Jonathan Davis: Controlling Your Own Future on the iPhone: What Random House Did


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Jonathan Davis' presentation from StartWithXML London, on September 2nd, 2009.

"Controlling Your Own Future on the iPhone: What Random House Did"

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  • My name Before I start, a question, I want to get a sense of the type of people in the room. How many people read books in physical form. How many people read books in ebook form. How many people read books on smartphone devices. Ok, great, x %. Now I know a little about you and little about me. New to publishing, joined RH just over a year ago. Truly amazing time to join this industry. Have been in digital business for 10 years + now most recently with SonyBMG Music headed up digital lived through evolution of what the core digitisations does Now I work at RH and I’m doing it all again Role is Digital Publisher, new role, mixture of product development and business development including work on mobile.
  • Start of by sharing some context around the smartphones landscape touching on some of the key players Then share some insight that we’ve gained from some research RH carried out with Waterstones this summer Move on to some of our objectives and experiences in relation developing books for the iPhone and iPod Touch Finally leave you with some personal thoughts on how this may all play out.
  • Always good to look at where we’re coming from to understand where we are going to. In fact as I learnt from one of our brightest and smartest authors Jane McGonigal who is a researcher at the Institute for the Future – the world’s oldest future forecasting organization, use hindsight to develop foresight. That’s because while technologies change, cultures change, and climate changes, human needs and human interests in terms of survival, quality of life, and meaning of life stay fundamentally the same. So we like to say, “To understand the future, you must look back at least twice as far as you’re looking ahead.” So we started with this. Good but limited. Allowed us to document our thoughts and share them beyond our lifetime. However it was a struggle to take around with us and share widely. Then moved to these. Worked well for a long time. Look good. Feel Good. Smell nice. Reasonably portable if only one or two but not connected in a connected world.
  • 1. Now we have moved to this. Easy to see why we like these devices. Look good. Portable. Always on in an always on world. Don’t smell. Take up less space. Green too. 2. Set the landscape for ebook devices. Not just about standalone devices such as Kindle or Sony. Also about other ‘converged devices’ Smart Phone / PC / Games Console May still also read your physical book. However the convenience of digital certainly trump physical when outside of books resting place. Stand alone reader has benefits of e-ink screen and their main purpose is reading the volume in the market place low when compared to smart phones / pcs and other media devices. Devices aren’t mutually exclusive Smart phone has some advantages for ebooks Lots of people have these devices already, no additional device purchase Connected SIM + WiFi – always on access to stores Multimedia opportunities 3. So lets attempt to look at what is going in the smartphone space from a market and consumer perspective
  • So first the market….before I start an apology for any companies I may have missed off this chart. 1. Complicated landscape - MNOs/Platform/Device/Retailers/Publishers host of new businesses 2. Device – smart phones account for 13% of UK market, doubled YOY and may do so again. Approximately 6-10m devices. Traditionally dominated by Nokia and whilst they still lead their share is around 40%, Blackberry 20% and Apple 11%. 3. New Entrants Stanza – desktop and iPhone/iPod touch solution. 2m downloads WW of software, 8m book downloads. Recently acquired by Amazon. Allows easy movement of books from desktop to iPhone, access to samples or store. Wattpad – java based app / iPhone app for reading. Free books, advertising funded. 3m downloads to mobiles. Library of over 100k books, delivering 2.5m visits and 20m page views per month. ScrollMotion – Iceberg reader, stand alone books, iPhone / iPod Touch only, built relationships with publishers, primarily in the US but now looking to expand outside US, recently launched Stephanie Meyer titles on iTunes UK. Go Spoken – UK company, founded by Andy McNabb, selling audio books and ebooks, strong mobile partnerships with Vodafone, Blackberry, Nokia and SonyEricsson. 4. Retailers Amazon – making acquisitions, built app for iTunes. What next? Waterstones – quiet so far but have huge trusted brand so could add lots of value in mobile space. Apple – focus has been via app store (50k apps and counting). Out of copyright books / graphic novels limited bestsellers. 5. Software Windows Mobile and Google’s Andriod – Will Windows enter the market? How will Google Book Search work across Android devices? 6. Publishers Got all this content, looking at this wondering where and how they should start. So there is a lot going on and it is a complicated and complex landscape….
  • 1. We’ve been making some efforts this year to actively listen to our consumers and deliver things they want. As part of this teamed up with Waterstones to conduct an ereading / ebooks survey. We’ve had some great results which is helping to shape the way we develop our plans in this space. Can’t share the whole survey but he are some nuggets I can share exclusively with you today. 2. Survey conducted, June 2009, over 1900 customers online, 2 x focus groups 3. Devices Sony Reader dominates. However secondary devices PCs, iPhone / iPod Touch Readers feature strongly 4. Types of content Text in ebooks in key, open to other additions particularly video content and links offering deeper exploration. Over 41% said video content was appealing to them. 5. Usage Two types of users. True Bookies who also own stand alone device - snacking 2. Casual Bookies - Don’t own e-ink device, attractive as lack of investment in new hardware
  • So before I touch on RH’s iPhone activities to date just to set some pre context I wanted to touch on Book and Beyond as it ties in with iPhone activity. As you saw from our consumer insight there was strong interest towards rich media content. Objectives… Add value to ebooks Take advantage of new medium What was it. Launch of 10 enhanced ebooks well established and new authors eBooks enriched with a variety of content. Sold through a variety of sales channels.
  • Joint development with RH DE we decided to build our own app and launch some books. 2. iTunes was the retailer of digital content in the world wanted to build our relationship with them At the time in July early days for books but things going on. Stanza had just launched getting some traction. 3. Reader itself – individual books as apps may sell books within books with 3.0. Font size, type, background colours, portrait or landscape, notes, bookmarks. Plus rich media content – audio, video allowing us to increase our route to market for BTB. 4. Lessons learned. a. Development Takes time, complicated programming. Constant updating to improve application required At the mercy of Apple updates b. Submission process also takes time – producing and compiling apps using xCode. Apple approval over content. Katie Price – photo of her ex husband Peter Andre. Merchandising is publishers responsibiltiy, great but takes time Limited opportunities right now on the app store to discover books c. Sales early days. But some potential. Can’t disclose figures but on Lee Child, sales accounted for 20% of total ebooks sales. d. Price – market is competitive. Competing with the whole of dickens for 59p. Future –we are committed to this channel and will continue to publish more books and develop our application. Not just fiction but also reference. XML database for our books will allow us to port our products to different platforms with greater ease.
  • This is what you get when you type reading the future into Google Images
  • Look back at the caveman and look at myriad of devices for reading books for me it is not a matter of ‘will this be the way we we read books’ but ‘when will this be the way we read books’ For some it may be their primary device for others their secondary device. The installed base of devices is huge and we have an opportunity to get ebooks into the hand of 10m + UK customers. There are probably at least 2m UK customers with iPhones / iPod Touches in the UK. Compared to standalone devices that is a seriously large base. Our challenge is can we make reading on these devices accessible, convenient, well adopted. 2. Many players, different objectives and business models. Navigating a path towards success will not be easy. 3. Books selling individually, ad funded sampling eg. Wattpad, mobile cookery books, serialisation, rich media books, cookery and travel applications. Try, test and evolve and not be afraid to fail. XML help to port content to different platforms DRM. Interoperability is key. How realistic, how much, who will pay? Put customers central, putting ourselves in the buyers shoes
  • Jonathan Davis: Controlling Your Own Future on the iPhone: What Random House Did

    1. 1. Controlling Y our Own Future on the iPhone Jonathan Davis Digital Publisher Random House Group
    2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Where we’re coming from and might be going to </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer insight and perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Random House’s experiences and learnings on the iPhone/iPod Touch </li></ul><ul><li>Future thoughts… </li></ul>
    3. 5. New Entrants Device Retail Network Software Publishers
    4. 6. Random House & Waterstones Insight DEVICES Sony Reader is the preferred e-reading device (86%). PC & laptops and iPhones & iPod Touches rank low in the list of devices used primarily to read ebooks (9% and 2% respectively). However these top the e-reading device list when asked which other devices are used occasionally: PC & laptops 72% iPhone & iPod Touches 22% N: 1,913 Waterstones eBooks Customers, 2 x Focus Groups London / Manchester July 2009 USAGE “ Mobile reading is great for snacking. I was surprised myself how great the experience is! ” “ I’ve downloaded all classics onto my iPhone and very much enjoy reading them from my mobile device. ” “ I love the interactive page turn – like browsing a real book! ”
    5. 7. Book and Beyond <ul><li>Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Identify ways to add additional value to ebooks </li></ul><ul><li>Take advantage of the new book media and multi media capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>What was it? </li></ul><ul><li>An experimental ebook publishing programme. </li></ul><ul><li>Launch of 10 enhanced ebooks in April 2009 at London Book Fair </li></ul><ul><li>Enriching ebooks with the addition of video, audio, additional text and/or games/quizzes, as appropriate. </li></ul><ul><li>Sold through RH web site, Waterstones, WHSmiths and iTunes. </li></ul>
    6. 8. Books on iTunes <ul><li>Joint development with Random House DE </li></ul><ul><li>Reader allows for all typical eReader functionality </li></ul><ul><li>Plus rich media opportunities / Beyond The Book </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons learned </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Development and production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Submission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Merchandising and Marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Price </li></ul></ul>
    7. 10. Future thoughts and important things. <ul><li>Smartphone devices will be one of many devices that people use to read and enjoy their ebooks. </li></ul><ul><li>The landscape is complex. </li></ul><ul><li>The old model and products may work but all parties need to be open to new models, products and relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>XML will be central to efficient product development. </li></ul><ul><li>DRM </li></ul><ul><li>Put customers central to the thought process. Engage, listen, be flexible and open. </li></ul>
    8. 11. Thanks! <ul><li>Jonathan Davis, Random House </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>T: 0207 840 8528 </li></ul><ul><li>M: 07768 151 053 </li></ul><ul><li>@ JonathanDav1s </li></ul>