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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
  • Transcript

    • 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