is usually the result of a hundred correct decisions and actions.”

Reason 4
Friends with Benefits answers the question, “Why would I want social media when my standard marketing practices are safe and known?”

If you’re a marketer dependent on mass media, then understanding web 2.0 as explained by Barefoot and Szabo will shoot you light years ahead of your competition.

The quick history in the first chapter helps establish the customs and culture that make up the web today; and how PR professionals can work within that framework.

Friends with Benefits is a must-read for social media marketers and those new to the field. There’s stuff for everyone, including the case studies I mentioned above, the reasonable expectations set around metrics, the how-to checklists and the great tips on the tools.

Who is Friends with Benefits for?
Anyone who wants:

  • More website visitors
  • More incoming links
  • More subscribers to your RSS feeds
  • More views of your content on video- and photo-sharing sites like YouTube and Flickr
  • More references to your company, products, and services on blogs, podcasts, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, ...
  • More followers on Twitter
  • Better search engine optimization
  • More genuine interactions with your customers

Good job Darren and Julie! I look forward to seeing the book in stores.

Andre Charland, Darren Barefoot, Julie Szabo
Darren and Julie with Andre Charland from Nitobi at IMC Vancouver 2008

Download Chapter 4 from the No Starch site: “Netiquette: Miss Manners for the Web” (PDF)



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Technorati: Do You See Me?


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Digital Publishing: Connecting Publishers to New Media Consumers

Hello Publishing Friends! SFU has a workshop coming up Digital Publishing: Connecting Publishers to New Media Consumers.

July 23 - 24 | Thursday - Friday | 9 - 5 pm
Fee $275 CDN (all course materials provided)
Details on the Course
Registration info.

Digital Publishing: Connecting Publishers to New Media Consumers
Formats. Futures. Channels.

While most publishers are beginning the process of digitizing their back lists, digital technology has gained a toe hold in helping publishers market their front lists as well. No longer are titles digitized and pushed through select channels to have the process stop there. Content can be moved, indexed and combined with other publishers or books.

This two-day workshop, presented in conjunction with the Association of Book Publishers of BC, will consider success stories such as Japan’s $220 million in sales with Manga. We will also learn from some of the less successful initiatives.

And we will consider channels of distribution and the markets that are not being fully explored and developed, such as India where a significant majority of those attending universities speak English and whose market is primarily digital. Publishers need to have a defined digital strategy, much like their business mandates and business plans.

This workshop will provide answers and prompt questions to get the information you need to create your own digital roadmap. If you are not doing something, you may find you will soon be playing catch up. By the end of the two days you will understand the phrases and definitions and identify what kinds of formats best suit your needs. Some key points you will learn:

• Determine which formats can best deliver your content
• Determine business objectives for an initial foray into digital publishing
• Determine your requirements from third party service providers
• Understand XML
• Discuss the pros and cons of DRM
• Hear what the future of publishing may look like

This is an excellent workshop for new publishers, smaller publishers, or larger more established publishers who are past the thinking stage and want to begin to implement a digital strategy for their companies.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

BookCamp Vancouver

BookCamp Vancouver 2009 Unconference : Exploring New Ideas in Books, Publishing and the Future of Reading.

Join Us on October 16 at SFU Harbourcentre for a day-long exploration of books, book-like technologies, and the future of the publishing industry.

We want to bring together the technologists and the book publishers, marketers, writers, librarians, media, and anyone else interested in reading, writing, publishing and gadget geekery.

Become a Fan on Facebook

Follow Updates on Twitter

Registration details to come.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Amazon: At it again

Is Amazon Taking Over the Book Business? is a great article by Lev Grossman and Andrea Sachs in TIME on Monday, Jun. 22, 2009.

As I’ve said before, Amazon isn’t just a bookstore.

As numerous publishing journalists and bloggers have pointed out, Amazon has diversified itself so comprehensively over the past five years that it’s hard to say exactly what it is anymore. Amazon has a presence in almost every niche of the book industry. It runs a print-on-demand service (BookSurge) and a self-publishing service (CreateSpace). It sells e-books and an e-device to read them on (the Kindle, a new version of which, the DX, went on sale June 10). In 2008 alone, Amazon acquired Audible.com a leading audiobooks company; AbeBooks, a major online used-book retailer; and Shelfari, a Facebook-like social network for readers. In April of this year, it snapped up Lexcycle, which makes an e-reading app for the iPhone called Stanza. And now there’s Amazon Encore, which makes Amazon a print publisher too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Shebeen: Old Publishers Have to Think

Come out to the Shebeen.

Old Publishers Have New Think Coming

The Shebeen Club
Monday, April 20, 2009
6:00pm - 9:00pm

What: Old Publishers Have New Think Coming call to arms!

When: Monday, April 20th, 6pm-9

Where: The Shebeen, behind the Irish Heather, 210 Carrall Street.

$15 cash at the door includes dinner and a drink.

And yes, it’s okay to show up without RSVPing first.

Gutenberg was an early adopter. Very few people know that.

Call to action from Monique: I’m going to organize a panel in Vancouver. We’re going to create a model for publishing and marketing books. We’re going to move forward as an industry. Leaders will be identified. Roles will be assigned. If you’re not open to totally change everything you’re doing, then you are not ready for this revolution. Don’t come.

Who’s in?

Monique Trottier is the owner of Boxcar Marketing, an internet marketing company in Vancouver, BC. As the former internet marketing manager of Raincoast Books, she spearheaded major online marketing campaigns, including online promotion of Harry Potter and the creation of the first Canadian-publisher podcast and blog. Her thoughts on marketing and technology can be followed on Twitter at “somisguided” or on her blogs at http://www.boxcarmarketing.com/blog and http://www.SoMisguided.com.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

GE Windmill

Freaky. Yes it works. I printed out the page.

Living in Exponential Times

Did You Know? from Amybeth on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Egyptian Queen Perfume to Be Re-Created


Hey, Hatshepsut is my favourite Egyptian king. He was a she and she rocked! Hatshepsut is kind of pronounced like “hot chep soup”, like hot chicken soup.

This is a 3,500-year-old perfume bottle that a German research team discovered in March 2009 and there is still some ancient oil in the bottle.

So exciting! More on National Geographic…

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day: Julie Wilson

Ada Lovelace Day is when we celebrate women in technology who inspire us. I am in awe that I made Kate’s list because Kate is truly inspirational to me.

My shout out, since I’ve been negative about the publishing industry, needs to go to Julie Wilson of SeenReading.com who continues to come up with phenomenal ways to capture the attention of book readers.

She’s promoting poets for Poetry Month:
30 in 30 video

She also has a kick-ass google mashup of bookstores across Canada and about a million great ideas for promoting books online.

I love you Julie. Thank you for rocking my world!

Monday, March 16, 2009

SXSW: Bruce Sterling

Bruce Sterling Session
Monday, March 16th at 05:00 PM

* Bruce Sterling - Wired.com


His state-of-the-cybersphere analyses are always a highlight of SXSW Interactive. Don’t miss what the veteran science fiction writer and industry pundit has to say about the wired world this year.


Let’s talk about our relationship. Yours and mine.

I’m an author. I’m a journalist.
There’s my business card.
With a phone and fax number.

Look. These artifacts are called books. I know you’re not used to seeing them.

Let me explain how they work.

I write a lot of words in a row. A whole lot of words. Not even character count. Then I go back and carefully restructure them and move them until they have a coherent storyline. Then I send them to my agent who sends them to a publisher who sends it to an editor and eventually it goes to a distributor who handled cult activities like author tours. And it goes to retailers who sell it to people and then return unsold copies.

This whole business has hit the skids.

Publishing has never been such a parless states. If you were an author in this system, you go 4-8% in a not really accurate royalty system. But that was ok because you, as an author, were likely to go screwy anyway.

As an author and journalist, I feel much more sorrow for the state of editors.

Editors/Publishers model is not working out. Now you have the cliched perfect storm of troubles.

Sterling on the book
I have them. I thought about spamming the audience with them. Or hiding them and geo-locating them ...

No this belongs to someone who is young. Under 20?

There is not a teen in the room? So much for this being a teenagers. Think. Just break times’ hourglass. Just take them away young people. I don’t expect you to read them. You txt.

How do we face this problem?

Twitter feed: media is dying

Print media spent 20 years making fun of a paperless society.

Could I put it on Kindle? Oh it’s there. Am I happy about that? No. Will anyone be reading a Kindle when one of them is my age? No. It’s like an atari.

Traditionally authors burn all their love letters on their death bed. Now we issue them under creative commons.

WIRED Italia. Look at the size of the ads in this baby.

[ ... monique distracted ... ]

What concerns me is the death of the audience. It doesn’t matter what happens to me. I’m better off than most authors I know, most journalists I know. There was a period of greater prosperity. I wonder why, why do I have a relationship to you. Why do you have a relationship to you?

My twitter group is bigger than you, more widely spread than you. They are probably a better audience than you. They can put up with more than you. They’ll RT me. I know some of you are gathering together in the back conspiring ... drifting ... you’re the people formerly known as the audience. And you’re forfeiting the benefits of the audience. Paying attention to the point of being able to discuss it.

[Bruce opens a drink. I used to have a great parties. It was my house. We were there to enjoy ourselves. Opens chips. You thought you were getting chips, but I was in control of the chips. The servers. They were in my corner.]

MT: Best laugh out loud.

Old social media (parties) were bring who you trusted.

The party audience was replace by social media influencers. Their capacities were built up. It was impossible to open up to this audience because they’d tweet their buddy list. It’s a technologically transformed situation and the loss is a social loss.

There’s a loss.

How do we restore those days? They aren’t coming back. Why do I keep up author appearances? Why do I have to keep up a level of respect? You’re not my friends. I’m not your host.

[cookie eating now]

Even if you’re broke, you will still be densely connected.

Connectivity is a symbol of poverty.

I might become boring enough that no one comes by anymore. You can lose your fame to the point that no one shows up.

I can’t throw a party and sit around and talk about vinyl and books. I feel the loss keenly. Playing lost vinyl for your friends. This has vanished.

I have little parties in those places with which I have similar relationships to this one. Lift Conference is getting bigger every year. Reboot in Denmark, great conference again. Amsterdam is on top of their game.

USA could be like Canada. We’re afraid of French, Germans. We’re liking Canadians: cute, cuddly. They’re afraid of being us.

Let me read this silly stuff to explain what’s happening:

“Melt down money-quake yuppy flu end of the world as we know it the long emergency bush’s legacy the great reset the inflection un-real estate communism 2.0 ... the long doom.”

This is what I think books will look like in the future. Austin is a bookish town. Book culture will mutate on the way down.

Austin bookstore I saw on the way into town. HP Lovecraft: greatest, most creative ... and when he wasn’t getting commercial work he basically started blogging. Here are his miscellaneous writings. A small fraction of his discourse and it’s bigger than his collective works. This non-fiction, community organization was more time than his stories.

Within his community, he was trusted. The American Amateur Press Association was his blog network. A lot of writers came out of this association. Robert Block. The Lovecraft circle who grew up from a B.

He perished.

What does the future look like?

Go to Brave New Books in Austin. Right-wing nutty.

This is a harbinger of something interesting. The tactics are more important here.

[ ... more to come ... 15 minutes of battery left ... ]

SXSW: No Think for Old Publishers

New Think for Old Publishers panel at SXSW drew a lot of frustration from the crowd of book lovers and supporters.

The official description of the session was:

This is not a discussion of whether ebooks are killing treebooks, or whether it’s possible to get cozy with an Amazon Kindle. It’s about how participatory culture and the online world interact with good olde book publishing.Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody, Deborah Schultz, and fellow panelists will share with the audience a variety of perspectives on what’s going right and what’s going wrong in publishing, assess success of recent forays into marketing digitally, digital publishing, and what books and blogs have to gain from one another. Penguin Group (USA), which houses some 40 plus imprints and publishes an extremely broad variety of physical and digital products everything from William Gibson’s first ebook in the 90’s to Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food to Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels (the source for HBO’s True Blood) is deeply involved in exploring ways that old and new media might better collaborate. Audience members are invited to speak up about what they think book publishers could/should be doing to better provide relevant information and content to blogs, websites, and online communities. Come tell old media what you want and how you want it.

Clay Shirky ITP
John Fagan   Mktg Dir,  Penguin Group (USA)
Deborah Schultz   Founder/Chief Catalyst,  deborahschultz.com
Peter Miller   Dir of Publicity,  Bloomsbury USA
Ivan Held   Pres GP Putnam’s Sons,  Penguin Group (USA)

They certainly told publishers what they think. The summation was “you suck at this is the biggest way possible.”

I think it’s unfair to attack the folks on that panel but as representatives of the industry they do have to go back to their houses and understand that they need to convey, not that bloggers are an unruly bunch, but that publishers need to get off their asses and get involved with social media. Enough is enough.

BookSquare says
If you’re going to hold a session called “New Think for Old Publishers”, you gotta come with some new thinking. Either that or tell the audience that it’s a research session…and the audience is supposed to bring the new thinking. Good idea, needed better execution. Nobody read the panel description to mean “we want the audience to tell us what we’re doing wrong and how we can fix it”.


The publishing people on stage said, essentially, tell us what we’re doing wrong and how we can fix it. You have 300 people who give up an hour of their lives to hear the cool things the traditional publishing business is doing…and you can ask them to consult on your business?

Watch a video of the panel here.

Other links to conversation about this panel:
Medialoper has a fairly neutral assessment of what unfolded.

Twitter stream of comments on this panel #sxswbp

Monique’s summary
What went wrong is this:
* Publishers have not listened to the crowd for a long time.
* The crowd is restless.
* Publishers wring their hands about the web.
* The crowd offers options publishers don’t like.
* Publishers weep into their hands.
* The crowd wants to help and offers other suggestions.
* Publishers act like deer in headlights.
* The crowd plows down publishers and reinvents the industry without them.

What this panel really came down to is that the wisdom of the crowds is not being tapped. The crowd is now sick and tired of trying to help people who won’t help themselves.

Hold me to this: I’m going to organize a panel in Vancouver. We’re going to create a model for publishing and marketing books. We’re going to move forward as an industry. Leaders will be identified. Roles will be assigned. If you’re not open to totally change everything you’re doing, then you are not ready for this revolution. Don’t come.

Who’s in?


Peter Miller Glibness. “Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Tips from a panelist who barely survived” in Publishers Weekly.
Read the article.

Michael Tamblyn of BookNet Canada on 6 Things That Revolutionize Publishing

Saturday, March 14, 2009

SXSW: Kicking Ass With Controlled Metadata

Saturday, March 14th at 03:30 PM


  * Jenny Benevento - Bento Artisanal Metadata
  * Tom Conrad - Pandora Media Inc
  * Abby Blachly - Librarything


Web 2.0 is all about tagging, right? Many content types are not findable with user-generated metadata. More web projects are using controlled & expert created metadata to complement user tagging to enhance user experience, findability, social networking, & site popularity. We’ll show you how & why it can help you.


Why you should/could use normalized metadata?
Users want to get shit done.

LibraryThing started because I guy wanted to share his book list and pulled the info from the US Library of Congress. That became social as more people wanted to do this. The Dewey number, bisac, etc. are fields of metadata that are pulled into the site in order to take marked records and to make it into an understandable, searchable archive.

Tagging is also present on the site so there’s a good mix of user-generated metadata along with normalized metadata. In addition, users are able to add controlled metadata for things like series titles.

... lull in blood sugar ...

SXSW 09 Interactive

I’m really excited to be at SXSW this year. I have wanted to come every year and have always had some excuse. This year, I’m here!

Today is my second day and I’ve attended two sessions so far that are worth blogging about. Here are my notes on the Boxcar Marketing site:

Everything You Know About Web Design Is Wrong
This was a quick comparison of transcendental changes in the film industry and how those same types of changes need to occur in web design.

Curating the Crowd Sourced World
Nice panel discussion from people who are currently letting the crowd do the driving (but, of course, the wheel is only controlled at any one time but one person). Perhaps the panelists are more interesting individually.

Fun Facts

SXSW Bag Pickup

There are 6500 registrants for the interactive portion. These are the participant bags.

The speakers’ name signs are last name only. This is so that the cards can be reused by all speakers with the same last name. Now that’s a cool planet-saving measure.