In Publishers Weekly, blogger, novelist, and bon vivant Cory Doctorow discusses price discrimination(“the idea that you make more money by segmenting your customers based on how much they’re willing to spend”) and demand elasticity (“the straightforward idea that new customers will come into your shop if you lower prices”) and the roles played by hardcover and paperback, Kindle and iPad, Amazon and publishers in the future of book publishing.
Headed to SXSW Interactive? Concerned about the future of books, magazines, and websites? Attend “New Publishing and Web Content,” a panel I’m hosting on the creative, strategic, and marketing challenges of traditional and new (internet hybrid) book publishing and online magazine publishing, and how these fields intersect with content strategy and client services.
Joining me in a thoughtful exploration of new and old business models and creative challenges will be people who’ve spent a decade or two butting up against and reinventing these boundaries:
- Mandy Brown, creative director, Etsy; former creative director (web and print), W.W. Norton, the oldest and largest publishing traditional house owned wholly by its employees; contributing editor, A List Apart Magazine; publisher, A Working Library; and co-director (with Jason Santa Maria and me), A Book Apart, a new publisher of mid-length books “for people who make websites.” (We’re talking book-books, made of paper, printed, bound, and distributed—not PDFs.)
- Paul Ford, critically respected novelist (Gary Benchley, Rock Star) and short fiction writer; blogger since practically the Civil War, most famously of Ftrain.com, where he has penned such classic posts as “Learning to Fear the Semantic Web;” print and web editor, Harper’s, the very definition of a traditional printed magazine of quality—also web developer, designer, and webmaster of Harper’s website since forever; and frequent contributor to The Morning News and to NPR’s “All Things Considered,” where he once offered a dissenting view on “web standards”—not that I’m bitter.
- Lisa Holton, Founder and CEO, Fourth Story Media (“a fresh perspective in storytelling”). The company “develop[s] compelling intellectual property and distribute[s] it across traditional and nontraditional channels including books, collaborative web fiction, and social media.” Previously, Lisa was President of Scholastic Trade Publishing and Book Fairs, where she managed the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and initiated and oversaw development of The 39 Clues, a widely heralded book- and web-based venture. Prior to that, she was SVP and Publisher, Disney Global Children’s Books, running all aspects of the domestic and international children’s book business at the Walt Disney Company. Before that, Lisa was Vice President, Associate Publisher and Editor-in Chief of HarperCollins Children’s Books. She serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Women’s Foundation and the Board of Trustees of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
- Erin Kissane, publisher, Incisive.nu, a website about strong language, writing tools, and other aspects of content strategy; content strategist and editorial strategist, Happy Cog Studios; former editor-in-chief (for ten years), A List Apart Magazine; author of numerous articles on web writing, editing, and content strategy, including “Attack of the Zombie Copy,” “Your About Page is a Robot,” and “Content Templates to the Rescue;” founding strategist, A Book Apart; and author of an upcoming book on content strategy for content strategists.
As moderator, my job will be to let these geniuses speak, to occasionally lob the right question to the right genius, and to help field your questions from the audience.
If you work in web or print publishing, or just care about the written word, please join us at 5:00 PM Central Time in Ballroom A.
(What else am I doing at SXSW Interactive? Here’s my schedule so far. I also hope to see some of you at OK Cog’aoke II, SXSW Interactive’s premiere karaoke event and best party, hosted by your friends at Happy Cog.)
In 2010, you are whatever the Net says you are. Deal with it. Let’s assume that you want to deal with it; that is, you care about the picture the Net paints of you. I think that most of us should care, and I can think of three approaches to influencing the Net’s view: Branding, Offending, and Spelling. The first probably won’t work and the second stinks, so that leaves Spelling; more precisely, spell-checking and what it stands for.
Read the entire (short) Tim Bray Essay: After Branding.
For those who couldn’t be there, and for those who were there and seek to savor the memories, here is An Event Apart Chicago, all wrapped up in a pretty bow:
- AEA Chicago – official photo set
- By John Morrison, subism studios llc. See also (and contribute to) An Event Apart Chicago 2009 Pool, a user group on Flickr.
- A Feed Apart Chicago
- Live tweeting from the show, captured forever and still being updated. Includes complete blow-by-blow from Whitney Hess.
- Luke W’s Notes on the Show
- Smart note-taking by Luke Wroblewski, design lead for Yahoo!, frequent AEA speaker, and author of Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks (Rosenfeld Media, 2008):
- Jeffrey Zeldman: A Site Redesign
- Jason Santa Maria: Thinking Small
- Kristina Halvorson: Content First
- Dan Brown: Concept Models -A Tool for Planning Websites
- Whitney Hess: DIY UX -Give Your Users an Upgrade
- Andy Clarke: Walls Come Tumbling Down
- Aaron Gustafson: Using CSS3 Today with eCSStender (not captured)
- Simon Willison: Building Things Fast
- Luke Wroblewski: Web Form Design in Action (download slides)
- Dan Rubin: Designing Virtual Realism
- Dan Cederholm: Progressive Enrichment With CSS3 (not captured)
- Three years of An Event Apart Presentations
Comment posting here is a bit wonky at the moment. We are investigating the cause. Normal commenting has been restored. Thank you, Noel Jackson.
Short URL: zeldman.com/?p=2695
It seems like only yesterday that the HTML5 Super Friends asked the HTML5 working groups to rethink footer’s content model to avoid web developer misuse and frustration. Okay, it wasn’t yesterday, it was Monday. Close enough. Today comes word that
footer is indeed being redefined as we requested. This is a wonderful usability improvement to HTML5, and we salute the working group(s) for listening and acting.
The HTML5 specification runs on for over 900 pages, and much of what it covers, while vital to browser makers, is meaningless to people who create websites. If thousands of irrelevant details in the HTML5 spec have you crossing your eyes and crying for Mama, Michael™ Smith’s HTML 5: The Markup Language is just what the HTML5 doctor ordered: lean, clean, and content-author-focused. Until there’s a plain-language HTML5 Pocket Guide, Smith’s edited presentation of the spec will do. (It’s also available in a single page format.)
Refer to the previous post on Kindle. Two salient points, omitted from the previous discussion and verified this morning, are worth mentioning:
- The Kindle edition of Designing With Web Standards, 2nd Edition, is free of conversion errors, to the best of our knowledge. As an author who hopes to sell copies of his work, I should have pointed that out in my initial post.
- Kindle for iPhone can sometimes create the appearance that a Kindle edition is missing content. Before contacting the publisher to report an error, try switching to the smallest available font size and then re-viewing the page that appeared to be missing some content. Asides, in particular, suffer from this problem, in which text is present but exceeds the viewport, and there is no scrolling mechanism or indication that additional content exists.
The process by which books are converted to Kindle format introduces errors which do not get corrected. Every publisher knows this, though none will say so on record.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with Kindle or its format. The problem is one of economics. The cost of a printed book covers some degree of proofing and checking—not enough, but some. The cost of a Kindle book does not support editorial quality control, and the multi-step conversion process, handled in bulk by third parties, chops out content and creates other errors that no one fixes because no one is there to do QA.
I love the idea of Kindle. I love Kindle on my iPhone. As the economics of publishing continues to change, perhaps one day soon, a Kindle edition will contain the same text as the printed book. Until it does, Kindle is great for light reading. But if it’s critical that every word, comma, and code sample come through intact, for now, you’re better off with print.
Two salient points I should have made in this post are covered in Kindling II, posted 27 August 2009.
Designed by Happy Cog and launched today, The Amanda Project is a social media network, creative writing project, interactive game, and book series combined:
The Amanda Project is the story of Amanda Valentino, told through an interactive website and book series for readers aged 13 & up. On the website, readers are invited to become a part of the story as they help the main characters search for Amanda.
The writing-focused social media network is designed and written as if by characters from the Amanda novels, and encourages readers to enter the novel’s world by joining the search for Amanda, following clues and reading passages that exist only online, and ultimately helping to shape the course of the Amanda narrative across eight novels. (The first Amanda novel—Invisible I, written by Melissa Kantor—comes out 22 September.)
The site developed over a year of intense creative collaboration between Happy Cog and Fourth Story Media, a book publisher and new media company spearheaded by publishing whiz Lisa Holton. Prior to starting Fourth Story, Lisa was was President, Scholastic Trade Publishing and Book Fairs; managed the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; and oversaw development of The 39 Clues. Before that she spent nearly a decade developing numerous bestselling, franchise-launching series at Disney.
Happy Cog‘s New York office developed this project. The team:
- Aaron Gustafson, front-end development (blog, articles, Twitter)
- Liz, Danzico, user experience (blog, MFA program, Twitter)
- Matthew Goldenberg, project management
- Whitney Hess, user experience (blog, Twitter)
- Erin Kissane, content strategy (articles, blog, Twitter)
- Kelly McCarthy, project manager
- Jason Santa Maria, design (website, Twitter)
- Jeffrey Zeldman, creative director
Equally vital to the project’s success were Fourth Story’s leaders and partners, including:
- Lorraine Shanley, Principal Advisor
- Ariel Aberg-Riger (website, Twitter), Creative Development & Marketing Manager
- JillEllyn Riley, Editorial Director
- Dale Robbins, Creative Director
- David Stack, Director, Digital Partnerships
- Melissa Kantor, Writer
- Peter Silsbee, Writer
- Polly Kanevsky, Art Director
- Sam Gerstenzang, Technology Consultant
Today’s launch is not the end of our relationship with Fourth Story Media. The Amanda Project will continue to evolve, and Happy Cog will remain an active partner in its direction and growth. We thank our brilliant collaborators and congratulate them on today’s milestone.
- Blissbat.net: The Amanda Project Wants You
[tags]amanda, amandaproject, theamandaproject, TAP, happycog, design, webdesign, contentstrategy, userexperience, publishing, books, aarongustafson, lizdanzico, erinkissane, whitneyhess, mattgoldenberg, kellymccarthy, jasonsantamaria, jeffreyzeldman, lisaholton, dalerobbins, davidstack, JillEllynRiley, ArielAberg-Riger[/tags]