Posts Tagged ‘iPad’

I may not like the iPad very much, but I love cats…..


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I was reading Booksquare today, and I noticed an old post from Nov. 2009 called Trendwatching 2010, and I wanted to add my two cents (per usual). Here’s a couple predictions about how publishing will evolve in the next couple years or so.

1) E-books will be huge (duh!) and BOTH the Kindle and the iPad will continue to be popular.
2) E-book prices will actually get higher – some will be at $9.99 or below for a while, but publishers will probably make $14.99 the standard, and some books will be even more expensive as time goes on. Publishers will realize that people will pay these prices.
3) A lot more small presses will use on-demand publishing. And on-demand publishing will eventually become the standard (I’m talking about 5 years from now, not right away) because it doesn’t require such a commitment of time or money.
4) Sales to China will increase exponentially, and all foreign rights will be a much more important money-maker for publishers.
5) Self-publishing will be increasingly more accepted, and publishers will actually find some of their bestselling books from among these authors. And we will see a Self-Published section in many bookstores.
6) Almost every big book or author will have book trailers, websites, and blogs. Some already do, but book trailers will be a HUGE marketing tool – much more important to marketing plans than they are now.
7) Independent bookstores will all have Book Espresso Machines.
8) The hottest genres will be Young Adult, Horror, and Paranormal Romance.

Some of these are pretty obvious, but I think it’s good to remember that publishing isn’t a stagnant industry – it’s changing so much that we all need to grow with it, quickly.

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One thing I really like about the emerging e-book technology is that it is encouraging smaller publishers to be a little more innovative. Ooligan Press, for example, now has websites and blogs for several of their books. One of the books, Classroom Publishing, even has a blog where teachers are encouraged to post their latest projects and ideas – making the blog a great resource for other teachers. Therefore, when you buy Classroom Publishing, you are getting more than a book. You are getting a conversation with many teachers from all over the United States.

The same is true for digital comic books, that new ideas are going to emerge and allow smaller companies an edge if they can adapt faster than larger. I’m really proud that Portland is such a hub for comic books, with Bowler Hat Comics, Oni Press, Topshelf, and Dark Horse (yes, I realize Dark Horse isn’t very small) right around the corner. And I know they are adapting to the increasingly digital formats out there. Reading Jim Fallone’s “Digital Comics: Level the Playing Field Part II,” I was really struck by how much opportunity there is to be creative. I like the optimistic tone of the article, and the idea that new technology is a good thing.

Speaking of digital comics, though, as excited as I am about them, I recently talked to several comic buffs who aren’t impressed. Just out of college, both men agreed that the new iPad app could be cool, but that the iPad was too expensive for a lot of comic book readers – especially when they could read e-comics on their computers. And they admitted that they don’t really even like comics online, because they prefer the traditional format offered in the old ink and paper editions. Comics should be taller than they are wide, apparently, and that’s not true of laptops. Plus, the work that the artists, inkers, and colorists put into a comic is much more apparent on paper. So it looks like, even though there is an opportunity for comic book publishers to bring new ideas to the table, they’ll have to be really good ideas to catch some of this skeptical audience.

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I really like how Publisher’s Weekly has a Morning Report, so I’ve decided to do my own with stories that have caught my attention recently.

Amazon is not going to set prices of e-books!! This is great news for publishers, as the recommended e-book price by Amazon was $9.99 which was not enough. Publishers put so many man hours into a book, with editing, design, and marketing that it doesn’t matter that the books isn’t actually printed. The book is still expensive. And $9.99 doesn’t cover that. But the new suggested price of $14.99 is better and, really, what matters is that publishers will get to set the price instead of Amazon. Amazon wants low e-book prices to sell the Kindle, and doesn’t seem to care about the long-term consequences for the publishing industry. To see specific stories about the negotiations between Amazon, Hatchette, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan, Galleycat is a great source.

I don’t have a Kindle or an iPad, and probably won’t get one until their prices drop a little (grad students have big chunks of money to burn, sadly) but I’m really excited to see how comic books use this new technology. Apparently there’s already an iPad application for comic books, and each issue will be $2. There aren’t many titles right now, but the future looks bright. I know a couple comic book collectors, though, and I’m not sure how they will react – there will no longer be comic books to thumb gently through before trading them with friends to exclaim over their rising price as a collectible. For more information about the technology available and the advantages of digital comics, see this article in Digital Book World.

Just like I’ve been saying here in this blog, people are confused about the iPad: they have no idea why anyone would spend that much money on a device that basically does the same things as a laptop. Right now, at least, I think only real techno geeks are going to be lining up for this one. Maybe when the price drops, the redundancy of function won’t matter as much.

And, since I’ve been talking about indie bookstores, I wanted to include this shout out to the McNally Jackson Cafe by Front Studio. They have remodeled, and it looks great. The wall paper looks like books, there are book hanging from the ceiling, and apparently the new cafe menu is full of food-related quotes. I don’t usually include stuff about places in New York, but this is exactly the sort of great innovation I wanted to encourage with my blog post about ideas/hooks for indie bookstores.

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Private university Seton Hill is going to give each incoming student a MacBook and iPad this fall.

I don’t know about everyone, but this seems a little excessive to me. Perhaps the school has enough money to fulfill all their needs AND get laptops, but in my experience a lot of University administrations have no idea what student priorities are. Are they hoping to attract students with this offer? They probably will. But is this the best thing for students? Obviously, the cost will come out of their tuition. Personally, I’d rather have some cash than an iPad which can only do the same things as my laptop.

The idea of giving all the kids laptops is pretty cool, though. This will save a lot of paper, and hopefully it will save kids money in the long run when they do not have to purchase the always expensive textbooks. But the iPad is unnecessary.

And I guess my biggest problem is that this story really brought back to my attention the HUGE differences between private and public universities. I have attended both now, and so I feel like I can speak from experience. In private school, you buy dozens of new books and you probably already have a laptop. In public school, teachers are afraid to assign more than a couple, kids run to the bookstore to buy the used copies (or buy online), and many are forced to hang out around campus all weekend because they either don’t have a computer at all or they don’t have the software they need.

I realize I can’t blame Seton Hill or their students for societal economic discrepancies, but wouldn’t it be nice in a perfect world if everyone got new (or at least nicely used) books, and a computer (if not a laptop). It seems like if we’re all going to school to learn, we should all have the right tools.

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