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The Future Of The Book Conference



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  • Talk about Lexcycle – “Revolutions in Reading”Company behind Stanza, most popular e-book reader application for the iPhoneFounded in 2007
  • Lexcycle is the company behind Stanza.If Kate Bosworth was actually on the MIT Blackjack Team, I might still be a professional gambler.Here comes some Johnny come lately smart ass telling me how to run my business…What does this guy know about publishing or about any of this…Hell, why is this guy even here
  • 2008 - $111.6 billion print : $1.3 billion e-books⌘worldwide2012 - $123 billion print: $6.8 billion e-books⌘⌘ Source: PWC Global Entertainment and Outlook 2008 – 2012Why do I believe that after decades 2008 is finally going to be the year where e-books hit an inflection point? 1) I have to rationalize that given that I gave up a pretty sweet job to join Lexcycle
  • May 2009: Kindle sales are now 35% of title sales when Kindle editions are available up from 10% in February 2009
  • Can not under-estimate the effect of OprahThat said, keep in mind that this is not the first time Oprah has pitched an ebook reader… Rocket eBook back in the day was on of Oprah’s favorite things.
  • Amazon, Sony, Google… its not just about folks you’ve never heard of before like us.Competition is a great thing for consumers and for publishersThere has been some technological advances…
  • Doesn’t it feel like there is a new dedicated reader announced every month
  • 10 years ago – larger devices – people are not going to give up twitter, mobile browising, reading attachmentsOlder devices were not same level of distinctionEvery manufacture is moving towards consumer oriented large screen iphonesEmphasis on miniaturization smart phones (PDA switched to smaller devices and that caused a false start).Why is this not a fad? Everyone is following it? Not a one-shot situation. Repreeentative of an overall trendA lot of folks thought that mobile was going to be it 5 - 7 years ago for readingWhat ended up happening was the drive to miniaturization with PDAs and the net result was that the smaller devices weren’t great for reading.The reason why this is different is because this isn’t a 1 hit wonder – other vendors have been following Apple’s lead with …
  • What does this all mean?This time it is different.After 20 years, the reality of e-books is finally matching the hype.It already is. Barnes & Noble returning to the ebook world after a famously exiting it in 2003 is significant.The numbers are saying that this is real…
  • I want to spend a little time talking about the characteristics of the iPhone that really distinguishes it as an eReaderBooks category – is in 3rd place behind Games, Entertainment with 6995 apps
  • ~54K users in Australia and NZ
  • Let alone things like Rapid Serial Visual Presentation / horizontal scrolling and text to speech which are part of Stanza Desktop for the MacHyphenation support in 40+ languages
  • 5500 survey respondents on
  • Lots of credit to Sara Lloyd and MichaelBhaskar for noticing us right when the App Store launched
  • Lots of credit to Sara Lloyd and MichaelBhaskar for noticing us right when the App Store launched
  • If I have you take away one thing, this would be it.Give the reader a voice to talk to you and listen to them
  • Just get started. There are cheap ways to do so. Don’t make it a referendum to get started.
  • Talk about Lexcycle – “Revolutions in Reading”Company behind Stanza, most popular e-book reader application for the iPhoneFounded in 2007


  • 1. Building a new world publishing business:
    Lessons from Stanza
    O’Reilly TOC Conference
    The Future of the Book Conference
    Neelan Choksi
    CEO, Lexcycle
    twitter: stanza_reader
    24 June 2009
  • 2. Who Am I?
    CEO, Lexcycle
    Former COO, SpringSource – open source
    President and Co-Founder of SolarMetric (acquired by BEA Systems in 2005)
    Previous Employers – Exxon, Andersen Consulting, TechTrader, MIT Blackjack Team
    External Board Seats – SpringSource, Tasktop
    BS from MIT, MS from Stevens Institute of Technology, MBA from Univ. of Chicago Booth
  • 3. eBooks – Inflection Point
    $68 million US Wholesale eBook sales last 4 quarters
    * Source: IDPF US Trade Wholesale Electronic Book Sales
  • 4. Small but Growing Fast…
    2008: 0.467% of all books sales were eBooks per the AAP
    2008: 0.6% of all books sales were eBooks per Bowker Pub-Track
    Q109: 2.4% of all books sales were eBooks per Bowker Pub-Track
  • 5. The Drivers of the Opportunity
  • 6. Mainstreaming of e-books
    Oprah Effect
  • 7. Big Name Vendors
  • 8. New Hardware
    Lots of new eReaders
  • 9. Improved Displays: E Ink
  • 10. Improved Mobile Displays
    Larger touch screens w/ crisp color
    OTA, wireless
    App Store
  • 11. Last 6 Months in eBooks
    Jan 26 – Classics featured in iPhone TV advertisement
    Feb 5 – Google Book Search for iPhone
    Feb 9 – Amazon Kindle 2 Launch
    Feb 16 – Adobe Reader Mobile SDK 9
    Feb 25 – Indigo Shortcovers launched
    Feb 27 – Hearst announces plans for eBook reader
    Mar 4 – Amazon Kindle for iPhone Launch
    Mar 5 – B&N acquires Fictionwise
    Mar 17 – Apple iPhone 3.0 O/S announced (eBook examples)
    Mar 19 – Sony and Google – 500,000 books
    Mar 23 – Borders UK ends iLiad for cheaper e-Book reader
    Apr 3 – Lexcycle’s Stanza 1.8 available
    Apr 8 – Lexcycle, Adobe, Internet Archive release catalog spec - OPDS
    Apr 11 – B&N / Sprint ereader discussions announced
    Apr 27 – Amazon acquires Lexcycle
    Apr 28 – Rumors of Apple “Media Pad” reported by Business Week
    May 6 – Amazon announces Kindle DX
    May 13 – Sony announces 3rd party advertising in Sony Reader
    May 27 – Interead COOL*ER debuted at BEA
    June 1 – E-Ink acquired by Prime View
    June 8 – ScrollMotion featured in WWDC keynote
  • 12. Stanza Overview
  • 13. iPhone Distinctions
    As an eReader:
    International reach
    Color display
    Multi-function device
    Built-in wireless
    No external light required
    App Store – 55000 apps
    15% of smart phone market; 50% of web hits
  • 14. Stanza iPhone & iPod Touch
    • 1.8 million users in 60 countries
    • 15. Over 8 million books downloaded
    • 16. 100,000+ books available (half free)
    • 17. Books in 35+ languages
    • 18. Featured in:
    • 19. NY Times, Boston Globe
    • 20. Time “Top 11 iPhone Applications”
    • 21. Forbes
    • 22. Wired “10 Most Awesome Apps”
    • 23. iTunes Top Applications of 2008
  • Stanza User Customizations
    App available in 12 languages
    21 fonts options
    Wide range of font sizes
    135+ font colors
    135+ background colors + nearly 30 background textures; choose your own background image
    Completely customize layout: alignment, hyphenation language, margins, line spacing, paragraph spacing, paragraph indentation
    Adjust behavior: page turn effects, book rotation
  • 24. Primary Usage
    In bed – 31%
    Commuting on bus / train – 28%
    In waiting areas – 13%
    At home – 12%
    At work – 5%
    At a bar or café or lunch or dinner – 5%
    On an airplane – 5%
    2 write-ins mentioned “In the bathroom”
    Readers enjoy having access to their library at all times in their pocket or handbag
  • 25. Stanza and Publishers, Retailers, and Distributors
  • 26. Publisher Promotions
    Pan Macmillan Excerpts – first to notice Stanza
    Random House Free Titles
    • Back list of certain authors
    • 27. Included excerpts for forthcoming books
    Harlequin Free Titles
    • 4 free “Minis” in December
    • 28. 16 free titles from each imprint in January
    Bloomsbury 24 hour giveaway (UK only)
    Circle of Seven Book Trailers
  • 29. Sources of Free Content
    Project Gutenberg
    Random House
    Pan Macmillan (excerpts)
  • 30. Partner with Existing Referral Retail Partners
    DRM-enabled – currently only eReader format
    • Ingram Digital is exclusive distributor for Fictionwise for DRM-enabled eReader titles
    DRM-free – EPUB and eReader format support
    Buying patterns representative of print sales
  • 35. Stanza Bookbinder
    Create standalone books applications for sale directly in iTunes App Store
    And more …
  • 36. Lessons Learned
  • 37. Lessons Learned - Readers
    Its all about the people who are reading!
  • 38. Lessons Learned - Readers(continued)
    Holistic view of the entire experience for a reader:
    Not enough to focus just on one piece. Readers expect more.
    Search / browse content
    Find book
    Start Reading
    Down-load book
    Pur-chase book
    Available via partners.
  • 39. Lessons Learned - Readers(continued)
    Moving users from established behaviors takes time and patience
    Friction = bad
    Immersive reading
    The bar is constantly moving up on everything
    • Reading experience
    • 40. Purchase experience
    • 41. Discovery
  • Publisher Lessons
    Calls to action need to be clear and contextual
    KISS – make it simple for the user
     Hold your technology providers, conversion houses, and distributors to a higher standard
    Keep experimenting – be bold
     Have a budget for marketing e-books
    Think about multimedia and enhanced content
  • 42. Publisher Lessons(continued)
    Figure out ways to support your authors better in the electronic world
    • Websites
    • 43. Blogs, Twitter, Social Networking, Book Trailers
    • 44. Understand the technology
    Don’t let this just turn into a blockbuster industry:
    • Find self-service methods and appropriate revenue splits for mid-tier authors
    • 45. Don’t let “The Shack”s of the future slip away
  • Author Lessons
    Make sure your publishers are making your books available electronically:
    • Minimum formats: PDF,AZW, EPUB
    Don’t leave marketing just for the publishers:
    • Twitter, Blog, You Tube, Discussions
    • 46. Be out there
  • Building a new world publishing business:
    Lessons from Stanza
    O’Reilly TOC Conference
    The Future of the Book Conference
    Neelan Choksi
    CEO, Lexcycle
    twitter: stanza_reader
    24 June 2009