BEA Show Notes, Day 1, Lynn's Take
We have our running shoes on today, day 1 of our Book Expo experience, as we race back and forth between two compelling events packed with content: IDPF
Digital Book 2013 and Publishers Launch. My colleague Brian Howard and I have each gathered snippets of wisdom to share with our readers from presentations we have heard today.
In a morning session at IDPF, Richard Nash talked about the book (ebook, that is) as algorithm vs. the book as data. As far as data, he says, the problem we face is abundance. He cites cognitive psychologists who study what our brains do when we read and it turns out what we do is we imagine ourselves doing the action we reading about. A novel, says Nash, is a novel is a program that runs inside the reader.
Hugh McGuire of PressBooks, thinks of books not as works under glass but as something different, and envisions building books as structured data. He mentions important things ebooks should do.
- Every book should have a persistent URL - a good identifier.
- Every book should live as structured data online.
- The URL should make ONIX-like top level metadata available through an open API.
- Should pull info back into the URL: reviews, annotations, comments, etc. The activity of reading is generating data about reading. (Talk about meta!)
- The book should aggregate the conversation about the book.
- Allow porous access to the book (like the New York Times pay wall.)
- Allow/enable links from one book to another.
- Have real-time analytics in the back end.
- Expose the table of contents, index, tables, images to web so readers can find it.
Writer/designer Craig Mod quotes newspaper industry expert Joshua Benton, saying the perception of incoming disrupters is that they are low quality and not worth paying attention to. These disrupters come in when technology enables new players to compete with incumbents on terms the incumbents aren’t used to or comfortable with. Sounds like it might apply to the book publishing industry!
A Digital Book World study presented by Phil Sexton of Writer’s Digest compared publishing experience, knowledge, and satisfaction of traditionally published writers, self-published writers, and writers they are referring to as hybrids, i.e. some of each. Hybrid authors, according to the study, are savvier social networkers and self-promoters, and less likely to seek out a traditional publishing route.
Otis Chandler, founder and CEO of Goodreads, talked about life post-Amazon acquisition, with the number of members doubled to 18 million from same time last year. Every minute 250 books are marked as “to read.” We’d all better get reading! Last year the highest number of reviews (47,000!) was garnered by Gone Girl. Future development plans include using increased resources provided by Amazon for their three pillars: driving better discovery, discussion and author programs. On Goodreads, reading is a shared experience.
Kristen McLean of Bookigee says publishers must become customer anthropologists in order to successfully engage readers. We must re-engineer ourselves from being an industry of knowers to being an industry of learners.