Your Reading Life, Always With You - Michael Tamblyn, Shortcovers at Tools of Change Frankfurt
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Your Reading Life, Always With You - Michael Tamblyn, Shortcovers at Tools of Change Frankfurt

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We're in the thick of eReading v1.0 - a scramble for market share focused on file conversion, page curl animations and $9.99 price points. But are we thinking big enough when it comes to digital ...

We're in the thick of eReading v1.0 - a scramble for market share focused on file conversion, page curl animations and $9.99 price points. But are we thinking big enough when it comes to digital reading? Is there more to the ideal reading experience than a well-formatted epub? Michael Tamblyn, VP of Content, Sales & Merchandising outlines short-term steps and long-term goals that publishers, retailers and aggregators could undertake to create a compelling ebook ecosystem that is truly reader-centric.

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  • I have crazy bad habits with talks like these. Usually, the conference organizer, in this case, the lovely and talented [# Andrew Savikas
  • starts asking a couple of months before the conference for an outline, <br /> which is a completely reasonable request for a guy trying to fill a hall in Frankfurt. And if this were #
  • the [90th Annual Conference for the American Association of Thoracic Surgery] or the
  • 2009 conference on Voles, that would be an easy easy thing to do. Because even though I&apos;m sure there are many late-breaking developments in [thoracic surgery] or [voles], right now, the publishing industry is in the middle of something different. Every once in a while an industry goes through change so rapid that even a one-month lead time means that you&apos;re getting somebody&apos;s stock presentation or you&apos;re hearing whatever it is they always talk about, or the latest company press release.
  • So my first tactic is first to stall
  • Then, 13 days later, with abject apologies, I provide a description that is as generic as possible. And this isn&#x2019;t intent, but the outcome is that I can now talk about just about anything.
  • and finally, to then to start putting something together at the last possible minute so I don&apos;t miss any of the crazy stuff that is going on right now. Because if you&apos;re like me, that&apos;s what you&apos;re here for.
  • So this talk is called &#x201C;Your Reading Life Always With You&#x201D;, and to talk about it, I probably need to talk a little bit about Shortcovers.
  • And for that, we need to go back about a year.
  • Indigo most of you know &#x2013; $1B book retailer, also had the advantage of doing very well through the most recent downturn <br /> Indigo had been looking at the ebook space <br /> - how would ebooks impact bricks and mortar
  • And that&#x2019;s a fairly significant hit if you are a retailer. 10% would be like the worst recession in living memory, except that it would never get better. It would only get worse.
  • So they had a choice
  • 6 months after that decision was made, Shortcovers was launched.
  • And of course both reading and shopping for books on the web.
  • Keep as much of the experience inside the app as possible. Search, browse.
  • And that, in a lot of ways, is table stakes in digital reading right now. But I tell you that only to give some context for what we&#x2019;re really here to talk about. <br /> To deliver all of this, we spend a lot of time thinking about # (what do readers want
  • ... <br /> and how can we make a business where everyone wins. Everyone being...
  • So how do we do this:
  • So how do we do this?
  • surveys, email <br /> and every week, hopefully a few times a week actually picking up the phone and talking to customers.
  • ... <br /> One of the things we do is attempt to look inside (#) the brain of a publisher.
  • brain of a publisher. And if we looked in there right now, if we had a special scanner that could detect thoughts about ebooks, we&#x2019;d probably see something like this.
  • ... <br /> There&#x2019;s a lot of stuff rolling around in there right now. There&apos;s a certain kind of brain freeze that can go on, thinking about that stuff over and over again. So every once in a while, we try to sit back and think (#)
  • And not just us, or our applications, or the way that we&apos;re working right now, but what are we as an industry missing when we think about ebooks. <br /> Because this (#)
  • Can&#x2019;t be all there is. And this:
  • Is not your whole reading life. So that&#x2019;s why this talk can be both about:
  • Is not your whole reading life. So that&#x2019;s why this talk can be both about:
  • Is not your whole reading life. So that&#x2019;s why this talk can be both about:
  • Is not your whole reading life. So that&#x2019;s why this talk can be both about:
  • Is not your whole reading life. So that&#x2019;s why this talk can be both about:
  • Is not your whole reading life. So that&#x2019;s why this talk can be both about:
  • Is not your whole reading life. So that&#x2019;s why this talk can be both about:
  • a bit about ebooks and digital reading
  • And it is also about...
  • ... <br /> As you can see, it is shockingly dangerous to give me a full hour.
  • This all started with a series of conversations I&apos;ve been having with ebook buyers about
  • and specifically, why is it that people are willing to pay $14 or 15 dollars for a paper book but rarely willing to pay more than $10 for an ebook? <br /> And the answer is definitely not just [# because people are cheap]
  • I mean they are, and in these troubled economic times, often rightly so. But they aren&#x2019;t only cheap. And it isn&apos;t just <br /> [# because they can]
  • Shortcovers is selling books in [# 189 countries].
  • 189 countries. <br /> And in lots of them, we aren&apos;t competing against the Kindle, so you would think the $9.99 pricepoint wouldn&apos;t be an issue. <br /> And yet when you look at the distribution of our Canadian sales, they look something like this:
  • And it isn&#x2019;t like we don&#x2019;t have lots of books at $11 and 15 and 21 dollars. <br /> Publishers give us all kinds of books above $20. But readers stop at $10. A few hold out to 11, 12, even 16. But most stop at 10.
  • And it turns out if you ask people why they&apos;re willing to pay $14 or 15 dollars for a paper book but rarely willing to pay more than $10 for an ebook, even though they aren&apos;t industry insiders or people working for publishing or economists, they can generally give you a pretty good breakdown of
  • As some of you know, I have pretty strong opinions about the aesthetics of ebooks. Last year, I did a presentation called
  • Where I didn&#x2019;t talk about Digital Rights Management. What I&#x2019;m concerned about is that all reading devices are embedded with...
  • Date Repulsion Mode <br /> You know what I&#x2019;m talking about -- that if you want to keep your teen from getting into trouble or really dating at all, you should buy them a #Kindle.
  • Now DRM, like all things, is relative. In fact, there is a scale.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • At the bottom, we have <br /> # Renaissance Faire costumes <br /> # Homemade Star Trek Jewelry <br /> And then somewhere between (#) Bluetooth Headsets and the (#) Speak & Spell <br /> are the (#) readers, ((quickly)) <br /> followed by (#) Zunes, (#) iPhones, (#) books that make you look smart <br /> and (#) Labrador Puppies.
  • The insides could definitely be more beautiful too. On one hand, we all want to (#) make epub beautiful
  • make epub beautiful and there are some fantastic examples of that
  • Liza Daly&#x2019;s excellent epub Zen Garden.
  • And obviously that&#x2019;s trickier to do when you have a 3.5&#x201D; screen to work with. But at the same time, we&#x2019;re pulled by the user who wants:
  • the ability to set night reading and change fonts and that fact that you can turn #this
  • this, which is a reasonably lovely rendering of an epub for iPhone, to (#) this
  • into this, which is some kinda nasty.
  • And, unlike some folks, we really have no opportunity to hand-tweak titles because we&#x2019;re bringing in
  • This is the design challenge of mobile reading: <br /> ... <br /> along with the first one: how do we bring to market devices that are compelling and interesting and tactile. <br /> You get both of those right, it&#x2019;s probably worth at least
  • So we are now at $10.49
  • Now to be perfectly clear, I have no problem with
  • these zombies
  • these zombies
  • or these ones. All of these, in fact, have been a friend to publisher, retailer, and reader alike.
  • when I say No More Zombies, I mean this.
  • All proprietary ebook formats that have lost their sponsor or creator. And this is a concern to me, because while I don&#x2019;t have any books with these guys, I do have(#)
  • I have a few in mobipocket form.
  • With each of these, there is a proprietary format. And with each of these there is an element of risk.
  • I also have a whack of titles with Shortcovers. (I&#x2019;m less concerned about these, and not just because of parental pride.)
  • on the flip side...
  • I also have the House at Pooh Corner that my mother-in-law got as a girl, and gave to her daughter, who is now my dearly beloved, who has now given it to my son. And basically the deal has been, as if written in invisible ink on the inside cover:
  • That certainly isn&#x2019;t true with these.
  • And even with these, from well-established companies with strong user bases, you have to muster up a bit of faith to believe that the same thing won&#x2019;t happen. Because really, the only promise is...
  • Now to be fair, even if these things do happen, in most of these cases, it&#x2019;s not like your books are *dead*.
  • There are, after all, lots of perfectly serviceable Rocket eBooks around. But as Stephen King said in his philosophical masterwork
  • # <br /> Sometimes, dead is better.
  • The file formats...
  • are Zombies. Not entirely alive, but not quite dead. And there could be more of them.
  • One of the things that has always made me happy about Shortcovers is that, as much as possible, we are in the
  • zombie prevention business.
  • your books live in the Cloud, so even if your device drops in a lake, or you get tired of it or something better comes along, your books follow along with you.
  • And if you don&#x2019;t trust us, you can download your titles in epub and hide them in an underground bunker, so that even if everyone at Shortcovers is eaten by bears or kidnapped by a crack team of mercenaries from Seattle, you still have your books. And yes, if the books have DRM on them, it means we have to trust
  • but it seems like the best compromise for the time being while publishers get their heads around DRM. My hope is that they will do the right thing like they&#x2019;ve done with
  • PDF and make the maintenance of that DRM something more open, if it is something that the industry continues to demand.
  • or until Cory Doctorow triumphs over all. Who knows -- it took the music industry a few years, but they seem to have gotten past it.
  • But at the end of the day, one way or another, what I really want is a
  • Lifetime guarantee, just like I have with...
  • this
  • and even this.
  • I think it&#x2019;s something we as an industry should be talking about.
  • open formats certainly
  • I don&#x2019;t think it&#x2019;s too much to ask that our books to be around as long as we are. Alive and available, on whatever device we choose to read them on.
  • So we are now at $11.49
  • We have a lot of discussions about the combination of books and social networks. After all, there are great sites like
  • &#x2022;And we&apos;re thinking &#x2013; wouldn&apos;t it be great if as soon as you started to read a book, it showed up [librarything] or [goodreads] or [Facebook] or [Twitter]. <br /> &#x2022;But as we talk to users we discover that
  • Because there are the books you read in public
  • and on the subway
  • and when I&#x2019;m out having coffee
  • There are the ones I read because Oprah tells me to. And that&#x2019;s a different kind of social -- those are books I&#x2019;m reading with a lot of other people.
  • And the books I want people to know I&#x2019;ve read
  • And there are the books that no one will ever know I&#x2019;ve read. <br /> (or may be reading now!)
  • &#x2022;And that&#x2019;s what makes ebooks great &#x2013; they&apos;re the literary equivalent of never having to say you&apos;re sorry. You can read whatever you want, and no one will ever be the wiser.
  • This person could be reading
  • This person could be reading
  • The lost Symbol or, well... if we believe the press releases, it is statistically impossible that she is reading anything other than (#) the Lost Symbol.
  • But it seems like what we want is social integration with ebooks that is a kind of semi-permeable membrane, where our better selves shine through but we don&#x2019;t have to give away absolutely everything. I should be able to maintain a private life and a public life. And that&#x2019;s something that we&#x2019;re working on now.
  • So we are now at $11.75
  • Every single one of these devices can
  • show a page of text
  • and can play audio.
  • There are times when I&#x2019;m sitting and want to read. There are times when I&#x2019;m
  • and would love to listen to the same book I was just reading.
  • And there are times I really want to read in paper.
  • I would happily pay extra to get two or all three, depending on the book. <br /> I might not do it for #)
  • this, but I would almost certainly do it for
  • this. And we know, with a high degree of statistical certainty, I&#x2019;m not going to buy all three. I&#x2019;m going to buy one. But wouldn&#x2019;t it be fantastic if that one was more valuable, if it did more. I would happily pay more for that.
  • So we are now at $12.75
  • I grew up in the very small town of
  • Fergus, Ontario, Canada. <br /> its claims to fame are. <br /> # The Fergus Highland Games, <br /> # A waterfall <br /> and that&#x2019;s pretty much it.
  • Fergus, Ontario, Canada. <br /> its claims to fame are. <br /> # The Fergus Highland Games, <br /> # A waterfall <br /> and that&#x2019;s pretty much it.
  • There was also a bookstore, here, where I went weekly to buy sci fi and fantasy novels.
  • In the summer of my 16th year
  • She played the french horn. She wore combat boots and skirts made out of tablecloths. She was a vision. Her french horn case looked like a suitcase and had a sticker on the side that said
  • And although the romance was almost certainly entirely one-sided (she was 2 years older and about to go off to university), we did became friends. And on the last day of camp, she gave me something truly miraculous. <br /> (No. Get your minds out of the gutter.) <br /> She lent me the paperbacks that she had had with her while at camp, as long as I promised to send them back to her. They were:
  • And it is safe to say that these four books, which I would never have bought for myself and were probably never even carried at the bookstore in Fergus, Ontario, changed my life.
  • And it is safe to say that these four books, which I would never have bought for myself and were probably never even carried at the bookstore in Fergus, Ontario, changed my life.
  • And it is safe to say that these four books, which I would never have bought for myself and were probably never even carried at the bookstore in Fergus, Ontario, changed my life.
  • And it is safe to say that these four books, which I would never have bought for myself and were probably never even carried at the bookstore in Fergus, Ontario, changed my life.
  • And no, these are not the most cliched books a person could list as lifechanging books. According to my scientific polling, the most cliched books are:
  • But anyway, I read them, I sent them back, and in return I got a list of books that I could go and buy myself and I started to special-order the bookstore in Fergus Ontario and my reading life was changed. And there is no doubt in my mind that I have bought more books and better books as a result those first four lent books than I ever would have left to my own devices.
  • And I&#x2019;m thinking about this because someday my son will go off to camp. And it&apos;s my mission to make sure that when he meets his own
  • [tablecloth skirt], combat-book wearing [French horn] playing wearing literary provocateuse, that she can say, hey, let me lend you
  • The 3 pillars of zen and On the Road and The Waste Land and Real World Haskell <br /> and his life will be changed. <br /> (I know -- dream date)
  • The 3 pillars of zen and On the Road and The Waste Land and Real World Haskell <br /> and his life will be changed. <br /> (I know -- dream date)
  • The 3 pillars of zen and On the Road and The Waste Land and Real World Haskell <br /> and his life will be changed. <br /> (I know -- dream date)
  • The 3 pillars of zen and On the Road and The Waste Land and Real World Haskell <br /> and his life will be changed. <br /> (I know -- dream date)
  • From a technical standpoint, this is...
  • ... <br /> we can say
  • No files floating around. We could do that
  • No files floating around. We could do that
  • And if you do too, #
  • Because if publishers spend time wishing for one thing, it&#x2019;s word of mouth. Word of mouth is like the mystical elixer of book sales &#x2013; when you break free of the slog of promotion and suddenly a book goes viral.
  • And while you may not believe Cory in his idea that giving books away unprotected is the best way to fuel the word of mouth machine, this gets you a similar lift, without the risk. <br /> It could just be something users are allowed to do.
  • There could be an incremental cost
  • So we are now at $13.25
  • ... <br /> my partner and I celebrated our 15th anniversary. We count our anniverary from our first date. #
  • So on September 30th, 1994, we had our first date. And soon after, I got to visit her place. And I was working in a [book store] at the time, my first steps into the life of crime that you see me in now. And as everyone in the book trade knows, the first visit is very important, because you get to [check out the bookshelves].
  • [book store] at the time, my first steps into the life of crime that you see me in now. And as everyone in the book trade knows, the first visit in a relationship is very important, because you get to [check out the bookshelves].
  • ... <br /> So many things hinge on this moment. It&#x2019;s absolutely critical.
  • ... <br /> and I think
  • And then next week she&#x2019;s at my place and I make her dinner and she checks out my bookshelves and sees...
  • and she thinks
  • But then she sees... <br /> and she thinks #)
  • And then, after more dinners and bookshelf inventory checks and other things, we moved in together. And we combined our bookshelves.
  • And then the best part happens. (The best part of combining book collections, that is.)
  • I read her Raymond Carver, then start buying my own Raymond Carver
  • I read her Raymond Carver, then start buying my own Raymond Carver
  • She reads my Generation X, then starts buying Douglas Coupland <br /> Together, we start picking up more Ondaatje. <br /> I have no doubt that on the whole, many more books were bought.
  • She reads my Generation X, then starts buying Douglas Coupland <br /> Together, we start picking up more Ondaatje. <br /> I have no doubt that on the whole, many more books were bought.
  • She reads my Generation X, then starts buying Douglas Coupland <br /> Together, we start picking up more Ondaatje. <br /> I have no doubt that on the whole, many more books were bought.
  • She reads my Generation X, then starts buying Douglas Coupland <br /> Together, we start picking up more Ondaatje. <br /> I have no doubt that on the whole, many more books were bought.
  • And yet, if we were getting together a few years from now, I might just see
  • ...and she would see #this
  • (Aparently, I have a lot of faux birch veneer in the future.) <br /> And neither of us would have that valuable information.
  • And when we moved in together, our books would remain forever apart, due to publisher langauge that looks like
  • And yes I know it&apos;s hard, and maybe I would have bought those books anyway, or bought just as many other books instead, but shouldn&apos;t I at least be able to say
  • ... <br /> You could say...
  • So we are now at $14.15. And so I guess I&#x2019;m hoping that I&#x2019;ve shown how a consumer might get from
  • $9.99 to $14.15. And also how they might get back again.
  • $9.99 to $14.15. And also how they might get back again.
  • $9.99 to $14.15. And also how they might get back again.
  • $9.99 to $14.15. And also how they might get back again.
  • $9.99 to $14.15. And also how they might get back again.
  • $9.99 to $14.15. And also how they might get back again.
  • But I hope a little more than that too.
  • But I hope a little more than that too.
  • All of this stuff is about being on the defensive. The more books are treated as a license, the harder they are to fit into our lives. The harder they are to fit in our lives, the less valuable they become.
  • The more we think about how we want books to be present in our lives, and find ways for technology to help make that happen, the more valuable they become.
  • I should remind you that this is a no Google Book Settlement zone. But if that is something you&#x2019;re interested in, for lunch they have installed a giant steel cage
  • in the lobby where (#) Peter Brantley will fight the entire Google legal team using only his conference badge as a weapon. It&#x2019;s even odds -- Peter is very wiry.
  • in the lobby where (#) Peter Brantley will fight the entire Google legal team using only his conference badge as a weapon. It&#x2019;s even odds -- Peter is very wiry.
  • in the lobby where (#) Peter Brantley will fight the entire Google legal team using only his conference badge as a weapon. It&#x2019;s even odds -- Peter is very wiry.

Your Reading Life, Always With You - Michael Tamblyn, Shortcovers at Tools of Change Frankfurt Your Reading Life, Always With You - Michael Tamblyn, Shortcovers at Tools of Change Frankfurt Presentation Transcript

  • Michael Tamblyn
  • VP Content, Sales and Merchandising
  • Your Reading Life, Always With You: Next Steps in Digital Reading Michael Tamblyn VP Content, Sales & Merchandising Tools of Change Frankfurt View slide
  • September 2008 View slide
  • Estimate: Lose 5-10% of print sales to ebooks in 5 years
  • Choice:
  • a) Let someone else take 5-10% of Indigo’s sales.
  • b) Enter the ebook market and take it ourselves.
  • Strategy: Build Your Own Competition (Shortcovers vs. Indigo)
  • Key principles:
  • There are great devices out there. There will be more. They will get better.
  • Let the reader choose the right device for them.
  • “Your whole reading life, always with you.”
  • February 26, 2009 pilot launch
  • STRATEGY: SMARTPHONES FIRST “combined sales of Kindles and Sony Readers are outstripped by the number of consumers who read books on their iPhones” - Forrester 1. Capable of providing a great reading experience. 2. Preferred by younger readers. 3. Devices people already own - no new purchase. 4. 30M+ devices in the market, more on the way.
  • IPHONE
  • BLACKBERRY
  • Also Palm Pre, Android (and more on the way)
  • ADOBE EPUB VIA DIGITAL EDITIONS Buy on Shortcovers, read on Sony Reader & other eInk devices)
  • A full bookstore in your pocket.
  • Added to your library.
  • Buy a book, it is added to your library in “The Cloud”
  • Move to the web or a different device…
  • …your books follow you.
  • DRM tied to users account
  • That’s nice.
  • What do readers want?
  • How can we give it to them?
  • publishers
  • authors
  • readers
  • and us.
  • talking to customers
  • analyzing usage & purchase data
  • Creative Commons: Liz Henry, 2007
  • What are we missing?
  • What are we missing?
  • Your Reading Life, Always With You.
  • ebooks and digital reading
  • Love
  • summer camp
  • moving in together
  • the french horn
  • the four most clichéd life-changing books in history
  • the terrifying spectre of the walking dead
  • $9.99
  • the mechanics of social reading
  • the economics of word-of-mouth
  • digital contract law
  • the joys and sorrows of Cloud-based reading services
  • the need for trust in the reader
  • $9.99
  • people are cheap
  • because they can
  • 189 Countries (120/wk)
  • $10
  • what’s missing
  • ~$14.15
  • eBook $9.99
  • mysterious print premium $4.25 eBook $9.99
  • eBook $9.99
  • eBook $9.99
  • mysterious print premium $4.25 eBook $9.99
  • (*highly unscientific)
  • (**practically fiction)
  • The gap between $9.99 vs. $14.15
  • The gap between ebooks today & Your reading life, always with you.
  • Beauty
  • Beauty $0.50
  • 6 projects that could change publishing for the better
  • DRM
  • Date Repulsion Mode
  • Renaissance Faire Costumes
  • Trek Jewelry Renaissance Faire Costumes
  • Bluetooth Headsets Trek Jewelry Renaissance Faire Costumes
  • Speak & Spell Bluetooth Headsets Trek Jewelry Renaissance Faire Costumes
  • Speak & Spell Bluetooth Headsets Trek Jewelry Renaissance Faire Costumes
  • Zune Speak & Spell Bluetooth Headsets Trek Jewelry Renaissance Faire Costumes
  • iPods & iPhones Zune Speak & Spell Bluetooth Headsets Trek Jewelry Renaissance Faire Costumes
  • Cool books iPods & iPhones Zune Speak & Spell Bluetooth Headsets Trek Jewelry Renaissance Faire Costumes
  • Labrador Puppies Cool books iPods & iPhones Zune Speak & Spell Bluetooth Headsets Trek Jewelry Renaissance Faire Costumes
  • Challenge #1: How do we make devices that feel good and look good?
  • insides could be more beautiful too
  • .epub
  • thousands of titles a day
  • Challenge #2 How do we balance user control with excellent design?
  • Beauty $0.50
  • $10.49
  • No More Zombies
  • No More Zombies $1.00 Creative Commons: Sami Keinänen, 2005
  • No more zombies
  • .djvu
  • .lit
  • .rb
  • .pkg
  • ~12 books
  • Fictionwise .pdb
  • ~18 books
  • Sony Reader BBeB
  • .mobi
  • risk
  • Shortcovers
  • “Unless this book is lost, burnt, eaten by invertebrates, used to build a structure, stolen by an A.A. Milne collector, or read until it falls apart...
  • “...it is yours forever.”
  • .djvu .lit .rb .pkg
  • .mobi .lrx .pdb .azw
  • “This book is yours unless...
  • we come up with something better, change our minds, go out of business, forget, are bought by a competitor, or your device breaks/is lost/is eaten and you choose not to buy a new one, assuming one is still for sale.”
  • “Sometimes dead is better.”
  • .djvu .lit .rb .pkg
  • Zombies
  • Shortcovers
  • zombie prevention
  • device-neutral
  • Download .epub
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Escrow?
  • In partnership with national libraries?
  • Publishers?
  • Associations?
  • Open formats
  • Lifetime guarantee $1.00 Creative Commons: Sami Keinänen, 2005
  • $11.49
  • Be more social
  • Be more social $0.26
  • Reading is Social
  • Reading is Social (but not too social)
  • Creative Commons: Moriza, 2006
  • Creative Commons: rommy@flickr, 2009
  • Creative Commons: Moriza, 2006
  • Creative Commons: Moriza, 2006
  • Creative Commons: Moriza, 2006
  • Creative Commons: MarkWallace, 2008
  • Creative Commons: RichardMasoner, 2009
  • semi-permeable
  • Be more social
  • Be more social (but not too social)
  • Be more social (but not too social)
  • Be more social (but not too social) $0.26
  • $11.75
  • Bundle
  • Bundle $1.00+
  • audio
  • sitting = read
  • driving = listen
  • paper
  • paper = $__ + ebook = $__ + audio = $__
  • Bundle $1.00+
  • $12.75
  • Summer Camp
  • Summer Camp $0.50
  • Fergus, Ontario, Canada
  • Fergus, Ontario, Canada
  • Fergus, Ontario, Canada
  • summer camp
  • music camp
  • “No, I am not running away from home. This is a french horn.”
  • I was in trouble.
  • so easy.
  • Preserve DRM
  • “While she’s lending them, she can’t read them.”
  • “He can read them for __ months, then I get them back.”
  • No piracy.
  • next week
  • And we want to.
  • Let’s talk about it. mt@shortcovers.com @mtamblyn
  • Lending ≠ lost sale
  • Lending = fuel for the word of mouth machine
  • ebook = $__ + ability to lend = $__
  • Lending $0.50
  • $13.25
  • Moving in together $0.90
  • September 30
  • September 30, 1994
  • check out the bookshelves
  • I’m in trouble.
  • “At least dinner was good.”
  • “Hmmm.... Possible.”
  • (thank you, bookstore discount)
  • Creative Commons: th.omas, 2008
  • Creative Commons: bfishadow, 2009
  • “This person is my significant other...
  • “This person is my best friend...
  • “This person is my twin sister...
  • “This is the person who can read my books.”
  • “Only one person at a time.”
  • “Wait three weeks before choosing someone else.”
  • No problem.
  • Would love to do this now.
  • Merging collections $0.90
  • $14.15
  • eBook $9.99
  • mysterious print premium $4.25 eBook $9.99
  • Nothing a reader can’t do today.
  • No dramatic incremental risk of piracy or lost sales.
  • beautiful lendable semi-social bundled persistent device-neutral shareable
  • Michael Tamblyn mt@shortcovers.com @mtamblyn @shortcovers www.shortcovers.com
  • $0.75 $1.00 $0.50 $1.00 $0.50 $9.99
  • 15.00 $0.75 $1.00 $0.50 11.25 $1.00 $0.50 7.50 $9.99 3.75 0 Untitled 1
  • *no GBS zone*
  • vs.